Discolor Online

Weblog of the sweetest person you never want to piss off.


New Laptop

Ok friends and techy sorts, if I'm going to get a new laptop, er, notebook computer, what should I get?

What I want:
  • a machine that can connect to my home network, even from (gasp) upstairs on the other side of the house
  • a machine that can run Firefox, iTunes, and Quickbooks at the same time without choking to death. Double plus bonus points if I can also have a PDF open and Trillian running at the same time.
  • a machine that doesn't require me to buy all new software
  • a machine with some decent amount of battery juice
  • a built-in CD or DVD burner for making back-ups
  • a touchpad (instead of the nubbin, which I loathe)
  • something that weighs less than the 7lbs of Thinkpad I'm currently carting around (but now we're into optional niceties)
I don't intend to play WoW or Halo or even Pirates of the Burning Sea on this machine. I don't need it to take photos, make movies, render EPS files, or dance the polka. I'd like to be able to watch a DVD when trapped in the airport. My needs are relatively few, really.

So? What do you folks recommend? I want a big ol' hard drive and enough RAM to run multiple programs at once, because that's how I work best. And what about Vista? I bought a machine with Windows ME years ago and man, I don't want to relive those horrible days. XP has always worked fine for me on the PC side, and I never really got a lot of experience with OSX because I switched to PC when Mac was running 10.1. Lead me, oh wise ones.

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Blogger Blaine Says:

Get a Dell. :p

Blogger Rob L. Says:

Pricewise, you can't beat Dells. Maybe you can finagle an "educational discount" through your school-age child?

I am very happy with my ThinkPad. It works well. My requirements are much like yours - no fancy-ass gaming for me.

I'm sure you know all this, but here are my two pieces of advice:

1. load it up with as much RAM as you can afford.
2. stick with Windows XP, if you can.
3. (sorry) Look into factory refurb'd laptops. They're supposed to be "like new"

Blogger Jeff Tidball Says:

I'm admittedly a Mac partisan, but check out the MacBook line. Dollar for dollar, the Mac laptops are pretty competitive with their Windows-running counterparts.

Not sure if a Mac is a deal-killed based on the "no software purchases" criteria, or based on needing Quickbooks Pro (rather than the basic package). Although you can emulate Windows with Parallels and a number of other up-and-coming pieces of software.

If you're worried about having to re-purchase Word/Excel/etc., check out iWork '08, which would be a purchase, but for eighty bucks, hardly a high priced one. I've been using the trial of Pages for the last two weeks, and it's definitely a replacement for Word that works much better and is much more pleasant to use.


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