Updated on July 30, 2007
I’ve held out but I now have to face the inevitable – my venerable IBM T30 Thinkpad laptop just doesn’t deliver the goods any more and I have to replace it.
It’s been a terrific computer during the past four years. For the past couple of years, it’s been the machine I take with me on my travels, not the primary PC I use daily (that’s a Dell XPS Gen 5 desktop).
But with only 16 megs of video memory (that’s megs not gigs), it just can’t cut it running some of the graphics-intensive apps I regularly use now. And it can’t run Second Life.
Buying a new computer is an emotive experience. Just as some people drool over cars, it’s that way with me about computers. My heart rules far more than my head.
So bearing that in mind, what am I looking for that will do what I want during the coming two years?
Well, I want a fast machine that broadly meets these primary specs –
- Dual-core Intel processor, 2Ghz or higher
- 2 gigs of RAM
- Separate video memory (not just shared system memory), minimum 128 gigs but preferably 256 gigs
- Hard drive at least 160 gigs
- Screen size not the most important thing but resolution must be WXGA
- Light weight so no shoulder ache when carrying it
- Long battery life, 2.5 hours at least on standard battery
- Oodles of USB2 ports
- Wi-fi obviously, plus the usual peripherals like writable DVD drive
- Looks pretty cool
- Doesn’t cost an arm and a leg :)
Not much to ask, really.
From looking around, I’ve zeroed in on two machines:
- Sony Vaio VGN-SZ5XWN/C. A gorgeous-looking PC that meets the specs I’ve mentioned. Exceeds some of them. Carbon fiber casing so lightweight, yet with all the processing and video power I need. Has a built-in webcam, which is nice, plus fingerprint reader for security. Comes in at less than 4 pounds weight. Only 2 USB ports, though.
- Dell Inspiron XPS M1710. The great thing about Dell’s website is you can customize any PC there to get a machine that is right on the button for what you want. So I’ve saved a spec for this laptop that includes a 2.3 Ghz dual-core processor, 512-gig Nvidia video card and some other bells and whistles. It has 6 USB ports. At over 8 pounds weight, it’s a hefty machine, though, so maybe this one is way too much heart and not enough head.
So my feeling is very much on the Sony Vaio.
What would you recommend? What else should I be considering in deciding on what PC to buy for the typical use I’ll give it? Any other brands I ought to consider? Please, no suggestions like “get a Mac.” I don’t want a Mac!