For Real Estate Professional:
If you don't already have a laptop your probably not the kind of person who's going to buy a new one every couple of years. Buying one that will have the capability and horsepower to last a few years and won't torture you with a steady decline in speed requires some care. Every new version of Vista requires more horsepower to run, things like Anti Virus programs and other utilities run in the background all the time and require their own "slice" of the computers processing power.
Here are my personal recommendations to help you make a selection:
Get Vista home professional which is most popular, Vista Business usually costs at least $100 to upgrade and is not needed unless you need to link to your company's corporate "Domain" servers (check), it has some other backup and recovery features but those are addressed by many other programs. You won't find any notebooks on retail shelves that have Vista Business.
- Absolutely, positively get 2 gigabytes of System memory (for current speed and future growth)
- Stick to a higher end processor like the Intel Core(TM) 2 Duo processor OR AMD Turion(TM) 64 X2 Dual-Core processor.. which means stay away from Celerons & Semprons and older Pentium dual core processors
- When ordering a notebook computer get a higher capacity battery then is offered by default OR and extra.
- If offered get a built in webcam or fingerprint reader. (usually low cost)
- You don't need a TV tuner or broadband card
- Get a 120 gigabyte drive or larger, 80 is small by today's standards
- Most include a CD-DVD RW drive, low cost upgrades are also available
- Unless portability is your defining factor (certainly valid for some) get a decent size screen so you don't strain your eyes and can see several open windows at the same time
- Consider an extended warranty plan, notebooks are expensive to repair, some include replacement for accidental damage (like dropping or coffee spill)
- Weight is a factor but unless you want an ultra lightweight (2-3lbs) there really no difference in transporting 6 lbs vs. 7lbs, you still have to pack it up and carry it.
- Get a case but pick one out in person (Best Buy - Staples etc)
- Some machines come with Microsoft Works which may save you from buying Microsoft Office.
- Buy a separate external, USB hard drive for backup.
Some of these selections will push you into the $900-1000++ range but notebook computers are fundamentally more expensive then desktops and you get what you pay for....
There are LOTS of choices but I like some of the HP notebooks (based on my background) which are the 6500T, 2500T, 9500T which can be custom ordered on the http://www.hpshopping.com/ website. Stay away from "off" brands or closeouts.
(Brian is a 25 yr Technical Professional formally with HP.)