buying a new laptop

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way2GoDonny
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buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Mon May 27, 2013 3:50 pm

Please help me.

I am thinking of buying a Lenovo Thinkpad edge. I wanted a 8 GB RAM and my wife insisted on a Intel i5 Processor. This is for our home laptop ( to use for personal stuff). I have a HP laptop at work which I do not like. I had a Dell in the past and didn't like it. My wife last workplace gave her a Thinkpad which was really good and hence leaning towards a Lenovo Thinkpad. I wanted to hear what the wise men at Bogleheads think about our selection below.

One question is about the price. It is coming around $800. But we are thinking it will last us for the next 3 to 4 years, given i5 processor and 8 GB RAM. I do not do gaming. I will use for personal banking, running some programs etc. I will on ocassion use for Netflix streaming.

High level these are the specs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ThinkPad Edge E431 - 1 Yr Depot Warranty $729.00 $729.00
Processor Intel Core i5-3230M Processor (3.20GHz, 3MB Cache, 1600MHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4000
Operating System Language Windows 8 64 English
Memory 8 GB DDR3L - 1600MHz (2 DIMM)
Hard Drive 320GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Wireless Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 & Bluetooth 4.0 (2x2 BGN & BT4)
Warranty Type 1 Year Depot/Express Warranty

Thanks!

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Brantley
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Brantley » Mon May 27, 2013 4:04 pm

I'd wait for the new Haswell chips that are coming out if you'd like to future proof your computer. Biggest impact will be battery life and power consumption. You're seeing a lot of computers going for cheap now as they are being dumped in anticipation of the new processors.
~Brantley

way2GoDonny
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Mon May 27, 2013 4:35 pm

Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.

windaar
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by windaar » Mon May 27, 2013 4:39 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:Operating System Language Windows 8 64 English
Make sure that you're really up for Windows 8. I find it so awkward and annoying that for our new family laptop I got one with 7, which does everything we want seamlessly.

way2GoDonny
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Mon May 27, 2013 5:31 pm

thanks windaar.

Will I lose out on anything since I am not on the latest OS.

ieee488
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by ieee488 » Mon May 27, 2013 5:56 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:Will I lose out on anything since I am not on the latest OS.
No, unless you are planning sticking with Windows XP which loses support from Microsoft in April 2014.
Dell Optiplex 3020 (Win7 Pro), Dell Precision M6300 (Ubuntu Linux 12.04), Dell Precision M6300 (Win7 Pro), Dell Latitude D531 (Vista)

windaar
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by windaar » Mon May 27, 2013 5:57 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:Will I lose out on anything since I am not on the latest OS.
Hard to say; I'm sure others will weigh in. For basic tasks, it takes a while for an OS to become truly obsolete. Windows XP launched 12 years ago and is still being used by many businesses, and Microsoft support for XP is still in effect, slated to end in April of next year. Windows 7 is only 4 years old. Buying an outdated OS may or may not be a good idea for you. For us it was easier than switching since wife & kids didn't have to learn anything new and since we do little on the computer beyond browsers, media, and some rudimentary kid's games.

way2GoDonny
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Tue May 28, 2013 7:50 am

thanks for all your responses.

I did some research online it feels like users are not that crazy about windows 8. I am planning to stick to windows 7.

boffalora
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by boffalora » Tue May 28, 2013 8:03 am

Donny, here's something you may want to consider. TigerDirect carries many "refurbished" computers that might be considered the computer equivalent of "program cars". I've been a happy customer with them for years. This particular machine sounds like it's very close to what you're considering, and it's equipped with Windows 7 Pro 64b.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 977-140400

Happy shopping!

pochax
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by pochax » Tue May 28, 2013 9:09 am

boffalora wrote:Donny, here's something you may want to consider. TigerDirect carries many "refurbished" computers that might be considered the computer equivalent of "program cars". I've been a happy customer with them for years. This particular machine sounds like it's very close to what you're considering, and it's equipped with Windows 7 Pro 64b.

