OT: Need Help Buying New Computer | The Boneyard

OT: Need Help Buying New Computer

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Hans Sprungfeld

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Current computer is 2011HP 15" laptop, W7 Pro, 320gb HD, 4gb RAM, some kind of AMD processor. It's done what I've needed if to do, but HD is nearly maxed, and I just got a "No Network Hardware" message that has thrown me offline and then got me thinking about just turning this into a media server to stream from iTunes and feed digital photo frame via Bluetooth. I don't game, edit photos or video, or do graphics. My MS Office data is less than 5gb. I L keep lots of Firefox tabs open, word process, some minimally calculating Excel, email, and seem to have no fancy high power needs. My phone is Android, and have iPad, iPod, & Nexus tablet, which leaves me reluctant to get a Mac Airpbook, though some friends have recommended that.

How should I proceed?

Solid state memory? Which OS? What to know? What to spend?
My last 2 laptops were under $500 w/better than a Celeron chip. I have more than that saved in my tech fund.
Help me get started.
Thanks.
 

WeAreUCONN

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Go to your Local Kmart and Buy whatever the Blue Light Special is ;)

6a00d8341c652b53ef0167622a8182970b-800wi.jpg
 

jleves

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Current computer is 2011HP 15" laptop, W7 Pro, 320gb HD, 4gb RAM, some kind of AMD processor. It's done what I've needed if to do, but HD is nearly maxed, and I just got a "No Network Hardware" message that has thrown me offline and then got me thinking about just turning this into a media server to stream from iTunes and feed digital photo frame via Bluetooth. I don't game, edit photos or video, or do graphics. My MS Office data is less than 5gb. I L keep lots of Firefox tabs open, word process, some minimally calculating Excel, email, and seem to have no fancy high power needs. My phone is Android, and have iPad, iPod, & Nexus tablet, which leaves me reluctant to get a Mac Airpbook, though some friends have recommended that.

How should I proceed?

Solid state memory? Which OS? What to know? What to spend?
My last 2 laptops were under $500 w/better than a Celeron chip. I have more than that saved in my tech fund.
Help me get started.
Thanks.
Well howdy ho - my wheel house. I'm stupidly on top of all things computer (0k, it's my job). Anyhow, I need more information. I have no idea what 'no network hardware' means or why it would mean you need a new laptop.

However, if you think you do need new hardware, I need to know if you want a laptop or desktop and what your budget is. If you are going laptop, do you want it be very portable? Do you have a screen size requirement -= 13" 15"17"?

So let me know: Budget, Laptop/Desktop, Screen size (if laptop), Portability requirements (if laptop)
 
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I pretty much have the same usage needs as you. Had an old Dell that started getting stupid on me, so I went down to Walmart and bought a Toshiba Satellite for 300 bucks with Windows 8.1.
After spending 1-2 hours getting 8.1 to stop doing stupid things (not let me write to a thumb drive, for example, or trying to start on a touch screen like set of rectangle icons I could care less about), I actually found that I like 8.1. Not bad. The one drawback for me was that 8.1 would not install and run my 2003 Office suite. Hilarious, really, given that it runs every old program I have other than the MS. So I spent 90 bucks or so and got the 2010 Office Suite - and guess what? After some getting used to, I actually like it better than the old one. So win win on that.
The computer itself does everything I need it to do. I have not yet heard it, other than the optical disk drive. I know the optical drive is probably close to being no longer offered on laptops, but I have a bunch of discs I still use and I didn't want to have to transfer to a USB device.
The image is bright, the machine is acceptable in terms of speed, but clearly not winning any races. The mouse pad is good, the keyboard is subpar. More harddrive than I'll probably ever use.

My point to all of that is that I don't believe that you can go wrong if you want to spend 500 on a non-Apple laptop. I got everything I needed for 300 bucks.

That's a long winded way of saying, "what Fishy said."
 
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I just bought a Lenovo. So far, so good. Hybrid hard drive. Touch screen. Super light and fast. I would recommend it.
 

August_West

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minidarren said:
I just bought a Lenovo. So far, so good. Hybrid hard drive. Touch screen. Super light and fast. I would recommend it.
.
Lenovos are very decent right now , I'm the IT decision maker for a medium business and while we are traditionally a dell shop ( who isn't?) every laptop I've put in the field in the last 18 months has been a Lenovo. Really like them.

OP . Solid state hard drives are great but you will pay for it. I've been paying about 1100 dollars for solid state 180 gb drives with i7 Intels with. 8 gb of ram.
One recommendation whatever you end up with get at least 8 gb of ram .

