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comparing 2 laptops "extras" so I don't get cheated - Thank you so much for helping.

Posted on 2004-10-01
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Last Modified: 2013-11-17
Ok, it's time I need some experts opinions. I don't know anything about laptops or much computer stuff at all but I know my husband wants a laptop for his birthday. I have two here from the same seller that I am comparing. I want to know if it's worth it to get the higher priced one or if the lower priced one is a better deal for what I'm getting. My hubby needs it for writing. He's wanting to write a book and he needs a traveling computer. He is also a teacher and would just like to have his work with him when he needs it. Being internet capable is a definite plus but I don't know how that works with laptops.   Anyway, the prices are the first one is 399 on half.com or the second one is 179 starting bid or 229 to buy it now on ebay. I don't have much money so if the cheaper one is the better buy for the buck, I'll get that one. But if it's junk I don't want it. I just need some help from you experts. Thanks for taking the time to compare these two units for me. Neither my husband nor I know much about these things, so we need to keep it simple. :)
Sincerely,
Heather

Unit number one-----

Condition: Very Good Micron TREK2 TRANSPORT  4.0 GB, Pentium II, 366MHz
Seller's Comments: THIS PENTIUM II Micron TransPort TREK 2 WITH A PCMCIA 56K MODEM FOR INTERNET WORKS LIKE NEW AND COMES COMPLETE WITH THE FOLLOWING:TWO USB PORTS FOR NEWER ADD-ONS, A PENTIUM II 366MHz PROCESSOR WITH MMX TECHNOLOGY FOR BETTER GRAPHICS, AC ADAPTER/POWER CORD, OWNER'S MANUEL IN PDF FORMAT, 64MB OR MORE OF RAM, 4.0GB HARD DRIVE FULLY TESTED WITH WINDOWS FRESHLY INSTALLED, CDROM, 1.44 FLOPPY DRIVE, SOUND WITH INTERNAL SPEAKERS, 14.1" COLOR DISPLAY, TOUCHPAD MOUSE, PCMCIA SLOTS, 2-32-bit PCMCIA Slot for one or two type I or II cards or one type III card, PRINTER PORT, SERIAL PORTS AND EXTERNAL MOUSE PORTS. THIS SYSTEM HAS BEEN TESTED WITH WINME AND OFFICE 2000 FRESH INSTALLED. ALL THIS MAKES THIS THE PERFECT UNIT FOR THE STUDENT. . NOTE: **** BATTERY w/ COVER IS NOT INCLUDED . THIS CLEAN PROFESSIONAL LOOKING LAPTOP IS A GREAT WORKING UNIT AND IS WARRANTED TO AS I DESCRIBED IN AUCTION. THIS NICE LOOKING UNIT HAS BEEN TESTED WITH WINME FRESH INSTALLED.
399.00
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Unit number two----------
Item Specifics - PC Laptops Brand: IBM Hard Drive Capacity: 5 GB Chip Type: Intel Pentium  Processor Speed: 233 MHz Primary Drive: COMBO CD/FDD Memory (RAM): 64 MB
THIS IBM THINKPAD 380 ARRIVES READY TO USE UPON ARRIVAL AND WORKS LIKE NEW AND COMES COMPLETE WITH THE FOLLOWING:
A PENTIUM MMX 233MHz PROCESSOR WITH MMX TECHNOLOGY FOR BETTER GRAPHICS, USB PORTS FOR NEWER AD-ON'S, OWNER'S MANUEL IN PDF FORMAT, 64MB RAM WITH BUYNOW, 5.0GB HARD DRIVE FULLY TESTED WITH WINME FRESHLY INSTALLED, CDROM, 1.44 FLOPPY DRIVE, SOUND WITH INTERNAL SPEAKERS, 12.1" COLOR DISPLAY, Trackpoint, PCMCIA SLOTS, 2-32-bit PCMCIA Slot for one or two type I or II cards or one type III card, PRINTER PORT, SERIAL PORTS AND EXTERNAL MOUSE PORTS. THIS SYSTEM HAS BEEN TESTED WITH WINME AND OFFICE 2000 FRESH INSTALLED. ALL THIS MAKES THIS THE PERFECT UNIT FOR THE STUDENT. . NOTE: **** BATTERY INCLUDED AND SEEMS TO ACCEPT A CHARGE, BUT NOT A WARRANTED ITEM .
THIS LAPTOP IS A COMPLETE WORKING UNIT AND IS WARRANTED TO AS I DESCRIBED IN AUCTION. IF THE BUYER USES THE BUYNOW OPTION ON THIS ITEM...I WILL INCLUDE FREE AN AC ADAPTER/POWER CORD AND THE MAX STATED RAM. OTHERWISE THERE WILL ONLY BE 32MB OF RAM.
THIS NICE LOOKING UNIT HAS BEEN TESTED WITH WINME FRESH INSTALLED AND WAS FOUND TO BE IN GREAT WORKING CONDITION. YOUR LAPTOP IS WARRANTED TO BE AS DESCRIBED. FOR YOUR PROTECTION THE LAPTOP WILL BE INSURED FOR DAMAGES IN SHIPPING. NOTE: CASE MAY HAVE MINOR IMPERFECTIONS.
179.00 starting bid or Buy it Now for 229.00
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Question by:webmastership
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by:katacombz
ID: 12200021
take a look here

