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Six Laptops That Don't Burn

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the things-that-don't-go-boom dept.

140

digihome writes, "An exploding laptop can really ruin your weekend, so here's a review of six laptops that are unlikely to blow up." From the article: "We evaluated everything from battery and air vent temperatures, AC power draw and battery life to performance and price... What we found is that there's a real difference among those notebooks that know how to take the heat without sacrificing performance."

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They forgot one! (2, Funny)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945232)

Why not just buy one of the OLPC machines [wikipedia.org] ? Price to performance and considering heat produced, nothing else can come close. I'm sure once Brazil and other countries start receiving theirs, we'll see them all over ebay for a bargain.

Seriously though, this is a great list, except for the fact that the machines are pretty expensive. If I was to blow that type of money on a laptop, I'd probably go for the Toshiba. But until then, I'll stick with my $500 Dell laptop. Sure it's a little bit slower (1.8Ghz I believe), but the battery is too small to catch anything on fire.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945774)

"... only had a battery surface temperature of 76 degrees, slightly above room temperature."
My room temperature is 20 degrees thats 56 degrees diference...

Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1)

Z34107 (925136) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945864)

Are you about to succumb to the elements, or do you live in France?

Is there a difference?

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1, Flamebait)

Grey Ninja (739021) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946476)

You must be an American. Last I checked, you were one of a handful of countries who refused to adopt the metric system. Hell, even Britain uses it these days.

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (3, Informative)

Starayo (989319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946614)

I find it amusing that America, whose citizens love to claim the best of everything, still use an outdated system of measurement.

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (5, Funny)

GNious (953874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946862)

Drives American girls wild, when you tell them that you have got a 12 cm penis

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948108)

Is 12cm bad? Because mine was 11cm and I thought that was close to a foot. Am I wrong?

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948322)

Well, it can be expressed in feet [google.com] , at least.

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948422)

"Drives American girls wild,"

Inches, centimeters... US dollars have always been decimal.

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (0)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948566)

still use an outdated system of measurement.

Outdated? Because metric is more accurate than American units?

Just because it's somewhat newer, doesn't make it better.

Re:Celsius v. Fahrenheit (1)

kryptkpr (180196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16949202)

Flamebait? I'll bite.

Being newer doesn't make it better. Having every unit relate to every other by a power of 10 .. THAT is what makes it better.

Re:hmmm (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948372)

It's ~25 degrees i the rest of the world. Google is your friend [google.com]

Re:They forgot one! (5, Funny)

sinij (911942) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945796)

Imagine having to crank two things at once, your laptop and .... well you know.... heat generated by you will be quite considerable.

Re:They forgot one! (1)

kcelery (410487) | more than 7 years ago | (#16947076)

if you notice the C in OLPC, its not for adults.

Stupidest... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945242)

...story ever.

Re:Stupidest... (2, Funny)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945832)

How funny is it that in a discussion about burning laptops, your post got modded "Flamebait"?

LK

Re:Stupidest... (1)

tezbobobo (879983) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946264)

Actualy, this is a very hot topic.

I didn't RTFA but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945246)

F1rst p0st

Re:I didn't RTFA but... (1)

thatgun (221980) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946038)

Dude, you guys are getting rusty. I haven't seen a first post troll make it to first post in quite a long time. I think you should all give it up!

Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (-1, Flamebait)

0racle (667029) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945260)

I don't recall ever being worried that my macbook might explode

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (3, Interesting)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945332)

Smug are we? You didn't look into the battery recall then.

I remember the first Aluminium PowerBooks. They became so hot, that the bottoms expanded to a convex shape after an hour of running. They tottered, wobbled and turned about, like a Weeble [wikipedia.org] . This was really noticeable on the 12" models - where the footprint was so small, the curvature was really pronounced!

Now have the Sony exploding, flammable battery problem that Dell and Lenovo suffer from.

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (3, Informative)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945652)

I've asked the Apple 'Geniuses' about this on both a MacBook and MBP. While it wasn't *that* pronounced, both warped enough that they wouldn't sit flat on the table (notably worse on the MacBook). I don't know whether the MacBook was from heat or poor QC as it never got astonishingly hot during use, but I know it's heat related on my MBP, which I've seen report CPU temps upwards of 85c (where Applecare did absolutely nothing except replacing the main logic board with one that not only failed to fix the heat issue but started causing video corruption).

