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Looking for some laptop recommendation

About a week ago, I posted a question here on JOS regarding top-of-the-line laptops and dual monitor displays. Tommorrow, I am going to start my online shopping adventure using my old friend Google (i.e. do a word search such as "laptop coupon").

I am looking to buy:
* A top-of-the-line laptop that supports dual monitor display
* 17" or greater flat-screen monitor

Anyone wish to share their opinion on what type of laptop you would buy right now if you were currently looking to buy one?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Apple PowerBook 17"

But I do Unix stuff and with the Apple X server, I can run the same as a Sun or a Linux box.

Alexandre Carmel-Veilleux
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thanks for the suggestion Alexandre,

Unfortanately, an Apple computer won't fit the bill. I am going to be purchasing a laptop for my mom. She needs/wants an IBM compatible notebook in order to run some very expensive software and hardware (a brainwave/biofeedback machine will be hooked up to this notebook).

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

There is something that really annoys me about my Dell i8200.  The mouse buttons just below the space bar:  When thumbing the spacebar, it is way too easy to hit these, clicking crap into oblivion in the process.  Just my rant.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Dell makes basically two lines of laptops, the Inspirons and the Latitudes.

I really, really prefer the Latitude (I have a Precision m40, which is based on the Latitude C800 series) over the Inspiron.

Here's why:

1. The floppy can be removed and replaced with an extra battery.  (Or an extra CDROM, or an extra hard disk, but in this age of firewire and USB 2.0...)

2. The pointing-stick in the keyboard!  I don't have to shift my hand position to use the mouse!  This is so great that, god forbid, if I ever go back to a desktop machine running Windows, I'll have to get a high-quality keyboard with a pointing-stick.

3. Firewire.

4. Two PCMCIA slots.

5. I could get a docking station from Dell if I really wanted one.

6. IRDA for syncing my old Palm without a cable.

7. I've actually used the S-Video output a few times now.

I think the new D-series is a little different though.  Check!

Also, whatever you buy, make sure you get the maximum no-fault insurance/warranty the vendor offers.  For Dell this is "Complete Care".  They'll fix anything, basically, that you didn't break on purpose or that didn't wear out normally (like batteries, keyboard labels, etc).  Laptop parts are both fragile and absurdly expensive and you will break SOMETHING in three years, so the $300 or so is a better bet than most extended warranties.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

If money is no object, an IBM Thinkpad is the way to go!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


if you get a laptop with a docking station, you can leave the fancy data acquisition hardware attached to the docking station.


Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Does thinkpad still have that stupid "eraser" mouse?
Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Hah.  I don't know how I lived without the pointing-stick eraser-mouse before I got my current laptop, so it's definitely a matter of taste.

For what it's worth, I haven't been able to get used to touchpads myself, though I'm told they're a more natural fit for the one-button design of the Mac user experience.

If I were stuck with a laptop that didn't have a pointing-stick, I'd probably have to get a small trackball or something.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

My girlfriend's laptop has a touchpad, and tapping it counts as a click. Takes about 10 minutes to get used to, and I think it's probably the best solution overall.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Lately I've really been wanting a Fragbook DR.  I love the idea of a laptop with two 7200 RPM disks configured with RAID-1.

And I want it to be "candy apple red".

Eric Sink
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Most of the current IBM Thinkpads have UltraNav, which provides both an "eraser" mouse AND a trackpad, so you get to choose. The eraser/nipple mouse even has three different caps you can choose from.

Thinkpads are great workhorse machines. Solid with excellent warranty, somethink like 3 years standard. They're a bit behind the curve when it comes to things like Firewire interfaces. But if that's not important to you then I can recommend them highly.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

HP 17" - it's the bees knees...

