One Last Time!

Sunday, August 20th, 2006, 10:06 pm

It seems like every August I think about buying a laptop. I ask you good people for advice, you generously give it, and then I don’t pull the trigger. Well, this is the year! In the next day or so I’m going to make the kill and get myself a brand-new laptop.

So, again, I ask you computer experts for your advice. I want a nice, basic laptop. I don’t need anything with massive processing power or capable of extreme multimedia magic. I’m gonna surf the net, write, play a little poker. I’d like to be able to watch and burn both CDs and DVDs.

In the past people have recommended Toshiba as a reliable brand, and that’s where I’ve been looking, though I haven’t quite found what I’m looking for there. I know lots of people with Dells, and they’re quite happy, but then you hear about people having nightmare experiences with Dell. And then there’s the whole battery recall going on as we speak.

People have also cautioned against getting a computer with a Celeron chip. I’ve mostly been looking at computers with the Pentium M, but some of them only have the Celeron M. Is this something I should be worried about? And what is this “Core Duo” chip I keep seeing?

As before, any advice will be appreciated. And, in this instance, put into practice.

OK, here’s some actual poker content. Just played a SNG. The guy to my right wins a pot early, and then he sits out. For the rest of the game. The guy to HIS right also sat out for much of the early action. We get down to five, there are three guys with 3K, Mr. AWOL, and me with about T850. I’m pretty much screwed, as the other guys keep stealing the missing guy’s blind and I’m card dead. I need a hand or some luck when suddenly two of the present players get into a raising war. All the money goes in preflop. Oh baby! They turn over KQ and AJ. Eee-yuck! All-in with those hands? Go get ’em! The flop comes A-K-10, so now they’re rooting to hit the other guy’s kicker. A queen comes on the turn, a blank on the river, and suddenly we’re 4-handed.

A quick check of the stats and I find to my delight that I have about 1BB more than the guy who isn’t there. And he’s on my right, so he pays the blinds first. I turtle like Markus Naslund (only die-hard Penguin fans will get that) and happily fold my way into 3rd place. The chip leader even graciously folded once on the button, giving me a little extra cushion. “You’re good people” I say when the missing guy finally went bust. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my play.

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10 Responses to “One Last Time!”

  1. Haley Says:

    Beats me, Gene.

    I had to pick up a laptop on the quick when I was in Vegas, and the Best Buy’s best buy was a (*sigh*) Celeron M-chip in a Compaq Presario. Still, the computer was only $499, though when I added more software and a carrying case it came to about $750. It works just fine for what I need. Not great for multi-tabling poker past two tables, though, at least not without a plug-in mouse.

  2. Ken Says:

    Everything you are talking about is low impact. A hotter processor won’t have you typing faster or clicking all-in better.

    You are looking for a system that could easily be a couple of generations old. You want better than the original VGA with 256 for memory and a 20G or so HD. And those aren’t quite a dime-a-dozen on ebay or the referbished sellers but you can get something at a very low price that will do all you want to do.

    Not sure why you want to burn. Desktop system sure will do that and be the least expensive way to go. DVD play would seem the best option. You could even get a converter at Best Buy or such that’d convert the VGA out to TV out and let you play the DVD on a TV. But, I imagine that’d be overkill too.

    So, google referbish + laptop and you should find a ton of choices.

    If you are set on new, nothing wrong with a Celeron or AMD for you setup. Any current 15″ offering will do just fine.

  3. jjok Says:

    For cheap and reliable, stick with Compaq/HP and Toshiba.

    Avoid Sony because they are overpriced. Avoid Acer because they are Acer.

    I would be scouring the BB, CC, and Compusa for weekly deals and take advantage. For what you are wanting to do, you should be able to get a competent machine for under $700.

  4. dugglebogey Says:

    Check out Fatwallet for their seemingly constant deals from Dell.

  5. dugglebogey Says:

    For example: $699 from Dell

    Intel® Core™ Duo Proc T2050 (1.60GHz/533MHz/2 X 1MB L2 Cache)
    Genuine Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005
    15.4 inch Wide Screen XGA Display (add true life for $10)
    1GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz, 2 Dimm
    80GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive
    8X CD/DVD Burner (DVD+/-RW) with double-layer DVD+R write capability
    Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator 950

    also comes with free dell Color Ink Jet Printer 725

  6. TeeDubb Says:

    I second Duggle’s recommendation. Core Duo basically has two processor chips in one, so when you’re multi-tabling or burning a DVD, you can actually do something else on the computer without it taking forever to respond.

    Stick with Dell or a Thinkpad if you can. The rest are pretty much crap, except Apple. The Macbooks are sweet, but a touch pricey. Don’t buy an Acer and avoid all but the top-of-the-line HP/Compaqs.

    The package Duggle posted is a really good deal. If I hadn’t just signed the next 30 years of my life away, er bought a house, I would probably order one myself.

    If price is the major driving factor, you can pick up a decent machine for well less than $500 from, or (click on Dell Off Lease Systems to find the deals).

    Most of the laptops they carry are off lease or refurbished. I’m using an old Dell Latitude I picked up from for $325 a year ago. Still works great!

    Make sure it comes with Windows unless you have a geek friend who can help you set it up.

    Oh, and hi Gene! You don’t know me, but I’ve been reading/lurking here for about a year – I’m the TeeDubb from Iggy’s home game, fyi. And yes, I know I need to update my blog. 🙂

  7. Proto Says:

    Check out for great reviews, also stand near the customer support area of your favorite electronics store and listen to the horror stories. Fujitsu seem to be very cool right now. Happy hunting.

  8. AgSweep Says:

    You have gotten great advice from people who are in know. My advice….pull the trigger. Last summer my daughter was home from college and kept her laptop in the living room (we have a wireless network) I got spoiled with watching endless CSI….er PBS and playing poker. True multi-tasking. She went back to school taking her laptop with her. A week later I woke up in severe withdrawal and was at Best Buy when the doors opened. Grabbed the cheapest laptop with 256 on the mother board. Can’t be without it. Sitting on my lap as we speak. DO IT.

  9. Neil Says:

    Write about the lake house!!!

  10. Abe Witonsky Says:

    I got a Dell Inspiron 6000 about a year ago. And I’m quite happy with it. It has a Pentium M. I wouldn’t get the Celeron, because of heating issues. You need at least 512 RAM (go for 1 GB if you can get it). If you get any laptop, you should definitely get some sort of protection. I got 4 years coverage, and I’m glad I did. The keyboards will go after a year, sticky key problems. The laptop is a bit heavy. But for your purposes this won’t be a major hassle. I think you can get by with the smallest battery. My brother who is a computer guy got the same computer as I did, just more RAM, and has been happy too. I think the Dell customer service is good, though you will occasionaly speak with someone whose English isn’t great. Good luck.

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