View Full Version : What laptop? I keep coming back to the macbook!

January 30th, 2010, 08:07 AM
I need a laptop to replace my desktop machine as my better half has decided that it takes up too much room.

I currently have a home built system that is running Ubuntu on an Intel 6600 dual core cpu, 4Gb RAM and an Nvidia 9800 graphics card.

I use it for photos, a bit of movie editing, internet and email / office stuff. I don't play games but like to have my Compiz settings tweaked up.

My budget is around the 1000 mark and I am happy to 'downgrade' to a smaller screen than I have now (a 22" widescreen and 17" LCD running in TwinView) but think that 15" really is the smallest I could use for photo and video work. Whatever I get will need to run Ubuntu, but will probably dual boot as I have an iPhone.

Initially I was looking at the 17" macbook pro but sadly it is out of my budget!

I then started looking at some of the Sony Viao FW machinies such as the Sony VAIO FW51MF/H but it uses ATI graphics which I want to stay away from from a Ubuntu point of view. It also only has a 2 hour battery life which is, in my opinion, a little too short.

Dell always seem to be touted as good laptops but I really don't like the new wedge shape that they seem to have gone for and the Inspiron's have again got the ATI graphics if you go for anything a bit powerful.

I don't want a monster of a laptop so I am keeping away from the desktop replacements with 18"+ screens and ones that need a removal company to get it from room to room. Plus most of the ones I have seen recently seem to be covered in extra buttons and 'media controls' that I don't need or want (and probably won't play with Ubuntu)

Yesterday I spent about an hour in PC World looking at what was available (whilst trying to convince the HP rep that I didn't need his help....), but kept walking back to the macbook pro stand, as everything else is too big or garish or has ATI graphics or a really bad battery life...

I am now thinking that a 15" macbook pro may be the way it has to go but it is still that little too expensive for what you get.

Aside from my iPhone, I have never used an apple bit of kit and, untill Ubuntu :p, have always 'been a pc' (god I hate those adverts - especially the new Windows 7 ones!)

Am I just being sucked into the world of Steve Jobs or is there another laptop out there for me?

I know that there are countless threads on here about what laptop to buy but reading through them all still hasn't helped! They are either a different budget or relate to a different specification required.

January 30th, 2010, 08:27 AM
Try System 76. A bit pricy for me, but you have Ubuntu preinstalled and can get a very powerful system if you have the money.


January 30th, 2010, 08:37 AM
...I am now thinking that a 15" macbook pro may be the way it has to go but it is still that little too expensive for what you get....

You could go for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, that would be closer to your budget.

If I had to buy a new computer, I would buy an Apple.

January 30th, 2010, 11:04 AM
You could go for the 13-inch MacBook Pro, that would be closer to your budget.

If I had to buy a new computer, I would buy an Apple.

Why? Why buy something with a core 2 duo etc. from apple for 1000 dollars when the same specs cost 500 at dell or acer? or 700 at HP?

The only reason I could think of would be if you loved the way the thing looked or you loved OSX and couldn't live without it. ..

Paddy Landau
January 30th, 2010, 11:14 AM
For that price, you could get a great laptop and a large screen to attach to the laptop.

Look around on websites for prices. I normally get good prices when I buy direct through Toshiba (http://www.toshiba.co.uk/); look around for special offers.

January 30th, 2010, 11:15 AM
Just make sure you buy a decent laptop with plenty of ram and a good graphics card to use an external monitor when you need to do your graphics work. 15'' monitors are not good for graphics processing, not at all.

January 30th, 2010, 11:15 AM
I've got a HP HDX 16 and Ubuntu works out of the box with it. Everything including the media buttons. The only thing I haven't gotten to work is the HP media center remote control. Someone here got it working, but I use my Android to control my Laptop media anyways so no biggy. It's got a nvidia 9600gt and the drivers work great. Compiz works 100% etc.

I've seen a few under 900 (brand new @ Futureshop.ca) as it's been discontinued and has been replaced with the DV7 line.. I think...

January 30th, 2010, 12:06 PM
Thanks for the replies so far.

I did look at the system72 website but being in the UK , I did not really want to buy a laptop from abroad. Plus I like the idea of being able to walk into a shop to look at the laptop - before buying on line for the discount :D.

As for an external monitor, I had not really thought of that. I was planning on selling my existing setup to put towards the laptop, but I guess I could keep one of the monitors and go for something a little cheaper.

That has of course, now opened a whole new ball park. I could go for a smaller but powerful laptop and keep a big monitor. So many options!!

January 30th, 2010, 12:09 PM

I got a 13 inch Toshiba U500 yesterday. It has Nvidia graphics, Core 2 Duo processor and works OK.

January 30th, 2010, 12:16 PM
I'd keep the 22'' widescreen if I were you. I'm telling you from experience that it's a pain to do graphics in a 15'' monitor (I have to constantly zoom in and out all the time) and 17'' laptops are not easy to carry around (plus a 17'' screen won't make much of a difference).

Make sure you have at least 4gb of ram, 4-5 multilayered images in gimp, or gimp and inkscape open at the same time take a lot of ram. And a decent graphics card. The processor doesn't need to be perfect imho, just good.

January 30th, 2010, 12:36 PM
In my opinion, Thinkpads are hard to beat - robust, well specced, Linux-friendly. They feel solid, not all flimsy and plasticky like some makes do.

January 30th, 2010, 12:44 PM
Pick up a dell. Now a days they have intel i3/i5/i7 cpus to fit every budget and performance need.

January 30th, 2010, 01:13 PM
have a look at linux emporium. the do linux laptops in the uk.

the thinkpads should be just as well built as the macbook, though a very different aesthetic.