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Old 01-20-2011, 01:48 PM   #21
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Macbook Air or Macbook pro. Install Windows on it. Or install VMware on mac os. Snapshotting your OS is nice.

OR

My GF has a Dell "Latitude 13" and it's ******* amazing.

Also, go 64 bit and max out your memory. 8-16GB memory FTW!

AND

for performance, get a SSD!!! The hard drive is the only moving part in a computer and the majority of UI latency is due to the read/write arm swinging around. Latency measured in ms vs us (ergh, milliseconds vs nanoseconds).
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
Macbook Air or Macbook pro. Install Windows on it. Or install VMware on mac os. Snapshotting your OS is nice.

OR

My GF has a Dell "Latitude 13" and it's ******* amazing.

Also, go 64 bit and max out your memory. 8-16GB memory FTW!

AND

for performance, get a SSD!!! The hard drive is the only moving part in a computer and the majority of UI latency is due to the read/write arm swinging around. Latency measured in ms vs us (ergh, milliseconds vs nanoseconds).
Skim the thread?
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:44 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by sixshooter View Post
My company gave me a Dell 11z (or was it the m101z ?) to test drive for a couple of days and it was pretty good.
The 101z might merit some consideration, though I've heard a lot of negative things about Athlon-equipped machines with regard to battery life. I'll see if I can find some real-world reviews on that one. Not a fan at all of the processor choices on the 11z. I really don't want to skimp here, and those machines are borderline netbooks.

I did, however, stumble across the Latitude E4200 at the Dell Enterprise site. That machine looks like a very serious contender. Expensive ($2,031 configured the way I'd want it) but it seems to check all the right boxes.



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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
Yes, I'm extremely familiar with XP mode. It's the only reason that I paid extra to get a legit copy of 7 Pro (as opposed to 7 Home Basic) when I built my most recent i5 machine.

It sucks.

Specifically, all it is is a pre-loaded copy of Microsoft Virtual PC with a licensed version of XP Pro pre-installed. It loads slowly, it runs slowly, and it does not support transfer of files between guest and host OS. I never use it, finding VMWare to be considerably more versatile.

The 32 vs. 64 bit thing isn't a 100% deal-killer (I can always just continue to use VMWare) but if given a choice between the two I will choose 32 bit, and if I can find the appropriate drivers, I will ditch 7 altogether and continue using XP Pro. I can live without TRIM support.



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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
Macbook Air or Macbook pro. Install Windows on it. Or install VMware on mac os. Snapshotting your OS is nice.
You know, I honestly did consider the Air. It's got a decent processor, enough RAM, a good SSD, a good keyboard, and the 11" version satisfies my requirements for smallness and lightness. There's only one problem:
"Get up to 5 hours of battery life on a single charge on the 11-inch model"

Yup. You're stuck with a 35wh battery, and unlike every other laptop on the face of the earth, you can't carry a spare battery with you and swap them out when you run the first one down. And of course, we all know that "up to 5 hours" means "approximately 3 hours of actually using the computer."

That's a deal-killer.


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Originally Posted by Faeflora View Post
for performance, get a SSD!!! The hard drive is the only moving part in a computer and the majority of UI latency is due to the read/write arm swinging around. Latency measured in ms vs us (ergh, milliseconds vs nanoseconds).
Did you read the first post in this thread?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez
Whatever machine I buy Ill be removing the HD from and replacing with an SSD anyway

For reference, here's what the Gold Standard measures out as:

10.6" wide
7.8" deep (front to back, including battery)
1.3" thick at thickest point
8.1" (worst-case) from desktop surface to top of screen when open.
2.75 lbs with 6-cell battery and DVD/CD-RW drive installed (measured on postal scale)

