Laptop Question: Dell or Gateway???

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by jokerjkny, May 23, 2004.

  1. jokerjkny


    Jan 19, 2002
    NY / NJ / PA
    hey all,

    i've been searching all the over the internet for reviews, opinions, shamanistic interpretations on which laptop to buy.

    and so far, i've narrowed it down to either a Gateway 450X or a Dell Inspiron 8600.

    besides the usual stuff like surfing, word processing, etc., i'll be using it for the occassional Photoshop work, and especially, the more frequent mobile recording solution.

    dont tell me to get a mac, cause most of my digital editing / recording software is all PC based: Goldwave, Cubase, Soundforge, Vegas, Reason, etc.

    but i guess the real question is which company should i go with? Dell or Gateway? which one have you been satisfied with its product? and especially the dreaded customer service?
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I had an Inspiron for a couple years (from work). If I buy myself a non-Mac laptop it'll be the first I look at.

    My sister and Aunt both have 4 to 5 year old top line Gateways towers. Both have/had major issues. Most have been resolved but it was pulling teeth to make it happen.
  3. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    The best company producing PC's (of the major brands) is Dell.

    However, once you get it, reformat the hard drive and do a clean install of the OS only. This will get rid of all the Dell factory installed junk software.
  4. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile

    Oh yeah...

    I got mine and split the drive 3 ways.
    1.) Debian
    2.) Win2k pro
    3.) fat32 data partition to keep stuff avail in either OS


    If I bought one today... a fresh WinXP pro install is all I'd bother with.
  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Stupid Dell software.

    Go there.
  7. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    According to Consumer Reports survey of laptop users Gateway has the highest percentage of serious repair/breakage incidents of any computer company. Dell isn't that high up either...Apple and Toshiba have the lowest repair incidents. Toshiba being tough is cosistent with the experiences of the computer guy who worked for the company that sent me to teach in China for a year. He's constantly culling info from employees about their laptops, what kind they have and what problems they've had and he's found from his own informal polls that Toshiba's tend to last the longest with fewer problems and he's seen a lot of problems with Gateways.

    Having said that the Gateway ranked very high in the CR performance tests and battery life tests. I still wouldn't buy one though. I'd definitely go Dell.

    brad cook
  8. Get a gateway.

    Their customer service is sooooooo much better than Dell.

    I would never buy a Dell. Only because they have morons for customer service, and they are probably prone to self erasing your harddrive when something better comes out.
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA

    This is what we did on our desktop, and two laptops.

  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    Gateway will essentially be out of business in the near future. I like Dell, but their prices tend to be a bit high. I like either Toshiba or Sony. My current Vaio has been worry-free since the day I bought it, though Sony tends to go overboard on the media programs.
  11. grovest


    Feb 26, 2002
    I agree with the other posters suggesting you look at a Sony or Toshiba (or a Compaq) as well as a Dell. But, between Dell and Gateway I would 'go Dell'. May I ask what factors lead you to the two models you mention in your original post that excluded models from other makers?
  12. Like others, I am curious as to why you have limited yourself to these two models. I am a big Thinkpad fan myself - they are really built like tanks which is important on a machine you're going to be dragging around with you all the time. You don't want something flimsy, which can put stress on all the miniscule internal components when the chassis flexes. You spend more, but the headaches are truely fewer.

    For music, you'll want a large, fast hard drive (try to make sure you get *at least* 5400rpm, 7200rpm is preferable!) and piles of RAM (1gb is great, 512mb is ok, 256mb is good for just poking around windows and office apps), also for music I'd avoid any Celeron processors.

    Keep in mind with an Inspiron when anything goes wrong, you'll be calling India. My partners and I have had horrendous experiences with them.

    Gateway's future is not exactly certain...

  13. well.. i say dell... but if u want it for music, apple
  14. I have a 600m (which is the 8600's little brother) and love it for my needs as computer science/math major (programming, photo editing etc.) But recent experience tells me the Powerbooks handle recording so much better. My university has a contract with Gateway and working for our I/T department tells me that Gatesway's support is no better than Dell's.
  15. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    I just got an eMachines 5313... Not top of the line but it has everything I'm looking for and cheaper, since it uses an AMD Athlon chipset and not Intel.
  16. I would *STRONGLY* reccomend staying away from laptops with AMD processors/chipsets. To be specific, I have had at least five clients I can think of with Compaq laptops with AMD processors that have become unstable (and in two cases, died) due to excessive heat buildup. AMD processors, in general, put off more heat than an Intel equivalent. In a desktop PC, this can work fine - just make sure there's adequate ventilation, and you're set. My main desktop PC has an AMD processor. For laptops, however, I think the space is just too small to provide the ventilation and airflow an AMD processor needs to keep cool.

    If you already have/insist on getting a laptop with an AMD processor, I would strongly reccomend using it only on flat, hard surfaces (i.e. not on the couch/bed, stuff like that) so that air can circulate around and under the laptop. Typically laptops have small nubbin feet on their underside so that some hot air can dissipate from underneath them. And make sure NEVER to block the intake/exhaust fans!

    If you take care of it, it'll probably take care of you - you just have to be more careful about making sure they can stay cool.

  17. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    The only time the dell software has halped me was when I got that worm a while ago. Since this it's been pretty useless.
  18. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I have a Compaq with an AMD in it. I wish I never bought it. A waste of money. I agree that the AMD runs way too hot for the confines of a laptop design. So I bought a Powerbook G4 to replace it and have not had a problem yet.

    I do however like the Sonys and the Toshibas. My bro has his Toshiba over in Iraq with him and it is holding up to the heat and dirt over there..... 110 to 115 degrees a day and no problems yet.
  19. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    You should check out Yes, the talkbass for laptop geeks :). There you'll find lots of forums with very knowledgeable people (most are gamers). The Dell forum has a lot of people who use the 8600. I was able to get a lot of questions answered there. It's much better than the dell site - and the moderator is a dell employee. I have a 5150 Inspiron and love it, aside from a couple of minor gripes. Yes, the customer service is India based and horrible, but I was able to get an issue resolved with no problems (bad screen). Good luck!

    Btw...if you get an 8600 you can get this great free program that lets you control fan speed or customize set points. And it monitors CPU and HD heat. It's called fangui.
  20. Ty McNeely

    Ty McNeely

    Mar 27, 2000


    Have you owned a Dell?

    I personally have never had to deal with customer service regarding my machine, but one of my friend's laptop broke and I called customer service to get it fixed. It was a fairly difficult solution, but they found it within about 15 minutes and walked me through it step-by-step. Absolutely zero problems.

    Oh yeah--and Dell doesn't even NEED customer service because their machines don't break like Gateway's :D

    Having been a part of both companies in question (my mom owns a Gateway laptop and I have a Dell 4600 desktop), I say that without a doubt or second though, get the Dell. They are a bit more expensive, but I've had this machine and put it through A LOT more than the NEC, Sony, and Gateway machines that we've had and it stands up better than any of the others ever did.

    Our old Sony desktop wasn't too bad, but it had some major issues from day one that did eventually get resolved.

    Dude, get a Dell. You won't regret it.