[CONSUMER ADVICE] Laptop Buying

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- downloading files of around 4-7 Mb each on average (what could they be I wonder)
- writing
- arsing about online
- playing games, generally management/strategy/'god' games.

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 31 July 2003 12:37 (sixteen years ago) link

You're really just going to be restricted on hard drive space for a laptop because of the size factor. If you don't mind an extra component hanging off I'd definitely use an external hard drive with firewire/USB2. You can go second-tier on a graphics card if it's just strategy games, so you don't need whatever the new ATI mobile card is. Built-in 802.11b is fun, and if you're buying at the end of the year you'll probably have to go out of your way to avoid it, so I'd recommend that too.

Dale the Titled (cprek), Thursday, 31 July 2003 12:46 (sixteen years ago) link

If you do end up deciding on a Thinkpad and want a brand new one - I can get an employee discount thingy for you.

marianna, Thursday, 31 July 2003 12:59 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes, despite my pro-Mac stance I will say that wanting to play games is a big deciding factor. The Mac platform has some good strategy games (like SimCity 3 and whatnot) but the selection is much greater on the PC. If you're not too bothered about always playing the latest hottest game, I'd still say a Mac would be the way to go.

I second the recommendation for whoever have been bigging up Toshiba and IBM Thinkpads. These are the top of the heap when it comes to PC notebooks, truly. Dell is nice, but Toshiba and IBM Thinkpad are a little more reliable.

fields of salmon (fieldsofsalmon), Thursday, 31 July 2003 13:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I've had an IBM Thinkpad for four years. It is pretty heavy, but built like a tank and has given me no troubles at all. My old company went with IBM after having the HP and Compaq laptops just not being able to take wear and tear. It is little things like how the CD-rom/floppy drives are built, the IBM just has more support and can take being swapped around a bunch.

You cannot go wrong with an Apple, as they just make solid pieces of hardware.

Toshiba and some of the Sonys I have heard good things about, but I have no experience with either one.

earlnash, Thursday, 31 July 2003 13:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I dunno about iBooks, but Powerbooks are not that tough. A titanium plastic sandwich is not the best design for durability and the less said about my dvd drive the better.

RickyT (RickyT), Thursday, 31 July 2003 14:02 (sixteen years ago) link

The aluminium models (ie. the 12" and the 17" at present) are much tougher.

fields of salmon (fieldsofsalmon), Thursday, 31 July 2003 14:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Sonys are awful. Toshibas are said to be nice by them as knows. Frankly, if all you want to do is play Civ and download files, then get the best PIII Thinkpad you can afford.

Jim Eaton-Terry (Jim E-T), Thursday, 31 July 2003 14:14 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't think Tom will be getting a Mac. It's a P2P thing.

N. (nickdastoor), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:22 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh yeah, I forgot about that.

No, no Macs, sorry.

Tom (Groke), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:24 (sixteen years ago) link

the toshiba that i bought is quite nice indeed. it gives you more bang for your buck than a sony. its quite a reliable machine.

todd swiss (eliti), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:33 (sixteen years ago) link

i'm taking all this good advice from you as well. i should buy a new laptop in a month or so.
thanks tom for starting this thread!

joan vich (joan vich), Thursday, 31 July 2003 16:39 (sixteen years ago) link

five months pass...
i am in a similiar situain that tom was in. i want to buy and use a laptop for mixing/editing music but i have a question about playing more 3d games? i just started playing games again and want to play "total war". the pc at my house does not support the graphics & this seems to be because it lacks an 8xcd drive (or it lascks the direct 3d video card- its not my pc, so i am not sure)

anyways, i also want to use soulseek so macs are out.

i am trying to decide between a Dell Inspiron 5100 vs an Ibm thinkpad. i have not looked into the thinkpads, are they worth the it?

help!

kephm, Thursday, 22 January 2004 18:49 (fifteen years ago) link

bump/

kephm, Thursday, 22 January 2004 18:51 (fifteen years ago) link

you can use slsk on macs now ya know!

