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Doc
12-20-2006, 12:43 PM
I've procrastinated about as long as I can on getting a new laptop.
My last 3 laptops have been Dell, and have worked fine. But in talking to them I was reminded of all the crap they load on your laptop. I would prefer a bare bones one from them just give me the OS CD. They went so far as to tell me my copy of Microsoft Office could not be loaded on my new laptop. :confused: I even told them I was loading linux on the old laptop, so I would free up that license. They wanted to argue about that. :pat:

So, I'm looking to expand my horizons. I'm looking to spend around $1000.
I'm considering a laptop by alienware. A coworker pointed out the brand, and it comes with a upgrade to Vista which I see as a big plus.
Any other manufactors you would consider if shopping for a laptop?

the link for alienware:
http://www.alienware.com/product_pages/notebook_all_default.aspx

jwstewar
12-20-2006, 02:23 PM
We bought the kids a Winbook last year on Black Friday from MicroCenter for $399. It doesn't get used that often, but for $400 it has been a good little laptop. I would seriously consider one of their higher end machines for myself. It didn't seem to have a bunch of extra "junk" like Dell other than a 90 Norton.

DaveNay
12-20-2006, 02:58 PM
Check out generic laptops.

http://www.discountlaptops.com/


DiscountLaptops.com Sell Quality
DiscountLaptops.com has been in the laptop business since 1995. Over time, we realized many of the so called "laptop manufacturers" produce what seemed to be, an identical product. This seemed odd to us, so we dug a little deeper. What we found was very interesting. Hopefully, the information below will shed some light on who is making what.....


First, let me explain the different levels of manufacturing.


Original Design Manufacturers - ODMs
ODMs are the true manufacturers who actually cast, and assemble the main unit which includes the motherboard, outside casing, and display. A few examples of ODMs are Quanta, Compal (http://www.compal.com/), Clevo (http://www.clevo.com.tw/), Mitac (http://www.mitac.com/micweb/index.html), Asus (http://usa.asus.com/products/notebook/nbindex.htm), Aopen (Acer), Uniwill (http://www.uniwill.com/), and TwinHead (http://www.uniwill.com/)-- probably companies you have never heard of before. But you have definitely seen their systems under other well known brand names. ODMs are usually located somewhere in Asia, and may have distribution centers in the US. ODMs distribute their product to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)
OEMs add the ram, processor, hard drive, and software to the systems. The OEMs perform final assembly and stick their label (Brand) to it, and call themselves manufacturers. In our opinion they are really service providers, not true manufacturers. Their products are then sold directly to dealers/resellers like DiscountLaptops.com (http://www.discountlaptops.com/) or directly to the public (ie. DELL). If this doesn't make sense, think of the cell phone industry. You can by the same phone from many wireless service providers (i.e.. Sprint, AT&T, Cingular, etc..) the only difference is the label. The wireless company is simply a service provider, not the true manufacturer (i.e.. Nokia, Motorola, LG....)


Lets move on. So, who makes Toshiba notebooks? One would assume Toshiba right? Nope, wrong. Toshiba actually buys their product from several ODM manufactures in Taiwan. To name a few, Compal, Clevo, and Mitac. OK, they may make a few (and I mean just a few) of their models themselves, but most are bought from other ODM manufacturers. Toshiba simply labels and services it. HP, same story. HP has been in the notebook business from the very beginning. They buy their systems from ODMs as well. Mitac, an ODM manufacturer gained strength in the notebook market from a large contract with Compaq (Compaq was acquired by HP). Unfortunately, HP has become mainly cost conscience as of late and their quality has slipped a bit. IBM buys from Quanta and and Arima. IBM is leaving the notebook and PC market as of recent news. DELL buys most of their systems from Aopen (Acer), Compal and Quanta. Most systems offered by ChemUSA are manufactured by Compal. Sony, HP, Sharp have all had, or still have contracts with TwinHead. Sager buys from Clevo. Clevo is the ODM for many boutique laptop shops such as Hypersonic PC, Alienware, Hollywood PC and many more.


