If you had $4,000 to spend on a new laptop, what would you buy?

I can get a two-year, no-interest loan for $4,000 for a new computer. I am interested in getting a laptop. I game, I take my computer to school and take notes, I like to edit photos and I use the internet constantly. I need a wireless internet connection.

I currently have a Toshiba, and I’m really happy with it. However, my husband would like to have a laptop and he wants this one. He wants me to buy another one and give it to him.

I have been looking at all the popular brands like Sony and Dell, and I have decided I like two different laptops, one by Toshiba and one by Alienware.

A few things I didn’t like about it:
[li]Heavy[/li][li]Speakers are where I would rest my arms[/li][li]No scrolly thing between the mouse buttons[/li][li]Not upgradeable[/li][/ul]
Things I liked about it:
[li]Fast processor[/li][li]Huge screen[/li][li]Inexpensive[/li][/ul]
What I didn’t like about it:
[li]Expensive ($3,022 for everything I want, when Toshiba’s is half that)[/li][/ul]
Things I like about it:
[li]It’s upgradeable[/li][li]Cool-looking[/li][li]Fast processor, huge screen, tons of ports[/li][/ul]

I have been thinking about going with some sort of lesser-known company, and have them build me a substantially similar model, that is upgradeable and fast. Problem is I don’t know these lesser-known companies.

Does anyone have any recommendations?

Well, after lugging my dell (which I love) a few places, I’ve decided that the next laptop I buy, whenever that is, will be selected more for being small and light than having everything and the kitchen sink (like a really fast processor) on board.


I’d spend $3K on a desktop gaming system and $1K on a cheapo laptop to take to school and such.

Really. I’ve been where you are. I bought a top of the line laptop for gaming several years ago. It was really about the most expensive and best laptop you could get at the time. It played all the cool new games!

A little over a year later, the newest games no longer ran very well on it. 18 months later, I bought a desktop system.

Sure, I know the Alien laptops are upgradable - but they’re not as upgradable as a desktop system. The notebook video cards always lag a bit behind the desktop cards as far as cutting-edge technology, and (I may be wrong here) I believe you’re limited to what Alien decides to carry.

For me, I’m sticking with desktops for gaming from now on. Dollar for dollar, you get a LOT more, and it lasts a lot longer. Laptops are cool, but the technology just isn’t there yet.

Groceries for the next year.

That’s a pretty good point, Athena. Maybe I will look at desktops now and see what kinds of things are available.

Ethilrist – I would buy groceries with the money, but it’s a loan from my husband’s work specifically meant for home computers. Damn, if I just had $4,000 to spend, believe me, I wouldn’t blow it on a new computer. I’d buy a new stove, which we really need, and pay off a couple of things.

chrisk, you have a good point too. The laptop I have now is about ten pounds or so, and it would be nice to cut that in half. Hmmm.

Thanks for the responses!

This is my 1,000th post! Yay!

I completely agree with Athena. If you’re a gamer…then get yourself a laptop that can function for all the laptop needs you have (specifically, taking notes at school) and take the rest and spend it on a bitchin’ desktop.

Are you allowed to split this loan up between two purchases?

“but it’s a loan from my husband’s work”

Loan??? $4,000?

Heck, I’d spend around $2,000 on custom building an awesome gaming computer, get an el cheapo laptop for 600 bucks or so and then spend the rest on beer. Unless you’re rendering CGI $4,000 for any computer seems kinda excessive.

Oh you have no idea… I could spend $4K on a gaming system in about 30 seconds. Top o’ the line video card, 2 Gig of really fast memory, a couple really fast hard drives, and a HUGE monitor? Sheesh, I bet I could spend $5K, if I really had to.

But yeah… beer money is important too. Need the beer to play the games.

You do realize that many, if not most, stoves are computerized today, don’t you? :smiley: Is there a requirement that your new “computer” run windows? :wink:

Getting back to the OP, I second the game machine + less spensive laptop

Congrats on lucky 1,000.

      • In my opinion, ALL, and I mean ALL laptops run sluggardly, because they all still use slower 5400 RPM hard-drives. 7200 RPM drives are standard on desktop PC’s but laptop drives that fast are only now just becoming available, the capacitites are smaller and they cost ~2X per-gigabyte what typical 5400 RPM drives do.
  • The two things I would look for in a laptop are a DVD-writer (it’s the easiest/cheapest way to transfer big files between computers) and I’d pay attention to the battery life. To play games, ya turn the screen res down to 800 x 600, 16 colors and turn all the visual effects off. :wink:

Well, talked to my husband and apparently the loan is only for one computer, not two, so Athena’s suggestion just can’t work.