I'm still partial to win 7 ( and obviously so for work use) but have a couple win 8 touch screen all in ones at home and they are good there if you don't mind the learning curve.
 
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I recently bought a Chromebook. Cost me about $225 and does everything I typically need to do - plus it's light, fast and hassle-free. Note that I use a traditional winbook at work and I have a win8.1 workhorse laptop that sits around waiting for the 5% of stuff I might need to do that the Chromebook can't do or can't do well enough. But based on your usage profile a Chromebook might work for you too. Take out your laptop's hard drive and plop it into an external drive enclosure to keep your old data accessible. Chromebooks come with 100gb of google drive space so you should be ok there too.
 
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My advice is to wait for the holidays sale and in the meantime you could buy a USB hard drive and back up all the files from you computer there and then do a system restore to factory setting and your computer will reset every thing to the day you first bought your computer.
 

Hans Sprungfeld

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Well howdy ho - my wheel house. I'm stupidly on top of all things computer (0k, it's my job). Anyhow, I need more information. I have no idea what 'no network hardware' means or why it would mean you need a new laptop.

However, if you think you do need new hardware, I need to know if you want a laptop or desktop and what your budget is. If you are going laptop, do you want it be very portable? Do you have a screen size requirement -= 13" 15"17"?

So let me know: Budget, Laptop/Desktop, Screen size (if laptop), Portability requirements (if laptop)

ALL so far is very helpful, including the "buy anything" thoughts which aren't too far afield from what I did the last two times. I posted because once my brain was swirling on its own with thoughts of Chromebook, Lenovo, Toshiba, touchscreen, Surface/tablet hybrid, Airbook, solid state, 8gb RAM, TigerDirect closeout, W7/8.1 . . . I knew I need MORE SWIRLING VOICES.

The "No network hardware" message went away after I pushed a wireless icon button to the right of the f12 key. Go figure . . . and a shoutout to PS, who rents an extra bedroom. This was much easier than dealing w/a "You need a driver, so download one" message when I had no way of downloading. (Download how???) So I'm back in business right now.

I got the media server idea because most of my dwindling HD is taken up by iTunes (exceeding iPod Classic capacity) & photos, The various ways that I've sent TuneIn, Google Music, Pandora and the like to several adequate-enough Bluetooth speakers & receivers makes me think that front porch, back patio, kitchen, laundry room, basement, dining room and den can all be handled this way on a rotating basis.

DISCLOSURE: I have a500gb external HD that I received when I digtized VHS/8mm home movies into DVD, but I feel too stupid to just move the iTunes library there. That would be the subject of another OT: Tech Help Wanted post, and probably the simplest get-it-done-today idea. Maybe even simpler than just getting a new, cheap computer and migrating apps & data. A better Plan B?

If so: HELP WANTED.

Anyway, because I continually fund a Tech savings account, so I was taking the HD maxing out and the connectivity disappearance as a 'sign' that maybe I might get a new computer that sometimes leaves the house, but primarily does the simple tasks I outlined. That's the long way of saying that I have no true 'need,' and might just be procrastinating on a bank holiday from dry-vacuuming the basement, cooking roma tomatoes from the garden, reloading a newly refinished desk, and otherwise continuing with my extended move into a new home life.

Chromebook might actually be 'enough,' though I was thinking of another 'poor man's desktop replacement' as I review the adequateness of what I've used for the last 6 years: Dell Inspiron & HP ProBook, both 15, the first w/XP after Vista was available and the second w/W7 as W8 was imminent. But then I started wondering if maybe this is my 'last laptop.' (Hah!)

To answer your questions jleves, I've not been too thrilled w/the feel of the (full) HP keyboard vs the prior Dell, but I do have a wireless external keyboard if the need arises, and I also have an external 20 inch monitor, neither of which I've ever set up in the year since I moved from Fairfield to New Haven County. So portable laptop, without premium price for super portable. Maybe the current computer's optical drive is sufficient. Actually the W7 machine is still operable; I'd just have to wipe clean corrupted software/drivers/something & reload OS and that could be a media server.

That's enough babbling. Besides, I'm interested in more new messages that have arrived. And, yes, I read Dogmania & Champs & other long posts.
 
