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Trying to pick a laptop

Posted on 2002-03-04
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Last Modified: 2013-11-08
I am trying to decide between buying a fujitsu c-7651 or a sony vaio pcg-fxa49.

The fujitsu has 40 gb, 512 mb ram, 8 mb video ram with 40 mb shared for a total of 48 mb video ram... 8x dvd/8x cdr combo, and is a pIII 1.13 ghz.  graphics card is an Intel 830MG

the vaio is an athlon 4 1.2 ghz (so it blows the fujitsu out of the water), 512 mb ram, basically same specs but only a 30 gb hard drive.  the graphics card is an ati rage mobility m1 8 mb card.

I need this laptop for college, and I'm getting it this week.  I want the sony, but I would also like to be able to play some counterstrike and return to castle wolfenstein if possible .  Basically, I'm using this to have a portable dvd player, play movies, and do homework while I'm at work.  It really does kinda need to replace my desktop, though.  Now, I want the sony more than the fujitsu... but I'm worried about the graphics card.  I don't know anything about the intel graphics card, and I wonder how good it is... Is it a lot better than the sony one?  This is a major part of my decision.  I tried to do some research, but I didn't find anything really... Could I get some feedback?  thanks a million
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Question by:diothar
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by:jhance
ID: 6838772
Both Fujitsu and Sony have very poor reputations for support.  I'd suggest you skip BOTH of them.

I prefer Dell or Toshiba.
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by:slink9
ID: 6838817
I agree with a Dell.  You will pay a little more, but when you need support you will be glad you did.
If you are dead set between these two I would suggest the Sony for the same reasons you gave - the video card brand and reputation.  At least the Sony reputation is better than Fujitsu (I thought they only made drives).
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by:jhance
ID: 6838862
Actually, Sony is the worst of the two, Fujitsu and Sony.  They regularly neglect to provide driver support for new versions of Windows for laptops that are still under warranty.  There were, in fact, currently sold models in 2000 that have never had W2K support.  If you were the unfortunate owner of such a laptop you'd be rightfully upset.

This is NOT the kind of company I'd want to be a customer of.  I have no problems with other Sony consumer electronic devices (TVs, CD, DVD players, etc.) but these things don't depend on continued engineering support for drivers and so on.  Computers are different and Sony has NOT figured that out.

My advice is to AVOID SONY computer systems whenever possible.
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by:mousmasterbob
ID: 6839061
I also have done a lot of research on this and buy a large number of laptop computers, one for every one of my students.Dell is what I have chosen.My distant second would have been IBM

...Bob
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6839240
I repair Both Sony and Fujitsu laptops. Sony Vaios have a very poor quality PBC assembly. Fujitsu has better quality PCB assembly but the actual components are cheap.

With either brand/laptop you go with make sure you buy an extended warranty. You're only shooting yourself in the foot if you get a 1 year warranty.

Also, as stated above, it don't get much worse than Sony and Fujitsu for support. From my point of view, it's not a case of drivers and such, it's replacement parts that are needed once your laptop is out of warranty.

Simpy put, you'll find gold faster than you'll find a second source for Fujitsu laptop parts as well and cheap sony parts.


With other brands such as Toshiba, Compaq, gateway, IBM and Dell, most of these parts are readily available.

My personal favorite(s) for quality not quantity are IBM and Toshiba.


Buy the extended warranty.

Joe
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magarity earned 200 total points
ID: 6839284
All over EE people are recommending Dells, but man, the things feel like they are about to fall apart.  My friend has one that's so shoddily designed the keyboard has left an impression on the screen.  Other than being really cheap, in expense and in workmanship, Dells don't have anything going for them.  IBM Thinkpads rule, but are out of mere mortals' budgets.  I recommend Toshiba Satellite series.  Prices from $1000 for bare bones, but reasonably feature packed at $1500 and above.
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by:BOFH
ID: 6839319
After buying several different types of laptop
we at our company are going to stick to Toshiba.
Always good support (even at the end of 3 year warranty)

Dell would be up there with the rest if they hadnt taken 4 months to supply us with a machine (they kept loosing the order)
and thats with an account manager.
Their customer support is very slow at times.
Although many people I know swear by Dell's support, my experience is less than favourable.