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... 977-140400

Happy shopping!
for full disclosure, it should be mentioned that the "Core i5" chip (520M) is several years old. the newest ones (Ivy Bridge) have better graphics processing power (Intel HD4000) and the upcoming ones (Haswell) are touted to have better battery life. i would suggest you make sure to have a more recent generation Core-i5 CPU to futureproof your new laptop (and minimal extra cost if any).

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bru
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by bru » Tue May 28, 2013 10:04 am

windaar wrote:
way2GoDonny wrote:Operating System Language Windows 8 64 English
Make sure that you're really up for Windows 8. I find it so awkward and annoying that for our new family laptop I got one with 7, which does everything we want seamlessly.
Windows Blue is coming which will be an update to Windows 8. Supposedly it will restore the start menu and address a few other things that bothered users.

FWIW I also bought a laptop with Windows 7 and passed on the low cost upgrade to Win 8 that was offered. In retrospect I should have at least bought it and ot installed it in anticipation of the changes that were inevitable. Supposedly once you get it working the way you want win 8 is very similar to Win 7 but is much faster.

Sidney
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Sidney » Tue May 28, 2013 10:27 am

If I were buying new hardware today, I'd consider an SSD instead of traditional hard drive.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.

Tom_T
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Tom_T » Tue May 28, 2013 10:29 am

I bought a ThinkPad W530 a few months ago, and I think it's a very solid machine compared to others I have used over the years. P.S. It is loaded with Windows 7, and you can still get it that way (a family member just got one.) I recommend 8 MB memory.

kermit
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by kermit » Tue May 28, 2013 10:48 am

way2GoDonny wrote:Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.
Apple's WWDC conference on June 10 is expected to have an announcement about using Haswell chips in a completely new lineup of laptops. I expect all of the big name brands to be releasing Haswell updates around this time.

way2GoDonny
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Tue May 28, 2013 11:50 am

kermit wrote:
way2GoDonny wrote:Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.
Apple's WWDC conference on June 10 is expected to have an announcement about using Haswell chips in a completely new lineup of laptops. I expect all of the big name brands to be releasing Haswell updates around this time.
Lenovo with specs I have with Thinkpad E431 i5 and 8GB RAM, windows 7 is costing about 620$ because of Memorial day sale.. is that a good price.

Jfet
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Jfet » Tue May 28, 2013 12:00 pm

If you don't do gaming or software development, I think it matters not a lot about the specs other than screen size, ports, and battery life.

I tend to throw away a laptop every few years when the battery gets weak and the keyboard accumulates enough food crumbs that I worry about opsec with my prepper neighbors. Based on this my priorities are 1) price 2) price 3) price

way2GoDonny
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by way2GoDonny » Tue May 28, 2013 1:25 pm

Jfet wrote:If you don't do gaming or software development, I think it matters not a lot about the specs other than screen size, ports, and battery life.

I tend to throw away a laptop every few years when the battery gets weak and the keyboard accumulates enough food crumbs that I worry about opsec with my prepper neighbors. Based on this my priorities are 1) price 2) price 3) price

I am taking some online courses to learn programming but I do not visualize a scenario where I would really use it for too much computations. Main thing is being reliable within a certain cost, being fast to load things up and easy for my wife to use it. She likes Lenovo so at least if it turns out to be slow and/or breaks down she will not hold it against me :). If it was for myself I would buy a cheap one with a good processor and 8 GB RAM.

pochax
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by pochax » Tue May 28, 2013 1:33 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:
Jfet wrote:If you don't do gaming or software development, I think it matters not a lot about the specs other than screen size, ports, and battery life.

I tend to throw away a laptop every few years when the battery gets weak and the keyboard accumulates enough food crumbs that I worry about opsec with my prepper neighbors. Based on this my priorities are 1) price 2) price 3) price

I am taking some online courses to learn programming but I do not visualize a scenario where I would really use it for too much computations. Main thing is being reliable within a certain cost, being fast to load things up and easy for my wife to use it. She likes Lenovo so at least if it turns out to be slow and/or breaks down she will not hold it against me :). If it was for myself I would buy a cheap one with a good processor and 8 GB RAM.
definitely consider an ultrabook version of the lenovo then. it will cost you more but you will have a cache SSD to speed up boot times and OS performance.

