Input wanted on buying criteria for laptop

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My main use for a laptop is pretty light work:  Excel, web, email, light
photo editing, checking wired and wireless network connectivity (I work in
the data services industry).  I'm not looking for a desktop replacement.
Rather, I need something mobile and *decent* battery life.  When I'm in a
hotel or customer site, I will almost always have AC power access.

In desktops, I want a bunch of cpu muscle, but in my search for a laptop I'm
looking at a Celeron M, because my experience with laptops is that for what
I do with them the cpu isn't a critical factor (after a certain point, of
course).  Much more important for the way the laptop feels and responds is,
a) hard drive speed and b) RAM.

I see no need to spend more than $800 USD or so, after rebate, on sale,

Am I looking at this clearly?

thank you,


Re: Input wanted on buying criteria for laptop

JM wrote:
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I'm no pro nor a salesman, but it seems reasonable. I might ask why you
seem to be planning on keeping two machines on hand. That inevitably
means synchronizing machines or having files on the "wrong" machine at
the wrong time. The difference in price between a Celeron M and a more
powerful machine is not that much now. With an external drive or other
solid backup means for files, I would get away from two machines, but
that is a personal opinion. A full size keyboard and a flat screen make
up my desktop when I leave with my laptop.
You might also find that the lower level processor is meant for a
"price-shopping" clientele and often includes a slower (4200 rpm) hard
drive and 256 Mo of RAM. You start behind in your search.
Going for a better processor will probably put you in a laptop with 512
Mo of RAM and a faster drive.
As they say "You pay your money and you take your chances".

Re: Input wanted on buying criteria for laptop

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Good points, all.  I've battled the "two machines" issue for quite a while.
I won't bore you with the entire story, but basically I've wound up with two
desktops as it is, both of which I use extensively, and the laptop would be
a third.  The first desktop is more or less a "family" computer.  It's a
homebuilt AMD Athlon 64 machine running XP Pro with a gig of RAM and a beefy
video card and 5.1 surround sound for playing games, watching movies, and
listening to music.  I also use it for a side business I have of restoring
old photographs, which means a lot of Photoshop and other digital editing,
scanning, etc.  My wife works on it, too, both for her little cottage
business and helping me out with my networking business.  The second desktop
is in my "real" office in the back of the house.  It's the one I work on
most during the day.  It's a homebuilt P4 1.8ghz machine running Windows 2k
with 512mb ECC RAM and modest components.  It's strictly for work.

My solution has been to store all my files on a separate file server in
another room, with external hard drives for backup using a freeware backup
program called Back2zip.  Other than that, the arrangement just takes some
consideration in where I save files and such.  Which is why the laptop
doesn't need to be a mega-machine.  My use for it will mostly be on customer
sites and for convenience, such as getting some work done while sitting in
the family room.  I will log the laptop onto my network and work from shared
folders on my server.

Your points about the market position of the laptops with Celeron Ms is
exactly right.  A Celeron M does usually mean less RAM and cut corners in
other areas.  But that doesn't really bother me.  I can add some a 256mb
PC2700 SODIMM for about $30, and the slower hard drive shouldn't affect me
too much.  On that note, today I've been looking at this:

I like AMD CPUs, and this certainly is an attractive price.

Could I bother you for your thoughts on that one?

Thank you,


Re: Input wanted on buying criteria for laptop

JM wrote:

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You can certainly ask me, but I can see that you are considerably ahead
of me in technical terms. I have looked at Acer a couple of times, but
salesmen have suggested that they are not the same quality as Toshiba,
HP, etc.
I have often wondered about AMD CPU's. Intel vs AMD is a bit like
Windows vs Mac - how to tell which one is the choice to make. I have an
old Celeron laptop, a P3 desktop and a P4 laptop (main machine) along
with some old Macs, but I often think about trying an AMD in my next laptop.
Anyway, concerning the Acer for $549, I don't see how you can make a big
mistake at that price. I'm in Canada and they're somewhat more here, but
then I don't have to pay for my doctor. <g>
I won't get into the ecological footprint that the two of us are leaving
with all these machines, but at least they are not in a dump somewhere.
Reduce, reuse and recycle - we're in the second category, I guess.
I hope that my comments have been interesting, even useful. I will
answer any questions on any subject - my biggest weakness (or strength)
according to some people.


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