Current offer is £691 inc VAT and free delivery. Memory is doubled to 1GB for free and you can squeeze in a couple of upgrades and stay within budget. The only thing I'd be wary of is the one year warranty, but 3 yrs cover is quite a bit more.
Check with HP as well. They have some pretty solid looking Turion64 and Pentium M models out there right now. Is this mainly going to be a DTR system? If so, the specs change a little bit, since mobility typically cuts into power. I doubt that a 17" model will fit into your budget, but a 15.4" WXGA has lots of screen real estate. It will also allow you to get a better GPU. Go X700 or better if you plan to game.
Give what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.
Go with HP business notebooks - NC series, if you can live with the smaller screen.
Id stay away from HP SOHO notebooks, including Pavilions. Instead Id go with Acer for budget option or Dell if you can get a good deal on. Unfortunately Dell still thinks ppl in EU cant read american english on its US site and sells most of its mid to high end models for way too much, over here.
Much better choice IMO, NX 6xxx and NX 8xxx are basically stripped-down NC series.
If this is meant for gaming then I agree with TOTT, see if you can get anything like this with dedicated ram and possibly smaller resolution XGA screen, better for gaming and generally for your eyes, IMO.
As for DTR. this Acer might be a good choice. It has NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5700 - 64 MB and WXGA (1280 x 800) screen, but battery life is very poor, Id suspect those 2 hours can be achieved with max battery savings only.
Now if you can strech a bit further, this £881.24 inc VAT Acer has everything, more then capable P-M 1.6Ghz (Id say about A64 2800 + speed) and a lot better video card: ATI MOBILITY RADEON X600 - 64 MB, again WXGA screen, but unlike the previous Acer, this thing will last on batteries. Id say up to 4 hours doing office work.
Oh and HP has some entry level NX8xxx laptops with better video card, you might wanna check out.
The HP SoHo systems are actually really good - you just have to be ready to toss the slow( Usually 4200rmp Fujitsu) HDD they send into a nice USB2 enclosure and stick your own Seagate 5400rmp drive in there (that's what I did, anyway ).
HP's NX business series is good, but it's really a T&L line - not exactly DTR. Not that this is a bad thing, but you pay more to have all that performance in a 6lb system. And you get only a 15" screen. Great for me, but not the best for a dedicated gamer.
Lizard, I think you're looking at ze2000z series ?? Great Soho notebook (for business use). An amazing amount of performance for a T&L enclosure. I hate to push anyone in another direction... But, the Radeon Xpress 200M isn't the best for gaming.
A system with ATi's Mobility X600 is PROBABLY a better fit for you.
The flip side is that one of my employees just told me about her son, who took an 11 lb notebook off to school with him three months ago and is now begging her to buy him a T&L because the gaming notebook is such a beast he doesn't like hauling it around. She has a nice Dell T&L (one of our company favorites), but unfortunately the Intel Extreme2 graphics are pretty much unable to be used for gaming.
Yeah, notebooks aren't easy purchases, as I'm sure most figure out when buying. Typically you can't find something cheap that does everything. In fact, the cheapest ones don't game well, and they don't last long on batteries. You have to go a level up to get a gaming notebook or a truely mobile notebook. If you want gaming power AND mobility, then you are going to the highest end.
My suggestion? If you want something that's got some kick and doesn't break your bank, sacrifice battery life first. You'll just have to learn to live with less mobility. Since I think most people use their notebooks plugged in, this will be the least frustrating of the sacrifices you could make. You can improve your range considerably if you upgrade to a 12 cell battery over the 8 cell. I think most DTRs can go 4 hours on a 12 cell battery, and it's only a ~$25 upgrade online.
Give what you cannot keep to gain what you cannot lose.
I dont know Hoyle about your experience, but if I check the local Ebay site, one thing I can always be sure of, is I will find a SOHO HP notebooks for parts, followed by different types of notebooks with MR9700 installed.
I have yet to see HP NC/NX or IBM R or T lappy for parts. Might be due to extended warranty, but no all IBM R laptops were sold that way and I know some NC lappies were sold with 1 year warranty in EU as well as all NX laptops.
Also when I did some research on the forums, a while back, on what is the lappy to buy (I was looikng for one for myself and some friends and family were asking me what to get), HP SOHO line was right down there with your typical no name stuff and Gericom, when reliability was in question and IBM, Dell and HP buisness class was considered top notch, but not bulletproof, mainly because of the completely unreliable IBM, now Hitachi disks. Acer was considered by far the best bang for the buck with very high reliability sticker. One of the biggest complaints about Acer was it usually looks like it went through sandstorm in 2 years time, I guess small price to pay for what is otherwise great package.
Oh and when portability is of main concern HP NC class cant be beat, actually NC6000 I have, is still considered one of the best all rounders in that department, followed closely by IBM T42 model.
Oh and BTW I had cheap Compaq (now HP) lappy, 2xxx series and I know how bad the build was compared to what I have now or your typical IBM, Dell and Acer laptop.
Last edited by F_A_L_C_O_N; October 18th, 2005 at 11:40 PM.