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Brantley
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Brantley » Tue May 28, 2013 8:51 pm

If you only want to spend $800, you'll have to sacrifice something. Going with an ultra book in that price range will be on the lower end, meaning sacrificing either battery life, processing power, screen resolution, memory, etc. I'd pick a price range, and see what you're options are in that range. Do you want a touch screen? Do you care about portability? Do you care about battery life? There are many options so you just have to narrow it down.

Windows 8 is a great operating system once you get to the desktop. If you really dislike the metro start screen you can always get back the old start screen with a third party application such as classicshell. I'm sure in Windows 8.1 they'll address some of the concerns people are having, and the update will be free. Go with Windows 8. You'll figure it out.

Haswell is right around the corner.

Good luck
~Brantley

mlipps
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by mlipps » Tue May 28, 2013 10:12 pm

I bought my Lenovo Thinkpad U410 from Newegg in February. 14" screen (my preference), i7 processor, and 8GB of ram for under $700. Bought it with my Chase Sapphire Preferred w/price protection & stalked the price for 90 days to make sure it didn't go on sale cheaper (it didn't). I'm VERY happy with my choice.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue May 28, 2013 11:36 pm

My work laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad and it's a very, very solid machine. 6 months ago when they replaced my four-year old laptop with this one, I had a Thinkpad and insisted on getting a new one. All the way to the point of telling the tech to not even bother showing up with a Dell or HP as I wouldn't sign away my existing Thinkpad for that.

So Memorial Day weekend, I was looking to get a basic laptop for my mom and her existing HP laptop is 6 years old. I was about to get a Lenovo (not Thinkpad, but something else) for $279. It had 4 GB ram, 500 GB hard drive, DVD burner, Win 8. Would then put in a RAM upgrade to 8 GB for $50. Well, I stopped by Costco and saw a deal that made me rethink trying Dell. Picked up a Inspiron 3250/15 with a 15.6" screen, i5 processor, 6 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and a much better spec'd video system. It's only been a few days, but I'm impressed with the new laptop. Oh, forgt to mention, it was only $300!!

Now I just have to get it to her sometime soon. I sense a road trip coming!

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BigFoot48
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by BigFoot48 » Tue May 28, 2013 11:56 pm

I replaced a netbook that my wife was using with a Google Nexis 10 tablet in December and I'm very impressed by it. Keyboards and mouses are so last century! And today I see that tablets are expected to outsell laptops this year, and all PCs by 2015. http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/table ... 6C10103650

While I'm keeping my 17" HP for now, it wouldn't take much for me to switch either. Say a 14" screen? Are you listening Google?
Retired | Two-time in top-10 in Bogleheads S&P500 contest; 12-time loser

Hastibe
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Hastibe » Tue May 28, 2013 11:59 pm

I use a Lenovo IdeaPad Y480, which I bought last July, and I really, really like it--it doesn't have the longest battery life, but I knew that when I bought it, and I have no other complaints. I would definitely buy it again in a flash. By the way, the latest version has an i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB hard drive, and a keyboard that lights up (which is a surprisingly nice feature), and is only $749 (before tax and shipping, I think) on the Lenovo website right now.

Lacrocious
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Lacrocious » Wed May 29, 2013 12:02 am

The biggest thing I look for in a laptop is screen size and resolution. To me, this is the most important part of the laptop. Most consumer laptops come these days with approximately a 1400x768 pixel screen. To me, that just isn't enough pixels. I can't see enough on the screen without scrolling that it drives me crazy. If you are not familiar with screen sizes and pixel density - it isn't that hard to come up to speed. When I try to explain this to my parents, etc., I explain that It really all comes down to dots. I have included a basic primer on display resolution below.

I like a laptop with a higher resolution display (currently 1680x1050 in a 15.3" display). Until recently, I never saw them in a Best Buy or similar. I have started to see some of the Ultrabook style laptops with higher resolution displays in stores. When I bought my last laptop, I had to order directly from the manufacturer to be able to select the screen size. We now have more options (and of course, Apple has their Retina Displays available in stores as well). I would suggest going to a store and seeing if they have anything with a higher resolution and seeing if you like that better. I think it is worth the price premium of a $100-$150, you may as well. Personally, I would spend the $ on the display and get a slower processor before lowering the display. I read more on the screen (Boggleheads.org - :D ) than I push the CPU with intensive tasks. The other disclaimer I have to give is that I am a computer guy and spend my days on various computers at work and at home - so I am willing to spend more on a computer than some.

