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Are there any laptops to avoid?

Old 01-30-04, 09:37 PM
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Are there any laptops to avoid?

Are there any laptops to avoid? You know, any companies that put out a really crappy product with terrible support? I'm thinking about getting a new one and don't want to put out that kind of money on a piece of junk.
Old 01-30-04, 09:51 PM
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Pee Wee Herman's. And Michael Jackson's if you're a kid.
Old 01-30-04, 09:56 PM
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anything powered by NEC Packard Bell? I don't think they make them anymore... but my first laptop was a NEC PB and it was a piece and a half. The hard drive died, the video card stopped working twice, just as my warranty period was ending, I called in for service, but by the time I got a hold of them, they claimed it was past my year of service... arggh... ended up selling the parts for about 200ish, but spending 2500 for it didn't make for a hot deal.
Old 01-31-04, 12:00 AM
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Originally posted by X
Pee Wee Herman's. And Michael Jackson's if you're a kid.

Hey, if it were MJ, he'd have to pay me!


I'm thinking more along the lines of Dell, Compaq, HP, Toshiba, Sony, IBM, etc.


Also, any big difference in Athlon, P4, Celeron when used in a laptop... or are they pretty much the same as they are in desktop systems?
Old 01-31-04, 11:52 AM
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I bought a Compaq Presario 700US in 12/01 and the DVD drive stopped playing DVDs within 6 months after watching maybe 10 movies at the most. The thing is a piece of crap, rejects the restore disc these days...I had to install XP onto it myself to get it to work. My dad bought one at the time I got mine and his lasted 3 months, it stopped reading CD's period. He sent it back to Compaq, got it back within 2 weeks and it was still busted. Luckily we had gotten the Circuit City warranty and it went straight back.

Anyway, I ended up buying a Toshiba in 7/02 and to this day the thing performs flawlessly. EXCELLENT system, beautiful screen. I swear its damn right bullet proof and I use it everyday. I've never had a single problem with the thing and it uses some quality parts (The DVD/CDR combo drive is a Matsushita/Panasonic for instance). My dad has since gotten a Toshiba and it too runs like a champ. Solid laptops.

IMO, avoid Compaq/HP....Sony and Toshiba's seem to be the best in my experience at retail. I love how the Compaq and HP's all have that neon blue LED BS all over them these days too. What is the functionality of that? Probably so that someone will come in, ignore the quality of the thing and go ga-ga over how "Cool" it looks. AVOID!
Old 01-31-04, 11:55 AM
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BTW, go for a mobile P4 which is also in my Toshiba. The AMD Athlon's in the Compaq's we had were slow as piss! I guess it would come down to what you want to do with it but just basic usage showed quite a difference in overall speed on both systems.
Old 01-31-04, 12:20 PM
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Sony due to them no longer including cds, and the program that can create the restore cds is often flawed and screws up forcing you to pay for cds that should have been included in the first place
Old 01-31-04, 02:30 PM
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I am happy with my previous and current Sony laptop. For some reason, my 3 years old Sony laptop will not recognize the cdrom via the firewire and I can't boot via USB, firewire, or PCMCIA either. Of course, this happen after I give the laptop to my brother-in-law.
Old 01-31-04, 03:55 PM
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Had a Dell Inspiron 3800 crap out on me a couple of years ago, they sent a replacement and then the screen died within three months.
Old 01-31-04, 04:41 PM
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Dead - what price range are you in and what kind of specs are you looking for?

The list of laptops "to avoid" is long (Sony would be at the top of to avoid for me, since it has been mentioned, slow, overpriced, and too hard to repair WHEN it fails)


I would have to say if money is no object get an IBM


If money is an object, maybe a Dell



The pentium M (in or out of the full Centrino package) has been extremely impressive to me for mobile computing.