http://www.notebookmall.com/

of the 2 you have listed unit 1 is the better system, has floppy cd and internal speakers with a 14.1" display and the faster of the two processors. though the seller listed **** BATTERY w/ COVER IS NOT INCLUDED  so you will need to reaserch battery prices.
then weigh this against the price.
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by:Callandor
ID: 12200123
I think the Pentium 233 will be barely acceptable, the hard drives are small for today's software applications, and you may regret it in the future.  I have an IBM A21p with a Celeron 667 that I have been using for years, so I would recommend spending a little more for known quality.  For comparison, an IBM T21 with PIII 800 and 20GB drive for $500: http://www.saveateagle.com/ibmt21-2b.html?ovchn=OTHER&ovcpn=Price+Watch&ovcrn=IBMT21-2B&ovtac=CMP
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by:crazijoe
crazijoe earned 50 total points
ID: 12200167
The first one seems to be nice. But at that price I would insist that a good battery and cover come with the unit and I would also insist that the OS and Office comes with it. If these laptops have bad batteriers or do not have one at all you will also need to figure that into the price. Batteries can run up to $150.00. I know the replacement for the IBM is $109.00. You also need to look that these are kinda old technology. You might run into software that is not compatible with a machine that old. I would perhaps look for something with at least a PIII 500 with 128MB memory and Windows 2000. Office apps are very taxing on resorces depending on the size of them. More memory the better.
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by:nobus
ID: 12201849
I agree with the above posts, if possible have something with 128 or even 256 Mb memory, and a processor ranging up above 600 MHz, preferabli around 1 Ghz.
Look for one with a cd Writer or DVD -CD writer combo.
Maybe it will cost a bit more, but it will last much longer, and give much more satisfaction as it has more possibilities.
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by:huntersvcs
huntersvcs earned 25 total points
ID: 12203200
If the primary purpose for the notebook is to write a book, then definitely UNIT 2.  Even if WORD is not installed (MS Office make the NB slower) you could still use WORDPAD, especially if formatting is not a great issue.  WINME is not my choice of a good OS.  If you decide on this one, try not to install too much new software - you may have problems later.

One tip though:  no matter which one you choose make sure you get original software and licenses!  With a 233 Processor I would recommend Win98 (available over ebay) to get some more speed, especially if you only have 32MB RAM.  You can shut down all the bells and whistles and just use it as an electric typwriter - no additional money is needed.

Even if you want internet, it would work - just a bit slow.  My old computer was a 166MHz with analog modem.  For simple emails and surfing it was enough.

Hope this helps.
Rick
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ITcrow earned 25 total points
ID: 12206190
>> My hubby needs it for writing. He's wanting to write a book and he needs a traveling computer.
>> He is also a teacher and would just like to have his work with him when he needs it.
>> Being internet capable is a definite plus but I don't know how that works with laptops.

Following are the things, which will suffice your requirements.
1. Working Laptop, with windows 95 or windows 98.
    Laptop in good condition with a minimum of:
    LCD (screen) 12 inch or better.
    Licensed copy of OS ( Windows 95 / Windows 98 ).
    32 MB RAM
    6 GB Hard-Drive.
    200 MHz or better processor.
    Word processing package (WordStar or even Winword is okay).
2. A floppy and CD drive to take text backups on floppy and load softwares from CD.
3. Modem and Ethernet capable.
   Modem is if you use dial-up connection to internet (~10$ a month).
   Ethernet (network card) is for high speed connection or connecting over LAN (local area network).

Now you did say that your husband is a teacher. So if he is planning to load any softwares to get the job done from school or else where then you should look at the hardware pre-requisites for those softwares.

