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Ok, so as I sit here at my now 6 year old computer and listen to it randomly beep and squawk I'm forced to realize that I'm probably going to have to replace it sooner rather than later. I'm done with desktops for home computers so laptop land here I come. Requirements for the lappy:

1. Does not need to be portable, only transportable and fit on my lap.

2. Must be capable of running games like COD2 (and 4 when it comes out).

3. 17" screen for occasional movie watching.

4. Budget is ~$2500, tops. Clearly it wouldn't hurt my feelings to spend less.

Dell seems to have some pretty decent deals on business class laptops right now (the Precision M6300 in particular) but I know this is Mac country so tell me how I'm going to sell that concept to my very anti-Mac wife. I haven't done much research yet, so any input is greatly appreciated.

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The only 2 companies I'd consider for laptops are thinkpad (lenovo) and apple. Even if you run windows on the apple. I say that as someone who's had a ton of laptops, The ones that survive are from apple and ibm/lenovo.

Ok, so as I sit here at my now 6 year old computer and listen to it randomly beep and squawk I'm forced to realize that I'm probably going to have to replace it sooner rather than later. I'm done with desktops for home computers so laptop land here I come. Requirements for the lappy:

1. Does not need to be portable, only transportable and fit on my lap.

2. Must be capable of running games like COD2 (and 4 when it comes out).

3. 17" screen for occasional movie watching.

4. Budget is ~$2500, tops. Clearly it wouldn't hurt my feelings to spend less.

Dell seems to have some pretty decent deals on business class laptops right now (the Precision M6300 in particular) but I know this is Mac country so tell me how I'm going to sell that concept to my very anti-Mac wife. I haven't done much research yet, so any input is greatly appreciated.

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Well it looks like I'll be able to get a pretty decent discount (10 to 15%) off of any Dell that I want through work connection. I'm going to explore that and see how it goes, I'll post the proposed configuration for group mocking in a few days.

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My only experience with a Dell laptop was pretty bad. I will give Dell this: they had fantastic customer suervice. I'd send my laptop out on monday, I'd have it back wednesday morning 'fixed'.

With that said: over the corse of the two years I owned it (I had a 2 year complete care on it) it blew:

5 ram modules, one DVD drive, and 4 motherboards. The last mother board was about a month after my warranty was out. They wanted 1500 to fix it. I bought a Lenovo, and *knock on wood* have not had a problem yet, that was not software related. (Windows decided to crap itself after the last update it performed.. good thing I use windows about 5% of the time).

Of course this is probably an isolated incident, but because of it I'll never own another Dell. I also only purchase laptops, as desktops are just too easy to build.

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My only experience with a Dell laptop was pretty bad. I will give Dell this: they had fantastic customer suervice. I'd send my laptop out on monday, I'd have it back wednesday morning 'fixed'.

What sucks is that pretty much regardless of which man'f you're talking about someone has a story like this. My brother has had a Dell for over 6 years now and it spent most of its travel time in a motorcycle saddle bag. The HP that he replaced it with (not his choice) has been nothing but trouble. Ian has a Gateway that's been a POS pretty much since the moment he bought it, etc, etc, insert man'f name here, etc., etc. So really, I think all you can hope for is that you're one of the lucky ones and if not that whoever you bought it from has decent CS. Unfortunately Lenovo is out from the start since they don't offer a 17" display size (that I can find).

And with the 17" Yukonbook Pro running about a 33% premium in purchase price it's really hard not to look into other brands. Also, for her own twisted reasons, the WAF on the Yukon is very bad.

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The only plus I'll give Gateway is their customer service and tech support people are still in the US, so while they're often not helpful, you don't have to repeat everything 5 times and listen to someone in unintelligible English with a name like "Steve" from an overnight call center in India. The US-based people are able to tell you that you're shit out of luck in easy to understand English! And it's a lot more fun to yell at them when you know they understand you!

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What sucks is that pretty much regardless of which man'f you're talking about someone has a story like this. My brother has had a Dell for over 6 years now and it spent most of its travel time in a motorcycle saddle bag. The HP that he replaced it with (not his choice) has been nothing but trouble. Ian has a Gateway that's been a POS pretty much since the moment he bought it, etc, etc, insert man'f name here, etc., etc. So really, I think all you can hope for is that you're one of the lucky ones and if not that whoever you bought it from has decent CS. Unfortunately Lenovo is out from the start since they don't offer a 17" display size (that I can find).

And with the 17" Yukonbook Pro running about a 33% premium in purchase price it's really hard not to look into other brands. Also, for her own twisted reasons, the WAF on the Yukon is very bad.

This is pretty much true of any manufacturer.

I had a Dell Inspiron 8200 laptop for 3 years. Finally in the end of its third year the LCD finally started to not turn on all the time. I'm pretty sure there wasn't anything wrong with the LCD, and it was probably only a bad connection; the thing was dusty as hell. But after 3 years I was due for an upgrade and didn't care to open it up to clean it out. Other than that it was fine. This laptop saw a lot of heavy travel use. I carried it with me everywhere, every day for 2 years straight when I had classes in the city campus.

My sister bought a Dell laptop in August '06 for $450 after coupons, a pretty nice machine at the time. Pentium M 1.7 GHz, 512 mb ram, 60 gb hardrive, 15" widescreen (I think SXGA+). And it too has been perfect. She dropped it one time and it now has a crack in the case near the keyboard but it's still stable.

