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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Needed: Advice for buying a new laptop computer (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Upanishad13
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I'm in the market for a new laptop computer, however I am confused what to look for. I have never owned a laptop. My current system is a custom made desktop which is showing it's age so I believe it is time for an upgrade. I think the worst thing to do is go to Best Buy and say, "Gee, I need a new computer, I have this much money, which one should I get?" no matter how easy they make it look on the commercial. My uses for the computer are fairly general: internet, listening to music, though I play some games, having the most state of the art graphics card is not essential since many of the games I will play are several years old and therefore not so resource intensive by today's standards. Much like everyone's "magic trunk" of "someday I'll get to tricks" I have a box of backlog games I promise myself I will play someday.

Some key questions:

What are the differences between processor technologies and brands (i.e. Centrino intel duo core, Intel Pentium, AMD processors...???) What should I look for?

Are any brands more reputable than others (Toshiba, Asus, Gateway, Dell...on and on and on)?

With Windows 7 about to launch should I wait for it? Most systems sold at the time include Window's Vista with a "free" upgrade to Windows 7 when it arrives. I heard there will be hidden costs such as shipping for this "free" upgrade. Any insight in this matter would be great. Frankly, I think Microsoft could do no better than XP, but of course they would be headed to the poor house if they didn't come up with "new and improved" software for people to spend money on.

I believe in the old saying "You get what you pay for", but what do you get for your money between a $399, $799, $1199 computer?

Any help with these matters would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Davit Sicseek
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Processors: Not as important these days as they once were.

Brands: Don't think of brands as being reliable, unreliable - at least not in such simple terms. Dell have made some rubbish, but also some great machines. Most manufacturers will have different ranges of products, with differing ranges of build quality and specification of components. If you can afford it, and think you'll use your laptop a lot, I'd buy form the business range. For example Dell have inspiron/studio for their home range and Latitude/Precision/Vostro for their business range (with XPS being a premium line in both channels.)

Normally with business channel models the manufacturer will offer longer support and guarantee to supply parts for x years. Thus you can be assured that if the dvdrom breaks in 3 years time you'll be able to easily buy a replacement part. In reflection of these greater obligations you typically find machines that have been better tested (as the company would otherwise be lumbered with a dud for a longer period), better build quality (as 3 year warranties will often be standard) and also be confident that big companies will be deploying thousands of the machines across their organisation... so spare parts, forum posts detailing problems/solutions will be easy to find.

The downside is that you might get slightly less bells and whistles for your money, the machines will look more business like.

windows 7.... it's not released for a while yet. I would be surprised if the admin cost for supplying the uprade is more than $20. If I needed a new laptop now, I'd buy one now, rather than hold out for months to save $20.

You do get what you pay for in the main. You can contrast the specifications yourself, but don't underestimate build quality when comparing systems.
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Cohiba
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Something to consider:

My last computer purchase was a changeover to Mac. I absolutely love it! You pay a little more upfront (though they just dropped a lot of their prices, and if you get the latest and greatest PC, they're about the same), but to me it's so worth it.

I could go on, but I'll just leave it at that. Look into them at least as an option.
Chris H
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Quote:
On 2009-08-08 20:24, Cohiba wrote:
Something to consider:

My last computer purchase was a changeover to Mac. I absolutely love it! You pay a little more upfront (though they just dropped a lot of their prices, and if you get the latest and greatest PC, they're about the same), but to me it's so worth it.

I could go on, but I'll just leave it at that. Look into them at least as an option.


Here here.
Magnus Eisengrim
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Do you plan to travel or commute with it? If so, size really does matter. Reducing the size of your laptop makes it much more pleasant to carry around airports, on commuter trains, etc. In the store they all look small, but a slight reduction in weight will make a big difference.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
George Ledo
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I went through the same questions over the past couple of years, buying both a desktop and a laptop. My conclusions:

Whatever I buy will be obsolete before I even get it home.

Computers have become disposable commodities.

Brands don't matter; what matters is the people who work at the customer support desk when you need them.

Nowadays it can cost almost as much to repair a computer as to buy a new one.

