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  1.    #1  
    hello all,

    so, i'm a mac user, and have been, for quite a while... and while i didn't think it neccessary to chime in on the mac v. windows debate, (as i gave my 2c back when foo started whining about form over function ) i do have an affinity for the jobs machine.

    that said, i'm thinking about a laptop, and i don't really have the dough for a powerbook. i'm thinking it would be nice to be more experienced with the windows world (if more annoying), and as i'm learning to design web pages, to have both platforms handy.

    that said, i do have a good deal of windows experience, but i've never owned a windows machine (the last non mac i owned was back when we called them ibm compatible, and it was a tandy 086.) anyway, i'm looking for suggestions, and i wasn't sure where to start, so i thought i'd come to you guys.

    a couple of questions i've got for you cross-platformers out there...
    • can i set up a network at home?
    • what are my options for file conversion (i.e.: will i be able to read all the same files if i have the same software on each machine)
    • i'm looking to use it for pretty basic stuff - office, internet, web graphics, and (of course) syncing my visor. (i guess that wasn't really a question, but useful information, yes?)


    anyway, i'm in the really prelim stages right now, so i'm just reaching out. any suggestions?

    oh, and i'm not really interested in mac v. windows debates. i know the pros and cons, and i'm only looking for answers to my questions (or questions i haven't asked but should...)
    exit, pursued by a bear.
  2. #2  
    You can set up a network at home in several ways. If you have one mac and one PC, I'd just get a software solution like DAVE to get them to see each other. If you have multiple machines with a server, you can set up cross-platform connectivity with NT or AppleshareIP (or, I assume, MacosX)

    As for file conversion, yes, if you have the same software on both, you can read the files. Cross-platform files will work just fine too (JPG, TIF, BMP, AVI, etc...)

    As for which laptop to buy, I've always been happy with the Compaq Presarios. I've had problems with Toshibas.

    And don't buy it at Best Buy!

    HTH.
  3. #3  
    I disagree homer. For a laptop I would recceomend a dell, or a hp, but the nthe hp's are quite expensive. Go with the dell. I love Best Buy and I have had no problem with them, buy it there. also you can buy it online at dell.com. they offer great prices. I don'tlike compaqs becasue they are unreiable, not all hardware is compatible with them. (seriously I've had a webcam that only didn't work with commpaqs!)

    -miradu2000
  4. #4  
    Look, I have spent quite a long time using PC Laptops, and I have to tell you that they just arn't worth it. Window puts a half-assed effort into supporting laptops, and they are noware near as seemless as a good PB of iBook. If cost is really a factor, buy a iBook, and save your self from WinDoze's problems. Plus, iBook's price range, PC Books are slow and don't have all the good features that Mac 'books have.

    But, if you really want a PC Laptop, buy a Dell or HP.
    I recomend finding one with a ethernet port built in for networking, again, most cheap ones don't.
  5. #5  
    Christofer's recommendation of an iBook is appropriate if you just want to surf the web and use some basic applications, but the iBook really isn't designed for the serious computer user. It's not very expandable and the screen is somewhat lacking.

    As for Best Buy, if you know what you are buying, than buy it there, but be very wary of their tech support. Their computer techs are rarely properly trained and to a lot of guess-work repairs. I know this from both personal experience and from those that have worked with the Best Buy techs.

    I, personally, haven't had any problems with our Presarios that we use. That said, Dell is certainly a safe purchase...you can't really go wrong with Dells.

  6.    #6  
    Originally posted by chrisfoster
    Look, I have spent quite a long time using PC Laptops, and I have to tell you that they just arn't worth it. Window puts a half-assed effort into supporting laptops, and they are noware near as seemless as a good PB of iBook. If cost is really a factor, buy a iBook, and save your self from WinDoze's problems. Plus, iBook's price range, PC Books are slow and don't have all the good features that Mac 'books have.

    But, if you really want a PC Laptop, buy a Dell or HP.
    I recomend finding one with a ethernet port built in for networking, again, most cheap ones don't.
    thanks for the replies so far...

    i know that i'm going to dislike windows at first (and be annoyed and all that...) but i really want to expand my horizons. truth be told, i'm kind of sick of being a mac snob.

    and, homer's right... i've already got my entry-level machine... an imac. i'm ready to learn a little more, and to do a little more.

    however, that said, an ibook is certainly still a fifth or sixth option (tangerine, to match my visor ), perhaps with a pc emulator on it... any thoughts homer?

