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Honda_Boy

Laptop Selection Advice

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Well, now that it seems I have got my new laptop sold finally (yes NEW), I'm looking to get yet another one. This time however, I'm saving a few extra $$$ to spend on a higher end model. I'm looking for something that can meet these requirements.

1. Play at least HD H.264 video at 720p (.mvk and .mp4 format) using the Haali Media Splitter in Zoom Player (in other words, using the Combined Community Codec Pack). My recent experience with a Mobile Athlon X2 QL-62, 2GB of RAM, and a GeForce 8200M has told me to go Intel this time around since apparently it could NOT handle this task despite the fact my older Intel Celeron 440M, 1.5GB RAM, Intel 945G laptop can do this without breaking a sweat.

2. Lasts at least 2 hours on battery under light load (wireless internet browsing, music through headphones, Word 2007). The new one apparently could only last somewhere around an hour and a half under a light load. My older one with it's older battery lasts around 2 hours and it's even older battery (from my first laptop, trippy that my first 2 had identical batteries and chargers), lasts about an hour and a half and it's 2 1/2 years old. Heck, my old laptop's even been able to play video for over an hour on battery with the screen at full birghtness and still have at least 20 minutes left. I'd prefer something that could last around 3 hours but 2 is plenty considering I mostly use my laptops for school. I usually find a seat close to a plug but I need for it to at least last for 2 hours or more in case I can't find a seat close to a plug.

3. Play Half-Life 2, Call of Duty 2, or any other not really new but still fun games (maybe even Call of Duty 4). Sometimes when I'm out and got time to kill but don't wanna watch anime (or don't have anime to watch), well, game on. I found it kinda pathetic that the new laptop with a GeForce 8200M had trouble with CoD2 and HL2: Episode One considering neither of these games are new and should've run fine with this GPU. I blame the CPU but I could be wrong. Still I figured if a Sempron 2800, ATI Radeon Express 200M, laptop could run HL2 and Counter Strike: Source (my first laptop) at the lowest setting decently, so could this one but it can't. But what's worse is my older one though good in HD video, sucked at 3D rendering cause it had trouble with the original 10 year old Half Life leaving StepMania as the only game I could play mobily. I love StepMania but it can get old sometimes.

4. S-Video Out must be present. My old laptop has it, my first one had it, but this new one, nope. No S-Video. Say what? OK, I like to hook my laptops up to the TV every now and then to watch Top Gear or sometimes anime (with HD Widescreen anime, my desktop with a 24" 1080p LCD Monitor is fine) but my TV's are all older CRT's with S-Video.

5. Size. 15.4" is fine for me. I hate small screens so anything smaller will drive me insane but 16-17" can be bulky and may not fit in my laptop backpack. Weight isn't too much of an issue considering I now have a backpack with a laptop compartment. In a messenger bag type case, my old one could feel kinda heavy but in a backpack, it feels like nothing.

Now my price range looks like it's gonna be around $800 give or take. If move some money around and wait a coupla weeks, it might be around $900-$1000 at Best Buy (I have a $50 Gift Card to make a tiny little addition). I may though have to consider lower range laptops cause my car might need a few things soon, if not then we're all clear.

So far this has been the best laptop I've found.

Toshiba Satellite A305-S6898

Great specs for the price (Core 2 Duo T5800, 4GB of PC2 6400 RAM, 320GB Hard Drive, Vista Home Premium 64-bit), good looking, great reviews, advertised 2 hour 45 Minute battery life (MobileMark 2007). It looks like it could handle most of my older and less demanding games (believe I won't be playing Crysis on it though :P), and it appears it can easily handle HD H.264 video. I think I'd have to wait a little on so when I bought it, i wouldn't be completely broke but think it'd be worth it.

If anyone has some suggestions of laptops it different (lower) price points or possibly a laptop with comparable performance to this one at a better value, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

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1. Play at least HD H.264 video at 720p (.mvk and .mp4 format) using the Haali Media Splitter in Zoom Player (in other words, using the Combined Community Codec Pack). My recent experience with a Mobile Athlon X2 QL-62, 2GB of RAM, and a GeForce 8200M has told me to go Intel this time around since apparently it could NOT handle this task despite the fact my older Intel Celeron 440M, 1.5GB RAM, Intel 945G laptop can do this without breaking a sweat.

That's bizarre. AFAICT I can play 720p H.264 in software (no hardware decode at all) on my X2 @ 1.8 GHz. Even at 1.0 GHz it took me a few minutes to find a scene that caused problems.

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Yeah it is weird. I went on AMD's forums and asked why in the world it couldn't handle it and they kept trying to blame it on other things that I had already checked.

Anyway, just wanted to also mention, the whole point of this thread is get ya'll to try and talk me out of getting that laptop or at least waiting longer cause it is expensive for me but I SOOOO want it.

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That was my thought, With my x2 ati video chipset laptop I have never had any problem playing h.264 videos. Any dual core laptop should not have an issue with those.

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That's what I thought but I tried everything under the sun to get it to play the videos right. Now in VLC, the video could keep up (the video lagged behind the audio real bad in CCCP) but was not smooth and sometimes would get so choppy they were unwatchable. It only did it with HD H.264 video. SD H.264 video played fine on either. Oh well. It's gone tomorrow and I'm gonna have some extra cash. I may have to end up spending it on tires though :( . I want a new one so I can have a warranty and my dad can have a laptop (I'm gonna give him the old one when I get a new one).

Oh well, maybe I'll pull one of my Honda_Boy damn sure gets what he wants tricks. IE, don't spend a frickin dime until I can afford the expensive item I want. That's how I got my 24" LCD for my desktop.

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Well, the new laptop is sold and it's time to buy...... new tires. Damn. Oh well. Better to have a semi safe car than a new laptop. I say semi safe cause it's still a tin can with no air bag.

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