Actively Disengaged
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

the best overall goes to thinkpad, with several functions (hard/soft) you can't found in others as interated wireless + select network connect easily + backup and so on.
the web support for thinkpad is very efficient.

the "eraser" mouse is the best invent in mobile, only you'll know this when used sometimes. anyway now comes with the two mouse options.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

zd7000 by HP. Big ass 17" screen. Awesome sound. Even has a number key pad. Only down side is the battery lasts only like 2-3 hours and the base gets really hot if its not allowed to vent. Besides that it is definitely cool.

anon-y-mous cow-ard
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

If I recall the OP's original question from last week I don't think he's looking for a laptop with a 17" display but two separate items:
1) a laptop
2) an external 17" LCD monitor
The laptop must be able to drive the external LCD panel in dual-monitor mode but doesn't need a 17" display itself.

Could be wrong though!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

i've been pretty happy with a nice gateway (yes, gateway). finally had reason to use it in dual-mon mode last week and it worked perfectly, at least at 800x600, but i'm sure it can drive higher than that since it's got a pretty nice video card. had the choice of duplicating the output on the external port or running in multi-mon mode.

i have no idea what model it is, since they just put gibberish part numbers on the device itself. feels somewhat flimsy, but seems to be holding up fine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Hi _

You are correct!  I am NOT necessarily looking for a laptop with a 17" display.  I plan on purchasing two seperate items:

1) a notebook
2) an external 17" LCD monitor

While I would like to save some money on whatever I wind up purchasing, the most important feature my mother is interested in is performance.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

we backed out from an impulse 17" LCD screen purchase for our stinkpad because its native resolution was 1280x1024 and the laptop's is 1024x780.

There was a problem when setting up dual screen operation - whilst you can get the laptop display driver to a higher resolution than the laptop's screen (with the laptop screen unused), it is a real pain to reconfigure the driver to the laptop's screen resolution before undocking.

I guess we could have made it easier by saving hardware profiles ...  however that's all bye the bye, we took it back.

If you can, see the laptop and screen working solo and together, and check how easy it is to dock and undock, change modes etc. before plunking down your hard-earned.

(and check the dead pixel warranties too).

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

For performance, look for 12ms refresh in the external 17" (Samsung 172X or similar),  I take it your mom wants to frag aliens. And (sigh) there's nothing more IBM than a Thinkpad.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I just bought a Sony Vaio low end Pck23 I think. I had another Sony before but after 3 years the screen went. Granted, that Sony had hit the floor many a time so I wasn't too surprised.

The X-Brite screen is great. Look at a Sony screen with X-Brite and then look at others. I saw no other model at BestBuy etc that had a screen as bright. I'm looking at the screen the whole time, I want a good one.

Then there is the keyboard. I think the Sony keyboard is the best by far. Could be personal, but I notice the differences in keyboards and the Sony seemed to be the smoothest to.

I had gone into the store ready to by a HP just based on web comparisons and I paid a few hundred more for the Sony.

So far it's working fine. I got it dual booting between XP and MEPIS linux (I can't get it to recognize the built-in wireless but it recognized everything else ... took about 20-30 minutes to install MEPIS)

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I've heard good things about the alienware laptops. I have a Dell latidude and I use an external keyboard and mouse to avoid the touchpad and crappy keyboard. The only time i use the keyboard and touchpad is while travelling.

A smartass that I know calls the inspirons, perspirons because they are heavy.

Miles Archer
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Thanks for all the input people!

I plan on ordering a notebook tomorrow after I do some additional comparison shopping and the following 17" monitor tonight:

Dell E172FP 17" LCD monitor

If I use 2 coupon codes listed on (1 coupon expires today), I can purchase this monitor for only $329. So far, I haven't found any bad reviews of this monitor.

$449 - 20% - $30 = $329.20 shipped

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Thinkpad R-series allow you to run in a dual-monitor configuration.  Some models also come with a IEEE-1394 connector and/or gigabit Ethernet.

I've been very happy with my 3.5 year old A21 series.  Nothing has gone wrong with it except for the keys getting shiny from use.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

We use ThinkPad R-series in dual monitor mode. Worked straight out of the box. Both monitors have different resolutions (PC: 1024x768, 17 inch mon 1280x1024). Connecting and disconnecting is not really difficult. See my blog for a picture of the combination:

Karel Thönissen
Thursday, August 26, 2004

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