Taking a different track

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What would be your advice for someone, like me, who wants a laptop:

- which has a black (non glossy or shiny) 15" (approx) display with a
resolution of 1400x1050
- reasonably wide angle of vision, sharpness and brightness
- A CPU whose theoratical performance is actually usable and beneficial
today (cores that cannot be used by present and older software are of no
interest to me)
- which is quiet and does not overheat
- has a firewire connector
- integrated bluetooth
- discrete video card and memory
- at least 1 Mg of memory
- pleasant keyboard without this red thing in the middle
- not useless (for me) fingerprint reader
- easily replaceable hard-drive and which can accomodate both PATA and SATA
- integrated DVD writer
- integrated Wifi

and if you are still there, from a reasonably reputable brand (no Lenovo).

Could not care less about Vista. Portability is less important than

Any thoughts, even exotic?

John Doue

Re: Taking a different track

Some of your requirements are literally impossible to meet.

No laptop will internally accomodate both PATA and SATA drives.  Any
laptop, however, can accommodate them externally via USB with a suitable


Your other requirements represent a mixed bag, but if you take 13 of
anyone's requirements for a "perfect laptop" you may find it hard to
meet ALL of them.  Most of us therefore end up settling for something
less than perfection (especially when cost is added to the picture).

I think that a suitably configured Dell E1505 (or 6400, same machine)
would come closest, but the high resolution screen offering has the
currently popular "high gloss" finish (Dell does still offer a standard
matte finish LCD on the E1505 (one of the 4 screen options), but only on
the "standard" screen (which I think is 1280 x 800 or something like that).

Note that dual core CPUs can generally be used, if not in any other way,
by assigning one core to Windows and the video card, and the other core
to the application.  In a Windows system, there are usually 3 dozen to
10 dozen "processes" active at any give time (do Control-Alt-Delete,
click the "processes" tab and see how long the list is).  Actually using
the 2nd core is no problem, whether the application directly supports it
or not.  In any case, all current production laptops other than Celeron
class extreme low end are now dual core processors.

And while you couldn't care less about Vista, from October 26th to March
15th, the upgrade is FREE, so by all means take it (even if you have to
pay for shipping).  You don't have to install it when you receive it
next spring, but if you don't take it, you may regret it later or, if
not, at least in a few years when you go to resell the machine to
someone who does care.  It's free, so take it.

John Doue wrote:
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Re: Taking a different track

Barry Watzman wrote:
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Hi Barry,

Regarding the PATA, SATA issue, I seem to have read some place that a
laptop which was initially with PATA had been modified by the maker to
receive a SATA adapter and that had been an issue for the Poster. But I
cannot remember the thread. So I thought this was not an impossibility.
I would hate to dump the several HD I have, in perfectly good condition
and of high capacity.

The high gloss finish is an absolute no-no for me. All the laptops I
have had and my flat panel LCD screen for my deskop offer perfect
viewing without being glossy and, besides the fact I do not like their
looks, those glossy displays reverberate a lot.

Indeed, I have been looking at the Dell you mention. Still undecided.
BTW, why two names for the same machine? Are you sure one is not
intended for business use, the other for mere individuals, with what
this implies?

I know about the dual core utilization you mention. Still seems to me
like driving a V8 car with 4 cylinders dedicated to air-conditioning ...
A waste of power, heat dissipation and battery life.

Of course, you are right about Vista, but I will not install it until a
way is found not to be bound by the limitations M$ seems to have set in
terms of registration, validation. Not a matter of cost, it is only fair
to pay for what you use, but a matter of principle.

Best regards

John Doue

Re: Taking a different track

There is no laptop that I know of that will take both PATA (IDE or EIDE)
and SATA drives internally; your only realistic uses of your old IDE
drives are in external cases (which is actually a pretty good use), or
with older laptops, or sell them on E-Bay, because ALL laptops now being
newly manufactured use SATA drives.  And this has been the case for
about the past 2 years, give or take.

I understand your feelings about the high gloss screens.  This one is
hard to explain.  Very few laptops are not using them, however.  But
Dell does offer a matte finish screen on many of it's models (and in
particular on the E1505).  However, it's only available in the
"standard" resolution (which I think on that model is 1280x800 ... still
a pretty high resolution).

Dell sells the same machine as the Inspiron E1505 and the Inspiron 6400
(the E1405 is also sold with two names).  It's the E1505 when purchased
through Dell Home and the 6400 when purchased through Dell Small
Business.  Although the hardware is the same, the software loads are
different.  While at times there are brief exceptions to this, you will
almost always get a better deal at Dell home.  Also, the default OS at
Dell Home is Windows XP Media Center Edition, while the default at Dell
Small Business is XP Home.  There's a good case that this difference
alone is worth perhaps $200 (consider not only the difference between
Home and MCE (which is by itself a significant difference), but also
with Home you have to pay for a copy of Vista Home Basic, with MCE you
get a copy of Vista Home Premium FREE).  And Dell Home offers much
better "coupons" (sometimes up to 50% off) than Dell Small Business.

[Re: "Are you sure one is not intended for business use, the other for
mere individuals, with what this implies?"  Absolutely; but "what this
implies" is that it's easier to get businesses to pay more.  The
preloaded software bundles are different, but the actual computers are

[Re: "Still seems to me like driving a V8 car with 4 cylinders dedicated
to air-conditioning ... A waste of power, heat dissipation and battery
life" ... it's not just the air conditioning.  As I suggested, look at
the number of processes that Windows XP has running when NO applications
are running, typically about 30, sometimes up towards 100.  Dual core
can be put to good use.  There is no shortage of tasks for the 2nd

John Doue wrote:

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Re: Taking a different track

Barry Watzman wrote:
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Thanks Barry for this very valuable information.

John Doue

Re: Taking a different track

John Doue wrote:
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Sigh, I'll probably be sorry for asking this John, but what's wrong with

A T42P would meet your requirements as far as it's possible for any laptop
to do so (e.g., you can't have both SATA and PATA primary HDs, it's
either/or without using an expansion solution) and is one of the few laptops
available with a 15" SXGA+ IPS display. In addition they're relatively

Yes, you'd have to put up with the "red thing in the middle", but the
Trackpoint can be turned off and you could use the Trackpad solely. Plus, no
fingerprint reader on most of them.

You can find used ones starting at ~$800 with warranty remaining.

Visit the Thinkpad Forums

Re: Taking a different track

JHEM wrote:
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No, not at all, why would you be sorry for asking? Indeed, some people
can be rude on NG, but this should be a small minority.

The reason I would prefer to stay away from Lenovo is, simply put, a
lack of trust in their quality since they took over IBM laptops. Their
new offerings tell a lot about what kind of market they consider important.

I have no problem with the R51 I presently use, just regret a weak
quality of sound (not surprising on a machine mostly aimed at business
people, and  ... considering the location of the speakers).

I am considering adding a second machine, faster, and with better sound
quality. But basically, the dream machine I described takes a lot of the
good point of the R51.


John Doue

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