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Are you considering junking that old desktop of yours? Tired of not having your computing power when you need it in class or working with your friends? Or do you have a laptop thatís as nimble as a featherweight but as powerful as a ballerina? We caution in advance, these laptops are neither for the faint of heart nor the faint of purpose. Theyíre power crunching machines for the 10+ apps open at the same time, Internet junkie, music maven, gaming addict, have to have the best, wonít settle for less, technophile. Whether itís Adobe Photoshop, Mathematica, UnReal Tournament, or other computationally challenged applications, any of these contenders will satisfy. While there are well over 50 laptops on the market, we singled these four out as the best of breed in the power laptop category. We tried a multitude of processor intensive applications ranging from Wave 3ís incredible Session video collaboration software to intensive games such as Warcraft III

 

An example is wireless headphones, which are a godsend. Moving on to optical drives, all laptops we reviewed have incredible DVD-R / CD-RW drives which allow you to create not only CD’s but DVD’s but Apple won the category because their’s is the only slot loading one. With slot loading, you just feed it into the slot; there is no need to wait for a tray to open and close. Besides the cool factor, the lack of the moving tray parts should prove to be less susceptible to breaking. In the port arena, all laptops were great, but Apple won this area because it included two FireWire ports, one FireWire 400 (IEEE 1394a) port with speeds up to 400 Mbps, and one FireWire 800 (IEEE 1394b) port with speeds up to 800 Mbps. FireWire is a technology that was invented by Apple, but is broadly adopted by many manufacturers as the standard for digital video products. While USB II is just finally hitting the scene with a 480 Mbps, Apple again raised the bar with FireWire 800. In conclusion, the Titanium 17" is one of Apple’s greatest achievements. Aside from the aesthetics of the Titanium which are clean and sharp, the numbers and the features are irrefutable proof that this is an engineering marvel. www.apple.com



Dream Machine Toshiba Satellite 5205-S703

This laptop is quite possibly the nicest machine that we have ever worked on and would be perfect as a desktop replacement. Itís got everything that you need and then some. Itís similar to the Sony in that it comes with a 2GHz processor, a 60GB hard drive, and 512MB DDR Ram. That is where the similarities stop. The Toshiba came in first for its 64MB DDR NVIDIA GeForce 4 graphics card, which has a graphics fill rate of 1 billion texels/sec and memory bandwidth of 8 GB/sec. This amazing graphics chip allows for advanced antialiasing, which smoothes out the jagged edges that often plague laptops. These graphics improvements allow games and video applications to achieve superior visual quality and higher frame rates without any performance degradation. This means that no matter what you are doing, playing, or watching, the graphics will look absolutely amazing. Now letís talk about sound quality on this bad boy. We have all come to accept the fact that laptop speakers are usually junk. That is so not the case with this machine. The S503 is loaded with Harmon Kardon speakers and a built in subwoofer. The sound that comes out of these speakers is incredible. Now you can watch a movie and actually hear what the actors are saying. Cosmetically it is the nicest PC laptop on the market today. It has all the ports one would want including FireWire, while secretly hiding ports that might not be in use while traveling. In addition it has implemented DVD/CD controls on the front which not only look cool but are convenient. For expandability, the 5205-S703 includes a full size additional media bay which can be used for a second battery, hard drive, or other media drive. It also has a built in SD slot media slot which is convenient if you use a digital camera that uses SD cards. We would highly recommend this machine to anyone who is looking for a real work-horse, but can appreciate that itís also a real show-horse.

 
 

Apple PowerBook 17" Titanium Apple has done it again; a new first. The worldís first 17" diagonal display laptop! Right when you start to think laptop technology has matured to a point of complacency, Apple redefines the boundaries with this new incredible laptop. What can you say about a 17" display on a laptop? Size matters. Itís pure theatrical bliss, whether your dorm is now to be the local DVD theatre, or you need the room for your multitude of window palettes and stage windows. Apple came in a close second for implementing the blazingly fast NVIDIA GeForce4 Go 440 graphics chip, the Toshiba has a GeForce4 Go 460. But this is no one trick pony, winning 8 out of 14 spec categories and tying in three others. The numbers really tell the story. While one can appreciate the large screen, Apple was able to still win in dimension and weight category. Amazingly, the laptop with the largest screen is still the lightest out of the four and the thinnest at 1.0". Thatís almost half as thin as the others and an engineering feat that deserves kudos. In the category of physical networking this laptop wins with its built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit) network connection. Campus environments are among the first to take advantage of Gigabit networking and this is the only laptop out of the ones we tested that could play there. While weíre talking network, letís talk about its wireless prowess with its new 54 Mbps Airport Extreme 802.11g unteathering. While we commend the other laptops for implementing the 802.11b specification that is 11 Mbps, Apple has again one-upped them with this new level of wireless connectivity. But the wireless wonders donít even stop there with Apple again taking the lead by being the first to implement built in Bluetooth wireless technology. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless protocol and Bluetooth enabled devices are just starting to hit the market.

