(no subject)

I need to pick up a laptop next week, likely from Best Buy. This is to replace my failing laptop Dell. I've had Dells the last three years and none of them have lasted past a year. I'm not buying another Dell laptop under any circumstances. But the problem is, now I don't know what to buy.

I'm willing to go from good specs to moderate specs for this, as my school is buying me a Powerbook in February. What I care about right now is hardware quality, and that it stays around or under $800. This is being bought for me, so I'd rather not push the price to all get-out. I need a laptop that will be rugged enough to survive high-travel and high-impact but have a decent size monitor and a standard keyboard (not one of those tiny keys or anti-crumb keys or other special features). I have fibromyalgia, as well as other neuropathic disorders, and they demand both of these. It also needs to not weigh like a brick.

I am not buying a netbook and I haven't bought outside of Dell in a long time, so I post here. Does anyone have any advice, ideas or experience on this? :/

Thank you so much!
I need a computer that can run Photoshop and Illustrator, a wacom tablet and music editing programs, at least until February. If a netbook can run any of that decently, it is actually a good viable option, especially with those size benefits!
Depends on what version of the Adobe products you're planning on running. I have an Asus Eee PC 1000HA with 2GB of RAM, and I was able to run Photoshop CS3 pretty well on it. If you're working with a ton of layers it'll slow to a crawl, but the biggest issue I found with using the netbook was the screen size. Due to the minimum system requirements for Illustrator (specifically the minimum screen resolution), I wasn't able to get that to run, but the latest update for the drivers has made that a non-issue now. I was also using a Wacom Graphire2 in conjunction with Photoshop, and that didn't slow it down any.

If you're contemplating using any memory-hogging applications on a netbook, I highly suggest that you spend the extra money to upgrade the RAM. Most models cap at 2GB, but it's very, very worth it. Also, look into a model that allows you to overclock the processor. The Eee PCs have an overclock mode built in--all you have to do is push a button, and the Atom's processing speed goes from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz. There's also an underclock mode (1.4GHz) for when you don't need the extra power and want to conserve battery life.

If you're still looking at full-size laptops, I recommend both Asus and Lenovo. I've had my netbook for 2 years, and if the quality of their other products is anything like that of my netbook, I highly recommend them. As for Lenovo, Thinkpads are some of the best laptops on the market today, and I have a number of friends who swear by them.
Thre are forums for users keen to share information on the use of netbooks, and the tweaks (like installing extra RAM) which improve performance.
It would be worth asking users there what issues they have encountered with the software/hardware you need.

The only one i know well is http://www.sammynetbook.com/, for the samsung family.
Installing extra RAM can work up to the MOBOs capacity. Altering the kernel to accept more RAM (as was done to WinXP-32bit to get it to accept unlimited RAM) is more trouble than it's worth. Think 'spontaneously losing large amounts of information saved', completely at random.
I don't think a Netbook will cut it for you then. Those are a lot of memory-hogging programs, and Win7 needs at LEAST 1GB to run at minimum. I say Win7 because Vista and XP were highly known by us techs to have security issues or worse. Win7 is much better, and that's if you don't use Linux. Most Netbooks cap out at 2GB of space, which is virtually nothing these days. They also don't have CD drives, so you'd have to run everything off of a thumb drive or get an external.