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 22 January 2004 18:53 (fifteen years ago) link

with or without virtual pc?
thing is since i started playing games again & mac doesnt support as many. thing is , i dont imagine i will be playing many games.

kephm, Thursday, 22 January 2004 19:14 (fifteen years ago) link

without!

s1ocki (slutsky), Thursday, 22 January 2004 19:15 (fifteen years ago) link

hmm thanks for the tip, well if can play 'total war' on a mac, then i am off to the apple store.

kephm, Thursday, 22 January 2004 19:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Just bring an extra $500 that you don't need.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Thursday, 22 January 2004 19:24 (fifteen years ago) link

i think this is going to come down to a coin toss

kephm, Thursday, 22 January 2004 20:54 (fifteen years ago) link

two months pass...
I am going out today to buy a new laptop!

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Saturday, 3 April 2004 08:31 (fifteen years ago) link

Which one did you decide on, Tom? (I have persuaded my work to buy me one - THE FOOLS)

Jerry the Nipper (Jerrynipper), Saturday, 3 April 2004 08:48 (fifteen years ago) link

Well, whatever you do, don't buy one from a guy who is driving by you and randomly stops his car to ask you if he wants the one sitting in his lap. That happened to me yesterday, but given that the thing was probably stolen, I said no thanks. Besides, I'm quite happy with my Powerbook, so why would I want a crappy Sony Vaio?

Girolamo Savonarola, Saturday, 3 April 2004 08:49 (fifteen years ago) link

did you decide on anything? i'll be in the market in about four months and have a similar set of requirements, so i'm curious what you're going to pick

Dave M. (rotten03), Saturday, 3 April 2004 08:50 (fifteen years ago) link

I haven't really decided no - I will look for a Dell if they're sturdier.

I'm getting my new work to get me one too but I don't really want to have thousands of MP3s on a new job's PC.

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Saturday, 3 April 2004 08:59 (fifteen years ago) link

[CONSUMER ADVICE] Lapdance Buying

Skottie, Saturday, 3 April 2004 15:21 (fifteen years ago) link

ah, the rapier wit.

mark p (Mark P), Saturday, 3 April 2004 16:52 (fifteen years ago) link

tom if you're only buying a laptop for personal storage issues you should strongly consider plunking the money down on an external hard drive instead. they're dead cheap these days. i just bought a 120gig for $200cdn, which is roughly equivalent to one of the more expensive sandwiches at pret once you do the conversion.

mark p (Mark P), Saturday, 3 April 2004 16:53 (fifteen years ago) link

one month passes...
I'm eyeing a 15" Powerbook but am concerned that it won't make nice with my old school 20 gig "PC" iPod. I know the newer, uglier iPods swing both ways, but is there any cross-compatability with the older version? I had a Mac Quadra 800 back in the day and think I'm ready to switch back...

Arms Enthusiast, Wednesday, 26 May 2004 18:03 (fifteen years ago) link

best way to sort your iPod out, mount it as a disk, copy across the tracks, remake the iPod as a mac iPod using the iPod software updater. Copy thetracks back across using iTunes.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 26 May 2004 18:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Marvelous! Thanks, Ed!

Since you seem to be quite iAware, I've been meaning to find out: is it normal to have a 6-7 second delay every between every 5th or 6th track when on 'shuffle'? It sort of growls and sounds like it's doing what it should, and the pause is only vaguely irritating, but I've never heard anybody else mention it. Again, I'm using the old 20G beast...

Arms Enthusiast, Wednesday, 26 May 2004 18:17 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
okay, guys, GOTTA HELP ME PLEASE

I need a new laptop.

my current one is OK but for, mostly, its build (probs w/ screen/power supply/CD/DVD). it has 512MB RAM, some shitty shared graphics, 30GB HDD, 1.2GHz processor. I've had it for 2 years and had it around europe and america for almost a quarter of that time--it hasn't lasted too badly.