- L

Primer on Display Resolution:
1) The number of pixel's on the screen are the number of dots across and down your screen. Think back to that old newspaper you used to get - you could see the dots on the page that made up the letters. The resolution was very low. Remember when they tried to print really small text, how the dots blurred together and you couldn't read it? Now they use really small dots and you can read the fine print at the end of the car ads, if you really wanted to. If you look closely at an older laptop or desktop LCD display, you should be able to see the dots that make up the screen.

2) If you have a screen with 1400x768 pixels - you will see the exact same information on the screen, regardless of screen size. A 11", 13", 15.6", 17", 24" or 48" display with that resolution will show the exact same information on the screen, it will just be bigger on the 17" because the dots are bigger in order to have that many dots across a larger area. That old Jumbotron in your old baseball stadium that was made up of light bulbs had a real low resolution - low number of dots, even though it was a huge physical size. The resolution limited what they could show on the screen. That old Jumbotron was probably replaced with a High Definition Display (see #3 below).

3) If you have a screen with a more dots, you can see more information, more of a web page, more of a picture. This means that text may appear smaller. The text takes up the same number of dots, but there are more dots across and up/down the screen - so things look smaller. That new baseball stadium High Definition Display has many more pixels (dots) and can show much sharper pictures - isn't it nice! That new iPad with the "Retina Display" (and other non-Apple products doing the same thing under a different name) are just taking the number of dots to such a high level, that they are so small that you can't actually the dots on the screen. Maybe you can see them if you use a magnifying glass.

That's your primer on Display Resolution.

jane1
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by jane1 » Wed May 29, 2013 1:19 am

BrandonBogle wrote:My work laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad and it's a very, very solid machine. 6 months ago when they replaced my four-year old laptop with this one, I had a Thinkpad and insisted on getting a new one. All the way to the point of telling the tech to not even bother showing up with a Dell or HP as I wouldn't sign away my existing Thinkpad for that.

So Memorial Day weekend, I was looking to get a basic laptop for my mom and her existing HP laptop is 6 years old. I was about to get a Lenovo (not Thinkpad, but something else) for $279. It had 4 GB ram, 500 GB hard drive, DVD burner, Win 8. Would then put in a RAM upgrade to 8 GB for $50. Well, I stopped by Costco and saw a deal that made me rethink trying Dell. Picked up a Inspiron 3250/15 with a 15.6" screen, i5 processor, 6 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and a much better spec'd video system. It's only been a few days, but I'm impressed with the new laptop. Oh, forgt to mention, it was only $300!!

Now I just have to get it to her sometime soon. I sense a road trip coming!
Seems like a very nice deal!
Do you know if this was a Costco Memorial Day special or store specific sale? Can you provide SKU/Item# from receipt? I am guessing this is 2nd gen Sandy Bridge i5 processor (i5-2xxx), not 3rd gen?

OP: you might also want to check out Dell Outlet website and Lenovo Outlet website. Typically good value since these are manufacturer refurbished and individually tested.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:35 pm

jane1 wrote:
BrandonBogle wrote:My work laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad and it's a very, very solid machine. 6 months ago when they replaced my four-year old laptop with this one, I had a Thinkpad and insisted on getting a new one. All the way to the point of telling the tech to not even bother showing up with a Dell or HP as I wouldn't sign away my existing Thinkpad for that.

So Memorial Day weekend, I was looking to get a basic laptop for my mom and her existing HP laptop is 6 years old. I was about to get a Lenovo (not Thinkpad, but something else) for $279. It had 4 GB ram, 500 GB hard drive, DVD burner, Win 8. Would then put in a RAM upgrade to 8 GB for $50. Well, I stopped by Costco and saw a deal that made me rethink trying Dell. Picked up a Inspiron 3250/15 with a 15.6" screen, i5 processor, 6 GB RAM, 1 TB hard drive, and a much better spec'd video system. It's only been a few days, but I'm impressed with the new laptop. Oh, forgt to mention, it was only $300!!

