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what kind of laptop?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by flyingcow, Apr 19, 2009.

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  1. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Looking to buy a laptop. Now next to nothing about them. Never looked at a Mac, but I know people that say, once you go Mac, you never go back. Would consider one, maybe.

    I need basic stuff. Quick books for the business. To give you an idea we have a compaq presario 425 that we use just for the bookwork and have used it for a very, very,very long time. Works well, but want to be able to go online and reconcile the statements easier. Basic surfing, store a few pics, but usually don't store long, send 'em off to other places. No big jobs to do with the computer, will be using in house 99% of time on the wireless set up. We have a desk top dell now, but it's getting tired. Had this one for 6 or 8 years. Wouldn't mind having the extra benefit of less power use with a laptop versus what we have now.


    That's the general idea, I', sure I missed something. Not looking for the high end version of stuff, but will spend little extra to do it right.

    Any thoughts?

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  2. mjbrown

    mjbrown Feeling the Heat

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    like you , i know nothing about lap tops. but, i will say...stay away from the acer aspire sold at walmart. i bought one of these for my daughter for christmas, and in 3 months time, i had to send it to texas for a new hardrive.

    when i got the thing back, i took it out of the box,hooked it up and turned it on.when it came on, it made the sounds and all of a laptop starting up, but there was no screen.i called tech support and was told i had to send it back for more repair.

    the repair company does not do a startup test to make sure everything is working correctly, they just do what they call a HOT test(just test the new hdd to make sure it is good).so i am now waiting for the thing to return from texas AGAIN...hope it works this time!


    mike
  3. rphurley

    rphurley Feeling the Heat

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    I don't know much about Macs, but I know people who have switched had to get used to the differences. My friends who bought Macs also like them and are happy with their decisions. Someone once told me "never pay so much for a computer that you are not willing to throw it in the trash in a few years." With that advice in mind I bought a refubished Gateway from Tigerdirect.com and have never had any problems with it. Once you decide to Mac or PC, I think the important thing is the retailer and their policies. You also want to invest in 4 or more gigs of memory and a Duo core processor or better. I think that $500.00 to $800.00 should be more than sufficient for a decent laptop.
    Another thing that Mac would like you to consider is whether you identify more with the frumpy, nerdy business guy or the cool young hipster in their commercials! My business sense says "save the $600.00 bucks"!
  4. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    so far so good. All good suggestions.

    Any one else?
  5. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Well, im a mac convert. I have two 3 year old macs and there no where near ready for the trash can. They run well, the software is very well integrated, the desings are nice, and i have never had to clean off the hard drive and reinstall a fresh copy of the operating system. The hardware is high quality and the software is low demand. Which is why they run a blazing fast speeds with less specs then a pc based laptop. Plus, i threw on my copy of XP on the mac (you can dual boot them) when i bought it just in case i found something i needed to run on XP that i cound on mac. I never use the XP partition.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    I would say that a Mac is overpriced for what you get, and IMHO Apple is extremely "challenged" when it comes to business ethics - they take from the Open Source community, and don't give back. Their products are heavily infested wtih DRM (Digital Rights Management, aka you get to pay for data but don't have any reliable access to it...) and they do several other things to lock you into their technology, and make you pay heavily for it.

    I would suggest an older generation x86 based laptop, and run Linux on it. The only thing to be careful of is that some hardware makers refuse to give out the information needed to make their products work properly, so it is a good idea to insist on seeing the laptop boot and run a bootable CD distro, preferably one without closed source drivers (i.e. GNUsense, Fedora, Debian, etc) and verify that all the features work properly.

    Once you get a Linux system, you no longer have as much concern about the "Microsoft virus of the week" and don't have to pay for the "upgrade treadmill"

    Gooserider
  7. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I use a macbook - about $1200, but you can get the plastic ones for about 899.
    It has a beautiful screen and is very light in weight - under 5 lbs. Very slick construction.

    I have used macs for 25 years and they have done me very well. My last mac notebook, now over 4 years old and dropped twice, is still plugging along. In fact, I still have a 1999 model blueberry notebook which works.

    Never had a destructive virus and never had to buy any security software. Macs some with a nice suite of software which is most of what you will need.

    Oh, and you can run Windows on a mac if you need to...I don't need to, but if you did you can install it.

    You can buy a Windoz machines for a little less, but in most cases you are getting less...and in the end, it's really your time that costs big money...and, of course, all those system upgrades, the anti-virus software, etc.
  9. n3pro

    n3pro Minister of Fire

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    I am using an Apple MacBookPro. I got frustrated with all the problems with windows service pack updates, the wife gets a discount from the school district so I switch a year ago and never regretted it.
  10. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

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    Have had good luck with IBM laptops. Currently I have a Lenovo R60, which I believe ran about $600 a couple years ago.

