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Thread: Notebooks

  1. #1

    Default Notebooks

    Hi guys,

    Anyone know any good places to get notebooks at decent rates. At this point I think getting them direct from dealers is the best option, but the question is there are so many dealers, who are the best?

    (I am in Cape Town)

  2. #2
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    Default

    Hi Waroop

    Depends what kind of system you looking for. Cheapest you can get or all the features? I just bought a new notebook so I've done quite a lot of research on this and I also live in Cape Town.
    Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the digital economy - Mark Shuttleworth

  3. #3

    Default

    I found that Makro has the best deals on laptops. They were cheaper than the dealers. They are the only people that sell Fujitsu siemens and in my opinion its a great laptop. You dont have the hassle when ordering from a dealer, and they have great support if something goes wrong.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi Alkine

    I have to agree here. The Pentium 3.06 HT, 512 RAM for 7999-00 or 3.2 GHZ with 1 M RAM for 9999-00 is hard to beat.

  5. #5
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    Arrow A Concise Guide to Purchasing a Laptop

    Sorry this is going to be a bit of a LoneGunman-style essay so in summary:

    - P4 in a laptop is a bad idea
    - Centrino is the best mobile chip
    - But Sempron is the best value chip
    - Incredible Connections got the best laptop deals
    - I recommend the Acer TravelMate 4502 for a full-featured system (R12500)
    - Or the Acer Aspire 1362 for entry level (R6500)

    Disclaimer: I am not a salesman for Incredible Connection nor do I get incentives / commission from them! This is not an advert!!!

    P4s
    While the price for the Fujitsu-Siemens P4s may be good the fact that its a P4 based system has certain drawbacks for a notebook. The P4 is a real power guzzler which means it runs hotter and it chews up your battery life. Its not uncommon to hear of P4 laptops with a battery life of just over an hour. When you compare this with the 5 hours you get from some Centrino laptops its really pathetic.

    You can also expect alot of heat coming from P4 laptop. My previous laptop was a Celeron and that was so hot I had to put a book between it and my lap. A P4 will be even hotter. (Tip: if you still want to have children one day don't sit with a laptop on your lap for extended periods of time ). Another drawback of the heat problem is that it takes a bigger heatsink and fan to cool it which means more noise and more weight. I for one will never buy a P4 laptop for those reasons. However if you're not so concerned about being mobile and don't need the extra battery life then P4 may be your choice.

    Intel Centrino
    The Centrino chip is the best laptop chip on the market at the moment hands down. Centrino was designed from the ground up to be a mobile processor which means its extremely light on power and is overall a very lightweight chip while still performing remarkably well. The benefit of this is that you get an extremely long battery life, and a lighter, quieter notebook with all the power of a desktop system. If you get a Centrino make sure you get a Dothan (2nd generation) or Sonoma (3rd generation) one because they have better L2 cache and FSB than the original Banais one. You can check which it is by finding out the model number (which is usually somewhere in the 700s) and looking it up on the web. For example the 715 is a 1.6GHz Dothan IIRC. The only drawback is that you pay a good deal more for a notebook with a Centrino chip than for instance a Celeron or otherwise.

    AMD's Sempron
    Which brings me to AMD's Sempron chip. The Sempron is Duron's replacement but is actually more like an Athlon (confused yet?). Duron was AMD's entry level processor which was recently discontinued. It was roughly equivalent to Intel's Celeron but outperformed the Celeron on all front's and was really more on par with a P3. AMD's Athlon has traditionally been AMD's high end chip but since the discontinuation of the Duron and the introduction of the Athlon64 the Athlon XP range has fallen into the role of being AMD's entry level processor.

    Not wanting their Athlon brand to be perceived as an entry level chip AMD decided to rename the Athlon XP and at the same time integrated some features from the Athlon64 processor to come up with their new entry level chip, called Sempron. So Sempron is more or less a renamed Athlon XP. To get an idea of how a Sempron performs just look at benchmarks for an Athlon XP with the same clock speed. eg. Athlon XP 2000+ (1.6 GHz) == Sempron 2800+ (1.6.GHz). The really great thing about the Sempron is that its extremely cheap as we'll see a bit later.

