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Laptop - Best Specifications to look for

 2:35 pm on Sep 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

A friend wants to buy a laptop. She has a number of websites that she works on including various softwares and is ideally looking for a good machine. Can someone suggest an optimum configuration for a laptop for someone who wants it to work fast, have enough storage space and memory.



 6:45 am on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

That's a moving target. It really depends on how much money you can spend. You'll want to get the most memory, video and speed you can afford.


 12:41 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Well her budget is about a 1000$. Does that help?


 1:01 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Dell would be good for that budget.

If the budget can be stretched, then go in for a Vaio.


 2:14 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

I dont suggest VAIO actually lots is added to its price due to its brand value rather than actual product.

With the given price range i would suggest you to look for Dell only with RAM >= 2GB , atleast 160GB HDD , 15 inch screen , 2GHZ or better processor


 3:00 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

The Dell Outlet might be a good choice. A little over a year ago, I spent about $850 on a laptop with a 17" screen (which turned out too bulky for my taste), 3GB RAM, and a dual-core 1.6gHz CPU (plenty good for me, but 2+ would have been better).

The feature I particularly like is that I got a 7200 RPM SATA hard drive, which is standard for desktops but still appears to be something of a novelty for laptops. Between a fast drive and 3GB of RAM, the lower CPU speed doesn't seem to matter so much.


 3:03 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Yes i too bought Dell Inspiron 17 inch laptop about 3.5 years back (2 GHz , 2GB , 80GB , yes at that time it cost me lot almost 3.5 times the today's price ) , its great in performance but as you mentioned i feel difficult to carry it at times.

But i feel it great to have good screen space to do lot of things and its good for those who are in web development profession.


 7:01 pm on Sep 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

Dell offer matt (anti-glare) screens - that's a big plus in my book.

Also consider Toshiba. Build quality and price are good. Ergonomics are poor on the current range (but then again, laptop design has been going backwards for years).



 10:18 am on Sep 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the replies. Yes, infact she has been considering both Dell and Toshiba.

Some more queries :
1. Does anyone have any experience with HP notebooks?
2. She has been using Windows XP and has no experience with Windows Vista whatsoever. Should she look for a machine with Windows XP or does Vista (home use) offer any major benefits?
3. What about a good Anti Virus software? Her experience with Kaspersky has not been great.



 11:46 am on Sep 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

1)dont like
2)wait for 7

4):) dual boot with linux ( if she's used to XP ) ubuntu or mint7 ( the latter resembles windows xp desktop ..only it's nicer :)..comes with lots of stuff ready loaded ..uses "customised" g search ..easy to restandardise it without needing to use terminal )..get a live disk to try


 12:00 pm on Sep 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

>The feature I particularly like is that I got a 7200 RPM SATA hard drive

Agree with this statement. I bought a Visa / Dell laptop in January 2007. Vista runs fine - never a problem. Yes, there is a nagging admin rights pop up.

The hard drive is 5,400 and that's the only thing I'm sorry about. A faster hard drive would help more than CPU speed.


 1:35 pm on Oct 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

In continuation...I wanted to list down the final specifications that have been decided and wanted opinions on the same -

1. Intel(R) Core(TM) 2 Duo Processor T6600 (2.20GHz/ 800 FSB/ 2MB Cache)
2. Memory 3 GB
3. Hard Drive 320GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive (Is 7200 recommended instead of 5400...also what do these values mean really?)
4. OS - Genuine Windows(R) 7 Home Basic
5. Mc Afee
6. Display - 15.6" 720p WLED



 2:28 pm on Oct 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

  1. OK
  2. OK
  3. I would rather go for a 200GB 7200 version than a 320GB 5400. The rotation speed of the disk is directly proportional with the speed fragmented data is read from the disk. With each new fragment the disk must on average rotate 180 degrees to position the heads above the beginning of that fragment. With a 7200RPM disk a 180degrees turn takes 4.2 msec, with a 5400RPM disk it is 5.5 msec. The effect of this will become greater if the computer gets older and data becomes more fragmented.
  4. No comment, still using 2000 and XP...
  5. McAfee is known for taking a lot CPU cycles. Microsoft is offering a free anti-virus solution in some countries now.
  6. Looks small to me, especially for graphical work. I would recommend at least 17" if your friend will use this computer for more than a few hours each day. A larger screen is the single best investment to increase productivity. (writing this from behind my 24")


 7:08 pm on Oct 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't go with a 5400 RPM drive unless you can't possibly help it. Seriously, that one "little" detail is a major upgrade on a laptop.


 1:00 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

listen to Lammert..and matthewHSE ..7200 ..
caveat ..avoid 7 home basic like it was the plague ..get 7 pro if you only need the one language for now ..if you do need multi lingual dont bother with ulti nor ent (vastly overpriced non zygotic twins IMO ..depends what kind of pron you are into :))..( multilingual hacks are in the works as were found for vista ) ..but dont ..dont ..dont go home basic ..

pro ..or premium as minimum ..basic shouldn't even exist ..shame on MS


 7:02 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the replies...

avoid 7 home basic like it was the plague ..get 7 pro if you only need the one language for now ....but dont ..dont ..dont go home basic ..pro ..or premium as minimum ..basic shouldn't even exist ..shame on MS

I found out that the two options to choose from include :
- Genuine Windows(R) 7 Home Premium 64bit (English) [add..]

