June 5, 2004 by Allen George
So…after dragging you guys through this entire process of reading laptop specifications, trolling various forums and investigating online stores – which laptop did I end up choosing and why?
First, an aside. The laptop market is probably the most profitable sector for computer manufacturers right now. People want portability and they’re willing to pay dearly for it. This has serious implications for us (the end user) in that we’re often going to see machines with specifications that are less than ideal but are priced as if they’re made from solid gold :-) The question I often found myself considering was “Just how much _am_ I willing to pay for portability?”
Then…there are other concerns. I was unable to find a _single_ manufacturer whose products were universally lauded by users. Dells, IBMs, Apples, Toshibas , (don’t even get me started on the Sony stories) – all of these had issues. I’ve read about horrible customer service, DOA machines, shoddy quality, long term design/usage issues and more. I’ve heard about heat issues (Dell D600 – the thing’s a heat machine), slow LCD response time (IBM Flexviews), slow HDD speed (PB series) and more. When you are considering paying over 3100 CDN for a computer (I’ve personally never spent more than 1800 CDN on a desktop) you _want_ something with high quality components – not a machine that may break down if and when it feels like it.
Then there’s the Calexico. Let me be honest when I say this – if I buy a laptop I want to use it for _at least_ 3+ years comfortably (closer to 4+). All the machines I spec’d out had warranties of that length. I tried to choose components that I thought would hold me through that time. But…then I started reading about ‘Centrino 2’ which is due later this year. And that’s when I realized that I probably entered the market at the wrong time – especially for a Wintel machine. For those who don’t know, ‘Centrino 2’ incorporates support for PCI-X, a brand new audio core, full support for up to 8 USB 2.0 ports, a 533MHz bus and more. PCI-X has been talked about for such a long time that you almost don’t notice the fact that its time _has_ come. Now. Both ATI and nVidia’s next-gen graphics cards are PCI-X. The AGP spec will be revd no longer. Will that really affect me – a laptop user? I don’t know – but what I do know is that I will be buying the last of old-gen technology just as the next gen is making its splash. That can be….interesting.
Finally, I truly asked myself – “When I’m at Waterloo (for example in 3A), when did I truly need a laptop?”
I never went wanting for the lack of a laptop.