Laptop Advice Needed

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Topic Author
JV
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Laptop Advice Needed

Post by JV »

I am in the market for a laptop and would love a recommendation. I am eyeing the Toshiba Portege R835 series for about $750, but the HP Pavilion G6X caught my eye below for that same price with incredible specs (found it on CNET with a coupon). I need it for the web/documents/e-mail, no gaming, and need it to be decently portable and not a monster. Anyone have good experiences with a Toshiba or HP or see anything that sticks out below as being a concern? Thanks!

HP Pavilion G6x Specs
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M Processor (2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz
1GB Discrete Graphics AMD Radeon(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
500GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
No Additional Office Software
No additional security software
6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 4.25 hours of battery life +++
15.6" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366x768)
SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
HP Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
802.11b/g/n WLAN
HongKonger
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by HongKonger »

Will be watching this thread keenly as am also in the market for a laptop. Need a workhorse. No gaming or multimedia, biometric security, widescreen, special sound or TV required.

Currently considering a Lenovo Thinkpad or Dell Inspiron based on Cnet editor recommendations.
ThinkingRunner
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by ThinkingRunner »

JV wrote:I am in the market for a laptop and would love a recommendation. I am eyeing the Toshiba Portege R835 series for about $750, but the HP Pavilion G6X caught my eye below for that same price with incredible specs (found it on CNET with a coupon). I need it for the web/documents/e-mail, no gaming, and need it to be decently portable and not a monster. Anyone have good experiences with a Toshiba or HP or see anything that sticks out below as being a concern? Thanks!

HP Pavilion G6x Specs
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M Processor (2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz
1GB Discrete Graphics AMD Radeon(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
500GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
No Additional Office Software
No additional security software
6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 4.25 hours of battery life +++
15.6" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366x768)
SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
HP Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
802.11b/g/n WLAN
Why do you need a 2nd-gen Core i7 with dedicated graphics for web/documents/e-mail? A Core i3 with integrated graphics/4GB RAM/300+ GB hard drive can be had for under $400 and will be more than enough to do these things. In fact, my Pentium dual-core from with 2GB RAM from 4 years ago is holding up really well even now. AMD quad-core APUs are also often available in the $350-450 range.

Keep watching slickdeals.net / fatwallet.com / dealcatcher.com, these deals come up several times a week. For instance, the 14" Dell Inspiron for $399 from Bestbuy ( http://www.dealcatcher.com/laptops ) sounds about right for your needs. Full-featured yet portable.
Topic Author
JV
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by JV »

ThinkingRunner, very good point. Yes, I could spend < $500 for a perfectly suitable laptop. I just don't want to turn away from a great buy for the specs and price, and my needs may change over time as well.
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bru
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by bru »

Yep an i7 will be overkill. A decent i3 lappy can be had for about $400 (or less).

Can you wait three months? The next gen Intel core chips start coming out in April. Supposedly 40% faster.
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ejvyas
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by ejvyas »

For all Bogleheads geeks...

Please do not buy HP.

Comes with 4 partitions : Boot, C, Recovery, System
Packed with lots of HP software and utilities
Bloated Windows 7 system that takes a long time to clean
Low quality sound and low sound level
It is very difficult to use th mouse pad. Not compatible with Linux systems
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BigFoot48
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by BigFoot48 »

I've been very happy with my HP 17" dv7t I paid a lot of money for from Costco two years ago. The bloatware was easy to not load or remove in a few minutes. So don't dismiss HP from your review list.

I agree for non-gamers or graphic users two or four-core CPU should be more than adequate and a good way to save money. LED backlight is a must, along with the biggest HD you can get, although going with a smaller SSHD might be a good idea. Windows 7 is terrific and Win8 will be even better with the new restore and refresh functions.
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bertilak
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by bertilak »

ejvyas wrote:For all Bogleheads geeks...

Please do not buy HP.

Comes with 4 partitions : Boot, C, Recovery, System
Packed with lots of HP software and utilities
Bloated Windows 7 system that takes a long time to clean
Low quality sound and low sound level
It is very difficult to use th mouse pad. Not compatible with Linux systems
Another HP consideration -- recently HP decided to sell off their laptop/PC business then changed their mind. I don't see a lot of strong commitment here. Imagine the poor people working for them -- do they have a lot of faith in their management or the business? Do they go to work looking to be the best that they can be? Are their designs slowly getting behind the times? Is quality control all that important to them? Do the service and support teams really go out of their way to get the best customer satisfaction?
May neither drought nor rain nor blizzard disturb the joy juice in your gizzard. -- Squire Omar Barker (aka S.O.B.), the Cowboy Poet
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legion
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by legion »

Asus has some deals out now

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi ... ageSize=20

I really like them I always buy their motherboards
Sidney
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Sidney »

My cousin, who may have more computers per square foot than anyone else I know really likes Lenovo and Asus.

