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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm buying a notebook computer for my daughter for her HS graduation present. The idea is to get one that will caryy her through four years of college (and beyond?). My ex gave me some specs she got from OSU (that's where she's been accepted), so I have the general idea of what she needs feature-wise.

My question relates to processor speed vs. RAM and how it relates to the actual functioning speed of the computer, plus a little bit of hard drive capacity thrown into the mix for a given price. I think double the processor speed is better than double the RAM. RAM can be added later; a bigger hard drive can be added later. However.....

Option 1: 2.93 Celeron, 256 RAM, 40 gig HD $799
Option 2: 1.4 Celeron, 512 RAM, 60 gig HD $799

Bought yesterday: Toshiba Satellite A65-S1072 Apparently a discontinued item as I cannot find info at the Toshiba website and the box has "Copyright 2004" on it. No specs on the outside of the box and I'm not going to open the box 'til I'm sure this is "the one." Fry's advertised specs are Option 1 above. Fry's says it does not have WIFI built in, but the box has 2 stickers on it that would indicate WIFI to me. The shelf display had a "WIFI not connected" message on the screen when I looked at it.

Circuit City ad today is Option 2 above. It definitely has WIFI per the ad. WIFI is cheap enough to add on with a card later, so that's not really a big deal to me right now.

I would not be in a quandry here if Option 2 didn't also have a 50% larger hard drive. I know that a fast computer sucks if it doesn't have enough RAM, but 1.4 is pretty dang fast. If you throw in the KNOWN WIFI built-in for good compatibility compared to the ASSUMED WIFI, this just might be enough to tip the scales in favor of Option 2. Plus, there's more Circuit City stores in this world than there are Fry's Electronics (for any future service issues).

What would you do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
More numbers to compare:

Fry's Service Contract: 5 years, bring it to Fry's (ain't one in Oklahoma where my girl will be going to school) $240. This goes with Option 1.

Circuit City: 4 yrs, bring it to a store (plenty of Circuit Cities around) $325. This is option2.

Just can't seem to come up with an apples to apples comparison :(
One year less, more money, but more CC stores around. If you apply an approximate $80 per year value to the service contract, then you could argue the CC service is actually costing $165 more than Fry's. That money would easily buy another 256 of RAM and a wireless card IF option 1 doesn't have it already.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
More info: must hassle with $200 in rebates through Circuit City. Pay $999 today. No rebates to hassle with on the Fry's Toshiba I bought yesterday.

I think I'll stick with what I have.
 

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In my opinion processor speed isn't as important as ram, depending on what you're doing. My computer has 1.6 ghz and a gig of ram, and it flies for day to day stuff, and does pretty good for editing pictures and such. If you get the one with 256mb I would consider upgrading that to 512, windows always runs better with more memory.

Builtin wifi would be nice because the antenna is usually built into the screen, which may get better reception than just the card sticking out the slot.

I'd lean toward the faster processor. Today the slower one would probably be just fine, but 4 years down the road is anybody's guess.

As far as hard drive space goes, it depends on what you want to store. Windows + a full set of applications generally takes up about 15 gigs I think. I have 1711 mp3s on mine, thats 7.5 gb, and then 4,400 pictures, which totals about 4 gb. SOO... she could probably get by with the 40 gb. If she needs more room to store stuff, external USB2 and firewire hard drives are getting to be dirt cheap ( i think i saw 200GB for $149 at fry's a couple weeks ago).

As far as the service contracts go, I'd probably go with the fry's one. If it breaks she can always mail it home. As it gets older it will be more prone to breakage, so that extra year could come in handy.

So overall I think the best bet is the fry's one.
 

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i over built my laptop in summer of 02 and it still does good. Partitioning hardrives has also helped though, aplications run a lot smoother when you store all your crap on one "drive" and run the OS on another. Also you could run dual OS's if you really wanted to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Whifflebat said:
So overall I think the best bet is the fry's one.
I agree. Easier to add RAM and external hard drive space later (good Christmas and birthday gifts). Processor speed...not something I'd want to upgrade myself on a notebook. And going in that deep [on my own] would probably void the service contract anyway.

One thing's for sure: 6 months from now I can easily find more computer for less money. That is the golden rule with computers. I have a five year old Sony Slim notebook P300, 32megs, 6gig, modem, that cost me about $1200 new. Her new one will be nearly 10 times the processing speed, 8 times the overall RAM, nearly 7 times the HD space, and on-board 10/100 (and hopefully WIFI too) for only two-thirds of what my little toy cost.

I still use that little Sony!
 

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Buy a Dell, Unmatched support, can be configured in any number of ways.