I'm not bashing Apple here - my old Gateway was almost as hot, and considerably louder (the fan was off-balance for most of its life; both very loud and almost always on since day one). As the MBP is often on a table it's not the end of the world, but Apple's engineers need to do some rethinking. I've also got a Thinkpad of nearly equal spec (almost identical to a MB except for the size, with over an hour more battery life) and it very rarely gets warm and the fan is never noticible. Apple genius's thoughts: "well, it's plastic, it won't heat up as much". Okay, well I guess IBM/Lenovo use a superplastic that dissipates heat better than aluminum... not even the copper heatsink section of the body gets warm, yet my MBP with plenty of metal surface area to dissipate that heat really roasts. Last I knew, added surface area for more heat dissipation meant a cooler system, but I guess IBM and Apple don't follow the laws of thermodynamics.

Translation: I still love my MBP (for the OS, not so much the hardware), but the Thinkpad (T60, if you care) runs very cool and has quite a bit of kick to it, with the main faults being a crappy display and Windows (unfortunately, OSx86 on it wasn't functional or reliable enough, or else it'd have been a best-of-both-worlds). For around $1100 I think (school paid for mine), it gives me a solid 5+ hours of battery life (it seems closer to 6 in Vista for some reason that escapes me) and no roasted legs. With a nicer, preferably widescreen, display, and OS X, I'd say it's pretty close to my ideal laptop. Except how the stupid black plastic gets laughably greasy if you ever handle the thing without wearing gloves. If Apple were to talk to the Thinkpad engineers to deal with their heat issues, they'd have a pretty nice system (as I doubt IBM/Lenovo talking to Apple about their choice of OS issue will get them anywhere). They certainly look pretty and OS X is the real reason to buy the thing, but Apple's portables really have a couple pretty inexcusable issues, most significantly heat (rounding the edges where your wrists tend to rest wouldn't get a "no" vote from me either).

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945906)

Look into smcFanControl http://www.conscius.de/~eidac/software/page5/page5 .html [conscius.de]
Set it to something like 3000 rpm, which you can barely notice, and bam, cooler lap. Of course, this shouldn't be required, but until they get the heat issues sorted out...

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946270)

Already using it (and it seems to have burnt out the GPU fan...) and while it's notably cooler, it's still scorching hot. That's to say, knocking 10c off of 85c still isn't great on the legs. Or the desk, for that matter. Even cranked all the way up to 6000RPM, it still tends to be worryingly toasty.

Maybe I'll do a real egg-cooking video with the thing and see if it catches the eye of any support persons. 85c is enough to cook meat thoroughly (albeit very slowly), but it's just not the same effect. As far as I'm aware, there's nothing in the warrantee that says I can't...

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947916)

The new MBP's run much cooler because the Core Duo was common to get very hot

You can cut a lot of heat with just changing the processors

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (1)

atrocious cowpat (850512) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946986)

rounding the edges where your wrists tend to rest wouldn't get a "no" vote from me either
Seconded.

There have been a few questionable decisions on design vs. ergonomy by Apple / J. Ive (Puck-Mouse anyone?), but none that has left me so completely baffeled as the sharp edges on the new MacBooks. It's really, really annoying when your hands rest lower than the MacBook, for example if you're using your laptop on... your lap.

I've had my MacBook for 6 weeks now and I absolutely love it, but I'll really have to sandpaper the edges. If that doesn't work it's Duct Tape Time (well... not really. Though it could look kinda cool... ;)

Re:Am I supposed to be afraid of this? (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945588)

I gotta tell yah, I get pretty worried about my macbook pro. This sucker gets HOT. I worry about it burning though the desk.

Needless to say... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945266)

Sony's name isn't on the list.

Re:Needless to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947160)

Sony's name isn't on the list.

Mind you, Sony did not manufacture blown up laptops, it only supplied the battery. So it won't be on the list of manufacturers.

Advertising (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945276)

Slashvertising at its finest!

Twinhead? Uh, no. (3, Informative)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945278)

Any article that actually considers a laptop from Twinhead as a viable option loses all credibility, even if it does come last. They're junk. My most recent experience with a single Twinhead laptop involved two new hard drives, new RAM, a flakey power socket, a hinge that barely works and a battery pack with a failed cell (it splutters if you have the battery connected.) Prior experience involves machines that didn't come with the right bits and didn't recognise their own floppy drives.

Re:Twinhead? Uh, no. (2, Funny)

presidentbeef (779674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945484)

My most recent experience with a single Twinhead laptop involved two new hard drives, new RAM, a flakey power socket, a hinge that barely works and a battery pack with a failed cell (it splutters if you have the battery connected.

But what about the heat output? The convenient volume control wheel on the front edge? The "magnesium screen lid and bottom case with an attractive finish that looks like carbon fiber"?!