What I came up with was a desktop HP (bought at Costco) and a Dell laptop. Both give me what I need, which includes fairly heavy 3D modeling capability. And both were inexpensive enough that, when they call it quits, I won't feel like I did when my first few computers died. BTW, I opted for Windows XP on both. I don't need all the latest bells and whistles; what I need is a tool that works when I need it.
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Josh the Superfluous
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Quote:
On 2009-08-09 09:14, Guerrilla Magic wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-08-08 20:24, Cohiba wrote:
Something to consider:

My last computer purchase was a changeover to Mac. I absolutely love it! You pay a little more upfront (though they just dropped a lot of their prices, and if you get the latest and greatest PC, they're about the same), but to me it's so worth it.

I could go on, but I'll just leave it at that. Look into them at least as an option.


Here here.


Mac users don't look back. And Macs run Windows better than a Dell.
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kcg5
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Mac all the way. mac ftw
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Davit Sicseek
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Yeah Mac's whoooooo!

Mac for the win. Please win it! Yay!

Mac's in general are nice machines, but they aren't the only good quality laptops. They are high powered but not compared to Windows laptops in the same price range. Some Macs run Windows faster than some Dells... some don't.

If you are technically minded I see little advantage in getting a Mac unless you need a Mac for certain applications that are Mac only or are developed primarily for Macs and run better on them. Of course if you are unexceptionably taken by the uni-body base and the Mac cult then you may be seeing reasons I can't.

From my brief plays with Windows 7, I'm starting to see less reason even for the non-technically minded to opt for a Mac. Windows 7 is pretty hot and Apple are going to need to up their game if they want to retain the superior operating system that 'just works' angle.
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balducci
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Here is my second hand anecdotal advice.

My sister recently purchased a laptop computer. She shopped around, and spoke to people in service departments at a few different stores selling computers. They told her that they see fewer repairs coming in for Toshiba than for other brands.

I have several friends with Macs. The ones with computer skills say that the Macs are great, but the not so computer savvy ones have had some big problems with them. One in particular has had great trouble running Windows applications on his Mac. It used to work, now it doesn't, and none of the service people can figure out why.
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Scott Cram
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Regardless of the make or brand you get, don't get the low end of any laptop line. Spend a little extra to get at least the mid-range version of your chosen line.

With any computer, it's always nice to have those extra features, and you'll spend less time worrying about what you could've been able to do (which, since computer features are always expanding, you'll wind up doing anyway).
Voldemort
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I went back. I had a Mac POS and I'll never get another. Nothing but problems.

I've got a Toshiba now and it runs circles around that Mac.

I sold that thing to some poor soul who had "Heard" that mac's were great. More power to him.

Pc's outsell Mac's everyday. The last I heard less than 10% of all computers sold in the world are Macs.

Now that I've had one, I can see why.


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Douglas Lippert
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Quote:
On 2009-08-09 22:01, Voldemort wrote:
The last I heard less than 10% of all computers sold in the world are Macs.


That small sliver of computers sold belongs to Apple thanks to schools, libraries, folks that don't know how to operate more than one mouse button, folks that buy 'em for status symbols due to higher price, increased security only because of the fact that it's worth a hackers time to infiltrate the 90% and not the 10%, and blind fanatics. Smile
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Cohiba
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Quote:
On 2009-08-09 22:59, Doug Lippert wrote:
Quote:
On 2009-08-09 22:01, Voldemort wrote:
The last I heard less than 10% of all computers sold in the world are Macs.


That small sliver of computers sold belongs to Apple thanks to schools, libraries, folks that don't know how to operate more than one mouse button, folks that buy 'em for status symbols due to higher price, increased security only because of the fact that it's worth a hackers time to infiltrate the 90% and not the 10%, and blind fanatics. Smile


Doug:

I just had to respond to the single button comment - Mac's have two buttons just like PC's. I right click all day long. Coming from a PC background, I too never understood why you wouldn't want to use the right button, but there's probably a reason. Either way, it's a 5 second setting change on whether or not to use the right click.