This brings us to our brands. I would call them manufacturers like everyone else, but as you know now, there are only a handful of true manufacturers (ODMs). Since only OEMS can buy directly from ODMs, our brands are all considered OEMs.

Melensdad
12-20-2006, 03:11 PM
Dave, FWIW, much of that information is out of date.

Doc
12-20-2006, 03:12 PM
Thanks guys. I've also been browsing newegg's selections.
They have ASUS and Sony Vaio's that look promising.

DaveNay
12-20-2006, 03:29 PM
Dave, FWIW, much of that information is out of date.

How so?! Almost none of the laptops sold by the "big names" are made in-house.

California
12-20-2006, 03:40 PM
FWIW - I've seen a lot of complaints re the Sonys. Unexpected failure, proprietary parts, non-standard user interface. Sort of like their Beta VCR's.

I swore I would never buy another Compaq laptop after several bad experiences with bad keyboards several years ago, but that's what I bought recently. The feaure set, convenience, and apparent quality seemed excellent for the price, under $550. Compaq #V5201US from Fry's.

I especially like the keyboard Mute button and the Wireless Mode On button, since I connect wireless at home and Ethernet to a hub under the dinnertable at the ranch. That button is simpler than digging around in menus while error mesages flash.

HP makes very similar laptops but their user interface didn't suit me. Who wants a dedicated key for 'Fetch mail using Outlook Express' when you don't use that program.

There was one feature I should have paid more for: a SD slot to slip in my camera memory directly. It appears in the multi-model manual, but it's not on my model. A $3 USB/SD adapter serves the same purpose but isn't as elegant.

For professional use I would step up from the model I got. But for me with a desktop as the primary PC, this Compaq laptop is everything I could want.

I keep trying to buy another for my wife but she says she is happy with the old HP laptop that I leave at the ranch (Pentium 600.) Of course it's always a contest who will get to the new Compaq first, to read news (and here) over morning coffee. Maybe I'll try a different strategy; "If we gave the HP to one of our penniless kids then we would have to replace it with something...".

Melensdad
12-20-2006, 03:41 PM
How so?! Almost none of the laptops sold by the "big names" are made in-house.
While that may be true, other parts are innacturate, such as the comments about IBM plus errors of omission, which are somewhat convenient to apparently boost the brands they sell but not discuss other makers that may be larger or more reputible.

DaveNay
12-20-2006, 03:45 PM
While that may be true, other parts are innacturate, such as the comments about IBM plus errors of omission, which are somewhat convenient to apparently boost the brands they sell but not discuss other makers that may be larger or more reputible.

What is inaccurate about the IBM comment? IBM sold their PC and laptop business to Lenovo (http://news.com.com/IBM+sells+PC+group+to+Lenovo/2100-1042_3-5482284.html), and on the IBM web site, I can only find server systems for sale, no PC's. There are a couple of IBM badged laptops still on their site, but they are all manufactured by Lenovo.

Doc
12-20-2006, 03:54 PM
Lenovo has one listed on newegg.com for 649. 80 gig HD w celeron processor. Nothing fancy but it doesn't look bad.

Here is the link but the price is SO LOW, you have to click a pop up to see it. :D
http://www.newegg.com/ProductSort/Subcategory.asp?Subcategory=32&name=Notebooks-Laptops

Big Dog
12-20-2006, 06:38 PM
Lenovo has one listed on newegg.com for 649. 80 gig HD w celeron processor. Nothing fancy but it doesn't look bad.

