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Old 09-10-2006, 09:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Laptop Confusion

I've been looking for a very inexpensive laptop that can play most of my games. There are two I'm looking at, and I cannot decide which one is best.

Compaq Presario with Celeron 410
eMachines with 3100+

Before you start saying "those will be horrible for new games", right now all my games run on a P3 @ 866 with integrated graphics, so I'm not in need of that great performance. The game I play most often is Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (based of the Quake 3: Arena engine).

Just because I don't need that much performance, doesn't mean I don't want it though. Because of that, I have many questions about the two laptops.

1) The Compaq has an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950, and the eMachines has a ATi Radeon Xpress 200M with integrated X300-based graphics. Which of these would offer better performance?

2) The Compaq has a 60-gig SATA 5400rpm hard drive, while the eMachines has a 40-gig Parallel ATA 4200rpm hard drive. I'm assuming the first is better, but how much of a difference will that make in games? Note that most my files that I would carry with are on DVDs, so the extra hard drive space isn't really needed for me.

3) I couldn't find any battery life specs in the description. In general, which would have a longer battery life (Celeron M vs. Sempron)?

Thanks for all your help.

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Old 09-10-2006, 09:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Processor wise strictly, I'd take the S-M. But the rest of it is half a dozen one, six the other, since you get some features with one but not some with the other.


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Old 09-10-2006, 12:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I see that your spechs are from best buy, are you planning on buying from them?

If you are then talking to the sales reps can help some.

I perfer AMD processors, so I would lean toward the emachines, but then I don't especially like compaq or emachines... I would buy a acer, IBM, or systemax, if I was looking to buy a laptop. (currently I have a IBM Thinkpad)

The other thing that I don't know is if you are restricted to the Best Buy store or if you can purchase online.

Within your price range, I'd also be looking at this one:

Its about the same as what you have, but it combines the good from each laptop.

The Acer has:
512Mbs of ram, the same as the others, however, the Acer has DDR2.
a 60GB hard drive, so you can hold all your games,
a 3200+ processor, faster then the other two. 512 L2
15.4" LCD TFT screen

The only thing I'm not sure of is the graphics, the Acer has ATI Radeon Xpress 1100 and I'm not sure how this compares to the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 or the ATi Radeon Xpress 200M . I am a Nividia GeForce person, not a ATI so I can't comment on the Graphics chipset. But then there is a review that was dated 9-1-2006, (this month), that said it could play modern games.

Plus the Acer is $499, after mail in rebates. ($599 w/out). So basically the same price as the others. Plus, if you want to use tiger, I have a $20 off $200 purchase coupon that you can use. I'm not using it, so I don't mind giving it out. just PM me for it if you want it.

But from your choices, I would lean toward the emachines, I hear the Celerons eat up battery quickly.

Hope that helps!
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Old 09-10-2006, 11:50 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If you're doing any amount of 3d gaming you'll really appreciate an nvidia or ati graphics chipset rather than the crappy intel stuff. I would also recommend totally against Acer. Good price, poor reliability. I repair way too many of this things to recommend them to people.
Compaq is very good for a more budget oriented laptop. Consider buying directly from them, they're pretty good. Try configuring this laptop to your specs/price range, it has an ati x200 video card, it'll be fine for your needs.
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Old 09-11-2006, 12:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Out of the two laptops, I recommend the Celeron. It's good for the basics, and it's very full-featured for the price.

It has a bigger screen, more hard drive space, and a DVD-RW.
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