I will be using the new one for drawing and modelling, mainly, so memory and extra, dedicated graphics memory is most key. the bigger the screen, the better. the better the processor, the better. of course. CD/DVD. not too fussed about HDD, since I have an external 200GB drive, so 30GB or so would prob be fine. the more robust, the better, too.

tell me things I don't know. PLEASE GUYS

COME ON PLEASE

oh, would like to pay less than £1200/$2200 but if there was something great, for a little more, who knows?

COME ON PLEASE PLEASE

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 10:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Nice 14" iBook, or if you are not into that Take a good look at the HP range. If you wnat snazzy, espensive and light weight then get a sony.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:22 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah, I forgot to say: for all the software I use, it needs to be PC.

I have a 15" screen, just now, and that is OK. ideally, I would have a 12" or 14" and another 19"+ screen to plug it into, on my desk!!!!!!!!

it's the graphics memory that makes it difficulter. HP look good and toshiba look good, too. sony is expensive, yes.

: S

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:27 (fifteen years ago) link

I have been very impressed by the 17" HP laptop thqat one of our clients uses for 3d animation and photoshop work. It wasn't that expensive and had 128Mb graphics if I recall correctly.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:28 (fifteen years ago) link

this is one I was looking at, before. sounds like it is the same one you've seen. I was sure I'd seen it for just under £1200 but now it looks like it was just under £1200 excl. VAT.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:35 (fifteen years ago) link

That is infact the very one, processor has been upgraded otherwise the same. From what I've seen of it it's a great computer.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:37 (fifteen years ago) link

NB. Micro anvika far from the cheapest computer shop out there.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:38 (fifteen years ago) link

am I getting desperate?

yes, I only just looked at the micro anvika, now--never heard of it, before, but it seems to be priced the same, everywhere else. dabs.com, simplycomputers/whatever.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:41 (fifteen years ago) link

worth bidding on

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:43 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah...

thanks, for the advice!!!

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:53 (fifteen years ago) link

what software exactly do you use for pc that doesn't exist on mac?

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 12:16 (fifteen years ago) link

Toshiba M30 looks great...wireless networking, widescreen display, either 60 or 80 gb drive, and either a combo drive or a dvd burner. I'm probably going to be getting one within the next few weeks.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 12:29 (fifteen years ago) link

I use autoCADs and formZ. you can probably get them for mac but I have them for PC. I don't enjoy macs much.

RJG (RJG), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 12:32 (fifteen years ago) link

there is no autocad for the mac, there are plenty of better CAD packages for the Mac but if you use autocad there's probably a very good reason for doing so. AutoDesk periodically say they are going to release autoCad for the Mac and have once. The problem is though it so un-Mac like (It still behaves like a DOS programme in many respects) that no Mac user will touch it and there is very little reason for PC users to convert to running Macs other than style and reliability.

Ed (dali), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 13:44 (fifteen years ago) link

Another small factor to consider is wireless connectivity if you care about that sort of thing. I leech off of the school across the street from my apartment, and my PC's connection goes on and off at random times while the Mac's connection is solid. Could be just a quirk in the OS or a driver issue though.

Ghostface Threadkillah (calstars), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 13:47 (fifteen years ago) link

RIch, I see the current high bidder on that is taste-her-juice.

Markelby (Mark C), Wednesday, 16 June 2004 13:53 (fifteen years ago) link

this is still going. an hour and twenty or so, left. the seller only has 132 transactions, has no photos of the actual item on sale and hasn't replied to two messages I sent him-----I am a little bit wary!!

BUT--it is still over £400 under the retail price and he says it has 1024MB RAM instead of 512MB. I am scared!!! what do I do?

