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Help me buy a laptop

Ambulance Chaser

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I am looking for a laptop for personal use. I will be using it primarily at home, with some possible trips to the local coffeeshop. I will be using it to check e-mail, post on SF, and perhaps download tunes from ITunes. No viewing movies or anything like that. How powerful a computer do I need, and what models can you recommend? My dad works for IBM and may be able to get me a discount on a Lenovo.

Thanks in advance.
 

Jumbie

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Consider getting a netbook if that's all you're doing. Only issue might be storage space if you plan on downloading a lot from iTunes.

To answer your question, you really don't need a very powerful computer at all for what you said you're doing. If you're gonna be on the go a lot e.g. the coffeeshop, then battery life should be your primary concern IMO. Portability too. So look into one of the smaller 12 or 13" computers if you want something a bit better than a netbook.
 

JustinW

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The entry-level MacBook is hard to beat. But if your dad works for IBM, why not ask him what he can get you cheap and within your budget?
 

awxg

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Originally Posted by Ambulance Chaser
My dad works for IBM and may be able to get me a discount on a Lenovo.

Heck, if that's all you plan to do with a laptop, a refurb IBM ThinkPad R40 would do quite decent for under $100 I would imagine.
 

rnoldh

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A discount on a Lenovo would be tempting.

I will say that Vista still has plenty of bugs. Right now it's probably where Windows XP1 was after Service Pack 1

I would think budget.

If you are a smart online shopper, I'd say you can get a nice dual core chip, 3 GIG RAM, & about 160 GIG HD laptop for about $400-449

If your dad can can get you a Lenovo for that price or less, I would just do it.

BTW: The reason that I mentioned Vista as an OS consideration is that I'm still having problems with wireless connectivity. I recently bought 2 new laptops with a Vista OS. The one at home ( a 17" HP entertainment type desktop replacement ) is connected with a Lan cable and works relatively OK ( though no better than the one before it with XP ). I got a deal on the other laptop. It's a Dell XPS with Vista Ultimate, and great hardware. It's a $2,000 list machine ( though I didn't pay nearly that much ). It's got a super fast centrino chip, 4 GIGs of Ram, a 250 GIG 7200 RPM HD!, and other niceties like a great video card with dedicated 512 RAM. I say all that because it pisses me off like hell when I go to a Starbucks and I can't get online while some student with an old pentium 4 or even pentium 3 machine and gets right on if they are not running Vista, especially Vista Home Basic.

Long story short. Buy a Lenovo for $400-450 if that's in your budget. And if one of your needs is coffee house wireless connectivity, you might want to consider s a machine with an XP OS ( it will be hard to find, other than used, or some sort of dual boot set up ( Apple
) if that would make sense to you. And it will be more expensive,

And the good news in your situation is that retailers are hurting. Right now it's like trying to predict the bottom of the market, but I forsee some amazing deals the next 6 or 7 weeks. Retailers want their machines sold and not in inventory. It's very possible that you will see as $300 machine that will serve all your needs.
 

Jumbie

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Originally Posted by rnoldh
A discount on a Lenovo would be tempting.

I will say that Vista still has plenty of bugs. Right now it's probably where Windows XP1 was after Service Pack 1

I would think budget.

If you are a smart online shopper, I'd say you can get a nice dual core chip, 3 GIG RAM, & about 160 GIG HD laptop for about $400-449

If your dad can can get you a Lenovo for that price or less, I would just do it.

BTW: The reason that I mentioned Vista as an OS consideration is that I'm still having problems with wireless connectivity. I recently bought 2 new laptops with a Vista OS. The one at home ( a 17" HP entertainment type desktop replacement ) is connected with a Lan cable and works relatively OK ( though no better than the one before it with XP ). I got a deal on the other laptop. It's a Dell XPS with Vista Ultimate, and great hardware. It's a $2,000 list machine ( though I didn't pay nearly that much ). It's got a super fast centrino chip, 4 GIGs of Ram, a 250 GIG 7200 RPM HD!, and other niceties like a great video card with dedicated 512 RAM. I say all that because it pisses me off like hell when I go to a Starbucks and I can't get online while some student with an old pentium 4 or even pentium 3 machine and gets right on if they are not running Vista, especially Vista Home Basic.

