Laptop Shopping


Goober
#1
Well I am caving and plan to buy a laptop to take on vacation. i understand that new chips are coming on the market in Mar or so of next year. i plan to set the laptop up as wireless in the house.

Questions are -

What are good laptops - I am willing to go 1 K or even a tad more as I want something that will last. My Dell -Desktop- has lasted 7 years and no problems.

This is our 1st laptop.

Note - My wife will be using it for routine stuff. Nothing major - But I like to do a tad more with it - no gaming etc -

What should it have as a minimum.

What brand and operating system / programs should I have.

You help on this is appreciated.
 
Dexter Sinister
+1
#2  Top Rated Post
You just want to take this on vacation, and then what? Are you replacing the desktop with it? Unless you require the portability for some reason, I wouldn't recommend having a laptop as your primary system, you'll never get the same price/performance ratios you can get with a desktop, and laptops rarely last as long. They run much hotter, and heat is death to electronic components. You won't have much choice for the OS, it'll be Windows7 (don't even think about Vista), other software should just be whatever you're accustomed to having on your desktop system. For components like RAM and disk space, get as much as you can within your budget, certainly no less than 3 Gb of RAM and a 150 Gb disk drive. From what I've seen AMD processors run quite a bit hotter than equivalent Intel processors, so I'd avoid them.


I and people I know well have had good success with Toshiba, HP, and Acer laptops, I specifically wouldn't recommend Dell. Dell's laptops generally cost less for what look like the same specs as others, but it's a little deceptive. Dell tends to cheap out a bit on some of the more subtle things, like cache and bus speeds and video RAM, to keep the price down, and the result is poor performance. You may feel that's not an issue if you're not gaming, and it may not be for your particular requirements, but if you do anything more demanding than word processing, simple spreadsheets, Internet, and email, you may be very unhappy. Photo and video editing, for instance, are pretty demanding, you don't want to be waiting 2 minutes for Photoshop, or whatever you use for such things, to run a simple filter over one of your digital photos.

You'll also find that any machine purchased off the shelf these days will have a lot of useless software installed by the manufacturer, some of it a bit invasive. The last HP laptop I acquired, for instance, had about a dozen such things on it, for photo editing, photo album management, silly little games, online gaming software specific to HP's online gaming site, proprietary updaters for all of it, monitoring software that reports back to HP about the state of the machine, ostensibly to warn you of signs of potential failure, and some damn fool thing called the Customer Experience Improvement package, which also reported to HP what the machine was being used for. And I found a task set up in the scheduler to activate 12 months after the initial activation of the system to pop up and offer me an extended warranty. I spent about two hours tracking all that crap down and uninstalling or deactivating it.
Last edited by Dexter Sinister; Nov 8th, 2010 at 09:55 PM..
 
DaSleeper
#3
Pretty much what I tell people who ask me although I have had one for years because I travel for about three months out of the year and in the computer room where my wife has her PC she doesn't watch the same TV programs I do all the time so my laptop is on a small computer desk on wheels, so when I don't want to watch Dr Oz or Opra or Dr Phill or some other show...I just roll the thing to the living room and watch what I want in between editing videos or reading forums etc..
Laptops are getting to be faster and cooler running all the time but you can't beat a desktop. It's all in what your needs are.
 
Goober
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister View Post

You just want to take this on vacation, and then what? Are you replacing the desktop with it? Unless you require the portability for some reason, I wouldn't recommend having a laptop as your primary system, you'll never get the same price/performance ratios you can get with a desktop, and laptops rarely last as long. They run much hotter, and heat is death to electronic components. You won't have much choice for the OS, it'll be Windows7 (don't even think about Vista), other software should just be whatever you're accustomed to having on your desktop system. For components like RAM and disk space, get as much as you can within your budget, certainly no less than 3 Gb of RAM and a 150 Gb disk drive. From what I've seen AMD processors run quite a bit hotter than equivalent Intel processors, so I'd avoid them.


I and people I know well have had good success with Toshiba, HP, and Acer laptops, I specifically wouldn't recommend Dell. Dell's laptops generally cost less for what look like the same specs as others, but it's a little deceptive. Dell tends to cheap out a bit on some of the more subtle things, like cache and bus speeds and video RAM, to keep the price down, and the result is poor performance. You may feel that's not an issue if you're not gaming, and it may not be for your particular requirements, but if you do anything more demanding than word processing, simple spreadsheets, Internet, and email, you may be very unhappy. Photo and video editing, for instance, are pretty demanding, you don't want to be waiting 2 minutes for Photoshop, or whatever you use for such things, to run a simple filter over one of your digital photos.

