Need new laptop

I have a Compaq Evo, 1.4 GHz with 512 MB RAM now and I have been given the go ahead to get a better one. I am going to be using it for video editing, remote server repair/diagnostics, and gaming (when I'm at home). I have a wireless network set up at home and I am going to be putting in wireless in the 2 main buildings.

I want;
Minimum of a 2 GHz, prefer 3 or better
minimum of 512MB RAM, 1024 preferrably
Floppy (lots of newer ones leaving this off)
Decent graphics card (128 MB or better)
at least 15" screen
built-in wireless
Minimum of a 60GB drive

And of course I want a reliable computer above all.

Any suggestions?
Bob StoneIT GuruAsked:
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THat's gonna be 1 heavy computer. Have you considered just a PC. it'd be cheaper. Here is the best I can find from Dell.

Module Description Product Code Sku Id
Inspiron 8500:   Mobile Pentium® 4 Processor,2.4GHz,15.4 WSXGA+   LD24NHN   [221-2279]    1  
Operating Systems:   Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition   WHXP   [420-2575] [412-0408] [313-1423] [313-2208]    11  
Special Offer:   $200 Special Offer   CP200   [461-6887]    120  
Memory:   FREE UPGRADE! 512MB,266MHz,2DIMM (from 256MB, 266MHz, 2DIMM)   512MB2P   [462-1508]    3  
Video Card:   32MB DDR ATI MOBILITY™ RADEON™ 9000 4x AGP 3D Video   ATI32   [320-0636]    6  
Modular Internal CD/DVD Drives:   FREE 24X CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive Upgrade! (from DVD)   24COMBH   [313-1370] [462-5324]    16  
Hard Drives:   60GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive   60GB   [340-7279]    8  
Primary Battery:   72 WHr Primary Battery   ADDBATT   [312-0066]    27  
Integrated Nic And Modem:   Integrated 10/100 Network Card and Modem   INTNIC   [430-0493]    13  
Dial-Up Internet Access:   6 Months of America Online Membership Included   AOLDHS   [412-0585]    37  
Wireless Networking Cards:   Dell TrueMobile™ 1300 WLAN (802.11b/g, 54Mbps) miniPCI Card   TM1300I   [430-0491]    19  
Productivity Software:   Word Perfect® Office 11   IWPO11   [412-0403]    22  
Security Software:   Dell SecurityCenter by McAfee, 90-day introductory offer   MCAFE90   [412-0548]    25  
Multi-Media Players:   RealOne™ Player, with 14 day SuperPass trial   REALBAS   [412-0380]    40  
Digital Music:   Dell Jukebox powered by MUSICMATCH   MMBASE   [412-0298]    26  
Digital Imaging Software:   Dell Picture Studio, Image Expert Premium   DPSPREM   [412-0446] [412-0276] [412-0277]    38  
Floppy Drive and Additional Storage Devices:   Modular Floppy Drive   FD   [340-7280]    10  
Limited Warranty, Services and Support:   1 Year Limited Warranty plus 1 Year Mail-In Service   ST111RR   [950-9057] [950-3337] [950-3830] [412-0361]    29  
Surge Protectors - Protect Your Investment:   TrippLIte Notebook Surge Protector   NBSURGE   [A0009016
Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
I have 4 PCs of my own already and weight ain't a prob, I used to be an all-state nosegaurd in (american) football.

Also OS and extra software isn't an issue I will put my own stuff on there/
Toshiba seems to use the top of the line GeForce Go 5600 cards that are 128 and 8xAGP and can run up to 350 Mhz like their desktop counterpart.  HP Compaq nc8000 and nc6000 Business Notebooks using the Mobility Radeon 9600 128MB Series is the other option at core speeds of 300 Mhz.  Dell always seems behind the times on Video cards in both their desktop and laptop editions and getting them to switch them out is like pulling teeth.  I prefer Toshiba for their reliability and performance, and I also prefer the GeForce and NVidia for much the same reasons.  Also, I don't believe that it was a coincidence that NVidia announced their more efficient and more powerful card at the same time that Intel announced their Centrino line.  You can configure both systems on both sites for compairison.
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The problems I see with the laptop you referenced are the following;

There is 512 MB of RAM but it is in two chips instead of one.  If you want to add more RAM, you will have to buy either 1 512 chip to bring it to 768, or two 512 chips to bring it to 1024.  Optimally, you want to start with 1 512 chip so you can add one more instead of two 256 chips.  

