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Author Topic: Buying a laptop, maybe.  (Read 7336 times)

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Offline Dave Shepard

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Buying a laptop, maybe.
« on: October 23, 2007, 10:38:09 PM »
I want to buy a laptop this fall, but I have no idea where to start. I have a few requirements, that I know of. I need to be able to use dialup at home, as well as some sort of wireless capability as well. There are a number of places in town where I can get free wireless connections, better than dialup 8). It doesn't have to be fancy, about all I do is play with some digital photos and visit my forums. ;) It will need some sort of writable CD drive, as I want to be able to store photo album backups. Any ideas on a machine that will do what I want would be appreciated, I am kind of lost when it comes to this stuff. I am sure we are looking at some sort of dreaded Win based machine. ::) Thanks.


Dave
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"LogRite!

Online thecfarm

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2007, 10:47:13 PM »
Price range?I would buy the best screen and the biggest I could afford.This is the part I would want to look it's best.I don't know much about the rest.We just bought a new desktop .Went to 3-4 differant places to talk.Some sale people don't know nothing and some don't want to help or work really.We got the infro we needed.Good luck.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2007, 10:51:44 PM »
There are a myriad to choose from, and I bet you will get a bunch of good suggestions.  My family uses Dell because I found the service to be pretty good.  It is almost a sure thing that at some point you will have an issue and need support.  Think support when you make your purchase.  You might think about buying one of those 3 year support packages.  I did, and lo-and-behold, it turned out that I needed it.  That is a shame, but that is life in the computer age.  Thank the good Lord for good IT support :).
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2007, 11:01:08 PM »
I don't really have a set budget, but I do know that I don't need a fancy $1500 wide screen gamer special. I really need help with deciding what hardware I need. There are so many different things to consider, especially when getting into the wireless router stuff. I notice a lot of laptops dont have 56K modems, so does that mean I have to set up a router for home use? Totally lost here. :D


Dave
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2007, 11:55:59 PM »
Well you have narrowed it down already by working out you dont need an expensive gaming graphics chip ;)

If you connect with dial-up then get one that still has a 56k modem built in. You can get an add-on one that plugs into the USB or PC-Card slot, but thats an extra cost and hassle.

Built in wireless is good if you are going to upgrade to a wireless router in the future, or travel someplace that has one. Otherwise it's not needed. You can allways connect to DSL or Cable broadband via the cat5 Ethernet port that it will have built in. Wireless can allways be added on later via USB or PC Card.

Make sure you get a heap of Ram, some of the lower spec machines are sold with minimal ram and it makes them real slugs. But dropping another 512 of ram in really perks them up for minimal cost.

New laptop should have a DVD writer built in, make sure it does. New cameras take video clips and have memory cards bigger than a CD can hold.

Get a 3 year warranty on a laptop. If a system board or screen fails after 18 months the unit is a throw away. At least if you have a warranty they have to repair or replace for you. After the three years, well you have got your moneys worth out of it, a few extra years is a bonus ;)

Check the battery life, it may be between 1.5 and 4 hours depending on the hardware and battery type. Do you need long battery life, or are you just looking for portability and will usually run it on mains? Cheaper laptops have smaller batteries and often use standard (cheaper) desktop CPUs, result is poor battery life. But if you dont use it on batteries it's a bargin laptop

Cheers

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2007, 12:06:13 AM »
Thanks, Ian, you just covered a lot of ground I didn't know about. Machine will be used at home most of the time, so I will probably have some sort of quasi docking station, with mains power and a fat finger sized keyboard. I will be using it on the road, as there are a few spots that offer faster than dialup wireless for free, so battery life may be a concern. Thanks.


Dave
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2007, 06:49:59 AM »
Look at the Toshiba ones at Staples to. The screens on any of the laptops are much better than they were 7 years go, much crisper. I've had this one a little over a year. I have a Win-Modem (software modem) and wireless built in and 4-USB 2.0 slots, firewire, SD slot, no floppy, DVD-RAM drive which reads and writes about any format DVD except DVD-RDL, Blue Ray and HD cd's. Does write DVD+RDL (double layer discs) 9.4 gig format. PCMCIA slot, VGA connector for external monitor, 15 inch display, head phone and mic jacks.

$1349 CDN a year ago. They were $999 a month or two later as I recall.
Move'n on.

