Author Topic: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...  (Read 5169 times)

Offline brain candy

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Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« on: May 04, 2008, 09:59:45 PM »
For the last 4 or 5 months I have been shopping around for a replacement for my beloved IBM Thinkpad X31 notebook. Normally, I would just jump on another IBM Thinkpad (the best laptops... ever), but a few years ago Lenovo bought out the Thinkpad line and I'm afraid has turned them to crap. (Some people swear otherwise). I've pretty much ruled out everything since my shopping began... no Toshiba, no Dell, no Compaq, maybe commercial level HP, maybe... maybe a Sony. But I'm stuck... I've hit a rut and I can't find a single thing out there that makes me the least bit comfortable. I would love any input, opinions, experiences, etc concerning my quest for a new notebook!

This series is my top choice currently. Yeah, it's a Lenovo, but it still seems a ton more decent than everything else I've looked at.
http://shop.lenovo.com/us/notebooks/thinkpad/t-series

I'm looking for something that is completely intel and either an intel or NVidia graphics card. Coming from an X31, I would prefer something light with a good amount of battery life (X31- 3.7 pounds, 6.5 hours battery life). The OS does not matter. I've even considered an Apple... the OS is just coming off and being replaced with Ubuntu Linux.

Offline Atariangamer

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 11:17:20 PM »
Hey, I kinda like older notebooks. I had a guy who would take the big Texas Instruments (or whatever they were) and would fill them with lightweight parts, backup batterys, more ram, video cards...it was awesome.

But, I'd say an XPS. Higher end, designed for gaming and media, but you said No Dells...HPs are pretty good, but just get something designed for vista...that way, its got to be higher end.
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Offline brain candy

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2008, 01:34:49 AM »
I like the older notebooks too... they don't make them like they used to. I'd go get another Pre-Lenovo Thinkpad but it doesn't cut it performance-wise anymore. I'm looking for a high build quality which completely rules out Dells, even the XPS series. The internal design is just crud and the motherboard flex is just ridiculous for something that expensive. Retail HP's are extremely questionable, but the commercial series seems pretty decent... I was curious to see if anyone had any experience with them. I'm so stuck!

Offline Richie

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 10:01:59 AM »
You might wanna consider giving these guys a try.  It's an Ubuntu-based PC company in Colorado.  I've heard that their support is excellent - you get to speak to an American!  http://www.system76.com/

Offline Lucius

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 05:50:25 PM »
That's rad.

Offline brain candy

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 01:23:20 AM »
You might wanna consider giving these guys a try.  It's an Ubuntu-based PC company in Colorado.  I've heard that their support is excellent - you get to speak to an American!  http://www.system76.com/
These guys have been at the back of my mind the entire time I've been looking (I got free stickers from them once!).  I had originally blown them off because their laptops are a bit on the chunky side and I was thinking they wouldn't be as refined as a high-end commercial one might be (not hot and loud), but on a second (or third) look, this one looks pretty interesting: http://system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=51

And they actually do have a 4 pounder! I remember there was another Ubuntu laptop/desktop company, but I remember hearing System 76 was better. I'm seriously considering the System76 Serval.

This is my current dream machine. The only problem is it is a Sony... therefore completely Linux-unfriendly, not to mention the quality is extremely hit or miss.
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?catalogId=10551&storeId=10151&langId=-1&categoryId=579&parentCategoryId=16154

Offline Atariangamer

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 08:08:18 AM »
Sony doesn't like Linux? No wonder my computer messed up.

I like the system76 stuff...just a bit expensive. But I guess thats to be expected.
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Offline Richie

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 09:59:25 AM »
These guys have been at the back of my mind the entire time I've been looking (I got free stickers from them once!).  I had originally blown them off because their laptops are a bit on the chunky side and I was thinking they wouldn't be as refined as a high-end commercial one might be (not hot and loud), but on a second (or third) look, this one looks pretty interesting: http://system76.com/product_info.php?cPath=28&products_id=51

And they actually do have a 4 pounder! I remember there was another Ubuntu laptop/desktop company, but I remember hearing System 76 was better. I'm seriously considering the System76 Serval.