A machine which comes to mind as light weight and have these capabilities ( actually much much better than required ),
is a Toshiba Portege 7000 series ( 7100 or 7200 )

Little bit research should be able to get you this machine with accessories for about $400, which will be an excellent compromise between very low cost option and something fairly new. You could use this for another few years or atleast until your husbands book is published :-)

Going for less than 400 MHz will suffice your requirements, but trust me requirements change when you buy a machine and want to have some relatively new softwares.

Here are few examples I picked from ebay:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31561&item=6711029200&rd=1
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31561&item=6711601796&rd=1
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31561&item=6711862682&rd=1


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by:erahs
erahs earned 25 total points
ID: 12207209
I am not sure that either one is a good deal.
Since it is his birthday you might have a deadline.
But I would shop around for a better deal.
I would prioritise the important features in the following way:

1.You need a reliable PC, and the laptop should only be used
to work on projects you are working on currently and data
backed up frequently.

2. Vendor should clearly state Laptop is tested and working

3.make sure you can return it if its damaged when it is transported to
you or the claims dont match what you actually get.

4.minimum Pentium (it is unlikely you would
find a pentium with the specifications below!)

5.External Working ports and slots (eg. USB, PCMCIA,serial, parallel etc.)
If the USB port doesn't work or exist- Do not buy it.If any port doesn't work
the whole motherboard has to be replaced.

6.Working Display screen.

7. minimum 3GB harddisk (you can buy a USB flash drive to save your
documents and other files and transfer it between your PC and
laptop).If he only needs to use word and maybe as a teacher
powerpoint, then he can just install those two programs and leave out
the other office components.Also you can do a minimal installation
of windows and remove unecessary components such as desktop themes etc.
If he used other programs such as Excel, Access, photoshop etc.
then he needs minimum 6 GB HDD.

8. If you have to run win98 and office 97 or above:
Get 128MB RAM. He might get writer's block if the
computer just chugs along.

9. A power cord and AC adaptor that works.

Points 1-9 are the minimum requirements.

Other comments:
Battery: You can run your laptop without a battery. But
you need to always have a powerpoint handy. This shouldn't be
much of a problem if you use it in a hotel room, or office.
It is a problem if you want to use it in your local cafe or on the beach etc.!

Warranty: For people without a restricted budget, I always
advice them to look at the warranty, before even looking at
the specifications for a laptop. Laptop components, unlike
PCs are highly specialised, and due to the mobility of the
laptop, wear and tear is more likely: creating additional expenses.
If you are not a gambler, get a minimum 3 month parts and labour warranty.

Brand: For schools with laptop programs, the most reputed
laptops are Toshiba or the Apple ibooks.  
Toshiba laptops tend to be more hardy and handle wear and tear
more effectively than other ibm compatible laptop.
They tend to be priced more highly due to this reputation.
In the second tier:
*IBM and then Compaq have also built up a consistent reputation.
*From word of mouth Dell also appears to have a good reputation
in terms of quality of parts as well as value for money.

YOu also need to consider the following after purchasing the laptop:
*Secure backup system: The laptop is old and is likely to breakdown
so make sure the data is backed up. A $300-500 or even a $4000 laptop
maybe replacable but the data on the laptop may be irreplacable.
* Install upto date antivirus program.
* As mentioned earlier..since your budget is limited, then
you need to have a PC and a system to transfer files
not in constant use to the PC and very current work
onto your laptop.So you will need a CD-burner
for your PC and a USB flash drive.
*If you want to connect to the internet: an external Modem if
the laptop doesn't have an internal modem. By the way PCMCIA modems are a pain.
The cables fray easily, and that causes problems because
there are no standards for connectors...you need to
buy it from the original manufacturer.  So manufacturers
charge alot of money for the cable. Internal or external serial/USB or parallel modems are
better.
* If he needs to connect to a LAN (this is unlikely) and the laptop doesn't
have ethernet internally, you can purchase a PCMCIA
ethernet adapter.

Example of a better deal:
http://www.usanotebook.com/notebook_display_page.php?id=124
  IBM ThinkPad 600E $389
CPU       Intel Pentium-2 366 MHz      
   HARD DRIVE       6 GB      
   MEMORY       128 MB      
   CD-ROM       CD/DVD drive      
DISPLAY       13.3" TFT Active Matrix, 1024X768 pixel      
DISPLAY ADAPTER NeoMagic, 64K Colors at 1024 x 768, 2MB Video Ram Standard not upgradable.
BATTERY       Li-Ion      
POINTING DEVICE       Accupoint      
SOUND       16-bit CS4239 audio chip with OPL3 includes support for Sound Blaster Pro applications, 18 voice MIDI FM synthesis, internal speaker, audio in/out jacks
SOFTWARE       Preloaded Win98 Se (NOTE: this means they are not giving you the software...you need to buy it.)
EXPANSION SLOTS       2      
INTERFACES High-speed serial, ECP parallel, SVGA video, PS/2 keyboard/mouse, USB, Microphone in, Speaker/headphone (stereo), FDD connector, IrDA       
MODEM       56K      
WEIGHT       4.99 lbs.      
DIMENSIONS       11.8" x 9.4" x 1.4"      
WARRANTY       6 Months Limited Usanotebook Warranty