Now I just have to get it to her sometime soon. I sense a road trip coming!
Seems like a very nice deal!
Do you know if this was a Costco Memorial Day special or store specific sale? Can you provide SKU/Item# from receipt? I am guessing this is 2nd gen Sandy Bridge i5 processor (i5-2xxx), not 3rd gen?

OP: you might also want to check out Dell Outlet website and Lenovo Outlet website. Typically good value since these are manufacturer refurbished and individually tested.
It was both. Memorial Day sale brought it down to $399 and the specific store had it for $300 since it was their last one. I will look at the SKU tonight when I get home from work.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by BrandonBogle » Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:22 pm

Costco Item # 695532
Dell Ispiron 15 in Obsidian Black
15.6" HD Display
Intel Core i5-3210M Processor (Dual-Core, 2.5 GHz, 3MB Cache) -- 3rd Gen I believe?
6 GB Memory
1 TB Hard Drive
DVD +/-RW Drive
Wireless-N
USB 3.0
Webcam
Bluetooth
6-cell Battery
Windows 8
McAfee SecurityCenter
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Adobe Premiere Elements
2 Year Warranty

UPC # 8 84116 10225 0

Says on the bottom of the laptop itself
Inspiron 3520

protagonist
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by protagonist » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:49 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:Please help me.

I am thinking of buying a Lenovo Thinkpad edge. I wanted a 8 GB RAM and my wife insisted on a Intel i5 Processor. This is for our home laptop ( to use for personal stuff). I have a HP laptop at work which I do not like. I had a Dell in the past and didn't like it. My wife last workplace gave her a Thinkpad which was really good and hence leaning towards a Lenovo Thinkpad. I wanted to hear what the wise men at Bogleheads think about our selection below.

One question is about the price. It is coming around $800. But we are thinking it will last us for the next 3 to 4 years, given i5 processor and 8 GB RAM. I do not do gaming. I will use for personal banking, running some programs etc. I will on ocassion use for Netflix streaming.

High level these are the specs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
ThinkPad Edge E431 - 1 Yr Depot Warranty $729.00 $729.00
Processor Intel Core i5-3230M Processor (3.20GHz, 3MB Cache, 1600MHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4000
Operating System Language Windows 8 64 English
Memory 8 GB DDR3L - 1600MHz (2 DIMM)
Hard Drive 320GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Wireless Intel Centrino Wireless-N 2230 & Bluetooth 4.0 (2x2 BGN & BT4)
Warranty Type 1 Year Depot/Express Warranty

Thanks!
Check out the Lenovo outlet store! I just bought a Lenovo Yoga 13- my model retailed for $1199 though you could find it new on Lenovo's regular (not outlet) site for $999 on discount....and I bought a refurb. from the outlet store for a mere $581 with full mfr. warranty and free shipping ! It had a problem...I sent it back...and not only received a BRAND NEW replacement unit, but one with an i5 processor rather than the i3 that I originally paid for! No questions asked, and it arrived within a couple of days. The rep said that in "90% of such cases" (her words) they will replace it with a brand new unit. I noticed that the deeply discounted price appeared at 6-7 am but was sold for a higher price later in the day...perhaps they go through their inventory at night and if there are many units they drop the price? No idea, but I was very happy with the whole experience. http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... als/Outlet

Another point....you may be able to get a 4 gb model for much less and upgrade yourself if you feel the need. For the Yoga, Lenovo charges about $200 for the extra 4 gb of RAM, whereas you can find it online at places like Amazon for about $40, and there are many online tutorials that show you how to install it....looks very simple and quick. Same with paying for a bigger HD. I don't know if this would be the case as well for the Edge, but there is a Lenovo forum online that would probably have the answer for you. A Lenovo rep would not be the person to ask. Also, from what I read, unless you are into very memory-intensive work...serious gaming or intricate image editing for example....you probably won't notice the difference between 4gb and 8gb. I was thinking of doing the upgrade on my unit but posters on the Lenovo forum convinced me against it....my computer needs are similar to yours and so far 4gb has been fine. I rarely use more than 30-40% of my resources.
Last edited by protagonist on Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

protagonist
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by protagonist » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:02 pm