That's the goal. I can deal with a little extra width and even a little extra weight, but depth (front to back) and height (to top of display when open) are not highly negotiable.
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Old 01-20-2011, 02:48 PM   #24
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Whatever machine I buy Ill be removing the HD from and replacing with an SSD anyway, so having to manually install XP32 is not a big deal, but itd be nice if there was nothing about the machine (some obscure driver, for instance) that prevents me from doing so.
Oh.
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Old 01-20-2011, 05:05 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
For reference, here's what the Gold Standard measures out as:

10.6" wide
7.8" deep (front to back, including battery)
1.3" thick at thickest point
8.1" (worst-case) from desktop surface to top of screen when open.
2.75 lbs with 6-cell battery and DVD/CD-RW drive installed (measured on postal scale)
repost:

http://store.shopfujitsu.com/fpc/Eco...do?series=T580

Approximately 10.63" x 7.44" x 1.56" Weight: 2.98 lbs. with 3-cell battery, 3.19 lbs. with 6-cell battery
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Old 01-20-2011, 06:22 PM   #26
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It may be that I need to reconsider my prejudices against tablets.

However, the Aspire TimexlineX 1830T is still very high in the running as well. 11.6" display, ULP i7 processor 4GB standard, 11.2" x 8" x 1.1" and 3 lb. It's just that its so... cheap. Only $900 for all of this, vs. $1,500-$2,000 for some of the other machines I'm looking at. There's gotta be some downside, right?
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:06 PM   #27
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the difference between a convertible and a tablet is you get a keyboard and can swivel your monitor. and now that they have multi-touch in addition to pen support, it's win win win.

My fujitsu is a tablet. I may have used it as such for a cumulative 30 minutes in the last 3 years.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:56 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by y8s View Post
the difference between a convertible and a tablet is you get a keyboard and can swivel your monitor. and now that they have multi-touch in addition to pen support, it's win win win.
Well, the reason I'd been ignoring them is that if you really get down and compare the specs (especially from a manufacturer like Fuji, which offers nearly identical models in both laptop & convertible designs) you do tend to pay a VERY hefty weight penalty for the hinging mechanism, which I don't think I'd ever actually use.

Consider, for instance, the conventionally hinged LIFEBOOK P770 vs. the tablet-convertible LIFEBOOK T730. Both have the same 12.1" display, both offer Core i-series processors, both have standard 6 cell batteries (although the T730's battery is slightly smaller at only 5.2 Ah vs/ the T770's 5.8 Ah) and yet the P770 weighs only 3.0 lbs WITH the optical drive in place, whereas the T770 tips the scales at 3.9 lbs WITHOUT the optical drive.


Is it really that much to ask for computer manufacturers to build the exact machine that I want?
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Old 01-21-2011, 04:51 PM   #29
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Just dropped ~$1300 for a fuji t730, 500GB external and an extra modular bay 6 cell battery. Probably could've done better if I looked around more but I'm running out of time before I ship out.
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Old 01-21-2011, 07:54 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by jacob300zx View Post
Can you build laptops yet?
Not in the sense that you can "build" a desktop PC out of discrete parts. While we do now have standardization of certain things, such as the MiniPCI Express form factor for internal expansion cards (commonly used for small SSDs, WiFi adapters, 3G cards, etc), so far as I am aware, there are absolutely no standards at all for things like motherboard form-factor.

In a way, this lack of modularity is a good thing. As an example, laptop processors, unlike their desktop counterparts, tend not to be socketed but rather soldered directly to the motherboard. This has two advantages; it increases thinness and smallness (sockets take up space), and it also provides some degree of thermal coupling from the CPU into the board, decreasing the requirements for conventional fan and heatsink capacity.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:10 PM   #31
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The only problem I see with the dell you linked to Joe was the cheesy integrated intel graphics. For the money I'd expect better.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:47 PM   #32
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Came to mention the E4200, but i see it's already up for consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth97 View Post
The only problem I see with the dell you linked to Joe was the cheesy integrated intel graphics. For the money I'd expect better.
The intel chipsets are a lot more durable / reliable than the nvidia ones (can't speak for ATi/AMD) and usually offer better battery life / less heat.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:55 PM   #33
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Gotta point there, thats why some of the higher end laptops have dual GPU's.