Proc speed should be over 2 gig... you want at least 512 ram, 1 gig if you can afford it. HDD space, I would not go lower than 60 gig.. College kids do papers, emails, mp3's, videos, plus who knows what else...
 

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My brother has a "Brand New" sealed in the box HP Pavilion Desktop PC with 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 3200+
120 GB HD 512MB Mem 16X DVD+R/RW 9n1 mem card 15" flat screen
he wants $600, he is about to put it on ebay if you are interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks, but it's gotta be a notebook (as specified by my ex). I suggested a desktop for greater features and cheaper price, but that was nixed instantly.
 

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Rastus said:
Buy a Dell, Unmatched support, can be configured in any number of ways.

Proc speed should be over 2 gig... you want at least 512 ram, 1 gig if you can afford it. HDD space, I would not go lower than 60 gig.. College kids do papers, emails, mp3's, videos, plus who knows what else...
x2
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Rastus said:
Buy a Dell, Unmatched support, can be configured in any number of ways.

Proc speed should be over 2 gig... you want at least 512 ram, 1 gig if you can afford it. HDD space, I would not go lower than 60 gig.. College kids do papers, emails, mp3's, videos, plus who knows what else...
I looked at today's Dell insert in the newspaper. The nothing close to the good deal I got yesterday.

I have 5 weeks until her graduation. I'm keeping the box sealed for 4 weeks while I continue to watch the sale prices every week.
 

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Dell just had a really great offer on there Notebooks about 2 days ago....

Look at this :

Description

Inspiron 600m
Date & Time: April 24, 2005 9:36:27 PM

SYSTEM COMPONENTS
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Inspiron 600m Qty 1
Pentium®M Processor 715(1.50 GHz/400MHz FSB)14.1-in SXGA+ w/64MB Video, Microsoft Windows XP Professional - For networking with work or school Unit Price $1,954.00
Dell Home Customers
Limited Time Offer! Remove Coupon
- $750.00

Catalog Number: 29

Module Description Product Code Sku Id
Inspiron 600m Pentium®M Processor 715(1.50 GHz/400MHz FSB)14.1-in SXGA+ w/64MB Video B15MX6N [221-9077] 1
Operating System Microsoft Windows XP Professional - For networking with work or school WPXP [412-0689][420-4770][463-2282][420-4928][420-4830] 11
Memory 768MB DDR SDRAM 2 Dimms 768MB2D [311-1888] 3
Hard Drive 40GB Hard Drive 40GB [340-8046] 8
Integrated Modem and NIC Internal 56K Modem and Integrated Network Card 56MPC [313-1659] 14
Adobe Software Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 6.0 ADOBER [430-1048] 15
Optical 8x CD/DVD burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer write capability 8XDVDRW [313-3089][420-5111] 16
Wireless Networking Card Intel® PRO/Wireless 2915 Internal Wireless (802.11 a/b/g, 54Mbps) IP2915 [430-1165] 19
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) No productivity suite - Corel WordPerfect word processor only ICOREL [412-0714] 22
Security Software No Security Subscription NS [412-0755] 25
Digital Music Dell Jukebox - easy-to-use music player and CD burning software MMBASE [412-0741] 26
Primary Battery 6-Cell Lithium Ion Battery (53Whr) 53WHR [310-5188] 27
Limited Warranty, Services and Support 2Yr Ltd Warranty, 2Yr At-Home Service, and 2Yr Technical Support S2OS [950-1000][950-1001][950-3338][412-0360][960-2780][900-8221] 29
Dial-Up Internet Access 6 Months America Online Internet Access Included AOLDHS [412-0585][412-0625][420-3224][412-0687] 37
Digital Imaging or Digital Photography Photo Albumâ„¢ SE Basic DPS [412-0744] 38
Wireless Personal Networking Card Dellâ„¢ TrueMobileâ„¢ 300 Bluetooth Internal Card TM300I [430-0432] 71
Financial Software No QuickBooks package selected- Includes limited use trial QBSSP [420-5139] 83
Dell Media Experience Dell Media Experienceâ„¢ DMX [412-0751] 115
TOTAL: $1,204.00

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Additional Discounts and Coupons

Free Ground Shipping on any Dell Inspiron order greater than $899! -$49.00
Limited Time Offer!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Total Price
Sub-total $1,204.00

Shipping & Handling $49.00

Shipping & Handling Discount -$49.00

Tax $99.33

Total Price $1,303.33

This is a really good deal from Dell right Now......

768 Ram , Pen M715 1.5 Processor w/400 Bus , DVD Burner, Wireless, Bluetooth, 40 gig Drive, XP Pro, 2 year at Home Warranty, and Free Delivery......

Aint bad for $1305.00

L8R,
 
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