As told in the thread's title, I'm on my quest for glory, and a new notebook. In particular, I need help to work my way out of my vast needs, my free software usage, my disgust for marketing names/tricks/scams, and last but not least, my scarce pile of money.
I would greatly appreciate any help you could provide, assuming that I can wait a month or two for an upcoming, breakthrough, world subverting and dragon-killing technology.
First, I'm a computer science student, so it will be used as the primary (only) machine for software development. I actively do 2D and 3D graphics, virtual machine testing, and much, much reading and writing.
And that's not nice on a Thinkpad A30 with little memory and a garbled screen.
I was first looking among 13 inches notebooks, as I found those to be quite portable, good looking, and assembled from the same components as the 15 inches ones (apart from the most power hungry component, the video chip). But then, looking at my friend's Black MacBook (which i find to be a quite decent machine, and great looking), I thought about the tiny screen, and the hours of pain I would spend reading on the same surface as that of a stamp. To my friend, that size is perfect, as she's quite shorter than me, but to me, it only looks cute, not usable.
As I will be moving it 1/10 of the time it will be parked on my working desk, a 15 inches, or as the market pushes lately, a 16 inches at maximum would have my OK.
I'm all for long lasting things, so it should be well armed for years (5 at least) of development, and general fun. I enjoy wasting my time developing OpenGL stuff too, so the video chip is important too.
So, after all these thoughts, I would be instantly sold if there was a 15 inches notebook with that CPU/chipset/GPU combination presented by AMD at the beginning of this year. But it isn't out there. Do anyone know when it will be put in a notebook?
Current AMD mobile CPUs certainly are sufficient for my needs. Today, that is. But I want something that would work for me even tomorrow, and the day after, so if their next mobile CPUs aren't out in the next couple of months, I would go with an Intel at 2.4 GHz or better, 3 L2 cache or better, and 1.000 MHz or better FSB (oh gods, I would want Hypertransport so much...). This means, in marketing speak, an Intel P8600 or better, right?
Out there I only see R600 mobile video cards. When are the R700 based ones expected to be out? I would like to buy a 4670, or a least (obviously only after reading rigorous lies.. ehm, "benchmarks") a 4370 or 45xx, but I NEED to know when those will be out. Actually sold, that is.
Then... what mobile (Intel) chipsets should I be choosing? (If we could ever speak of choosing, talking of notebooks). What should I be running from?
Memory, 3 or 4 Gigabytes should be the norm today, and I will be using AMD64 free software on this notebook, so quantity is not an issue. Money is.
Hard disk: what are the tipical read/write performances of today's notebook hard disk?
My current machine is a Thinkpad A30, with a Pentium 3 933 MHz, 256 MB of memory, ATI Radeon 7000 16 MB. Oh, yeah, and a totally garbled screen. So, yes, I really need a new machine.
The Sager NP7350 or whatever your country calls it is a nice option. You can get it with a T9300 2.93 GHz CPU. Though it uses onboard graphics. The Macbooks use an nvidia one which is nice. The Dell XPS M1330 and Studio XPS 13 are good options. Laptops are now starting to use 16:9 screens which might be bad since 16:10 is a nice balance between desktop real estate and movie watching.
Requirements recently had a little shift towards increased mobility, so I'm definitely looking for a 13 inches notebook.
This one won't be a gaming notebook, but the requirements would be quite similar I think. Except that I need a decent screen, LED backlit. Given the horsepower of currently available processors, and the little difference between the Intel P8600 and P8400, I would go for the latter.
I'd like to stay a thousand miles away from Nvidia and its only-proprietary drivers support. AMD video cards are so much better in regards to power efficency and filters on/off performance. The great thing obviously is the active effort for the development of a free driver by AMD for all of their video hardware. Nvidia actively obfuscates the only stupid-unaccelerated-framebuffer "free" driver they directly develop. So, my, and all my friends' and colleagues' money, go to the winner.
A Macbook could have been a great choice, since it would have allowed me to access a Mac OS X system for development. But current Macbooks only come with Nvidia chips, so that's a hard no.
A decent 13 inches screen, at least a P8400 CPU, and a R600 or better AMD Radeon GPU: I think I could start looking for a SR series Sony Vaio, perhaps a SR21. It should come with a better pricetag than the Apple, and better specs too (more main and secondary memory).
Does anyone have experience of free software systems on this notebook series? Any issues?
Again, does anyone know when AMD will be releasing its new notebook CPU/chipset platform?