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Specification for a laptop
Thread poster: Gillian Searl

Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:12
Member (2004)
German to English
Oct 28, 2002

You may have seen my post in CAT tools technical support - so with all those problems I was thinking of investing in top class laptop. What would your ideal spec contain.

Windows 2000 or XP?

512 RAM?

30 GB hard disk?

What other things would I need - especially for rapid internet access if I was travelling - do they have/can you get ADSL modems attached?

Thanks!


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Some personal remarks about buying a notebook Oct 28, 2002

First of all, it is very important to buy a notebook with a MOBILE processor. It should be stated in a specification, that a notebook you wish to buy has a MOBILE processor (Athlon or Pentium - this does not matter so much). If you buy a notebook with a 2 GHz desktop processor for instance, it will geto hot quite fast and then reduce its speed far under 1 GHz, so you pay much for BIG GHz, but in fact can use only very little of them.



Do not let fool you with such big GHz rates - Athlon or Pentium PIV with 1,6 GHz will do but they are much cheaper.



Here are the thing I would pay attention to:



Athlon or Pentium IV with 1,4 GHz or more.

I wouldn´t buy a Celeron, because you do not get good value for your money, Duron would be a better choice, but is still not as good as Athlon or Pentium IV. An old Pentium III, even with a lot of GHz, is not a good choice, because it runs only with SDRAM with 133 MHz, which is very slow for today. Athlin and PIV in notebooks use DDR-RAM, working with 266 MHz.



512 MB RAM are very good, but choose only notebooks with DDR-RAM (even 256 MB of such memory will do, and are better than 512 MB with SDRAM modules).



30 GB HDD is a good choice, but 20 GB will do too. I would prefere a notebook with 20 GB HDD and a CD-RW-combo instead of one with 30 GB HDD and only a DVD-ROM.



Modem is a must, network card too. So you will be able to access Internet via telephone or LAN.



LPT printer port is quite usefull, but not a must, since lot of modern printers can be connected via USB. The same is with a PS/2 port - if it is there, OK, but you can connect a mouse or keyboard via USB too, if you need them.



If you get a CD-RW, you do not necesarilly need a 3,5 inch disk station.



And last but not least - choose the biggest display you can afford. For convenient working you will need 14 inches at least.



TouchPad, Pin-mouse or trackball are only personal preferencies. I used pin-mouse and TouchPad and find TouchPad easier to use.



You should pay some attention to maximal working period with the battery provided with your notebook, if you wish to use ist while travelling with plane. On average the notebook should work at least 2 hours with a full loaded battery.



My personal favourite is the Sony Vaio GRX 316 series, offering IMHO the best value for money availlable on the market now. You can find good offers for them on Internet (ie. www.ecost.com).



BTW - you should buy a notebook with an operating system and keyboard in this language, you are mostly using, because you will not be able to change the keyboard (physically).

My choices in operating systems were:

1. Windows XP Professional

2. Windows XP Home or Windows 2000 Professional



HTH

Best

Jerzy


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Bruce Popp  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:12
French to English
XP, check current disk use, max out on RAM Oct 28, 2002

Windows XP Pro is better than 2000, although both are good choices. Do not get XP Home.



The best way to choose the hard disk size is to look at what you are using now; you can do this through Windows Explorer by going to the top level of the hard disk (c:\\), selecting it, right-clicking and then choosing Properties from the context menu. Obviously you\'ll want something larger than you have now; how much larger depends on what you do. If you download lots of music or graphics files, the Gigabytes will get used fairly quickly. Text and word processing files don\'t eat up the megabytes too fast.



Get as much RAM as you can. 512 MB is a good starting point.



Any of the currently available processors (e.g. Pentium IV Mobile) are more than fast enough and powerful enough.



For high-speed access when traveling, there isn\'t a uniform answer. A portable ADSL modem won\'t help (and probably isn\'t available). Your laptop will have a 10/100 network interface card (NIC) and you can use that. Later if you know that a wireless LAN is being used where you\'re going, you can get a PC Card wireless LAN card and slide it into the PC Card slot on the side of your laptop.

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-28 12:30 ]


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Dinorah Maria Tijerino-Acosta
Local time: 14:12
English to Spanish
+ ...
Agreeing with previous advises Oct 28, 2002

Gillian, You have got very good ideas and advises from Jerzy and Bienfait, so I won\'t say anything more. Besides agreeing with them on all the technical ideas they are giving you, I just want to ensure you,that the best Operating System (OS) is the XP Professional. Be sure that is a good OS and specially if your machine crashes. You can recover most of your files.