So tosh it is.
Their prices go as low as sony and fujitsu as well.

BOFH
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by:BOFH
ID: 6839323
Just another quickie
Both Dell and Toshiba supply laptops with Geforce graphics boards in them

That should satisfy the counterstrike hunger :)

BOFH
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by:RickHulshof
ID: 6839459
Another option if you are in Canada or US. If you really want one of those 2 I would pick the Vaio - You might want to check www.tomshardware.com and see if he has any reviews on your notebook choices. Again I like Dell but mine is 2.5 years old and built like a tank. I haven't seen the new ones. I have also had good luck with toshiba's - and this brand as well which isn't real well known www.eurocom.ca. You can customize them get 2 OS's preinstalled if you like plus they are upgradable (to a point - don't believe everything you read about that portion - they also used to have a nice trade up program - not sure if they still do that)

Regards,

Rick
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by:weed
ID: 6839539
Check out Apple's powerbooks. Longer battery life, smaller dimensions, lighter weight, generally better GPU's, and they get a great service rating and nearly double the expected lifespan rating.

Here's a useful comparison of the major laptop manufacturers. The numbers on the end of the URL represent price points

http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_1200.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_1500.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_1800.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_2300.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_2600.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_3000.html
http://www.aapltalk.com/shootouts/laptop_3500.html
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by:highstar1
ID: 6839595
I have Toshiba's, They have not given me any problems.

Dells and Compaqs don't rate high for me.

The HP's do have my interest. Just haven't played with
them enough.

Some of the Sony's look interesting, but I have big
reservations on them.
I have never considered any fujitsu's

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Author Comment

by:diothar
ID: 6839737
Wow, so many people against those companies.  Well, I'm a former employee at the store where they were bought, so I can get an extended warranty for free.  Truthfully, for the price and what they offer, those are the only two I can really get.  I need to get them from that store (small discount still) and I need as much power as I can get... But I just want to know how much the graphics cards vary, because I'm inclined to get the sony.. but I just don't know.  I need a decent graphics card, and laptops are impossible to upgrade for graphics cards.
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Author Comment

by:diothar
ID: 6839750
and for the price, these suckers are complete powerhouses
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by:RoadWarrior
ID: 6839772
Yeah, but will those sony graphics do you any good, when they get problems with directX 10 and sony doesn't realease a driver fix????? Hmmmm

I know a few people who have been really pleased with NECs, the support seems okay as well, Compaq's support is good too, although sometimes a little tricky to navigate. Mere mortals can afford IBM gear if they buy it refurbished,  you can get refurbished stuff direct from IBM, or use a large well established retailer that deals new too, some of those "laptop specialists" selling "refurbished" IBM gear have got it  battered and bruised at some govt auction and give it a quick wipe over before shoving it out the door at unsuspecting punters. The good guys will give you a warranty that's as long as on some new parts.

If you want a laptop that will play a whole DVD, get something slower!!!! The excess RAM will flatten your battery needlessly too if you really don't need that much, but then hitting the harddisk for virtual mem a lot would too. I'd pick 700Mhz, 256Mb, but I wouldn't want to run XP.

regards,

Road Warrior
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Author Comment

by:diothar
ID: 6839923
Alright, well... I'm now thinking about the Toshiba 5005-S504.  What do you guys think?
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by:magarity
ID: 6840057
Toshiba 5005-S504

Excellent choice if that's in your budget.  The 15 inch screen is sweet but keep in mind that makes it a little bit of a beast to lug around.  Also, that model has the touchypad thing instead of an erasermouse.

Otherwise, the GeForce4go is top of the line video.  There aren't any games that laptop can't handle with ease.
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Author Comment

by:diothar
ID: 6840399
I hate to keep doing this to you guys... lol.. I decided that if I was going to shell that much money out (money I didn't have, that I will just go ahead and go even further... going to sell a few things I don't need in college right now).. What about the 1905-S277 instead of the one I just mentioned?  I can get it for 1700 bucks.  Worth it?  More than I wanted to spend, but if I'm going to spend 1500 bucks, might as well get the best one I can get for 200 bucks more.
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by:RickHulshof
ID: 6841377
Great Choice -

16 meg ATI video - very nice, 16 bit sound - reasonable - everything else on it is fine - keep in mind the built-in speakers that come with the laptops leave alot to be desired - you'll want to buy external ones at some point. Like some nice altec lansings'. No legacy 9 pin serial port - so long as you don't need that port as I do you'll be fine.

