A geeky girl living in the big city, making her way, the only way she knows how... no wait, that's The Dukes of Hazzard. Who am I again? Oh yeah, a pop culture obsessed writer, publishing person, and occasional nerd. And I'm getting married. I talk about that, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Computer question

I'm taking a brief break from the day's craziness to toss out a request for advice. See, I have this grand idea that I'll buy a new laptop with my year-end bonus in December, and yes, I know it's only September, but I'm a "plan-ahead" kind of gal. Ideally, I want something light, and fast, and not extragavantly priced, that I can play CoH on as easily as I can write the Great American Novel. I want to have a nice, long-lasting battery life, or at least the ability to extend it. And wireless internet (or is that a given nowadays?). Oh, and I use a PC.

So... what should I start looking at?


Blogger Boulder Dude said...

Right now...with the i5 updates...Some of the Intel video cards became unplayable.

I had to switch over to a Nvidia card just to do door missions without having all of the walls flash on and off every time I moved the mouse.

Best bet would be to get the list of the supprted Intel chips and start searching for laptops that use them.

I know that Dell uses Intel video cards as does the IBM thinkpads. I have played on Doyce's Lap Top Dell) on a day that Gaming got canceled while I was driving...so...Comfy chair and playing CoH with Doyce and Jackie (much fun :)). ***Dave uses his Thinkpad, and seems to be happy with it.

But you are going to have all of your resolutions and graphics turned Way...way...way...down just to be able to play the game at all with any sort of stablabilty.

Also...if you are going to game on your lap top, you are going to need at least 1G of RAM....really.

The only Lap Tops that have Nvidia cards are Apple....so no gaming.

Supported Cards:

NVIDIA GeForce 3 Ti
NVIDIA GeForce 4 Ti 4200, 4400, 4600, 4800
NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200, 5600, 5700, 5800, 5900, 5950
NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT
NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra/GTS
NVIDIA Quadro (With NForce 56.72 drivers minimum)
ATI Radeon 8500, 9000, 9100, 9200, 9500, 9600, 9600XT, 9600 SE, 9700, 9800, 9800XT
ATI Radeon X300, X600 and the X800
ATI All In Wonder 9000, 9600, 9700, 9800

Lap Tops that might work:
Sony VAIO VGN-A790
Toshiba Satellite Notebook A75-S213

9/22/2005 3:56 PM

Blogger Boulder Dude said...


Both of those have ATI Radeon cards

The Vaio is an X600 card.

The Toshiba is a 9000 mobility card.

9/22/2005 4:12 PM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

Ok, you're going to need to -really- dumb this down for me.

9/22/2005 5:07 PM

Blogger ***Dave Hill said...

My ThinkPad T41p does just fine. My graphics aren't as nifty as they are on Margie's desktop card, but they're pretty decent.

9/22/2005 5:41 PM

Blogger Boulder Dude said...

Forgot the Intel Cards…duh.

Intel® 82915G Express Chipset Family
Intel® 82865G Graphics Controller (Intel® 865 Chipset Family), 82845G Graphics Controller (Intel® 845 Chipset Family), 82830M Graphics Controller (Intel® 830 Chipset Family)
Intel® 82852/82855 GM/GME Graphics Controller (Intel® 852/855 Chipset Family)


Ok. For a gaming computer, graphics cards and memory are key. CoH and presumably CoV have a very limited selection of cards they support. Which, for most games in general, are either Nvidia or AtI cards. CoH kind of supports Intel chips. Again kind of (still having nightmares about the headache inducing flashing walls).

If you are going to be doing anything other then standard work type things on a lap top you are going to pay for that. Also, one limitation with lap tops is that they have the cards hard mounted in them. You can never change or upgrade them, so you are going to have to make sure you get the best you can get, otherwise it will soon just be good only for word processing.

I forgot about Alienware:


These are gaming Lap Tops, High end and will do everything you have listed as requirements.

From what I am reading, either the Vaio or the Alienware would be the best balance of what you need, and not have video card issues like had last week which forced me to go and get an new video card just to be able to keep playing CoH.

I am sure that Doyce, ***Dave and Hythia will be more then willing to chime in and help out here.

*Nudge, Nudge*

For specific dumbing down, please let me know, otherwise I will just ramble on in geek mode.

9/22/2005 5:53 PM

Blogger Ted Carter said...

Make sure you get one with a keyboard. And a screen. Oh, and some holes to stick things in.

How's that for dumbing down? ;-)

9/23/2005 11:57 AM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

Very helpful Ted. That certainly narrows it down a bit.

9/23/2005 12:22 PM

Anonymous Doyce said...

