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New computer?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Wonder Boy, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. Wonder Boy

    Wonder Boy Well-Known Member

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    Upon graduation in about a month, my parents intend to get me a gift and asked what I would like. Given that I have to have my (current) Dell Latitude (about 4 years old now) wiped clean every few months, I suggested that I would like a new computer.

    I think I'm over Dell, and would like to perhaps try something new. I want a laptop again, but I'm not sure what else is reliable and efficient. I'm not too fond of the Apple system, so I think an iBook is out of the question. I'm considering an Alienware laptop (like these). I understand Alienware makes some pretty powerful computers and I would basically be using it for internet, some office work (Microsoft Word/Excel/Powerpoint), and some games (as I don't play that much, but might get more into it.

    Could anybody make any suggestions? Maybe you've owned an Alienware computer and loved/hated it? Or perhaps you have a computer completely different that I might be interested in?

    I would think the price range would be somewhere between $800-1,200 (probably closer to the former... lol)

    Any suggestions would be great!
     
  2. Shoeby

    Shoeby Active Member

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    I have a friend who's got an Alienware A-51 laptop. We're talking big $$ although she's thoroughly unimpressed with it. Everytime she tries to alt-tab out of a game her system crashes. It's a game that on every other computer there is no issues. She's called their tech support, and got virtually no help, so now she's got a big money laptop that she totally hates.

    I have another friend who's got an old Sony Vaio laptop that he absolutely loves. The thing is an absolute beast, but it keeps on chuggin day in, day out. Never a single problem in 5 years of operation.

    This is not to say alienware is bad and sony is great. Just 2 people's experiences that I figured I'd share. As always YMMV. :)
     
  3. MarkY

    MarkY Active Member

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  4. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    I think that's a good move to move away from Dell.. but don't forget their monitors... their flat panel widescreens are some of the best around. But I would drive them with a different company's computer.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that Alienware though it builds solid computers by and large are generally considered overpriced for what they are and that it is the "coolness" of their look that lets them get away with it... but I see that Shoeby has already pointed that out.

    I have recently purchased a high end ASUS z70va ($2000+) ... it is quite the dream of a laptop. Its drawback is that it runs on a Pentium M Intel chip. There is nothing wrong with that.. it is a great chip which has been the industry standard for quite a while ( a reuired element for the book to be dclared as having the Centrino technology) but Intel this January came out with the Core Duo to replace the Pentium M and is a dual core processor.. which is definitely the way of the future. But the earliest books using them are considered to be pretty much wasting it... it will take a bit of redesigning to be able to exploit it properly. Also the same with software.

    The other concern re: ASUS or any Pentium M notebook is that this coming May or June, Intel is going to replace the Core Duo with the Meron. The Meron is also a dual core chip but it is 64 bits instead of 32 that the Core Duo is. 32 bits has been the standard for a number of years now. So probably an dserious developmeant that companies will do re: their notebooks will probably be for the Meron not the Core Duo.

    The reason I went ahead and got the ASUS anyway was one... I had to get a new laptop right away.. my previous one was going to completely die any day... this was this past January though I did not receive it until the end of February.

    The other reason was that I knew it would probably be at least a year before the dual core chip-set would be really effectively used... that the first round or so of notebooks would probably waste what it had to offer and I'd rather spend the money on a realy well-designed laptop, which the ASUS z70va is (and is still very much available and in fact brought back into production for that reason.)

    Furthermore, the 64 bit Meron is really only going to be meaningful when Microsoft comes out with its 64 bit version of Vista... MS has been having problems in beta testing.. I think 1Fastgx here is involved with Beta testing and can give you a better scoop on it... but MS is releasing a preliminary version of Vista that is still 32 bit next January. Originally, it was anticipated that the 64 bit would be released about now. But MS finally announced it would bring out only the 32 bit Vista and not until next year. So probably the 64 bit will not come out for another year after next.. and the odds are it will be buggy to start... and it will take another 8 months to a year for software to be written that can exploit the 64 bit and a "second edition" of the Vista 64 bit to come out that is not buggy.

    That brings almost 3 years down the road from when I ordered my ASUS. In 3 years' time it will be time to start looking for a new laptop. And in the interim I have a great machine.