I agree, HP seems to be suffering - especially the consumer models.
ejvyas wrote:
Please do not buy HP.

Comes with 4 partitions : Boot, C, Recovery, System
Dell does this as well but if you don't mind re-imaging a new machine, I wouldn't avoid a machine that is partitioned like this, all other things equal. My standard practice is to reinstall a clean OS on a new machine anyway to get rid of the extras. I usually create two partitions -- one with the OS and one for data. Then make an image back-up of the C: partition so you can reinstall Windows the way you like it if you ever want to start fresh.
I always wanted to be a procrastinator.
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ejvyas
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by ejvyas »

Sidney wrote: Dell does this as well but if you don't mind re-imaging a new machine, I wouldn't avoid a machine that is partitioned like this, all other things equal. My standard practice is to reinstall a clean OS on a new machine anyway to get rid of the extras. I usually create two partitions -- one with the OS and one for data. Then make an image back-up of the C: partition so you can reinstall Windows the way you like it if you ever want to start fresh.
Bingo! That is exactly what I do

But since they have provided you with Bloated licensed version of Windows how do you clean it? Can you please explain the steps? (other than uninstall :))

I need steps for undo of partition and install of clean Windows
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Toons
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Toons »

I have bought several laptops from Walmart and prices are great .I7 might be overkill .Im typing with an Acer Intel Dual core processor 17" Win 7 laptop HDMI connected to HDTV.Acer laptop cost me about 400 a year ago. Dual core is more than enough processing power for most applications.
Anyway take a look. I5 for for 568.98.I like Walmarts 15 day return policy on electronics to ANY store if not satisfied :D :D


http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng ... raint=3944
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jpsfranks
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by jpsfranks »

IMHO the Portege R835 is a great value and there isn't a whole lot of competition at its price point for what it is (3lb thin and light with an optical drive). You can get thinner and lighter, especially with new "ultrabooks", but you'll lose the optical drive and probably get a bump in price. If you don't need the optical drive you might want to look at Toshiba's Z835 instead of the R835.

The HP specs look fine, but it is in another class from the Toshiba (a 5lb 15" vs. a 3lb 13"). A decision between the two should be based on how much portability you are looking for rather than the specs.

I use a Portege R700 (the R700/705 are the predecessors to the R830/835). I've been very happy with it. The models ending in 5 are consumer versions and those ending in 0 are targeted at enterprise customers with longer warranties, Bluetooth, "Pro" versions of Windows, matte screens, and docking station connectors. If you don't need any of those things they are not worth the substantial bump in price (I bought mine used).
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jpsfranks
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by jpsfranks »

ejvyas wrote:
Sidney wrote: Dell does this as well but if you don't mind re-imaging a new machine, I wouldn't avoid a machine that is partitioned like this, all other things equal. My standard practice is to reinstall a clean OS on a new machine anyway to get rid of the extras. I usually create two partitions -- one with the OS and one for data. Then make an image back-up of the C: partition so you can reinstall Windows the way you like it if you ever want to start fresh.
Bingo! That is exactly what I do

But since they have provided you with Bloated licensed version of Windows how do you clean it? Can you please explain the steps? (other than uninstall :))

I need steps for undo of partition and install of clean Windows
It's trickier than it used to be now that the vendors often don't give you install discs, expecting you to instead restore the machine from a partition or burn your own recovery discs. Often even after burning the discs they are not now Windows installation discs but rather system restore discs that don't give you the option of installing a clean version.

If you can get a hold of some plain Windows installation discs (rather than system restore discs) for the version that came with your machine what you should be able to do is install Windows from those using the Windows product key that came with the laptop (usually printed on a sticker on the bottom of your machine). I go through this since I like to run Windows as a virtual machine within a Linux host and need a clean install.
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ejvyas
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by ejvyas »

jpsfranks wrote: If you can get a hold of some plain Windows installation discs (rather than system restore discs) for the version that came with your machine what you should be able to do is install Windows from those using the Windows product key that came with the laptop (usually printed on a sticker on the bottom of your machine). I go through this since I like to run Windows as a virtual machine within a Linux host and need a clean install.
You can't do that. The license key only works for HP bloated version of Windows. May be the Windows install CDs you have matches exactly the version HP is selling.

