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Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army :: Archived
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bsmart
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Joined: Jan 22, 2006
Posts: 2516
Location: Central Maryland
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2008 5:26 pm
Post subject: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

My son is now at AIT (Advanced Individual Training) after Basic. They are now allowed to have personal 'Electronics' and he wants a laptop. Last week while we were visiting him he borrowed my wifes 3.5 year old laptop and had trouble getting his favorite Website (Magic The Gathering Online) video to work well. I looked at the Web site and they say a system should have

Minimum Requirements
OS: Windows 2000
CPU: PIII 700 mhz
RAM: 256mb
Video Card: DX9 Compatible, 8mb video ram (software rendering)
1024x768 resolution

Recommended Requirements
OS: Windows XP or newer
CPU: P4 1ghz or faster
RAM: 512mb or more
Video Card: DX9 Compatible, 128mb video ram
1024x768 resolution or more

I'm looking at moderately priced machines (Hey he shares a barracks room with 6 other guys) and am mainly having trouble telling if they meet the video requirements

Right now I'm looking at two Dell Vostro machines (mainly because I can get them with XP)

Vostro 1000 ----- $444
AMD Sempron 3600
2GB Memory
ATI Radeon Xpress 256MB Video
15.4" XGA display
120 GB Disk
8x DVD+/-RW

Vostro 1500 --- $494
Celeron M540 (1.86Ghz)
2 Gb Memory
Intel Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator x3100
120 GB Disk
8x DVD+/-RW

On this machine I can upgrade the Video to 128MB Nvidia Geforce 8400M GS for $75

I understand most of the differences but am lost about the Video. Can anyone give me some guidance

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Shades
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Joined: Mar 06, 2005
Posts: 6407
Location: 3rd Branch up, 'Ye Olde Oak', Green Wood.
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 12:11 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

I'm lost on lappies.
Ask me about bits for a p.c. and I can point you in the right direction but I don't know anything about lappies.
One of the other sites I subscribe to is www.buildyourown.org.uk.
They have a forum their and a lot of our regulars could probably help you with info on lap parts.
I also recently found another one which I will try and PM you later on (I don't have the url on this machine and the guy running it doesn't want it advertised, for whatever reason Confused ).

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Shadow_Bshwackr
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Posts: 6945
Location: Central Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 4:11 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

Personally, I would stay away from AMD as a mobile chipset as they tend to run hotter than Intel does as a norm. I see nothing wrong with AMD on a desktop however... Smile

Key things to Consider: Lot's of RAM, (1 Gig or more). Lot's of video producing power such as ATI or NVidia. Lot's of storage space HD space (More IS better). The biggest screen you can manage and above all, check the battery life. It does no good to have a great unit only to find out the battery peters out after an hour or less of use... Wink
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Shadow_Homfixr
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Joined: Jan 04, 2005
Posts: 528
Location: Fort Walton Beach, FL-USA
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:01 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

If he is going to be lugging it around the world as his career continues I would check into one that will handle tough conditions also. I can't remember the name maybe a Sony but there is one out there that the major news did testing on and it was dropped 2 stories, ran over with a car and left in the rain and it still worked aside from the screen hav'n a little crack in it...lol!
I was in Office Depot last week and seen a Sony VIO with XP on it for $699.00. I wish They would have had it a few months ago when I bought my Gateway with Vista....BIG mistake on my part . Good Luck!

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Tanklord
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Joined: Jan 23, 2006
Posts: 807
Location: Louisiana
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:10 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

Panasonic Toughbook is the one that is pretty tough. It has middle of the road performance. I don't know if XP is still available from them.
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Shadow_Homfixr
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Joined: Jan 04, 2005
Posts: 528
Location: Fort Walton Beach, FL-USA
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:19 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

Ahh That's it! Thnx Tanklord!

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bsmart
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Joined: Jan 22, 2006
Posts: 2516
Location: Central Maryland
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 5:46 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

My main question is how do I tell if a machine meets the 'DX9 Compatable' requirement, or is that such a common thing that everyone meets it these days and it is only older machines (like the one we tried to use) that would have a problem

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Shadow_Bshwackr
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Location: Central Illinois, USA
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2008 6:29 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

Anything new these days should meet that with no problem... Wink
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bsmart
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Joined: Jan 22, 2006
Posts: 2516
Location: Central Maryland
PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 6:10 pm
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

Just to wrap this one up. My son has had his laptop for almost a week now. He is very happy with it. at $550 "Itt's better than the ones in in the PX for $800" and "The speakers sound good all through the room" He hasn't had a chance to connect to the Internet yet but I'm pretty sure it will be fine.

Actually I just ordered my wife the same model for the same price she gets a Duo Core processor! The reason I''m getting hers now is that Dell is cutting off ordering XP in mid June. I'm not ready for Vista yet.

Thanks for help folks. (And now he wants an MS Zune 80GB MP3 player Rolling Eyes )

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401RCAF_Jel
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Posts: 614
Location: Hiding in Sherwood Forest
PostPosted: Thu May 29, 2008 3:01 am
Post subject: Re: Need help specing a laptop for my son in the Army

- bsmart
(And now he wants an MS Zune 80GB MP3 player Rolling Eyes )


Guess he'll enjoy it even more when he saves up from his pay cheques huh Cool

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