You didn't address the important stuff!

:)

Re:Twinhead? Uh, no. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946144)

I have to agree with parent post. Twinhead laptops are very disappointing. I own one and using it right now (model E14AL if you care) and only had problems with it. It killed two RAM in the first 3 months, then had to replace the motherboard, dvd drive died last month, plastic case is of very bad quality and get scratched very easily (can scratch it with your nails!), and now my the screen fixations are going away. After one year of use, I'm about to buy a new laptop, as I fear it's going to die soon and continually fixing it will prove to be more costly than buying a brand new one (hey, warranty has just expired!).

Ok, about heating problem, it's terrible. First, the fan and air intake are located on the bottom of the laptop, which means u need to use it on a perfectly flat desk and not on your lap or bed as it would obstruct all air flow. Second, the fan sometimes doesn't turn on at all and the laptop ends to power down after overheating too much.

That's my first Twinhead computer and my last one. I don't want to generalize to every single laptop built by Twinhead, but their Efio (EXXX) models are crap. Poor quality parts and bad quality standards. Better pay more and get a more robust computer.

Ced

Re:Twinhead? Uh, no. (1)

owlman17 (871857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946536)

I'm not too sure about the new Twinheads but my 1998 Twinhead was a workhorse. It was a P266 with 32MB RAM and a 3.2GB Hard Drive. It had Win98 and dual-booted into Mandrake 7.0. I used it primarily for programming. The battery died in 2001 and the CD-ROM drive in 2003. Otherwise, it was still going strong. It has endured a lot of (minor) falls. It wasn't until late last year till we put it out to pasture. We only did this because the LCD's hinges were starting to break off.

It was pretty strong for me and served me well.

Page rendering sucks (5, Funny)

SwabTheDeck (1030520) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945286)

Am I the only one getting this article rendered as though the CSS was written by throwing the keyboard down the stairs? (Firefox 2 on Linux)

Re:Page rendering sucks (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945388)

It is because the link is to the "printer friendly" version, if you go to the normal version it looks normal, but they do that annoying one-paragraph-per-page thing so it spans seven pages. Normal version here. [crn.com]

Macbooks does not burn anymore either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945318)

after intel core 2 duo

Danger (3, Interesting)

cheese-cube (910830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945324)

Lithium fires like those that occur when a laptop battery explodes are extremely dangerous. Just watch this video [blogspot.com] .

Re:Danger (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945572)

Lithium fires like those that occur when a laptop battery explodes are extremely dangerous. Just watch this video.

This video took about a minute from "smoking" to "apeshit." My laptop would be flying across the room by that point, no longer on my lap...

-b.

Re:Danger (1)

cheese-cube (910830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945896)

Given the right conditions I believe that a lithium can just go off without even being switched on. Imagine if you left your laptop on at home when you you went to work. You'd probably come home to a pile of ash instead of a house.

What about Sony notebooks? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945334)

I'm posting this from my sweet Sony Vaio notebook powered by the everlasting Sony battery and I%&#@+++ NO CARRIER

misleading summary (5, Insightful)

cbc1920 (730236) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945340)

I don't get how having a cool notebook translates into a battery that doesn't blow up. As far as I remember, the whole battery recall was because of a slight possibility of an internal short in LiIon cells. This had everything to do with manufacturing process and perhaps gravity, and nothing at all to do with the rest of the notebook. To suggest that these products avoided the recall because of their design is ignorant. They avoided the recall because they sourced different batteries.

Granted, a cooler notebook will result in longer batteries, since heat will reduce the effective capacity over time. That is the only advantage, from a power standpoint.

Re:misleading summary (3, Insightful)

joshua.e.jacobs (1020074) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945474)

I think the type of notebook does effect the chances of the battery burning. Toshiba said their notebooks don't have this problem despite using the same batteries because they're designed differently. Here's an article with a bit of info about the toshiba recall. http://www.csd.toshiba.com/cgi-bin/tais/su/su_sc_d tlView.jsp?soid=1501060 [toshiba.com]

Re:misleading summary (2, Insightful)

msormune (808119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946302)

Well of course they will say that, it's very good advertising. "Look we made our laptops better, they won't burst into flames!". And if a Toshiba laptop bursts into flames, they will say "Well, we were wrong about the design just like everyone else, let's just make a recall like the others". Toshiba has nothing to lose.

Re:misleading summary (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948168)

Even a notebook of the notorious models had about a .00001% chance of blowing up, which is a pretty unlikely occurence.

Re:misleading summary (1)

rachit (163465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946524)

Of course the heat of the laptop affects the chances of internal short.

