Looking for new laptop - Input

Alrighty I've been tasked with finding a laptop for myself for college. My parents (this would be a graduation present from them) are paying around $1000, with me covering any extra. I would like to stay under $1400. $1500 at the most.

Currently, there is a Dell I found that has pretty much everything I am looking for, for about $1450.

Because I haven't been following many tech things in the past two years, I'm fairly behind as to new information and such, so I will have a couple questions as I go through this.

Firstly, things I'm looking for.

Processor: Core 2 Duo w/ at least 3MB cache
Memory: At least 4GB
HDD: At least 160GB
Graphics: 256MB or 512MB. Doesn't need to be extensive but enough.
Screen: At least 16"
Weight: As long as it's not too heavy, I'm ok. I don't mind if it's like 6 pounds, for example, but that's nearing the top
Wireless- Wireless N Card
Battery- At least a 9-Cell

One question I have is for the Intel Centrino 2 technology, do you need certain processors/wireless cards in order for that to work on your computer?

This is the current setup I'm looking at from Dell.
Studio XPS 16 - $1474
-I believe my dad gets a 20% UPS discount as well, but not sure.
PROCESSOR: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8700 (3MB cache/2.53GHz/1066Mhz FSB)
HD DISPLAY: Edge-to-Edge HD Widescreen 16.0 inch WLED LCD (1366x768) W/2.0 MP
MEMORY: 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1067MHz (2 Dimms)
HARD DRIVE: 320GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE: 8X DVD+/- RW(DVD/CD read/write) Slot Load Drive
VIDEO CARD: ATI Mobility RADEON® HD 3670 - 512MB
WIRELESS CARDS: Intel® 5300 WLAN Wireless-N (3x3) Mini Card
BATTERY: Additional 9-Cell Battery
SOUND OPTIONS: High Definition Audio 2.0

Brand wise, do you have any better suggestions that would enable me to get what I'm looking for and still stay in my price range?

Any other thoughts on my setup? I'm looking for feedback. Like I said before I haven't been following the industry over the past two years or so, so I'm not quite up to date. I'll be looking to use this for at least the next four years so I need/want it to be something that'll last.



Everything is mutable; nothing is sacred
Staff member
Toshiba has high quality laptops. I don't want to go pick out a laptop for you, but look for something w/ 3+ gigs of RAM and a video card GeForce 8600 and better, or a Radeon 2k or better.


Aerospace/Cybersecurity Software Engineer
Toshiba has high quality laptops. I don't want to go pick out a laptop for you, but look for something w/ 3+ gigs of RAM and a video card GeForce 8600 and better, or a Radeon 2k or better.
I just got one for this past Christmas. It works great, and was a really good price ($450), but it had all kinds of pre-installed crap. I had to uninstall a lot before it was good to go:
  • TOSHIBA random crap software
  • Norton 360 All-In-One Security (Trial)
  • Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 Edition 60-day trial
  • WildTangent Orb Games Console
  • Google Desktop
  • Google Picasa
  • Amazon.com-Online Shopping
  • Intuit Quickbooks Financial Center
  • Skype
  • Computrace LoJack for Laptops
  • eMusic
  • NetZero Internet Service

When I first turned on the computer I was overwhelmed by all the popups. I had probably 15 different tray icons, and around 8 windows popped up all asking me to register and all kinds of crap like that. :p


Divide et impera
16"+ laptops are usually heavier then 6 pounds..
the laptop you found was nice, however i think for that price you can get a better screen resolution


Ver 6 CREATE energy AS SELECT * FROM u.energy
You can try the Studio 17. You lose the 3670 (3650 on the Studio 17), but you get the 1920x1200 screen and 3 years warranty for the same price.

Get the 3yr warranty. Laptop have a high failure rate, and you don't want to gamble your $1500.

Additionally, you can get the HP dv6t for the raw power (Radeon 4670 vs Radeon 3650), but you still get crap resolution though (1366x768). Good choice if you want to game like a maniac, but sucks if you want to do lot of things at the same time.

For Toshiba, the Satellite P300 is your best choice, but it neither got the screen of the Studio 17 nor the power of the dv6t, and it really irritates me when they dare charge $ for 64 bit Windows (thank you for keeping us in the Windows 95 age).

Going to college eh? Trust me, do not get anything over 15.4". You want mobility around campus, not dead weight. Unless you want to leave it at home all the time, carrying it around will feel like a workout everytime you travel. If you want to game, buy a desktop. Laptops are not meant to game, and things like WC3 and Half Life 2 v2.0 can easily be done on a 64MB Radeon HD3200 in a 12.1" (heck, my GeForce Go 7400 can do it on max just fine). There are two laptops that is > 15" and < 6 lb (the Dell M1530 and the Apple Macbook.) For me, I'll take mobility over power when I buy a laptop for school. the M1530 is perfectly capable, just not for hardcore gaming,but none of the laptops can, aside from this Sager, which sports a desktop processor.
Yeah, this guy wouldn't really be used to game at all. Mobility is good but I don't need the epitome of it. I guess the main, general critera is something that has good battery life that will last me through college.


Ver 6 CREATE energy AS SELECT * FROM u.energy
Then get the M1530 with the 9 cell battery - 4.5 hours on Power Save. It is lightweight and good looking. Do not get the Studio if battery life is a priority -- they tend to have 2/3 of the life compared to the XPS M's.


Ultra Cool Member
Go Asus.

They offer the most service without buying any extra warranty plans .

Dealing with all RMA procedures for all major brands... Asus is top notch.

Not hard to achieve since all other manufactures are pure crap .

When u hit tons of problems with your laptop Asus offers a good solution. And all the other major brands do not .

just my 2 cents. We deal with 800 repairs each week.


Ver 6 CREATE energy AS SELECT * FROM u.energy
I would have gotten an Asus instead of my Dell if they actually put a decent processor in it (My M1210's T7200 instead of Asus's strange insistence on putting the T5500 on the W7J)

I won't recommend Asus if you are looking for good battery life. Seems all they care about right now are the Eee's.
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