Long story short. Buy a Lenovo for $400-450 if that's in your budget. And if one of your needs is coffee house wireless connectivity, you might want to consider s a machine with an XP OS ( it will be hard to find, other than used, or some sort of dual boot set up ( Apple
) if that would make sense to you. And it will be more expensive,

And the good news in your situation is that retailers are hurting. Right now it's like trying to predict the bottom of the market, but I forsee some amazing deals the next 6 or 7 weeks. Retailers want their machines sold and not in inventory. It's very possible that you will see as $300 machine that will serve all your needs.


n=1 is not a good sample size.

Myself and many other people don't have any problems with Vista (after SP1). Maybe it's just the partciular wireless card in your laptop.

There's also no such thing as a centrino chip.
 

Jumbie

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Just wanted to add that I don't think that Vista is perfect by any means. I have my desktop dual booting OS X 10.5.5 and Vista Business and I am typing this from Ubuntu right now. I just think it's a bit "shortsighted" to say that Vista has has problems because your wireless doesn't work at Starbucks. That could be any number of reasons.

People have problems with all kinds of computers/OSs.
 

Piobaire

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I too have had problems with my recent Vista notebook purchase and wireless connectivity. Problems I've never had with XP.

My best advice is don't buy Dell. I recently bought a new notebook just to game on. The one I bought from Toshiba was less than 1/3 the similarly equipped Dell. Get as much RAM, ROM, and processor as you can afford, to keep the notebook from being obsolete as long as possible.
 
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My gf has similar Vista wifi issues with her new HP lappie. Complained to her tech guy who said it was really common with Vista, and reinstalled XP in a dual boot arrangement. She is now using XP full time again.

Anyhow, off topic for Chris' thread. Mac user here, so bias stated upfront...but +1 on the Macbook. Lenovos are solid machines though, but even with papa-discount, you may still be looking at paying more than you would for a cheaper brand (notably Acer, but I can't claim to be happy with either of the Acers I have owned) purchased online with a discount...
 

NorCal

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If you can afford it, buy a Mac. I just did and love it. No problems, ever.
 

feynmix

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Lenovo thinkpads, especially on discount, are a great deal.
 

Dakota rube

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(Boy; wait 'til Slim gets a whiff of this thread...)
 

rnoldh

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Originally Posted by Jumbie
n=1 is not a good sample size.

Myself and many other people don't have any problems with Vista (after SP1). Maybe it's just the partciular wireless card in your laptop.

There's also no such thing as a centrino chip.


It's not just me by a long shot that is having problems with Vista, See here!

I'm sure you and many others don't have problems with Vista ( particularly after SP1 ), but I would definitely say that Vista users ( at this stage of it's development, are having more problems than XP users did, at the same stage of XP's development. While it may be my specific wireless card, I tend to doubt it. Even worse, the problem is sporadic and will go away for a while and then return.

You are obviously a much more knowledgeable computer user than I. Just the fact that you use Ubuntu sometimes says that you are a sophisticated user.

I asked my friend ( a computer science professor at Rice U. ) about this issue. He basically said that Vista is a POS and Microsoft is well aware of it. At this point they could hardly say, "we F'd up, and we'll go back to XP and improve it!"

The computer science professor directed me to this article in the MS knowledge base about the wireless connectivity problem. It has to do with pinging and IP 4 & IP 6. He said that if MS acknowledged there is a problem then there definitely is.

On my laptop there is a little 3/4" by 3/4" sticker that says Intel Centrino Duo. I assumed that referred to an Intel Centrino Duo processor chip. If that is not the case what does it refer to? If you'd like, I'll take a picture of the sticker.

Bottom line. Vista is probably OK ( at least the Premium and Ultimate versions ) if you are above average computer literate in knowledge and enjoy using the MS knowledge base and google to find fixes and patches for problems.

BTW: My Professor friend said that it is a legendary tale that Bill Gate enjoys using Linux, because it is open source and allows him to tinker anonymously. I don't know if this is true but I can certainly believe it. The number of enterprise type users or even medium to large size companies ( let's say 100+ computers ) that have upgraded from XP to Vista is very small. It might be in single digits,

Do any of you IT guys out there know of a large company that has upgraded to Vista?
 

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