Here is the link to the ThinkPad Edges currently in stock at the outlet store with current prices...list is constantly changing...if they are out of stock at the price you want you might try again early tomorrow morning. It worked for me with the Yoga. http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... &facet-2=3

gerrym51
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by gerrym51 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:03 pm

way2GoDonny wrote:Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.

i read sometime this month for new haswell chip.

pochax
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by pochax » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:25 pm

gerrym51 wrote:
way2GoDonny wrote:Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.

i read sometime this month for new haswell chip.
The actual chips are out (can buy separately) but manufacturers have not yet put them in retail laptops as of yet.

inbox788
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by inbox788 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 2:38 pm

gerrym51 wrote:
way2GoDonny wrote:Thanks Brantley.

Any idea when the new Haswell chips will come into the market.

i read sometime this month for new haswell chip.
Chips now!

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... isNodeId=1

Laptops, you can order now for delivery in a couple of weeks.

http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/id ... ies/y410p/

Or you might find them sooner if you're eager and seek them out.

Personally, I'd buy the cheapest laptop that gets the job done. That can often mean Celeron or Pentium often less than $300. Sometimes you can get an i3 and or 17" under $300 if you're patient and that's what you need. I don't expect it to last more than 1 or 2 years, the period covered by the warranty plus credit card double, and any extra use is basically free. Avoid netbooks unless they meet your needs. Technology is changing so fast these days that unless you need to, spending nearly $1000 for the latest and greatest is unnecessary. But if you use it a lot everyday, definitely get something that's going to work for you.

I use my iPad so much more than my laptop these days. I'm moving to the cloud. I've bought a laptop dedicated for photos and videos. Treat it like a smart external hard drive. Easier to manage and saves time. Working on getting a home server to replace my file sharing pc and wireless printer.
personal banking, running some programs etc. I will on ocassion use for Netflix streaming.
I do that with my acer one netbook and my 4-5 year old dual core laptop. Granted, a bit sluggish, but still gets the job done. For videos, it might take a minute longer to get started, but once it gets going, it's fine. Watch out though, most netbooks and some laptops have difficulty and limitations with videos. More recent 2-3 year old Pentium or better laptops do adequately, so I'd expect most laptops today to work fine.

Hector
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Hector » Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:43 pm

IMO most casual users do not need a laptop with 8 GB RAM and i5 processor.
My understanding is that higher RAM and powerful processor help in making the system faster, I dont know how much more life would it add compare to the premium I would pay to get them

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Sunny Sarkar
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Sunny Sarkar » Fri Jun 07, 2013 7:30 am

Whatever you buy, make sure it has a Solid State Drive (SSD) in it. The performance is an order of magnitude higher.
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"Cost matters". "Stay the course". "Press on, regardless". ― John C. Bogle

Monk53
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Monk53 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:16 am

If you use a SSD drive, be very judicious in maintaining a constant backup on an external drive. Some people just use the SSD for the OS and programs, keeping their data off the SSD. Recovery of data from a failed SSD is probably not going to happen.

Jfet
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Jfet » Fri Jun 07, 2013 9:28 am

ringlert wrote:If you use a SSD drive, be very judicious in maintaining a constant backup on an external drive. Some people just use the SSD for the OS and programs, keeping their data off the SSD. Recovery of data from a failed SSD is probably not going to happen.
Not sure why this should be true vs a platter HD. If the SSD fails it was probably the controller chip...a very motivated person could replace the controller chip and get the data off of the non-volatile memory chips.

I have recovered data from dead platter HD by replacing the controller board with one from a similar model HD. I could probably do the same for a SSD if it was a TSSOP and not a BGA package (which I guess it probably would be a BGA). There are ways to rework BGA packages though..

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by core5 » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:21 pm

The i3 series is a very good processor, especially for business tasks and normal video/audio. The only things an i5 offers is a larger L2 cache for heavy math and encode/decode functions (think re-encoding movies), and the overclock "boost" function. The i3 will be better for battery life.