But this is not possible nor allowed. I checked with HP's crappy customer care.

PS: typed this from my HP :-) I use Ubuntu as well but need some good way of 1. removing partition, 2. clean install windows
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jpsfranks
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by jpsfranks »

ejvyas wrote:
jpsfranks wrote: If you can get a hold of some plain Windows installation discs (rather than system restore discs) for the version that came with your machine what you should be able to do is install Windows from those using the Windows product key that came with the laptop (usually printed on a sticker on the bottom of your machine). I go through this since I like to run Windows as a virtual machine within a Linux host and need a clean install.
You can't do that. The license key only works for HP bloated version of Windows. May be the Windows install CDs you have matches exactly the version HP is selling.

But this is not possible nor allowed. I checked with HP's crappy customer care.

PS: typed this from my HP :-) I use Ubuntu as well but need some good way of 1. removing partition, 2. clean install windows
Well, I can't guarantee it will work in all cases. It has worked for me. I think there may be a difference between OEM Windows install discs that you can get sometimes gray market vs. the boxed retail discs. Also you can try the activate by phone method. I've used this a few times when I've otherwise been denied and had a reasonable explanation and they were always fine with it.
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BigFoot48
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by BigFoot48 »

Here's the procedure from the HP forum at Notebookreviews for downloading a legal copy of Windows 7 that can be used with the valid key that comes with the computer for installing, reinstalling or repairing Windows 7. http://forum.notebookreview.com/windows ... efore.html
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imnosuperman
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by imnosuperman »

Have you considered buying from Microsoft?
http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/mss ... D.50787200

The advantages is that you get a clean OS image the way it was meant to be used. There's no hardware manufacturer software installed. (See http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/mss ... /list.true)
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bru
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by bru »

imnosuperman wrote:Have you considered buying from Microsoft?
http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/mss ... D.50787200

The advantages is that you get a clean OS image the way it was meant to be used. There's no hardware manufacturer software installed.
Pretty darn pricey IMO. But since I own MSFT go right ahead :wink: .

I've never had an issue getting rid of bloatware.
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Fat-Tailed Contagion
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Fat-Tailed Contagion »

jpsfranks,

Do you have a link to the Portege model that you'd recommend?

Thank you.
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jpsfranks
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by jpsfranks »

Fat-Tailed Contagion wrote:jpsfranks,

Do you have a link to the Portege model that you'd recommend?

Thank you.
You'd want to buy a pre-configured model from a retailer rather than configuring it yourself directly with Toshiba since the retailer prices will be cheaper. The $750 model that OP is referring to (Core i5, 6GB memory, 640GB disk) is fine and looks to be available at several retailers (Newegg, Amazon). Looks like there is also a model with 4GB memory for $700 at OfficeMax. Any of these should be much more than capable of handling the type of tasks that OP had in mind.

I saw some somewhat better deals last month during holiday sales (as is the case with pretty much everything), but the above prices are quite good for what you're getting IMHO.
Howie
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Howie »

ejvyas wrote:For all Bogleheads geeks...

Please do not buy HP.

Comes with 4 partitions : Boot, C, Recovery, System
Packed with lots of HP software and utilities
Bloated Windows 7 system that takes a long time to clean
Low quality sound and low sound level
It is very difficult to use th mouse pad. Not compatible with Linux systems
And absolutely not a refurbished hp. You will regret it.
Bill Bernstein
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Thinkpad XP 40

Post by Bill Bernstein »

A good BH Laptop choice, for do-it-yourselfers who can reimage/clone disks is a used Thinkpad; I'm particularly fond of the X40, a lightweight (just over 3 pounds, no optical drive) machine that is particularly rugged and dependable. You can pick a working one with XP Pro on eBay for $80-150, depending on how much memory/how cherry it is. Or you can pick up one without a HDD for less than half that and toss in a Kingspec 32-64G SSD for $80-130. You can buy a system disk for ~$30. (You have to download the drivers separately from Lenovo.)

The screen is perfectly shaped (3 by 4 aspect--you can't find those any more) for work, as opposed to gaming/video watching.

