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Old 07-24-2008, 10:25 AM   #1
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Default I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

I am going to dental school in the fall at UCLA and we have to get a Latitude laptop D430, D630, or a D830. I think I am going to go with the D630 because the D430 may be too small and the D830 may be too big, but if you have any advice on this as well please help me out.

Like I said I'll be using it to school and carrying it to there everyday,using it 8-5 off and on, and also at least few hours each night to study, along with personal use. It's going to get a ton of use and I want it to last all 4 years.

Here are the options they gave us on the D630, I'll post all of them and tell me what you would recommend, if the add-ons are worth the money. Also some of my questions in Red.

Processor
  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T7500 (2.20GHz) 4M L2 Cache, 800Mhz Dual Core [Included in Price]
  • Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T9300 (2.50GHz) 6M L2 Cache, 800Mhz Dual Core [add $80.00]


LCD
  • 14.1 inch Wide Screen WXGA LCD Panel [Included in Price]
  • 14.1 inch Wide Screen WXGA+ LCD Panel [add $30.00] I couldn't find the difference between the +, anybody know?


RAM
  • 2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS [Included in Price]
  • 2.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 1 DIMM [add $30.00] I though this would be better in the future if I needed to upgrade
  • 4.0GB, DDR2-667 SDRAM, 2 DIMMS [add $170.00]


Hard drive Not sure about the free fall sensor, but I should upgrade to 7200RPM right to help with speed?
  • 80GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 5400RPM [Included in Price]
  • 80GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM (Free Fall Sensor) [add $40.00]
  • 120GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 5400RPM [add $25.00]
  • 120GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM (Free Fall Sensor) [add $75.00]
  • 160GB Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 7200RPM (Free Fall Sensor) [add $95.00]
  • 120GB Hybrid Hard Drive, 9.5MM, 5400RPM [add $130.00]


Keypad
  • Standard Touchpad [Included in Price]
  • Touchpad with UPEK® Fingerprint Reader [add $29.00] From what I've read is the fingerprint reader makes the keypad smaller and more of a pain to use, is the security worth it?


Wireless card I should just go for the n now right? Will both still be compatible with a/b/g networks? Is intel's better?
  • Dell Wireless™ 1490 802.11a/g Dual-band Mini Card [Included in Price]
  • Intel® 3945 802.11a/g Dual-Band Mini Card [add $10.00]
  • Dell Wireless™ 1505 Draft 802.11n Mini Card [add $20.00]
  • Intel® 4965 802.11a/g/n Dual-Band Mini Card [add $30.00]


Battery
  • 6 Cell Primary Battery [subtract $99.00] Save some money and go with a smaller battery? The school recommends the larger for all day in class, so maybe stay with it.
  • 9 Cell Primary Battery [Included in Price]


Charger
  • 90W A/C Adapter [Included in Price]
  • 90W A/C Adapter, Energy Star Compliant [add $0.00] Why would anyone not get this charger if it's better for the environment/powerbill, does it take longer to charge?


These are the specifications that we have no choice in, any thoughts if I should really try to change/upgrade any of them:
  • Genuine Windows Vista® Business Service Pack 1, With media [Included in Price]
  • 128MB NVIDIA® Quadro NVS 135M™ [Included in Price]
  • 8X DVD+/-RW w/Roxio and Cyberlink Power DVD™ [Included in Price]
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

First off I would say the screen size is a personal preference. The D830 is only a 15.4", so size wouldn't be a huge factor, but in the end it comes down to price difference and which size screen you feel comfortable with.

I would upgrade to the T9300 cpu. It is really hard to upgrade anything in a laptop(other than ram). This processor will be fast now, and should be fast enough to handle future applications. Remember you also want to "future proof" your computer.

The WXGA screen runs at a resolution of 1280x800
The WXGA+ screen runs at a resolution of 1440x900
With only a 14" screen I would recommend the WXGA, but again its personal preference. With a higher resolution on a small monitor, everything will look smaller.

The one 2 gig stick of ram should be good for now. If you ever need to upgrade, its really easy to pop in another stick. Plus $170 is way overpriced for another 2 gig stick.

I would go with the 120 gig HD at 7,200 rpm. Fast and plenty of space. The free fall sensor moves the read/write heads away from the HD platter when the computer senses it is in free fall. Its basically protects your HD from damaging falls.

I wouldn't bother with the fingerprint reader. It only offers a false sense of security. I can get into a computer with a fingerprint reader just as easy as one with a password instead.

Just go with the basic wireless card. It should suit all your needs.

In terms of the battery, if you are using your computer all day, your going to have to plug it in eventually sometime during the day. My advice is to go with the bigger battery. It will add weight to the computer, and size because it sticks out the back, so again, personal preference.

i'm not 100% on the charger, but I don't think the energy star one would charge slower than the normal one. After all they are both rated for 90 watts.

hope this helps.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

Thanks Speedemon! Do you think the Intel wireless card is any better than the dell card?
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

You'll get better range and signal with the intel. I personally would go with the intel card, what's an extra $10-$30. If you don't need Wireless N, then go with the 3945.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:05 AM   #5
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

I use a dell vostro 1700 wireless N , its fantastic and picks up a range of upto 200meters I think
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

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Originally Posted by SPEEDemon View Post
You'll get better range and signal with the intel. I personally would go with the intel card, what's an extra $10-$30.
Thanks, but you don't think I need n? Is it hard to change the wireless card in a notebook if I do need it in the future?
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

Just edited my reply above :-). It couldn't hurt to get the 4965, again, future proofing. If memory serves me right, wireless N supports a higher data transfer rate, a max of 600 Mbps vs. 54 Mbps for basic cards.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

True maybe I'll just keep future proofing it, only $30 in the scheme of things.
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

If your going to be using it all day and not doing stuff like gaming on it. I would go with the 5400rpm hdd. It will be easier on battery life if you don't need the extra performance anyway.
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Old 07-24-2008, 02:18 PM   #10
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Default Re: I have to buy a dell, but need advice on which add-ons are worth the price

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPEEDemon View Post
Just edited my reply above :-). It couldn't hurt to get the 4965, again, future proofing. If memory serves me right, wireless N supports a higher data transfer rate, a max of 600 Mbps vs. 54 Mbps for basic cards.
I've wondered about this, why get N right now...? how many, if any, ISPs can actually deliver those types of speeds...? I can see maybe getting it for increased range, but the speed is overkill isn't it...?
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