My Mac runs circles around my other pc and older pc's. I love the fact that I use no anti-virus, and have never had any downtime from viruses or other junk that just seems to accumulate on pc's, even when running good anti-virus software. My current laptop is a PC (my desktop is an iMac), and about 6 months ago I wiped the laptop clean for a "fresh start". It worked great for a while, but it's already not as fast as it was when I first wiped it. That's just my experience - it would take a pretty big issue on my mac for me to consider another pc.
Magnus Eisengrim
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All of this goes to prove that asking an online community which computer to buy will leave you worse off than when you started.

John

(Who, by the way, is happy with his Sony laptop.)
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
Voldemort
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Here you go.

Simple question and a simple answer.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_use_mac_computers

I was close. I said less than 10%. Its actually 7%.

Sorry.

V.
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Davit Sicseek
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Quote:
All of this goes to prove that asking an online community which computer to buy will leave you worse off than when you started.


Especially asking the magic community. It's pretty clear that most of the comments in this thread come from people that don't know what they're talking about.

I'd suggest going to notebookreview.com, visit their forums, fill out their questionaire and see what suggestions you get that will fit your needs and your budget. Once you have some suggestions, research them, settle on 2 or 3 models and then make another post asking which people think would be the best for you.
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rowdymagi5
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I bought a new Gateway Laptop computer last December. Paid close to $900.00

I had to send it back in March (froze up, wouldnt do anything--they called it the "Blue Screen of Death")

They said I must have gotten a virus even though I had Norton Anti-virus on it and never get online with it, actually never had internet at all with it.

Anyway, they had to replace the dard drive and the memory. I lost everything that was on it.

A friend bought a Gateway just like mine, had it 9 months and he too had the same problem. I cant reccommend Gateway!
Cohiba
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Quote:
On 2009-08-10 02:07, Voldemort wrote:
Here you go.

Simple question and a simple answer.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_use_mac_computers

I was close. I said less than 10%. Its actually 7%.

Sorry.

V.


Since when did consensus = reality? Almost all of the population once believed the world was flat. Apple's growth is impressive.

Davit states that the magic community doesn't know what they're talking about. Since he is part of it, you'd have to realize his comment means nothing then either, if his point is correct. So he's the only one on this whole thread who's guaranteed to be wrong. :o)
Sorry Davit - I had to say it. I shouldn't do that to a fellow Mac user.

Advice was asked for, different viewpoints given. Hopefully this thread gives some alternative viewpoints worth considering.
Davit Sicseek
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Cohiba, I didn't state the magic community doesn't know what it's talking about. I said that most of the opinions given in this thread come from people that have no idea what they're talking about. Nice try though, but you have to get up early in the morning to catch me.

Speaking of people giving duff advice:

Quote:
I bought a new Gateway Laptop computer last December. Paid close to $900.00

I had to send it back in March (froze up, wouldnt do anything--they called it the "Blue Screen of Death")

They said I must have gotten a virus even though I had Norton Anti-virus on it and never get online with it, actually never had internet at all with it.

Anyway, they had to replace the dard drive and the memory. I lost everything that was on it.

A friend bought a Gateway just like mine, had it 9 months and he too had the same problem. I cant reccommend Gateway!


Virus very rarely cause BSOD. More often it is a fault with hardware or drivers. Even if it was a 'virus' you could simply reload the whole system and the problem would be gone. No need to replace anything. Either tech support are feeding you lies, or you are misunderstanding them or maybe even both.

It's also the type of anecdotal evidence that isn't much use on its own. Especially seeing you don't even know what your own problem was, never mind that your friend has the same 'problem'. Perhaps you do both have the same problem, but I don't think it's computer related.

Again, this prove my point... ratio between sound advice and advice from people that struggle with the on/off switch is going to be pretty weak if you ask on a magic forum. Why don't you ask a forum full of laptop enthusiasts. You could even run an experiment in the off topic sections of the computer forum.... ask they what card trick you should buy next.

Still, I hope you find your answer somewhere.
Send me the truth: davitsicseek@gmail.com
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