I have even looked at getting a train to WREXHAM, tomorrow or so, and BACK! to pick it up, if I win it. it would cost £70 and ten hours of travelling but I would be a bit safer, that way.

anyone got any ebay horror stories, to put me off? or are you good at spotting potential SCAMS?

RJG (RJG), Friday, 18 June 2004 13:34 (fifteen years ago) link

so, I didn't get it. I was outbid, over the limit I had set myself. I am kind of relieved, actually.

but, haha.

I went to john lewis, today, and looked at the HP 17" laptop, that I wanted. it seemed a little less robust, than I had hoped for. I looked around and found this. it is the same spec, as the HP, but with double the RAM and the memory card reader is hotswappable, with a second battery and stuff. also, the lid is steel. robuster. it is also slightly smaller and lighter. it is priced at slightly higher, than the HP. I have found some, on ebay. it seems that gateway have kinda stopped trading, in the UK. does anyone know any more?

RJG (RJG), Saturday, 19 June 2004 18:48 (fifteen years ago) link

What about getting an IBM? I have a Thinkpad and it's great (for me, 'cause I lug it around school constantly and I've dropped it and stuff - it's sturdy, that's for sure). My biggest piece of advice is use your CREDIT card to buy - because if you get ripped off, your credit card company should have fraud protection and can get your $$ back. Check to be sure you have the fraud protection thing first, obv. As for eBay, double check the fraud protection there before you buy - like if you use PayPal and ship to a confirmed address, you should be covered if something goes wrong. I'd say it's best to know about fraud coverage and insurance before you bid on such a pricey item.

Oh, and beware of random refurb outlets, I bought a laptop from Refurb Depot and they sent me a piece of shit that wasn't working properly and then gave me massive attitude and headaches when I tried to return it - had to send my credit card people after them, who luckily saved me from getting ripped off to the tune of $1100.

I've bought parts and things from Buy.com and they've been great so far. What about checking customer reviews on Amazon to see what others say? Also epinions, even searching on Slashdot. Best to do your research.

daria g (daria g), Saturday, 19 June 2004 22:53 (fifteen years ago) link

double unintendre

Dmac TT (darraghmac), Wednesday, 17 October 2018 00:15 (ten months ago) link

probably will mostly be used to work from home occasionally but yeah probably actually for lap use apart from that.

wmlynch, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 04:03 (ten months ago) link

What's a good laptop just for web browsing/video streaming/ms office? I've got a mac, but my wife's laptop is dying and she's not terribly picky. I don't know anything about non-mac laptops though, and there appear to be a billion options.

I recently bought a used Chromebook for about 60 euros and use it for surfing/streaming/writing

it's lightweight, has good battery time, basically great value for money (I use Google Docs for writing, if you have Office 365 or whatever the cloud Office is called, it should work fine too)

niels, Wednesday, 17 October 2018 08:48 (ten months ago) link

one month passes...

If one has a laptop with a keyboard that's fucked up -- ie, some keys don't produce the characters they're supposed to! -- can one download a fix, or have to box up the thing and ship it back to the fuckups? Asking for a friend. :/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 18:47 (nine months ago) link

nb: what I have in REALITY (ie what shows up on the screen) is a QWERTZ keyboard like this, mislabeled as a standard US keyboard:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTZ#/media/File:KB_Germany.svg

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 18:55 (nine months ago) link

try rebooting and moving to austria

j., Monday, 19 November 2018 19:02 (nine months ago) link

Is it new enough to be on warranty? If so, get it replaced! It is unlikely that yours was the only fuck-up, so they are already fielding complaints and replacing yours would be just S.O.P.

If it is approaching its expiration date but money is too tight to buy a replacement, it might be worth looking for a keyboard remapping utility program. I know such programs used to exist, ages ago. There are fans of non-standard keyboard layouts, like the Dvorak keyboard, so such programs may still be floating around out there. This might provide a relatively cheap workaround, but only if all the required characters can be produced by pressing a key somewhere on the keyboard; it could not magically produce characters all on its own.

