Laptop Advice

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plothos
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Laptop Advice

Post by plothos »

Thinking about getting a new laptop, but as the one I have works okay, I'm loathe to spend too much to replace it. I'm not a huge computer guy, so I don't know whether companies mess around much with franken-laptops the way they do with desktops, but I gather they don't. If there's a good place to do that, please point me to it.

Not looking for a Ferrari, and don't need anything fancy graphics-wise, as I'll be primarily be using it to write papers, run gimp, and use maptool, so I'm wondering if you guys have advice on where to look for a cheaper lappy with the following wants (ordered by level of desirability):

1. Reliability - no breaking!
2. Decent processor
3. Fair RAM (~1.5 - 2 Gig, enough to run MT at 1 gig and still have cap room)
4. Enough wireless speed to run MapTool as fast as possible through a standard cable modem/wireless router setup (if the limitation here is always the router or modem, then disregard)
5. Battery life
6. Size and weight - decent screen size and low weight are desirable, but I'm not worried about it being super thin or non-bulky
7. Enough HD space to store MT image library - it's not prohibitively huge

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Orchard
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Re: Laptop Advice

Post by Orchard »

plothos wrote:Thinking about getting a new laptop, but as the one I have works okay, I'm loathe to spend too much to replace it. I'm not a huge computer guy, so I don't know whether companies mess around much with franken-laptops the way they do with desktops, but I gather they don't. If there's a good place to do that, please point me to it.

Not looking for a Ferrari, and don't need anything fancy graphics-wise, as I'll be primarily be using it to write papers, run gimp, and use maptool, so I'm wondering if you guys have advice on where to look for a cheaper lappy with the following wants (ordered by level of desirability):

1. Reliability - no breaking!
2. Decent processor
3. Fair RAM (~1.5 - 2 Gig, enough to run MT at 1 gig and still have cap room)
4. Enough wireless speed to run MapTool as fast as possible through a standard cable modem/wireless router setup (if the limitation here is always the router or modem, then disregard)
5. Battery life
6. Size and weight - decent screen size and low weight are desirable, but I'm not worried about it being super thin or non-bulky
7. Enough HD space to store MT image library - it's not prohibitively huge


Stay away from compaq (but not necessarily HP) and several others. I highly recommend dell or lenovo. That is all.
0+0=1, for very unstable CPUs.

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Dracorat
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Post by Dracorat »

If you don't mind a feature suggestion - check out tablet PCs

Writing and painting by hand is awesome on those.

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Orchard
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Post by Orchard »

Dracorat wrote:If you don't mind a feature suggestion - check out tablet PCs

Writing and painting by hand is awesome on those.


I thought about suggesting that.

Then didn't.

But I will second it. I LOVE tablets even though I've never had one. I would buy one in a heartbeat if I could. My next laptop will EITHER be a tablet or an ultra sub portable thingy (like the EEE).
0+0=1, for very unstable CPUs.

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Post by Steel Rat »

I'd actually stay away from a laptop, since they're not as expandable as a desktop. You can't upgrade the graphics, sound, etc separately. Laptop stuff is still very proprietary meaning you have to buy replacement parts made specifically for that laptop.

So unless you HAVE to have a portable PC...
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plothos
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Post by plothos »

Steel Rat wrote:So unless you HAVE to have a portable PC...
Yeah, I kinda do. My desktop situation is pretty set - older model but with plenty of RAM and a nice new 22" monitor.

Trouble is, I'm very mobile these days. My wife and I have to keep separate apartments for the time being (academics fresh out of grad school), but I drive to her place weekends, and I'm in and out of my office/apartment/coffehouses when I'm not there.

I'll take a look at tablets. I imagine drawing with them would be friggin sweet. I've thought about getting a tablet for my desktop too, but haven't gotten around to it (recommended brands there?)

Are tablet PCs notably more expensive than standard lappys?

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Post by dorpond »

Reliability - no breaking?
That is hard nowadays - everything is built to last x amount of years and there is a drop in quality control compared to 10 years ago.

The best bet is to buy a PC that has a 3 year warranty out-of-the-box. They usually use better components in those units compared to the standard 1 year models.

That does not mean to buy a 1 year PC and upgrade it to 3 years - you still have the 1 year components in it.

