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  #1  
Old 03-11-2003, 07:38 PM
96C220's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hamilton, NJ
Posts: 367
Off topic: Is this a good deal on a laptop?

Okay,

I want to buy a new laptop, just because I find myself needing a computer more and more on the road.

Here are the basic things it has to do:

#1 - Decent battery life (my old toshiba's laptop battery lasted for 20 mins for about a week) a toshiba replacement under warranty did about the same thing. - Finally gave up on trying to run it on battery power.

#2 - Reasonably stable - All computers crash here and there, but it has to run relatively problem free.

These are the things I plan to use it for:

#1 - Microsoft office XP - pretty much anything these days should run this.

#2 - Palm / Outlook synchronization

#3 - Mobile internet - using my sprint pcs vision phone and a USB cable - basically unlimited high speed data access.

Other things are occasional playing of mp3 etc


Here is the machine im considering:

Dell Inspiron 1100

2.0 ghz celeron processor
128 MB ram standard - Upgrade to 256 mb for an additional $50
30 gig hard drive
24x cd-rom - Upgrade to DVD for $50, cd-rw for $99, DVD / CD-RW combo for $149
14.1" XGA TFT display.

The price is 899 + (whatever upgrades) - 150 mail in rebate, also free shipping from dell.

What do you guys think? - Is this a decent machine? Where would you spend your upgrade dollars?

Personally I want to keep the whole cost sub 1000 - Should I look at other brands / models.

Thanks again,

George -
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George Androulakis

Former Mb's:

1990 500sl R129 - 76k Original Miles - New project - Follow the saga http://90r129.blogspot.com/
1990 190E 2.6 148k mi (sold)
1989 420 SEL 246k mi (sold)
1995 C220 175k mi (sold)
1992 190e 2.6 74k original miles (sold)
2000 c230 Kompressor 122k miles (RIP)
1996 C220 149k mi (sold)
2000 C230 Kompressor Sport 127k (sold)

Current Cars:

2009 Mercedes c300 4matic
2006 Mercedes s430
2005 Jaguar XJR
2003 Cadillac Escalade
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2003, 08:28 PM
DuckMuck's Avatar
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Lightbulb

The system seems great for what you want to do with it...I might suggest more RAM...256MB seems adequate...but down the road you might like 512MB? Windows XP really needs more RAM to run well...
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2003, 08:37 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 158
may want to consider mobile pentium 4 over the celeron, I have noticed quite a difference between celeron's and pentiums on desktops. I assume the same would be found on the laptops.
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2003, 11:44 PM
96C220's Avatar
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Location: Hamilton, NJ
Posts: 367
Well....

I'm not looking for the latest or the greatest. Pentium 4 seems to be a major price jump over the celeron. For my uses, I just want something that will last me a few years, and work reliably.

I would consider a used one, if it came from the right source, I dont trust ebay - at least not for items like these where condition makes such a dramatic effect on performance and value.

George
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George Androulakis

Former Mb's:

1990 500sl R129 - 76k Original Miles - New project - Follow the saga http://90r129.blogspot.com/
1990 190E 2.6 148k mi (sold)
1989 420 SEL 246k mi (sold)
1995 C220 175k mi (sold)
1992 190e 2.6 74k original miles (sold)
2000 c230 Kompressor 122k miles (RIP)
1996 C220 149k mi (sold)
2000 C230 Kompressor Sport 127k (sold)

Current Cars:

2009 Mercedes c300 4matic
2006 Mercedes s430
2005 Jaguar XJR
2003 Cadillac Escalade
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2003, 01:18 AM
96C220's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hamilton, NJ
Posts: 367
Here is the apparent memory configuration

Standard is 128mb ram.
There are 2 memory slots...

It comes with one 128mb standard, and for an extra $50 you can add a 2nd 128mb chip. - This would populate both slots.

For an extra 99 you can replace the one 128mb chip with one 256 mb chip, leaving the second slot open.

I think it may be worth it to go with the $50 upgrade at this point, and if I really need it, possibly replace one of them with a 256 mb module at a later date.

I dont know that much about computers - I have also heard good things about dell, but had a horrible experience with my consumer line toshiba sattelite. - Granted Once again, it was purchased with cost in mind. ~ 1000 in July of 2001 - I just cant justify dropping several thousand dollars on something destined to be obsolete before you even take it out of the box.