Rick
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by:jhance
ID: 6841429
You may want to get a copy of the current issue (march 26,2002) of PC Magazine.  They have a review of several current "ultra-portable" laptops.  What's their #1 pick?  Toshiba Portege' 4000.  The Dell Latitude C400 is #2.

My favorite, however, is the Toshiba Tecra 9000 or the Dell Inspiron 8100.
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by:magarity
ID: 6841496
"the built-in speakers that come with the laptops leave alot to be desired"

Outdated information; the speakers in my three month old Toshiba are excellent.  The only thing to be desired is that obviously the stereo separation is only 13 inches or so....  Otherwise the sound quality is great.

Re: the 1905

Whoa there, check the detailed specs.  The 1905 series has three USB 1.1 and no iLink/Firewire.  The 5005 series has three USB 1.1 and one iLink/Firewire.  If you ever need to add an external drive, you'll be hating USB 1.1...   Sure, you can get a PCCard adapter, but why do that when you can get it built in?  

Also, the 1905's screen does 1024x768 while the 5005's screen does 1600x1280.  This is the LCD, not the external video port.  My Toshiba has the 1024x768 resolution 15 inch, and while it's nice I really wish I had the higher resolution.  There are several things the 5005 has going for it over the 1905.
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by:RickHulshof
ID: 6841854
The reason I mentioned the speakers - is that he wants to record guitar and possibly edit - He will need the external ones to do any effective sound editing. Sure they are OK for the average user - but I really don't think he'll be happy with the factory speakers.

Very good point about the firewire port.

Also a good point about the resolution - I doubt he will use the larger resolution unless he adds an external monitor. I rarely use a resoution higher than 1024 X 768 unless designing graphics that are at 1024 X 768 to avoid panning. But it would be nice to have the option.

Rick
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by:magarity
ID: 6842063
"I doubt he will use the larger resolution"

LCDs are fixed frequency; if you set it to a lower resolution it just uses a small rectangle in the middle of the screen.  So you either get full screen 1600x1280 or 1024x769.  At LCD sharpness, 1600x1280 is pretty sweet.  Yes, you can scale it to use the entire screen at the lower resolution, but that just looks blocky.

If you're going to be doing semiserious audio work, you'll use a good pair of headphones.

For serious musicians, Echo's Layla multitrack recorder has a PC-Card option; a friend of mine just got one and is going to record his band live at their next gig.
0
IT, Stop Being Called Into Every Meeting

Highfive is so simple that setting up every meeting room takes just minutes and every employee will be able to start or join a call from any room with ease. Never be called into a meeting just to get it started again. This is how video conferencing should work!

 
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by:joe_aqs
ID: 6843212
I've worked with Layla's "Darla" box on a customer's PC, that is some serious stuff.

Joe
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Expert Comment

by:rmcinnes
ID: 6845937
Go for the Sony...
I bought a VAIO EX-17 a few years ago, and love it...
It looks good, feels good, and is nice to use.

The machine is specifically desinged to work with multimedia, and usually comes preinstalled with good software for photography, etc...

Take good care of it, and it will last you many years.
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by:weed
ID: 6845991
rmcinnes: welcome to experts exchange. Please familiarize yourself with the etiquette of posting comments versus answers.

Secondly, using the "machine is specifically desinged to work with multimedia......" point would seem to aim diothar more at a Titanium PowerBook than an vaio.
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by:magarity
ID: 6987016
diothar, please use the 'reject proposed answer' button to remove the bogus "answer" provided by rmcinnes.

Did you buy a new laptop yet?  If not, the next model year will arrive at this rate.
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by:slink9
ID: 6987095
The next model year?  Shouldn't that be the next model quarter?
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by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 7004056
DON'T BUY THE SONY.

We've had a few at work - when they need repair SONY has been AWFUL in giving us RMAs and returning them with any degree of efficiency (upwards of 30 days from the date it was shipped out before we got it back).

Personally, I bought a Dell a couple years ago.  It's had an occasional problem with the screen, but I called dell and in less than 30 minutes had an RMA.  In less than 48 hours, I had it back and fixed.  

