Purchase decision for notebook...


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Now I realise the subject line might make you think I am posting in wrong forum, but hear me out.

I recently went wi-fi to broaden access and facilitied from two fairly basic machines to a much enhanced set up. In fact the enhancements have led to far greater use of the facilities - such that my backup machine is often occupied. Although I've not considered lap-tops before (expensive and I tend not to go out with a computer :p ) I find that this is the way I am heading now.

I have two primary concerns here - budget and optimal wi-fi access. I realise the intel centrino chip set may be relevant here (other machines are AMD but I realise for portable Intel will be where I have to go). However maybe I am better just relying on the USB ports and inserting the relevant dongle?

I really would appreciate any advice from any source - and although budget is an issue value and useability are also key so I will stretch it (guess I'd be very happy with anything basic coming in under £400 but can go to £800, for which I would expect a lot more). I'm attracted to concept of new tablet PC format too, but this seems to be so new it is at a premium that puts it out of my price range. I've looked into Ebay items, but frankly am somewhat nervous of this approach for a portable.

All input gratefully received - I'll try to give feedback on whatever way I go in the end.

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
I use a pc card for my wi fi access...though I beleive reception would be better if the wifi was native, as the computer becomes the antenae

in any event, go for price...I use an amd to save a couple of hundred bucks...e machine actually has a 64 bit amd unit that looks excellant for 1500 bucks including wifi, 60 gig harddrive, 512 ram

my e machine is a year old not a stitch of trouble

but no need to spend more then a grand...don't get anything ever agian with less then 512 ram


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
perris said:
..e machine actually has a 64 bit amd unit that looks excellant for 1500 bucks including wifi, 60 gig harddrive, 512 ram
thanks - I was never going under 512 for sure. I had no idea where AMD were headed, now found this and am seriously hoping to get an AMD 64 for my portable, which will be kinda funny when my desktop is a 2800+ :p

Yet to find anywhere to get something like this in the UK - but looking...

Perris Calderon

Staff member
Political User
you're not really going to enjoy the 64 for a while, but it'll be cool to have it.

I would also tri boot with the trial 64 xp, the linux 64, and whatever os comes with the box

anyway, have fun...I love my laptop, go everywhere with it..I also have a sprint wireless modem which gets internet wherever I get a phone signal...pretty fast tooo 120k!!!

this is very nice for the anywhere access of it

have fun
I bought an HP ze4430us in september with integrated wireless (not centrino though) and have been very pleased. It ended up costing me like $1,000 USD after rebates, but I'm not sure how that compares to pounds. A friend of mine bought an old IBM Thinkpad (originally shipped with Windows 98) and a PCI Wireless card, and it seems to function about the same as mine does (as far as range/preformance) I've noticed that a lot of times notebooks without wireless are significantly cheaper than those with it, so it might be more cost effective just to buy one without wireless if you can get a good deal on a PCI wireless card.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
bump - Centrino - yes or no?

OK - sorry to bump own thread, but I was really hoping someone might give some informed comment on the centrino chipset and whether there is any reason it should tempt me to deviate from my present AMD based processing machines when I get my portable? Basically if the centrino gives me very much enhanced reception it will tempt me - otherwise my money stays with AMD.
well with the centrino you get 802.11b. Personally i would go with something AMD to save some money and get one with built in 802.11g. I bought the E-machines M6805 that perris mentioned above, and love it. No problems what so ever. Only downside to it, is that its heavier than what I wanted, but for the price versus performance I couldn't pass it up. Ended up being $1549 with a $100 E-machines rebate and a $150 Best Buy rebate. Most other laptops in that price range were only half the machine the E-machines is.


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Almost decided...

You can see the basic model I am looking at here But you need to add to this all the upgrades available, so 512MB memory, 40GB HD and XP 2000 processor. With all of that the price comes out to £755 with tax and shipping.

I would have loved to get the AMD 64, but that model simply is not available and I cannot really wait. It was good to get the comments and feedback - I will be going with a dongle for my wireless access, which will only be around the house and hopefully I can get good signal in all the rooms I want!


Carbon based lifeform
Political User
I'd have to go with Yharn and Perris, just got the emachine m6000 for my wife and she loves it...you'd have to get this , just to see it boot in under a minute. built in wifi g and a radeon 9600 mobile, yeah it's a little heavy, but when she's not on it I sneak over and run games off of it ;) , very nice Machine :D


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
Went for another...(E-machine)

soooooo in the end I got the M5116 :cool: Now I just have to charge it to see if the wi-fi works all round the house..... Can close this thread I guess :D


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
I will - hopefully from somewhere FAR away!

Henyman said:
let us know how well it works ;)
yeah - having plugged in a nic cable just to check it all out and made the not so surprising discover that the cable they supplied is X-over and they ommit to mention this fact.... then replaced with my own NIC cable and found it networks right away.....

Still no wi-fi though - so I goes into BIOS and lo and behold there's a default I do not like on the wi-fi NIC side, I set it to "Always on" and on boot - I have TWO network connects! All going fine so far so good - about to do the crucial, "where can I be in the house and stay online" test! Will post back with results - bear in kind my LAN access point is an 802.11b EdiMax though, so no idea if it's range will be top spec...


Debiant by way of Ubuntu
it is just about fine..

Henyman said:
let us know how well it works ;)
I have to say after finding the BIOS setting to enable the wi-fi this is a pretty neat thing to have given that I already had the rest of the kit to enable it.... definitely worth the spend. I can just get the range required for total coverage of the five bedroom, three storey house I live in, which was the requirement. I am not sure I would get coverage in the garden, but have not tried and wouldn't until summer came ;)

Would like to know from others one thing... if I go to one of the places with weakest signal and power up it will not connect, but if I connect nearer Access point and then move to the further point it seems to hold onto signal just fine.

Anyway, have already added NTFS tweak and now got to add a shed load more to my new baby to make it like the cool cousin of the big buddy computers on the network.... have to say I like the centrino, works for me, and relieved to know the 802.11g has backwards compatibility to the b standard.


Me Crazy? NaH Never!
Buy Toshiba man its the best notebook company around PERIOD. Dell has some nice ones but seriously I sell Toshiba and its the easiest for parts and reliability. By far I have not used a better notebook company in my life. I have seen too many dells in my time that has *ISSUES* and when a toshiba came in it was fixed lickity split. And yes we were both DELL and TOSHIBA certified. :)

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