Bill
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Re: Thinkpad XP 40

Post by HongKonger »

wbern wrote:A good BH Laptop choice, for do-it-yourselfers who can reimage/clone disks is a used Thinkpad; I'm particularly fond of the X40, a lightweight (just over 3 pounds, no optical drive) machine that is particularly rugged and dependable. You can pick a working one with XP Pro on eBay for $80-150, depending on how much memory/how cherry it is. Or you can pick up one without a HDD for less than half that and toss in a Kingspec 32-64G SSD for $80-130. You can buy a system disk for ~$30. (You have to download the drivers separately from Lenovo.)

The screen is perfectly shaped (3 by 4 aspect--you can't find those any more) for work, as opposed to gaming/video watching.

Bill
So happy to hear someone mention a Thinkpad ...I couldn't wait any longer so out of an HP Probook, Dell Inspiron and Lenovo Thinkpad, I went and bought the Thinkpad E520. Negotiated a 3% discount, free RAM upgrade from 4MB to 8MB, extended 3 year warranty ...got a case, speakers and 8gig flash stick thrown in too - all for the same price as the E420 :D So far so good!
kikie
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Re: Thinkpad XP 40

Post by kikie »

what disk would be cloned ? you mean clone a HD , as there is no optical drive, clone a HD with XP OS on it ? ; is XP even secure anymore, or your thinking for offline use only ?

a system disk or XP ; how to install it with no optical drive? via usb ?

would something later than XP work, or mis-match the cpu/memory specs and so run slow on a thinkpad ?

M
wbern wrote:A good BH Laptop choice, for do-it-yourselfers who can reimage/clone disks is a used Thinkpad; I'm particularly fond of the X40, a lightweight (just over 3 pounds, no optical drive) machine that is particularly rugged and dependable. You can pick a working one with XP Pro on eBay for $80-150, depending on how much memory/how cherry it is. Or you can pick up one without a HDD for less than half that and toss in a Kingspec 32-64G SSD for $80-130. You can buy a system disk for ~$30. (You have to download the drivers separately from Lenovo.)

The screen is perfectly shaped (3 by 4 aspect--you can't find those any more) for work, as opposed to gaming/video watching.

Bill
Those who know do not speak; those who speak do not know.
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mike143
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by mike143 »

I would either hold out for Ivy Bridge laptops to come out and get one of those or wait till they come out for it to drive the former gen laptops down and get a better deal. With Windows 8 coming if they do the Win 7 with Win 8 upgrade thing like they did with Vista to Win 7 that would also be a bonus. I just buy a cheap good laptop every Intel and/or Windows generation.

Current laptop: http://slickdeals.net/f/3170868-Acer-As ... ax-Shipped

Previous laptop, wife and grandfather still have: http://slickdeals.net/f/2918487-Dell-In ... Laptop-500

Really like my Acer TimelineX, really good build quality and little over 5 hours battery life with full bright and normal usage. Only negative thing I can say about it is that it was a internal battery, not a problem for a person like me, that disassembles laptops all the time, but may be a deal breaker for others.

I can usually buy a deal on a laptop for about $400 and keep it for almost 2 years then sell it on Craigslist for $200. I get a new laptop about every year or two. I will be buying another when Win 8 and Ivy Bridge comes out unless they do one of those $30 upgrade promotions for Win 8.
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pochax
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by pochax »

mike143 wrote:I would either hold out for Ivy Bridge laptops to come out and get one of those or wait till they come out for it to drive the former gen laptops down and get a better deal. With Windows 8 coming if they do the Win 7 with Win 8 upgrade thing like they did with Vista to Win 7 that would also be a bonus. I just buy a cheap good laptop every Intel and/or Windows generation.

Current laptop: http://slickdeals.net/f/3170868-Acer-As ... ax-Shipped

Previous laptop, wife and grandfather still have: http://slickdeals.net/f/2918487-Dell-In ... Laptop-500

Really like my Acer TimelineX, really good build quality and little over 5 hours battery life with full bright and normal usage. Only negative thing I can say about it is that it was a internal battery, not a problem for a person like me, that disassembles laptops all the time, but may be a deal breaker for others.