    Mac has always seemed overpriced to me, and you can only use their parts, if you keep it long enough to need repair.
  11. Kenny1

    Kenny1 Feeling the Heat

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    My work computer is a Lenovo T60p. The IT guys at work really like the Lenovo products.

    As to Mac vs PC vs open source vs....

    You first have to decide on what you need to do, then select an operating system that you can live with that will accomplish your needs. At work, a lot of the speciality programs (EMI analysis, thermal management, CAD package's, etc) are not available for Mac or Linux.

    As others have pointed out, there is a world of difference between the wal mart $500 machine, and a $1500 Lenovo (or Mac) piece of hardware.

    Cheers

    Kenny
  12. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    One thing I've learned in my years in IT... Mac Vs. PC is a religious debate.

    A few things that should play into your decision:

    1) Budget. Establish your budget for this computer. Once you know what you plan to spend, you can work to get the most computer for your money. Determine your target budget and spend all of it.

    2) Your personal support network. If you have trouble, who are you going to ask? Mac's aren't the panacea of computing that Apple would like you to think they are. People who use Macs have problems too, not just PC's.

    3) Existing library of software. Keep in mind that when you change platforms, you'll have to purchase new versions of software, some of which can be very expensive. Also, if you have certain applications (like Quckbooks), check to make sure you know which platforms the software is available for. You don't want to buy a new PC and then find out that a critical application isn't available for it. It is true that the new Macs can run windows, but keep in mind that you need to have a licensed copy of windows to install in the first place. Your existing laptop may have windows installed on it, but it may not be possible to install that OEM copy of windows onto the Mac.


    My mom was recently asking me about switching to a Mac. She has friends who keep telling her she should switch. In the end, I think she'll stick with the PC. I told her if she buys a Mac, she's on her own. I'm not a Mac user and don't care to support the platform. I also informed her that her $1500 Adobe Creative Suite would have to be replaced, as would her copy of Microsoft Office.

    I'm with Goose... The platform I spend the most time in is Linux. As with any OS though, there is a learning curve. Windows and OS X both have a lot to offer, and honestly, I don't think you'd go wrong with either, as long as you take the above into consideration.

    -SF
  13. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've had an Acer Extensa 5420 with Vista since last September and it's been great.
    It was about 500 at Radio Shack.
  14. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I am typing this on a 3 year old Acer Aspire that I think cost me $400 and was much better than the one it replaced that cost over $1,000.

    I now use freebie software, no need to pay for anything. As most of the components come from the same source and judging by your needs I would just go for something basic that you like the look of.

    My latest purchase is a Assus Netbook, very nice, very portable and 9 hour battery life!.

    The browser I use is Iron, I also like Opera.
  15. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Great info, thanks everybody. Will do more research with all you pointed out.
  16. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    Another IT guy here. I agree with SlyFerret on pretty muhc all points.

    My sister just brought home a surprisingly nice Compaq laptop from Best Buy...15.4" widescreen display, AMD chipset, 2GB memory, CD/DVD burner, Windows Vista...basically everythign you could need in a computer and it was pleasant to use...nice keyboard/touchpad feel, not ludicrously heavy, good battery life, etc.. The shocker was she piaked it up for $399.

    Macs are fine machines, I personally have tried to embrace them but have had no success at doing so...maybe I just haven't found the right reason for doing so yet, but I'm not going to go blow $2000 to pick up a new machine, new copies of all my applications only to later decide that my best bet is to boot the thing to Windows and use everything I already own...I can do that on a PC without the huge price tag. In my experience the chief problem with Macs is that of support...if your software is compatible and you can get support go right ahead and get one...but odds are its probably not the best move you can make.
  17. ihookem

    ihookem Minister of Fire

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    I had a gateway and an Acer Aspire and both were junk in two years. I do have kids though that put crap in the computer so I don't know. I bought a Mac laptop for 1300 dollars and it is awfull fast and easy to use. I'm sure it will be cheaper in the long run than the pc's.
  18. fluemasterjr

    fluemasterjr New Member

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    Let me start off by saying i know nothing about computers!! We have always had PC at home and at work. The last two we bought are about a year old for the office and they been nothing but trouble first it was vista switched to xp now it wont stop freezing. So when it came time for me to get a laptop for work and home i looked on the net and went to the stores the only requirement that i had was it didn't have vista. I ended up buying a mac book over the PC the price was about the same mac was $100 more. this has been the best decision that i have made it is great. easy to use not one problem with it at all very compatible it is more compatible than the vista was to xp. i recently bought one for my wife to use for school and work at work she sit it on her desk in front of her pc and does everything she can from it and only occasionally will use the pc just because we don't have Quick books yet for the mac. in the future i hope to switch the 2 office computers to macs.
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