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View Full Version : Computer Science/Biology Major--need new laptop



DomzWRX
08-09-2008, 01:04 PM
I'm a pretty hardcore gamer--although with the PS3--a lot of my time is on that, So I can sacrifice having the 9800 series if need be. At the same time, I am definitely looking for longevity in gaming to an extent.

1) What is your budget? Around $1600, but the lower the better

2) What size notebook would you prefer?

a. Ultraportable; 12" screen or less
b. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
c. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
d. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
3) Please select your country's flag as a post icon and tell us what country are you buying this in. US

4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
I like the Sager, but they all look good. Prerably one of the ones that have the 2-3 hour battery life.

5) What tasks will you be performing with the notebook? Gaming, school work. I am a computer science major as well as biology and will neeed to have multiple programs open as well as programming and gaming on the side. The games that I play are COD4, Halo, WarCraftIII, starcraft II(when this comes out), I have a PS3, so I won't be too heart-broken if I cannot play Crysis on high(Plus I don't have Crysis).

6) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places or leaving it on your desk? Yes-To school and work everyday.

7) Will you be playing games on it; if so, which games? COD4, Halo, Warcraft III, SCII(when it comes out), games like that.

8) How many hours of battery life do you need? As many as possible. If doing only school work, I would hope that it would last at least 2.5 hours.

9) Do you mind buying online without seeing the notebook in person? No.

10) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
Windows Vista 64-bit, I'm thinking for future-proofness.

Screen Specifics

11) Would you prefer standard or widescreen? Either

12) From the choices below, what screen resolutions would you prefer? (more details below)
Not really sure the differences yet--still researching this:

Standard
a. XGA -1024x768 - Large and easy to read text + graphics icons, but you fit less stuff on the screen.
b. SXGA - 1400x1050 - Compromise resolution between XGA and UXGA.
c. UXGA - 1600x1200 - Very small text and graphics icons, you can fit lots of stuff on the screen.

Widescreen
d. WXGA or WXGA+ - 1280x768/800 or 1440x900; Wider viewing version of XGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
e. WSXGA+ - 1680x1050; Wider viewing version of SXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.
f. WUXGA - 1920x1200; Wider viewing version of UXGA, good for movie viewing or spreadsheets.

13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non glossy screen? (Read below on differences)
Non-glossy preferably, but I'm not that picky-Either is fine.

Build Quality and Design

14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? No, although I may have mine painted, but not really that concerned with that.

15) When are you buying this laptop and how long do you want this laptop to last? Trying to order monday(ASAP). Last as long as possible is the plan. I'm thinking at least 2-3 years.

Notebook Components

16) How much hard drive space do you want; 40GB to 500GB? As much as possible. I'm still researching the differences between the 7200rpm and the 5400rpm. Whether that will be necessary once I reach the 350gb point. At least 200gb. If someone has the information on how the 5400rpm is better than 7200 in some way with the amount of gigs that I want, please feel free to let me know.

17) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?
Blu-Ray would be nice, but not at all necessary since I have the PS3--Would like the rest though, as far as a CDRW/DVD-ROM and Burner.

DomzWRX
08-11-2008, 10:50 PM
I'm thinking of sticking with the Sager N2096-Seems pretty reliable and coveted.

Anewbus
08-12-2008, 10:28 AM
Hi Domzwrx,

I've put together some configuration suggestions on three machines that I think would serve you well. I configured each taking into account your budget, battery life, weight and other specifics your seeking. These are only my opinions so feel free to make changes and everything.

As to Glossy or Matte screen, you'll be better off with glossy (unless it's an LED screen), as glossy provides better contrast and clarity than matte especially for gaming.

5400 vs 7200 rpm HDs: If you were sticking with a smaller HD up to about 200 to 250GB a 7200rpm HD might be pretty good. However, when you get up to 320 - 500GB you would be better off with 5400rpm. This is because drives that size are constructed differently to provide more efficient file transfering and such. Plus it's less drain on battery life than a 7200rpm. There is also a heat difference were the 5400rpm drives run a little cooler, but it's nominal at best. You could get a 320GB drive at 7200rpm, but you would notice a larger drain on the battery. At those sizes though the 5400rpm drives are more efficient than thier 7200rpm cousins for laptops. (Desktop PCs are a different story and would be in the reverse).

As for customizing: There are a few ways you can go, from Skinning = $89 to full paint job =$489. I didn't include this in the configs because I wasn't sure if you were decided yet on it and which way you wanted to go.

Here are my config ideas: (I chose the 320GB HDs as they cost a bit less and that size should be plenty good).

Sager NP2096 Custom Laptop (Built on the Compal JHL90)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050) `
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- ~Intel® P9500 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.53GHz w/6MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- 512MB PCI-Express nVidia GeForce 9600M GT DDR2 DX10
- ~ 4,096MB DDR2 800 (2 SODIMMS) Dual Channel Memory (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- Standard Finish
- ~Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Softwares
- ~ 320GB 5400RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 8MB Cache)
- Internal 3-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS)
- Internal Bluetooth 2.0+ EDR
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5100 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Carying Case Optional (Select if desired)
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- ~Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit Installed (64&32-Bit CD Included) w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- Sager 3 Year Parts & Labor Warranty, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Support

Total = $1545.21 With cash discount (shipping not included)

The Force laptops can be called Sagers in disguise as they are built on the same foundations. On this one, the higher res screen and 3 year full warranty comes standard. I did not add the Bluetooth assuming that you won't need it.

FORCE 3298 v2 (Built on COMPAL JFL92 WSXGA+)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050)
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- -Intel® T9300 45nm "Penryn" Core™2 Duo 2.5GHz w/6MB L2 On-die cache - 800MHz FSB
- - 4,096MB (2 SODIMMS) ~ Kingston HyperX CL4 Low Latency ~ DDR2 667MHz Dual Channel Memory (Requires Vista 64-Bit to recognize Full 4GB)
- Standard Finish
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
- - 320GB 3GB/S SATA II 5400RPM Hard Drive
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- None Standard
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 4965 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Carying Case Optional (Select if desired)
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- -Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Complete Care Full Parts / Labor Warranty - Next Business Day Shipping - Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Tech Support

TOTAL = $1511.26 With cash discount (shipping not included)

FORCE 3310 (Built on COMPAL JHL90)
- 15.4" WSXGA+ "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright Glossy Screen (1680x1050) `
- Arctic Silver 5 Thermal Compound
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- -Intel® P8600 45nm "Montevina" Core™2 Duo 2.40GHz w/3MB L2 On-die cache - 1066MHz FSB 25 watt
- 512MB PCI-Express nVidia GeForce 9600M GT DDR2 DX10
- - 4,096MB (Corsair, Kingston, Major Brand) DDR2 800 (2 SODIMMs) Dual Channel Memory
- Standard Finish
- - Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti 8X DVDRW Drive w/ Software
- - 320GB 3GB/S SATA II 5400RPM Hard Drive
- Internal 3-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS)
- Built-in Intel® PRO/Wireless 5100 802.11 a/g/n
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Carying Case Optional (Select if desired)
- Smart Li-ion Battery (9-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- -Windows Vista Home Premium 64-Bit w/ Drivers & Utilities CD's
- 3 Year Complete Care Full Parts / Labor Warranty - Next Business Day Shipping - Lifetime 24/7 DOMESTIC Tech Support

TOTAL = $1483.13 with cash discount (shipping not included)