I can usually buy a deal on a laptop for about $400 and keep it for almost 2 years then sell it on Craigslist for $200. I get a new laptop about every year or two. I will be buying another when Win 8 and Ivy Bridge comes out unless they do one of those $30 upgrade promotions for Win 8.
+1. at least wait until they offer the "free upgrade to Windows 8" coupon (probably this summer) with the new Ivy Bridge computers (due out in May). Additionally, if you are not entirely sold in Intel and you are need of some extra graphics capability without wanting to pay for a discrete graphics card, consider the new AMD Trinity APU-based computers coming out in May-June as well. they will be cheaper than Ivy Bridge and sport better graphics capability albeit lagging behind Ivy Bridge in processing power. the new A10-series is purported to be clocked at 2.4 GHz with turbo to 3.0 GHz quad-core and better than entry-level graphics card capability. having said that, if you are more into processing-intensive needs, Ivy Bridge will be the way to go.
Renaissance Man
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Renaissance Man »

I may get burned for this, but I would wait for Apple's new laptop release. If you live anywhere close to an Apple store, than the 3 year warrantee is more than worth the extra cost. I love knowing that I will have a great laptop for a guaranteed portion of time. Not a gaming computer, but performance, reliability, and usability are top-notch.
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linuxuser
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Re: Thinkpad XP 40

Post by linuxuser »

paix wrote:what disk would be cloned ? you mean clone a HD , as there is no optical drive, clone a HD with XP OS on it ? ; is XP even secure anymore, or your thinking for offline use only ?

a system disk or XP ; how to install it with no optical drive? via usb ?

would something later than XP work, or mis-match the cpu/memory specs and so run slow on a thinkpad ?

M
wbern wrote:A good BH Laptop choice, for do-it-yourselfers who can reimage/clone disks is a used Thinkpad; I'm particularly fond of the X40, a lightweight (just over 3 pounds, no optical drive) machine that is particularly rugged and dependable. You can pick a working one with XP Pro on eBay for $80-150, depending on how much memory/how cherry it is. Or you can pick up one without a HDD for less than half that and toss in a Kingspec 32-64G SSD for $80-130. You can buy a system disk for ~$30. (You have to download the drivers separately from Lenovo.)

The screen is perfectly shaped (3 by 4 aspect--you can't find those any more) for work, as opposed to gaming/video watching.

Bill
1.) XP is supported until 2014

2.) With newer PCs, it is possible to install XP using a USB. There are how-to on the internet.

3.) I am not sure where Bill is buying his system disc. On eBay, buying one often hit or miss, since OEM Windows Restore discs are often removed due to DMCA.

4.) Be sure that whichever model of used laptop you buy, that there are drivers for XP if you intend to install XP. Some of the newer laptops do not have XP drivers.
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linuxuser
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by linuxuser »

Renaissance Man wrote:I may get burned for this, but I would wait for Apple's new laptop release. If you live anywhere close to an Apple store, than the 3 year warrantee is more than worth the extra cost. I love knowing that I will have a great laptop for a guaranteed portion of time. Not a gaming computer, but performance, reliability, and usability are top-notch.
Actually Apple's aren't any more reliabile, but unlike PC people, Apple-heads will still give Apple a great rating.

The latest survey from PC Mag shows this.

For me, buying an Apple, is like buying a $40K car when you can get two Honda Civics.
I'd rather get the two Honda Civics.
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mike143
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by mike143 »

I personally do not like HP/Compaq laptops. Had a $300 special that was probably the worst build quality of sub $400 laptops. Better quality from other brands sub $400 laptops, especially Dell. Business HP laptop at work has pretty crappy integrated touch pad buttons, every hates it. When I go cheap or mid I usually choose Dell. If you are willing to spend $1k+ then you have many options especially from Sager/Clevo.

I personally would never recommend an Apple computer to anyone. Their hardware is overpriced. I do understand they are the leader in the smartphone and tablet market but I don't believe they have anything compelling computer wise. Hopefully Windows 8 will finally force Apple to offer their OS without requiring Apple hardware. Buy a cheap laptop or desktop that is Hackintosh compatible if you need OS X.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.
detroitbabu
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by detroitbabu »

Why not wait until Windows 8 (metro) comes out in 4 months? As it is, you need it for basic net surfing, email etc.
Renaissance Man
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Renaissance Man »

linuxuser wrote:
Actually Apple's aren't any more reliabile, but unlike PC people, Apple-heads will still give Apple a great rating.

The latest survey from PC Mag shows this.