Good luck with you laptop buy!

Dinorah


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Arthur Borges
China
Local time: 03:12
English
+ ...
Windows XP and as much RAM and Harddisk as you can afford Oct 28, 2002

Windows XP is based on NT technology, 2000 is for shootemup home users. File sizes grow, you will have people asking you to translate text under different software, e.g. Macromedia Director 8 for creating CD-ROMs and whatever else.

Yes on ADSL if your laptop will also be your home computer. But once you plug it into someone else\'s phone socket, you\'ll be back to 56K.

BEST ADVICE IS TO ASK YOUR CLIENTS, REAL AND POTENTIAL. You might even use your question as a gimmick to contact translation departments in big companies...What are you using? Gee that\'s funny, I was thinking along the same lines as you. And by the way my phone number is...and I\'m just starting up...so I\'ve got lots of spare capacity to handle rush jobs... you can spin out the rest.


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Marcello Napolitano
Local time: 19:12
English to Italian
+ ...
My very recent experience Oct 28, 2002

I have just purchased a new laptop to replace the old Hitachi that served me so well for over 4 years. Here are my notes:



1) Get a large, high resolution screen. 14 inch good, 15 inch better. I chose a 15\" with SXGA+ resolution (1400x1050). I have two Word documents, Trados TW and a CD-ROM dictionary open on the screen and can work reasonably well.



2) Get a brand name system that has a good warranty. If your screen starts having problems in a couple of years you don\'t want to be stuck with a heavy and expensive paperweight because the company is no longer in business or because it does not support its products after one year.



3) Verify that your software is compatible with the OS. If you use dictionaries on CD-ROM check with your colleagues to see if someone uses them successfully on Win2000 or WinXP. The Italian dictionary I use most works on XP but it crashes the OS when I close it. Grrr.



4) Make sure that the laptop has a built-in network card and a modem. When on the road I normally connect through the Ethernet port, at home I have a wireless network.



5) Consider how you are going to use it when you travel. Having a second battery that lets me do 5 to 6 hours of work while away from a cord is important. Having a DVD player to use on the road is also important for me, your mileage may vary. Some people may want a Firewire connection to plug in a digital camcorder or a Firewire hard drive.



6) Think of how it will do in 3 to 4 years. I chose to keep an empty memory slot so that I can expand in a year or two.





In the end, after narrowing it down to a couple of models from IBM and Dell, I picked the Dell Latitude C840.



HTH



Marcello



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claude
Thailand
Local time: 20:12
English to French
Base station Oct 28, 2002

Some laptops are sold with the base station as an option (with CD-RW, floppy, LPT2, etc.)

As standard, you have two USB ports. I didn\'t buy the base station for mine and work conveniently only with USB ports. You can buy PCMCIA CD-RW or USB floppy very cheap now and you can use them for your next laptop.

One other thing. With some laptops, the screen is pressed against the keyboard when you close it, which lowers its lifetime. You can feel it when you press it while it is closed.


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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
I agree with the above... Oct 28, 2002

Hi,



I do not think I can add much more. I agree with what has been said.



I am personally very happy with my laptop. It is a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600 (approx US$2,300).



It love it. 15\" screen is great and important - I would not go any smaller. It also has CD-RW/DVD/3.5\" A drive, Network, infrared, various ports (even for TV hook up etc), USB etc...512 MRam, 30 Gig hard drive, and Pentium inside...



There is another model (Sat.Pro 8xxx) which is more expensive and more powerful. We had some major power users where I worked in-house and that baby would fly!



HTH

Nathalie

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-28 19:34 ]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Two more advices Oct 28, 2002

To Marcello:



If your dictionary crashes the system, try to use \"Compatibilty assistent\" (or how it is called on your system). With this tool you may be able to set Win XP to behave as it were Windows 95. The second think is to set a separate memory area for your program. To do so, right click on the executable for this program and choose \"Properties\". Then you should find a possibility to set a separate memory area, so even if your program crashes it should no more attend Win XP.

And at last, try some help with SCUMMVM (http://scummvm.sourceforge.net/), Prboom DOOM (http://prboom.sourceforge.net/) or LBA Project (http://www.yaz0r.net/lba.php). Those are emulators, which allow using very old games under Windows XP - but not necessarilly only games. I did not try them yet, but I read about.