I had the opportunity to help Lela (Scorp) out with selecting a purchasing a laptop -- she uses it pretty much exclusively for playing CoH and is very happy with it.

Bottom line: I have yet to get a Dell machine that doesn't run CoH... even my 1.5 years old model does... the company tends to use compatible video chips by default, and that's good, becuase you don't want to sweat that when you go shopping.

Here's the stuff to want:

Lot of 'memory': this is different than hard-drive space. Hard drive is like filing cabinet space, and memory is like the table top space where you pull stuff out of the file cabinet and work on it -- small table means you work slower, cuz you're swapping stuff around all the time. So: lots of memory.

Video requires memory too -- desktop machines allow you to have 'regular' memory and dedicated 'video' memory -- laptops usually don't... so... get lots of memory. Lots. A ton. :)

Good-sized display: 15 inches, probalby.

Combo DVD player/CD burner at the minimum.

The easy thing to do? Ask Lela what she got, go to Dell's site and get the newest version of the same model :)

Get Hythian or me on the phone while you're doing it, if you want.

And while you're at it -- tell him to give your blog an RSS feed, please.


Pretty please?

9/23/2005 1:23 PM

Anonymous Doyce said...

And then pretend that I went back and corrected all the typos (tpyos) in the last post.

And remember: lots of memory.

9/23/2005 1:27 PM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

The RSS feed I think I can do. I think. I will ask Lela about the laptop.

And wow -- you think we're ready for telephone communication?


9/23/2005 2:04 PM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

Nope, I lied. Don't know how to do RSS feed. Hythian, can I get a hand here?

9/23/2005 2:06 PM

Blogger Hythian said...

Blogger.com provides an Atom XML feed, just need to go into Settings -> Site Feed and make sure it it turned to "Yes".

I have a link to the Atom XML feed for the Hythia blog on my right sidebar, but I've never actually bothered to look at what it is syndicating out.

But that isn't RSS. I think feedburner.com will do a RSS feed, but I haven't really looked into that yet. It is on my list of 'Things to do when the whim strikes me'.

Which means I am probably going to go play with it now since I am in a whimsical mood.

Oh, laptops? I have to say that Dell makes some dependable machines. They aren't pretty or dainty, but they are pretty solid. That said, Doyce will know more then me on it, I haven't been in the market for one for a while.

9/23/2005 3:33 PM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

Do let me know what your whim finds out. And as I seem to be leaning towards Dell, it looks like there's two main choices I could go for, either this for a super-duper gaming experience, which may be a little out of my price range, or this which might be better for all-around use, but I wonder if I can swap video cards?

Questions, questions, questions...

9/23/2005 3:52 PM

Blogger Hythian said...

Yeah. Feedburner.com does a free RSS feed service.

Setup was pretty straightforward, and the actual tiny bit of walkthrough they had on thier sites frontpage is probably more confusing then the actual setup.

You'll just have to edit the template on your blog to add a link to the feed from the feedburner.com site when you are done.

9/23/2005 3:53 PM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

So, why is Feedburner's RSS feed better than Blogger's Atom feed? And why doesn't the feed automatically pop up if I sign up for it? And why is the sky blue? And where do babies come from?

9/23/2005 4:19 PM

Blogger Hythian said...

Two flavors of the same thing. RSS vs Atom XML. *shrugs* I think it basically goes to newsreader bias.

It is shy.

Light refracted from airborne hydrogen molecules?

Storks used to leave babies under cabbage plants until the whole "dust bowl" thing killed off so much of the cabbage crops of the US. Now the storks use UPS to deliver, though they were pondering switching to Fed-Ex for the better package tracking and delivery reliability but since Fed-Ex's big hub was in Atlanta.. Who knows now.

9/24/2005 12:49 AM

Blogger ***Dave Hill said...

Swapping out video cards on desktops is pretty straightforward (just have to get the right kind); that's actually usually a good idea, because they'll almost certainly have their own onboard memory, rather than shared stuff.

Swapping out video cards on notebooks is, in my experience, pretty expensive if at all possible.

9/27/2005 10:51 AM

Blogger ktbuffy said...

I think I may have decided on the laptop I want... now it's just a matter of hoping I can pay for it. The tech guy from my office thinks he can get me a deal on a Dell, so I'm looking at an Inspiron 9300, which has nice 1GB dual channel RAM, and I could get a 256MB NVIDA GeForce Go 6800. It's got a pretty 17 inch display. Any strenuous objections?

9/27/2005 2:58 PM

Anonymous Doyce said...

That sounds like an awesome machine. I say go for it :)

((Ready for a phone conversation? Pshaw, that ain't nuthin'.))

9/28/2005 4:34 PM


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