For me, buying an Apple, is like buying a $40K car when you can get two Honda Civics.
I'd rather get the two Honda Civics.
I didn't know that surveys could prove anything...I'm not going to get into Apple vs PC, as it is not the topic. The new Macbook is my suggestion and I am sticking to it :beer
stoptothink
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by stoptothink »

Renaissance Man wrote:
linuxuser wrote:
Actually Apple's aren't any more reliabile, but unlike PC people, Apple-heads will still give Apple a great rating.

The latest survey from PC Mag shows this.

For me, buying an Apple, is like buying a $40K car when you can get two Honda Civics.
I'd rather get the two Honda Civics.
I didn't know that surveys could prove anything...I'm not going to get into Apple vs PC, as it is not the topic. The new Macbook is my suggestion and I am sticking to it :beer

The new macbook is your suggestion for someone wanting to spend $750?
Renaissance Man
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Renaissance Man »

stoptothink wrote:The new macbook is your suggestion for someone wanting to spend $750?
I must be missing where the OP said that he only wanted to spend $750? Yes, the model he was "looking at" is that much; didn't know it would be such a faux pas to suggest something more expensive.
cheesepep
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by cheesepep »

I'm not a PC guy, but if I had to buy one, I would buy an ASUS.
kikie
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by kikie »

internal battery ? meaning ? vs. ? sorry for my ignorance ..
mike143 wrote:I would either hold out for Ivy Bridge laptops to come out and get one of those or wait till they come out for it to drive the former gen laptops down and get a better deal. With Windows 8 coming if they do the Win 7 with Win 8 upgrade thing like they did with Vista to Win 7 that would also be a bonus. I just buy a cheap good laptop every Intel and/or Windows generation.

Current laptop: http://slickdeals.net/f/3170868-Acer-As ... ax-Shipped

Previous laptop, wife and grandfather still have: http://slickdeals.net/f/2918487-Dell-In ... Laptop-500

Really like my Acer TimelineX, really good build quality and little over 5 hours battery life with full bright and normal usage. Only negative thing I can say about it is that it was a internal battery, not a problem for a person like me, that disassembles laptops all the time, but may be a deal breaker for others.

I can usually buy a deal on a laptop for about $400 and keep it for almost 2 years then sell it on Craigslist for $200. I get a new laptop about every year or two. I will be buying another when Win 8 and Ivy Bridge comes out unless they do one of those $30 upgrade promotions for Win 8.
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bertilak
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by bertilak »

Renaissance Man wrote:The new Macbook is my suggestion and I am sticking to it :beer
I would like to have an Apple but since it doesn't run the full version of Quicken it could not be my only computer, so not only would it cost me the high price of an Apple, I'd still need to pay for a PC as well. Too expensive for me as it would essentially be just a toy.

I guess my real point is that the choice of PC vs Apple is in large part a matter of what you need it to do for you. Price and "coolness" are secondary and tertiary issues. But it is the "coolness" that makes me want one!
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ejvyas
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Re: Thinkpad XP 40

Post by ejvyas »

linuxuser wrote:
paix wrote:what disk would be cloned ? you mean clone a HD , as there is no optical drive, clone a HD with XP OS on it ? ; is XP even secure anymore, or your thinking for offline use only ?

a system disk or XP ; how to install it with no optical drive? via usb ?

would something later than XP work, or mis-match the cpu/memory specs and so run slow on a thinkpad ?

M
wbern wrote:A good BH Laptop choice, for do-it-yourselfers who can reimage/clone disks is a used Thinkpad; I'm particularly fond of the X40, a lightweight (just over 3 pounds, no optical drive) machine that is particularly rugged and dependable. You can pick a working one with XP Pro on eBay for $80-150, depending on how much memory/how cherry it is. Or you can pick up one without a HDD for less than half that and toss in a Kingspec 32-64G SSD for $80-130. You can buy a system disk for ~$30. (You have to download the drivers separately from Lenovo.)

The screen is perfectly shaped (3 by 4 aspect--you can't find those any more) for work, as opposed to gaming/video watching.

Bill
1.) XP is supported until 2014

2.) With newer PCs, it is possible to install XP using a USB. There are how-to on the internet.

3.) I am not sure where Bill is buying his system disc. On eBay, buying one often hit or miss, since OEM Windows Restore discs are often removed due to DMCA.

4.) Be sure that whichever model of used laptop you buy, that there are drivers for XP if you intend to install XP. Some of the newer laptops do not have XP drivers.

