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Laptop Advice!

TQS Jan 16, 2006

  1. TQS

    TQS Member

    OK - am looking into getting a laptop and know relatively little about them...

    My requirements are min 512meg RAM (upgradeable)
    30gig HD
    Wi-fi capabilities
    Windows XP
    15' screen

    Now for the processor.... i'm a bit out of date - when i see quoted Pentium M, Celeron or Centrino 1.4Ghz (for example), how does this compare to the 'old fashioned' P4 2.6Ghz that you get also? Basically I want a minimum of the equivalent of a P4 2.6Ghz so what should i be looking for in terms of Pentium M or Centrino?

    Other problem is, I'm on a budget... up to about £400ish which i believe is reasonable for a refurbed model - eg seen a 1.4GHz Intel Celeron with my requirements at that price

    Also, what is a 10/100 LAN Card that i keep seeing?

    Cheers for any help / pointers in the right direction!
  2. madvw

    madvw Active Member

    Laptop processors went a bit funny a couple of years back with the pentium-m ones.

    to keep the battery life respectable, they lowered the clock speed, but upped whats called the cache on the processor. The end result is a processor that can hopefully accomplish more work per clock cycle than their equivalent desktop rated processor.

    have a quick google on the actual comparisons, but they are supposed to be pretty good.

    cant really comment on centrino, i think these are the same as above.

    celeron = cut down pentium x
    celerom-m = cut down pentium x-m.

    the 10/100 lan card is just an ethernet network interface card.
  3. AndyMac

    AndyMac Moderator Moderator

    Centrino is a processor designed for laptops so uses less power.
    10/100 LAN card is an RJ45 ethernet network card
    Processor speed is not such an issue these days especially on a laptop (as you're not exactly gonna be editing full length feature films on it), memory is more important, 0.5GB isn't actually that much these days once Windows has got its hands on it.
  4. mjsewell

    mjsewell Member

    AndyMac is right to bring up what you're using the laptop for. If you're not going to be doing anything more than web surfing and word processing you'll probably be okay with a Celeron version of either type of chip.

    Personally, I'd steer clear of any laptop running a Celeron version of either the Pentium 4 or the Pentium-M. They are noticeably slower than their "full powered" brothers. We've just had a number of Dell laptops on trial before a large order and rollout of laptops and without exception the Celerons were poor performers and we ended up boxing them up and sending them back with our account manager. Even opening up Microsoft Word, they were measureably slower starting the application and thats before getting into more intensive things like development tools and encryption. So forget using them for anything like current games.

    A Pentium-M/Centrino laptop running at 1.6GHz was generally considered to run at the same speed as a Pentium 4 2.8-3.0GHz equipped laptop but without the heat and power consumption when they were launched a couple of years ago. Centrino machines tend to weigh in at 3kg or less, with Pentium 4 machines tending to be heavier (a bit of a generalisation, I know) so if you're planning on moving around with it, bear that in mind as well.

    Have a look at Laptopshop.co.uk they're a pretty good reseller and do some of the best prices on branded laptops. They also do refurbished models direct from the manufacturers.

    Hope that helps, more than hinders.


  5. TQS

    TQS Member

    Very helpful - thanks everyone for the advice and pushing me in the right direction!
    Think I'm gonna try and go for one with the Centrino badge as from my research, apparently they have to fit certain criteria relating to processor etc and would therefore serve as a good benchmark for a minimum spec (along with RAM) - is this correct?
    I'll only be using it for internet, some gaming and downloading but I need something that can synch with other various gadgets etc and I'd rather have something that has too much power instead of not enough...

  6. dickys3

    dickys3 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    I've got a Pentium m 1.6 Ghz and it absolutely flys!

    As said above, its is comparable to a 3.0Ghz pentium 4 which I have in my study.

    The machine I have is a Dell Inspiron 510m. I would highly recomend it..
  7. god_thats_quick

    god_thats_quick Numptie of the highest order

    Centrino is Intels way of making more money, it's basically the processor, chipset and a wireless card all together. Laptops are very rarely any good for playing 3D games as they will not have a graphics card that's upto the challenge you'll want one with Pentium M Centrino and a proper graphics chip with it's own memory or you won't have a hope with games.

    I've got a selection of laptops as I used to work for one of the large manufacturers - I would say that the screen selection is one of the big decisions, I've got a laptop with a 15" 1400 x 1050 (I think from memory) resolution and one with a 14" 1024 x 768, I find myself actually using the notebook with the 14" screen more as it's actually more managable and big enough for pretty much anything you'd need a notebook for.

    As for actual recommendations - for the money your looking at I'm not sure you'll actually find a non celeron Centrino notebook, as mjsewell said laptopshop is a good place to start your search.
  8. TQS

    TQS Member

    Well, in the end i bagged an HP Centrino with Pentium 4-M 1.7Ghz, upgradeable 512meg, 40 gig, 14.1" screen for £450 with almost 2 years HP warranty left on it. Much better than my old nag and what a space saver it will be too!!!

    Obviously wanting to get online at home and am swayed towards the offer Wanadoo have at the moment for £14.99/month increasing to £17.99 a month after 6 months... it's up to 8meg, 2gig max download which will be fine for me and a free wireless modem apparently.

    Anyone using Wanadoo? Any good/bad experiences with them?
    Are BT Broadband any good as an alternative as they have a similar offer on?

  9. god_thats_quick

    god_thats_quick Numptie of the highest order

    have a look at www.adslguide.org before you make a decision, I'd go for unmetered access with someone like plusnet if I was signing up again.
  10. arthurfuxake

    arthurfuxake Controversial & Contradictive

    Might just be a rumour, but has come from quite a reliable source: Wanadoo are not able to cap your download limit. Apparently BT will not let them use their technology to do it.

    I've had wanadoo for over a year now, it's been increased to 2mb which is the highest available speed from my exchange at the moment. They will increase it to 8mb for free when it is available from my exchange. No problems so far - touch wood.
  11. The Slug

    The Slug Active Member


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