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Author Topic: Laptops - What are people using out there?  (Read 4084 times)

Revenant

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #20 on: March 26, 2004, 02:23:20 PM »
So could we say... size doesn't matter -- it's all in how you use it? ;)

An important note about screen sizes: bigger in not always better. You need to check the resolution in addition to the measurement.

For example, if a laptop is available with two different size screens, but they have the same resolution listed, you will not gain extra "screen real estate" with the larger one. The pixels will just be bigger, meaning the picture will actually be less sharp (focused).

This is something a lot of people don't realize - the maximum resolution (something like 1024 x 768 or 1600 x 1200) is what determines how much you see on the screen, not the number of inches.

Thus, for some people, a 12" screen may be easier on the eyes than a 14" at the same resolution, since the text will be smaller, but sharper. It's best to go to a place like Circuit City or Best Buy and look at them in person, even if you'll be buying through the law school's preferred vendor. Buying a laptop sight-unseen is a recipe for regret if it ends up being too heavy or too hard on the eyes.

Revenant

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2004, 02:28:26 PM »
Could you be a little more specific about the downturn in performance?  I have a feeling there are a ton of techies here who would be more than willing to pounce on solving your problem. ;)

Did that more than once.  No help.

reformat and reinstall the OS and apps jgruber. It'll likely be good as new!

cal4ever

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2004, 02:37:36 PM »
downturn in performance?  could be due to many things...let's just go down the list :)

do you have any file sharing software?  yes, yes i know it's illegal to "share" music, but if you happen to have kazaa or any other p2p sharing software, you might have a bunch of spyware installed in your computer.  you might want to get zone alarm or something that will help you look for and get rid of spyware.  my cousin's computer has been infested with spyware.  he can barely turn his computer on, it's sad. 

you might also have a lot of different programs starting up during start-up.  :-/
I am thanking my lucky stars that I got into Boalt Hall!  Three more years in Berkeley.

jgruber

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2004, 02:42:04 PM »
I reformatted the harddrive and reinstalled the OS.  Before adding any other software, I tested the machine.  It ran into trouble even then.

It seems to have trouble cooling the cpu and when there is a higher, but not tremendously high demand for video processing.

I tried different BIOS, different versions of Windows and Linux, many things.

I'm probably going to get a new laptop, because it is just annoying the snot out of me and it weighs a ton.  And besides I have been accepted to law school when most people are counting the days to retirement and I deserve a new laptop and I don't care what anyone says.

 :P

downturn in performance?  could be due to many things...let's just go down the list :)

do you have any file sharing software?  yes, yes i know it's illegal to "share" music, but if you happen to have kazaa or any other p2p sharing software, you might have a bunch of spyware installed in your computer.  you might want to get zone alarm or something that will help you look for and get rid of spyware.  my cousin's computer has been infested with spyware.  he can barely turn his computer on, it's sad. 

you might also have a lot of different programs starting up during start-up.  :-/

schoomp

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2004, 11:03:30 PM »
Yes, I meant mb, not k... That's what I get for posting at work :-P



I hope you mean 256mb an 512mb... as much as I don't condone 1gb ram, 256k would be a tad too little for my liking. ;)

As for the min requirements at several schools I looked at - they are a joke.  I've just finished an MS degree and used my 2 year old laptop for all of it.  I figure if I can run Oracle on it, I can definately so anything required at a law school.  I even lost a chip of memory and am down to 256k and it still is working.  Of course, I don't game on it and now that I am done with school Oracle is coming off  :)

Unless you are a serious gamer or plan to do some programming or graphics on the side, I agree that you don't need much.  512k of memory would be best, CPU-wise anything 1.2 or so would do (and probably less than that).  Also - check to see if your school has wireless, if so use it.  Then you don't have to carry a cable around!

Of course, I am biased because with the expensive of law school, my old faithful  laptop is going to have to do until it goes belly up  :P .

Revenant

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2004, 11:20:34 PM »
Haha, yeah it definitely makes law school alot more fun when you have a nice chic little notebook to toy around, er, I mean, type outlines with. :)

Well if you've been reformatting and reinstalling and it still has problems, then we can rule out the countless nasty little memory-resident programs out there.