For small and light, IMO, I'd look at one of the eeepc models, small, light, cheap, and some have 10+ hours battery life. Drivers for whatever OS you want are available. I had a 701 and for a 2 pound, 7" screen it rocked, especially running Linux with a 2gb ram upgrade.

but for serious, for a super light machine with some power its hard to beat a 13" macbook air with 3gb ram. 7 hour battery, SSD, Nvidia GPU, etc. It would run just about any OS out there as well.

JMHO of course
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Old 01-21-2011, 09:59 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
In a way, this lack of modularity is a good thing. As an example, laptop processors, unlike their desktop counterparts, tend not to be socketed but rather soldered directly to the motherboard. This has two advantages; it increases thinness and smallness (sockets take up space), and it also provides some degree of thermal coupling from the CPU into the board, decreasing the requirements for conventional fan and heatsink capacity.
I almost spent a few hundred bucks on the Penryn core 2 duo processor for my computer as a cheap upgrade... apparently they are socketed sometimes.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:55 AM   #35
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I know you said battery life is a deal killer with the Macbook Air, but what is really the difference between an extra battery and an external one? Hell you can get one of the Hypermac 222 watt external batteries and run it for 36hours-kidding, I think that one is like 5 lbs or something. But there are several external mac batteries.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:25 AM   #36
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every laptop i have touched in the last 5 yrs has had a socketed processor, you might be running on some dated info there joe.
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Old 01-22-2011, 06:20 AM   #37
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There are TONS of current gen laptops that use ULV cpus that are often BGA.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:04 PM   #38
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the old mac laptops had BGA logic boards. they desoldered themselves after a while.

people fixed them:



I found this out because a roommate had this problem. Rather than go through the disassembly, I simply put a ratcheting wood clamp on the area to the right of the track pad. **** worked great except for the big clamp hanging off.


HEY JOE: have you run across any awesome 13-14" laptops? My wife's HP DV2700 has fallen apart in the last two years.
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Old 01-22-2011, 12:57 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Stealth97 View Post
The only problem I see with the dell you linked to Joe was the cheesy integrated intel graphics. For the money I'd expect better.
mcarp22 pretty well encapsulated my feelings here, and it's one of the things that turned me away from the Alienware machine. I don't want a high-performance graphics chipset. They cost money, yes, but more importantly they take up more space, consume more power, and produce more heat than the current generation of integrated graphics controllers. I don't play high-end 3D games on my big desktop machine, and I certainly don't intend to do so on my laptop. (At most, I occasionally fire up DOSbox or NEStopia for a little 8 bit excitement.)

All I need the graphics chipset to do is show me some relatively static database screens and occasionally play back mpeg-encoded video when I'm bored.


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Originally Posted by Stealth97 View Post
For small and light, IMO, I'd look at one of the eeepc models,
The Eee machines have their place. I bought one of the 10" models for my sister a couple years ago and she loves it, and I wholeheartedly endorse them as tuning laptops. However, they all use either Intel Atom or AMD Athlon processors, and that's a step backwards from my current machine. If I were willing to live with an Atom, I'd have already bought a Vaio X and this thread wouldn't have started.

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Originally Posted by Stealth97 View Post
but for serious, for a super light machine with some power its hard to beat a 13" macbook air with 3gb ram. 7 hour battery, SSD, Nvidia GPU, etc. It would run just about any OS out there as well.
I appreciate the sentiment, and I did go and have another serious look at the 13" Air after reading this.

You're right, it's a nice-looking machine. But apart from a bit of thin-ness, it doesn't offer anything I can't find elsewhere. It's wider and deeper than the other machines I'm looking at, has an older-generation processor (Core2Duo), less RAM (2GB, max 4), costs quite a lot more, requires me to buy and carry around an external dongle to connect to an external display, and still doesn't have a user-replaceable battery.