    Incredible Connection
    I did quite a bit of shopping around recently when I bought my latest laptop and I found Incredible Connection's deals on laptops to be better than any supplier I tried (Light Edge, Pinnacle, Genex, etc). The reason for this is that they buy in huge quantities so the get special deals plus they've got exclusive rights to carry certain brands, eg. Acer Aspire range.

    Some of their laptops though are clearly overpriced and you're just paying for the name (HP, Sony). I would steer clear of HP in particular because they're well known to give problems. (If you don't believe me just check any of the laptop review sites.) My previous laptop was an HP and I can say that by the time I parted with it I hated it with a passion. But maybe that was just me. If you like HP no offence intended. But lets go on to better things

    Acer TravelMate 4502WLMi
    Acer is the third biggest supplier of PC's in the world (behind Dell and HP) and they make a solid notebook. If you're looking for a full featured notebook you can't do much better than the Acer TravelMate 4502WLMi. One of the nicest things about this laptop is the dedicated ATI graphics card. I read on some other sites that you can play the latest FPS titles with full detail on with no slow down. And with your wide-screen 15.4" screen watching DVDs on this laptop will also be great. The only thing it doesn't seem to have is Blue Tooth. This one goes for R12500 from Incredible. Similar models cost over R16000 from HP and R20000 from Sony. The spec:

    Intel Centrino 715 1.6GHz, 512MB Ram, 15.4 WXGA Screen, 64 MB ATI Mobility, Radeon 9700, 60GB HDD, Dual DVD Writer, 802.11G, 10/100 LAN, 56K Modem, 2x PC-Card slots, 3-in-1 Memory Reader, IEEE1364 Port, IRDA, 5 Hour battery life, R12500.

    Acer Aspire 1362LC
    Aspire is Acer's home range whereas TravelMate is their business range. Essentially Aspire is Acer's entry level brand. I was all set to buy the TravelMate 4502 when I discovered the Aspire 1362LC for half the price. I decided to ditch the extra features and save the extra R5500. I can always get a DVD Writer for my home PC and a PCMCIA Wifi adapter if I need to.

    The great thing about this laptop is that its a really solid performer. The Mobile Sempron processor can be compared to a 1.6GHz Centrino or a 3GHz P4 and at a price cheaper than a Celeron! And being a mobile processor its runs very cool and very quiet. This notebook is so quiet if I close the lid I can't even tell if its on or off. Weight-wise its about 3kg which is not great but then again it is entry-level so I don't expect the world. The graphics is integrated so you won't be able to play 3D games on it but I'm not a gamer so I don't mind. The spec:

    Mobile AMD Sempron 2800+ 1.6GHz, 512MB RAM, 15" XGA Screen, 40GB HDD, DVD/CD-Rom Combo, Integrated Intel Extreme Graphics, 10/100 LAN, 56K Modem, 2xPC-Card slots, IEEE1364 Port, 3 Hour battery life, IRDA, R6500.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by fergus; 04-03-2005 at 12:59 PM.
    Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the digital economy - Mark Shuttleworth

  6. #6

    Default

    True, I have a centrino 1.7 ( roughly equal to P4 3.4 ), 1gb ram, ati mobility radeon 9600 128mb, 80gb hdd, dual layer dvd, widescreen, it went for about R14000 and now you can get a 1.8 for R13000 with the same specs. Back in december makro had the best deals but the price war is heating up. Ive seen incredable corruption drop their prices recently. Competition is a good thing for the consumer :P

  7. #7
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    I decided to pop into Incredible one day thinking 'Lets check what they're ripping people off with now' and I was shocked at their notebook prices. I don't know about the rest of their stuff but their notebook prices are really good.

    Thats a great notebook you got btw. If I wasn't such a cheap-skate I would've got one like that.
    Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the digital economy - Mark Shuttleworth

  8. #8
    MyBroadband Member arf9999's Avatar
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    Hmmm...."Similar models cost over R16000 from HP and R20000 from Sony"

    Sony VGN-A29 ....R 16500 at Incredible. Similar spec, thinner, lighter with a FAR superior LCD screen. Yes, you do pay a bit for the name, but you also pay more for a better build quality. With the exception of IBM, no manufacture makes better designed and built notebooks than Sony (and IBM design is a bit suspect). If you want a road warrior machine the Sony VGN-S28 is awesome, check it out at a store (this is my next notebook...in a month or two).