The Intel Pentium 2.66 chip is not the Mobile chipset but the desktop chipset.  What that means in the long run is that the machine will run much hotter and take more power from your battery. It will also reduce the longevity of the chip itself, as it will not have sufficient cooling and will tend to wear out sooner.  There is also a 2.6 Mobile chipset from Intel that is made to run cooler, so you may want to find a laptop with that chipset.  

The video card listed is still the 32 MB version, and not a 64MB card.  Most intense games now (I'm a gamer myself and in love with heavy graphic games) will require cards with more than 32MB.  Try not to sell yourself short, because you don't want to limit the games you are able to play.  The NVidia is a good choice, but go for the 64MB if possible.

If you are going to use this machine for home and work, you will want to upgrade the OS to Windows XP Professional instead of the home version.

Also, there is no wireless card in this laptop.  No one else is charging extra for the wireless option, and you really can't go wrong.  It will come in handy at work when you get a wireless router and have the ability to go anywhere at anytime and work.  But bigger than that... LAN parties, McDonalds, 'not-so-smart about security neighbors' and Internet Cafe's.  You can piggy back off of unsecured wireless networks in a lot of places, but also some McDonalds and Internet Cafe's are offering wireless in the restaurants.  It's only the start, and since you have the laptop for a year or two... it's worth considering.
Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I see that now. There are free alternative in the preconfigged hell of laptor shopping. None, not one, company makes a laptop with a floppy anymore.
Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
The Sony one does have integrated wireless tho.
Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
Haw about this one?
Yeah, I saw that it did have Wireless after I posted.  That said, I've never had any reliably with Fujitsu.  They are kind of flaky, and I'm big on systems with great stability.  I'll even pay hundreds more for a system I know won't fail me day after day.  It's all personal preference.  
Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
What about HP?
I know their desktops suck

CELSIUS Mobile H, 15" UXGA, 1.9GHz, Windows 2000

Note the 64MB card, and the Single DIMM 512 MB.  Also a bigger HD, and a mobile chip and incredable battery life.  

If you are going to go Fujitsu, this is the one I'd suggest
HP and Compaq are now the same really on laptops, since the merge it's hard to tell where one begins and the other leaves off.  I have never had issues with Compaq laptops, but I have a HP laptop that I've had for 3 years and only had it in for service twice (once because my boss dropped it and once because he plugged the modem into a digital line.. ) so it's pretty reliable.  Their drivers are always easy to find, and their support is good.  I rate them up there with Toshiba when it comes to laptop stability and engineering.  We have 5 year old Toshiba laptops that still run extremely well and have never been in for service.

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Bob StoneIT GuruAuthor Commented:
I went with an HP zd7000 series notebook with;

Processor                      Pentium(R) 4 3.2GHZ w/HT          
Operating System          Microsoft(R)Windows(R) XP Pro          
Memory                        512MB DDR SDRAM(1X512MB)  (2048MB Max)        
Hard Drive                    80 GB 5400 RPM Hard Drive          
Productivity Software    Microsoft(R) Works/Money          
Primary CD/DVD Drive  2x DVD+RW/R and CD-RW Combo Drive          
Communication             54g Wireless LAN          
Display                         17" WVA WXGA+ (1440x900)          
Graphics Card               128MB NVIDIA(R) GeForce(TM) FX Go5600          
Ports                            Four USB 2.0
                                    one FireWire (IEEE 1394)
                                    one Fast Infrared
                                    one S-Video TV out

5-in-1 digital media card reader
Extra 12 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
16-bit Sound Blaster® Pro-–compatible audio
Harman/Kardon® integrated speakers
1.85" thin and 9.3lbs

PC Magazine, Editor's Choice
5 out of 5 stars, Nov. 2003
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