Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dell M1330, Defective GFX cards, and Laptops

I've been planning to buy a new laptop for a few months now. What I want:
  • a small laptop, please note that this does not necessarily mean thin - it means easy to open and use reasonably comfortably on an air plane,
  • light-weight (sub 4lbs)
  • A hardware accelerated graphics card with dedicated memory
  • An SSD option.
  • Reasonable battery life. No, an upper limit of 3-hours isn't reasonable. I'd like something that can last for a long plane ride.
  • Resolution is important to me, I can't work in a 1024x768 or something similar. I currently have 1680x1050 and I wouldn't want to lose much in the terms of screen real estate. (I know this conflicts with my want of a light laptop, but a guy can dream, can't he?)
8 months ago, someone introduced me to the Dell XPS m1210 [1]. And it quickly became the top competitor on my list of laptops that I was considering. I couldn't afford it at the time, so I kept my eye on it. Soon, dell replaced this model with the XPS M1330 [2] which was even more appealing. But recently I've found out that the nvidia g84 and g86 are defective [3]. The Dell m1330 is one of the laptops with this card [4]. So that got me to thinking of not ordering the m1330 with the nvidia card. I mean, if portability is my ultimate goal, the graphics card conflicts with that. I could order it with the integrated Intel card, but there are a number of laptops out there with this card which are more portable.

So I got to looking around and I ran across the as of yet unreleased Sony Vaio Z Series [5]. Wow, what a sweet laptop. It actually satisifies ALL of my requirements and more. It's a high powered, very light machine with a great screen, dual SSD drives (w/ raid) and great battery life (or so they claim). Too bad it's $4k. Any other suggestions?

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