or this
http://store.yahoo.com/notebookdrivesoutlet/hpcoevon6pi1.html
IBM Thinkpad T22 PIII 900 128MB 14.1" TFT 20GB DVD-ROM off lease laptop $499
CPU        Intel Pentium III 900 MHz; 512k cache       
 Screen Size        14.1 inches TFT active matrix      
 Maximum Resolution        1024x768; 2048x1536 (external)       
 System Memory        128MB of PC100 SDRAM memory Max 512      
 Hard Drive        20GB       
 Graphics        Installed Video Memory 8MB      
 Audio        16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible; Integrated Microphone and Speakers       
 Pointing Device        Touchpad, Eraserhead       
 Expandability        One multipurpose bay, two PC Card slots, expansion bus port       
 Extra Features               
 Bundled removable-media drives        ULTRABAY 2000 6X CD/DVD DRIVE       
 Modem        Built-in V.90 modem,       
 Network        Built-in Fast Ethernet adapter       
 Extra ports        Headphone jack; composite video port       
 Battery life (hours:min)        Good: 3:2 hours       
 Weight: (in pounds)        Light: 5.29 lb.       
 Operating System        Windows XP        
 Warranty        90-days


I found them using froogle.com (using advanced search you can put in
the price range). Not sure of the credentials of the companies.  You should verify this by
looking through their site, emailing them, calling them etc. If something
is not clear on their sites...eg. you need to know that the laptops have been
tested and are working email them to clarify this, so when they reply
you have written proof.

There were many more deals like this out there-and maybe one
close to where you live.

Also try to bargain with the vendor. You can
take ads and ask them to match prices and/or specifications.
Personally, I am surprised how unreasonably expensive these
laptops are, considering that they are very much out of date.
I bought a laptop more than 3 years ago with specifications
which were far more advanced.
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by:huntersvcs
ID: 12207525
Ever thought of giving him a gift certificate toward the purchase of a notebook?  That way you meet your deadline, he gets to help pick out the notebook HE wants and helps decide if laying out MORE for BETTER meets his expectations.  That's what my wife would do!
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Author Comment

by:webmastership
ID: 12697685
I wondered why no one ever responded to this question! Now I see that everybody did! My email address is updated and working just fine, I got your notice about closing the question obviously. So why didn't I get these answers as they were coming in. I could have really used this advice then.
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by:webmastership
ID: 12698623
If ITCrow and others will come back and look at this auction, I'd appreciate it. Hubby never got his bday present so I'm trying to talk his mom into getting him one for Christmas. I think she will but she won't spend over 400. I've read all your answers and have been comparing prices for a couple hours now. The research into what I don't understand very well is giving me a headache. I think I found a good deal but someone who knows should tell me if I did. How is this one?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=31560&item=6725145607&rd=1

Thanks!
Heather
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by:crazijoe
ID: 12699723
It looks fine except for the untested battery. But you do need to consider that this is still old technology. Some apps may not run on this slow of a system. Plus Windows ME is not the most stable OS out there.
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by:webmastership
ID: 12699776
Thanks crazijoe. Do you think I could do any better for under $400.00?
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by:crazijoe
crazijoe earned 50 total points
ID: 12699940
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by:erahs
ID: 12751948
I think some of the deals shown above are good:

However, for laptops: You should check the warranty.  Laptop parts are extremely expensive and because the equipment is portable the parts are likely to wear out easily.  

You might also like to try this auction site run by dell financial services:
http://www.dellauction.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/CategoryDisplay?cgrfnbr=31442862&cgmenbr=31308269
You can purchase ex-lease equipment -some of which still have a left over
warranty period.  You may also be able to purchase an extended warranty from Dell for some models.  You might even be lucky to find one with an onsite warranty.

Remember, during christmas time, prices may be more inflated, since more people would be considering purchasing gifts at this time.