You see, heat ~ energy

According to Einstein, energy = mc^2, there fore energy ~ mass

And mass causes gravity. By your own words, gravity was the cause of the short, ergo heat caused the short.

Say no more, Panasonic Tough Book (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945408)

I am already a big fan of Panasonic's Tough Book series. The fact that they earn high marks in yet another review, power consumption and heat dissipation, merely cements my opinion of them as a top choice notebook.

I would previously recommend ThinkPads, but even before moving to Levono the quality was waning. The only thing the ThinkPad has that is superior is a longer warranty. Always buy the longest extended warranty possible for a laptop if you actually take it back and forth to school or work. The failure rate is abysmal. I pretty much expect a laptop to last a year without repair which translates to expect having to buy a new laptop a year after the warranty runs out.

Re:Say no more, Panasonic Tough Book (1, Informative)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945552)

I would previously recommend ThinkPads, but even before moving to Levono the quality was waning. The only thing the ThinkPad has that is superior is a longer warranty.

Just pick up a T23 or T41. Should run Linux fine and you'll pay under $300 used for the first, under $500 for the second on EBay. If it conks out, replace it with another $300 notebook.

-b.

Re:Say no more, Panasonic Tough Book (1)

astrashe (7452) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945788)

I have a T21. $208. :)

I use FreeNX to pull up my home desktop, and it works beautifully.

Re:Say no more, Panasonic Tough Book (1)

Grail (18233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945702)

I'd buy a tough book over a MacBook Pro, except for the fact that the ToughBook video uses shared system memory (ie: it won't run WoW fast enough to play). Even my PowerBook G4 12" (may it rest in peace) had a separate video card (sure, it was a really crappy video card).

The toughbook fills my other requirements: wireless networking, and being able to withstand being used.

Re:Say no more, Panasonic Tough Book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945776)

My ACER 5100 series laptop with a 2ghz amd turion64, 1gig of ram and ati radeon xpress 1100 shared graphics runs WoW at 15-40fps at reasonable settings (1280x800, shaders off, terrain distance and environment detail at 1/2.)

It's usually playable if I have a mouse.

But then I play a shadow priest, it would probably be harder with a rogue or mage.

I tried a Panasonic CFW4 (1)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945934)

It was a 12.1" one, compare to the 15" CF-51... despite the hard-drive supposedly being surrounded by the shock-absorbing protective stuff, even its seeks would send out shrill rattles amplified by the magnesium case. I didn't expect the optical drive on such a tiny laptop to be quiet, but the sheer grinding racket it made was alarming, not to mention painful. Thankfully, I wasn't dumb enough to buy a $3000 laptop from a place without a decent return policy.

The bigger laptop mentioned in the article might be better (if heavier), but only comes with a 1.44" floppy drive and a DVD/CD-RW drive - from looking around, it appears that an optional DVD-Multi drive can be bought, but only as a separate item - not an upgrade. What year is this, again? The lack of a memory card reader is a bit annoying, too, though buying one for the expansion card slot wouldn't cost too much.

Re:I tried a Panasonic CFW4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947162)

uhhh... you don't buy a toughbook for it's multimedia capabilities. it's intended market is for those who want a rugged computer that can take a beating and still work... for working on.

But will it run Linux? (0, Redundant)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945414)

No joke. My IBM thinkpad has died from too much abuse. I'm either going to have it repaired, or get something new. So, how hard is a Linux install on a toughbook CF51?

Re:But will it run Linux? (1)

revolu7ion (994315) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945860)

[url:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_obvious]

Re:But will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946096)

yep. I've installed gentoo 2006.1 on one. Everything seems to work, except maybe the modem, which I didn't bother to try. The radeon video has the usual limitations, but it's fine for what I do. Just be sure and lspci -v to get all your drivers straight, and you're good to go.

Re:But will it run Linux? (1)

dreamlax (981973) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946242)

The latest ones might possibly have problems with the SD card readers . . . they've [Panasonic] released a new SD card standard, which in order to obtain a specification sheet, you have to sign an agreement (and pay a sum) saying that you will not use the specification sheet to provide an open-source driver.

It sucks that the major laptop manufacturers don't make it "easy" for you to install Linux, i.e. using proprietary protocols specifically optimised to run in a Windows environment etc. I work for Toshiba fixing laptops, and the number of tools that come "pre-loaded" on a "fresh install" is amazing. People can remove them if they wish, of course, but one case in particular was this customer came in complaining about the life of his battery. I noticed he uninstalled all of the Toshiba software. One critical component was Toshiba Power Management. Only this tool can dim the brightness of the LCD, and various other things. Without it, the battery won't last long at all. Most Toshiba notebooks have a very cut down BIOS which let software do the rest. It's a shame the software is proprietary.