I use an i3 Dell Latitude E5430 at work and I swear it'll go 6 hours on a single charge. It's the best laptop I've ever used and it has plenty of multi-tasking ability for my office work. I use an overlclocked i5 at home for a gaming desktop :D

Mrxyz
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by Mrxyz » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:28 pm

question about a possible laptop purchase;

Thinkpad E520, I7 chip, 8 MB RAM, 750 HD, with 15.6"screen at 1390x780, with 6 cell battery.

Asking for $500.

Should I buy it?
Or wait for prices to come down with the new Haswell chips?

Thanks

classpro
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by classpro » Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:11 am

I don't understand why people like giant laptops. The only reason I can think of to buy a laptop over a desktop is portability. If you're going to have the machine in one location, why not buy a desktop - cheaper and almost always faster, with much larger screen, much better expandability.

If you want portability, then you want something small and light. 11.6" is the largest size screen that is small and light IMO.

Then there is the question of CPU and price. Do you really get that much more from a core i5 or i7 than you do from an i3, or even a sandy bridge celeron which is a lot cheaper, if you're doing the kinds of simple tasks identified by the OP. The answer is surely no. Sandy Bridge celeron is plenty fast enough for all office tasks and watching netflix. I laugh at people buying core i7 laptops for $1,000 to do word processing. What a waste of money. Maybe if you need to do high end video editing or something specialized like that you'll need a high-end chip. But otherwise, consider the cost benefit equation.

I'll be most interested when the new Haswell celeron chips come out, and one can buy a 10" tablet with a high-res touch screen for $200-$250. That's what Microsoft needs to do to be competitive. With a bluetooth keyboard and mouse it will work as a tablet and a laptop - like a Surface Pro for the frugal. Until then, I'm making due with older machines that are seriously lacking in horsepower but get the job done when I'm out and about. I'm still using a c2duo desktop, and it's fine for office tasks and watching netflix.

As for Windows 8, Microsoft made some terrible design choices that have angered users, but there are free third party programs that solve most of the complaints and make it much like windows 7. I still use windows 7 on my desktop computers, but I installed windows 8 in a very old underpowered limited touchscreen laptop, and it works (although not very fast). I like the touchscreen features of windows 8 for a touchscreen computer and see the need for it, but why they decided to force the touch screen interface on people who don't have touchscreens is difficult to understand.

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widestance
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by widestance » Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:32 pm

classpro wrote:I don't understand why people like giant laptops. The only reason I can think of to buy a laptop over a desktop is portability. If you're going to have the machine in one location, why not buy a desktop - cheaper and almost always faster, with much larger screen, much better expandability.
"Giant" laptops are a great alternative for those of us who don't want or have a desk to sit at. I find sitting on my couch with a laptop is a perfectly fine alternative to any desktop machine. Now if i did a significant amount of work from home, then yes, i would agree with you and get my self a desktop and make space for it.
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by pochax » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:28 am

"Giant" (17") laptops seem to be good for someone who uses the computer primarily as a desktop but does require portability occasionally. my father is one such individual. He prefers the large screen and does not typically need to move it but when he visits his children or friends he likes the ability to take the laptop with him. It seems to work for him.

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by abuss368 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:43 am

I would consider the new MacBook Air's that Apple just released a week or so ago.

Incredible quality.
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lindisfarne
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by lindisfarne » Fri Jun 14, 2013 4:44 pm

Be sure you try out the ThinkPad before buying. I would never buy a ThinkPad again - I hate the one I occasionally use. I don't like the feel of the trackpad (it is textured) & the mouse frequently stops responding then jumps to some random place on the screen which is incredibly annoying. I've tried adjusting settings & while it helped a bit, it wasn't enough. Be aware that ThinkPads have the Alt button in the lower left (other PCs have the Ctrl button there) - this is annoying but you can remap it by going into the Bios (at least with some ThinkPads, perhaps all).