Absolutely
investomajic
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by investomajic »

ejvyas wrote:
jpsfranks wrote: If you can get a hold of some plain Windows installation discs (rather than system restore discs) for the version that came with your machine what you should be able to do is install Windows from those using the Windows product key that came with the laptop (usually printed on a sticker on the bottom of your machine). I go through this since I like to run Windows as a virtual machine within a Linux host and need a clean install.
You can't do that. The license key only works for HP bloated version of Windows. May be the Windows install CDs you have matches exactly the version HP is selling.

But this is not possible nor allowed. I checked with HP's crappy customer care.

PS: typed this from my HP :-) I use Ubuntu as well but need some good way of 1. removing partition, 2. clean install windows
You should be fine. Each version of Windows 7 has either "Retail" or "OEM" install media. Your HP/Dell/Lenovo, etc. key with the pre-installed OS (from factory) is an OEM key. If you try to re-image your laptop with "Retail" media, you may run into problems at activation. If you can get your hands on OEM media, it should work just fine. If you don't have OEM media, try calling your local PC stores, some of them may just make you a copy of the OEM media (media only, no key of course) if you ask nicely (and they may charge a slight fee).

IMO, doing a complete clean install of the operating system on a new desktop/laptop is the only way to go. HP is not the only one adding extra software. I just bought a business class Lenovo laptop and it shipped with a ton of bloatware (my "recovery disk partition backup" took 4 full DVD's to give you an indication of the amount of extra software installed). I'm not sure about other manufactures, but Lenovo gives you all the drivers for your machine in the "C:\SWTOOLS" directory. Back those up. You can also use Lenovo's "System Updates" tool and have it install all the appropriate drivers for you (you will, however, need to install the Ehternet and WIFI drivers first to access the Internet).

For future reference, for Lenovo users (especially those that want to install drivers manually), here is a decent guide.
http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detail. ... MIGR-77353
investomajic
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by investomajic »

JV wrote:I am in the market for a laptop and would love a recommendation. I am eyeing the Toshiba Portege R835 series for about $750, but the HP Pavilion G6X caught my eye below for that same price with incredible specs (found it on CNET with a coupon). I need it for the web/documents/e-mail, no gaming, and need it to be decently portable and not a monster. Anyone have good experiences with a Toshiba or HP or see anything that sticks out below as being a concern? Thanks!

HP Pavilion G6x Specs
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2640M Processor (2.8 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.5 GHz
1GB Discrete Graphics AMD Radeon(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
500GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
No Additional Office Software
No additional security software
6-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery (standard) - Up to 4.25 hours of battery life +++
15.6" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366x768)
SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
HP Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
802.11b/g/n WLAN
That is a decent price for the specs. I, personally, wouldn't purchase this laptop because of the screen resolution. Have you used a 15.6" with 1366x768? If not, I highly recommend you visit a local store and check out this screen for yourself (on any laptop model, really). Just make sure you won't mind the screen. I like my screen real-estate and this would drive me nuts. Personally, on a 15.6", I wouldn't go lower than 1600x900 (I prefer 1920x1080 personally).

If you are fine with that screen resolution, it is a good buy.
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Fletch
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Fletch »

JV wrote:I am in the market for a laptop and would love a recommendation. I am eyeing the Toshiba Portege R835 series for about $750, but the HP Pavilion G6X caught my eye below for that same price with incredible specs (found it on CNET with a coupon). I need it for the web/documents/e-mail, no gaming, and need it to be decently portable and not a monster. Anyone have good experiences with a Toshiba or HP or see anything that sticks out below as being a concern? Thanks!
Have you considered an iPad? Might be just the thing if you are not into heavy document creation.

... Fletch
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by LadyGeek »

ejvyas wrote:For all Bogleheads geeks...Please do not buy HP.

Comes with 4 partitions : Boot, C, Recovery, System
Packed with lots of HP software and utilities
Bloated Windows 7 system that takes a long time to clean
Low quality sound and low sound level
It is very difficult to use th mouse pad. Not compatible with Linux systems
- I run my HP Pavilion dm4t as a Win 7 / Linux (Fedora) dual boot.
- You'll have bloatware problems on just about any "pre-built" laptop.
- In Win 7, the touchpad is disabled when a USB mouse is plugged in. (Synaptics driver)
- In Linux, the touchpad is disabled when a USB mouse is plugged in. (Linux driver) - Does not work. :annoyed

<Geek speak>
I had a Linux compatibility problem where the screen went blank during the boot process. After tracing that to a needed "nomodeset" parameter in GRUB, it worked fine.
Fedora Linux is the freeware / upstream version of Red Hat, which we use at work.
</Geek speak>
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by rotorhead »

Re the OP's original question, I think these days there is no absolute right or wrong answer. Many times the choice results from something outside the actual performance of the computer - "it looks good", "I like the keyboard layout", "the weight is light", "the salesperson was really nice", "the price was great", etc.

