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Author Topic: Suggestions For (Shiny) Laptop  (Read 693 times)
« on: November 09, 2010, 11:10:10 AM »

Raccoon with Hat - Will Travel
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I am finally considering buying my first laptop. I have had a good run with the IBM ThinkPad I got mysteriously a few years back. It has made it across the country, to Estonia and Finland, though dozens of openCanvas sessions, a lot of random writing interludes, and generally has been a good friend.

Recently I have been using the MacBook Pro (otherwise known as MacDook), and though it is a fantastic computer, it is in all respects my work computer which I will have to let go whenever I leave this job (which hopefully is not anytime soon). Also, I believe their ought to be a separation between work use and personal use computers.

So, since my Christmas shopping is almost completely done (due to a surprisingly productive Amazon shopping spree), I'm considering buying a new laptop at the close of this month. That's where you peeps come in.

I'm not really picky when it comes to computers. But saying that, I want something slightly better than my usual "can I type stuff on it?" standards (what can I say? I'm easily pleased). My target price is under-1000, but if I see something quality above that, I won't automatically brush it off. I will be aiming for a PC rather than a Mac because though Macs are fantastic…I really don't /need/ all that a Mac provides. Shiny only gets me so far.

I need something fast enough that I won't notice when I have a half dozen moderate programs running, with enough space that I don't clog it with pictures after one month (though I'm getting better at not doing that as much anymore), and something in range for my budget-minded self (shush about the iPad!). Other shiny features will be considered upon suggestion.

So what do you peeps suggest? What laptop brand and model should I consider in this little quest? Your opinions are valued because I have not a clue of where I should even began. Thanks in advance and forgive me n00bishness.
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2010, 11:53:24 AM »

That one dusty marsfox.
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Tvorsk
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Apple is UBER pricy, quite reliable, but well, it's The Evil Fruit, and I can't help you much more about it... I'd say the shiny is NOT worth the price tag, honestly.

Lenovo ThinkPads are just as rock solid and awesome as they were under IBM, and they're just as expensive, too. But if you can afford one with specs you'd like, grab! Well, after reading through the sticky topics in the official forums for the model... >.>
I don't know anything about the "cheap" IdeaPad line, but wouldn't risk testing it on myself before research.

HPs are very varying. Some models are pure win, some suck extremely, some seem to be great but fall apart after a year. Also, same "model name" can be very, very different internally depending on the time of production and the specs, so an ZZ1234-from-2009 and an ZZ1234-from-2010, or XX9900-with-Core2 and XX9900-with-i7 are totally different computers, where one of them may be great and other may be of the falling apart category. You need to do a lot of research, check out people's opinions and comments, and so on, but if you're  lucky, and had good info, you may get some cool stuff cheaply. You'll always have to remove a ton of crapware from the preinstalled OS.

Dells are having a very bad reputation for a reason; you can get something specced to the max, but unless you'll carefully clean up system from the preinstalled trashware they'll run like a one-legged dog, and the hardware (especially power-related components) is prone to failures. Oh yeah, also, Dell's having electronics in the powersupply that does a secret handshake. Most third-party PSUs will make it power up and work "off cable", but not charge the battery.

I don't know much about Toshiba, but their mid-shelf models seem to not be too unreliable. Their lowest shelf was trash for a long time, but haven't heard a thing since a few years, so my knowledge is outdated.

Sonys are very expensive, and have very bad drivers. You need to find a just-right combination to get all the components working, and at the same time for the system to not crash and not work dead slowly.

I have very good opinion about Asus's laptops. Well, except their maxed-out gaming line, whiuch I don't know a thing about but find the concept pretty ridiculous. The mid-shelf stuff is relatively cheap for the specs, pretty reliable (well, I wouldn't put 20 pounds of stuff on the cover, but it doesn't break out as easily as some others), has a nice (if ugly) set of preloadware compared to Dell and HP (still got the blasted Norton trial to kill, but well, everyone puts that in nowadays >.<), and they Just Work.

Acer... well, they were for many years a synonym of "worst laptops that can be made"; heard they're slowly getting better, but I'd say "don't risk it".


Another thing you may check out is buying a "cadaver" from one of the Asian OEM manufacturers - see, Quanta and Compal together are really responsible for about 50% of all the "brand" laptops (including at least some parts of of Dell and HP lineups) on the market. Such a "cadaver" consists of the case, screen, battery, and mainboard. You're supposed to buy the CPU (sometimes), disk, RAM, and (again, sometimes) a wifi card into the MiniPCI slot.
Two names I can throw in because they were popular in here are Compal FL90 and FL92... but there sure are more recent models now.

Good luck!
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-- Tvorsk

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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2010, 08:26:03 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Definitely grab another ThinkPad.  Both my Tablet PC and "big laptop" are ThinkPads, and I'm very satisfied.

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:expandcategory?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=8FA114A7D9FF4F38AE8E19B36EC665A7&menu-id=products

If you're not looking for the newest model, you can probably get a better deal on a refurbished model (like I did with my W700ds) and get more bang for your buck too.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 02:22:28 PM by Virmir » Logged

Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2010, 09:02:05 PM »

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Hehe I took Tvorsk and Virmir's advice ages ago when my HP tablet PC died (tx2000) (it had (overheating problems).. as of late Ive only ever considered Thinkpads, but I had an Acer that served me well for years, and a Compaq in the windows 98 era.

Only Problem is that Thinkpads to tend to be pricy for their specs, especially in AUS, but, I dont think you can go to wrong with an ASUS, or a Toshiba, Ive become quite observant at Laptop choice at University... where thesedays every student has one laptop or another..

Mew.. Suddeen attack of kitty lazyness I'll poke myself to do something more detailed later Arctic Fox Grin
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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2010, 12:34:37 AM »

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I also give my vote for a new Thinkpad (T-series).

They are priced higher because most other non-Apple laptops are junky in comparison.  It's the only brand I'd consider personally.

I don't know anything about Asus, but I'm sure the business line of Toshibas are good.  Watch out for the glitzy-looking laptops that are marketed to home users.  They often cut corners on those, whereas they can't get away with that with the the models they use for big Fortune 500 contracts.

You should go to the Thinkpad website and subscribe to their updates.  They are constantly offering impressive discounts.  I think I remember seeing some decent speced ones in your price range.
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