More information is at this link.  http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=343798

I've read that they're actually pretty refined.  The battery and power management are great.  The build quality is suppost to be great, including the keyboard.  Most things work out of the box in Ubuntu, and you won't have to pay for a copy of Windows that you won't use. 

As far as the Sony goes, I find their laptops extremely sexy.  The keyboards are very good (not as good as Thinkpad's).  Other then that, they seem a bit flimsy.  They're a lot like sexy versions of Dells.

Offline brain candy

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008, 03:23:41 PM »
After posting last night, I read a ton on System 76 and the high quality of their laptops and the amazing support they offer. I had lurked on the System 76 section on the Ubuntu forums in the past and it looks like their employees will bend over backwards to help you with your system, no matter how out of warranty it is (Try that with any other company!). I found out that the Serval notebook is based on a Sager gamer series notebook (http://www.sagernotebook.com) which are supposed to be pretty epic.

I am completely sold on the company as far as having no feelings that I will get screwed... but I wish they offered a sexy Sony Vaio-like model! Another thing I feel odd about is buying a laptop pre-loaded with Ubuntu... I'm so used to tweaking and figuring out all the little roadblocks that can happen when you wing it. I did read that, like you noted, they are very well built- everything is very tight, power management is awesome, and of course the hardware looks pretty dang spiffy. I'm like 95% there. I'm going to read some more!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 03:31:11 PM by brain candy »

Offline Richie

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2008, 06:19:56 AM »
These things are growing on you, aren't they?  ;D

I had no idea that the Serval model was based on Sager.  That's really cool.

Offline brain candy

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2008, 05:18:06 PM »
These things are growing on you, aren't they?  ;D
Oh most definitely!  ;D

In the past I was never really sold because all their laptops were re-done Acer's and Asus' but now that I can get a Sagers with support like theirs... it's just blown everything else out of the water. I don't have to worry about anything! I'm going to order a Serval with this build this weekend:

Display: 15.4" WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050)
Graphics: nVidia 512 MB GeForce 8600M GT
Audio Output: Realtek ALC 268
Networking: Ethernet (LAN), WiFi
Wireless: 802.11 agn
Expansion: Express Card
Ports: VGA, 4x USB 2.0, MIC-In, Headphone Out, FireWire 1394, S-Video
Camera: Built-In Webcam
Card Reader: 3 in 1 Card Reader
Battery: 9 Cell Lithium Ion
Battery Life: 3 hours
Dimensions: 14.20" x 10.43" x 1.74" (WxDxH)

With the addition of:
- Core 2 Duo T8100 2.1 GHz 800 MHz FSB 3 MB L2 (Maybe even more, this is the lowest clockspeed for the new Santa Rosa Refresh, Penryn processor. Wondering if I should get one with more cache.)
- 4 GB - 2 x 2 GB DDR2 667 MHZ
- 120 GB 5400 RPM SATA  (wondering if I should get a 7200 RPM)

Offline Richie

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2008, 09:02:04 PM »
Sounds awesome, except for one thing.  You should, without a doubt, upgrade to the 7200 RPM hard drive.  It's probably not much more money.  Trust me - you'll regret getting the 5400 RPM.  I once had a 5400 RPM desktop hard drive, and I hated it.  Since this is SATA, it might be a bit better.  However, I wouldn't risk it.

Offline brain candy

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Re: Still shopping around for a new laptop/notebook...
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2008, 12:48:00 PM »
So, I finally ordered my darn laptop via System 76. So far, they're super awesome. We had to call them up for alternative address card verification and they were great over the phone, also they upgraded me to UPS 2nd Day shipping for free. Sweet!

Here is the final build:
Serval Performance (SER-P4)
       Hard Drive 120 GB 7200 RPM SATA
       Memory 4 GB - 2 x 2 GB DDR2 667 MHZ
       Operating System Ubuntu 64 Bit 8.04 (Hardy Heron) Linux
       Processor Core 2 Duo T8300 2.4 GHz 800 MHz FSB 3 MB L2
Along with all the other goodies.
     
I did end up upgrading to the 7200 RPM hd. I was thinking the 5400 could cut it because my X31 has a 4200 that never annoyed me, but I figured I might as well get what I want.

I'll take some pictures or something when I get it and at some point I guess I have to mark this as solved and close it.  :D

 


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