As for the processor: getting the latest & greatest really only matters if you do things that require the speed - most people just don't need that. That's a place I'd be willing to sacrifice if I wanted to save $ (I do!) I do a lot of computer work but really have no need for the latest & greatest; I'm using an Intel Core I5 vPro chip which is 3 years old (at least) and it works just fine & dandy for me (I know there are more details I could give on it but am lazy to go to Dell to get them).

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by enderland » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:48 pm

My advice would be to not buy an SSD if you don't have one on your work machine.

It'll drive you NUTS having a work computer which is so much slower than your personal one (which probably costs less, too). Or, be willing to deal with this :beer

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by inbox788 » Fri Jun 14, 2013 10:14 pm

abuss368 wrote:I would consider the new MacBook Air's that Apple just released a week or so ago.

Incredible quality.
I'll second. Besides, incredible battery life!

Price is more than average, but so are most of the ultrabooks in it's class, and I don't think many come close to the all day performance.

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by HornedToad » Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:29 am

We bought a 14" Sony Vaio T Series recently since wanted a relatively lightweight ultrabook for ~700. We thought about waiting for the new Haswell CPU but they would be much more expensive and the current i5's are solid performance at the cost of only having a 4-5 hr battery life.

We looked at both 6-8gb ram but for the usage we had on the laptop it wouldn't make much difference over 4gb ram. The ultra book comes with a combo HD/SSD drive to provide the SSD speed for loading.

I've been very happy with Sony's lately.

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frugaltype
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by frugaltype » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:32 am

I've had HP laptops and ThinkPads. The ThinkPads are far superior to the HPs, in my experience. The HPs seem to have weak points at the hinges that attach the displays and also the USB ports consistently started failing after a year or so.

Forget HP "support." It's based in India, and it once took me two hours on hold to get a return authorization number. I got my first ThinkPad after I called IBM support and a native English speaker who was knowledgeable answered on about a minute. I never buy anything electronic any more without first checking out the company's support.

I'm using as I type a ThinkPad I bought on ebay for about $200 a few years ago. I'm happy with XP vs. newer OSes. (Why do I care about Microsoft "support," have they actually ever supported anything in my environment, no.)

The only downside of the Thinkpads is that it is harder to access memory to upgrade.

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frugaltype
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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by frugaltype » Sat Jun 15, 2013 6:45 am

classpro wrote:I don't understand why people like giant laptops. The only reason I can think of to buy a laptop over a desktop is portability. If you're going to have the machine in one location, why not buy a desktop - cheaper and almost always faster, with much larger screen, much better expandability.
I do a lot of reading and writing. I like the large screen on my laptop because there is much less scrolling and squinting. Also, I would not like to try to have a desktop on my lap when I'm in my recliner, which is where I mostly use my computer.

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by tibbitts » Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:25 pm

frugaltype wrote:I'm happy with XP vs. newer OSes. (Why do I care about Microsoft "support," have they actually ever supported anything in my environment, no.)
Will you continue to be happy with XP once microsoft (and probably 3rd party software) security updates cease in a few months? I might continue to use XP for a particular peripheral that has issues with newer OSes, but not for internet connectivity.

Paul

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Re: buying a new laptop

Post by dmcmahon » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:53 pm

I'll ditto the comments about SSD and hi res displays. I'll add this: check the usability of the keyboard and trackpad carefully, they're your primary points of contact with the machine, and can't be fixed if you don't like 'em. I was going to post a rant but instead I'll note the following:

1. Everyone's gone to the so-called island style keys, pejoratively called chiclet keys by us old timers who remember the failed PC Jr. You don't really have a choice here, but watch out before you upgrade a perfectly adequate older machine.

2. Check the key layout carefully. Some keyboards have jammed the arrow keys into the lower right, sacrificing part of the right shift key, and leading to a lot of typing mistakes if you're a touch typist used to the larger strike area. Along similar lines, some layouts jam a numeric keypad onto the right by shortening the normally large and vital enter key, backspace key, and right shift key.

3. Buttonless trackpads can be hard to use with accuracy, especially if you're used to accurate click-and-hold or click-hold-drag operations. Especially true for right clicks or middle button clicks. Companies seem to be copying Apple here, but with other operating systems buttonless operation is IMO iffy at best.

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