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It's been a while since I bought my last one and I am by no means a computer expert, but there is a lot of info out there. Use a site like dealspl.us that is an aggregate of all the other sites out there and computer geeks rate and comment on the best deals. Research what the best processors are and best memories going. I like a large battery for flights, a large screen to watch movies on and a big hard drive at the best deal I can get. Trade off is not as portable, but that's fine for me. But its all about what you want, just research. It seems like you're on you way though.
 

jleves

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ALL so far is very helpful, including the "buy anything" thoughts which aren't too far afield from what I did the last two times. I posted because once my brain was swirling on its own with thoughts of Chromebook, Lenovo, Toshiba, touchscreen, Surface/tablet hybrid, Airbook, solid state, 8gb RAM, TigerDirect closeout, W7/8.1 . . . I knew I need MORE SWIRLING VOICES.

The "No network hardware" message went away after I pushed a wireless icon button to the right of the f12 key. Go figure . . . and a shoutout to PS, who rents an extra bedroom. This was much easier than dealing w/a "You need a driver, so download one" message when I had no way of downloading. (Download how???) So I'm back in business right now.

I got the media server idea because most of my dwindling HD is taken up by iTunes (exceeding iPod Classic capacity) & photos, The various ways that I've sent TuneIn, Google Music, Pandora and the like to several adequate-enough Bluetooth speakers & receivers makes me think that front porch, back patio, kitchen, laundry room, basement, dining room and den can all be handled this way on a rotating basis.

DISCLOSURE: I have a500gb external HD that I received when I digtized VHS/8mm home movies into DVD, but I feel too stupid to just move the iTunes library there. That would be the subject of another OT: Tech Help Wanted post, and probably the simplest get-it-done-today idea. Maybe even simpler than just getting a new, cheap computer and migrating apps & data. A better Plan B?

If so: HELP WANTED.

Anyway, because I continually fund a Tech savings account, so I was taking the HD maxing out and the connectivity disappearance as a 'sign' that maybe I might get a new computer that sometimes leaves the house, but primarily does the simple tasks I outlined. That's the long way of saying that I have no true 'need,' and might just be procrastinating on a bank holiday from dry-vacuuming the basement, cooking roma tomatoes from the garden, reloading a newly refinished desk, and otherwise continuing with my extended move into a new home life.

Chromebook might actually be 'enough,' though I was thinking of another 'poor man's desktop replacement' as I review the adequateness of what I've used for the last 6 years: Dell Inspiron & HP ProBook, both 15, the first w/XP after Vista was available and the second w/W7 as W8 was imminent. But then I started wondering if maybe this is my 'last laptop.' (Hah!)

To answer your questions jleves, I've not been too thrilled w/the feel of the (full) HP keyboard vs the prior Dell, but I do have a wireless external keyboard if the need arises, and I also have an external 20 inch monitor, neither of which I've ever set up in the year since I moved from Fairfield to New Haven County. So portable laptop, without premium price for super portable. Maybe the current computer's optical drive is sufficient. Actually the W7 machine is still operable; I'd just have to wipe clean corrupted software/drivers/something & reload OS and that could be a media server.

That's enough babbling. Besides, I'm interested in more new messages that have arrived. And, yes, I read Dogmania & Champs & other long posts.
OK - I got this covered.

Go to Costco and get whatever feels best to you in terms of screen size, image quality and weight. Just make sure it has a primary SSD drive. It will cost a little more with an SSD but the performance improvement is well worth it. Costco extends the warranty on most electronics so you should be good to go.
 
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I've been using home computers since 1983 and windows since it first came out. I finally got sick enough of the performance degradation and general hassles of maintaining a windows laptop. Ain't nobody got time for dat. I'm happy with my purchase of the Chromebook - I open it and it's immediately ready to do my bidding. Often when I open my windows laptops it takes a while to get going and then fund that windows has assign all kinds of maintenance projects for me to finish before I can do any work. And on top of it all it's slow as heck. My win8.1 is an i5 with 6gb of memory and dedicated 1gb of video memory. Actually - turns out that its pretty fast now with the ssd I recently put inside. Point being - windows takes too much power to run smoothly.

Long story short - if you're getting a windows machine make sure you have lots of power and get a machine with an ssd - if only as part of a hybrid.
 
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Current computer is 2011HP 15" laptop, W7 Pro, 320gb HD, 4gb RAM, some kind of AMD processor. It's done what I've needed if to do, but HD is nearly maxed, and I just got a "No Network Hardware" message that has thrown me offline and then got me thinking about just turning this into a media server to stream from iTunes and feed digital photo frame via Bluetooth. I don't game, edit photos or video, or do graphics. My MS Office data is less than 5gb. I L keep lots of Firefox tabs open, word process, some minimally calculating Excel, email, and seem to have no fancy high power needs. My phone is Android, and have iPad, iPod, & Nexus tablet, which leaves me reluctant to get a Mac Airpbook, though some friends have recommended that.

