Choosing a laptop - £1000 budget inc warranty

  rus_b1 23:00 06 Jun 2008

Hi there, I'd like some advice on buying a laptop. I'm studying engineering at university, and the course involves the use of sophisticated modelling software, so I'd prefer to buy a laptop with a good graphics card and preferably 4GB RAM. I'd prefer it to have a Blu-Ray drive as well, but my budget is strictly £1000 including a warranty package.
I've thought of buying Sony's FZ38M, seeing as it has the RAM required, together an extended warranty, which totals up to just under £1000. Problem is , I've not heard many positive things about Sony and their after-sales support - I could be wrong.
If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be pleased to hear them!

P.S. I have to be sure that it's brand new, so please don't recommend Ebay.

  GaT7 03:19 07 Jun 2008

Have a look at these 16-18.4" Acer Gemstone laptops click here, with 4Gb RAM, Blu-Ray drive & 9500M GS graphics (click here).

Go through Quidco click here to get 4% cashback.

Checkout other sites as well for the best price incl/excl cashback. G

  Forum Editor 08:11 07 Jun 2008

is think very carefully about buying an extended warranty package. You're almost sure not to need what will be an expensive add-on, and would be better off spending the money on getting the best machine you can find for your budget.

The manufacturer's warranty, plus the protection you'll get from UK consumer law will provide you with plenty of clout, should anything go wrong. The vast majority of laptops work perfectly for a long time - I've never had one fail on me yet, and I've used them extensively for many years.

  rus_b1 15:26 07 Jun 2008

To crossbow7: Thanks for your help, I might consider buying an Acer if I can't find any better deals.

To the Forum Editor: I agree with you on the fact that extended warranties can be a rip-off, and I would not buy one for a laptop that is fairly cheap, say £400-500.
I want a laptop that I can use throughout the whole university course, which is why I'm investing my money in a mid-range laptop. I therefore think that buying a warranty package for it would be a good idea.
Most manufacturer warranties last 12 months, and what if it fails the day after the warranty runs out?

  The Brigadier 17:05 07 Jun 2008

Extended warranties are a rip off!
Any Laptop will come with at laest 1 years warranty with it as standard.

I use either Toshiba directly at click here= or click here

4GB is fine if your running Vista/64bit O/S as XP does not see anything over 3.2GB.
Blu-Ray speeds are very slow at the moment.

  PalaeoBill 18:22 07 Jun 2008

I would stop a postgraduate student in your department and ask their advice. You are more likely to find out the strengths and failings (specific to the kind of work you want to do) of a number of brands/models from them.
Then before you buy I suggest that you talk to someone in the IT services department or better still your department's IT officer if you have one. Universities often negotiate a big discount; mine gets a seriously nice discount from Dell.

  GaT7 22:00 07 Jun 2008

If you go for a Dell, consider this XPS M1530 click here for £933.33 (incl 15% discount - see below), with the following changes to the default spec:

- 3Yr XPS Premium Warranty Support - Priority Call In & Onsite Support [de-select if not required & save £119]
- 15.4" Widescreen WXGA+ (1440x900) TFT Display with TrueLife
- 4096MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x2048]*
- NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 8600M GT with 256MB dedicated graphic memory

After making the above changes, add it to your basket, go to checkout & apply this 15% off code at checkout - XGWWWQ3P?MQBM? (code & free delivery expires 11/06/08). If your university can get a better discount, go for that.

Going via Quidco click here will get you 4% cashback, which is ~£31-32 (counted on price excl VAT & del). G

*As already mentioned, 32-bit Windows will not recognise the full 4Gb, but it's worth the upgrade for only £20 more.

  Forum Editor 00:35 08 Jun 2008

the day after the warranty runs out?" You would still be protected by consumer legislation.

I'm not trying to talk you out of an extended warranty package, just suggesting that you give it some serious thought.

Just a word on the RAM question. All 32bit versions of Vista (except the starter version) support 4Gb, but that's not the whole story. Some of the address space (not the RAM itself) will be allocated to the PCI bus. Modern graphics cards need addresses for the amount of memory on the card, and this means that anything from half a gigabyte to a full gigabyte will be allocated for the PCI memory address range before any RAM addresses are allocated. You'll therefore see between 3Gb and 3.5Gb, depending on your hardware configuration.

  rus_b1 00:40 08 Jun 2008

FE, you beat me to it. I was going to say that I've done some research on whether extended warranties are of any use. The split in opinions was 60-40 roughly, with 60% of websites discouraging people from buying the warranty, so I will leave it.
I'm now looking at laptops sub-£1000. I've come across the Sony AR61S, click here to see it. Does anyone own it, and is it any good?

  Joe R 12:50 08 Jun 2008


good looking spec for the notebook. I couldn't find any reviews for it, but have found it a bit cheaper.

sony click here

  GaT7 17:14 08 Jun 2008

Another option for £928 (with discount voucher & Quidco cashback) if you were to go for the XPS M1530 click here & make the following changes to the default spec:

- Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T9300
- 15.4" Widescreen WXGA+ (1440x900) TFT Display with TrueLife
- 4096MB 667MHz Dual Channel
- NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 8600M GT 256MB
- Primary 9-cell Lithium-Ion Battery (85 WHr)

I've removed the extended warranty by the way. G

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