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Time for Shopping
Previous | Next by elfie 09 February, 2006 - 1:58 AM

So a few of you have been to our new house, so you know we've got this freakin huge sexy TV in the living room and all our computers in our swank new office.

Now, I'm working from home today, so I'm in the office, but I'm wishing that I could be in the living room watching TV or something while I work, cause what's the fun in working from home if you can't catch up on your stories, eh?

Now the sexy new TV has a monitor input. It's HD so I could actually get a computer resolution up to 1920X1084. My father, who has the same TV, has tested this and says it's awesome. But if I'm going to plug a computer into a 61" monitor, I want that computer to play my Doom 3, Area 51, and such. But I don't want to take my best PC out of the office, because the office will still be my primary computing location.

All of this, combined with some other info that I can't quite share yet, has brought me to the conclusion that I need a good gaming laptop. I could keep it plugged into the TV right next to the PS2 and the TiVo, get a wireless keyboard and mouse to keep on the coffee table, and if I ever wanted to computer from bed or on vacation, I could just yank it and go.

So there you have it, I need a gaming laptop, and I need suggestions. Let me pre-empt this with the fact that I have NEVER owned a Windows laptop, so I really don't know what to look for. Right now my only odd requirement is that I be able to turn it on and off with the lid closed (a docking station could cover this need). What have you got for me?

2/9/2006 >> ben

get work to get you one? then you could spill coffee on it and get a much BETTER one!

wait... where have i heard that before?

2/9/2006 >> muhgcee

Dell laptops are very nice. I've had two of them - a 12" ultra-portable from 2001 and a 1-year-old 15.4" that I've had for about a year and will be eBaying next week. I'd try to sell it to you, but it is just a nice gaming machine, and not an insane gaming machine. And I am guessing if you have a freakin' 61" TV, you can afford a shiny new laptop instead of a used one.

My favorite thing about them is their insane resolution. 1920x1200 on a 15.4" screen. Of course you can get 17" screens too.

Their XPS laptops look nice, but I've never had one. I also love that you can customize the hell out of them. And, pick one out that you like and then wait about 2 weeks until you find a good coupon code on one of those sites like

What's your budget?

2/9/2006 >> muhgcee

Oh yeah...suggestions on customizing. Spend your money on the best monitor you can get on that thing. And don't spend any extra money on a faster processor. 2Ghz Pentium M's are plenty fast. Also, get a modular battery. You usually won't need the optical drive in there after you have loaded all of your apps onto the laptop, so the modular battery is great for adding extra battery time.

2/9/2006 >> Dan

I was thinking along this route.....then I just ened up build a small form factor PC. Then you can customize the system a little more and it should be cheaper than a laptop.

2/9/2006 >> muhgcee

a lot more cheaper...but of course no taking it on vacation.

2/9/2006 >> elfie

muhgcee, your logic is a little flawed. If I have a freakin' 61" TV, that should imply that all my money is now gone, and I can not aford shiny new laptop as much as I'd like to think I need one :)

Send me an email about this laptop of yours. What makes it a nice gaming machine? And why are you selling it? I might consider buying something relatively cheap at first just to decide if this is a viable plan and if I would actually use it enough to warrant the cost of something shinier and newer.

I'm actually not concerned about the built-in screen size all that much. I don't plan to use the actual laptop screen except for vacationing, which currently is restricted to two weeks a year. 96.2% of the time, it will be using the TV as the monitor.

I usually keep an eye on, but I will start keeping an eye toward xpbargains too. I'm honestly not sure what my price range is. The five grand price tag on the dell laptop I customized the hell out of is probably too much though :)

2/9/2006 >> elfie

so... new development... at around 2 today, my main PC stopped being able to boot. I have narrowed it down to being the processor AND the motherboard. This baffles me. Is it possible to put an artificial two-year life span on computer hardware? because in the span of less than two months, I have lost my video card, my hard drive, and now my motherboard and processor. Today is exactly two years and five days since I purchased this computer from my local Shop-Down-The-Road. Amazing. Suffice to say, this whole laptop plan is going to go on hold and I am going to be replacing my motherboard and processor. In the meantime, I have enough spare parts to put together a reasonable PC for playing around in the living room until a wicked cool gaming laptop comes back into the budget.

2/9/2006 >> elfie

quick addendum... it MIGHT be the motherboard and not the processor... the motherboard I was testing with doesn't support 3.2 GHz processors, so that would account for why it wouldn't boot with my processor in it. My current plan is to look into replacing just the motherboard and if it still won't post, THEN get a new processor. Hopefully the motherboard will do it.... though that still means having to reinstall EVERYTHING unless there have been miraculous improvements in Windows' ability to have a motherboard replaced and install all the new drivers properly... which I doubt. We'll see how this goes. Anyone have a Socket 478 motherboard that they love? :) As long as I have to get a new one, I might as well get a good one. I think I'll look for some built-in SATA RAID-1.

2/9/2006 >> muhgcee

"I could just yank it and go."

You dirty, dirty man.

2/10/2006 >> elfie

yes, well, when you've gotta yank it, you've gotta yank it.

2/10/2006 >> ben

jump on it!

2/10/2006 >> muhgcee

BTW, something useful I did...when I built my computer, it wouldn't turn on. I narrowed it down to proc or mobo. took both parts to the local PC shop, had them troubleshoot for me (I didn't have spare parts of that type to test with)

$45 well-spent.

2/16/2006 >> elfie

As a quick update to my motherboard issue. I swapped it out and everything worked. XP was able to handle all the driver updates for the new board automatically. Swank.

2/19/2006 >> elfie

Though strangely, XP is NOT able to handle the switch from Enhanced SATA to RAID-Ready SATA without a complete reinstall. Fucking Windows.

2/19/2006 >> muhgcee

Ghost would have likely come in handy here :-)

2/19/2006 >> elfie

hehehe probably. Question though. Isn't ghost like a perfect copy of everything? When I restored from the image, how would it know NOT to copy the piece that prevented RAID from working in the firs tpalce?

2/20/2006 >> muhgcee

Not sure...I think Ghost might be smart about only copying some parts of Winders.

2/20/2006 >> Dan

The magic tool is Sysprep. Ghost does do a perfect copy. But using sysprep you can load or remove drivers and define default system settings to be used so that the same ghost image can clone multiple machines with the same image.

2/20/2006 >> muhgcee

Ah yes, good call...

2/21/2006 >> elfie

Either way I'm back up and running to where I was three days ago except now I have RAID 1, so doing the full reinstall wasn't THAT big a deal... *sigh* still gotta call some more data recovery places. muhgcee, I called yours. I'm SURE they can get the job done, but they are expensive as fuck.

2/21/2006 >> muhgcee

what, like 3 grand?

2/21/2006 >> elfie

I believe the estimate was 1.4 to 2.5 grand.

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