Help with buying a laptop
April 15, 2004 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Can you help me spend an absolute max. of £1500 (UKP) on a laptop PC? Using some quite hefty/nasty engineering apps so it needs some grunt to it; wirless technology would be nice, but is not essential; and something that looks the part would be ace too!

The company I work for has set the budget, but given me freedom to choose. It needs to run CAD and some engineering design software simultaneously, so as I said, I think it needs quite some welly. I like the look of some of the Sony and Toshiba laptops, but don't know how they stack up. I gather Dell have slipped on the customer service/support front of late. Any advice would be much appreciated.
posted by nthdegx to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
That much money will get you a lot of laptop these days. I'd recommend staying away from Sony -- the Vaios look nice but they don't hold up well. I've always heard good things about Toshiba, but IBM really is the king of solidly-made, no-nonsense laptops, and fall well within your budget.
posted by zsazsa at 1:13 PM on April 15, 2004


Fujitsu N5000 series - Pentium 4 3GHz+, Radeon 9600 Mobile, 16.1" screen, 1 Gig RAM, 60GB HDD, DVD-RW, 802.11 a/b/g wireless, and a bunch of other goodies for well within your price range.

The Dell 9100 has a slightly smaller screen and slower processor, but a slightly better graphics card. It has more customization options so I won't quote specs/prices for you.
posted by falconred at 1:39 PM on April 15, 2004


Have you had a look at AJP? Would agree with the IBM recommendation for things that won't fall apart, but AJP make a good range of pretty powerful things at good prices.
posted by humuhumu at 1:41 PM on April 15, 2004


i had an ajp years ago (like, 8, i think) - worked fine (it had a desktop chip in it, so consequently got pretty hot and had poor battery life, but that was a common hack back then in "most bang per buck" laptops). nice to see they're still around.

don't suppose you're visiting the usa soon? you'd get more for your money there...
posted by andrew cooke at 2:25 PM on April 15, 2004


ps is it just a laptop, or is that part of a larger amount for desktop and laptop? when i started my last job i had to get a laptop and a desktop. most people i work with seem to spend a pile of money on a huge kick-ass laptop and then don't use the desktop except as a server for testing/demoing stuff; i got a better specced desktop and a smaller laptop and it's been a much better compromise (imho) - at my desk i have a more powerful machine than they do and travelling i have a smaller/lighter one.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:33 PM on April 15, 2004


Another vote for IBM. More robustly constructed than some other laptops and seem to use good components inside. My wife's older Thinkpad has been regularly abused and never complained. Generally their tech support seems up to speed. They even offer support for Linux installation on their laptops, if you're that way inclined, which can't be said of many other vendors.
posted by normy at 2:43 PM on April 15, 2004


We just bought some IBM R40's at work, and they seem to fit all your criteria. After messing about with Compaqs, Toshibas and Dells, we've settled exclusively on IBMs. If you can afford it, get a T-series (they're tanks), but the R's are still good machines.
posted by bonehead at 3:17 PM on April 15, 2004


That's about $2500 US, which will buy you (at street prices) a Thinkpad T41 with a 1.7 Pentium M, an 80GB HD, and leave you enough bread to upgrade to a GB of RAM.

Add that to a thin and light package and IBM quality, and you've got yourself a horse.

I took some advice from the Ask folks a few months back, wound up with a slower T40 (1.5), and I am extremely pleased with the quality, speed, and sturdiness of the machine. It's not buggy, it never hangs, and (while I don't do anything graphics intensive) I can run S-plus, fast, with no problems.

I have no regrets whatsoever.
posted by trharlan at 6:52 PM on April 15, 2004


I will gladly and madly vouch for the quality of Toshiba, but I'd rather have the IBM now. I don't know what I'd put in third place; perhaps the Mac portables, or perhaps something pretty from Dynamism.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:04 PM on April 15, 2004


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