- Genuine Windows(R) 7 Home Basic 64bit (English) [Included in Price]

So you suggest that it is wiser to pay more and invest in Home Premium?


 7:27 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I'd go for the most computing power possible, at least 2,2GHz CPU and possibility to grow RAM in the future. 2-4 GB of RAM will do today but more may be needed in the future while CPU's seem not to so speed up very quickly.
As for the screen, if she does not do design work on the road a decent external monitor may be interesting. I am currently thinking of replacing my 15-inch latop with a 13-inch plus a 24-inch screen. More comfort at home/office and less to carry on the road


 8:00 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

Cut to the chase. Spend all you can for all you can get.

Ram 4gb or better. 7200rpm drive. As little as possible trialware installed as possible. 64bit OS (Pro or Ultimate). (Might look at other brands like Acer)

Else wait till after New Years when the vendors are dumping all their unsold "holiday" product at reduced prices. Xmas season is a BAD time to buy computer products.


 11:07 am on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

yes the premium over the basic ..( the basic should not exist..it's "crippledware"..just look at what it cant do ..the cant do list is longer than the can do list for it )..the pro would be better again ( depends on her budget ) ..the ulti ? unless she wants to use all 35 languages at once ..and encrypt the disk then unless you can get it very near to the pro price it's not worth the extra ..forcing other languages will be as easy as "vistalizer" et al ..and other products can crypt ..

really it all depends on how techy she wants to be ..
she who dies with the most ram and CPU wins ..

did I say not to get basic ..


 1:38 pm on Oct 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

I just got a netbook (Asus 1002HA). $350 delivered from Target (with AAA discount). Thing is awesome. Came with XP, but I loaded Ubuntu Remix (9.10), which is a version of Ubuntu Linux just for netbooks. It is an awesome netbook OS.

Plus my netbook came pre-partitioned for 2 operating systems. I of course added Linux as my second, but you could also add Win7 or Vista. Folks say Win7 runs pretty smooth on netbooks.

Netbooks are not for working on 100% of the time, but they are great for the traveling developer. Mine weighs in around 2.5 lbs and has a battery life of around 3.5 hours (with wifi usage). 5+ hours offline mode.

Aluminum casing, built-in video cam, card reader slot and 3 USB ports round out this very handy little laptop all for $350. Not bad.

Mine came with the 1.6Mhz Intel Atom processor, 1 GB of RAM and a 160GB hard drive. It flies with Ubuntu Remix. Starts up in under 30 seconds.

Another point worth considering, if you are a LAMP developer, Ubuntu is the way to go. You can map SSH protocol drives to your servers, which is awesome since you can work on and off all day without having to constantly re-connect and re-load all the pages you might be working on. It simply treats all your remote linux mapped drives like local files. Very cool.

Hope this helps.


 2:02 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks for all the advice! the general opinion about Mc Afee is that it takes up too much disk space as compared to other anti virus solutions. Is that correct?

Also, the laptop comes with Microsoft Office 2007 for 2 months and then it has to be extended after that. Is that a good deal?


 7:42 pm on Nov 17, 2009 (gmt 0)

Don't worry about Microsoft Office. You can download StarOffice (Sun's version of MS Office) for free, and it is all the same products...


 6:15 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)


It's not that it takes up too much space. It takes up too much memory, processing power, and it's too intrusive. Microsoft Security Essentials is free and will provide comparable (or better) security in a less intrusive manner.


StarOffice is not free. You're thinking of OpenOffice.

If compatibility with Microsoft Office is a high priority you will want to look into purchasing the real thing. The free packages are not 100% compatible. If it's just for your own use then the free alternatives should suffice.

Keep in mind that Office 2010 is supposed to have a free ad-supported version.


 7:04 am on Nov 18, 2009 (gmt 0)

If compatibility with Microsoft Office is a high priority

Check out the pricing for the Home and Student editions of MS office. Includes 3 licences for around 111$ (current price at amazon).


 6:48 am on Nov 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

If compatibility with Microsoft Office is a high priority you will want to look into purchasing the real thing. The free packages are not 100% compatible.

Okay...so getting the real thing is a sensible investment. I also noticed that Microsoft 2007 does not include the software Frontpage anymore....Is there any alternative to FP besides Dreamweaver and is it available for free download?


 7:17 am on Nov 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Just found out about SharePoint Designer 2007 which seems to be an alternative to FP....does anyone have any experience with the same? Also is it compatible with Windows 7?


 8:39 am on Nov 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

FrontPage's successor is Expression Web. I thought SharePoint Designer was just for SharePoint sites.


 5:28 am on Nov 24, 2009 (gmt 0)

After months of planning, she has finally bought her Dell Laptop and is very happy with it so far! Thanks for all the help!

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