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The Almighty Buck

Journal Planesdragon's Journal: Cheap Laptop Advice Wanted 20

Brief news update:

As of March 23, I am now a card-carrying, Grade 11 permanent New York State Tax Department Employee. Being as New York State pays its employees one month after they work, I am only now getting the "slightly" bigger paycheck for this illustrious new position. (It'll continue to grow for the next 2 1/2 months, actually.)

By way of celebration, I've decided to splurge on a new laptop. By "new" I of course mean "a" laptop, my previous portable PC being a used Pentium computer whose hinges have long since died away.

So, if you've got any nuggets about the lower-end of PC laptops (~$750), please dig them out and share. Does anyone have any recommendations, or relevant horror stories? Has anyone had any experience with AMD's Semprons and Turions, sufficient to advice one over the other?

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Cheap Laptop Advice Wanted

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  • on the promotion/hire?

    Since it's the New York tax department, that's cool.
    • Thanks.

      It's a semi-promotion. I was hired last February in the "peak" season, and managed to get poached to do web development / office programming for the call center instead of actually answering phone calls. My appointment is to the same item that a temporary phone rep getting hired for a permanent position would have, but it's got enough flexibility that the lack of an "IT" on my item doesn't bug me.
  • i saw a $499 laptop in the Frys advert today. but i have no idea how good it was. so it seems that if that is the bottom (i would think) that $750 or so ought to be a touch above the bottom.
  • by nizo ( 81281 ) *
    What will you be using the laptop for? And will you be lugging it around often (such that you want something light) or just occasionally (such that it could be bigger)?
  • My cheap laptop was 100€ ;-) Got it from my old employer one year and a half ago. I upgraded it a bit with stuff I had lying around and bought a new harddisk and a wireless card for it. It's a P-III 500MHz and has 512Meg RAM. It runs XP Pro and is good enough for older games and the office stuff I do. Hey, even Eclipse works fine on it. (For smaller projects evidently) I can watch videos (Lost for example, downloaded... of course) and iTunes works fine too.

    So, in essence, any laptop these days

  • First, the Sempron is a cheap Athlon (though it's on the Athlon 64 arhitecture minus 64-bitness). The Turion is acutally the high-end low-power Athlong 64 for laptops so there's a whole world of difference between the two.

    That in mind the price difference is pretty significant.

    We've purchased a number of Toshiba laptops (Sempron chips) via Tiger Direct and they tend to be decent especially for the $550 - $650 range. You'll want to make sure you have at least 256 mb of RAM in whatever one you get and hold
    • That's what I'd thought.

      I'm considering a Turion laptop from Compaq, and my choice right now (barring far better deals somewhere else) is between the ML-32 (512 L2) and the ML-34 (1024 L2).

      Second, as another poster noted, what do you want to do with said laptop? The low end systems are fine if you're just going to do basic word and spreadsheet type apps and stuff but not for gaming. Also, low res laptops stink for IDE/development work.

      I'm aiming for a WXGA laptop, which will actually be a larger resolution
    • That's not exactly true. The newer Semprons are 64-bit and are quite cheap. Today if you want to build a socket 754 machine, you're pretty much stuck to AMD Sempron, but at least it's 64-bit.

      What I don't know if the laptop Semprons are already 64-bit... That's the problem I would have with buying a current Sempron based laptop. Turion is also socket 754 based, and that is exactly as you say a low-power socket 754 AMD64.

      Oh, and I agree on the memory: the more the merrier. Strangely enough my wifes des

      • My Fry's laptop had to have the 64-bit parts of XP Home turned off to load Visual Studio.Net- it kept complaining about the debugger until I did.
        • What 64-bit parts? I'm runnxing XP Pro here and I'm not aware if any 64-bit extentions. XP Home and XP Pro should be a 100% 32-bit... There should be no such thing as 64-bit parts and even if there were, it should be transparent to the user. (In a similar way as you don't notice that one chip has SSE2 and the other doesn't.... except performance-wise... at most) Don't confuse it with "Data Execution Prevention". It is not related at all.
          • DXP- I was because that is only included on the 64 bit chips- and is specifically what was causing the Windows CE simulator to fail.
            • DXP?

              Care to explain more? Wikipedia doesn't yield any results, nor does Google. I have several AMD64 machines running Windows XP Pro/Home and none has this thing. Not originally from Microsoft, I expect?

              Just for the reference, we're not mixing it up with DEP [], are we?
              If you look deeper in the articles, you will notice that later Pentium M support the NX bit (on which DEP is based) and the Pentium M [] is definately a 32-bit processor. Granted, the NX bit originated from 64-bit platforms, but it is n

  • Has this neat brand called Great Quality (used to be called Great Wall). Only downside is that it's built in China. My new Laptop is their $499 special- 256 MB of memory, 1.6 Ghz processor, DVD+R/CDRW combo drive built in. No floppy. Only expansion is USB ports, but that's ok, it's got 4 of them. Built in Ethernet and 802.11g and 56k modem. S-Video out if you need it for a home theater pc.

    I believe you can also get it with Linspire pre-installed for $100 cheaper.
    • Only downside is that it's built in China.

      Name one laptop that isn't made in Taiwan/Korea/China... Damn, even my iBook said "Made in China, designed in California".

      Oh, and add some memory to that laptop: 256Meg is really bad. My P-III 500MHz turned from an absolute slug with 256Meg to a very acceptable platform, just by adding another 256Meg. (Machine runs WinXP Pro, in Classic mode) Just imagine what it would do to your much-better machine...

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