Best notebook/laptop for programming?

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WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#1]
Hello. I was just wondering what the best type of notebook/laptop PC would be for programming/gaming. I have looked at both HP/Compaq, as well as Dell for the best configurations. Here are a couple of configs I came up with. I have wondered if the Compaq Presario V2000Z would be better with the AMD Turion 64, or the Dell Inspiron B130 with the Pentium-M/Centrino 740. I'm looking at a $1,200 - $1,300 budget for my notebook:

Here's the Compaq/HP Presario V2000Z Configuration:

Operating System: Win XP Pro w/ SP2
Processor: AMD Turion 64 ML-34
RAM: 1 GB DDR (2x512)
Display: 14" BrightView Widescreen
Graphics Card: ATI Radeon XPress 200M w/ Productivity Ports
Hard Drive: 80 GB @ 5400 RPM
Optical Drive: DVD+/-RW/CD-RW Combo 8x w/ DL Support
Networking: 54g 802.11 b/g w/ 125 HSM
Battery: 12-cell Lithium Ion

Price After Rebates: $1,187 USD

Now, here's the Dell Configuration with the B130:

Intel Pentium-M 740 1.73 GHz
Win XP Pro w/ SP2
15.4" WXGA
1 GB DDR2 RAM 2x512MB
8x DVD+/-RW/CD-RW w/ DL Support
Dell 1370 Wireless 802.11b/g
Integrated Media Graphics 900 (wish they'd have ATI or nVidia like Compaq did, but that's what you get for a B130, I suppose, especially with Intel)
6-Cell Lithium Ion Battery
Basic Software Package
1 Year Basic Warranty

Price: $1,192 USD

Between these two, they were both configured almost identically, yet the price is not that much different, either. I'm not too sure which config would be better at this point. Which one's recommended better for Blitz Programming? Again, I'd like to stick with a $1,200 - $1,300 budget, tops. To me, these two configs may cut it this far. What's everyone's recommendation here?

popcade(Posted 2005) [#2]
the fan of most Presario series become annoying niosy after using for a while, mine is older model and I don't know if it's improved now, for this reason I don't suggest Presario unless you're noise resistant.

Not used a Dell brand notebook so I can't provide info about it, but if want to do game programming, you may want to consider video card as important element.

Diablo(Posted 2005) [#3]
i use a HP notebook:

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#4]
Okay, HP and Compaq are the same company now, so that works. Now, as far as Dell notebooks are concerned, I may start looking in the XPS line, as opposed to the general Inspiron line, just to see what configuration they may have.

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#5]
I thought about Gateway for a while, them and Toshiba, maybe Acer. There are tons more of notebook companies than desktop companies out there to choose from, trust me on that. That's really gonna start to make things tough on me.

Aoneweb(Posted 2005) [#6]
Don’t buy Toshiba, I have an A75, and it overheats, and shuts down.
Toshiba refuse to change it, even though they have admitted it is bad fan positioning.
If you go Toshiba, and it goes wrong, don't expect any help from them, I know own a 9 month old Notebook, that I may as use as a door stop.
Thanks Toshiba.

Alienforce(Posted 2005) [#7]
Dell M70, best laptop i ever had.

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#8]
I understand that along with Compaq and HP, Acer, too, uses AMD Turion technology. How would you rate Acer by any stretch? They seem sort of reliable according to some reports.

VP(Posted 2005) [#9]
My next laptop will be an Acer. They work, they rarely break and if they do you can usually get them apart quite easily (EDIT: for purposes of repair!), unlike Compaq or HP machines. They also use AMD CPU's, which I am brand-loyal to.

xlsior(Posted 2005) [#10]
Don't know about Acer Laptop's, but have very bad experiences with Acer desktops. At work we had about a dozen of them, and all of them needed at least one motherboard replacements over the past three years - some of them needed more than one. They all had bad capacitors, leading to massive instability over time. You could see they were bad from a couple of feet away, bulging capacitors, leaking gunk and rust-like spots all over the place.

Personally I would never buy any piece of Acer hardware if I can help it -- they are on the same short list that also contains the notoriously bad 80GB IBM Deathstar harddrives, in my book.

VP(Posted 2005) [#11]
Wasn't that a result of the 'stolen capacitor design' debacle though? not just Acer got stung by that one, even Abit did.

polygoon(Posted 2005) [#12]
Mine's an Acer. I wish it wasn't. They don't always make the best decisions when it comes to good design. Or at least they didn't on this one. NiMh batteries? what a joke! What an expensive joke at that. Cost of ownership is unbearable as a result. Gimme a sensible sized NiCad ANY day! I'm afraid they burned their boats with me.