Without going in to all the details, YES, Ethilrist, it IS a $4,000 loan for a home computer, from my husband’s work! It’s a pretty cool program and quite a few of his coworkers take advantage of it too. Why do you not believe me? Why would I make something like that up? He works for a place that routinely spends $14,000 on computers for their labs. These loans are chump change for them. I guess I could scare up a link for you, but that would mean disclosing where my husband works and I’m just not comfortable with that.

No, I can’t buy a stove with the money, worse luck. The people who sign off on the loans like to see all the costs itemized before they agree.

So, I’m thinking about just sticking with the laptop that I already have and see what the future will bring when I finish law school. It’s only a year away now. But I sure would like to have a superfast machine and give my husband the laptop he wants for travel. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Here’s what I would do.

Get a gaming desktop. You won’t be able to game satisfactorily on a laptop for the same amount as a desktop.

Give the laptop to your hubby, but borrow it for school notes.

Would that work out?

If you just need portability for note taking, I would suggest looking into a PDA with a keyboard attachment, which would sync up to your bichin’ desktop. You may be able to include the price of a PDA in your computer purchace, I know Dell used to offer this.

for school get a tablet PC and make sure it has OneNote on it. Save you a lot of time and effort. OTOH, it’s not a shit hot machine as far as performance. Depends on what you really want it for.

I don’t know about Ethilrist, but my issue is not that I don’t believe you, it’s that it doesn’t seem like that great a deal. A $4000.00 interest-free loan is still a loan. If my company wants me to have a laptop or computer at home (presumably so that I can be productive on my own time), then they can jolly well pay for it, with none of this “loan” stuff. And $4K is a lot of money to be in the hole for something that will be obsolete by the time the loan comes due.

If it were up to me and I really needed a second laptop that was going to be used for school and notes, I’d get something small and light, on the order of an Apple iBook. Not only portable, but cheap enough so that if someone rips it off from your backpack, it’s not a major financial disaster.

I just wanted to chime in with the others. Getting a high-end laptop is jut not a smart investment. The desktop is the much better purchase and you should spend as little as possible on a laptop which serves your needs. If the laptop is just for note taking and surfing the net, then you can get by nice and cheap, say $800 max for a pretty small and light one. Then use the loan to get a fairly high-end desktop (though the $4000 Alienware gamers are a bit much), make sure it’s plenty upgradable and have fun.

Both those laptops you listed have a Pentium 4 processor. Pentium 4’s are very high when it comes to power consumption, so the battery life will suck. I would reccomend going with an Turion or Pentium-M if you want a laptop with any decent battery life.

I also second the idea of getting a very nice desktop for $2,000 or so, and then spending a thousand on a laptop. I know you can pick a pretty decent Turion based laptop with a Radeon xpress 200M graphics chip for $900 or so from HP.

A loan is still your money. If I were you I’d get decent laptop in the $1000-$1500 range.

If you want to use more of the loan, maybe you can justify a wide range of peripherals. A multifunction laser printer (i.e. one that works as a fax machine, copier and scanner) and external hard drive, for example. Maybe even a big external monitor and high quality keyboard for your laptop, for when you use your laptop at home wink. And software!

I don’t know much about gaming, but wouldn’t a console be more cost-effective?

Also, what RandomLetters said about Pentium-4. Its clock speed sounds impressive, but the Pentium-M has more cache memory and does more work per clock cycle. My 1.6 GHz Pentium-M laptop feels faster than my 2.4-GHz Celeron desktop.

This is actually a damn solid idea. If they are requiring you to get only one computer with the loan, then you could make a good arguement for getting a acceptable compact laptop with a docking station, large external monitor, keyboard and mouse. Then, it’s be dirt cheap to get a reasonably high-end gamer that you could share the display and input devices with.

I built a kick-ass CPU for just over $600 18 months back. You can get slightly dated pre-fab ones for $500 that are plenty upgradable and will handle any game. In 2 years when that’s obsolete you could swap the motherboard, CPU and video card for another $500 and still have a good laptop/monitor along with it.

Invest in a quality KVM switch and you’ll be the envy of the LAN party.