Buy a Dell and get it with a 3 year warranty.  Overall, it's performance/price is better than sony.  And support is better as well.  They have a notebook now that's as little as $1100 with the 3 year warranty.  And unless your credit is horrible, they'll finance all or part of it for you.  (and for me, that financing wasn't reported to credit agencies)
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Expert Comment

by:asinawi
ID: 7004702
i buy & sell a lot of these laptops ..and i get so many complaints on most of these brands,sony,Fujitsu,ibm thinkpad,Hp omnibook...etc. ihad many problems trying to help my customer get their warranty support.
but truthfully , i never had one toshiba returned back or complained about,to the extent that i stopped recommending any thing but toshiba laptops to my customer..
so go for toshiba and be thankful that you made the right choice..
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by:slink9
ID: 7004725
And Diothar seems to have disappeared...
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by:magarity
ID: 7024916
I thought this question was answered.  Did EE's database blow up and lose it?
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7030094
weed:

Last time I checked, counterStrike and RtCW don't run on Mac...but I could be mistaken.  Or I should say, they don't run well on a Powerbook of any sort (CounterStrike for sure, maybe RtCW does since its Quake3 based...)

Not trying to start a Mac vs. PC debate here...there's enough of a shoving match above re: the brand of laptop...

-dog*
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by:weed
ID: 7030308
The current PowerBooks could run that stuff via VPC and probably better than the hardware they were intended to run on when they were released. I think buying a computer to play 1 or 2 specific games is a mistake. Inevitably those games will get boring/old/whatever...and then what?..heh...Buy a Nintendo if you want to play games, buy a computer if you want a work machine.
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by:andyalder
ID: 7037720
Considering the number of users that come here complaining that they don't work after spilling a cup of coffee in them I recommend a waterproof one like www.geotechnology.co.uk/front.jpg

Admittedly half the speed and thrice the price of some of the other ones suggested above.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7112105
weed:

I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no way the fastest Mac in the world will run RtCW faster in VirtualPC than it will run on native x86 hardware (i.e. Pentium III-1 Gig/Athlon/etc and GeForce3)  Both these games are fairly recent.

I don't suppose it matters though, this "diothar" has bailed out on us...

GET RID OF THE ANSWER BUTTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-dog*
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by:weed
ID: 7112132
dogz: i wasnt really referring to the most recent stuff though im sure the latest games would at least run well on a hot Mac with a GF 4Ti card. A TiBook would run the older stuff that was intended to run on a PIII 500. My point in either case was that if you want to play games, buy a nintendo.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7112273
No way! Support Gate's fortune and buy XBOX! :)

I got one free from Taco Bell so that's what I'm using for my (rare opportunities) to play games!

-dog*
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by:weed
ID: 7112287
heh, last i heard the XboX was having crashing problems and wasnt nearly as successful as MS had been hoping for.
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7113587
No crash problems here, but I think the ones that do are overheating...the thing gets pretty toasty if it doesn't have good air circulation...it is a 733 MHz Pentium III after all...

-dog*
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Expert Comment

by:Hasanat
ID: 7114066
Get A Toshiba. They last and last and last forever. Mine is 7 years old. Still working.
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Expert Comment

by:Smith123go
ID: 7114934
Firstlly, Toshiba is the best notobok or laptop for ever.. keep than in your mind!

sony vaio pcg-fxa49 is better, What?
[1] for it's graphics card.
[2] bease sony is better than fujitsu in notobook.


Advice:
-------
Try to buy the best notobok from the best compay:
[1] Toshiba
[2] Dell, Compaq, HP, Sony
[3] IBM
[5] Asus


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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 7115300
A good IBM Thinkpad will beat the heck out of any crummy Sony laptop anyday, plus you're actually able to get drivers and spare parts for them!  Sony should be your last choice.

-dog*
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by:akboss
ID: 8945008
============================
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:
Accept magarity 's comment as answer
Please leave any comments here within the next seven days.
 
PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER!
 
akboss
EE Cleanup Volunteer
============================
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by:Kyle Schroeder
ID: 8947094
Agreed, I think the majority of the comments supported Toshiba, and she was the first to suggest it.

-dog*
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