Here is the link but the price is SO LOW, you have to click a pop up to see it. :D
http://www.newegg.com/ProductSort/Subcategory.asp?Subcategory=32&name=Notebooks-Laptops

Doc.........highly recommend at least 1 gig a ram with whatever you go with!

jwstewar
12-20-2006, 09:25 PM
Doc, if you are looking for cheap, they don't come much cheaper than this: Acer Aspire 3680-2574
- Intel® Celeron® M Processor 410
- Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
- 512MB PC4200 DDR2 RAM
- DVD-ROM / CD-RW
- 14.1" Widescreen XGA Displayhttp://cps7.00b.net/498/content_load/173/images/save.380.jpg$199.99 - 10 available at this price
Reg. $579.99 / Price after instant savings & $50 Micro Center mail-in rebate / 760025 / 10 available 12/26/06 at this price per store with coupon

If you were at MicroCenter at 8 AM Dec. 26, I bet you could get one.

HGM
12-20-2006, 09:49 PM
Doc, if you are looking for cheap, they don't come much cheaper than this: Acer Aspire 3680-2574
- Intel® Celeron® M Processor 410
- Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition
- 512MB PC4200 DDR2 RAM
- DVD-ROM / CD-RW
- 14.1" Widescreen XGA Displayhttp://cps7.00b.net/498/content_load/173/images/save.380.jpg$199.99 - 10 available at this price
Reg. $579.99 / Price after instant savings & $50 Micro Center mail-in rebate / 760025 / 10 available 12/26/06 at this price per store with coupon

If you were at MicroCenter at 8 AM Dec. 26, I bet you could get one.
I was just about to add the same advertisement.....

I bought,basicly, the same unit with XP Pro and dual layer DVD-R a few months ago and love it.. Its been a nice addition to the living room(I may go get one of these too if I can get there in time:cool2: ).. Mine has the wide screen for a great picture, real easy on the eyes.. Not alot of frills as far as software, but for the price and my needs it was a great deal..:a1:

Hutchman
12-21-2006, 01:46 AM
Doc, Dell now owns Alienware. I don't know if that will affect what they load on the systems or not. Hutch

Doc
12-21-2006, 07:37 AM
Wow, thanks for the heads up guys (jwstewar & HGM). I would like to pick up one of those as a backup machine. I had a bad experience with Acer about 10 years ago, so I have not looked seriously at them. Since they are still around they must be doing something right now days. No Micro Center anywhere near me though.

I agree BD. 1 gig for sure.

Doc, Dell now owns Alienware. I don't know if that will affect what they load on the systems or not. Hutch

Well don't that beat all? Did that happen recently?

jwstewar
12-21-2006, 08:08 AM
I'm thinking about getting up early Tuesday mornin' and makin' a trip to Columbus. I was hoping to avoid the trip while I was on vacation, but I might just have to take my B-day money and get me a new toy. It is either that or a "tune" for our Trailblazer to try to increase the gas mileage a little bit.:confused2:

Hutchman
12-21-2006, 08:48 AM
Here's a link on the Dell/Alienware deal: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1941376,00.asp

jwstewar
12-26-2006, 07:32 PM
If you were at MicroCenter at 8 AM Dec. 26, I bet you could get one.

:pat: :pat: Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong on that one. I was dumb enough this morning to actually attempt this. Pulled in the parking lot and there was a line stretching clear around the shopping center. Decided I was going getting one of the laptops.:mad: But there was a couple of other things I wanted, so I decided to go to CompUSA. Couldn't tell if they were open or not when I got there. Finally decided they were. It was me and about 4 or 5 "sales" people. They didn't have everything I wanted and were A LOT higher on the other things I wanted. Went back to Micro Center. They still had a line to GET IN. They were doing the one out/one in thing.:confused2: Decided I didn't need the other things that bad. Went to Harbor Freight and bought a 1/2", 3/4", 1" pipe threader for $16.99. Figure I use it once I'll have my money back.:hide:

RoadKing
12-26-2006, 09:10 PM
Doc, I'm sure I'm not as PC savy :confused2: as most people here as I've been a Mac guy ( work ) for years. About three years ago I was given a Sony Vaio that I use for internet and have had good luck with it. A young (20 yr old) friend who is knowledgeable took it the first week stripped it then reloaded it with a different OS and different programs M office was replaced with OpenOffice from Sun Microsystems and Mozilla Firefox I'm yet to have a conflict or problem :oops: I haven't been able to get out of and since I use Macs I'm pretty :soapbox: spoiled with trouble free performance. Maybe you could find someone or a relative of a friend that knows what this kid that helps me knows. If you want more specifics PM me and I'll call him.

