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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    Cable modem / laptop computer / wireless

    Help! My mother needs my advice in buying her first computer, and my knowledge is confined to desktops and dial-up connections.

    1. I want the lightest machine possible with the necessary oomph (DVD RW, wireless card, etc.). The local office store has Toshiba and Compaq / HP models. Any strong preference?

    2. What is the typical average / realistic (not ideal) data transfer rate with a cable modem?

    3. What are the typical average / realistic (not ideal) data transfer rates with 802.11b? 802.11g?

    4. To enable my Mom to use the laptop anywhere in the house with the cable modem and a wireless card...does she need XP Professional or would XP Home be sufficient? (She doesn't need to tweak the system for every last ounce of performance...just get reliability.)

    Thanks for your assistance.

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Cable modem / laptop computer / wireless

    In order....

    1. If I had to choose, it would be the Toshiba. I have a hatred for Compaq machines that may not be completely rational and HP always seems overpriced. However, that doesn't make them bad. Seek out the features you need, find out if the unit comes with a full XP installation CD or a restore CD (you don't want the restore disk!), and check out the warranties.

    2. The typical transfer rate of a cable connection varies with area and usage - it's shared bandwidth amongst everyone on the loop, and not all providers are the same. DSL Reports maybe able to give you an idea of what to expect. Often you will see transfer speeds in the 500-700 KB/s range.

    3. With 802.11b, the transfer rates are usually around 4-5 MB/s real world. 802.11g can reach up to 25 MB/s but is more expensive.

    4. XP Home edition would be more than sufficient - the differences between Home and Pro are the software add-ons and corporate networking features, for example - otherwise, performance should be identical.

    Hope that helps,

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