Feb 23, 2009

Seeking Laptop Advice

My wife is in the market for a new laptop, and I am surfing the Internet to find a machine that she might consider as a viable option. She teaches at both the high school and college level, and uses some mathematics-specific test generation software, but other than this concern, she is a typical laptop user: some business, some personal, and no heavy memory usage for games or other applications that drain away RAM.

One laptop that is currently on sale that meets many of our needs is the Toshiba Satellite A215-S7472 Notebook, which I have seen priced as low as $699 and as high as $899. In addition to its 2.20GHz processor, the Satellite comes with a standard 2GB RAM chip. I made the mistake of buying a laptop with only 1GB of RAM last year, which is not quite enough to handle the RAM-sucking Microsoft Vista operating system.

While my current laptop is otherwise a solid machine, I get more than a few annoying occasions where the insufficient RAM locks up even relatively simple Word documents or Explorer browsers. There is no way I will overlook the importance of RAM on any future computer purchases.

Anyways, feel free to leave in the Comments section any laptop recommendations, or reasons why the Toshiba Satellite makes a quality or terrifying computer investment. I am always impressed with the collective knowledge that readers bring to discussions like this.


Mad Jack said...

It's all in the OpSys. If you insist on being a Windoze Luser, the best advice I can offer is:
1. Stay away from Vista at all costs
2. More RAM is better, even if XP-Pro can't use it. Eventually the next generation of Windoze will hit the store shelve$ and you can up chuck gracefully.

Jill said...

My first laptop was a Toshiba and I have to say, I had a lot of problems with it BUT I got it in 2003 and my high schooler and oldest child completely wiped it out and runs Linux on it now and loves it (of course he also has a MacBook Pro all souped up and the use of two other kind of antique computers - a 1988ish Apple of some type and a Compaq that is our "kids" computer (for our other two).

I've now had two MacBooks and I have to tell you, I really like the Apples.

That said, I have a Dell catalogue that came not too long ago and wow, do those look like deals.

Good luck! :)

ProfessorSeal said...

I have a MacBook and am in love with it. That is after three Toshiba's. Consider a switch to the darkside.

Middle Aged Woman said...

I have a Compaq Presario C500 that I love, and I got it for $450 after rebate from Office Depot. We bought three! The kids each use one for school.

Middle Aged Woman said...

and all PCs now come with Vista...until next gen.

dr-exmedic said...

I agree with Mad Jack: I'm writing this on an underpowered Celeron notebook which would be terrible for Vista (which it came with), but it runs XP Professional just fine. You'd be much better off that way. There are also free and cheap versions of Linux, and you can even get free word processors that will work with Microsoft Office files. Anything but Vista.

Don't bother with a Mac with your limited finances. You can get the same processor and RAM for far cheaper if you avoid the Apple name, and I know more than a few people who've had problems getting the Apple OS to open Microsoft files.

Tim Higgins said...


I live and die with the laptop provided by "The Man", but my son the computer geek recently purchased a Dell online. Being able to configure the computer the way that you want seems to have some distinct advantages (unless you can't resist the gee whiz factor). He likewise went with Windows Vista, but got the professional system which allows better server access connection.

Mad Jack said...

From Middle Aged Woman: and all PCs now come with Vista...until next gen.

Not so. XP Pro is harder to find, but still available. Try Stone Computer in Toledo.

historymike said...

Wow - what a ton of great advice. I appreciate everyone's suggestions and comments. perhaps 2009 will be the year that we disconnect from the M$ matrix and branch out to real computing.

Whatever that is...

Linda said...


If your wife is a teacher, she might consider utilzing the educator discount from Apple and buying a MacBook. I love mine.

ProfessorSeal said...

Yes, Macs are more expensive. However, they last longer, do not slow down, and after buying 3 Toshiba laptops, I figure I'll save money in the long term by purchasing a good computer that will last, instead of buying one at 1/3 the cost, and replacing it in 2 years.