My toshiba has had - a failed hard drive (which completely wiped out 8 months worth of data)

2 batteries that barely worked - The first one lasted about 30 mins at a time until it finally quit two months into use, the second one was even worse

A failed keyboard - some edge of the spacebar key popped off.

All in all in the first 12 months of ownership it went back to toshiba 3 separate times, every time it was covered under warranty, but still very inconvenient.

The last time it came back, I just gave up on trying to use it mobile, and it has sort of worked sitting on my desk ever since.
It doesnt like to run well, makes all sort of scary grinding noises, and gets really hot and randomly freezes. - Overall just a terrible product, granted I may have gotten a particularly problematic one, but it still has dissuaded me from purchasing a new one from them.

George
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George Androulakis

Former Mb's:

1990 500sl R129 - 76k Original Miles - New project - Follow the saga http://90r129.blogspot.com/
1990 190E 2.6 148k mi (sold)
1989 420 SEL 246k mi (sold)
1995 C220 175k mi (sold)
1992 190e 2.6 74k original miles (sold)
2000 c230 Kompressor 122k miles (RIP)
1996 C220 149k mi (sold)
2000 C230 Kompressor Sport 127k (sold)

Current Cars:

2009 Mercedes c300 4matic
2006 Mercedes s430
2005 Jaguar XJR
2003 Cadillac Escalade
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2003, 02:11 AM
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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It does sound like a good deal. Definitely get a minimum of 256MB memory. I beta-tested XP and the difference in memory is significant. XP scales well with more memory. Starts to level out at 512MB.

Also, look at the CD burner option. It is great to be able to off-load a large file. With the ability to burn upwards of 700MB of data, you will always have a good back up system.

Power management is well inegrated in XP on laptops. Additionally, the later BIOS's are much more sophisticated in power savings.

Keep us posted,

Haasman
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  #7  
Old 03-12-2003, 05:29 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 378
Get an extended warranty. These things are hard to fix. Parts
are usually expensive, proprietary and hard to diagnose. My
mother's needed all new internals because there was a small
display problem. Mine wouldn't boot and beeped constantly.
Warranty coverage fixed both machines. A friend had his
replaced with a newer model because the company couldn't
fix it. Without the extended warranty, you could be stuck
with nothing.
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  #8  
Old 03-12-2003, 08:10 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
the inspirons have occasional hiccups with the nvidia video component that cause the "infinite loop" blue screen on XP. those can be impossible to fix and dell will eventually swap you a new one. they can't seem to pinpoint the problem and there are hundreds of pages about this on the internet. my sister got one of those buggy laptops and we went through countless hours trying all the different recommendations i had found. she wound up taking a video of the screen to prove that it happened and Dell eventually replaced the entire unit!
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  #9  
Old 03-12-2003, 12:44 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Battle Ground, WA
Posts: 576
Laptop comments...

Hi there,
Your choice sounds good - I like the Celeron over the Pentium 4 only because of better battery life. The Celeron uses less power, and a 2 gig Celeron is plenty fast for anything you will be doing. If you have plans to use your laptop at home, you might want to consider one that has a decent docking station. Also, you might want to think how it will sell down the road. Most all the Toshibas have good resale value. I assume the Dell products will be ok in that regard also.
I purchased one of those 256 meg USB flash storage units for my wife recently, and it is a very neat way to save important files, as well as being a convenient way to transfer data from one computer to another. It's a key fob sized unit that just plugs into the USB port, and appears to the computer as a removeable hard drive. My wife uses it to transfer data from the Mac at work that has no floppy to her Mac at home so she can do some work at home plus have a safe backup for her files. It works fine on my IBM - type PC also.
If you fly a lot you might want to consider the DVD/CDRW upgrade so you can have entertainment on the road.
Good luck with your purchase!

Richard Wooldridge
'82 300D/4.3L V6
Etc...
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  #10  
Old 03-13-2003, 08:32 PM
96C220's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hamilton, NJ
Posts: 367
Okay - Ive narrowed it down to two possible options.

I have decided to go with dell.