    [Edited by matty on 08-23-2000 at 06:53 PM]
    exit, pursued by a bear.
  7. #7  
    I can't add much more the previous comments on model selection but I do have one question...

    Was there a compelling reason to favor a PC notebook verus a PC desktop? It wasn't entirely clear in your original message whether portability was a key issue for this purchase.


  8. #8  
    I'll have to disagree with ChrisFoster in that a notebook IS worth it! As to Windows doing a half-way job of supporting them that also isn't true if you buy one of the major brands. In that respect I recommend a Dell. The Dell Inspiron (sp?) line is a great user/power user line. Especially any of the models with the 15.4" screen! I have a Latitude CPi. The Latitude is considered (by Dell) to be their business solution line and so is a bit more expensive. I have run Win 98, NT 4 and now Win 2K Professional on my Dell without any trouble. They have a very comprehensive support web page for drivers and such. You just type in your serial number and the page automatically will show you all of the appropriate drivers for your laptop! I loaded NT 4 over 98 with no problems and Win 2K over NT 4 with no problems.

    As to the network card, with the Dell you can get a 56K/10BaseT combo card for cheap (some of the models may even come with one, I can't remember).

    Go to http://www.dell.com and use their configuration pages to configure your system and get a price quote!

    Hope this helps,

    Craig Hook
    What the Heck! It's what I want!
  9. #9  
    I'm just saying that, for the price point Apple's aiming at with the iBook, you're really getting a deal.

    The iBook has 3 forms of networking (modem, ethernet, Airport) while many cheap PC notebooks have none. The screen is also good for a 12" screen, I can tell you from experence.(My brother has one). It also has a compartivly fast processor compared to the crippled little things shoehorned into PC 'books.

    It's very true that the iBook has limited expansion. But, my brother has used a iBook for months, and , with Airport, he couldn't be more happy.
    I have a PowerBook G3, and it's been really good to me. Sure, it was over priced and heavy, but the 14" screen is flawless, and the processor still holds its own, even though it's 2 years old.

    Just somethings to think about...

    PS: Don't plan to rely to much on VPC. It's time to move on


    [Edited by chrisfoster on 08-23-2000 at 11:01 PM]
  10. #10  
    however, that said, an ibook is certainly still a fifth or sixth option (tangerine, to match my visor ), perhaps with a pc emulator on it... any thoughts homer?
    Well, I guess I'd say go try one our for yourself. I'm sure they'd run Windows just fine (my G4/350 does just fine). If you like them, by all means, get one.

    The G3 laptops are probably one of the most robust laptops on the market...but you pay for that, though you may be able to find some first-generation G3 powerbooks on Ebay for $1200 or so...

    It's surprising what you can find PC laptops going for...you should certainly be able to find one for $1500 that does all you need it to do.

    Just to correct a slight error on chrisfoster's comment. The iBook, like all macs, comes with Ethernet built-in. The Airport is wireless ethernet and is an additional add-on/expense. For the record, you can also get wirelss ethernet for PCs. Chris IS correct in that a lot of PCs do not come with an ethernet card, so you may want to double check that before hand.

    And, if you have the money, than consider one of the Sony VAIOs...a TRULY portable laptop!

  11. #11  
    Before I reply, let me say that I do not hate Mac's. I like them just as much as Windoze. Neither of them are fairly priced, but if I had to choose one of them, it would be a Mac.

    Originally posted by chrisfoster

    The iBook has 3 forms of networking (modem, ethernet, Airport) while many cheap PC notebooks have none.
    Actually, there are two problem with this statement. First, my very cheap (NEC) notebook has a form of networking. It may not be ideal, but a modem can be used as a form of networking, and the NEC came with a buily-in modem.

    The screen is also good for a 12" screen, I can tell you from experence.
    I'm sorry to say, but any screen that is 12 inches is not going to be a good screen, no matter what the resolution. Right now I'm typing on a Compaq Presario 1690. The screen is 14.1 inches, and although it is satificatory, it is no comparison for a 15.4 inch DELL screen, or a 17 inch monitor.

