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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 1:50 pm 
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OK shoppers it's time to spend some money. I am looking at replacing a very old laptop that has served well in the past, but now it's time for more speed.

My top choice so far is the Dell XPS M1330. I like the XPS because of the optional 7200rpm drive, compact size and the LED screen. Apparently the LED screens are better on power and offer a slightly improved color gamut. I've found that a 13.3 inch screen seems to be a good compromise between size and portability. I would also consider a 14.1 inch screen if the rest of the system looked promising.

I'm not the most tech savvy person out there and I'm not too current on CPU's, motherboards, front-side bus speed, yadda yadda yadda. So any help you offer would be appreciated. I would like to stay under US$1800.

Just for reference: From the dell.com.tw I can get the M1330 with: T7500 (2.2GHz), 2GB ram, 128mb 8600GS graphics card, 160GB 7200RPM HDD, and 13.3" LED screen for US$1,710.

Thanks,
-steve

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Last edited by seattlesteve on Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:15 pm 
Nothing wrong with the Dell, but how about the VAIO SZ(Same as Dell, 13.3") as an alternative? Dunno about the Dell but I saw the Sony in the shop and it looked pretty nice. The specs are almost identical. You get a variety of CPUs for both and both use the NVidia 8400m GS however the Sony allows you to choose between its integrated and dedicated graphics if you want to lower heat and power consumption. The Dell has the option of using a solid state drive but I don't think that can be had for under USD1800. I think the Sony is slightly more expensive for identical configurations.

You can also get a Lenovo T61(14.1") for under 1800. Again a variety of CPUs but you get the NVidia Quadro NVS140m which is the workstation equivalent(tested to higher standards and optimized for OpenGL) of the 8400m. Nothing special apart from the fact that it's a Thinkpad :D
and all the usual stuff you associate with Thinkpads.

Check out NotebookReview, they have reviews for most of the more common laptops


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:29 pm 
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Hi Graham,

Thanks for the suggestions. I really like Thinkpads. I've owned 4 in the past, starting with the 701 and its VERY innovative butterfly keyboard. I'll go take a look at the T61. Thanks again.

-steve

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:33 pm 
No problem. :) I've never heard of a butterfly keyboard. Sounds interesting, how is it different?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 2:45 pm 
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grahamnp wrote:
No problem. :) I've never heard of a butterfly keyboard. Sounds interesting, how is it different?


In short, it was a fold out keyboard. It made for a very compact form factor. It's a little hard to explain, try googling "butterfly keyboard thinkpad" and search for images. That's probably the best way to explain what it was all about.

That T61 looks pretty nice. :idea:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:00 pm 
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Hi Steve,

You are probably way ahead of me on this but, preparing against the day when my ancient 600E ThinkPad finally gives up the ghost, I have been casting an envious eye over the latest and greatest. LED backlights appear to be the way to go but one negative I have noticed is the rush to widescreen displays. On the premium models there is no issue but a number of lesser models "feature" a relatively low vertical resolution.

One that caught my eye is the Sony VAIO VGN-TZ11MN, which isn't exactly cheap. Drop dead gorgeous, small enough to be truly portable amd with an LED backlight behind the 1,366 x 768 screen. :shock: Whoa, 768 pixels high. :!: That's no better than the 1024 x 768 of my 9 year old ThinkPad. :evil:

Given I have no interest in viewing movies on a notebook (and I accept that others might want to) and that the amount of vertical screen real estate taken up by menus and toolbars in a number of image editing programs results in an effective 16:9 usable area left over on a 4:3 screen I wonder whether widescreen displays are that useful unless one can run to a 1,920 x 1,200 model.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:52 pm 
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Does it have to be a Windows PC? If I were in the market for a laptop I would seriously consider a Mac, especially for photography.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:08 pm 
Would agree! A Macbook with a 13.1" is very compact but seriously powerful and it'll run windows too. Otherwise you could pick up an old 12" powerbook for maybe £400/$600 off ebay which are tiny but fantastic.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 7:41 pm 
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Welly wrote:
...A Macbook with a 13.1" is very compact but seriously powerful...

True, but desirable as it is, it still only has 800 vertical pixels. :( Even the 17" screen of the MacBook Pro (big bucks) only has 1050 which doesn't fit well with the 1080 required for HD movies. Surely we should demand better than this? :?

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2007 9:29 pm 
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Steve, every laptop buyer should get themselves an Asus Eee PC!

Only kidding - well, a little anyway...

If you're after a Windows laptop, I'm quite fond of the Sony SZ and TZ models...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:41 am 
Bob Andersson wrote:
Welly wrote:
...A Macbook with a 13.1" is very compact but seriously powerful...

True, but desirable as it is, it still only has 800 vertical pixels. :( Even the 17" screen of the MacBook Pro (big bucks) only has 1050 which doesn't fit well with the 1080 required for HD movies. Surely we should demand better than this? :?

Bob.


My 17" macbook pro has a resolution of 1920x1200 :) I went for the high res screen. Cost a lot of bucks though :(


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 12:47 am 
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Whoops. :oops: Thanks Welly, I didn't notice that there an 1920 by 1200 option for the 17" screen as well as the standard 1680 by 1050.

Bob.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:30 am 
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I knew that asking all of you would be a big help. So now I've opened the door to three contenders: Sony SZ series, Dell XPS M1330, and the Thinkpad T61. Two have a 13.3 screen the T61 has a 14.1" and all have the option of a 7200RPM HDD, and all come in around $1800.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:24 am 
Phil Lee wrote:
Does it have to be a Windows PC? If I were in the market for a laptop I would seriously consider a Mac, especially for photography.


A lot of creative software come out as Mac-only programs, programs like Aperture. The Macbook doesn't have dedicated graphics though, so it will struggle with Aperture because it tends to offload a lot of its processing requirements to the GPU.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 10:57 am 
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Hi Steve,

I can't speak to the other brands but I am currently on my second ThinkPad as I like the feel of the keyboard. We always suggest that potential buyers should handle cameras before purchase and I guess the same applies to notebooks.

As an aside, my last two notebooks were bought here in the UK as factory refurbished with three month warranties. Notebooks are a lot cheaper now but they still command a significant premium over desktop models and I guess I'm too mean to spring large amounts of cash on items which so rapidly depreciate and are difficult to upgrade. :idea:

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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