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MattCasters
06-05-2007, 07:10 AM
I just ordered a new laptop. The old one, an Acer 8104 is still a nice computer but seriously lacks some RAM. It has a single GB of RAM and that really is becoming more and more a problem. I just arrived at a point where I could no longer cope with the constant opening and closing of applications, the jumping through hoops, the stalls when you run out of memory, etc.
So I have been window shopping for weeks now, and in the end there where 2 computers that had my interest…
The contenders
The first was an Apple Powerbook (CPU: 2.33Ghz Core 2 Duo, RAM: 3GB-667Mhz, HD: 120Gb 5400 tr/m, Screen: 15.4” @1440×900)
http://a248.e.akamai.net/7/248/8352/892/store.apple.com/Catalog/belfl/Images/step2_beautyshot_mb15_060110.jpg
Price for this beauty: 3557,99 EURO
A Dell precision M65 (CPU: 2.33Ghz Core 2 Duo, RAM: 4GB-667Mhz, HD: 100Gb 7200 tr/m, Screen: 15.4” @1920×1200)
http://www.notebookreview.com/assets/15882.jpg
Dell charges 3596,12 EURO for this one and it’s the computer I picked.
Hardware
So, all in all, the price is about the same. Even though the MBPro looks like a very nice piece of machinery and a lot of my colleagues at Pentaho (http://www.pentaho.org/) already have one, I still went with the Dell. Why? Well, the extra GB of RAM will come in handy of-course, but also the low-resolution screen was a big turn-off on the Mac. How can you claim any laptop is “Pro” if it doesn’t have at least 1680×1050? My old laptop has that resolution and I don’t want to go back. Anyway, if you think about it, the Dell has about twice the amount of pixels on the screen compared to the Apple laptop. That’s a lot of detail and it’s going to be fun to play around with that. The lack of a camera in the M65 doesn’t bother me in the least. It’s not going to be used as a home-computer anyway…
Support
The price on the Dell box included full accidental damage insurance for 3 years. If you’re like me and you actually move the laptop a lot, hauling it around the world on planes, trains and automobiles, to clients, meetings, conferences, presentations, cold and hot places, then that insurance is certainly something nice to have. The AppleCare protection plan details that it doesn’t help you out in case of accidents, wrong use, wrong applications, wrong software, temperature too high, too low,… It scrary to read that stuff since there is no specification of what “wrong” or “inappropriate” means. (The Dutch details (http://images.apple.com/legal/applecare/docs/AppleCare_Protect_Plan_EU_nl.pdf) that apply in my case) Apple also doesn’t fix your computer on-site. That is leading to the same problem I had with Acer: once you have any kind of problem you have to send the laptop out for repair and you don’t see it back for a week. At least Dell performs the maintenance on-site the next business day. In fact, the support seems to be worldwide, so in theory I could get repairs done when I’m abroad. I’m not counting on that though http://www.ibridge.be/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
Software
Another thing the M65 has going for it, is that it’s going to be running Linux pretty much without a problem. This will be a box where I will be mainly running Linux on with perhaps a VM on it with Windows XP. I know that Dell is starting to offer Linux in the US, but I don’t want to wait until that program reaches Europe and until it is worth anything beyond marketing hype.
Before you ask, obviously I didn’t order the laptop with Vista http://www.ibridge.be/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif
Until next time,
Matt



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