I just junked the old 800MHz 512MB Sony VAIO PCG-FX215A with the ATI Rage Mobility M-1 graphics for a shiny new laptop.
The new laptop is identical to the Alienware system but without the funky colour-scheme, though I’m thinking of getting this one sprayed bright yellow.
This Alienware surrogate is a rather speedy Sager Ultra 5660-V 512MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM, 2.8GHz Pentium 4 “Northwood”, a 64MB ATI Radeon 9000 Mobility. This notebook has a few surprises up it’s sleeve that aren’t obvious when browsing the available documentation, like the ability to take two CD-RW drives, a battery life of over 4 hours, even when I’m compiling and running the Havok physics API in the game making all the fans in the machine kick in — making the dual battery Sony I had look underpowered by comparison — the ATI Hydravision support allowing you to drive dual monitors in a side-by-side configuration, each running at 1600×1200 resolution at 32-bit for an absolutely massive amount of screen space, lots of other bells and whistles I’m only just discovering. It’s perfect for doing serious development work on, plus I can close it up and take it to the coffee shop around the corner when I feel like a break away from the desk. The only downside to this new machine is the amount of heat it puts out, I can keep my coffee warm by placing the cup next to the laptop.
I can thoroughly recommend the supplier too; Power Notebooks in Nevada, other than being a little slower with the delivery than I would have liked, the customer care this company offers is second to none and the whole laptop was $500 less than what AlienWare charge. Thoroughly recommended.
I also recommend reading the two articles on there “Let’s talk about the concept of ‘Name Brand’ as it applies to laptop computers” which was a bit of an eye-opener, and “Why use an Intel Pentium 4 (Northwood)?”
Alas, I am running Windows XP Professional on the machine, I always vowed that Windows 2000 would be my last Microsoft Operating System but Linux is not there yet for my immediate needs, i.e. the work that I do that pays the bills, and though there are good development tools on Apple Mac, which I seriously considered, I still think that CodeWarrior is probably the worst IDE & Compiler combination I’ve ever encountered and that’s the best the Mac has to offer in that realm unfortunately. Not all of my work is with GCC. Windows XP will absolutely, definitely, most emphatically be my last Microsoft Operating System. Without doubt. Mark my words.