Laptop specifications?

Subject: Laptop specifications?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Ubax Ahmed <ubaxha -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 06 Nov 2006 09:48:14 -0500

Ubax Ahmed wondered: <<I am shopping around for a laptop. Other than the normal personal usage, I would like to do some freelance web development work. Can I get suggestions as to what I should look for when shopping for a laptop. i.e brand comparisons how they stack up against one another. RAM etc>>

The first thing to do is list the software you want to run, then list all its hardware and software requirements. Most modern laptops should be more than capable of meeting your needs, but some software has special needs; for example, Photoshop will benefit from a dedicated graphics chip (not one of those shared-memory Intel chips), tons of RAM, and a fast hard drive. Add a bit of expansion room, because software usually grows more demanding in subsequent versions.

Having figured out your minimum requirements, have a look at PC Magazine's annual survey of reliability and customer satisfaction (,1759,2006499,00.asp). This will give you an idea of the reliability of the major brands, though it's important to note that you can get a lemon from any manufacturer. Once you've narrowed down your choices, check the reviews section of this site (also of PC World) for the specific models you're considering. Don't take their "star" or "Editor's choice" ratings as definitive; read the full review instead. I often find details in the full review that disqualify a computer or that would earn it a higher rating from my perspective.

Last but not least, consider one of the new Apple laptops. Apple has beaten all the PC manufacturers by a significant margin for reliability and satisfaction for something like the past 5 years running (confirmed by both PC Mag and Consumer Reports), and the new systems let you run both OS X and Windows and Linux; though I don't know enough about Linux to know how well it runs, a programmer friend uses Linux quite happily on his Mac. Best of all, you can run Windows directly (not through emulation) now that the laptops use Intel chips. Apple's "Boot Camp" lets you boot to either Windows or Mac; the Parallels software ( lets you run both operating systems simultaneously; and the Crossover product (http:// claims to let you run Windows programs at near-native speed, directly in OS X without even needing to own a copy of Windows. Way cool!

You'll pay a slight cost premium compared with a comparably equipped PC, but you may find the flexibility of being able to run Apple software worth the price. I've been using Mac laptops for more than 10 years, and love them.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca

(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)

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Laptop specifications: From: Ubax Ahmed

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