Here are the two systems I am considering:

#1 Dell Inspiron 1100

Mobile Celeron 2.0ghz
30 gig hd
256mb ram
24x cd-rw
14.1 tft display

Total Cost out the door (including shipping) - $897 dollars

#2 Dell Inspiron 5100

Mobile Pentium 4 @ 2.4 ghz
30 gig hd
384 MB ram
24x cd-rw / dvd combo
15.0 tft display

Total cost out the door (including shipping) - $1098 dollars

Now, the dvd doesnt really impress me either way - I cant really see myself watching many dvds on my laptop - after all I have a tv for that.

Adding more memory or the bigger display to option #1 brings it negligiably close to option #2's price.

Is the pentium 4 2.4 ghz v/s celeron 2.0 and 256mb v/s 384 mb ram a substantial difference. I realize how quickly these things get outdated. For what I want to use it for, will either system suffice? I guess i'm looking at it this way - would the increased performance justify the $300 jump in price, or should I keep the $300 and consider it 1/3 of the next laptop I will buy in another two years.

I figure this computer will have a two year useful life (at least i'm hoping) - my toshiba 2 years into it is ready to be basically thrown in the trash..... but I think I just got a bad one there.

Oh well, I know two years from now I'll be looking at the dell laptop in front of me, and thinking I cant believe its specs considering what I will be pricing out then.

Thanks again for all your help,

George
__________________
George Androulakis

Former Mb's:

1990 500sl R129 - 76k Original Miles - New project - Follow the saga http://90r129.blogspot.com/
1990 190E 2.6 148k mi (sold)
1989 420 SEL 246k mi (sold)
1995 C220 175k mi (sold)
1992 190e 2.6 74k original miles (sold)
2000 c230 Kompressor 122k miles (RIP)
1996 C220 149k mi (sold)
2000 C230 Kompressor Sport 127k (sold)

Current Cars:

2009 Mercedes c300 4matic
2006 Mercedes s430
2005 Jaguar XJR
2003 Cadillac Escalade
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  #11  
Old 03-14-2003, 12:03 AM
96C220's Avatar
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hamilton, NJ
Posts: 367
Well I decided to go for the Celeron Machine....

This is the final machine I ordered.

Dell Inspiron 1100

14.1 tft screen
Celeron 2.0 ghz
30 gig hd
256 mb memory
24x cd-rw
10/100 Network card
56k modem

Options I chose were: $49 wi fi network card

Options the dell rep threw in: ( I was not aware of this before I called - I wanted to speak to someone before I dropped the cash)

16 mb usb memory key - apparently the new generation of laptops do not come with a floppy, so this is an easy way to get small files from pt a to pt b.

Free dell carrying case

He also honored the free shipping promotion that was over yesterday - I told him that I saw it on the website, but was torn between the two models, and wanted to speak to someone before making a final choice.

He was very polite and was immediately like no problem, I can throw the shipping in for you.

So far I have to say I am very impressed with dell. The rep spent 45 mins on the phone with me explaining the different machines and their particular configurations, and actually directed me towards the cheaper one, saying for my purposes it would be a better fit - the battery lasts longer, and its a bit lighter, and performance difference between the two was a non issue for my circumstances.

He also went the extra mile by honoring the free shipping, as well as adding those accessories.

Final Price - with free shipping - 848 to my door.

I should have my new computer by April 4th. - Apparently, they do not stock computers, but rather stock the shell which is then outfitted with whatever options the particular customer requests, and then shipped.

If anyone wants to order a dell - I highly suggest you call in person and speak to someone, you may be pleasantly suprised.

Take care,

George
__________________
George Androulakis

Former Mb's:

1990 500sl R129 - 76k Original Miles - New project - Follow the saga http://90r129.blogspot.com/
1990 190E 2.6 148k mi (sold)
1989 420 SEL 246k mi (sold)
1995 C220 175k mi (sold)
1992 190e 2.6 74k original miles (sold)
2000 c230 Kompressor 122k miles (RIP)
1996 C220 149k mi (sold)
2000 C230 Kompressor Sport 127k (sold)

Current Cars:

2009 Mercedes c300 4matic
2006 Mercedes s430
2005 Jaguar XJR
2003 Cadillac Escalade
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