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Author Topic: Advice on new laptop computer  (Read 1483 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marat
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« on: December 29, 2007, 09:33:15 PM »

I'm going to buy a laptop soon and wanted to get your opinions on a few things.

First, I was wondering about the difference in wireless connections. I understand the latest technology is 802.11n, but it is not widespread yet. Would you say it is important to have that as part of a new computer? I don't mind paying more for it if it is something truly important, but otherwise I need to keep the cost under control.

Second, I see the hard drives are not the same as on desktops. Instead of the 7200rpm of a desktop, the laptops I've seen tend to use 5400rpm, or even sometimes only 4200. Is this something to be concerned with, and if so, how much? Again, I don't mind paying more for something, but only if it is worth it. Are the slower drives noticeably slower? Would a 4200rpm be a bad idea on a computer I like otherwise?

I've never had a laptop before, so the last thing I wanted to ask is if there is anything else I should be aware of? I believe there is supposed to be a new processor coming out in January, so I thought I might wait for that to see if prices for non cutting edge computers goes down a bit. I understand with Vista you should get 2GB of memory. Is that correct? Any other advice?

The computer will be for just regular use (not gaming) both at home and school. Yes, school. I have finally made my way to college 20 years after most people do.
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Athanasios
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« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2007, 09:59:21 PM »

Hello,

One thing to be aware of is that you're going to pay a performance price for going to a laptop - although the gap keeps shrinking every year. I think it's at the point where a normal user won't notice it unless they go for gaming, video/audio editing, and other resource intensive uses. And you also pay more for everything on a laptop.

Another thing to be aware of is that it will be warm. When it is at peak usage, it may not be comfortable to have it in your lap due to heat.

Also, it is fragile. It will break quite easily and the components will not last as long as with a desktop - though, again, they are improving this all the time.


The question you need to ask yourself is - how important is mobility for me? If it is essential, then go for a laptop. If not, I would recommend a desktop. Of course, that is just my opinion.


Any other questions, clarifications, etc.?
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« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2007, 10:06:11 PM »

1.  802.11n probably won't become truly widespread for another few years.  The n out right now is actually a draft version, but probably isn't going to vary much from the final.  If you can find a card that is 802.11n/g/b and is not too much more than a similar 802.11g/b, I would get it.  But it isn't too important.

2.  4200 RPM, 3600 RPM and lower are fairly slow by todays standards and you will notice things working slower, especially with larger files.  5400 RPM is more or less the standard, and it is a good compromise between speed and price.  7200 RPM HDD are available but are more expensive for the amount of space you will get.  Just think, in a number of years we will probably saying goodbye to HDD in general and ushering in more solid state drives.

3.  Yup, the next round of Intel Core 2 processors are being released at the end of December and beginning of January, so if you can wait, prices will slowly start to drop.  2 GB of RAM is a good choice, especially if you are choosing to run Vista.  Other things to look out for...  since you are using it at home and school make sure it is a mobile processor, a smaller screen (probably don't need 17 or 19 inches), investigate the batery life (the number they list is the absolute ideal, expect lower), and watch the weight (remember you have to carry it around).  Since you are not gaming, I cannot really think of anything else, since an integrated sound and video card should work out fine.
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« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2007, 05:59:51 AM »

Thanks for your responses guys. I appreciate it.
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prodromos
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« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2007, 09:34:45 PM »

Not having ever owned a laptop, I'm not sure how valuable my experience will be however...
If you find what appears to be a really good deal on a laptop, do a bit of research before you buy. Try and find technical forums where users of the same model can be found and look around for problems. I currently have a non-functioning Dell for which a class action suit was successfully filed in the US. This model and others similar all failed shortly out of warranty due to one of a couple of design flaws. You don't want to buy a bargain only to find it is a lemon.

Regularly clear fluff from air vents. Do not neglect this and your laptop will live longer. Excessive heat can shorten the life of the hard drive and can potentially cause ball grid array chips to partially separate from the motherboard (one of the Dell flaws).

Disable as many of the bells and whistles of the Windows graphical interface as you can (ie use the Classic Windows profile). The computer will appear much more responsive as it doesn't have to waste time displaying eye candy.

I hope this is helpful.

John
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« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2007, 10:09:36 PM »

Hi Marat,

I just wanted to let you know that my husband suggested you check out Mr. Notebook on 24th and Rio Grande.  They have new and refurbished laptop of all varieties...and you can go and check them out yourself before you make a purchase.  Take a look at their website.  Good luck,    Juliana Smiley
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Marat
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2007, 10:26:49 PM »

Hi Marat,

I just wanted to let you know that my husband suggested you check out Mr. Notebook on 24th and Rio Grande.  They have new and refurbished laptop of all varieties...and you can go and check them out yourself before you make a purchase.  Take a look at their website.  Good luck,    Juliana Smiley

Thank you! I hadn't heard of that place. I'll be sure and check it out.
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