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Thread: Thin-and-light laptop selection

  1. #1

    Default Thin-and-light laptop selection

    I'm shopping around for a good thin-and-light laptop that I can use for Macromedia web content creation and video editing (both home hobby videos and videos for inclusion in Flash products, using Pinnacle Studio 10.5). I need the laptop to be very portable (4 - 5 pounds), so that cuts down on my options. I am looking at a Dell Inspiron 710m with the following specs:

    Intel® Pentium® M Processor 755, 2GHz, 2MB Cache, 400MHz FSB
    1GB DDR SDRAM (or 2GB if necessary)
    100GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive (w/ external HD at a higher rmp if needed)
    Intel® Extreme Graphics up to 64 MB shared memory

    Total for that system would cost about $1600, reasonable for a thin-and-light laptop. However, I'm worried about the graphics card (or lack thereof). I don't plan to do any heavy-duty gaming and probably won't do 3D graphics rendering, but I have heard that Inspirons are not great for video editing either. Any input?

    On the other hand, I could shell out an additional $800 for the latest Sony Vaio SZ140 and get:

    Intel® Core™ Duo Processor T2400 (1.83GHz)
    1GB (512MB x 2) PC2-4200 DDR2, 533MHz RAM
    100GB 5400rpm Serial ATA
    Hybrid Graphic System - NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 7400 with TurboCache™ supporting 128MB and Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950 224MB dynamically allocated shared (RAM/Video) memory

    I really don't want to spend that much more money unless video editing won't work at all without a dedicated video card.

    Is it worth the extra $$$ to go with the Vaio?


  2. #2


    dude, 9 months ago, I paid £250 for a 1.6 Ghz laptop, with 512 mb ram, 128mb gfx. plus 80Gb HDD.

    that's like $400.

    you ever shopped around?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Manchester, UK


    DJ - you have to take into account that the sony one is a core duo processor which is a dual core CPU. Your 1.6GHz one is a celeron, which will have a reduced cache, resulting in far lower performance than even a single core Pentium M CPU (which is again slower than the Core Solo, which in turn is slower than the core duo). The HDD is faster and bigger (100GB notebook HDDs are substantially more expensive than 80GB), there's twice as much RAM (which is also the more expensive DDR2 as opposed to DDR) the screen is (probably) bigger, it's "thin and light", the build quality is probably far superior, and judging by experiences with Sony notebooks before, they come with shedloads of useful software.

    Anyone can pick up a notebook for £250, but the actual processor frequency and HDD size numbers don't necessarily mean anything any more, which is why intel and AMD have model numbers now rather than GHz.

    Saying that, I personally wouldn't buy a Sony notebook, because once they're out of warranty, they are stupidly, stupidly expensive to repair.

  4. #4


    I didn't notice the dual core aspect, oops!

    Just as a note, my laptop has "intel pentium M715 processor, 2mb l2 cache, 1.5 Ghz, 400Mhz FSB", there's no celerons in this house!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Manchester, UK


    Wow! You bought a new Pentium M notebook for £250?

    Where from? What brand? Might be worth looking into!

  6. #6


    I got an acer one, admittedly I had a bit of a tax break, and a discount coz the cardboard box was a bit tatty, but I think I got it from Staples or something and should have been somewhere in the region of £600. This was 9 months ago or so now.

  7. #7


    So do do you like the Acer? I was also looking at the Acer TravelMate 3300. The problem is that they don't sell them in the U.S. so I'd have to have it shipped from the U.K. I don't even know if they would do that, and I'm guessing that the warrenty would be a pain to deal with. But Acer seems to put out good products for more reasonable prices than, say, Sony.

  8. #8


    I have the travelmate 4150lmi and it's the best computer I've ever had. it's not put a foot wrong since I've had it, and it's coped with everything i've thrown at it, even re-rendering compressed video for my ipod video, which by all accounts can kill some computers!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Bournemouth, UK


    Pentium M rock!!

    They make full celerons look pedestrian.

    They have a larger onboard cache and make more calculations per clock cycle than a P4.

    Only when on battery power do they slow down as they are designed to do this to save battery power.

    I have an Acer travelmate Pentuim M 1.4ghz with 512mb ram from right back when they first came out, and it performs great with ppro, canopus edius, after effects, dreamweaver 8, audition, photoshop CS2 and others only the export times give it away.

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