    If you want a Mercedes, buy a Sony. If you want a Toyota, buy an Acer. (there's nothing wrong with Toyota, but hey I can afford a Merc)

    Fergus is right about desktop procesors in notebooks, one issue is that because of the limited space for airflow, the processor overheats and chokes, thus your 3.2GHz processor turns into a 1GHz one.

    -A
    PS: I do agree about HP

    edit:
    PPS: If price is a major issue and you don't need a DVD drive you could look at the Sony VGN-B55...R8000 at Incredible. Doesn't have the cool LCD screen tho'

    PPPS: I can't claim to be an uninterested observer, please take my advice with a pinch of salt
    Last edited by arf9999; 04-03-2005 at 03:26 PM.

  9. #9
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    I don't know what model the Sony was that I saw in Incredible but it was 20 grand, which I thought was way overpriced. I haven't had much experience with Sony otherwise. Agreed about IBM though. I would say IBM makes the best quality laptops. I've checked out an IBM Thinkpad T42 and its awesome. So light and powerful and the keyboard is brilliant. Just 3 times as much as I paid for mine. Guess I'm the kind of guy that buys a Toyota
    Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the digital economy - Mark Shuttleworth

  10. #10

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    Im getting an Acer 4602 next week (they are on the way). It has a 1.7 Centrino (2MB cache), 60GB HDD, 512MB RAM, ATI X600 64MB, 15.4" LCD, Bluetooth, DVDRW drive for R11600. I know the dealer price is 9499+14%. Im pretty happy with my choice..

  11. #11
    Spammer be gone bug spray ic's Avatar
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    ...Incredible Connections got the best laptop deals...
    Sorry to say that I stopped reading when I saw that ...

    I will read the rest when I have patched up the gunshot wound in my foot

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic
    Sorry to say that I stopped reading when I saw that ...

    I will read the rest when I have patched up the gunshot wound in my foot
    Actually I think gready fly has the best prices. Where you getting those prices gready fly, Acer Africa? And let us know how the laptop is when you get it. Sounds like a good buy.

    ic, sounds like you got burned by them (or shotgunned perhaps?). Please read the rest though, its not all about incredible (and it took me blooming long to type!)
    Bandwidth is the lifeblood of the digital economy - Mark Shuttleworth

  13. #13
    Spammer be gone bug spray ic's Avatar
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    fergus, good post - I did read the rest after my previous post - tought me some things

  14. #14

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    Wow - thanks everyone, especially Fergus.

    >> Where you getting those prices gready fly, Acer Africa?
    That is Axis I believe, I was actually going to snatch that same mode for myself, but I just cant live with anything less than XSGA+ (1400x1050)

    I have heard from a number of people that Makro & Incredible Conn were the places to get Laptops from, but I was quite sceptical. Thanks for confirming this. I shall be off tomorrow first thing on the quest for my new laptop

    For anyone that is interested, check this place out:
    www.powernotebooks.com

    Thanks again guys.
    Last edited by waroop; 05-03-2005 at 02:07 AM.

  15. #15

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    Well I have been bargain hunting for while now. The price I am paying is from ecomp (a shop in pretoria) they tell me the cost price and add markup. They are working for their money and Im happy to get it thru them. I think they are using the Tarsus channel for this particular order.

    BTW: if you think Incredible corruption has fiar pricing, you have not looked around enough. Try the laptop man (www.laptopman.co.za) or notebook company (www.notebook.co.za). Makro is fairly inexpensive if you get a good deal but their after sales is so-so. BUT remember that with most laptops you will have to go straight to HP, Acer Africa, Fujitsu-Siemens etc for support so where you buy it doesnt really matter. The place I am buying it from saves me a lot of hassle and pretty much delivers it to my door.

    I had a 15.1" XSGA+ and it was sweet. Nowadays though I get the feeling that if you want high range specs, you almost have to take 15.4" if you dont want to eliminiate 80% of your options.

    Getting the right laptop is an artform.. So far, IMO Acer is a good buy. I will report back once I receive mine.

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