You'll also find that any machine purchased off the shelf these days will have a lot of useless software installed by the manufacturer, some of it a bit invasive. The last HP laptop I acquired, for instance, had about a dozen such things on it, for photo editing, photo album management, silly little games, online gaming software specific to HP's online gaming site, proprietary updaters for all of it, monitoring software that reports back to HP about the state of the machine, ostensibly to warn you of signs of potential failure, and some damn fool thing called the Customer Experience Improvement package, which also reported to HP what the machine was being used for. And I found a task set up in the scheduler to activate 12 months after the initial activation of the system to pop up and offer me an extended warranty. I spent about two hours tracking all that crap down and uninstalling or deactivating it.

It will not replace my desktop - That is a later purchase - Laptop - vacation to Antigua - new roof, eavestrough, sofit - then PEI - in between some for RRSP's - then my new desktop unless this gives up the ghost - Thanks for the tip on Dell. Was not aware of that - Cheaping out is not my way to go - i want something that will be useful for 5 years minimum. I will also ask them to deactivate - remove all the craopla I do not need - Any charge - No sale.
 
Dexter Sinister
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

It will not replace my desktop - That is a later purchase...

Good, and if I may offer some advice you didn't ask for...? When the time comes, don't buy an off-the-shelf desktop system, it'll have all the same extraneous crap on it. The best bang for the buck (gawd I hate that expression, but it's useful sometimes) comes from buying individual components and assembling the system yourself. Or having the shop where you buy the components do it. That's how I've always done it. I spent a lot of years as an IT professional so I can assemble a system; most people can't, but it won't cost a lot. I buy a case, a motherboard, a processor, a power supply, RAM sticks, video card, sound card, network card, disk drives, a generic OS disk (actually I'd go with Ubuntu Linux the next time, it's free, and excellent), etc., and build the thing myself.

Any good computer shop will sell you all that stuff, and assemble it for you if you want. Best bet's a local vendor, not one of the big chains like Best Buy or Future Shop or, gawd forbid, WalMart. I boycott WalMart. And the best thing about buying components like that is that you may not have to buy everything if you have an existing system, you can scavenge parts from it. A new system will require a new motherboard, CPU, video card, and RAM, those are the critical performance items, and probably a power supply, but you may be able to re-use a lot of what's in that 7-year old system, like the case, the sound and network cards (if such there be, a lot of them are integrated with the motherboard in off-the-shelf systems), the disk drives, etc., and upgrade them as your budget allows and your needs require. Gotta be careful though, the interfaces for peripherals have gone through several mutations in the last few years and a new motherboard may not have the proper slots to take your older devices, but the local shop can help you with that too.
 
Goober
#6
[QUOTE=Dexter Sinister;1346775]Good, and if I may offer some advice you didn't ask for...? When the time comes, don't buy an off-the-shelf desktop system, it'll have all the same extraneous crap on it. The best bang for the buck (gawd I hate that expression, but it's useful sometimes) comes from buying individual components and assembling the system yourself. Or having the shop where you buy the components do it. That's how I've always done it. I spent a lot of years as an IT professional so I can assemble a system; most people can't, but it won't cost a lot. I buy a case, a motherboard, a processor, a power supply, RAM sticks, video card, sound card, network card, disk drives, a generic OS disk (actually I'd go with Ubuntu Linux the next time, it's free, and excellent), etc., and build the thing myself.

I was looking at Intel chips IE 5 and 7 - your opinion on this would be appreciated.
 
Ariadne
#7
I suggest staying away from ACER. They were good about 7 years ago, but we've had 3 in the family in the last 2 years, and they all crapped out. One has been in for repairs twice, but it's a lemon. The hinges on my son's ACER broke after a year.

I recently picked up an ASUS, and so far I really like it. I also picked up the Notebook Cooler - definitely recommend this.
 
Dexter Sinister
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

[ I was looking at Intel chips IE 5 and 7 - your opinion on this would be appreciated.

At the moment I probably don't know any more about them than you do, I do research on these things only when I'm looking for a new system, I don't routinely keep up to date on everything anymore. I'm retired now, there are things I'd rather do. AMD and Intel are constantly leapfrogging each other, or trying to, in processor performance specs, and the last time I looked (which was about 18 months ago), Intel was ahead. AMD chips weren't as fast on the benchmarks as Intel's, despite very similar specs,. That appears to be still true, according to this: PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End. My memory is that AMD chips generally run quite a bit hotter too. If you google with keywords like Intel, benchmarks, core i5, core i7, you'll find all the data you need to assess them, and probably more than anyone could possibly assimilate. In any event, you won't go wrong with Intel, and realistically, unless you're doing really heavy duty calculations, the difference between a 2.9 Ghz and a 3.33 Ghz CPU isn't something you're likely to notice.
 