How should I proceed?

Solid state memory? Which OS? What to know? What to spend?
My last 2 laptops were under $500 w/better than a Celeron chip. I have more than that saved in my tech fund.
Help me get started.
Thanks.

windows 7 over windows 8, microsoft will no longer support windows so no more patches and that sort. also it looks funky and take more resources.
memory is very importan even more then hard drive size, 4 is the minimum obvious the more the better. also see if that laptop has room for more memory upgrade.
For processor go with a quadcore, quadcores let you have more windows, or programs open without slowing your computer down, this and memory come hand to hand.

how to chose form an intel and amd processor, while intel are a bit faster amd gives you similar performance for a lower price. intel's new processors come with hyper threading which gives your virtual cores example a quadcore becomes and 8 core of some sort. amd newer processor oh though not hyper threading will give you similar performance for a much much lower price.
amd also have 6 core and 8 core processor with actual real cores unlike the virtual that intel has, and again for a much lower price however i dont know if those are out for laptops. also the majority of amd processor come with integrated graphic cards with dedicated memory which lets you play video games.

amd laptops will always be cheaper, when buying laptop speak to diffrent sales people and ask them does this have room for an extra memory stick or future upgrades in the future if they can't anwser that they obviously dont know about computer and will just sell you anything.
 
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I've been using home computers since 1983 and windows since it first came out. I finally got sick enough of the performance degradation and general hassles of maintaining a windows laptop. Ain't nobody got time for dat. I'm happy with my purchase of the Chromebook - I open it and it's immediately ready to do my bidding. Often when I open my windows laptops it takes a while to get going and then fund that windows has assign all kinds of maintenance projects for me to finish before I can do any work. And on top of it all it's slow as heck. My win8.1 is an i5 with 6gb of memory and dedicated 1gb of video memory. Actually - turns out that its pretty fast now with the ssd I recently put inside. Point being - windows takes too much power to run smoothly.

Long story short - if you're getting a windows machine make sure you have lots of power and get a machine with an ssd - if only as part of a hybrid.

The more programs you install the slower your computer will run,even if you uninstall a program it still leaves a foot print in the registry. Also when you install programs some automatic set themselves to run as soon as you turn your computer on and its why it takes a while for windows to load up.

I use a free program called CCleaner which cleans my registry, also cleans the hars drive from junk that clutters example empty folders and stuff left behind from uninstalled programs. It also has feature which lets you control which programs you want to start when you turn on your computer.

Windows also lets you select which programs to run when you start. Simply click the start button on the taskbar and type in "MSCONFIG" click on it and a window will pop with 5 tabs click on the start up and uncheck programs that you down want to run when you start windows and click apply, the only programs you want to run at sratup are windows based and your antivirus.
 
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The more programs you install the slower your computer will run,even if you uninstall a program it still leaves a foot print in the registry. Also when you install programs some automatic set themselves to run as soon as you turn your computer on and its why it takes a while for windows to load up.

I use a free program called CCleaner which cleans my registry, also cleans the hars drive from junk that clutters example empty folders and stuff left behind from uninstalled programs. It also has feature which lets you control which programs you want to start when you turn on your computer.

Windows also lets you select which programs to run when you start. Simply click the start button on the taskbar and type in "MSCONFIG" click on it and a window will pop with 5 tabs click on the start up and uncheck programs that you down want to run when you start windows and click apply, the only programs you want to run at sratup are windows based and your antivirus.

Piriform Defraggler is a good one too.
 
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Windows also lets you select which programs to run when you start. Simply click the start button on the taskbar and type in "MSCONFIG" click on it and a window will pop with 5 tabs click on the start up and uncheck programs that you down want to run when you start windows and click apply, the only programs you want to run at sratup are windows based and your antivirus.
Heads up to anybody getting into MSCONFIG. Be sure you know what you're doing. You uncheck a program that is required for wireless or audio or networking or display and you may have a heck of time figuring out what is going on. Also, be very cautious about turning off services - there are Window's services that aren't really optional, and which, if turned off, will cause fatal system errors.
MSCONFIG is not for basic level users.
 

intlzncster

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Heads up to anybody getting into MSCONFIG. Be sure you know what you're doing. You uncheck a program that is required for wireless or audio or networking or display and you may have a heck of time figuring out what is going on. Also, be very cautious about turning off services - there are Window's services that aren't really optional, and which, if turned off, will cause fatal system errors.
MSCONFIG is not for basic level users.