Having said that, my boss said that the laptop they gave me (as a company asset) is mine to do what I want with, including installing Linux. Also, most Toshiba Satellites have a second partition on the hard drive which is quick to boot and is designed for playing DVDs only. Guess what? It's Linux. I've also heard (from where I used to work selling home electronics), most TV-HDD-DVD recorders run Linux, including Panasonic, Sony and Philips. So, they're getting there . . . but it will take a while.

Re:But will it run Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946564)

uh.... source?(pun intended)

Dell XPS M1210 (3, Insightful)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945456)


    Yeah, Dell has bad press lately. But that particular model uses a Samsung battery, not a Sony model. Very low draw, very good thermal characteristics. I've accidentally put it in my bag (which is a VERY snug fit) while running apps that kept it from entering standby several times - even after running in a sealed bag for a couple of hours, it's still running nice and solid. The bad and laptop were warm, but not at all hot. Having a Core Duo, 2 gigs of RAM, built-in mobile broadband, and still getting 5 hours of real-world runtime out of it are pretty nice, too.

Re:Dell XPS M1210 (1)

kjart (941720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16947540)

I've been looking at the M1210, but the one thing that has kept me away is the screen. I find high gloss LCD's to be fairly annoying in general and though I've never used one on an extended basis, the few times I have tried them I've found the glare to be overpowering. If the M1210 had an option without the glossy screen I'd probably already have one.

What is your experience with the m1210?

Re:Dell XPS M1210 (1)

devo4040 (993696) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948420)

I have to say that I don't even notice the high gloss of the LCD on my M1210 any longer and as the thread started said the thing works really well. I am able to get around 7 hours of battery life out of the extended battery which comes in really handy when I'm in the field all day trying to trouble shoot. Plus the high gloss is good for one thing, when the computer is powered down or in standby it works as a great mirror to make sure you don't have anything stuck in your teeth before talking to the attractive girl who just sat down next to you at the coffee house.

The safest notebook (1)

kihbord (724079) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945486)

All notebooks are safe just put 4-inch FANS around it for extra cooling.

Re:The safest notebook (1)

kihbord (724079) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945640)

Better yet. Just remove the batteries altogether. ;-)

forget battery (1, Offtopic)

Tinn-Can (938690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945514)

Heat doesnt matter if the stupid thing has a crappy little 1280x800 screen... thats just sad... What is up with all the new laptops having that? My 4 year old $1000 laptop runs a 1400x1050 on a 15" screen but I can't find anything like that anymore that isn't over 2 grand.

It's because the masses buy laptops now... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945578)

And "the masses" just want it to say "wide screen".

A "wide screen" must be better than ANYTHING in a old fashioned 4:3 ratio, right? That's Sooo 1990's!

Yeah, I liked my 1400x1050 screen too, but true hi-rez takes a back-seat to watching the latest video in the correct format...

Re:It's because the masses buy laptops now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946088)

I'm typing this on a Thinkpad T60 (14 and 15 inch models available for well under $2000 with lots of fancy features). They're having a great sale right now too. www.lenovo.com

Re:forget battery (1, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945598)

What is up with all the new laptops having that? My 4 year old $1000 laptop runs a 1400x1050 on a 15" screen but I can't find anything like that anymore that isn't over 2 grand.

1400x1050 on a 15" screen (for that matter anything above 1024x768) is useless on a 15" screen unless you have bionic eyesight. For us mortals, 800x600 is sufficient. If you need finer resolution, you're better off with an external monitor.

-b.

Re:forget battery (1)

Krytical (1010695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946004)

I have a 15.4" laptop with a 1680x1050 resolution, I have no problems reading anything. Graphics actually look better in the laptop than in my 22" desktop monitor. You might want to drop by your local optometrist when you get a chance.

Re:forget battery (1)

skiflyer (716312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946200)

You've misconfigured your OS if higher resolution means smaller font size.... and in regards to photo/video... zoom in. Higher resolution means you have more to work with, not that everything is smaller. (1400x1050 in a 14.1" for the record.)