Doc
12-26-2006, 09:25 PM
Thanks RK! Hi to Mrs Santa also!!!!! :D

I believe that is the best thing to do with most of the new systems sold today. Dell is the worst at loading pure garbage in the OS. I build my own servers and workstations. Laptops frustrate me because I have to buy them from a vendor instead of piece by piece. No need for more info from your friend, but thanks for the offer.
I've found I can procrastinate a little more. I'm waiting for one that will come with Vista.

Big Dog
12-26-2006, 09:31 PM
The Dell machine can be formated and loaded with just the OS they supply. You don't have to load the BS. Done it bunches! MSoffice should not be a problem, still running 2000 on all my machines .

DaveNay
12-26-2006, 09:34 PM
The Dell machine can be formated and loaded with just the OS they supply. You don't have to load the BS. Done it bunches! MSoffice should not be a problem, still running 2000 on all my machines .

Dell doesn't provide the raw WinXP install disks anymore. They have a "restore partition" that can be used to restore the system to the factory state....including all the crap. :mad:

Big Dog
12-26-2006, 09:55 PM
Dell doesn't provide the raw WinXP install disks anymore. They have a "restore partition" that can be used to restore the system to the factory state....including all the crap. :mad:

Dave that ain't so............. I just did it!!

I formatted the HD and loaded only the OS from the restore disk, there is no Dell BS on my machine. The only issue is loading the drivers. I loaded the bare OS from my Dell supplied disk. Now there are some imbedded graphics but thats it! My desktop is 6 weeks old.

Dell doesn't like you to do it because the restore partition is used when they do tech support. A clean OS is not something they want anyone to know or endorse.

thcri
12-26-2006, 10:12 PM
Dave that ain't so............. I just did it!!

I formatted the HD and loaded only the OS from the restore disk, there is no Dell BS on my machine. The only issue is loading the drivers. I loaded the bare OS from my Dell supplied disk. Now there are some imbedded graphics but thats it! My desktop is 6 weeks old.

Dell doesn't like you to do it because the restore partition is used when they do tech support. A clean OS is not something they want anyone to know or endorse.


The last three systems we bought from Dell did not include any disks what so ever. I had to complain to them and they did send them out to me at no charge. They did tell me I did not need them anymore. I still wanted them. Now is this on all of their systems I don't know, don't make much difference as I don't think I will ever buy another Dell again. I have had good luck with them until this last two years and had problems with the last three. And their tech support stinks now.

murph

Big Dog
12-26-2006, 10:20 PM
The last three systems we bought from Dell did not include any disks what so ever. I had to complain to them and they did send them out to me at no charge. They did tell me I did not need them anymore. I still wanted them. Now is this on all of their systems I don't know, don't make much difference as I don't think I will ever buy another Dell again. I have had good luck with them until this last two years and had problems with the last three. And their tech support stinks now.

murph
I have not experienced what you speak of and I've bought 6 systems in less than 2 years. If you don't get disk, ask and they will send them. What little tech support I've used has been good and comes out of the Phillipines, they can be understood when speaking to them.

Now I do get corporate discount with my prefered account and I'm not sure if that matters but Dell has been good to me!

BTW... my latest machine came with disk without being ask...........

thcri
12-26-2006, 10:51 PM
Now I do get corporate discount with my prefered account and I'm not sure if that matters but Dell has been good to me!

BTW... my latest machine came with disk without being ask...........


