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Thread: Planning on buying a laptop, and I need some advice

  1. #1

    Default Planning on buying a laptop, and I need some advice

    Well, I've been thinking about buying a laptop for ages, and I've decided that now is finally the right time to do it. I have plenty of money (700 at the last check), and there's all the post-Christmas sales. There's just one tiny problem - I have no idea what to buy.

    I mean, I like to consider myself more knowledgeable about computers than the average guy, but I'm no expert. And I've never bought one before, so I have no idea which brands are good, or what I should be expecting to pay. And any advice I've gotten so far has seemed to be conflicting.

    I always worry like this when making new purchases, and this is most likely going to be the most expensive individual item I've ever bought, so I want to make sure I'm doing everything right.

    What I'd really like is something that still has XP on it. I really can't stand what I've seen of vista, and I'll need a little more time before I decide to change to a different OS. I'd also rather get one that doesn't come with loads of crap already installed on it. I always hear people saying about computer manufacturers that are really bad, but that leaves me wondering which ones are good.

    I'm not looking for anything special, it's just for everyday use and playing games maybe once a month. I just want something I can trust to not be awful. So I'll be very grateful to anyone who can tell me just what that is. :)

  2. #2

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    I'd say go with a macbook. I am going to get one really soon, it may be expensive ($2000) but it will last forever and is really reliable. With a mac you can get it with xp on it at the store and decide what you want on it. That's my recomendation at least.

  3. #3

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    What do you need it for?
    Small, light and good battery life? Or do you need it as a replacement for a desktop PC which should run games?

  4. #4

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    A few brands (PCs) that I'd recommend are Dell, HP/Compaq, and Toshiba. I love Macs, but Macs are indeed on the pricey side.

    No matter what PC you do get, you can always put XP (or, maybe move to Linux!) on it one way or another, it doesn't *have* to come with it (besides, a fresh install is ALWAYS HEAPS better than the factory-installed bloat-ridden version they give you when you get it). Usually I always just install a fresh copy whenever a new machine is bought.

    What you want to look for spec wise, is something with a big resolution (not necessarily a big display, but you can go for one if you want one -- like a 17"), 2-3GB+, 160GB Hard Drive+ (I tend to go as low as 100GB if I can get 7,200RPM drives), a ~2GHz processor (I tend to go for the Core 2 series from Intel, or the Athlon series from AMD) (NOTE! A fast clock (xxxGHz) doesn't mean it's a good processor! You also want to look for a relatively high L2 cache, and a decent Front Side Bus speed (if Intel).

    Need any help, or any questions, don't be afraid to ask any!

  5. #5

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    yeah, there are a load of factors to include. So if you give us your overall intention we could pick something more suitable.

    Normally I go for the cheapish 400 range laptops. As to me the ones that cost twice as much don't really give any much bag for your buck considering they depreciate really fast.

    But Normally I follow mm3's formula.
    Good FSB, L2 cache and don't get obsessed over clock speed on the processor.

    Harddrives can be upgraded with externel ones. Or even replace the one inside it if you don't mind taking one or two screws out of the back. Trust me, unless you are going to get a silly machine, they are very trivial to replace. Also, RAM is normally cheaper to upgrade yourself than let them do it. It's something they rip you off on! At the same time it's worth looking out for if they have one or two slots and if they are both ocupied. As this makes the difference between replacing it or adding to it.

    Also, I tend to look for something with a decent graphics chipset in as well, Surely you want to play the odd game here and there. :P May not be the best, but at the very least the avoided the 10x shitier ones *Cough* Intel GMA *Cough*.

    Normally, in the past as there are several people in your age needing a laptop for further education have asked me for my help so I know a little bit about what you are looking for.

    As for XP, you can priate it if you want. As far as I know MS have stopped issuing XP to machines unless it meets a low system requirement which is prety much the Vista Basic minimum spec for the netbooks that are on the market. Which is why I haven't seen a machine offered with XP with no more than 512MB of ram.