Like I said before- if I were a "Mac person", then I could probably deal with these annoyances. But since I don't really care what brand the hardware I'm running is, there's just nothing about either of the Airs that makes them ideal for me.


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Originally Posted by magnamx-5 View Post
every laptop i have touched in the last 5 yrs has had a socketed processor, you might be running on some dated info there joe.
Quite the opposite, I think.

While I realize that sockets are still around in some trailing-edge applications, I'm referring to newer machines- specifically those in the thin & light class. As neogenesis2004 said, most of these machines use solder-type BGA CPU interconnects, rather than PGA or LGA.

Y8S mentioned the Penryn (a member of the now discontinued Core 2 family), and indeed, some of them used Socket-P. However, all of the lower-power Penryns were BGA, as were the lower-power Meroms. Sockets were used only on the higher-power versions of these, as well as the super-power Conroe/Allendale and Kentsfield. (By "power", I am referring to electrical power dissipation, not computational ability)


Moving to more modern designs, 100% of the Atom-branded processors are socketless. The old Diamondvilles were straight BGA, the newer Pineviews are FCBGA.

The same is true of the current-gen Arrandale processors; the i3, i5, i7, plus the "Pentium" U5 and "Celeron" U3 chips. The high-power ones typically use Socket G1 (which is PGA), however 100% of the low-power and ultra-low-power models come in a BGA-1288 package. (The fact that Intel sometimes refers to this design as "Socket BGA-1288" adds confusion, however like all other BGA packages, BGA-1288 is inherently socketless.
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:21 PM   #40
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I know you said battery life is a deal killer with the Macbook Air, but what is really the difference between an extra battery and an external one
Interesting...

I knew that these devices existed for things like MP3 players and smartphones, and I'd wondered about the possibility of making something like that for a laptop. Guess somebody beat me to it as usual.

To answer your question directly, the difference between an extra battery and an external one is the fact that once I've switched to the external, I will now have a battery hanging off of my laptop attached by a cable, so when I'm at a jobsite moving between studios and racks, instead of simply picking up my laptop with one hand and walking away, I'll have to carefully gather up an assembly consisting of a laptop and a battery conjoined by a cable, and of course I won't be able to set it down in as small a space as I now can either.

Not to mention the fact that I'll also have to bring along two separate chargers with me wherever I go (one for the laptop, one for the battery) plus the extra two cables you need to conjoin them.

A noble effort, and probably useful for the die-hard Mac owners who wouldn't even consider carrying a machine that didn't have a glowing picture of fruit on it.



One other thing I just noticed. Neither the 11" nor the 13" Airbooks have an on-board Ethernet port.

WHAT THE ****, STEVE?

Ok, so I've accepted that RS-232 is a dead standard, and I'm totally OK with having a USB to RS-232 dongle in my toolbox for the few occasions when I still need one (our consoles still use RS-232 for the diagnostic port) but I think 802.3 still has a little life left in it, don't you? Not everybody lives in a world where everything is on WLAN.



Quote:
Originally Posted by y8s View Post
the old mac laptops had BGA logic boards. they desoldered themselves after a while.

people fixed them:
(...)
HEY JOE: have you run across any awesome 13-14" laptops? My wife's HP DV2700 has fallen apart in the last two years.
Haha. Actually, that's not too far off from how we rework BGA chips in the lab.

I really haven't been paying any attention at all to machines in the 13-14" class recently. I do suspect that shopping for a good 13-14" machines would be easier, for a number of reasons. First, you're not infringing on netbook territory, so they all have "real" processors. Size & weight also aren't big concerns, nor is battery life, as you're more likely to be using them in mostly stationary applications (eg: sitting at the kitchen table, where power is available) rather than constantly moving about with them as I do.

I see them all the time in the TigerDirect Deal of the Day emails, often in the $400 range.
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