My PC is a 8 years old and needs retiring. It's had component upgrades over the years but I decided now is enough. I didn't want to take it to uni for 3 reasons:
1) It's too loud. The power supply, fans and etc are grating on me now, especially as I leave the thing on in my room 24/7 downloaded. It'd cost me the region of £60 to really sort that out and I can't be arsed.
2) Bloody heavy. My 4 year old CRT monitor is abit big for my soon-to-be accommodation room. I also can't view it at higher resolutions (eg: above 1024x768) without pixels going fuzzy and need constant degausing. It'd cost me £140 for a good flat screen TFT.
3) Graphics and memory aren't top notch as I'd like them to be. Another £140...
The price to update my PC for another 4 years just wasn't worth it. So I decided on a laptop.
I wanted at least:
* Nice fast CPU (1.66ghz dual core minimum as I'm a heavy multi-tasker)
* Nice fast GPU (at least a 128MB dedicated graphics card. I do occasionally like to play on Dreamcast and PS emulators and Counter-Strike: Source)
* Portable and lightweight
* Business Class Quality (so excellent build design and low heat)
* 3 years warranty (I don't want it dying without a sure way to fix it)
So after searching for a month for a powerful laptop for under £800, I finally found it here:
LaptopsDirect.co.uk Bundle £799.95
It included everything I needed, and even a brilliant USB Mouse. Looking back, I slightly worry that I should have spent £70 more to include Accidental Breakage... but I'll live with it. It's funny after all my time of toiling and searching for this, UCAS then send a bloody leaflet with this on.
Intel Centrino Core Duo T2400 Processor 1.83 GHz
1024 MB RAM (DDRII-667MHz SDRAM)
80 GB Hard Drive (5400 rpm)
DVD Dual Layer Drive Fixed
15.4" WXGA Widescreen TFT Screen (Matte)
ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (PCI-E 256 MB DDR2 Dedicated Graphics)
Integrated gigabit LAN
Integrated wireless 802.11 a/b/g LAN
3 USB 2.0 ports, VGA, headphone, microphone, AC adapter, RJ-11, RJ-45, S-video TV out, Firewire (1394a 4pin)
Microsoft Windows XP Professional Edition
Hewlett Packard NC8430 ES590ET Full Specification
I ordered last week on Wednesday. The Friday I got 3 missed calls on my Mobile Phone, all from LaptopsDirect. I was like eh up... so I rang back but it took me to their answer machine. 1 minute later, their customer service rang and told me about their situation about HP having delayed stock for the original order. They then offered me a better solution, the NC8430 with 1.83ghz Processor instead of the original 1.66ghz and Windows XP Pro. The only catch was that it wasn't a 100GB hard drive, but I could live without the 20GB. I was going to remove my one of my PC's hard drive and put it into an external HD Enclosure anyway.
It was a good deal. Hell, I would have paid £900 for this Laptop anyway! The prices for this Laptop seem to range from £800 to £1,200. It's a steal practically! Their staff was very friendly and I admire their persistence at trying to get in touch with me, lol.
I just got her this morning. Initial impressions are wow. I'm really loving the nipple thing on it. I don't think I'll ever go and use the touchpad.
I'm blown away by the design of the whole thing. It feels very strong for something so small. Hinges are tight and well constructed. Keyboard feels excellent and full sized. I love the plain look to it. The only down side is that the coating around the speakers which label the devices is easy to get greasy finger marks on.
Best... purchase... ever. Best purchase next to my original Super Nintendo this be.
Unsheathed the blue body bag and here the stuff is.
Quite a big box for something so small.
The website pictures make the product look shoddy, but in real life it's really cool looking. The colours compliment the blue parts of the Laptop perfectly.
Ah, so this is why it's so big.
It comes with the standard manuals and warranty in a dozen or so languages. The things you can read in under 2 minutes. There was no restore disc, as you gotta burn 'em yourself. Comes with power adapter.
This Laptop is pretty thin. Roughly 3cm when closed.
Very swish and sexy.
My digital camera is pretty shoddy with getting extreme close-ups, so I'll just link you to vermintrex's excellent photography:Click here for more Note: His laptop is a different model but the chassis body is still the same
This business line only offers the bare essential drivers (trackpad, power conservation, recovery discs, ATI catalyst). Nice touch. There is a folder on the drive with an exe that gives you optional choices on bloatware...you're crazy if you want to install it. There's also software for the Laptop to only work with your unique finger prints on the with the integrated fingerprint scanner. It's a nice touch, and it automatically logs me in places. I'll never need to the ole password entry again.
The laptop got a 3735 3DMARK05 score. Respec'
For around the same specs, the Asus W3J slightly outperforms this in gaming regard. Though it costs £200-£400 more than this Laptop so what we get is good bang for the buck.
I ran Half Life 2 and Counter-Strike: Source on the machine. Full settings, everything, and it stayed above 70fps.
On checking the Catalyst driver and boot up information, the X1600 is actually underclocked. I would attempt to clock to its potential but then I realised I didn't need to (not to mention risky!) I assume HP did this to keep the temperature in the laptop low.
Heat and Noise
There's a big vent on the left side of the computer which is constantly spewing warm air. Bad luck if you're left handed! But the laptop is kept amazingly cool. The only part it is warm is the area around the vent (ie: the top left of the keyboard). The laptop is never hot.
There is very little to no noise when you're doing the normal tasks of chatting on MSN and IE while listening to iTunes. But if you're playing games or using intensive apps like Corel Painter and Avid, the fan will start going loud. Not to worry though, after a while it reclines into a less loud whirr.
What particulary baffles me is when the laptop is powered via the AC adapter, the fan ploughs on spirodically even when doing nothing on it at all. Listening closely, the fan is always on when powered via the AC.
When the hard drive isn't drowned out by the fan, you might hear it on the odd occassion. I notice the hard drive louder than the fan. It's particularly noticeable when you use the internal microphone because the HD is ingeniusly placed right next to it. Nevertheless I always recommend to buy an external USB Webcam/Mic over using integrated ones.
On constant heavy usage (ie: installing apps, defragging, encoding video), and medium brightness bulb, I got a good 3 hours out of the laptop.
On normal usage, with the dimmiest bulb setting, I got a good 4.5 hours out of the laptop.
I'd imagine the battery life would be half as good if I had wireless enabled or the internet plugged in but it is still highly impressive.
In conclusion, the HP NC8430 is a bloody fantastic notebook. There are so many laptops out there and it's a shame that these get overlooked. The deal for the Laptop is the best you will get for the specifications and very few Laptops can match the quality, gaming power, and portability of this machine.
I couldn't recommend this enough.
* runs like a dream
* bright, evenly lit, and clear screen
* never gets hot
* nice battery life
* isn't an eye-catching look with fashion sign saying "knick me"
* fantastic keyboard, nipple, and trackpad
* only £800 with 3 years collect and return warranty
* isn't an eyecatching look saying "make love to me"
* greasy finger marks appear on coating.
* can sometimes get loud when left overnight connected to the mains and downloading