Almost all the notebooks news for the past few days has been about deeply discounted notebooks, coupons and rebates. While the notebooks weÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢ve written about are economical, it gets a little boring bargain shopping and trying to explain to readers that noÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã‚Ãƒâ€šÃ‚¦there wonÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢t be any rebates on the sub-$400 notebooks. I treated myself to a little online window shopping to see what I could buy if money were no object.
I visited six manufacturerÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s web sites and started with the most expensive model available. We then maxed out all the hardware specs, forgoing external accessories and software upgrades. The end result was an average price tag of $5,061, with the most expensive notebook topping out at $7,361. YouÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢ll have to drop over $30k if you decide you want one of each.
1. Apple MacBook Pro 17Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã‚Ãƒâ€šÃ‚
The MacBook Pro is the gold standard in the graphic design and creative world. The stereotype of AppleÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s notebooks being overpriced didnÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢t hold up in this virtual shopping trip. In fact, the Macbook Pro 17Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã‚Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ was the cheapest fully-loaded notebook we found. The Core 2 Duo 2.33 GHz MacBook Pro starts at $2,799 and has few configuration options. Bumping memory up to 3GB costs $575 and a 200GB drive is $100, for a $3,474 total.
2. Gateway M685-E
All of GatewayÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s notebooks have relatively low base prices, but things start to add up as you customize them. We started with the 17-inch Gateway M685-E business notebook, with a $1,699 base price.
Upping the CPU to a 2.16 GHzCore 2 Duo costs $250, while a GeForce GO7900 GS GPU with 256MB adds $125. By far the most expensive option is the $1,750 upgrade to 4GB of RAM, 1 gig more than XP can even recognize. Opting for the Ultrabright screen is $100, Bluetooth is $50 and a 12-cell battery is only $40 extra. For $3,764 this setup could be yours.
3.Sony VAIO AR290G
The Sony VAIO AR290G is a beautifully built 17-inch machine, with a Blu-Ray Disc player. The stylish multimedia powerhouse starts at $3,039, with specs that are more than capable of being your living roomÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s media center. Adding dual 200 GB hard drives ($370), an extra gig of RAM (2GB total ffor $150) and upping the Core 2 Duo processor to 2.33 Ghz ($550) make it sexy inside and out. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s annoying Sony makes Bluetooth ($50) optional for notebooks in this range, but that barely budges the price to its $4,209 total. These machines sure look great when playing Blu-Ray discs, but weÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢re still recommending buyers to wait for the format wars to settle down before investing in a Blu-Ray or HD DVD notebook.
4. Alienware Aurora mALX- Dual Graphics SLI 19Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã‚Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ Notebook, AMD Turion ML44
The Aurora mALX is AlienwareÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s most expensive gaming notebook, running on a AMD Turion ML44 processor. It comes with a massive 19Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã‚Ãƒâ€šÃ‚ WSXGA wide screen display and dual 512 MB NVIDIA GeForce Go 7900 SLI enabled GPUÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s (single GPU standard, $350 for dual). Fast RAID drives (2x200GB) cost another $500 and upgrading to 2GB of memory is another $300. With a maximum price of $5,649, airbrushed graphics come standard. Alienware throws in a matching backpack, portfolio, polo shirt, keychain and pen to say thank you for the massive purchase.
The Vodoo Envy u:909 is an exotic notebook that will put most desktops to shame. A massive 19-inch WSXGA screen and other larger than life specs contribute to the $4,529 base price. The Envy u:909 comes in your choice of 22 colors, some of which are seasonal and add $213 to the bill. To further stylize your gaming notebook, you can chose from a variety of Ãƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã…Ãƒâ€¹Ã…tattoosÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢ ($220) that can be painted on the lid. Upgrading to an AMD Turion ML44 processor costs $235, 2GB of RAM is $131 and $60 will get you a 160GB hard drive. Adding a second second NVIDIA Geforce 7800 GTX 256MB GPU costs $573. Paying $5,961 means you get one of the best gaming notebooks in the world.
The Dell XPS M2010 is a 20.1-inch monster and more expensive than any other we priced.. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s more of a 19-pound foldable desktop with removable Bluetooth keyboard. ItÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s unique design is sure to make it a conversation piece wherever you bring it. The M2010 starts at $2,999, but itÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s expensive upgrades can push that price to more than double the price. Going with the 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7600 costs $550, but thatÃƒ¢Ã¢â€š¬Ã¢â€ž¢s nothing compared to the upgrade to 4GB of RAM ($3,000). Next to the RAM options, the other upgrades required to max out the M2010 seem downright affordable. A draft N wireless card is $59, a TV tuner card is $100 and a Verizon EVDO card is $179. For $7,312 you get a pretty amazing computer that looks great in any home of the future.