My dad got a free Dell laptop through a pharm company, I can't even recall how old it is. It uses a Celeron processor :o and it's still fine, my mom uses it every now and then for internet and email.

As for Apple laptops I got one my first year of med school (part of my tuition ::) ) and it was a piece of crap. One motherboard failure and then the CD-drive gave out. All of my friends except for one (who never used his) saw one problem or another within 2 years, and most of them bought IBM T42s.

As for IBM/Lenovo they're the standard laptop given to all interns/residents/fellows/attendings at Dartmouth Hitchcock and I can't recall anyone having problems with them. And most people treat them like shit, I carried mine around on rounds, in my hand, so I wasn't exactly treating it very delicately. My dad has one of the newer Lenovo laptops with the higher power battery (8 or 9 cell?) and it's amazing, he probably gets 8 hours out of it with the screen dimmed.

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Yeah failures are pretty much par for the course, they'll happen at some point to every one. In my opinion what matters is how they are dealt with. For example the power button on my 24" dell lcd died a few weeks back. They sent me a replacement monitor w/ overnight shipping. Hard to beat that IMO. I've yet to have any problems with my Inspiron e1705 in the little over a year or so that I've owned it.

Nate, since cost seems to be a pretty big driving factor for you here, you might also want to take a look at: discountlaptops.com . They have a pretty good reputation but I have no idea how good their support is.

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So rant over :D

In your situation I'd buy a Dell with the extended warranty. Get some stackable coupons and you could probably shave a couple/few hundred dollars off the price since it looks like you're looking for a pretty high end laptop.

If it's not entirely obvious Dell rapes you on things like ram, so I would get the minimum and upgrade it yourself. I've done this with all my laptops- just run memtest86 on the sticks for a few hours to make sure they're stable. And if hardrive upgrades are costly, I would look into something that is at least 7200 rpm, your computer is only as fast as the hardrive.

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dell is a mixed bag--good pricing, performance, and repair service... they're kind of cheap. all the rubber feet on my d600 never stayed affixed and the replacement feet not only didn't have good adhesive, but didn't have a small dimple in the center in order to properly fit flush. even at the dell center the notebooks i checked also lost the feet. it's really annoying typing on a wobbly notebook or having to put something underneath it just to keep it level. i never liked the dell call center maze of options just to get a human on the line could take an unreasonable amount of time then only to find they aren't much help or don't have a firm command of the english language.

sony is well made, ok price and performance... but i've encountered more than a few compatibility problems, which i believe were due to Sony's operating system. And their customer support or lack of it sucks.

IBM/Lenovo seems pretty good--reasonable price and performance--my wife just got a Lenovo and hasn't experienced any problems, though, customer service/support i don't know...

i guess my main problem with any computer using mircosoft's operating systems is they're highly susceptible to viruses and external threats requiring anti-virus and internet security programs which creates a host of problems. after about three years (no longer under warranty) my d600 and wife's sony vaio both died within a few months of each other (blue screen death).

apple--i've been pretty happy with my macbook. it seems very well built, good customer service going well beyond the call of duty. excellent operating system, intuitive and easy to use... i like my apple and would get another one.

get an apple.

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was it an iBook? they had problems. i've had my share of issues, but i'm an extreme perfectionist. man, the T42 is a piece of crap, i like the T40 a lot more, despite the spec disparity.

Yeah they were all iBooks, right when 10.1 or 10.2 came out. I should have mentioned that. All their T42s held up fine.

I've read of very little failure with the Intel Macs, and my next laptop will more than likely be a Macbook.

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Well it looks like I'll be able to get a pretty decent discount (10 to 15%) off of any Dell that I want through work connection. I'm going to explore that and see how it goes, I'll post the proposed configuration for group mocking in a few days.

I can get you an ibm employee discount on lenovo...

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Jebus, there's a lot to reply to here..

i find that to be very strange, myself, they are such pretty machines, after all.

Yeah, it's mostly a familiarity thing for her. She's always used PC's except for one job she had that used Apple's and she hated them. It's not an aesthetic thing. Also, she uses a pocket pc at work so if I went Mac I'd be forced to run a windows OS anyway which negates some of the benefits IMO.

General Mac Comment: I just can't help escaping the idea that I'm paying a premium for the Apple that doesn't really buy me anything since I won't be able to use their OS. The cheapest MacBook Pro that I could configure that I'd be happy buying was going to run ~$2700 w/o Applecare, add that to the mix and you're at $2,928 and I'm having a hard time swallowing that.

I guess this is going to take more time than I've got right now. More thoughts later, I appreciate all the input!

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General Mac Comment: I just can't help escaping the idea that I'm paying a premium for the Apple that doesn't really buy me anything since I won't be able to use their OS. The cheapest MacBook Pro that I could configure that I'd be happy buying was going to run ~$2700 w/o Applecare, add that to the mix and you're at $2,928 and I'm having a hard time swallowing that.

That pretty much sums up my general thoughts on Apple, paying a premium solely because they have enough rabid fans that don't mind forking out the extra cash. I mean I can't blame them for that they've done a wonderful job of building up a following, but other than the ipod I'd never buy anything Apple makes unless their pricing falls more in the line with the competition.

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