Until I can afford it I shall just lust after one of them Dells with the outrageous screen capabilities. It's going to take forever, but I can enjoy lusting almost as much as owning I guess.

xlsior(Posted 2005) [#13]
@vinylpusher: Possibly, but they sure haven't done much to correct it. From what I've heard, that stolen capacitor deal was a few years back now -- Acer last replaced two of the motherboards as recently as two months ago, and one of them has popped since.

wizzlefish(Posted 2005) [#14]
Get an HP or a Dell Inspiron 6000. I'm not sure what HP model is the best, though...

VP(Posted 2005) [#15]
If it's a choice between HP and Dell, I'd think about Dell's not-so-great customer service record. Their laptops are quite reasonable, but if they screw up your order or you need after-sales support, you could be in for a lot of frustration.

If you get a laptop, consider buying from a nearby retail outlet (no extended warranty though!). If things go seriously wrong, camp on retailer's doorstep and protest until things get fixed.

xlsior(Posted 2005) [#16]
@Vinylpusher: Depends on who you are. Their support for residential customers is attrocious, but they are amazingly accomodating when it comes to large business and local goverment accounts. As long as you bypass their Indian support tiers (through their corporate or gold level technical support), they are pretty easy to deal with.

NobodyInParticular(Posted 2005) [#17]
You don't want a Gateway either, I haven't been satisfied with mine since I got it. It runs really hot, the integrated video adapter is bad out of date, and I never have gotten the wireless network to work reliably.

Damien Sturdy(Posted 2005) [#18]

Toshiba refuse to change it, even though they have admitted it is bad fan positioning.

It's not too late- you have legal rights you know.

I've just paid £235 for a laptop- a dell C540 with a Radeon 7500.

Now, it is shaderless, but,it runs King King satisfactory- which i was amazed at. Best £235 i spent...

Make sure you get a good GFX card, thats all i can say.

The downside of the c540 (and now the d610) is that it can get past 80c if on 100% usage for a while. Stability isnt lost, but i just dont like the look of a procer at 82C... O.O;;

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#19]
Well, after careful consideration, the Dell Inspiron 6000 seems to be fairly decent, here's the configuration that I propose to go with:

Inspiron 6000 Qty 1
Intel® Pentium® M Processor 750 (1.86GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB), Genuine Windows XP Professional Unit Price $1,716.00
Save $400 on select Inspiron notebook purchases $1499 or more
Limited Time Offer!
- $400.00
Catalog Number: 29
Module Description Show Details
Inspiron 6000 Intel® Pentium® M Processor 750 (1.86GHz/2MB Cache/533MHz FSB)
Operating System (Office software not included) Genuine Windows XP Professional
Display 15.4 inch WXGA LCD Panel
Memory 1GB DDR SDRAM 2 Dimms
Video Card 128MB DDR ATI's MOBILITY™ RADEON X300 PCI Express x16 Graphics
Hard Drive 80GB 5400rpmHard Drive
Network Card Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0
Combo/DVD+RW Drives 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability
Wireless Networking Card Intel® PRO/Wireless 2200 Internal Wireless (802.11 b/g, 54Mbps)
Office Software (not included in Windows XP) No productivity suite- Corel WordPerfect word processor only
Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed) No Security Subscription
Battery 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery (80 WHr)
Hardware Warranty 1Yr Ltd Warranty, 1Yr Mail-In Service, and 1Yr HW Warranty Support
Dial-Up Internet Access 6 Months America Online Internet Access Included
Miscellaneous Award Winning Service & Support
Financial Software No QuickBooks package selected - includes limited use trial
Operating System Backup & Recovery PC Restore recovery system by Symantec
Dell Digital Entertainment Starter Entertainment Pack - Basic digital Music, Photo and Game experience

After discount from a family member who affiliates through Dell through his/her workplace: $1,237.

Should be a rather decent configuration, just hope that their support record doesn't goof around.

VP(Posted 2005) [#20]
Careful with the RAM. You might find it far more worthwhile to get the lowest possible RAM config with the Dell and then upgrade to 1G by purchasing a 3rd party (Crucial / Corsair) 1x1G module.

Kanati(Posted 2005) [#21]
if you are going to be programming on the laptop itself... Get as big a screen as you can afford. Period. It'll be worth it.

