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Can one of the current crop of high-end Notebooks replace a Desktop?
Part 2, the welterweight $$ class

Staff Review, written by Keith Benicek
December 31, 2002

Welcome back to part 2 of our article; after tackling five very different mid-class notebooks we now ready for five “High-end” notebooks that will strain your wallet. We asked five well respected companies (Sony choose not to contribute the time) to carefully select an example from their product lines that they felt met the criteria of a true desktop replacement. A recap of our premise of what makes a notebook a desktop replacement follows.

But first, I have to report that the best laid plans, …. well lets just say that the production of this part of the article went sideways fast. Sony’s PR agent never supplied a “high end” unit; shortly after receiving the Apple “Titanium” G4 800 MHz PowerBook the 1 GHz model was released and Gateway 600 XL we got became a 600X because the XL model received a specification upgrade.

We also had problems twice with the Toshiba 5105-S701 and the Compaq Presario 1510U went in for repair for an absurdly and unacceptably long time. More on this in the body of the article. So consequently, we’ve decided to abbreviate this comparison a bit more than the mid-market notebooks was, since some of the units we had are already replaced, something that happens quickly in the computer business. The relationship between what we tested and current models is still very appropriate in that it is often only processors, RAM or HDD that is appreciably upgraded.

Be sure to read the last page of this article for the final rating of these five top contenders.

Recapping our premise –

If you did not read part 1 of this article, please at least read the premise behind the why and wherefore in the choice and measurement of each notebook in this shoot-out. Click here to read the first page of part 1. It really is important that you understand how we intend to measure the qualifications of the participating notebooks..

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The Five Contenders -
The five contenders that make up our battle for the welterweight class in the ultimate desktop replacement notebook, are brand representative. Some of them have already been replaced by models with either a faster processor, more HDD space or similar internal specification. So think of them as a class representative model from their manufacturer.

They are the IBM ThinkPad T30, Toshiba Satellite 5105-S701, Apple G4 1GHz PowerBook, Gateway 600X and the Compaq Presario 1510US. Only a high-end Sony Vaio is not in attendance and very much missed.bar
We decided to look at ten portable Notebook sized computers from companies we feel have always been the great innovators, rather than the “me too” followers.
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The IBM ThinkPad T30 is king of the hill in their line-up; designed with out a doubt for the corporate desktop replacement market, as IBM is very well known and respected for. Though companies like Dell and HP have been challenging IBM for this market segment for some time now, ask most IT Directors that are charged with buying for corporate senior management and they still prefer the ThinkPad.
 
The ThinkPad T30 carries the now traditional “Stealthy” flat black slim square cornered “slab” style we are use to seeing for some time, this one made of Titanium Composite. This actually cleaver design style has always made ThinkPad look smaller than they really are. It is a very attractive notebook that men in particular are drawn to; it exudes a subtle power.

Equipped with a gorgeous premium quality 14.1”, TFT display (smallest in the group), an Intel 1.8GHz P-4M, 512 MB of DDR SDRAM, ATI Mobility Radeon 7500-16MB RAM and a 40GB HDD, this is a powerful machine for it’s diminutive size (the smallest of the group). It also has an Ultrabay 8x DVD/CDRW Combo Optical Drive, but no internal Floppy Drive (didn’t Apple start this?). You can get various “Ultrabay” modules, which include FDD and Zip Drive too.

Welterweight High-end Class Comparison chart

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