    You can still get it.. but most of the other major manufacturers have already moved over Core Duo. I decided to get a second "cheap" laptop because I keep it on all night by my bedside for internet streaming and other stuff. Well, I went to HP, got a bottom line Compaq Presario with an AMD processor (a competitor to Intel and is 64 bit already) for $500 and souped it up for another $350 (with the intentions of putting from another source, 2 GB of RAM memory for anothe $150)... But after 2 or so weeks of using it... I just didn't like the screen... the keypads felt cheap under my fingers and the speakers were really awful.

    So I returned it to upgrade to an HP Pavilion. Well, they sell the screen size I wanted for my 2nd laptop--14.1 widescreen (my ASUS is 15'4 ")... but they wouldn't let me soup it up with a Pentium M chip The only way was to get a Core Duo which added another $250 to the price... so I ended up with a $1300 2nd laptop instead of an $850 one, (I anticipated to replace it with a $1050 one) and I lost $70 in delivery fees.

    I haven't received it yet... but I will let you know how I like it. The service at HP is incredible, however... really outstanding tech support and customer service. They will do anything to make you happy. The tech support at ASUS sucks.. they will help you get off the ground but after that you are on your own. The servicing of the hardware is pretty good but it is dependent on the reseller... as it is the reseller who warrants the product to ASUS (thought there are some models that ASUS does warrant the equipment.)

    Fortunately there are a couple of notebook sites that are comparable to JSF..where you can post just about any query you want and you get really talented people helping you out. So if you are comfortable with that... which I am ... the lack of tech support form ASUS per se doesn't bother me... these people at these site are pretty d*mn good....

    Here is the link to the one I go to the most...

    Notebookreviews.com

    They have, right at the top, a questionnaire you can fill out and post to indicate what you are looking for .. and you will get great suggestions and a lot of useful info...

    There are a couple of other sites as well. You will see a lot of the same really good people active in a number of sites.

    Another company to look at is Sager. It is a solid competitor to ASUS and a bit less expensive. The trade-off is that it is a little heavier in weight... So it depends on what matter to you....:)
     
    #4 Justitia, Apr 16, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  5. ekomomai

    ekomomai Well-Known Member

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    I have the Asus M5, a small 12 inch notebook that i am very happy with. I am not sure whether its sold in the US but i think it is worth looking into, i have had it for a few months and am very happy with it. Asus M5 Series.
     
  6. Wonder Boy

    Wonder Boy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everybody for the recommendations thus far. Glad I came in here first before I got an overpriced Alienware computer that just looked cool, but really served as a paperweight. After Shoeby mentioned the Sony Vaio, I remembered a girl in one of my class groups had that computer and the screen looked INCREDIBLE. I'm going to research it a bit more and check out the notebook forums, but right now I'm leaning toward a Vaio.

    Anybody currently have one? If so, what do you think of it? Or maybe you know somebody who strongly likes/dislike it?'

    Thanks again everybody! :D
     
  7. Banditfist

    Banditfist Well-Known Member

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    Dell just bought Alienware last month. So..."Dude, your getting a Dell!" if you buy one. Seriously, Dell is still trying to figure out what exactly it has done. I am sure they don't want to screw up Alienware's branding. If you compare customer suppor to AW to Dell, you will find a lot more satisfaction for AW.
     
  8. Justitia

    Justitia Elite Member
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    I checked out a Sony Vaio for a friend (just priced and spec'it on line...did not look at it in person.)

    There too, the specs seem low for the price...compared to the HP. But I haven't seen my new HP yet. (It arrived yeserday but I have had no time to even open the box.)

    I also understand that people consider Sony a little overpriced.

    Truthfully... the best things I hear are about ASUS and Sager... with ASUS edging out Sager very slightly in terms of quality and Sager edgubg out ASUS somewhat in price.
     
  9. Shane Reid

    Shane Reid Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how custom laptops work...But if you go for a desktop, I'd suggest paying someone to make you one. If you know a friend who can do it even better! I payed someone in town who does it for a living and it only cost me a couple hundred extra over the part prices, got everything I wanted in a computer, it's been a bit over a year and it's running the exact same, maybe even better then when I purchased it!

    On the other note, I heard good things about sony vaio. And sony has a good reputation for customer support and such so that's always a plus.
     

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