    Also, if you ever pass a Computer store, don't be afraid to pop in and touch the laptops. I tend to be fussy on the build of them aswell, there is a allot of chouce out their. Much sure you pick something that you like on the outside as well as a decent touchpad, keyboard, screen and overall look. You can't judge this well when buying over the internet. So just jot down the model makes, series and number. so you can search on the internet for the best price . It's what I did with my new netbook. with the worries of getting a really cramped keyboard as people most often complain about on certain models on the market.

  6. #6

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    Newegg.com - ASUS N50 Series N50Vn-X1B NoteBook Intel Core 2 Duo P8600(2.40GHz) 15.4" Wide XGA 4GB Memory 250GB HDD 5400rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 9650M GT - Laptops / Notebooks To give you an idea, I'm looking at this box. It's pretty respectable and has good features/price. Like you, I'm not a hardcore gamer. I am pretty sure the next laptop I get will be an ASUS.

  7. #7

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    I will say that as far as brands go, my family, friends, and I have had extremely good service from our Toshibas. Out of the 6 machines I know of, none have ever lost a key, dropped a pixel, or ceased to operate. One power switch failed due to excessive force, and that's it AFAIK. Our machines range from 5 yr old to 1 yr. old. A family friend who works with simulation systems at a nearby airbase said that all of the laptops they used were Toshiba, and that he recommended them. HP is ok, but I have heard a couple of complaints about Dell.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_A View Post
    I'd say go with a macbook. I am going to get one really soon, it may be expensive ($2000) but it will last forever and is really reliable. With a mac you can get it with xp on it at the store and decide what you want on it. That's my recomendation at least.
    So the point in getting a Mac is since its a Mac.... Great Idea.

    I still find it funny that people are putting windows XP on Mac's. Again isn't the point of having mac is they aren't made by Microsoft or that your just buying it simply because you can so you can show off?

    What makes a Mac worth 2000 dollars anyways, the amount of hardware in it doesn't amount and the labor to put it together does not cost 2000 dollars?

    What's the point in the Macbook Air? Is a 5 pound laptop too heavy?

  9. #9

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    Glad to see this thread, as I'm also thinking about getting a new laptop. Primarily because Sims 3 is coming out in February and I don't think my current Toshiba will run it. (Minimum hardware requirements.) I've got some things in mind, but if anyone has any recommendations for a laptop under $800, I'd appreciate it.

    Jack, I've always been really happy with my Toshiba Satellite, now three and a half years old. My friends who had Toshibas several years ago had some trouble with them overheating, and this one does occasionally, but from what reviews I've read of newer ones it sounds like they've fixed that problem. My main troubles now are that the battery is shot (won't last longer than six minutes when it's not plugged in), the 40 gig hard drive is nearly full, and the processor is just not fast enough for the new Sims and can barely run some of the current Sims 2 expansion packs. I dream of my Sims having a party where it's possible to invite more than 2 people.

    If it were just the battery and the full hard drive I could find ways to work around them. It's mainly the faster processor I'm interested in now. It also seems that most computers out there now have at least a 250 gig hard drive, which if you're not into downloading movies or doing other video stuff I don't see how you could ever fill.

    One question, for you electronics industry experts out there: is now a really great time to buy, what with the post-Christmas deals (my local Best Buy has an $850 Toshiba on clearance for $699) or would we be even better off waiting a few weeks?

  10. #10

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    What's the point in the Macbook Air? Is a 5 pound laptop too heavy?
    Exactly why I don't own or plan to own one (or any netbook/ultralight).



    I've got some things in mind, but if anyone has any recommendations for a laptop under $800, I'd appreciate it.

    You can *easily* get yourself one for that price (and under) and many store places like Best Buy and MicroCenter. I've seen Toshiba and HP machines go for $600 with 3GB of RAM, ~2GHz Core 2 Duo and Centrinos, high-life batteries...

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