Good luck
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by:webmastership
ID: 12753666
Boy I sure do appreciate you folks help with this stuff. Since this thread got so long and involved when I didn't even know it, I have no idea how to give out the points properly. I will check out that dell auction site. How cool!
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by:huntersvcs
ID: 12753824
If the price is right - go with DELL!  I've been working with them for years and they really are worth the money.  And repair support after the warranty expires is directly available from the manufacturer.
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Author Comment

by:webmastership
ID: 12809070
His mom won't tell us if she's gonna do this but I'll let ya'll know if she gets him one of these. We have printed off all the specs ya'll told us to get and are working on it. I so very much appreciate all your help. I sure hope this is under the tree in a couple weeks!
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Author Comment

by:webmastership
ID: 13218507
Oh my gosh, I am so excited! Ya'll know how long I've been trying to get this darn machine for my husband, right? Well guess what happened today? I won an essay contest on thejoyfm.com!!!!! LOL That's right, I won $500.00 so now I don't have to rely on his mom (she didn't come through for Christmas) or even to save up the money! My essay to the radio station in 100 words explained why I wanted this laptop for my hubby and it was so weird to hear the dj's voice on my own phone this morning! It's time now experts, I am ready to purchase. PLEASE don't desert me now, I need you! I want the best laptop that my husband can get for $500.00 on ebay. Around Christmas I saw brand new ones at Sam's Club for 700.00 so I know I should be able to get a rear-kickin machine for $500.00! Let's go shopping! Who will help me??? http://www.ebay.com

Heather
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by:katacombz
ID: 13218701
one benefit to this site http://www.notebookmall.com/ is there will be a warranty coming with teh equipment. most ebayers after it si recieved in working condition you are on your own.
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by:crazijoe
ID: 13218724
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by:webmastership
ID: 13218819
Wow you guys, look at this one!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6741148833

Here are the specs and they sound good although I don't know much about it. Since I'm going to fork over all this money, I'd like this thing to be able to do more than just process words. Portability is key, we want to carry it in the truck. He'll want to go online with it eventually too so we can instant message if he's out at the beach writing. This is so exciting. I'm actually getting kinda scared. But this seller has 100% positive feedback so I think he should have good deals. That one will be gone by the time you guys come back to help me but he has more. What do you think?
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by:katacombz
ID: 13218835
seems like a fair deal.
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by:webmastership
ID: 13287673
Yippeee!! They sent me the check already!! I got it!! I got 500 buckaroos in my hot little hand!!! I am finally shopping!!!!!!
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by:nobus
ID: 13287909
Send it over here and we'll party !!
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by:webmastership
ID: 13287981
My brain hurts from all this comparing. I know a battery is like at the top of the needs list on the unit he gets. It has to work and work for a long time or we get a spare for him to use while recharging. Portability is key. But he will play music on it all the time while he's writing. I know he will. He also needs to be able to print so it has to hook up to our printer and he needs a floppy and cd drive too.

I have found a guy I want to buy from. His ebay feedback is perfect and for a laptop seller, that's awesome. He also includes warantees with his units and actually has a website. Of course I want the best deal for the money I have though but I keep getting confused because they throw little extras in or change numbers around for different units until I don't know what's best anymore. I can add a little to the unit I buy for him since I originally wanted to buy this for him and now we have 500 free dollars.

It seems like maybe I should put some extra with the winnings to get him the best. Or is that overkill? I don't want to buy software in it that will never get used but I want all the extras that he can use available to him. Does that make any sense? On that note, please go to:

http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZ4greatlaptopsQQhtZ-1

and tell me which one you think I should go for.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping me through this!

