>new school year, new laptop

6:54 PM

>Ahhh, the refreshing start of a new school year. Well, it's not refreshing, actually - at least not for those of us that didn't do a summer vacation to start. I've taken exactly four weeks off in the past year, and that was over six months ago.

Anyways, the start of a new school year always also means the start of a new loan and grant year. I knew that refund check was coming soon, so I started looking around at laptops.

I know what you're thinking. Didn't you just buy one a year ago? Yup. But I have several reasons for wanting a new one (beyond just the obvious geeky reasons):

  • The one I have now is out of warranty. If something happens to it, I'm currently SOL without another laptop.
  • David's laptop is no more since both the monitor and the VGA port on it went out. He could use my current laptop, and I would have an available backup laptop again if something happens to my new one.
  • I get so much money back on my refunds that it's impossible to use most of it for school stuff. Buying a laptop doesn't even bring me close, but it does bring me closer and help me feel a little better about my education money being spent towards educational tools.
There are several laptops that caught my eye. Here's a rundown:

Toshiba Satellite Pro P505-S8945

What I like about it:
  • large HDD (hard disk drive) (500 GB)
  • a lot of RAM (random access memory) (6 GB)
  • a lot of dedicated RAM for graphics (1 GB)
  • Lightscribe... umm... I think... (I'll touch on this later)
  • wireless N
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1680 x 954)
  • HDD speed is a bit on the slow side (5400 RPM)
  • no integrated Bluetooth
  • small battery (6 cell)
  • Labelflash... is that like a generic Lightscribe? I don't feel too comfortable with mystery components
  • graphics are a bit blah (ATI Mobilty Radeon HD 4570)



HP Pavillion DV7-2170US
What I like about it:
  • decent amount of RAM (4 GB)
  • large HDD (500 GB)
  • Lightscribe
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650)
  • a lot of dedicated RAM for graphics (1 GB)
  • wireless N
  • integrated Bluetooth
  • sub woofer
  • remote control
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1600 x 900)
  • slow HDD (5400 RPM)



Dell Studio 1737

What I like about it:
  • decently sized HDD (320 GB)
  • decent amount of RAM (4 GB)
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650)
  • Blu-Ray
  • 9 cell lithium ion battery
What I don't like about it:
  • low res display (1440 x 900)
  • no Bluetooth
  • no wireless N
  • only 256 MB dedicated to graphics


I could list a few more laptops but they're all pretty much like these... except for one...

HP Pavillion DV7-2180US
What I like about it:
  • next generation processor (Intel Centrino 2 Processor Technology featuring Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9000)
  • a lot of ram (6 GB)
  • decent graphics (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650)
  • lots of ram dedicated to graphics (1 GB)
  • large HDD (500 GB)
  • Lightscribe
  • wireless N
  • Bluetooth
  • sub woofer
  • decent battery (8 cell)
  • remote control
  • 4 USB (universal serial bus) ports! (most laptops have 2-3)
What I don't like:
  • slow HDD (5400 RPM)
  • low res display (1600 x 900)
While I wouldn't call it the perfect laptop due to the HDD and display issues, I would say that the DV7-2180US comes with pretty much everything I want and then some, so that's what I ordered today. It's next day shipping so I should receive it either tomorrow or Thursday. There is something that should definitely be noted about this laptop. This is the ONLY laptop in the $1500 and under price range that I found sporting a quad core processor. The quad cores are normally only found on HP's HDX 18t Premium series laptops which when configured with everything the DV7-2180US comes with adds up to around $2000. To be fair the 18t also comes with Blu-Ray, a high resolution display, and an 18 inch screen by default so it's well worth the extra money. I just can't bring myself to spend the money on Blu Ray when I won't ever use it and I don't like laptop screens any bigger than 17 inches because after that they start to swallow me whole. That leaves the high resolution display, which is not so important to me that I'm willing to spend that much extra money just to get it.

Well, it is time for me to go get some sleep. Sayonara!
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