01-28-04 - 1


I bought a laptop, to use as a portable and to replace my desktop, I'm now writing this on it. It's a non-brand (it just says "NoteBook on the case"). The chassis is actually an Aopen 1557G, which is Taiwanese. I got mine assembled from ABS, under the name "ZForce 2", but you can also get an iBuyPower Battalion-E or a CyberPower S4-3200, they're all the same thing. I've got the Hitatchi 60 GB 7200 RPM disk, the SXGA+ 1400x1050 screen, 1 Gig of RAM (DDR 266), the 1.7 GHz Centrino, all the top of the line stuff. Battery life is about 4 hours and weight is about 6 pounds. It's got Radeon 9600 graphics (DirectX 9) and a 15" screen. It's similar to an IBM T41p, maybe a little weaker, but about half the price. If you're loaded with mega-bucks, the T41p (it's a ThinkPad) is the way to go. These things are the best compromise I could find between great power and portability. If you just want a pure-power desktop replacement, Sager is the way to go. They put top of the line PC parts in notebook cases; I almost went with one of those, but my AOpen is nice and quiet and cool, as opposed to Sagers that are noisy and very hot. The hard disk is a bit loud on my box, but it's still much quieter than a typical PC. (if I had bought a desktop it would have been a "Silent PC" of some sort). As for speed, it's roughly twice as fast in all categories as my old 1 GHz Dell desktop. It's comparable to a P4-2.8 desktop with PC2100 RAM and a 7200 RPM disk. So, all is good in laptop land, except a few little things about it that aren't perfect - A) no DVI output, only VGA; sigh, my second monitor is an LCD and it's just not nearly as crisp with VGA feeding it instead of DVI; this really blows, but there are currently near zero laptops with DVI out. B) no Firewire 800, only Firewire 400; C) no Bluetooth, but it does have integrated 802.11g D) only DDR 266; the chipset is a little on the slow side; DDR 333 or 400 would have been nice; in the future Intel will release the Dothan line, which will give mobile processors a big upgrade. E) annoying keyboard; it's about the same as all laptops; it seems these keyboards are always designed by people who don't actually do any typing!! The big problems are : placement of the left Control, lack of right Windows key, and placement of Home & End. I may have to get the old Key Remapper out and do some fiddling. F) Damn the stickers! It's got "Windows XP" and "ATI" stickers right where I rest my wrists; I've got to get the stickers off but I'm afraid of making a dirty mess of stick-um. G) front-loading DVD drive is annoying; side-loading would be much better. H) it's fast, smooth, and beautiful, did I mention I love it like a son?

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old rants