Heather
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by:crazijoe
ID: 13288039
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by:nobus
nobus earned 25 total points
ID: 13288121
Since he write, you will need at least a cd burner; that requires with xp pr w2k for a good "feeling" a minimum of 256 Mb Ram, and i would not take less than 30Gb disc space. I would not look at the super slim ones (unless that is a pro for you) because they tend to be costlier for the same performance.
If you have other specific needs, just add them to this list.
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by:nickg5
nickg5 earned 50 total points
ID: 13288312
I got my laptop from a CompUSA auction and you could look there by going to the CompUSA.com website.
If this laptop is for a student I doubt you need 512 ram. 256 should be enough. My desktop only has 20gig hardrive and I have not problems burning CD's if the student has plans for this, so those very large hard drives may be overkill.
You can also download alot of the software you need from the internet and most of it is free.
You need to be informed that if you buy off Ebay or from an auction like CompUSA and then you have a problem with it, you may be stuck or inconvenienced. I had some problems with mine, not functional, but other proplems. It is a Compaq Presario and has Windows 98. Neither Compaq not Microsoft could or would help me because of "who" I bought the laptop from.
As far as battery, the best battery out there is Dell. You could go to the Dell website and look at their lower level laptops.
How old is the student, by the way? Dell gives warranties and service people come to your house. I do not know the warranty offered on your Ebay laptops but once the warranty period is over you will have problems getting it repaired or upgraded.
You could go to a local CompUSA store and check theirs out. They also have a shop where you can add to the one you may have bought elsewhere, as example you wish to add more memory.
The prices on those Ebay laptops seem low to me, meaning too good to be true, so I'd be careful. $500 is not alot at all for a laptop. I have been told not to buy electronics on Ebay, but that does not mean what you do buy will not satisfy you completely.
Please list all the features you want on a laptop:
ram 256 should be plenty
hard drive say 20gig minimum
size processor?
dvd rom?
operating system desired?
CD writer?
size of screen?
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by:crazijoe
ID: 13288500
I disagree with the 256MB being enough. The company I work for have about 35 Dell Inspiron 5100 laptops that the mobile salesmans use and 2 Dell Latitude 810s that the IT department uses. The Inspiron 5100 have P4 2.4 and 256MB memory and the Latitude 810s have P4 1.6 and 1GB of memory. The salesmen run office apps and Visio apps on these machines. They constantly complain about the speed. I gave one of the salesmen one of the Latitudes and the next day he wanted to trade and keep it. I watched several of them use the Inspirons and when I was check them I notice that the machines was constantly paging the memory. We finally stuck another 256MB in a couple of the machines and they were happy. Any more, when you buy a new machine, 512MB should be the bare minimum. Especially if this is an XP machine. If you get a sub 1.3GHz machine and you want to run XP or 2000, help it out as much as posible and get lots of memory.
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by:webmastership
ID: 13288835
I'm not sure I understand what RAM does but I like the one with lots of it too if it means the machine will run smoother. My husband is not a student, he is an english teacher who is aspiring to be an author. Ok, Nickg5, here is my list, I know he wants a cd drive, floppy drive, as big a screen as he can, fast processor, cool/sleek looking, lightweight, able to hook to printer and digi cam when we're out, play music and a GOOD battery cuz he plans to do all his writing at the beach where he is inspired. (we live in Florida) He will want the capability to go online with it eventually too. hmmm... dvd rom would be nice too but probably not necessary. We have a pc at home with a cd burner so any burning he can do there. He can still save stuff on cd without a burner, right Nobus? He has WinXP at work but we have Win2000 at home so he's use to both of these.

CrazyJoe, what is a good price for this one to end up at? His "buy it now" listings seem lower than the auction prices.
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by:nickg5
nickg5 earned 50 total points
ID: 13288912
everything you say you want comes standard on most laptops nowadays. The size of the processor, amount of Ram and size of hard drive are really your only "choices". Ram is the amount of space your system has to remember things as you web surf from place to place. I have an investment software that uses alot of memory and does not release it back until I reboot. I have 512mb. I would think 256 is plenty based on how you will use it. The ones I saw from your Ebay link are Dell's so you are getting the best battery. I have heard in the higher priced models, some of the batteries can last you on a flight from NY to LA.
My laptop was a basic model and came with dvd rom for playng CD's and DVD's. So, based on what you plan to use it for, a basic model is fine.
I would suggest 20gig hard drive(minimum), 256 mb ram, a processor at least 850 which is those I saw on Ebay. If you can get a 1000 (1.0 gig) or 1.2 gig or higher without much more cost, take it.
That seller seems to never run out. Send him an e-mail and ask him, how you get it fixed if it needs repair during the warranty period.
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by:nickg5
ID: 13289098
my laptop has 128 ram, 325 processor, windows 98, dvd rom, can receive digital camera and printer. I use it when traveling to do writing, and play movies on airplanes and internet in Indonesia and they are famous for slow internet. My laptop does the job.
If you decide to get the one you are looking at you are getting alot more than mine has.
As CrazyJoe says, business and office applications may require more than 256 ram.
Lying on the beach, playing CD's and movies, writing, occasional internet use and using a printer and uploading digital cam pics can easily be done with the models you are looking at if not lesser models.
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by:webmastership
ID: 13289182
Cool. What do you think of this one? http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3713&item=6743035829& This one seems awesome  and it's only a
little over the 500 I got. Plus it has a new battery and can play movies.
The battery is the most important thing in my hunt since hubby wants this
portable and its a new battery. says lithium though, don't know if thats different. Does it do all the stuff the others do?
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by:webmastership
ID: 13289207
And how many of these does it have? (I found this list of "must haves" online)