Even then, I won't guarantee success.

A is for (Aimless), Monday, 19 November 2018 19:05 (nine months ago) link

I am on a 90-day warranty, so i should be able to get it replaced.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 19:21 (nine months ago) link

Is it definitely the keyboard? I've definitely been on Windows machines before where the language got switched somewhere in Control Panel (or, obnoxiously, through obscure keyboard combinations which can be hit accidentally) so that it was interpreting input as German, or Chinese.

|Restore| |Restart| |Quit| (Doctor Casino), Monday, 19 November 2018 19:24 (nine months ago) link

well, i hit the keys and different characters come up. i don't know how to begin to determine what causes it. how would i unfuck the control panel?

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 20:00 (nine months ago) link

this is what i hate about this century. i never wanted to own a car because you have to be an amateur mechanic! now i have to be an amateur geek.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 20:01 (nine months ago) link

give this kind of thing a try

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/258824/how-to-change-your-keyboard-layout

j., Monday, 19 November 2018 20:16 (nine months ago) link

will do

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 20:18 (nine months ago) link

this thing has Windows 10

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 20:24 (nine months ago) link

thx

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 20:30 (nine months ago) link

yeah, def sounds like settings

niels, Monday, 19 November 2018 21:24 (nine months ago) link

wishin & hopin

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 19 November 2018 21:24 (nine months ago) link

so it's kinda funny, right next to date/time at the bottom it sais "ENG LB", which stood for English/Luxembourgish keyboard. I have clicked and changed it to "ENG US".

Thanks for everyone who pointed out the obvious, lob 'senile uncle' jokes at me.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 20 November 2018 01:11 (nine months ago) link

five months pass...

I'm thinking of buying a new laptop this year and, for the first time a non-macbook

I had the 2014 Air which was great, but has gradually ground down over the last few months and now no longer turns on. I have a 2017 Pro from work, and Ive never liked it. Bad keyboard, and would hang sometimes, has never felt particularly solid. That had an incident and is now also dead, anyway

With both being dead I've had to buy an emergency laptop so i could actually work. Got the cheapest one in the shop, a €250 Lenovo Ideapad. 4gb RAM and runs like a dog (on windows), awful. I put Linux on it, and its actually kind of not that bad. I still have to reboot it as it does hang, so not a good longer term solution. its bulky and heavy but usable for right now

Going to need a proper replacement though, and looking at macbook prices idk I can justify it! Was looking at the Asus Zenbook as a possibility. 800ish doesnt seem so bad, but can i go cheaper and still have something good to use?

criteria:
1) light/small-ish
2) good battery

zenbook looks good, maybe the dell xps? the vivobook is cheaper so maybe theres a trade off. is there any reason in 2019 to got back to macbooks?

cherry blossom, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:13 (four months ago) link

its a decade since i bought a laptop but im always peeking

id have said an xps with min i5 to futureproof a little but a decent spec thinkpad or similar should be zippy enough too

im presuming that you know enough to get an ssd in and max the ram for whatever model it is you currently have. makes a huge difference in a windows.

deemsthelarker (darraghmac), Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:33 (four months ago) link

I won't have windows on it, will be a linux distro!

the zenbook is 8gb ram and 256gb SSD for €849. I don't think i need to spec it up any more than that. I'd like to be able to run vagrant and docker, but above a certain level of performance, size, weight and price are more important

cherry blossom, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 07:55 (four months ago) link

Just make sure you're comfortable with the keyboard, mousepad and screen before you buy. My laptop (Acer, 8mb, SSD) is perfectly functional but the screen isn't great and I find not having separate mouse buttons really awkward.

thomasintrouble, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 08:14 (four months ago) link

this is definitely a worry, never thought about it with the Air, but the keyboard and feel of the last macbook just wasnt right

cherry blossom, Wednesday, 15 May 2019 08:51 (four months ago) link


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