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  1. #1
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    Reccomend me a computer

    OK, so I finally think it's time I bought a computer. Probably laptop. (I've never owned any type of computer before). I currently use public computers and/or sponge off of others' computers.

    This is what I will be using it for:

    Typing (ms word or equivalent)
    Internets (self explanatory, I think)
    Email (webbased)
    DVD playing compatibility would be nice, but not essential


    I don't do music, pictures, graphics, computer games or any of that jazz.

    I want something reliable, that lasts a long time, and is not going to break. My gut instinct is to drop $1100 on a macbook and be done with it, but that's way overkill for my uses, and lots of money. I've looked at the basic $500 dell laptop, but ahve heard many horror stories of dell.

  2. #2
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Your needs are rather modest computation-wise, and any computer nowadays is more than capable. However, there are little niceties that make a difference, like having a good keyboard and screen and like having all the preinstalled bloatware (aka "trialware") uninstalled.

    I love Macs, but yeah, they're expensive. Our lab has a computer room of four Dell desktops that are never rebooted. (They've been continuously running for months on end, possibly over a year at this point.)

    Your biggest decisions are, in no particular order, what size screen you want and what OS you prefer to run. Once you've decided that, a reasonably computer-savvy friend should be able to help you with the rest with ease.
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  3. #3
    Hazardous Taerom's Avatar
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    Buy a $10,000 computer. It'll be a good investment.

    Whatever you do, don't buy an Acer.

  4. #4
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    I have had good Dell's and Bad ones. I currently have a Dell Inpiron 1420 that I really like, Weight is not bad, Screen is good, and I was able to get what I needed on it. HP's and compaq's have been good machines for me as well.

  5. #5
    ....gets the cheese Second Mouse's Avatar
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    We just replaced an 8-year-old mega-store Compaq computer with a Dell. $640 shipped. We're very happy with it and it was so much easier to set up and get going than the old Compaq.

    I've mostly heard good things about Dell desktops. Not so much the laptops, though.

  6. #6
    You Know!? For Kids! jsharr's Avatar
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    Laptop
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  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Dell has a decent laptop for $399. Look under small-business for the Vostro-100. Haven't had too many problems with Dell over the past decade. I think simply from the fact that they sell a large percentage of the computers out there, you'll hear a lot more about problems, even if their 0.1% error-rate is the same as anyone else's. Don't even get me started on Gateway... or Acer

  8. #8
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    I have found that some of the low end dual core HP laptops are pretty nice, but you should consider upgrading their RAM to 4 gigs.

  9. #9
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    Yea, the dell vostro 1000 was what caught my eye, I think that's dell's cheapest laptop.

    As for OS- I've used macs pretty much all my life, I've used macs from about 1990 vintage to current. I'm not real enamored with macs, but I won't buy a computer "just because it is or isn't a mac". The new features on macs seem to frustrate me. I'm looking for something that works. Reliably. With a minimum of bs and fiddling on my part.
    For my needs, the OS is pretty moot- I'm really looking for something that won't crap out on me.
    I'm typing this on a pc, and it is not easier or harder than macs I've used before. I believe I'm on xp- If anything it seems more straightforward and simple than mac's os.

    I've heard the microsoft vista stories. I've looked into linux, but I really want something ultrasimple- that i won't have to fiddle with at all. I'm not really well versed in something like linux- not computer ignorant, but not a wiz either.

    I saw the eeepc. It looks really cool- I'd love something like that, but a bit bigger, preferably dvd compatibility and larger hard drive. $400 for what it is is a bit overpriced, IMO.

  10. #10
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    One more thing- I think it goes with out saying, that I'd like this computer to last a while. I'd much rather NOT buy a new computer next year or the year after. I suppose a $1100 macbook that lasts 4 years or a $400 dell that lasts 2 years are a worthy consideration in economics.

  11. #11
    okay maybe not. mmerner's Avatar
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    get a dell dude!, no seriously get a mini mac.
    question everything.

  12. #12
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    Go with a platform you can work with. If you like Macs, go with a Macbook, because you can amortize the cost over a period of 3-5 years of use.

    Regardless of Mac or PC, get what you like working with on a daily basis.

  13. #13
    riding once again jschen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    I have found that some of the low end dual core HP laptops are pretty nice, but you should consider upgrading their RAM to 4 gigs.
    4 GB RAM is total overkill for such basic computing needs. Heck... on my iMac G5, with a typical list of open applications being Mail, Safari, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Powerpoint, ChemDraw, and Virtual PC, 2 GB is more than enough. When not running Virtual PC, 1 GB would do just fine. Our computers in the lab have 1 GB RAM, except our graphics machines, which have more.
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  14. #14
    J3L 2404 gbcb's Avatar
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    What about looking into a refurbished MacBook? You could save a fair chunk of money over a new one, and even a first-generation MacBook is going to be more than adequate for the uses you describe — I've got one, and am very happy with it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member AnthonyG's Avatar
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    For your purposes a second hand iMac would be fine. Heck a second hand eMac would do a great job and save you a bundle. Actualy go for an iMac. I've been using an eMac and its been fine for doing still digital imaging and more than powerful enough for your stated uses but the combo drive in it just started playing up. It still plays DVD's but it wont write them anymore. Apart from slightly too much fan noise its been a great computer and if you could find one with a Superdrive (record DVD's) it would probably run for quite a while yet reliably while being rather inexpensive.

    Anyway Mac or PC one very important factor is how well can you type on a laptop keyboard? Personally I don't get on with them at all. Full size desktop keyboards are much nicer if thats your main use of a computer.

    Regards, Anthony

  16. #16
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    It was Dell who chased me off into Mac-land.

    The extended warranty coverage was nice, but the frequency with which I used it was just silly. Now I'm on my second Mac.

    Get the MacBook. Look for Apple resellers who might have slightly older MacBooks still in stock on closeout.
    Die schokoladenseite des radfahrens.

  17. #17
    Senior Member crdean1's Avatar
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    Get the MacBook. The service and warranty, and turnaround of any work that needs to be done is worth it. Plus it is a Mac. I use my 'Blackbook' more than my MBP. I love the size and portability. Keep an eye on the refurbs on Apple's site for a good deal.

    Example on Service: I bought mine as a display at CompUSA, only it had only been out for a couple of days when they were closing. Anyway, one time the speaker quit working, and recently the HD died and was unsalvageable. In both instances, the Apple store took care of the repairs the same day at no cost. They even gave me a free retail copy of iLife 08 for my troubles.

    That's service!

    Oh, and...I noticed you've never owned a computer before. More the reason to go Apple. Ease of use. Also, the Apple stores do free seminars weekly for different software systems. So, one Saturday, you could go up there and learn iPhoto, a photo management and slideshow building tool that comes with every Mac. Or movie editing with iMovie, etc. All the more reason you will love a Mac.

    I don't work for them, I just switched a few years ago and will never own a PC again. Since then, 6 of my family members and 8 of my friends have switched, and they all feel the same way.

    http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPL...m=CertifiedMac
    Last edited by crdean1; 03-28-08 at 07:26 AM.

  18. #18
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I am still using a Dell Latitude D600 with Ubuntu OS. My work Desk top is also a dell and I've never had a problem other then WinXP OS problems on it for 3 plus years now. And yeah their warranties seem to be pretty good though I have yet to use it.

    You are not asking for much in a lap top so I'd go cheap and try to get one with WinXP not Vista...

  19. #19
    J E R S E Y S B E S T Jerseysbest's Avatar
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    Girlfriend spent $1000 on a Dell Inspiron laptop.

    For what it came with, it was a good deal, forget the exact specs but it came with 2gigs of ram and at least a 2.0ghz if not faster, maybe 2.2 or 2.4, duo core cpu (of course there was a stupid coupon involved, "spend 1500 and get $500 off" or something like that). I've installed Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop on it and it handles it well.
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  20. #20
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    I've been using dell laptops for the last 8-9 years now without any major issue. I always purchase the extended warranty with the laptops, but not on desktops.

    On one laptop I killed a hard drive by moving it around to rapidly while on. Called Dell at 5PM that evening and the next morning I had the computer up and running with the new drive.

    On another laptop the user literially typed out the keyboard and the keys just stopped responding. Dell replaced the keyboard in the next day. On the second and third time the keyboard stopped responding Dell still replaced the keyboard. I suspect the user was unusually harsh to their machine.

    On a third occasion I cracked the LCD monitor on one of our machines, the replacement screen and tech were at the office the next morning installing my machine. The Tech even cleaned out the internals for me, which were filled with dust by then. Gave me his card and said "call me if there are any troubles."

    Yes, Dell has had their ups and downs. But on the whole their service is really unmatched.

    If you are truly interested in a laptop, I have found the best value comes with Dell. If you buy through their business program they throw in the 3 year warranty for what amounts to be no extra charge. You can upgrade that three year warranty to on site/next day service for I believe about $99.

    I buy the computers for us here a www.wekeepyoucycling.com and because of that I've been seeing a lot of laptops for business in the $400-$500 range.

    Tip - if you purchase it over the phone through their business department I have usually been able to get the sales rep to knock 10-15% off their website price. Since you likely don't have abusiness just offer up your first and last name as the business name. It makes no difference to Dell.
    An employee of We Keep You Cycling

  21. #21
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    Anything made currently will be more than enough for what you are asking it to do. We all have opinions and here is mine, having built/sold computers for people for a while and still do:

    1) Go to Best Buy and get their least expensive laptop.
    2) Make sure it plays DVDs (I am sure 100% of them do these days).
    3) Buy extra RAM to max it out (but don't go over 3 Gigs as that is the sweet spot with 32-bit OSes).
    4) Have your friends help you clean out the crap that comes preinstalled, unless you like some of the trials, etc.

    That should last you until you break it, or 3 to 5+ years, whichever comes first. As far as brand? I have had better luck with the cheapest Compaq's than I have with higher-end enthusiast rigs. It just depends on how much you beat it, just like a car.

  22. #22
    Senior Member mustang1's Avatar
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    I bought a Dell XPS laptop in December 2007, excellent build quality, great keyboard and wonderful screen. It's running Vista which is ok. It's my first Dell, and the first laptop I bought with my own cash.

    However I dont know about build quality on lower end Dells.

    If you've never used a computer before, DONT go with XP. Stick with Vista, or better yet, Mac. If decide on a low-end machine, well your only choice is Windows. If however you might be tempted with a more expensive laptop, you might as well just get a MacBook instead. The 13" model, one up from the bottom of the range is usually the best one to go for price:bang ratio. This way you wont have to renew your antivirus and ant-spyware subscriptions annually, or remove the bloatware, or, well do anything else really.

    Ps: I was quite surprised at how little bloatware my Dell came with, but again I'm not sure about the cheaper models, they might come with more crap on them.

  23. #23
    Senior Member hos13's Avatar
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    My work provides me a new Dell about every 2 years, they work fine. I use my laptop anywhere from 6 to 12 hours a day. Typical the batteries no longer hold charge and keyboard will wear out, but after 2 years I figure we got our moneys worth. I'm looking into a toughbook for my next laptop.
    "Don't give up, don't ever give up" jimmyv

  24. #24
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    I would buy a low-end PC with Win XP if possible.

    Next, I would learn to use Linux if you are interested in keeping it running for a long time. Dual booting is an easy way to learn. Distros like Ubuntu are now easier to install than Windows. Installing software is also very easy nowadays.

  25. #25
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mmerner View Post
    get a dell dude!, no seriously get a mini mac.
    +1
    Get the mini Mac or the MacBook. Don't become a slave to the Windows Empire.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

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