    It also has a compartivly fast processor compared to the crippled little things shoehorned into PC 'books.
    What can I say, its true
    I have a PowerBook G3, and it's been really good to me.
    This is what I'm going to reccomend. Every one that I have talked to reccomends these machines, and although I have not personnally had the privaledge to use one of these machines I trust these oppinions.
    I know you though the PowerBooks were out of your range, but if you really want to take a step foward in computers, then this is what you need to do.
    Your other option to consider would be getting a Desktop computer, running Windoze. These computers can perform as well as laptops, and cost much, much less. The big two disadvantages are that its not portable, and you cannot run any Mac programs.
    If you get a PowerBook, then you can get a Windows emulator and run Windows programs to your hearts delight.
    Basically what I've accomplished in this message (or so I hope) is that you should save your money and get a good laptop that is going to go the distance.
    BEN
  12.    #12  
    Originally posted by ProjectZero


    Was there a compelling reason to favor a PC notebook verus a PC desktop? It wasn't entirely clear in your original message whether portability was a key issue for this purchase.


    yeah, portability is key.

    thanks, again, for the replies, all.

    just to reiterate, i am more interested in a windows laptop than a mac one tho', just to get more experience. i know all about the mac v. windows thing. believe me. i have my reasons.

    anyway... keep the ideas flowing.


    exit, pursued by a bear.
  13. #13  
    i'm looking to use it for pretty basic stuff - office, internet, web graphics, and (of course) syncing my visor.
    Well, going back to your original needs, I'd say a PowerBook is overkill for what you are going to be using it for.

    The only "iffy" variable is web graphics, as that can mean running some apps like Photoshop or Fireworks that can certainly benefit from faster processors.

    Why not a used PC laptop? That may be all you need.
  14.    #14  
    Originally posted by homer
    i'm looking to use it for pretty basic stuff - office, internet, web graphics, and (of course) syncing my visor.
    Well, going back to your original needs, I'd say a PowerBook is overkill for what you are going to be using it for.

    The only "iffy" variable is web graphics, as that can mean running some apps like Photoshop or Fireworks that can certainly benefit from faster processors.

    Why not a used PC laptop? That may be all you need.
    yeah, i suppose i can stick to my desktop for hardcore graphics stuff (easy, mind out of the gutter, now)... i'm thinking used pc laptop is a good way to go. which way to proceed?
    exit, pursued by a bear.
  15. #15  
    Well, if you don't want to get a Mac laptop, then a Dell is my reccomendation. They have the best customer service(Which you will need with Windows unless your a genuis at these things).
    BEN
  16. #16  
    With a used PC laptop, try to get something that's late-model-- within a year. Anything earlier, and you might be paying too much for outdated, slow stuff.

    I haven't purchased a used notebook in a year but the usual caveats apply. If I were to make a recommendation, call some computer rental stores-- they usually have some recent notebooks to sell that was part of their rental inventory. Some of the more legit rental places usually keep the equipment in good working order. The value of this? Some of the computer rental shops only carry "business-line" equipment (i.e. a Dell Latitude and not the Inspiron).

    But if you wanna go new, I'll echo my vote for Dell. I've purchased, owned/used a Dell Insipron 3700 (Pentium III 450)and 3800 (Celeron 500) and they're really nice for the "just-to-be-able-to-browse-the-web, check my mail, open a Word document and play a DVD" computer. Figuring that MS Office 2000 is a pretty hefty application, anything else should run on OK.

    A "nicely" equipped 3800 with a Celeron 500MHz CPU should run you under $2300, maybe under $2200 (96 MB RAM, 10 GB HD, Ethernet PC Card, 56K modem, 14" screen, MS Office). Of course, less features, the lower the cost (64 vs 96 MB RAM, or 4 GB vs 10 GB HD).
  17. #17  
    I've never liked the idea of buying a used laptop. Laptops are like true off-road vehicles. They are intended for rough use, and they have probably received a fair amount of abuse. Replacement components are hard to obtain, and they are more expensive. They are hard enough to work on, that most users should not do so themselves. With all this mind, you might want to consider getting something used that comes with a warranty. Specifically, a refurbished laptop from Dell. You'll save some bucks, and still benefit from Dell's tech support and warranty; and avoid any eBay complications . . .
  18. #18  
    You might try a refurbished notebook from the Dell factory Outlet http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfo/default.htm. Looks like they've got some decent deals.
    Last edited by Jupe; 03/31/2001 at 03:40 PM.
  19. #19  
    Oops, looks like that link doesn't work. Just go to http://www.dell.com and select Refurbished Systems.

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