Offline wesdor

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2007, 08:16:24 PM »
We have 10 Medion Computers used for training.  They were purchased for under $500 from the Aldi  Food Store.  If you don't need a lot of hand holding from a vendor, this might be a good solution for you.

Offline PawNature

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2007, 08:26:57 PM »
I just bought a toshiba from staples and sent it to my son in Irac. 599 with 150 rebate. I shopped for a week off and on. I knew enough to know when the salesman didn't have the faintest inkling of what he was talking about. Anyhoo it pretty much had everything swampdonkeys has. I have a Aspire that I got about a year ago for around 600 bucks from best buy. I have been told since to stay awayfrom them (mostly by best by salesmen trying to impress me) but I haven't had any problem with this one. it has been banged bumped and droped. It has taken a licken and just keeps on ticking.
GOVERMENT HAS WAY TO MUCH CONTROL OVER OUR LIVES!!!!

Offline Furby

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2007, 09:06:27 PM »
I have a 17" screen and it really is over kill.
I bought it as I planned for an all in one type thing for watching TV, DVD's and net use while on the road.
The size adds to the weight and I've come to where I'm thinking I'd rather have a smaller one.

Sony sells a "bright screen" that for me is almost too hard to look at. It is VERY crisp, but hard on my eyes.
I suggest looking at several side by side at a box store and compare the screens.

I've found I don't use the battery as much as I thought I would, but when I do, the 1.5 - 2 hours it lasts aren't near long enough.

If you get a laptop, get a wireless mouse!
Some have the sender end of things already built in and that is a plus as mine is an add on via USB and I've busted it off several times.

Black Friday, day after Thanksgiving to most, MIGHT have some deals worth looking at if you are looking to buy from a box store.
If you aren't in a hurry anyways, it won't hurt to see what they have and if you can get one.

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2007, 10:48:53 PM »
Thanks everyone, this is what I was looking for. Lots of things to think about that I wouldn't have even considered before. :)


Dave
Wood-Mizer LT40HDD51-WR Wireless, Kubota L48, Honda Rincon 650, TJ208 G-S, and a 60"LogRite!

Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #11 on: October 25, 2007, 10:30:10 AM »
Dave, I also have a big Toshiba with the clear, crisp screen. For me, and I did do side by sides, the Toshiba screen appealed to me the most. I am not a computer geek so i couldn't really compare all the guts to the other brands' guts.

I am probably going to get another soon for a backup and when I do, it will be the new Toshiba  Satellite with all the bells and whistles.
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Offline Kevin_H.

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #12 on: October 25, 2007, 11:09:52 AM »
I too have an Acer Aspire that I bought from WM, for about 700 bucks, so far so good.

seems to do all that I need.
Got my WM lt40g24, Setworks and debarker in oct. '97, been sawing part time ever since, Moving logs with a bobcat.

Offline clearcut

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #13 on: October 25, 2007, 08:08:05 PM »
If you dread Windows why not consider a Mac. The low end Mac laptops meet all but your dial-up criteria right out of the box. You should be able to get a USB modem.

After tomorrow, new Macs will ship with Leopard the latest Mac OS X operating system. They all have a DVD burner and built in wireless. iPhoto and the other included software works well. Mac OS X has few if any security issues - especially for folks that "are kind of lost when it comes to this stuff".

In addition bluetooth is built in so you can use a wireless keyboard and mouse instead of a docking station.

An extended warranty (AppleCare) is available. The screens are excellent and I like the feel of the keyboards. If you need additional RAM - it is usually much cheaper to buy it from an outside vendor rather than Apple.

One thing I have found is that Mac use are incredibly helpful if you log on to the right forum.


Online Corley5

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2007, 08:55:55 AM »
I bought a Toshiba Satellite at Wal Mart a year ago and have been thoroughly satisfied with it  8) 8) 8) 8)
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Offline iffy

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #15 on: October 26, 2007, 09:13:59 AM »
There is a website that tracks current sales and promotions. It is user-supported, and all the moderators do is check for legitimacy of the information. It is not brand-specific. www.techbargains.com . A lot of the specials on there will be Dell, because Dell runs more specials. It seems like they run a new one each Thursday.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #16 on: October 26, 2007, 06:23:07 PM »
Walmart even sells DELL here. But, I have not seen Dell flyers/ads in ages here, not even on TV. Although, I don't watch too much regular TV, mostly DVD.
Move'n on.

