windows update question
Published on May 28, 2006 By werewolf In Personal Computing
Acer, HP, Gateway, Dell, Avaratec, Toshiba, Compaq, Lenovo, Sony.....


My daughter just graduated high school and I would like to get her a laptop to take to college. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, but something around $1k is all I can afford.

Basically this system:

15" tft monitor
60g hdd minimum
512mg ram minimum
8-12 cell battery lithium ion
wifi enabled/lan
fast processor (have no idea what kinds of processor options I was looking at.)
fast graphics (128m vram)? She doesn't do computer games.
probably some other stuff I'm not even thinking about...

and the biggie: RELIABLE TECH SUPPORT/warranties, on site stuff, as I saw on the Gateway site. I'm not going to be down the hall to help her when problems arise.

So after days of looking around on the net and reading forum articles here and CNET and others, looking in Amazon, Newegg, TigerDirect, some of the brand name sites, I'm just confused and have a headache. Some of the machines were just what I was looking for, but I've never heard of the manufacturer, some of the places had good prices, but I saw no way of upgrading.

I just need some recommendations/suggestions. I would certainly apprectiate the help.


Comments (Page 1)
on May 28, 2006
I've been pretty happy with my Dell Inspiron 2200. Not a top of the line model, but not shabby either.
on May 28, 2006
Have you had the need for Dell tech support? Have you heard anything about how reliable it is (or not)?
on May 28, 2006

How about a MacBook?


on May 28, 2006
with apologies to anyone affected by this statement, I don't really want an Apple anything atm. Please let's not debate the pro/con of Win/Mac. I really, seriously, need some help with this. I just build desktops which is much more familiar to me.
on May 28, 2006
Actually no, I haven't needed tech support at all. But that's a good thing because I haven't had any problems with it.

I have it dual booting Xp and Slackware Linux. Everything works perfectly.
on May 29, 2006
I'm not overjoyed with my VAIO. Dell seems o.k. according to my family and friends. Sounds like you need a bulletproof workhorse, zero maintenance. Tried Cnet reviews? PC magazine, Maximum PC... Particularly "satisfied customers" and "dissatisfied"? H-P seems o.k. Had a presario five years, zero probs 'til the 10GB hard drive went south. Speed is good. Ability to connect with peripherals. I like PCMCIA card slot and thumbdrives. Battery-life's important. For school, might save $ with smaller screen,etc, and put it in performance. My nieces have Dells and they seem to like them. Heard support's an issue, don't know firsthand.
Hope this was some help...just stream-of-consciusness thoughts. Oh yeah: Warranty!!
on May 29, 2006

I have a Dell Inspiron 9300, and am quite happy with it and Dell.

They have fairly good support, and they ship promptly and safely.

I would suggest the "Inspiron E1505" line, and it looks like the "Ultimate Productivity" version is $987 and meets your specifictations above

You might want to click the "Customize It" button and select the following:

- 512 MB "Dual-Channel" memory (note - this will add $50 to the price).

- 128 MB (or 256 MB) ATI Mobility X1300 video card (note - this will add $79 or $129 to the price).

This will give better memory and video performance, and provide for memory upgrades that will stay with the times in the next few years. Especially for a college student.

The E1505 line have dual-core processors, so if you upgrade her machine to Vista, there will not be a problem.

I can vouch for the Dell machines ease of hardware upgrades (memory, hard drive, optical drives), so you can easily upgrade those items in the future if you decide to do so - even after the warranty, because they use the current industry form factor standards. Note - I recommend writing down the upgrade options due to Dell changing their lines frequently, and finding the limits of the MoBo can be difficult in a few years.

Again, I would suggest getting the video and memory upgraded (though it will push the price tag up). The video cards are specially manufactured for these units and are not currently available through anyone but Dell for their products.

on May 29, 2006

One other item I forgot to mention is that Dell does a good job of updating drivers and softwares which are available when you create an account and use the "Service Tag" number to access them.

They are downloaded as an "executable" file which she can double-click to extract and run the driver and/or software installation. The files automatically extract to a created "C:\Dell" folder and then run automatically, so she can just follow the prompts to install the updates (if she needs them).

on May 29, 2006
Yeah, go for the Dell.
on May 29, 2006
I've had to use Dell tech support for our work computers and like any company, it's hit or miss. I really had to be on top of it for them to act, but I did get them to replace a hard drive (twice!!) on the same laptop. The second time was only days before the warranty expired.

Good luck.
on May 29, 2006
I have a Dell Inspiron 6000...not had any problems with it, and the one time I had to call Dell tech svc for a question, they were prompt and to-the-point in helping.
on May 29, 2006
Avoid Dell like the plague. A few 'reminiscences' about Dell support
on May 29, 2006
Thanks all for your input.

MasonM: Will check the 2200

Corky_0: The Inspiron E1505 is one that I have bookmarked, but I have heard horror stories about Dell support. Fuzzy, that article was definately not a point in their favor .

ama02: I will check out the 6000 and

Seldomseen: I have never heard of Maximum PC before but will check that as well.

Now, this is going to be a dumb question, but where is this forum? I've got a joeuser account, but I don't see this on my page anywhere.

Other that Mr Fuzzy, so far it looks like Dell. Does anyone have anything else?

Thanks again. This at least lets me focus in on something LOL
on May 29, 2006 I'm really confused I know where I am now...Wincusto forums. So these things can originate in Wincusto and go to JoeUser. I get it now. Doesn't take rocket science.
on May 29, 2006
"First call could not be processed by Dell as " The company computer systems have failed" service support was delayed until later in the week despite my 24 hour service package."

[ from fuzzy logic's link. Thanks for the heads-up, f/l!]

"But I am telling you repeatedly, sir, the indicator must be in ex-a-ki-tally and precisely the other position if in fact we are to be of any assistance, you see sir. Yes indeed, just call again and ask for Mr. Singh, sir."

I got this above at a call-center for H-P New Delhi