Entertainment: XPS 16 (vs) dv8t (vs) MacBook Pro (vs) ???


Nov 3, 2009
1_What is your budget?
I would prefer to keep it under $1500, however I want it to do what I want it do without problem. I have listed three different machines below & yes two are over $1,500, but if the community believes it is so much better, it may move one of them to the forefront.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Size is not a consideration for me other than a good screen. I rarely travel (plane, train, etc) & this machine is more of a portable entertainment device i.e. movies in the bedroom, & games to play while waiting for someone or babysitting.

3_What screen resolution do you want?
High Def

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
No, I do not need a replacement. I have two machines in my home office & they work just fine.

5_How much battery life do you need?
As stated above, I don’t travel much, am not in an environment where I would not have access to power (bedroom/babysitting GF’s daughter) & rarely would I be someplace without power for more than a few hours unless we were camping & then I wouldn’t want my machine with me.

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
I play WoW & have recently returned to playing AO (Anarchy Online). My main home machine has the graphics pumped all the way up, however on the move I’m more interested in being distracted than being able to see every little bunny hop & bug crawl on the ground. That said, the more options I could crank up the happier I would be.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Yes, movies in the bedroom or anywhere else we would desire. If I had the option, I would not do DVE on the laptop, however internet, e-mail, some things in Open Office etc may come along.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
Just enough for the above mentioned games & apps. More would be nice, but I have plenty of other options for moving data around.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
These three machines have drawn my attention & all are from the company’s website. Both of the Windows machines have the i7 & that is why I chose to compare them to each other.

Sadly, the Dell only has the one machine configuration with the i7, it is more expensive than the HP, however looking at the machine as a whole it may be worth $320 more…I don’t know. The same can be said of the Apple, but I am woefully uneducated on how to compare IBM’s to Apples.

HP dv8t Quad Edtion - $1,324.
Windows 7 Premium 64 bit
Intel Core i7-720QM (1.6, 6MB L2, 1333 MHz FSB)
1GB nVidia GeForce GT 230M
18.4” HD HP Ultra BrightView Infinity (1920x1080p)
Lightscribe Blu-Ray ROM, DVD +/- R/RW Double Layer
Webcam/Fingerprint reader
Intel Wireless-N Mini w/Bluetooth

Dell XPS 16 - $1649 w/15.6” WLED ($1,824 w/16” RGBLED) (Blu-Ray adds $150)
Intel i7 720QM
Windows 7 Premium 64 bit
HD Display – I am unable to make a determination between:
Full HD Widescreen 15.6” WLED LCD (1920x1080) w/2.0 MP
Full HD Widescreen 16.0” RGBLED LCD (1920x1080) w2.0 MP
I know the size difference, but the rest is garbaly-beloved patriot to me.
6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR 3 (1333 MHz)
500GB 7200 RPM SATA
8x Slotload CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
Dell Wireless 370 Bluetooth Module (2.1+EDR)
ATI Mobility RADEON HD 4670 – 1GB
Intel 5300 WLAN – N 3x3 mini

MacBook Pro $1,699
2.53 GHz
250 FB Serial ATA @5400
15” Glossy Widescreen
nVidia GeForce 9400M

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
The longer the better, but if the question is do I need the machine to be at the top end so that it will remain viable longer, then no. I just want it to do a good job for what I’m asking. I would prefer at least a 3 – 5 years from it, however I also realize these games & apps will require more & more as they upgrade.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc?

I don’t ‘need’ any certain optical drive, however since I plan on using this for movies it would be nice to have a Blu-Ray for future releases. This is something Dell wants even more money for ($150) & something I did add to the configuration above.

12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
As I understand the laptop market today, most are made by the same company’s & just branded to whoever made the order; Apple is an exception.

13_What country do you live in?

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I’m concerned about sound as this doesn’t seem to be addressed too much by laptop makers. When playing games I most likely would be using headphones & as already stated this system is to entertain me while out of my home.

As far as movies go, I would like to set it at the end of the bed & have us be able to hear with just the machine’s speakers & nothing added.
I’m not interested in going up to the Envy, Adamo or Alienware without some big arguments as to why.
I’m not locked into either brand or model, however if I were comfortable spending $2,000 (which I’m not without a lot of convincing), I would add a nicer Mac to the list.

I’m leaning toward the Dell, but that is not because of the price. It is more because of the ability to make more choices in building the machine. The MacBook Pro may also be nice, however I don’t know how to compare, but it isa nice draw as it can triple boot (Windows, Mac & Linux). I don’t have any Macs & have extremely limited experience with Linux…extremely; having options like this are always nice.

I realize I have written more than others normally do in this forum & I thank you for taking the time to read this & give your feedback as this represents a decent portion of my paycheck.


Just a few things I wanted to say:

1. If you're looking for decent battery life, drop the quad-core. You don't need that kind of power, and it only serves to kill your battery.

2. Apple is not an exception in computer manufacturing - they have contracts with Quanta computer, who also manufactures some Dells and HPs.

3. Notebook speakers are terrible by definition. Speakers that small just don't sound good. They will be decently loud, so you should be good there; just don't expect them to sound great.

That being said, I think a customized Studio 17 will fit your bill much better than either of those notebooks, and still take you under-budget.

This one's for $1344:
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz/1066Mhz FSB/3MB cache)
17.3” Full HD (1080p) B+RG LED Display
3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz
250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570
Slot Load Blu-ray Disc (BD) Combo
85 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)

^You can knock the CPU down to a T6600 and rid the Blu-ray drive to save some cash, and still have a good machine.

Edit: Added link for Quanta