Please, please help me with Laptop decision

  NotVeryTechie 11:37 03 Mar 2008

Hi there

I am sorry about the length of this post, but I really need help. I am trying to buy a laptop and what should be a really exciting prospect (buying my first laptop) is turning into a nightmare that just about had me in tears over the weekend.

My budget is not big - £600 absolute max, but would prefer to spend a bit less than this. I am looking at the Toshiba range because they have an international warranty and I have got some good feedback about this range.

I do mainly office work (Word, Excel, Databases and PowerPoint) and also some Photoshop work. I also play a strategy game called Caesar 3. I very much want to load my copy of XP on the machine, either replacing Vista or as a partition.

Looking through the models available in my price range and looking up the benchmarks I have found the following:

Most have processors like the Intel T5250 or T5450 or the AMD TL 58, which are all benchmarked as ok, but not great. A few have the AMD TL 60, which is a bit better and one or two have the Intel T7200 which is even better.

On the bulk of the machines the graphics cards are either the ATI Radeon Xpress X1200 or the Intel GMA X3100. Both of these are benchmarked as not great and the review says that they cannot handle strategy games. A few of the models have the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 2400 or HD 2400XT and one or two have the HD 2600.

The problem is that the models that have the better processor have the lower rated graphics card and those that have both don’t have XP drivers – as far as I can see.

Don’t mind a 15.4” screen (although the 17.1” would be very nice to have) and would like a reasonably big hard drive (160 +). I will be getting 2GB of RAM.

I am at my wits end. I don’t want to buy a computer that will end up taking a minute or more to refresh a screen when you have more than two things open, or that you have to keep rebooting to get it to work. I want to be able to play my one and only game (Caesar III) which is a strategy game and I want to be able to work in Photoshop and perhaps have one or two other things open at the same time, like a website perhaps.

Please help me, anyone. Am I asking for the impossible? I can’t get hold of an email address for Toshiba to try to get clarity from them on the issue of drivers and whether they will be made available in the future.

Then there is of course the retailer issue as each retailer only stocks a limited number of models and one has to choose between those. I am leaning towards Comet and Misco as they have really good ratings on the PC Review site and they actually get back to you on queries.


  tullie 11:40 03 Mar 2008

Others may know better,but you dont need to spend that much.

  Pamy 12:23 03 Mar 2008

NotVeryTechie, beware many people have problems replacing Vista with XP. Read through the "Vista Forum ".

  ambra4 14:38 03 Mar 2008

I have used Misco for the last 8 years and never had any problem with any of their equipment or service

I do tends to stay with companies that I can trust and can supply good service

Misco can supply a wide range of Toshiba Laptops with XP already installed

click here=|c:610|c:2739|&Sort=1&Recs=10

Try to buy a laptop with XP already install it will stop you having a heart attack and drive you crazy

Trying to install XP on a Vista computer can turn into a nightmare if you lack experience

  NotVeryTechie 14:52 03 Mar 2008

Thanks guys. My problem is that the systems with XP installed or available as a downgrade is that they have really lousy graphics cards that - I think - will make the machine unusable for some of the stuff I want to do. PLEASE correct me if I am wrong. If I am wrong about that then I can rest easy and get a simple system with everything I need.

  ambra4 15:04 03 Mar 2008

We need to know what you want do on the laptop first before we can comment

Edit Movies? Play HD games etc

  Pamy 15:39 03 Mar 2008

"I do mainly office work (Word, Excel, Databases and PowerPoint) and also some Photoshop work. I also play a strategy game called Caesar 3. I very much want to load my copy of XP on the machine, either replacing Vista or as a partition.

Do not know anything about your game, but am sure a Vista laptop will do all the other things you have named.

  NotVeryTechie 10:26 04 Mar 2008

I am sure a Vista machine is perfectly fine to do most routine things. I own software that is not compatible. I cannot afford to replace every bit of software I have right at this moment!! Maybe I can save up and do it over the next few years, but not right at this minute.

  Pamy 12:47 04 Mar 2008

Well thats progress for you.

  wee eddie 17:21 04 Mar 2008

you, either look on Morgan's Web Site, or try to find an old one on eBay.

On Morgan's Site, many are sold with out an OS, so you would have to budget for Windows or use Linux, which would not be compatible with your old software anyway.

  NotVeryTechie 17:23 04 Mar 2008

Hi, what is Morgan's site?

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