Regarding the brand names and a good display - as I stated above, IMHO you can get the most value for your money with a Sony Vaio now - PC-GRX series have a huge 16 inch display and 30 GB HDD. Check here: http://web6.scan.co.uk/Products/Info.asp?WPID=22546 ore here: http://www.sonystyle.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/en/-/USD/SY_DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=6_JSkpp92GpSlKfAe2lYmdVs34WgohYhg_w=?CatalogCategoryID=BmoKC0.NIrkAAADx6P8VIA0g&ProductID=CGYKC0.N8kUAAADxnt8VIA0m&Dept=cpu



BTW, I work with \"only\" 256 MB RAM - it IS enough.



Best

Jerzy


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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Jerzy is right :-) Oct 29, 2002

I was debating between the Toshiba Satellite Pro 4600/8xxx and some of the various Sony Vaio at the time (a year ago already!).



I would certainly consider a Sony (and Toshiba again - I love mine) if I had to buy another one.



Thank you Jerzy for this latest Vaio info!



Nathalie



[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-29 02:30 ]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
To Natalie Oct 29, 2002

I have had a Toshiba Satellite Pro 4270 XCDT before, but this year I decided for a Sony Vaio because of the price. I loved its 16 inches display, and the price was far beyond the price of a Toshiba with 16\" display. So I payed approx. 2.400 EUROS for a VAIO GRX 316 with Windows XP Home, 256 MB RAM, 20 GB HDD, CD-RW/DVD-ROM, 3 USB ports, LPT port, TV out, extern monitor out, 56k modem, FireWire port, Memory Stick port, and a netwrk card, two PCMCIA.



BTW, I didn´t exactly buy it - I´m leasing thi notebook, and IMHO this is the best way to come to a really good one (Toshiba, SOny, IBM, HP - it does not matter so much). Instead of spending all the money at once you need to pay only a small amount per month. And more, if you decide for 36 months, but your notebook will give up after lets say 26 month, because you will need a faster one, you can simply exchange it and take a new one... At least in Germany it is a very good option.



Best

Jerzy


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Nathalie M. Girard, ALHC  Identity Verified
English to French
+ ...
Excellent Jerzy :-) Oct 29, 2002

Good morning Jerzy!



I like the idea of leasing although it was not available to me at the time of my laptop purchase. I believe you can do this in the States.



I bought mine in the US as the merchants in Canada (Quebec) did not have in stock the specific Sat Pro 4600 model that I was looking for. Certain components, which were *standard* on the US version, were at an additional costs if I wanted them on the Canadian version of the product. What they were selling was not as *complete* a package as I wanted...



So I bought it in the good ol\' U.S of A.



Although in this case, this laptop will eventually become my *backup* machine and I will get a newer model in a year or so (I agree that after about 24-26 months, the machines on the market are usually much faster and have the lastest components etc... and I need to upgrade my *main* machine).



I have a backup PC (my previous *main* work computer) so I pass the machines \"down the line\", and they either become a backup machine for my work, or a machine for my husband to play with



I would love a 16\" screen on my next laptop. The 15\" that I have is excellent (and offers a lot more screen space than the old style 15\" monitors) - I would certainly never consider buying a laptop with a smaller screen, that\'s for sure!



Time for breakfast... Must go feed the monster (my tummy!)



Have a great day



Nathalie

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-10-29 12:59 ]


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:12
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Upgrade on notebook prices Oct 29, 2002

Take a look at those great offerts (only suitable for all using english operating systems, as the keyboard will habve US-American layout):



http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?DPNo=555099



http://www.ecost.com/ecost/shop/detail.asp?DPNo=972309



Other offers of ecost are pretty good too.

I get there my 18\" TFT display for about 400 EURO under the listed price net in Germany.



Best

Jerzy


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:12
Member (2004)
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
Jerzy was right! Nov 1, 2002

The shops are offering very good deals on Sony Vaios. I bought mine with a free upgrade to 512 RM, 40 GB disk, 1.8 Ghz processor, Win XP professional for under £2000. The shop also did me a good deal on Ofice XP and threw in a carry case. The screen is amazing - much better than my flat screen on the other PC. The only think it hasn\'t got that the Toshiba equivalent had is wireless LAN/bluetooth but I\'m not using that yet anyway. Thanks for all your advice.

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