Laptop question and and audio question [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-15-2005, 07:08 PM
I have never owned a laptop but need one as a student teacher because it makes it much easier to conduct lessons on power point. Anyway I've done a fair amount of research and it seems these beasties do almost everything.
Anyway I'm looking at the Hewlett Packard Pavillion dv1040ca Entertainment Notebook Computer. I'm not going to play games which seems to be the units main achilles heel. I can't spend more than $1500.00Cdn and this one is $1497.00. I hope to get through my practicums with the thing and take it to overseas next summer when I teach English.

I do have an audio related question -- The thing has two headphone sockets - I have HD 600s - I will probably purchase a portable headphone amp. Is there a way to maximize the quality of sound - I don't think running the sound out of the heaphone jack to the amp then to the cans will be very good? Or is there some less noisy output that would be advisable. I can of course just use a discman for music - but I'm thinking for watching movies. The HD 600s are massive power hog cans.

Also any advice on this laptop would be appreciated from computer experts. It seems to do a LOT more than most of the competitors around here for the price - which makes my cynic side panic. A lot seem to miss out a DVD burner for instance or don't have Centrino(whatever) or bluetooth. Doubt I'll ever use a lot of it but younever know.

Still games might be nice - can I play any games on this thing - don't need to play major power hog games like Halo but it would be nice to play Sim City kind of things.

Note: I'm leaning to HP Because my computer is an HP Pavillion and it's been greeat for about 6-7 years. This is where I'm coming from at present - Celeron 500 - 10gb HD(still never filled half of it) 192mb ram -17' monitor CD Writer 8xread 4x write win 98se that rarely fails.

Lastly the Laptop comes with a remote control - which would be really useful IF and only IF it can be used with power-point presentation to skip to the next slide rather than walking over to the mouse to skip slides.

The laptop is speced here. Thanks

01-15-2005, 07:23 PM
Laptops are a blessing in that afford the ability to do some pretty serious computing on the fly. Since they are so physicaly and electricaly integrated they can do a lot in a little space and do what they do very, very well.

Now, the curse comes into play in that they are so compact and limited in space that any internal modifications a re severely limited. While, with most home PCs, if you are dissatisfied with some aspect of it's performance you can simply buy an aftermarket piece and slap it in and have a go. That's why ther are so many home PC's getting into the audio end of things. Pretty good sound cards, lotsa disc and tons of I/O possibilities thanks to that good ol' PCI interface.

The cuese of the laptops comes into play in that it's generally physically impossible to addaftermarket goodies to whatever is inside that teeny tiny little box. Generally it's all part of the one and only motherboard.

N. Abstentia
01-16-2005, 04:42 AM
I think you'll be very happy with that laptop. Like Mark was saying, just don't expect any laptop to be a major improvement over a good desktop and you'll be fine. HP makes a great laptop, certainly better than the crap that Dell churns out. You might also want to look at Compaq which is HP's sister line, I just like the layout and looks of Compaq's better.

As far as Centrino, you don't need it. Kind of like THX, it makes for a neat little sticker and something for Intel to use as marketing. In fact, you can do better WITHOUT Centrino, as it's Intel and the AMD Mobile 64 is just as fast, if not faster. If you see 'Centrino' all that means is that it has wireless networking built in and has processor throttling so it does not get so hot. AMD does the same thing with a better processor, they just don't charge extra for the sticker.

Don't forget, you can order direct from and possibly save a few bucks. I know I did, the last laptop we bought was $200 cheaper direct. Of course, also has their laptops direct.

Just some tips on buying:
Make sure it has plenty of USB and Firewire ports for future use. You can't have too many.

Get the biggest, nicest screen you can stand to hold up. At least 15.4" minimum.

Get the biggest hard drive you can afford.

Get the most RAM you can afford.

An extra battery is a great thing if you're not going to be near a power outlet all the time.

01-16-2005, 05:02 PM
Unfortunately HP is charging $1899.00 for the computer - Future Shop has it for $1699.00 and Staples $1499.00 same computer so Staples it is.

There really is a lot of choice - some are huge desktop replacements but poor battery life and heavy - so this thing seems to be a good all rounder but can't play games - I actually like the looks quite a lot with a blue backlight and the keyboard seems better than the other ones - I like the fact that there is touch scrolling on the pad and it has all the DVD player functions. The remote control is nice.

The only thing it seems to lack is screen size - 14 inch instead of 15 but the screen is High Definition widescreen which makes up for that inch. It is also surprisingly more upgradeable than some of the pricier Toshibas??

IBM seems to be the best built but they cost 1/3 more money - Apple is quite expensive - better build but you pay more money - even with my education discount - and get half as much power - 30gig HD instead of 60, 256ram instead of 512 no DVD burner, less ports, no SD card reader, etc etc. and you pay $300 MORE?

Microsoft may be glitchier but my 98Se maybe crashes 3 times a year. I figure XP is gotta be better.

01-16-2005, 06:13 PM
That machine uses shared memory for the video chipset. If you want any kind of graphics/gaming performance, look for a machine with dedicated video memory. Look for machines with an ATI Mobility Radeon or nVidia GeForce Go chipset. This is one of those things that cannot be upgraded on a notebook.