At least:
 128 MB RAM (bare minimum)
 USB and FireWire connections
 CD or DVD burner
 DVD drive
 Internal Modem
 3D graphics card
 5.1 Surround sound
 120 GB hard disk
 Video input/output
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by:nickg5
ID: 13289265
wow.....120 gig hard drive....I only have 20 on my desktop. The one above on Ebay looks good but the processor is only a 750. That is .75 gig which is rather low. That other one that ended awhile ago had 850. All that stuff on your list is usually standard except the DVD burner.
256 ram gets you above the "must have"
usb is standard, as well as all the rest except the huge hard drive and the DVD burner.
I would still contact the Ebay seller and ask him how you get it repaired if something is needed in the 90 day waranty period.
Like I said my hard drive is only 20 gigs, I have many programs loaded that you would never use, plus over 500 music files stored and my hard drive is not close to filling up.
120 gig seems to be more than the average person will ever need.
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by:nickg5
ID: 13289286
ITCrow's comments above seem reasonable. I have even lot more than he suggest and the one you look at on Ebay have much more than that too, so the one on Ebay should be fine.....it looks so good, if you buy it and do not like it, sell it to ME.
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by:ChrisEddy
ChrisEddy earned 50 total points
ID: 13291126
On memory, think 512M, and in one stick - not two.  Most notebooks allow 2 memory sticks.  Get the machine with one stick and leave the other one to reserve your ability to upgrade.

Get a Pentium M processor.  This will extend your battery life by hours, and will conserve your left thigh from getting cooked by an otherwise hot processor.

Get the slowest modern processor you can.  Slower = more power thrifty.  The computer will be sitting idle between your keystrokes and mousemove's anyway.  Note: Do not go for a 233 mhz notebook and expect life beyond 4H on a battery.

Get a floppy drive.  Even though desktop and notebook computers are being sold now without floppy drives, I think that is really short sighted.  There are utilities that will only work using a floppy drive.  Floppies are commonly used for transferring data, very important when working with mchines of different ages.  USB keys that act like disks are extremely slick and useful, and even the smallest can store much more than a floppy can.

Make sure the USB ports are USP 2.0 compliant.  Some USB 2.0 devices will not work when plugged into a USB 1.0 compliant jack.

Noebook disks come in 5200 and 7200 rpm.  The slower one tends to have more storage, the faster one tends to consume more power.  Note that windows is a very bursty with the hard drive, so this is a definite choke point that will benefit from a faster disk.  


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by:webmastership
ID: 13292655
I believe this one had a floppy drive and I've never heard of a pentium m. hmmm... I also don't know about rpm, that's a new term we hadn't talked about here. Do I really need all that stuff? Is the one we are all looking at ok in your opinion ChrisEddy? I think I'm going to get it. It's at this link:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3713&item=6743035829&
I emailed the seller as advised about warranty and he said
If the laptop needs to repair and if is during the first ninety days it will
covered by the mail-n service plan.  You can also purchase an extended
service plan which starts at $79.99 for one year.  
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by:nobus
ID: 13292750
it is nice, but ir does not have a cd burner, and only 20 GB disc
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by:ChrisEddy
ID: 13293925
In an nutshell: I'd pass.

Notebook computers are one of those things that I tend to strongly lean toward buying new rather than used, unless the price is a special situation that says "jump on me, now".  The thing that turns me off if I were the buyer is the relatively slow older technology processor and what I call the wrong version of the OS.    You will grow to appreciate a 4H battery life, and it will serve you well for the 4Y functional lifetime of the computer.  Although Win2K pro will serve you well functionally, it is XP that you will be encountering on everyone elses computer, and you may not feel good about that.

The notebook is a Dell C600 notebook, 750Mhx P3 cpu w speedstep (the precursor used in the P4M processor), 14.1 inch display, 20G harddrive, dvd-rom drive (you'll want a burner at some time), modem, 2 pccard slots (as opposed to the 1 that most notebooks are made with today), OS=w2k pro (this is 3+ years old, but at least it has NTFS and the concept of security), StarOffice (imho, this is a nice try attempt to copy the functionality of MSFT Office, but is a POS that is not worth your time unless you are a die hard anti-MSFT banger), the new battery is a nice touch but expect 4H out of a notebook with a Pentium Mobile/ speedstep processor.  The price of the auction is currently about $570us, but with 3 days to go until the auction closes, expect that price to go up.

I'd say that the fair market price for this notebook is about $600, and not much more.  

Beware of getting caught up in the feeding frenzy that often occurs when people are participating in an auction, and their desire to walk away with a thing effectively overrules their objectivity and motivates them to pay more for a thing than it is worth.  

e. o. my $.02.