Offline wesdor

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #17 on: October 26, 2007, 10:15:29 PM »
It sounded to me like you were looking for a Windows machine (my earlier comment), but I have to second Clearcut's comments. 

I just upgraded my mac laptop to Leopard today and find it incredible!  (You Windows people might see something equivalent in about 5 years).

Like Clearcut says, the Mac has a lot of extras built in.  I happen to have one which does a dual boot and can use either Windows XP Pro or Mac OS Leopard (both at once).  Unfortunately, in order to have the capabilities of each machine you get beyond your $500 price range.

I work in both Windows and Mac environments and find the Mac to be much more productive.



Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2007, 07:10:23 AM »
You can load alternative OS's on windows machines, to Linux, to UAE, AROS, PS1. My laptop has all the features a Mac has. Plus I have software that Mac has no support for such as GIS.  All my ports came as is on my laptop. If there was the software and hardware, I'd skip both MS and Apple and go OS4.0. ;)   :D :D :D
Move'n on.

Offline tonich

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Re: Buying a laptop, maybe.
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2007, 07:41:40 AM »
Fry's Electronic has Compaq Presario F730US Laptop on sale today for:
$629.99-$150( Instanat Rebate)-$30 MIR= Total $449.99.

Specs:

Model
Brand COMPAQ
Series Presario
Model F730US(GR967UA)
Part# GR967UA
General
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
CPU Type AMD Athlon 64 X2 TK-55 1.8G
Screen 15.4" WXGA
Memory Size 1GB DDR2
Hard Disk 120GB
Optical Drive DVD Super Multi
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce Go 6100
Video Memory shared memory
Communication Modem, LAN and WLAN
Dimensions 14.05" x 10.12" x 1.0-1.56"
Weight 6.6 lbs.
Other Features Security:
Kensington MicroSaver lock slot
Power-on password
Accepts 3rd party security lock devices
CPU
CPU Type AMD Mobile Athlon 64 X2
CPU Speed TK-55(1.80GHz)
CPU L2 Cache 2 x 256KB
Display
Screen Size 15.4"
Wide Screen Support Yes
LCD Features High-Definition BrightView
Display Type Wide XGA
Resolution 1280 x 800
Operating Systems
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium
Graphics
GPU/VPU NVIDIA GeForce Go 6100
Video Memory Up to 288MB shared video memory
Graphic Type Integrated Card
Hard Drive
HD Capacity 120GB
HD RPM 5400rpm
HD Interface SATA
Memory
Memory Slots 2 x DIMM
Memory Size 1GB
Max Memory Supported 2GB
Optical Drive
Optical Drive Type DVD Super Multi
Optical Drive Interface Integrated
Optical Drive Spec LightScribe Super Multi 8X DVD±R/RW with Double Layer Support
Communications
Modem 56K
LAN 10/100Mbps
WLAN 802.11b/g Wireless LAN
Ports
USB 3
Video Port 1 x VGA, 1 x S-Video TV-out
Audio Ports 1 x Microphone jack; 1 x Headphone jack
Audio
Audio Integrated Sound card
Speaker Internal Altec Lansing speakers
Input Device
Touchpad Touch Pad with dedicated vertical and horizontal Scroll Up/Down pad
Keyboard 101-key compatible
Power
AC Adapter 65-watt AC adapter
Battery 6-cell lithium ion
Physical spec
Dimensions 14.05" x 10.12" x 1.0-1.56"
Weight 6.6 lbs.
Features
Software Included Security and Support:
Symantec Norton Internet Security 2007 (including 60 days complimentary live update)
HP Total Care Help & Support Center
PC Recovery (Softthinks Restore Solution)
Wireless Home Network

Multimedia:
Vongo
HP PhotoSmart Premier
HP DVD Play
Muvee AutoProducer DVD Edition with Burning
RealRhapsody
Roxio Digital Media Plus
Adobe Acrobat Reader
HP Games Powered by Wild Tangent

Productivity and Finance:
Microsoft Works
Microsoft Office 2007 Student and Teacher Edition: 60 Day Trial Version

Internet Solutions:
Easy Internet Sign-up plans include
- AOL Dial-Up
- Microsoft Internet Explorer



PS. Dave,
I don’t know if this will work for you, but is worth buying!
The sale is only today!


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