Re:forget battery (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948430)

back in the real world (IE windows) apps are generally designed in terms of pixel counts, so if you mess arround with the windows font size the effect in many apps is horrible.

also even if we assume the OS and aps are designed to allow scaling like this we run into another problem

Scaling bitmap images by an ammount other than an integer scale factor generally results in either blockyness of a loss of sharp edges. This is essentially why the image on an LCD monitor running at non-native resoloution ranges from poor to terrible and will mean that any scaled bitmap (and lets face it the web uses a lot of bitmaps) will look relatively poor.

one soloution to this is to crank up the resoloution to the point at which the concept of a pixel becomes completely invisible to the eye but to get there we have to cross the bad band between "readilly visible pixels" and "pixels too small to see at all"

Re:forget battery (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16947848)

>For us mortals, 800x600
Not for this one, 1600x1280 on a 15inch and wishing I had more. There's no such thing as too much screen real-estate.
Heck, I can't think of anything I could do at 800x600, I haven't had a PC at that res in the last ten+ years. Even my old Atari Falcon back in 1992 had 1024x800.

Re:forget battery (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946080)

They are hard to find, but it can be done.

You can customize a Dell E1505 right now with a 1680x1050 screen for well under $1000, though you'll probably want to bump that base model up a bit.

In previous months, I've seen it where if you pick the lowest model of the laptop at the customization screen, you won't be offered the higher screen res, but if you start with a higher base customization you will be offered better screens. This seems to come and go.

I have an earlier model of the E1505, called the "Inspiron 6000" (obviously just under 4 times better), which I bought about a year ago, and it was tricky then, too. I honestly don't know if you even have a significant choice other than Dell and maybe HP (which also comes and goes); if you can't customize it onto your system, it doesn't seem to be an option.

fucking slashvertisement. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945538)

What a crew of fags. no real meat in the article... cos they're taking it all up their asses.

Mod parent down ... (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945606)

-1 Juvenile.

Mod MY parent down ... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945772)

b0s0z0ku, moderation is done by the moderators, using moderation points. Aside from changing the score so people can select or avoid articles, that method also cuts down on clutter. What a waste of a +1 posting ability.

Am the only one.... (1)

RMB2 (936187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945548)

Am I the only one who finds the mere topic of this review more than a little startling? Back when I used to read PC World as a kid and drool over the PII w/ MMC, I never would have dreamed of being worried about the pyrotechnic features (or lack there of) in a computer. Strange times.... I think I might still prefer a computer marketed "with math co-processor" to one that "won't blow up as much as the other guys'"

Re:Am the only one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945684)

I hope that they can only advance chemical fire technology to the CPU overclocking front. Nothing exciting happening there these days.

This whole thing is totally exaggerated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945804)

I have owned four laptops (Li-ion) and none of them have had any problems with heat or burning batteries.

I am even using my sony laptop to post this to slashdot, it barely feels warm.
Actually I suppose it is a bit hot...

AHHHHHH MY HANDS. IT BURNS, I

Toughbooks are SOLID! (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945820)

I've got a Toughbook tablet PC at work and I've got to say, it's an incredible machine (build wise). I've dropped it at least two times from table height onto a hard floor with just a small scratch in the corner. It's really hard to justify the price though. The only reason I needed it at work is because I mostly do field support of industrial control systems, and the 500 nits screen is much easier to read than the crummy 180 nits you find on most laptops. Oh, and the battery lasts about 5 hours to boot!

Re:Toughbooks are SOLID! (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946936)

I'd definitely concur. We use Toughbooks in Iraq and other combat zones, and the little suckers don't break at all. (Heck, I've even chucked one at somebody... but nevermind that ;). Seriously though, the only issue I have with Toughbooks is the fact that hardware-wise they are always behind the curve by about 4-8 months (in terms of processors, memory, etc.)

But other than that, Toughbooks are simply grunt-proof. lol

Re:Toughbooks are SOLID! (1)

hunterkll (949515) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948442)

Oh, and the battery lasts about 5 hours to boot!

Takes you five hours to boot? Hope you got a second battery to actually run that sucker...

Laptops may not burn, but atheists do:FOR ETERNITY (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16945892)

Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history
RANCHO SANTA FE, CALIF. - In recent months, a spate of atheist books have argued that religion represents, as "End of Faith" author Sam Harris puts it, "the most potent source of human conflict, past and present."
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Columnist Robert Kuttner gives the familiar litany. "The Crusades slaughtered millions in the name of Jesus. The Inquisition brought the torture and murder of millions more. After Martin Luther, Christians did bloody battle with other Christians for another three centuries."

In his bestseller "The God Delusion," Richard Dawkins contends that most of the world's recent conflicts - in the Middle East, in the Balkans, in Northern Ireland, in
Kashmir, and in Sri Lanka - show the vitality of religion's murderous impulse.