 
Specs Apple Titanium 17"
Processor: 1GHz PowerPC G4
RAM Standard: 512 MB DDR SDRAM
RAM Max: 1012 MB
HD Standard: 60 GB
L2 Cache: 256K SRAM, 1MB DDR SRAM Level 3
Video Display: 17-inch 1440x900 resolution, TFT widescreen
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce4 440 Go, 64MB
Audio: Two built in stereo speakers
Optical Drive: Slot-loading DVD-R/CD-RW
Network Card: Built-in 10/100/1000BASE-T (Gigabit)
Wireless Specs: 54Mbps AirPort, 802.11g & Built-in Bluetooth
Weight: 6.8 lbs
Dimensions: 15.4" x 10.2" x 1.0"
Ports: 2 Firewire (IEEE 1394) ports -800 & a 400 S-VideoTV-out, 2 USB, 56 Kbps modem, RJ-45 Ethernet, Kensignton Lock port DVI Video output, headphone (stereo), mic-in, PC Card Slot Type I or II Cards
OS: Mac OS X v10.2 Jaguar
Specs Sony Vaio GRX 670
Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4
RAM Standard: 512 MB DDR SDRAM
RAM Max: 1012 MB
HD Standard: 60 GB
L2 Cache: 512K
Video Display: 16.1" UXGA (1600x1200) TFT
Video Card: 3D Video ATI Mobile Radeon 7500, 32MB
Audio: Built in 3D surround stereo speakers
Optical Drive: DVD-R/ CD-RW drive
Network Card: 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet
Wireless Specs: Optional 802.11b Wireless LAN PC card
Weight: 8.4 lbs
Dimensions: 14" X 11.5 X 1.6-1.8"
Ports: Firewire i.LINKģ (IEEE 1394) interface 4, TV out, 3 USB, 56 Kbps modem, Memory Stickģ media slot, RJ-45 Ethernet VGA output, parallel, headphone (stereo), mic-in, port replicator, PC Card Type I or II
OS: Choice of Microsoft Windows XP, 2000
Specs Toshiba Satellite 5205-S703
Processor: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4
RAM Standard: 512 MB DDR SDRAM
RAM Max: 1012 MB
HD Standard: 60 GB
L2 Cache: 512K
Video Display: 15.1" UXGA (1600x1200) TFT
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce4 460 Go, 64MB
Audio: Built In harmon/kardon speakers
Optical Drive: DVD-R / CD-RW drive
Network Card: 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet
Wireless Specs: Built-in 802.11b WiFi compliant
Weight: 7.7 lbs
Dimensions: 13.1" X 11.6 X 1.8"
Ports: Firewire i.LINKģ (IEEE 1394) interface 4, TV out, 3 USB, 56 Kbps modem jack, RJ-45 Ethernet, SD media slot, VGA output, parallel, headphone (stereo), mic-in, PC Card Slot Type I or II
OS: Choice of Microsoft Windows XP, 2000
Specs Winbook J4 3.06
Processor: 13.06 Ghz Pentium 4
RAM Standard: 512 MB 333MHz DDR SDRAM
RAM Max: 1012 MB
HD Standard: 60 GB
L2 Cache: 512K
Video Display: 15.1" SXGA+ TFT (1400 x 1050)
Video Card: 3D Video ATI Mobile Radeon 9000, 64MB
Audio: Realtek Dual full-duplex direct sound
Optical Drive: DVD-R/RW
Network Card: 10Base-T/100Base-TX Ethernet
Wireless Specs: Built-in 802.11b WiFi compliant
Weight: 8.4 lbs
Dimensions: 13.07" x 10.81" x 1.81"
Ports: Parallel; VGA; Phone/Mic-in/Headphone-out/ SPDIF jacks; Four USB 2.0 ports; 1394 Firewire; 56 Kbps Mini-PCI Modem; Mini-PCI Ethernet; S-VideoTV-out, PC Card Slot Type I or II
OS: Microsoft Windows XP Pro
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