I love HP. All I buy is HP at work. What I would suggest though is to stay away from the Laptops that have a lot of the touch sensitive buttons to turn stuff on/off. My latest laptop is all touch sensitive and it is a royal pain when I accidentally touch one or want to adjust the volume. I much rather like the "click" buttons.

If you go to HP.com and clik on their small business link, you will fidn many PC's that have a 3 year warranty out of the box.

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Post by dorpond »

plothos wrote:Are tablet PCs notably more expensive than standard lappys?


Yes and that is too bad.

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plothos
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Post by plothos »

But your standard USB tablet would work for a lappy just as well as a desktop, right? If one were inclined to lump it around too? Just making sure, because I want the portability for several uses, and wouldn't need to move the tablet around much, if at all, except when I drive up to see my better half.

Reliability is key, so I'll check out the 3 year HPs. Thanks.

I've had good experience with all 3 gateways I've owned, dating back to '93. Anybody got an opinion on them?

EDIT: I looked at what HP.com had to offer, but 3 year warranties seem limited to the $1400 and over category, as far as I can see. That's a bit more than I'm looking to drop for now.
Last edited by plothos on Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Orchard
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Post by Orchard »

plothos wrote:But your standard USB tablet would work for a lappy just as well as a desktop, right? If one were inclined to lump it around too? Just making sure, because I want the portability for several uses, and wouldn't need to move the tablet around much, if at all, except when I drive up to see my better half.


Right. Just remember that there are several beasts out there right now being called a tablet. The TabletPC's, such as what Toshiba makes and Lenovo has something VERY similar, are essentially a laptop with a rotating screen that will lie flat above the keyboard and is touch sensitive and you can use a stylus to write/draw on. HP made a tabletPC that didn't have anysort of keyboard at all (I think), but I have no idea if that is still available.

Then there are the drawing tablets that some people in the art community talk about, and these are NOT entire computers, but are rather simply very fancy drawing devices. The cintiq from wacom is essentially a very high resolution touch-sensitive BIG monitor. It is also VERY freaking expensive.

I don't know what HP offers, but from the people I know, the tabletPCs from Toshiba and Lenovo are both very well made, and I wouldn't hesitate to buy either one.

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/lap ... ablet%20PC

and

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/cont ... 3CE1BC569A

good luck.
0+0=1, for very unstable CPUs.

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plothos
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Post by plothos »

Wow, those do look nice. I wasn't planning on spending that much atm, but I might have to reconsider. If I really could get a good 3+ years out of it pretty certainly, that's not too bad.

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Post by Orchard »

plothos wrote:Wow, those do look nice. I wasn't planning on spending that much atm, but I might have to reconsider. If I really could get a good 3+ years out of it pretty certainly, that's not too bad.


Note that while Toshiba seems to have more options, the lenovo one is MUCH more customizeable. And if you really crank it up, you can easily spend >$5k. OUCH!

But it would be a really swank machine. I need more money!
0+0=1, for very unstable CPUs.

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plothos
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Post by plothos »

Yeah, beginning academic = piss poor. I have th $1500, but I also have these things called expenses. :(

So, here's a question: how much would you expect prices to fall for this kind of stuff in the next 6 months or a year?

How much will that Lenovo run one then?

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Post by jstgtpaid »

Personally, I despise Gateway. They hosed a company that I used to work for and I swore never to purchase anything from them... And I haven't.

I currently own a toshiba laptop and an asus laptop. Both have been very reliable. The toshiba laptop was very inexpensive and has been a great laptop. I had to replace the keyboard in that one (cuz my toddler popped all the keys out and broke several of them) and it was easy and cheap to find parts for it.

My asus laptop (G1) is what I use for playing games. Big, heavy and powerful. It is still a fantastic game machine. It was the best value for the price when I was looking. Don't know what they sell for nowadays. I also had to work on that laptop after one of us stepped on the LCD and broke it. It was a snap to replace, but it was fairly expensive.

Anyway... I would recommend Toshiba if you are looking for something inexpensive.

I definitely would like to get a tablet PC, but they are expensive... Emporerlinux has one for linux.... umm that would be good...
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Post by RPMiller »

Moore's Law says that one year from now computers will be quite a bit faster. Economics of solid state devices say they will be cheaper. Quality Control, or lack there of, means that you can plan on buying another about 1 to 3 years later. Unfortunately...
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