looking for laptop

Alex Esplin alex.esplin at gmail.com
Thu Feb 15 07:40:26 MST 2007

On 2/15/07, Justin Findlay <justin at jfindlay.us> wrote:
> On AD 2007 February 14 Wednesday 11:53:40 PM -0700, justin wrote:
> > 1. cheap
> > 2. reliable
> > 3. fast
> For this one I'm firmly in the cheap and reliable demographic.

Well, my MacBook clocked in at $1400 (with 3 year Apple Care).  It is
small (13.1" widescreen, somewhere in the 4 pound neighborhood),
really fast (2.0 GHz Core 2 duo), and it runs linux amazingly well in
Parallels/VMWare Fusion.  I would imagine it would work equally as
well if you ran Linux natively using Boot Camp.  Everything I used
Linux for before I got my MacBook I still have with OSX (Unix tools,
development with gcc/gdb, etc. plus things like sleep that Just
Work(tm)).  Fink or Darwin ports allows the use of virtually any other
open source application you can think of.

Battery life is insane (I got just over 6 hours the other day
programming with frequent compiles, working on a school project that
pegs the processor whenever it's running.

It's extremely reliable.  My uptime is as long as I've had it (about
two weeks) and the one I had previously, which my wife is now using,
was rebooted a total of 3 times last semester (for major system

If small, cheap, fast and reliable are your main constraints I don't
think you can get smaller (maybe even as small), definitely faster, or
more reliable for the price.  Just for comparison, the Dell XPS
(12.1", so 1" smaller) starts at $1299.  Compared side by side with
the $1299 MacBook, this is what you get:

Dell: 1.83 GHz with 2 Mb L2, 1Gb RAM, 80 Gb HD, Intel integrated
graphics, CD/RW/DVD Combo drive (no DVD burning).

MacBook:  2.0 GHz with 4 Mb L2, 1Gb RAM, 80 Gb HD, Intel integrated
graphics, Super drive (CD/RW, DVD+/-RW).

Plus the MacBook offers Bluetooth, integrated iSight (which, granted,
may or may not work as well in Linux if that will be your primary OS),
and OSX, which I have found to be at least equivalent to any Linux
distro I've used (except Gentoo)  for configurability, usefulness,

I guess the bottom line of this post that has gotten rather long is
that it'll be fairly hard to find smaller or faster for the price than
the $1299 MacBook, and reliability is a pretty much foregone
conclusion in favor of the MacBook in my experience.

Alex Esplin

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