Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

In the Market for a Laptop

  1. May 15, 2006 #1

    I'm in the market for a new laptop for university. Games aren't really a top priority, and I'm mainly interested in a well built machine that will handle word processing, web surfing, instant messenging, movies, music, and so on for about 4.5 years. In addition, I'll be taking computer science courses next year, so I'm not sure if that factors into my decision or not. My current price range is around $1000-2000.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Dell has some basic laptops for around 500.00, you can get a pretty good laptop for your price range. Go to http://www.dell.com and try searching for those with special deals, e.g. free shipping, upgrades
  4. May 16, 2006 #3
    I just bought a Dell Inspiron E1505 with the Intel dual core processor. LOVE IT!
    Don't like the Windows XP Media edition though.
  5. May 16, 2006 #4

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I just bought a Dell, too, Lark. :smile: I got the XPS M140, and I love it. 512 MB RAM, 60 GB HD, Pentium M 1.73 GHz processor. They dropped the price down to $645 and I think they may be sold out now because I don't even see them on the Dell site anymore. This is my first laptop and I am enjoying the heck out of it. The warranty was a bit more than I was expecting. I think that was around $180 for the two year extended plan.
    Last edited: May 16, 2006
  6. May 16, 2006 #5
    Sisyphus while the above recommendations are decent, I wouldn't say Dell has the best build quality of the available laptops in your price range. You can get a budget laptop for $1000 that is fairly powerful but if you're looking for a top-quality machine, I'd look into the IBM ThinkPad models. ThinkPads are known for being solid, professional, and all-around top-notch computers, and it seems to me that Dells are more for the average PC user, not someone interested in great quality. And if you're willing to stay in that price range, you should explore more expensive laptops.

    I just bought an HP Pavilion dv5000z for ~$1100 and I understand it's a budget notebook; I chose it because I had a lower budget. It's a 15.4" widescreen with a 2.0GHz AMD Turion 64-bit processor, 80GB disk, and I bought a gig of RAM aftermarket (usually memory included with the computer is more expensive than buying and installing it yourself). And I'm not 100% sure if you can customize the ThinkPads but that's always a great idea. You can manage your own budget while picking which components you need more than others, and in this case you can buy the lowest amount of RAM as is possible to save some money.

    I hope this helps! Please reply with some more questions about buying a laptop. I've recently done lots of research about this topic.
  7. May 16, 2006 #6
    I love my Lenovo with a Core Duo, check out the Lenovo site.
  8. May 16, 2006 #7
    Thanks for all the replies! I've been checking out their specs online, and I'll keep an eye out for them.

    Apple recently released their consumer version of the MacBook pro, which falls inside my price range. How are these things for comparison?
  9. May 16, 2006 #8

    i recently (2 months ago) bought an IBM thinkpad and have been incredibly satisfied, the only downfall to thinkpads is that they are more expensive than dells,gateways, ect (no comment on those manufacturers)
    thinkpads also appear to be one of the most highly supported machines as far as linux goes ( i currently dual boot xp and fedora core with great success, pretty much everything was supported)

    and as far as the macbooks go, i have only played with them a little
    but they are definetly fun and worth it
    and you can now get them in black instead of standard apple white/shiny
    if that floats your boat
  10. May 17, 2006 #9
    This is my first laptop too. I love going wireless! Now I can multitask even more! The only thing I can't get used to is the touch pad. I keep forgetting that tapping the corners does something other than left click. Last night,I had this reply ready to click "submit" but clicked in the corner and lost the page:cry: I think I am going to turn that feature off.
  11. May 17, 2006 #10

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I am not a big fan of the touch pad, either. I am much too clumsy to use a device that sensitive. Supposedly, there are some different options for disabling it but I haven't had a chance to sit down and read about it yet. My coworker was telling my I can set it up so that anytime the mouse is plugged in, my touchpad is disabled.
  12. May 17, 2006 #11
    The touchpad settings depend on the drivers that are used. I use the Syaptics driver and it has all these weird settings like coasting, palm check, etc. But the only one I like is virtual scrolling. It lets you run your finger along the far right and bottom of the touchpad to scroll in windows. I don't like the special features that let you change the behavior of the button depending where you tap on the touchpad.

    When I'm working at my desk I use a USB mouse so I don't have to deal with the touchpad.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook