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Old 12-09-08, 11:07 AM   #1
pgoat
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best place to buy a lap top right now?

i picked some foo brain on a new windows desktop some months ago but was putting off purchase till the economy settles down...now turns out i need a laptop asap that won't break the piggy bank...

where you y'all go for a good deal? I'm a bit skeered of used laptops but would consider it from a place with some form of warranty...

I need a decent HD (250GB min is fine, 500GB is better), fast processor would be great, maxed out memory and basic CD/DVD drive w/burner.

We have XP (no vista thanks) but I am always having issues not wanting to pay for Office Professional (about $400 and all I need it for is Access)...what about Open Office??

any thoughts?

Dell? Lenovo? Acer?
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Old 12-09-08, 11:12 AM   #2
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I alway go to Cnet when I am looking at computers, see what they like, and then go from there.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 12-09-08, 11:15 AM   #3
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i picked some foo brain on a new windows desktop some months ago but was putting off purchase till the economy settles down...now turns out i need a laptop asap that won't break the piggy bank...

where you y'all go for a good deal? I'm a bit skeered of used laptops but would consider it from a place with some form of warranty...

I need a decent HD (250GB min is fine, 500GB is better), fast processor would be great, maxed out memory and basic CD/DVD drive w/burner.

We have XP (no vista thanks) but I am always having issues not wanting to pay for Office Professional (about $400 and all I need it for is Access)...what about Open Office??

any thoughts?

Dell? Lenovo? Acer?
On open office, all our depts here at work use it without any problems. However I don't use Access so I don't how it compares.
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Old 12-09-08, 11:54 AM   #4
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834114534

Nice laptop. I like Toshiba. From what you said you wanted, this will do the trick, but unless you XP is 64 bit, you're not going to see all of the RAM.
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Old 12-26-08, 10:05 AM   #5
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I've been hearing Toshiba or Lenovo are the way to go (reliability).....

here's the thing - I need one fast....don't have a lot of dough....


I have the XP disc from our mid/late 90s machine...Home Version w/Service Pack 1 (for which I am thinking you just download free Service Pack 3 updates, yes?)


I was hoping to maximize my bang-per-buck here, so wondering if I can find a laptop without an OS installed - and would that even save me any $$$? I do know I have no interest in using Vista. I would be 'downgrading' to XP in any case.

also - any tips on whether to buy used/refurbished and where a reliable source is for that? If it's a lot cheaper I'd consider it but if we're talking $100 or so I'd rather get new w/warranty....
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Old 12-26-08, 10:07 AM   #6
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http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834114534

Nice laptop. I like Toshiba. From what you said you wanted, this will do the trick, but unless you XP is 64 bit, you're not going to see all of the RAM.
this does look pretty sweet btw - thanks Hickey
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Old 12-26-08, 10:14 AM   #7
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Old 12-26-08, 10:26 AM   #8
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already got one.

want a windows machine/laptop as a 2nd computer.
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Old 12-26-08, 10:29 AM   #9
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fify
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What's frightening is how coherent Hickey was in posting that.
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Old 12-26-08, 10:36 AM   #10
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now, now

I like my Mac just fine.

I am just tired of having one computer - when/if there is a problem, you;re screwed, even if temporarily...kinda like a two-car family with only one car....- sorry I meant bike.

Until very recently my needs for a laptop were slim to none, but since I want a second machine anyway, and could use a laptop I would just as soon have a Windoze thingy.

I'm leaning towards that Toshiba at New egg....found it much cheaper at Corcuit City but w/ half the HD and only 3GBRAM

Not sure if our XP is 32 or 64 bit...I believe it;s 64.
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Old 12-26-08, 10:42 AM   #11
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lap top....analog.

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Old 12-26-08, 10:51 AM   #12
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lap top....analog.

Those are good too, I had one last night
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Old 12-26-08, 10:52 AM   #13
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they overheat though. Just like the digital versions.
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Old 12-26-08, 10:59 AM   #14
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I just defrag the furballs once in a while...keeps the processors from overhoarking
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Old 12-26-08, 11:18 AM   #15
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already got one.

want a windows machine/laptop as a 2nd computer.
i don't understand your logic. why use a completely different system?
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Old 12-26-08, 11:38 AM   #16
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i don't understand your logic. why use a completely different system?
'Best of both worlds' approach.

I was told by mac people I would never miss my windows and the apple could do everything the Windows machine could, only better. As I say I am very happy with our Mac purchase but I have found that statement to not be true. I also like some things better about the Mac, and other things I prefer Windows' GUI....


Ultimately I know we could just use Parallels or a similar method to run XP on our Mac alongside OSX but for now I need a second machine/portability anyway so no harm in having that Toshiba.
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Old 12-26-08, 12:01 PM   #17
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About your laptop needs: Don't bother with RAM or HD size. Both are easily replaced/expanded (if you can patch a tube, you can replace a HD) and usually even cheaper than the store does it (if you buy an apple...don't even bother unless you want to pay 300% of the price).

Moreover, if you want bang for your buck, don't get an Apple. No matter what people say, they are expensive, although less so these days.

Furthermore, there is no silver bullet as to what is cheapest. It all depends on what you want and who makes it.

There are some guidelines though:

Acer consumer: Just don't do it...really, don't!
Lenovo: Great if you're going to lug it all over the place, if not, too expensive
Dell: Good support, decent hardware and good prices...don't expect it to last forever though
HP-Compaq business: Great build quality, though no Lenovo. Good support, also for Linux

With others I have little experience.

Again, you should ask yourself what you want and what that entails. Will it be a laptop which will travel a lot with you, or will it be one which just sits there and is occasionally transported to the couch for cosy photo viewing? Will you work on it while travelling or will you always use it close to a wallsocket?

Again, if you know what you want to do with it, you can find a good brand to go with it. Then you can find where you can buy it the cheapest. If you really have no clue, Dell is the way to go. As said before, good allrounders.

Finally, taking the OS off usually doesn't save you that much, if anything at all...don't make it a dealbreaker.
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Old 12-26-08, 12:09 PM   #18
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Thanks!

I would have gone dell a year ago but I have heard so many bad things recently I got scared off.

this would NOT go with me everywhere. I'd bring to about two monthly meetings in my water proof messenger bag (short 7 mile commute) and maybe bring when I fly for vaca (about 3-6x /year).

I replaced the RAM to max supported spec on our iMac no prob but wasn't sure how hard that would be with whatever laptop I wound up buying. 4 Gb RAM is plenty for me.....

I have a 320 GB external drive I'd be using with this laptop so no need to have a huge HD but I'd like a 320 if I can afford it (eg, under $1k).

I probably would like a long life battery but for my uses the plain jane OEM should be adequate - I hope.

Throw in the DVD burner and I am good to go.

Does anyone know how hard it would be to retrofit an updated USB card/sockets for that Toshiba once they release 3.0? I hoped to wait it out but at this point we're looking at late '09, yes?

One nice thing about our Mac is Firewire 800; but can't have everything, I realize.
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Old 12-26-08, 12:16 PM   #19
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I use Open Office and the only issues I had were some formatting ones in power point moving between OO and Office on a PC....pretty similar to problems you have with office between PC and Apple.

If you have XP, you can get SuSE on a Lenovo to save some $. I didn't like SuSE but Ubuntu has been working out great.
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Old 12-26-08, 02:04 PM   #20
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In that case, I'd go with a sturdy dell. Try one from their business line. Be sure that it has a single 2GB chip instead of 2 1GB chips.

Going with the standard option battery and an option for an extension could be nice, it gives you some extra options.

I don't know about the pricing or quality of the consumer Lenovo's, I fall right into the market for pro laptops:'( (Very expensive).

About the Firewire 800, don't worry so much. The USB interface on a Mac is apparently very poor, the PC ones do a lot better (hearsay, I never worked with Firewire)

Oh yeah, go with a 15.4" screen or something around that.

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Old 12-26-08, 02:58 PM   #21
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Does anyone know how hard it would be to retrofit an updated USB card/sockets for that Toshiba once they release 3.0? I hoped to wait it out but at this point we're looking at late '09, yes?

One nice thing about our Mac is Firewire 800; but can't have everything, I realize.
No way to update USB to 3.0 since the changes are in hardware. You can probably get PC-cards with USB3 if you need it. Firewire's the way to go if you want the ultimate in throughput. Even Firewire-400 puts USB2.0 to shame, so FW800 will keep you ahead for quite some time.

Circuit City was blowing out a lot of laptops at deep discounts. The best laptops, IMO are Sonys with metal or carbon-fibre cases. Circuit City had a lot of those when they started the going-out-of-biz sale, but the Sonys all went the first couple of days. At the end, they where clearing out the leftover HP/Compaqs at 50-80% OFF.

The amount of RAM you really need is based upon the OS you're using. Vista takes up 1gb all by itself so you'll need at least 2gb to run any software. Mac OSX consumes about 300-500mb, so you can actually do a lot with 1gb. Best scenario is to run a lightweight LINUX variation which only takes up 150-200mb. In which case, all you need is 512mb to be comparable to a 2gb Windows machine.

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Old 12-26-08, 03:32 PM   #22
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If OS X is what you're using now anyway, go with the Apple notebook. From what I've heard, Parallels works quite well, and by going that route, you don't have to be subjected to Windows' idiocy all of the time. Plus, I believe you can run one or more instances of Windows if you wish, and each of them is in their own sandbox, so you can blow them away if they become crusty and/or infected.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the XP disc you have likely won't work on another computer
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Old 12-26-08, 04:49 PM   #23
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Another thing to keep in mind is that the XP disc you have likely won't work on another computer
maybe ...maybe not...but you're right - only one way to be sure.....
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Old 12-26-08, 04:55 PM   #24
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I'm personally a big fan of asus machines. Newegg has a really decently spec'ed one for relatively cheap:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834220461
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Old 12-26-08, 04:58 PM   #25
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VMware Fusion is actually better than Parallels. Well, both functionally the same in that you can run Windows on a Mac, but Fusion 2 is faster. Although no longer free like the previous version of Fusion. Try the 30-day trial download for free and see how it works.

You'll also need WinXP+SP3. The SP1 and earlier versions had a buggy USB driver that didn't allow full USB 2.0 speeds on computers with the faster controllers (both Mac & PC). But it'll still work at 1.1 speeds.
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