And Dell is the way to go. Best laptops out there bar none.

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#22]
Well, at least a 15.4" screen is far bigger than a small, itty-bitty Averatec's 12" or 13.3", or even Dell's low-end 14". Maybe not as big as a 17", but 15.4" is about as perfect as they can be without breaking the bank.

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#23]
Careful with the RAM. You might find it far more worthwhile to get the lowest possible RAM config with the Dell and then upgrade to 1G by purchasing a 3rd party (Crucial / Corsair) 1x1G module.

True, but if I did that, that would void the warranty right there and then. Same thing with getting a graphics card upgrade, or anything bigger hard drive, anything else for that matter.

VP(Posted 2005) [#24]
No, RAM upgrades do not invalidate warranties. they certainly shouldn't do because they do not involve dismantling the laptop. it's a 'user servicable' thing, usually a flap underneath the laptop which you can pry open with a small screwdriver or coin.

WedgeBob(Posted 2005) [#25]
Well, I always hear that Dell always seems to want to use high-quality components on their PCs, especially RAM. Can't really see why Dell's not using Corsairs or Kingstons. Maybe Dell's making you fall for a trap thinking you're gonna have the best components in the market, possibly. All those awards and being claimed to be the #1 brand in the world. To me, I think that there's too many companies that want to snatch that big award right out of Michael Dell's hand and award it to another company. One day that may happen.

Naw, just being sarcastic, of course Dell's the best choice, I just wish that their components were the same quality as the 3rd party ones, if they want to remain #1, yet still stick with a low price. Not like Alienware, they're far too pricey, if you ask me.

Warren(Posted 2005) [#26]
I get my laptops through and have never regretted it.

Robert Cummings(Posted 2005) [#27]
Get an ibook and never look back.

FlameDuck(Posted 2005) [#28]
This one works very well for me.

Kanati(Posted 2005) [#29]
Get an ibook and never look back.

because in the race... everyone else will be in front of you.

Robert Cummings(Posted 2005) [#30]
not everyone wants a noisy, stinking os and laptop that generates more heat than a car, and is also just as loud.

I have my desktop pc for that nonsense. An ibook is absolutely the nicest thing to use, os and everything.

Warren(Posted 2005) [#31]
The OS is loud and stinking? Are you sure you know what you're doing?

Braincell(Posted 2005) [#32]
I think jack meant all other than ibook are stinking.

Kanati(Posted 2005) [#33]
The OS is loud and stinking? Are you sure you know what you're doing?

I was thinking the same thing... :)

And the TiBook I had ran just as hot as half the dell laptops I owned. So... Don't know where he was headed with that either.

VP(Posted 2005) [#34]
Heh, AlienWare declined to offer me £3000 on a finance deal ;)

Shame, would have beaten the hell out of my current desktop system. *sigh*

**EDIT** I know for a fact that I can go up to £2K through Dell finance without any trouble, but damnit, I'm not going to do it.

WedgeBob(Posted 2006) [#35]
Well, I just got my Dell yesterday via UPS, and it seems to fly low to me. I just installed VS 2005 Standard on it this morning, as well as Blitz 3D. Both of these programming suites seem to go well on the same machine. This way I can determine where the best game programs lie. Of course, Microsoft seems to be most popular brand of computer programming right now, unfortunate to say. However, those were the programming languages I have to grow up with, like QB, the old VB series, VC++, etc... Seeing as tho MS wants to push you to use the Professional Edition to make the best programs, well, that's the only version of XP that'll let you port programs to Pocket PC. Plus, a notebook PC like this, and a Pocket PC (Dell Axim X30 624 MHz) seems to go together when it comes to being productive with programming. Should be interesting to see what happens.

polygoon(Posted 2006) [#36]
Keep us posted on how you find it as I'm still lusting after one - will be for a while too, sadly!

Hope it all cool so far.

WedgeBob(Posted 2006) [#37]
Well, my desktop only having the Home Edition, and now a notebook with the Professional Edition, that will only expand much more possibility in what I can accomplish with everything. This is great, since I can program games and digital media on my notebook, and store them on my desktop. Well, I'm going to develop light games on my notebook to be ported to my Dell Axim as well. My BIG game programs are going to still be developed on my desktop. This appears to be a good combination. Different programs on different platforms for different computer users. Makes sense to me to do that. Especially since I can write programs anywhere on tne globe, not just here in my bedroom. Should be interesting. Thanks for your help, and it seems like I have a notebook that may stick around for a while.