To add on, if you are going to uncheck services, and don't know what you are doing, sort by manufacturer first. Anything Microsoft just leave alone.

Unchecking startup programs is pretty simple. You can pretty much uncheck anything that's not Microsoft, antivirus or graphics card related. The programs you uncheck will start normally when you access them from your session anyway.
 
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The more programs you install the slower your computer will run,even if you uninstall a program it still leaves a foot print in the registry. Also when you install programs some automatic set themselves to run as soon as you turn your computer on and its why it takes a while for windows to load up.

I use a free program called CCleaner which cleans my registry, also cleans the hars drive from junk that clutters example empty folders and stuff left behind from uninstalled programs. It also has feature which lets you control which programs you want to start when you turn on your computer.

Windows also lets you select which programs to run when you start. Simply click the start button on the taskbar and type in "MSCONFIG" click on it and a window will pop with 5 tabs click on the start up and uncheck programs that you down want to run when you start windows and click apply, the only programs you want to run at sratup are windows based and your antivirus.

Yes I know all that stuff - and i should've mentioned I've been in the software development industry for the past 20 years. The need for all those tools and tricks further supports my assertion that windows sucks ass. If I, as someone who wrote code for windows applications for about 10 years, get frustrated by windows then imagine what the average non technical user goes through. Not even to mention that those tools and tricks don't do a very good job. This means that a group of people, whose sole professional objective is to fix windows perfomance degradation, can't get it done well. That whole industry should not have to exist in the first place. In the end, the best way to get your system back to its fighting weight is to reinstall windows.
 
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IMind

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I got the media server idea because most of my dwindling HD is taken up by iTunes (exceeding iPod Classic capacity) & photos, The various ways that I've sent TuneIn, Google Music, Pandora and the like to several adequate-enough Bluetooth speakers & receivers makes me think that front porch, back patio, kitchen, laundry room, basement, dining room and den can all be handled this way on a rotating basis.

DISCLOSURE: I have a500gb external HD that I received when I digtized VHS/8mm home movies into DVD, but I feel too stupid to just move the iTunes library there. That would be the subject of another OT: Tech Help Wanted post, and probably the simplest get-it-done-today idea. Maybe even simpler than just getting a new, cheap computer and migrating apps & data. A better Plan B?

Media servers are the devil. I've spent years wasting my life on various media servers and windows media center and the like. It's FAR easier to move your iTunes library to an external HD and just mount it... or if you want to get slightly more advanced a cheap NAS device. I just bought a cheap NAS device and am in the process of moving all my media to that. Most of them will work as an iTunes servers or DLNA media servers. I wouldn't use a PC even the best software is a hassle compared to using a NAS.
 

intlzncster

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Media servers are the devil. I've spent years wasting my life on various media servers and windows media center and the like. It's FAR easier to move your iTunes library to an external HD and just mount it... or if you want to get slightly more advanced a cheap NAS device. I just bought a cheap NAS device and am in the process of moving all my media to that. Most of them will work as an iTunes servers or DLNA media servers. I wouldn't use a PC even the best software is a hassle compared to using a NAS.

Raspberry Pi ftw.
 
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I pretty much have the same usage needs as you. Had an old Dell that started getting stupid on me, so I went down to Walmart and bought a Toshiba Satellite for 300 bucks with Windows 8.1.
After spending 1-2 hours getting 8.1 to stop doing stupid things (not let me write to a thumb drive, for example, or trying to start on a touch screen like set of rectangle icons I could care less about), I actually found that I like 8.1. Not bad. The one drawback for me was that 8.1 would not install and run my 2003 Office suite. Hilarious, really, given that it runs every old program I have other than the MS. So I spent 90 bucks or so and got the 2010 Office Suite - and guess what? After some getting used to, I actually like it better than the old one. So win win on that.
The computer itself does everything I need it to do. I have not yet heard it, other than the optical disk drive. I know the optical drive is probably close to being no longer offered on laptops, but I have a bunch of discs I still use and I didn't want to have to transfer to a USB device.
The image is bright, the machine is acceptable in terms of speed, but clearly not winning any races. The mouse pad is good, the keyboard is subpar. More harddrive than I'll probably ever use.

My point to all of that is that I don't believe that you can go wrong if you want to spend 500 on a non-Apple laptop. I got everything I needed for 300 bucks.

That's a long winded way of saying, "what Fishy said."
I have Windows XP Pro Office (just word and excel for now) loaded on 8.1, and it works. It's all going away soon anyway.
 
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