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Laptop configuration to run Vista Aero Glass without slowing down system

Posted on 2008-06-26
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Hi all,
I have searched through various EE questions already, and got some information, but am hoping for more specific recommendations. I want to buy a laptop with Vista (some of my clients have bought new computers, and I need to get up to speed) to run Vista Aero (glass?). I want to spend as little as possible, but I want it to have enough power to run the Aero glass interface smoothly, and without slow-downs. I will use this laptop mostly to run MS Office apps and web searching. I will not use it for games, except those that already come with the OS. I am planning on purchasing Vista Home Premium.
I am looking at three different Dell laptops: Vostro 1500, Vostro 1510 and the Dell Inspiron 1525. The configurations I've set up are as follows:

Vostro 1500: Core 2 Duo T7250 (2.0GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache), 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM, 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS, 160GB 5400RPM Hard Drive for $753

Vostro 1510: Core 2 Duo T5670 (1.8GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB), 3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM, Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, 160G 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive for $678

Inspiron 1525: Core 2 Duo T5550 (1.83GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache, Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100, 3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz, 250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) for $799

I know that both the GMA X3100 and the NVIDIA GeForce 8400 GS support/run Aero. I've read something about Vista automatically assigning some of the shared RAM to the video, and that there may not be any way to change that in the BIOS.
My questions:

As far as the OS version, I don't think I'll need the Business or Ultimate versions for what I am doing. Does that seem reasonable to you?
In general, what seems to be the better deal to you, given what I want it for?
Is the configuration with the discrete NVIDIA card a much more powerful system, given the budget?
If I get the integrated GMA X3100, would 3 GIG RAM provide noticeably better performance than 2 GIG?
Is there a noticeable difference in performance between the 1.8, 1.83, and 2.0 GHz processors?
What can you tell me about Vista automatically assigning shared RAM to the video even with the NVIDIA card installed?

Thanks very much in advance. Please let me know if you need more information.

EJH in Colorado
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Question by:ejhcolorado
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Jk387 earned 2000 total points
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Between the three system choices i would go with the Vostro 1500 first, followed by the Dell, and then the Vostro 1510.  Ideally i would say add another gig of ram to that Vostro 1500, or upgrade to the better graphics card with the dell system and that would be perfect for what your doing.  The home premium version should be fine unless your system administrator has a special request for you to have business for whatever reason.  I wouldn't say that the Vistro 1500 is much more powerful but having a graphics card like that is definitly a plus for using Areo although not required.  There will be a difference in speed with the 1.8ghz to the 2.0ghz in speed.  For what you are using the systems for though i am not so sure you will notice much of a difference unless you are really picky with that sort of thing.  Usually you won't see a difference unless your running higher end programs.  Those chips are more than enough for running Office programs.  As far as Vista automattically assigning ram goes, that is normal for every operating system or program running on your machine.  The reason people note Vista doing this is because using Vista and the Areo feature requires more ram than any other OS on the market.  In other words, it is just much more noticeable than other OS's.  Hope this info helps.  If something i said was unclear or you have more questions or want something more in depth let me know.
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