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Old 11-17-2007, 03:34 AM
Posts: n/a
Default Re: New Laptop for work

On Nov 17, 1:22 am, rickman <[email protected]> wrote:
> I am looking at a low end Dell laptop, the Vostro 1500, as a new
> computer for work. I may supplement this later with a new desktop
> unit for crunching FPGA designs, but I will also be using this laptop
> for this sort of work. I am looking for advice on the differences in
> CPUs for FPGA work and anything else that is relevant.
> I know that parallel ports are going the way of the serial port and
> the dodo bird, but I can live with that. Most tools are available as
> USB devices now.
> This particular computer comes with WindowsXP rather than Vista. From
> what I have heard, that is an advantage. But I notice that the
> internal bluetooth adapter is specific for XP and others from Dell are
> specific for Vista. Any idea what is up with that? Is there any
> significant advantage to using XP pro over XP home?

I prefer xp-pro because it allows you to use it over remote desktop.
As to whether that feature is needed on a laptop is your choice.

> This machine also has the "Intel(R) Integrated Graphics Media
> Accelerator X3100". Is that just another way of saying "integrated
> video"? Several of my other machines have had integrated video and it
> does seem to drag down the CPU noticeably. Any idea if I will notice
> the drag on the Core 2 Duo? They also offer an Nvidia Gforce 8400 GS
> adapter for $100 and an 8600 for $200 more. Any idea if these are

For the 2D realm it'll make no noticeable difference. If 3D's your
bag (basically games) then integrated video is pretty hopeless. On
the brightside integrated video will increase battery life which is
always a bonus.

> worth it? The 1500 says it has "VGA video output & S-Video". Does
> that mean I can connect two monitors for dual display?

Probably not. I suspect it means you can connect the laptop to a VGA
monitor, or TV with S-Video input. Note that while S-Video is OK for
watching a film, it's hopeless for actual work (unless you like

> The CPU is a T5270 (1.4 GHz, 2 MB cache) with upgrades to various
> processors for significant money. The first stepup is to a T5470 (1.6
> GHz) for $75 and others range up to $575! I am thinking I can live
> with the slower processor. The memory is 2GB.

Unless you can bump it up to a 4Mb cache version, I doubt the extra
$100's for a few MHz is going to make all that much difference. 2GB
memory is about the most that XP can reasonably handle anyway, unless
you fancy playing with 64bit linux which is always an option (hint -
repartition the drives and reinstall windows the second you get the
laptop if you are even considering this option).

> I was looking at the Vostro 1000 earlier this week with an AMD TK-53
> processor (1.5 GHz, 512 KB cache) and a smaller hard drive. It was
> $50 more so the 1500 looks like the better deal. Are there any
> significant differences in the two CPUs for FPGA work? I guess the
> small cache of the TK-53 would make it significantly slower for FPGA
> work.

Dunno - the biggest difference I've found with a dual core machine is
that I can continue working thanks to the second processor. Now I'm
not waiting for it to finish all the time, I care a good bit less
about how long it takes.



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