Make sure you get a 5400rpm hard drive (laptop standard is 4200). This will make a HUGE impact on the overall performance of the latop. This feature will also eliminate many laptops as well
Old 01-31-04, 04:47 PM
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Originally posted by 4KRG
Make sure you get a 5400rpm hard drive (laptop standard is 4200). This will make a HUGE impact on the overall performance of the latop. This feature will also eliminate many laptops as well
There's an alternative to this that you could consider.

You can get a laptop with the slowest, smallest drive available and upgrade to a large 7200 RPM drive (as long as you check that it will fit).

Check out this baby for $232:

IBM Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB ATA-6 2.5in 7200RPM Mobile Hard Drive
Old 01-31-04, 06:59 PM
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Originally posted by X
There's an alternative to this that you could consider.

You can get a laptop with the slowest, smallest drive available and upgrade to a large 7200 RPM drive (as long as you check that it will fit).

Check out this baby for $232:

IBM Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB ATA-6 2.5in 7200RPM Mobile Hard Drive

Thats the hard drive that many at www.x1000.com forums are upgrading too.

Its a great forum that I just found last week. Its down now for some reason, has been for a couple days.

I ordered a HP zt3000 with the following specs 3 days ago:

1.6 P-M processor
256 RAM, ordered another 512 stick and will be putting it in with pictured directions from the forum.
64mb Radeon 9200
60gb 5400 rpm hard drive, I'm going to wait on this upgrade, if its slower than I want...I'll be picking up the one X mentioned.
external floppy drive
.11g integrated wireless and Bluetooth
15.4 WSXGA screen
Wireless USB mouse
2 year warranty


Should be a good laptop. I was going to go with the Compaq x1000 but there has been a few minor problems with them. They don't offer the 5400 rpm hard drive and they also only offer the B type wireless. The areas where your palms rest also starts to fade....So...I went with the HP.


Amazon just shipped out my Linksys G router too.


Good luck. I also got a 10% off coupon from the x1000 forum and all the items I mentioned were $2200 total after the coupon.
Old 01-31-04, 08:56 PM
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Do NOT get a Sony laptop. I've had nothing but problems with them. Their support is horrible. If you really want a laptop, I'd say go with Dell.
Old 01-31-04, 09:14 PM
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Originally posted by X
There's an alternative to this that you could consider.

You can get a laptop with the slowest, smallest drive available and upgrade to a large 7200 RPM drive (as long as you check that it will fit).

Check out this baby for $232:

IBM Hitachi Travelstar 7K60 60GB ATA-6 2.5in 7200RPM Mobile Hard Drive
True, but this is only if cost is not an issue

I have not played with these 7200 rpm 2.5" drives yet. My one concern would be added heat and can a laptop designed with a 4200rpm in mind dissipate the extra heat well enough to not cause problems.

I have seen 5400rpm drives cook themselves in a matter of a couple months when installed where a 4200rpm was designed to go. Just something to think about, especially in a less expensive laptop.

I will say that power consumption 5400 vs 7200 does not seem to be an issue. simply amazing
Old 01-31-04, 09:28 PM
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Originally posted by 4KRG
Dead - what price range are you in and what kind of specs are you looking for?

I'm basically looking for the cheapest reasonable setup I can get that will be reliable. Some of the things I would like to find if possible...

CPU no slower than my 1800+ desktop if possible
256+ MB RAM
30+ GB hard drive
DVD/CDRW
15" display
a wireless NIC would be nice
a floppy drive would be nice too
Old 01-31-04, 09:39 PM
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Originally posted by 4KRG
True, but this is only if cost is not an issue

I have not played with these 7200 rpm 2.5" drives yet. My one concern would be added heat and can a laptop designed with a 4200rpm in mind dissipate the extra heat well enough to not cause problems.

I have seen 5400rpm drives cook themselves in a matter of a couple months when installed where a 4200rpm was designed to go. Just something to think about, especially in a less expensive laptop.

I will say that power consumption 5400 vs 7200 does not seem to be an issue. simply amazing
Power consumption is what translates to heat.