There are lots of good computers out there, and I think those who have the best experience with whatever computer, are those who really take the time to understand what they have; and how best to use it.

I'm using a 5-year old Dell Latitude D630, with Dual 1.8 Ghz processors. I added 1 GB of RAM, and upgraded the HD to 160 GB. Have full Office Suite - just upgraded to 2010, and it does everything I need to do - no gaming; I do occasionally listen to radio streaming and watch the occasional short video, both of which work very well, although I wish I had a little more volume. I've never once had occasion to contact Dell's customer service; so have no idea what that's like. Any issues I've had I was able to sort out myself with a little active search on the internet. What a marvelous resource that is!

Still working with Windows Vista, which I will never like; but I took it as a personal challenge to learn how to use it, and have made my peace with it.
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by linuxuser »

Renaissance Man wrote:
linuxuser wrote:
Actually Apple's aren't any more reliabile, but unlike PC people, Apple-heads will still give Apple a great rating.

The latest survey from PC Mag shows this.

For me, buying an Apple, is like buying a $40K car when you can get two Honda Civics.
I'd rather get the two Honda Civics.
I didn't know that surveys could prove anything...I'm not going to get into Apple vs PC, as it is not the topic. The new Macbook is my suggestion and I am sticking to it :beer
Invariably the reason an Apple-head gives for buying one over a PC is that it is "more reliable".

What the surveys show is that Apple-heads are more forgiving even though their Apples are no more reliable than some PC brands.

It is fine if you prefer an Apple but to give the reason that it is "more reliable" is simply not true as that survey shows.
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by linuxuser »

rotorhead wrote: I'm using a 5-year old Dell Latitude D630, with Dual 1.8 Ghz processors. I added 1 GB of RAM, and upgraded the HD to 160 GB. Have full Office Suite - just upgraded to 2010, and it does everything I need to do - no gaming; I do occasionally listen to radio streaming and watch the occasional short video, both of which work very well, although I wish I had a little more volume. I've never once had occasion to contact Dell's customer service; so have no idea what that's like. Any issues I've had I was able to sort out myself with a little active search on the internet. What a marvelous resource that is!
I currently own five Dell Latitudes and Precisions laptops - M6300 (2), D620, D530, D410 - that I bought all used on eBay, and they are all still running great.

Unlike the Inspiron line, the Latitudes and the Precisions aren't found in the retail stores; they were sold to major corporations.
Tend to be more reliable.
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by rotorhead »

Unlike the Inspiron line, the Latitudes and the Precisions aren't found in the retail stores; they were sold to major corporations.
Tend to be more reliable.
I didn't know that. Mine was a gift from a relative who had friend in the business. Looks like I made out better than I thought!
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by Renaissance Man »

linuxuser wrote: Invariably the reason an Apple-head gives for buying one over a PC is that it is "more reliable".

What the surveys show is that Apple-heads are more forgiving even though their Apples are no more reliable than some PC brands.

It is fine if you prefer an Apple but to give the reason that it is "more reliable" is simply not true as that survey shows.
I actually also mentioned the warrantee, the performance, and the usability. And again it is a survey, not a scientific study.
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by sscritic »

Did JV buy his laptop in January? Who are all of you talking to? I love old threads that have lost their original meaning, but hey, if you are bored on a nice Saturday afternoon, why not stay inside and post on Bogleheads? That's what I'm doing.
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Re: Laptop Advice Needed

Post by rotorhead »

That's what I'm doing.Did JV buy his laptop in January? Who are all of you talking to? I love old threads that have lost their original meaning, but hey, if you are bored on a nice Saturday afternoon, why not stay inside and post on Bogleheads? That's what I'm doing.
I never did see a post indicating he had actually bought a computer. Anyway, I'm confined to quarters with a bad cold; and it's a bummer, because we are having the most beautiful weather of the year right now.
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