Cliffy
#9
And just for the hell of it, why not look at an Apple too. They use the same Intel chips but the operating system is superior to Windows and you don't need a lot of anti mal wear to protect and slow down your machine. Just another option to consider.
 
DurkaDurka
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by Cliffy View Post

And just for the hell of it, why not look at an Apple too. They use the same Intel chips but the operating system is superior to Windows and you don't need a lot of anti mal wear to protect and slow down your machine. Just another option to consider.

I own both an Apple macbook and an equivalent pc laptop. I wouldn't say the Mac is superior operating system. It all depends on what you what your machine to do with you. I prefer my mac for photo editing because the colour profile is more accurate and I find photoshop is smoother. I prefer my pc for gaming, video transcoding, media streaming, or anything that involved heavy cpu usage.

All in all, you cannot really go wrong with either these days, you pay a premium for Macs but you do get a solid piece of technology in return, as for PC's, you have more hardware upgrade options, more frequent software updates and the ability to properly game on the system.

If I were purchasing a PC latptop right now, I would be aiming for a model with a Core i5 as it is a good balance between heat & performance. With turbo mode, most can shut down one to 3 cores and overclock a single one in excess of 3GHZ, not to mention you get hyper threading which gives you two threads per core, effectively doubling the number of cpu cores on the system in a virtual manner.
 
Goober
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by Dexter Sinister View Post

At the moment I probably don't know any more about them than you do, I do research on these things only when I'm looking for a new system, I don't routinely keep up to date on everything anymore. I'm retired now, there are things I'd rather do. AMD and Intel are constantly leapfrogging each other, or trying to, in processor performance specs, and the last time I looked (which was about 18 months ago), Intel was ahead. AMD chips weren't as fast on the benchmarks as Intel's, despite very similar specs,. That appears to be still true, according to this: PassMark Intel vs AMD CPU Benchmarks - High End. My memory is that AMD chips generally run quite a bit hotter too. If you google with keywords like Intel, benchmarks, core i5, core i7, you'll find all the data you need to assess them, and probably more than anyone could possibly assimilate. In any event, you won't go wrong with Intel, and realistically, unless you're doing really heavy duty calculations, the difference between a 2.9 Ghz and a 3.33 Ghz CPU isn't something you're likely to notice.

Thanks to all for the advice

Still need some help please.

Went with a Sony Vaio - I7 Core - 6 MB processor -- RAM is 4 MB - can upgrade to 8 later on down the road if needed

Set up my wireless -
So for video streaming I guess that is the term - to my Daughters house for live chat - video etc what should I do now.

They have wireless as well so no problems on that or my end.

I want to be able to chat with them and my grandchildren right from home or when we are away.
 
DaSleeper
#12
Try Skype
Oops
In English http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/get-...puter/windows/
Last edited by DaSleeper; Jan 10th, 2011 at 05:09 PM..
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#13
LOL I gotta clean my contacts I thought this said Laptop Shooting.
 
Goober
+1
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_Soldier View Post

LOL I gotta clean my contacts I thought this said Laptop Shooting.

I am sure that time will come, but hopefully not for a long time.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Goober View Post

I am sure that time will come, but hopefully not for a long time.

Just don't buy a Dell. Call it preventive laptop shooting advice.
 
Amy_Bros
#16
In 2018 Apple 15″ MacBook Pro and Apple 13″ MacBook Air are the best options.
 
OpposingDigit
#17
I would not buy any type of computer which has manufacturer software (Dell as an example) on it because they hold you hostage.
You must be certain to buy an IBM clone.
If you are buying it to play games .... If your games are going to be installed on your laptop then buy an SSD drive. If your games are going to be played from a CD, then buy an ordinary IDE drive.
 
taxslave
#18
We have two cromebooks.My wife likes hers better than Apple. I,not being very computer literate have trouble with it because it does work different than my Ipad and old macbook.It is fast though and lots cheaper than Apple.
 
Curious Cdn
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by OpposingDigit View Post

I would not buy any type of computer which has manufacturer software (Dell as an example) on it because they hold you hostage.
You must be certain to buy an IBM clone.
If you are buying it to play games .... If your games are going to be installed on your laptop then buy an SSD drive. If your games are going to be played from a CD, then buy an ordinary IDE drive.

HP is the worst. Their bloatware is worse than someone else's malware and it never leaves you alone.
 

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