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by:webmastership
ID: 13330544
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by:ChrisEddy
ChrisEddy earned 50 total points
ID: 13330988

Here it is at a different place for $450:  
http://www.affordablecomputers.com/pages/products.php/8569

A couple more thoughts started rattling through my mind:

- Make sure you receive the original installation media for the operating system.  I've lost count of the number of times people don't have this when their computer needs to be rebuilt.

- The OS is Win2K, currently a 6 year old operating system, and MSFT support for Windows 2000 will terminate 30-June-2005
Check here:
http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifeprodw

- XP is the modern OS, and I suspect you'll be happy with it.  Note that you can buy a copy of XP retail yourself, the list prices are $200 for XP Home and about $300 for XP Pro.  Note: Do not get the Upgrade version, but the full product.  There are interesting and subtle problems which crop up in the Upgrade that do not occur with a fresh and clean installation.

- Think of the computer having a 4 year life.  If you buy a 2 year old machine, in 4 years it'll be a 6 year old machine.  We all have the plan of doing with a lesser box with the intent of replacing it down the line, but we human beings experience an interesting journey called Life, and it usually doesn't work out that way.

- On the general topic of "everyone has wants", here's an example of Dells newest high end notebook, the Inspiron 9200.  Some features:
17 inch display, Pentium M/ Centrino processor, Windows XP Home or Pro, others.  Here:
http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/features.aspx/inspn_9200?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

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by:ChrisEddy
ID: 13331032
More from the same website:

$1100 Dell Latitude D400 Notebook:
http://www.affordablecomputers.com/pages/products.php/8628

$950 Dell Latitude D600 Notebook
http://www.affordablecomputers.com/pages/products.php/9897


More advice:
- CAVEAT EMPTOR.  I don't know this company, but I suspect that some research can be done on other peoples experiences with them and would be telling.

-  I'm a geek, and I want to be up front about the fact that I dig the toys.  

I'm not the buyer in this case, so I don't have quite the same skin in the game as you.  

However, when I do buy equipment, I follow these rules and get good stuff.  I probably end up paying more than others think I should, but I'm the one with grin on his face long after those same other doubting thomas's are smacking their computer one upside the head and saying: how come this (*&*(% thing [is so slow, can't do a simple thing like ___, doesn't last very long on a battery, burns my thigh, gets too hot to hold, needs to cool off before putting it away into the padded and insulated carrying case, is so hard to repair for a reasonable price, doesn't do what it's supposed to do].  Get the picture.

More?


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Author Comment

by:webmastership
ID: 13331251
yeah, I wish I could get it with xp but that's not an option. I need someone trustworthy and this guy I'm looking at has great feedback. The last one I put up there has more hard drive space and a faster processor like several folks told me to get. The big difference is the battery isn't new. Is that worth the price difference?
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by:ChrisEddy
ID: 13331814
My rule of thumb is that a new battery for a notebook computer will be about $100, and when I find it for less I'm reasonably surprised and pleased.

Here are a couple of websites that specialize in replacement notebook batteries:
$170 http://www.apcc.com/tools/lbc_selector/lbc_selector_rslr/index.cfm?ISOCountryCode=US
n/a   http://www.laptopbattery.net/
 $77 http://www.abatterypack.com/
 $85 http://www.intelligentbatteries.com/
 $80 http://www.priorityelectronics.com/


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by:ChrisEddy
ID: 13341469
... the mind is always working.

$680 New Dell Inspiron 1150:
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us&cs=19&l=en&oc=i1150S1&s=dhs


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by:huntersvcs
ID: 13573423
Lots of tips and lots of links - but no points.  A lot of people put time and effort into this one.
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by:webmastership
ID: 13574327
Update! Hey everyone I'm glad this showed up in my ebox today! Yesterday he got his laptop!! Yippeee!! It's official and sitting right here on my coffee table. It looks so pretty. Thank you so much to everyone who helped me with this. You experts are the best! But how on earth do I give the points out? SOOOOOOOO many people responded!
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by:webmastership
ID: 13574485
hmmm... I figured out to give nearly every answer 10 points and that took it all but then at the end it said I had to do at least 20 each.  This may take a while to figure out who NOT to give points to. I want to give them to everyone. :-(
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by:nobus
ID: 13574667
I'm glad it worked out and you're happy with it ! That is already a reward in itself .
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by:webmastership
ID: 13574690
Well I picked the 10 most helpful (to me) answers and split the points equally but ALL of these answers were super and this thread would be a great place for anyone looking to buy a laptop to start their search. I will remember you all when my husband publishes his first book. Look for the pen name - Freen Been - on the bestsellers list. Thank you so very, very much!

Heather

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