The problem with this critique is that it exaggerates the crimes attributed to religion, while ignoring the greater crimes of secular fanaticism. The best example of religious persecution in America is the Salem witch trials. How many people were killed in those trials? Thousands? Hundreds? Actually, fewer than 25. Yet the event still haunts the liberal imagination.

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.

Moreover, many of the conflicts that are counted as "religious wars" were not fought over religion. They were mainly fought over rival claims to territory and power. Can the wars between England and France be called religious wars because the English were Protestants and the French were Catholics? Hardly.

The same is true today. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not, at its core, a religious one. It arises out of a dispute over self-determination and land. Hamas and the extreme orthodox parties in
Israel may advance theological claims - "God gave us this land" and so forth - but the conflict would remain essentially the same even without these religious motives. Ethnic rivalry, not religion, is the source of the tension in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

p>Yet today's atheists insist on making religion the culprit. Consider Mr. Harris's analysis of the conflict in Sri Lanka. "While the motivations of the Tamil Tigers are not explicitly religious," he informs us, "they are Hindus who undoubtedly believe many improbable things about the nature of life and death." In other words, while the Tigers see themselves as combatants in a secular political struggle, Harris detects a religious motive because these people happen to be Hindu and surely there must be some underlying religious craziness that explains their fanaticism.

Harris can go on forever in this vein. Seeking to exonerate secularism and atheism from the horrors perpetrated in their name, he argues that Stalinism and Maoism were in reality "little more than a political religion." As for Nazism, "while the hatred of Jews in Germany expressed itself in a predominantly secular way, it was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity." Indeed, "The holocaust marked the culmination of ... two thousand years of Christian fulminating against the Jews."

One finds the same inanities in Mr. Dawkins's work. Don't be fooled by this rhetorical legerdemain. Dawkins and Harris cannot explain why, if Nazism was directly descended from medieval Christianity, medieval Christianity did not produce a Hitler. How can a self-proclaimed atheist ideology, advanced by Hitler as a repudiation of Christianity, be a "culmination" of 2,000 years of Christianity? Dawkins and Harris are employing a transparent sleight of hand that holds Christianity responsible for the crimes committed in its name, while exonerating secularism and atheism for the greater crimes committed in their name.

Religious fanatics have done things that are impossible to defend, and some of them, mostly in the Muslim world, are still performing horrors in the name of their creed. But if religion sometimes disposes people to self-righteousness and absolutism, it also provides a moral code that condemns the slaughter of innocents. In particular, the moral teachings of Jesus provide no support for - indeed they stand as a stern rebuke to - the historical injustices perpetrated in the name of Christianity.

Atheist hubris
The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth. Of course if some people - the Jews, the landowners, the unfit, or the handicapped - have to be eliminated in order to achieve this utopia, this is a price the atheist tyrants and their apologists have shown themselves quite willing to pay. Thus they confirm the truth of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's dictum, "If God is not, everything is permitted."

Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades.

It's time to abandon the mindlessly repeated mantra that religious belief has been the greatest source of human conflict and violence. Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history.

* Dinesh D'Souza is the Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution. His new book, "The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11," will be published in January.

Finally, Some Guidance (1)

FreeRadicalX (899322) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945920)

Just like when buying any other product these days, my number one concern when buying a computer is "It won't explode, right?". Now I can be sure to not get shafted by craft sales representatives trying to sell me explosive goods.

Burnt pockets (1)

Krytical (1010695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16945964)

Those laptops might not blow up, but I'm pretty sure they'll burn a hole in your pocket. The high performance ones (core 2 duos, 2 gigs RAM, etc) range from $2,100 - $3,000. I can get a dell with similar specs for $1,600 and 2 years of free repairs. Sorry but I'm taking my chances with the C4 battery laptops.

Temperature (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946040)

I read that the Panasonic's fan exhaust temperature was ONLY 97 degrees, and the surface of the battery measured ONLY 76. This confused me because they failed to mention that the temperature is in degrees Fahrenheit!

This wont burn... (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946046)

This P-P-P-Powerbook [slashdot.org] won't burn [p-p-p-powerbook.com] .

How accurate is /proc/acpi/battery? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#16946102)

Does anyone know how accurate /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state is? The article talks approvingly about 22W of power, but my ACPI reports:
jerf@localhost ~ $ cat /proc/acpi/battery/BAT0/state
present: yes
capacity state: ok
charging state: discharging
present rate: 1239 mA
remaining capacity: 5708 mAh
present voltage: 12232 mV
which by my calculations is 15W. This is on my lowest display setting and an idle CPU, but no other extreme power saving efforts (hard disk spinning, wireless on, etc.) (Highest display brightness gives me 21.3W; display is a big draw, apparently.)