I guess I can't comment. My last three including my daughters lap top did not come with the disk. I also have a corporate account through Carrier Corporation so I don't know if that means something or not. On the 3 systems which one was shipped at a separate time from the other two I did not realise I didn't get a disk until the product got to our place and I called back in to get them. They were nice about and had to qualms about it, they just didn't come with the disk. Now maybe it is because I bought the less expensive units?? Don't know.

murph

bczoom
12-27-2006, 06:31 AM
Re. the Dell CD's, I wonder if you buy from their business side, you get them but if you buy from their home user, you don't. :confused2:

Big Dog
12-27-2006, 08:10 AM
Re. the Dell CD's, I wonder if you buy from their business side, you get them but if you buy from their home user, you don't. :confused2:

I don't know ........... I did buy 2 systems last year that came with no disk and they sent them when requested.

buckle97
12-27-2006, 12:30 PM
As far as the Dell CD's go, they handle it different with each system. I work for a state government agency and we buy computer equipment from several different companies. On Dell's current systems, the XPS desktops come with the reinstallation CD and the Dimension desktops come with the recovery partition on the hard drive.
Gateway is not so consistent. We bought a laptop model from Gateway last year that came with the recovery partition. This year we bought the same model again and it came with the reinstallation CD's. I, of course, prefer the CD's.

Big Dog
12-27-2006, 02:01 PM
My newest PC ...........

Link (http://www.forumsforums.com/3_9/showpost.php?p=70984&postcount=28)

is a Dimension E521 (Athlon) that came with re-install disk. Like mentioned before I use a employee purchase program and a personal prefered account. Don't know if that mattered but I did get disk. It did have the recovery partion but not anymore. I wiped the partition and BS, did a complete format of the HD and went with a base XP install from the disk supplied and added the drivers, so far so good! AFA laptops, I have a company Dell that is pretty bare with no Dell BS and a one year old HP (*snicker*) zv6270, both have been flawless.

I don't mean to be contradictory but I haven't been exposed to alot of the above forementioned with Dell.

Doc
12-28-2006, 09:58 AM
I bit the bullet and ordered a Dell.
I was able to get a sizeable discount that made their price hundreds less than anywhere else.
I went with a max'd out Inspiron 1705. 2 physical duo processors (so it's like a 4 processor machine!!). 2 gigs of memory, 160 gig drive and a few other goodies. Priced at 1615 after discount, 1720 with tax. Regular price was over 2100 before tax.
More than I had planned, but I don't buy laptops very often.
Shipping date isn't until Jan 5th, so now I'm in wait mode.

HGM
12-28-2006, 10:09 AM
I bit the bullet and ordered a Dell.
I was able to get a sizeable discount that made their price hundreds less than anywhere else.
I went with a max'd out Inspiron 1705. 2 physical duo processors (so it's like a 4 processor machine!!). 2 gigs of memory, 160 gig drive and a few other goodies. Priced at 1615 after discount, 1720 with tax. Regular price was over 2100 before tax.
More than I had planned, but I don't buy laptops very often.
Shipping date isn't until Jan 5th, so now I'm in wait mode.

WOW!!
Thats a heck of a jump from that Acer:yum: ..

I have had good luck with my Dell for work, I dont believe you'll regret it a bit:thumb: ..

Big Dog
12-28-2006, 11:20 AM
I bit the bullet and ordered a Dell.
I was able to get a sizeable discount that made their price hundreds less than anywhere else.
I went with a max'd out Inspiron 1705. 2 physical duo processors (so it's like a 4 processor machine!!). 2 gigs of memory, 160 gig drive and a few other goodies. Priced at 1615 after discount, 1720 with tax. Regular price was over 2100 before tax.
More than I had planned, but I don't buy laptops very often.
Shipping date isn't until Jan 5th, so now I'm in wait mode.

My experience with shipping dates is you can throw it out the window! I bet you'll have it well before 1/5 .................. :D

Congratz and you went overboard, I should a never turned you on to it!!!