I haven't toyed with a notebook before, so this is just a somewhat educated guess for me.  You seem to be on the right track with the cooling issue.  Perhaps your notebook is throttling the CPU down due to overheating.  Dell 8100 sounds like a performance notebook to me -- probably a Pentium 4 2.4+ CPU?  Those run hotter than the newer P-Ms.  You might want to check your BIOS for a CPU throttling function.  It usually comes with a temperature setting at which the computer will start slowing your CPU down if it reaches or excceds the value.  If it's set to something low like 35 deg C then you could probably afford to raise it up to 50 (or anything between 35-50).  I wouldn't go past that, not so much because your CPU may burn out (AMD CPUs are known to run as high as 60 without too many problems) but because you don't want that hot potato on your lap. :)  Also, temperature tolerance is probably lower on notebooks.  I don't think that jampacked case is very good for cooling, and unlike desktops and their usual large vacuum of space + fans/heatsinks, a hot cpu inside a notebook case may not be good for nearby parts.

WinXP may or may not have a similar throttling down setting.  I primarily use Windows 2000, which doesn't have one, but I wouldn't be surprised if WinXP did (they have a network bandwidth limiter, for instance).  So check both your BIOS (reinstalling the BIOS might not have helped raise the CPU throttle down temperature... the default may have been on something low) and WinXP (if thats what you're using) settings.  Hope this helps!

p.s. another thought I just had was to check your CPU fan.  I don't think you can usually hear it but if it's dead, that could be why the CPU is overheating as compared to when you first got it, and would also cause the CPU throttling issue to come into effect.

I reformatted the harddrive and reinstalled the OS.  Before adding any other software, I tested the machine.  It ran into trouble even then.

It seems to have trouble cooling the cpu and when there is a higher, but not tremendously high demand for video processing.

I tried different BIOS, different versions of Windows and Linux, many things.

I'm probably going to get a new laptop, because it is just annoying the snot out of me and it weighs a ton.  And besides I have been accepted to law school when most people are counting the days to retirement and I deserve a new laptop and I don't care what anyone says.

 :P

downturn in performance?  could be due to many things...let's just go down the list :)

do you have any file sharing software?  yes, yes i know it's illegal to "share" music, but if you happen to have kazaa or any other p2p sharing software, you might have a bunch of spyware installed in your computer.  you might want to get zone alarm or something that will help you look for and get rid of spyware.  my cousin's computer has been infested with spyware.  he can barely turn his computer on, it's sad. 

you might also have a lot of different programs starting up during start-up.  :-/

jgruber

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #26 on: March 27, 2004, 02:40:17 PM »
There are two fans.  One works, the other doesn't.

I've fooled with it so much now and it weighs so much, I think I'm going to treat myself to one more present before starting law school and get a nice slim lightweight -- maybe even a color other than black -- laptop. 

Hell, Father's Day will be here before I know it.

Revenant

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #27 on: March 27, 2004, 03:46:41 PM »
Then I would have to say thats the problem :)  But unless you're going to give the notebook to someone else, I guess it doesn't matter since you're getting a new one. ;)

There are two fans.  One works, the other doesn't.

I've fooled with it so much now and it weighs so much, I think I'm going to treat myself to one more present before starting law school and get a nice slim lightweight -- maybe even a color other than black -- laptop. 

Hell, Father's Day will be here before I know it.

Andrew

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2004, 01:12:18 PM »
I have a tiny Sony laptop (SR series) that I just love.  I made most of this site with it actually.

Size and Weight: My computer is about 3 pounds - and it's smaller than a case book.  It's great in class because it doesn't take up a lot of room on the desk.  I can set it up slightly to the side and still have a book open next to it - other people usually can't do that with their bulky computers.

Yeah my screen is small but it has the same resolution as everyone elses.  I've noticed that most people have this huge document open most of the time with big margins all around.  I can use a small screen because I actually use the space (get rid of crazy toolbars in Word for example).

Power Up Speed: My computer hibernates and restores very quickly.  This is nice because I'm ready to go almost instantly.  I've actually been in a class where someone got called on and said "um - wait just a second - my computer is just booting up".  The entire class waited for that guy's computer.

Cost: No need to spend a ton for a bulky Dell with a gray rainbow on it.  My computer was a reasonable $1500.

Battery: Because my screen is small, my battery lasts longer than most.  I can get almost four hours of typing even after using this thing for a couple years.  Most schools have power outlets - but it's something to think about.

Compatability: The Apples are nice - but check to see if they're compatible with ExamSoft or you might not be able to type your exams.

In any case - have fun.  Most of the money you spend on law school provides no enjoyment at all.

ajlynnette

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Re: Laptops - What are people using out there?
« Reply #29 on: March 31, 2004, 09:17:41 AM »
andrew, is there a specific model name that you have? i'd like to research your laptop and see if that would be a good choice for me. thanks! :)