I’m computer savvy. In lieu of buying my next computer, I had seriously considered building my own. But since our current lab manager leaves tomorrow, and I get a promotion by default, I’m beginning to think that I need a Laptop so I can take my work home with me. I have never owned a laptop, and I dont know what to look for.
Background info/Computer needs:
- I work in a basic science Bio-Research lab. For the most part, this means I need something on which I can run Excel. But, since our PI has limited computer skills, I know this also means that I will have to become much more familiar with Adobe Photoshop than I currently am.
- I am a die hard Yankee fan (please don’t hold that against me) and live on the west coast. I’d like to subscribe to MLB.TV so that I can actually watch Steinbrenner continue to gut their farm system and overpay for ageing talent while I’m stuck in the lab late at night, instead of tracking it on ESPN Gamecast.
- I’m a jam-band fan. I have a growing collection of 50 or so shows from the Grateful Dead, Phish, String Cheese Incident, etc, etc. I’d like to start downloading a show a day or so. Problem is, most of these shows run 1-2 GIGAbytes in size in SHN or FLAC format. On the computer on which I type, it takes about 2 hours to decode these files to WAV, assuming I’m not using the computer for anything else, and another hour or so to burn it to CD, with the constant risk of burning a show with a bunch of pops in the sound (very annoying). So, I’d like a big hard drive, fast processor, and DVD burner so that I can burn back ups of good shows in SHN or FLAC format.
- It would be nice if I could do some DVRing. This isn’t too high a priority, since I’m not sure I’ll opt for cable when I move (tomorrow, actually).
- Here’s the kicker. I’d like to spend no more than ~$1200.
All of this lead me in the direction of the HP Pavilion zd8000 series. Massive processing power, DVD+/-RW, TV tuner, 17" screen etc. A few things concern me though. 1) I’ve read that the P-4 chip causes them to over heat to the point of being hot to the touch. 2) They’re big (but I think the extra width will help my fairly large hands). 3) They have a short battery life.
Any other, better recommendations. I’ve thought of getting a large external hard drive and setting up this computer as a dedicated music jukebox as it were, and then burning the shows using a less powerful laptop, but this seems cumbersome.
Oh, and Mac’s are not an option. Not only do I prefer PC, but much of the SHN/FLAC sharing/decoding software is designed for PC.
Thanks in advance - Trip