Doc
12-28-2006, 11:23 AM
Yep, your right BD. Overboard for sure. :D (grining ear to ear!)
Thanks Bud!!!!!! :thumb:

Big Dog
12-28-2006, 11:31 AM
What OS and I'm sure you secured the Vista upgrade eh?

Doc
12-28-2006, 11:42 AM
I upgraded to XP professional so that I would get the Vista Business upgrade for no additional charge. That was a $135 dollar upgrade by itself. :eek:

jwstewar
01-21-2007, 04:03 PM
Well, I finally convinced the CEO & CFO that it was time for a laptop. Since I didn't get that one for $199 from MicroCenter, I've been watching for other low priced units. Found one for $350 at Radio Shack that pretty much had everything - except for in stock. Pretty much none any where. So I kept watching. I'm partial to Toshibas, (I've had 4 of them and I know at one point they had something like 80% of the market, but I know that isn't true anymore) so I've been watching for one of those. I wanted something with XP for now with an upgrade to Vista. So I've been watching the typical places. Unfortunately with Vista being so close, inventories aren't being replenished. I finally found this one ToshibaT550Core2Duo (http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/oid/162246/bundleId/7397/rpem/ccd/bundleDetail.do). It had been $1099. They then marked it down to $899 + another $100 mail-in rebate. They are now including a Canon printer/scanner all-in-one for free after rebate and CA Internet Security (I've been using this for the last 2 or 3 years and like it) for free with it - and it can be loaded on 3 PCs (guess how many computers we have - 3:applause: ) I didn't feel like driving to Columbus today, so I'm going to pick it up on my lunch tomorrow. I'll be having fun tomorrow night.:D :a1: Circuit City is even picking up the cost of postage for the Vista upgrade.:cool2:

Doc
01-21-2007, 05:45 PM
Congrats! Sounds like a good deal. I'm pretty happy with my new Dell. ...but I do have a question for other Dell owners. My older dell laptop would come back alive if I closed the lid (it went to standby I suppose) when I opened it and hit the power button it would wake up. My new one will not do this. the little lights are on, indicating power, but no matter what I cannot wake it up. So I hit the power button and shut it all the way off. Then I have to power back on. :eek: I've tried all kinds of key combinations to awake the machine but I evidently have not found the right combination.

Does anyone know the magic foruma for waking these things back up?

thcri
01-21-2007, 06:44 PM
My older dell laptop would come back alive if I closed the lid (it went to standby I suppose) when I opened it and hit the power button it would wake up. My new one will not do this. the little lights are on, indicating power, but no matter what I cannot wake it up. So I hit the power button and shut it all the way off. Then I have to power back on. :eek:

Does anyone know the magic foruma for waking these things back up?


Doc,

I have a Dell Enspiron 5100 about 4 years old. It is the same way. If I set it to standby I have to shut it down and then turn it back on. I have just learned to not use the standby cause sometimes it is a pain in the arse to get back running.


murph

Doc
01-21-2007, 06:48 PM
Good point Murph. I called it standby, but I have mine set for power to always be on. After opening the lid there is just no way I've found to awake the system.

If I leave the lid open, it recovers as expected when I move the mouse or hit a key.

Kwiens
01-21-2007, 09:08 PM
Doc,

My Dell Laltituce goes into stanby mode when I close it. I open it an briefly push the power button. I then have to logon again.

Kevin

mbsieg
01-21-2007, 09:16 PM
Try the space bar my HP is set to only recover with the space bar.

Doc
01-22-2007, 07:12 AM
I tried the space bar and all the F keys as well as ctl alt enter, and other random combinations no luck yet. Thinking more about it, the key combo might be set in bios. The next time I reboot I'll go into bios and see if the secret code is revealed there.
Kwiens, that is exactly how my old one was set up. However if I try that on this new one it shuts it down! :eek:
Thanks MB & Kwiens.

bczoom
01-22-2007, 11:15 AM
Mine is in a docking station right now so I can't look but believe there's settings when you use the blue function's on the keyboard.