Here are the numbers for the Hitachi 7200 RPM drive:
Seek (average) 2.6 W
Read (average) 2.5 W
Write (average) 2.5 W
Performance idle (average) 2.0 W
Active idle (average) 1.3 W
Low power idle (average) 0.85 W
Standby (average) 0.25 W
Sleep 0.1 W

Hitachi 5400 RPM drive:
Seek (average) 2.6 W
Read (average) 2.5 W
Write (average) 2.5 W
Performance idle (average) 2.0 W
Active idle (average) 1.3 W
Low power idle (average) 0.85 W
Standby (average) 0.25 W
Sleep 0.1 W

Hitachi 4200 RPM drive:
Seek (average) 2.25 W
Read (average) 2.0 W
Write (average) 2.0 W
Performance idle (average) 0.65 W
Active idle (average) 0.90 W
Low power idle (average) 1.65 W
Standby (average) 0.15 W

Seagate 5400 RPM drive:
Seek 2.4
Read/Write 2.87
Idle 0.97
Standby 0.36

It appears that the 7200 RPM drives consume just about the same amount of power as 5400 RPM models and about 25% more than 4200 RPM models. It may vary by brand of course. But if your notebook comes with a 5400 RPM drive it looks like a 7200 would also be fine heatwise.
Old 01-31-04, 10:36 PM
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My wife bought a Dell and its been a nightmare. It's an insprion. When you set it down, the screen jumbles. She got in-home service and they replaced the motherboard the first time. It didnt fix it. They replaced the screen the second time. It didnt fix it. Then they made her send it back when she was in school and they replaced the video card, it didnt fix it. The fourth time I called and gently persuaded them to come back out and fix it. They replaced the ram, and guess what, still didnt fix it. I called them back and told them it was a lemon and I wanted the whole thing replaced. They're supposed to get back to me on it. I will never buy another dell again. We've installed no additional hardware, and Im convinced maybe that we got a lemon.
Old 01-31-04, 11:14 PM
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I just got an iBook (my first Apple) & I love it.
Old 02-01-04, 12:50 AM
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Originally posted by gr8fuldave
My wife bought a Dell and its been a nightmare. It's an insprion. When you set it down, the screen jumbles. She got in-home service and they replaced the motherboard the first time. It didnt fix it. They replaced the screen the second time. It didnt fix it. Then they made her send it back when she was in school and they replaced the video card, it didnt fix it. The fourth time I called and gently persuaded them to come back out and fix it. They replaced the ram, and guess what, still didnt fix it. I called them back and told them it was a lemon and I wanted the whole thing replaced. They're supposed to get back to me on it. I will never buy another dell again. We've installed no additional hardware, and Im convinced maybe that we got a lemon.
This is the video cable that connects the screen to the video card. I have seen this problem before. I can not believe Dell did not try to replace the cable first, that is usual protocol (I have the dell repair manuals to most units).

But here is an interesting situation, at least Dell is trying to fix the problem. Many other companies would take weeks to get done what Dell does in a few days.

If you assume that ALL companies put out some defective units (safe assumption, they all do) you always have a chance of ending up with a bad unit. I rate companies based on how many bad units in a 1000 unit lot go out and then more importanly how quickly they are able to fix the bad ones.

Overall Dell ranks quite high. Sorry to hear you are having problems, but it is just one unit. If you bought 1000 of them you would be shocked how few have problems.




X- good point so again if you buy it with a 5400 rpm drive you can assume it has enough cooling ability. If you buy it with a cheaper 4200 drive then it may not, you don't know. I have seen 5400's cook when replacing a 4200. Can't say it happens 100% but it has happened.
Old 02-01-04, 09:38 PM
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I been using Dell for some time now, and they have good services in Malaysia and in Japan.Get the higher end models which have better architecture and good design.
Old 02-02-04, 12:17 AM
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Originally posted by Chopper
I just got an iBook (my first Apple) & I love it.


I am typing this on a new iBook G4 as well. It is my second iBook. I had a Toshiba 17 3.0 HT that I was not happy with and took back to Costco.

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