laptop

Laptop Reviews: Alienware M17x, Dell Studio 14z, HP Mini 5101, Toshiba Mini NB205 and others

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals Alienware UK Buy.com Xotic PC

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HP coupon code for laptops (from July 28th 2009)

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

NEW Coupon

Additional $100 off web coupon for the purchase of customized HP Pavilion dv6t, dv7t, or HDX 18t Notebook PC configured at $999 or greater at the HP Home & Home Office Store using coupon code NBZ5478. Offer excludes HP Minis and Compaq models. Offer limited to the first 2000 coupons redeemed. 1 redemption per person or address. Not valid with other promotions. Restrictions apply. Combinable with instant rebates. For complete conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

Use this coupon

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Laptop reviews: Asus G71GX, Dell Latitude 2100, HP Mini 5101 and others

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals Alienware UK Buy.com Xotic PC

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HP coupon code for laptops (July 20th 2009)

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

NEW Coupon Expired

Additional $100 off web coupon for the purchase of customized HP Pavilion Notebook PC configured at $799 or greater at the HP Home & Home Office Store using coupon code NBZ56487. Offer excludes HP Minis and Compaq models. Offer limited to the first 900 coupons redeemed. 1 redemption per person or address. Not valid with other promotions. Restrictions apply. Combinable with instant rebates. For complete conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

Use this coupon

Laptop reviews: Asus Eee PC T91, Lenovo Ideapad S12, Dell Inspiron Mini 10 and others

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

Buy at Click here for the Best Buy HomepageBlowout Deals Alienware UK Buy.com Xotic PC

Do you want to be always up-to-date in laptop reviews? Subscribe to the news section of Towards the optimal laptop.

HP coupon code for laptops (from July 13th 2009)

Monday, July 13th, 2009

NEW Coupon

Additional $250 off web coupon for the purchase of customized HP Pavilion Notebook PC configured at $1,199 or greater at the HP Home & Home Office Store using coupon code NBZ2897. Offer excludes HP Pavilion dv6t, dv6z, HP Minis and Compaq models. Offer limited to the first 3,000 coupons redeemed. 1 redemption per person or address. Not valid with other promotions, EPP or APP. Restrictions apply. Combinable with instant rebates. For complete conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

Use this coupon

HP coupon code for laptops (from July 9th)

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

NEW Coupon

Additional 15% off web coupon for the purchase of customized HP Pavilion Notebook PC configured at $999 or greater at the HP Home & Home Office Store using coupon code NBZ5676. Offer excludes HP Pavilion dv4 Special Edition, HP Minis and Compaq models. Offer limited to the first 2,700 coupons redeemed. 1 redemption per person or address. Combinable with instant rebates. Not valid with other promotions. Restrictions apply. For complete conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

Use this coupon

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Laptop reviews: Acer Aspire One 751, Dell Studio 15 (1555), Toshiba NB200 and others

Monday, July 6th, 2009
Laptop reviews of the week:

Other interesting links:

HP coupon code for laptops

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

New coupon Expired

$500 off web coupon when you purchase an HP HDX 16t Notebook PC and HP Mini 110 XP on the same order at the HP Home & Home Office Store using coupon code NBX4235. Offer limited to the first 200 coupons redeemed. 1 redemption per person or address. Combinable with instant rebates. Not valid with other promotions. Restrictions apply. For complete conditions, see “Coupon Information” in the “Customer Service” section at www.hpshopping.com.

Use this coupon

ViDock 2: are external graphics cards finally here?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

External graphics cards for laptops have always been interesting: they offer an easy way to upgrade the graphics card, a task that is impossible in most laptops, and they allow to combine a long battery life when traveling with a good graphical performance at home. But the fact is that the success of this devices has been very limited: products such as the Asus XG Station had limited availability and only in Australia, and others like the Magma ExpressBox have an insane pricing (729 USD the cheapest box, and without the actual graphics card!). But I have recently found an interesting alternative: the ViDock 2.

It is a box that houses a desktop graphics card, currently an ATI Radeon HD 4670 (512 MB DDR3), and it is plugged in the ExpressCard slot of the laptop. While the bandwidth of the ExpressCard 2.0 slot is narrower than that of a 16x PCIe slot, I have been told that the performance via the ExpressCard slot is only 7% lower than via the 16x PCIe slot. It seems logical, because the Radeon HD 4670 is a mainstream card that does not need as much bandwidth as high-end cards like a Radeon HD 4890 or a GeForce GTX 285. It has 2 DVI ports and 1 USB so, if you plug a USB hub in, the ViDock 2 becomes a true docking station.

Here you have the demo video:

The price of the ViDock 2 with the ATI Radeon HD 4670 de 512 MB is 309 USD at Xotic PC. What kind of performance do you get for the price? According to the official specifications, a laptop with an Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 (2 GHz) scores 6349 in 3DMark 06 (1280×1024), while a GeForce 9600M GT GDDR3 with a similar processor (Intel Core 2 Duo P7350 2 GHz) scores 5128.

All in all, I think it is a very interesting possibility if you have a light laptop with a weak graphics card as your only computer, because you can enjoy a long battery life when on the move and a good 3D performance at home, but if you need 3D performance on the go and you use a small laptop, you probably do not want to carry this box (in spite of not being a big one). If you have a desktop computer or a laptop with a powerful graphics card (GeForce 9700M GTS, Mobility Radeon HD 4650 or similar) the ViDock 2 is not very worthy, but the possibility of driving multiple monitors is still interesting. It can be a good investment to upgrade an older laptop: while it is relatively expensive, it is much cheaper than a new powerful laptop, if the rest of the components of the laptop are OK and you only need more 3D performance, go for it.

The ViDock 2 seems to have some compatibility problems: under Windows Vista you can only use it if the laptop has ATI graphics, because this operating system can use only single display driver at a time. There is an Nvidia solution in development.

Additional information: Xotic PC and Villagetronic.

Update: you have an interesting review at the Notebook Review forums.

Update 2: Notebookjournal has published a review. It seems that performance is not good in some games.

Update 3: ViDock 2 seems hard to find nowadays. Have a look to the do-it-yourself ViDock 2

Update 4: MSI has presented an alternative: MSI GUS.

Update 5: Villagetronic has launched a version with the ATI RAdeon HD 5670 on it: http://www.harmonicinversion.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&product_id=189&flypage=shop.flypage&pop=0&vmcchk=1&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=3