I've wondered if this was accurate. (Although I have to admit the heat on this thing backs that up; even at full load it just gets "a little warm"; a previous laptop reached "burns your lap" while idling.)

(For reference, this is a Dell Inspiron 6000 with a 1.6GHz Pentium M on the Sonoma (IIRC) chipset.)

I've wondered how accurate that readout is. It offers four or five significant digits which I find hard to believe. If there are any power hackers out there who could tell me if this is reasonably accurate or full of shit, I'd be appreciative. (I've wondered if I'm seriously running what I find a rather nice computer setup overall on less power than a dim incandescent light bulb or our Christmas lights.)

Re:How accurate is /proc/acpi/battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946662)

I would say that 15W to 21W is pretty accurate.

I have a slightly faster Inspiron 6000 and I have measured, with a multimeter, around 21W for idle power draw with minimum screen brightness. But that includes the AC/DC power converter and its losses as well.

Re:How accurate is /proc/acpi/battery? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16948382)

Every nerd should have one of the Kill-a-watt 120v power meters (Google for it). They make for some very interesting findings when you get to measuring actual power consumption by a computer. Who would have figured that my fully loaded DEC Personal Workstation 500au only draws 130 watts? Or that my IBM 19" CRT monitor only draws 75 watts? It's well worth the low cost. The Kill-a-watt can be had for around $20/shipped. Fun toy. :)

Need advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946458)

I am looking for a really cheap laptop/notebook that basically just has a keyboard, screen, and wireless. I just want it to browse the internet or do some coding over the wireless. Is the only option to buy some old piece of junk on eBay or craigs? I can't seem to find a "one laptop per chair" kind of product, they are all like 1k+ with featuritis.

Say 97 degrees is cool? Not for 97% of the world! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16946630)

I quit reading the article when it said 76 and 97 degrees. The yankees are so hillbilly they did not learn to use SI units in over 200 years. Kelvin, Celsius anyone? When water freezes at zero and boils at 100deg, that makes sense. Fahrenheit and Remour does NOT make sense. If America wants to remain competitive against Asia, it must metricate. Don't be stupid to hold against the global tide just because the frenchies invented the metrics.

Re:Say 97 degrees is cool? Not for 97% of the worl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16948912)

Science courses in the US use metric. We are just too lazy to change. Think about it, everyone has to completely change their thinking and relearn how to estimate size, temperature, etc. What if you had to change every unit you grew up with?

In other news... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947018)

Six iPods that don't eat your face

Six engineers that aren't cannibals

Six lamps that don't blind you

Six Slashdot articles that aren't racist

Six pillows that don't give you cancer

since when is laptops that DON'T do something NEWS?
as if the NORM for laptops today are ones that BURN?

Run Notebook Hardware Control. Longer battery life (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947568)

I had heat problems from my notebook. It's pretty small and I hold it in my hand when I'm travelling so heat was a big problem. (Palm size tablet PC).

  http://www.pbus-167.com/chc.htm [pbus-167.com]

If you run at a lower voltage heat buildup can cease to become an issue. My notebook runs cooler, crashes less (never now) and lasts longer on battery.

It can take a little experimentation to get the best settings, but my battery like increased about 50% and being able to force a drop in the clock speed when I travel makes it great to use outside.

I picked up the app from a forum of users of the same model notebook and it's become standard fare for most of the forum members... Damn impressive stuff since it's free.

Makes me wonder how the reviewer would have fared if they tried this on the models that just missed out.

GrpA.

W007 7p (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16947740)

Dell 5150 (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16947802)

My 5150 has a classic design - the main air intake is underneath. When you put it on your lap, your legs cover the intake, the fan goes nuts and after a while the CPU and/or mobo does a meltdown. I'm on my 3rd mobo/cpu. Whenever you call with a hardware issue their first question is 'are all the rubber feet on?' because if they're not, you can bet its overheated jus sitting on a desk.
For good measure it also sucks up all the crud and deposits on to the heatsink/fan reducing their effectiveness.

It's scary (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#16947816)

You'd expect an article headed 6 laptops that do burn not 6 that don't - like it's news some aren't going to explode.

What, no P-P-P-PowerBook!? (1)

Thwomp (773873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948122)

I was sure that would be at number one.

The list of six: (1)

eples (239989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16948134)

  1. Panasonic Toughbook CF-51
  2. Jetta Jetbook 9700P
  3. Velocity NoteMagix L80
  4. HP Compaq nw8440
  5. Asus F3Jv
  6. Twinhead Durabook D13RI
"Best" Choice: Panasonic's Toughbook CF-51
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