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Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 18th, 2015, 6:12 pm
by Kelly Harris
Any recommendations? I'm sure we all use pretty much the same thing as far as programs. No gaming requirements, this will be for business only.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 18th, 2015, 9:05 pm
by bernie
I'm looking for a new laptop too so input would be good. My Toshiba is older than dirt and is just now finally giving up. Same as Kelly, business only.


Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 12:12 am
by randypitcher
I was just given a Dell Precision M4800 for work and I love it, but the $2000 price tag is out of my range.

Just as with air compressors, I think you need to purchase the most that you can afford. Personally, I would stick with HP or Dell. I have an HP laptop for my business computer and it has worked fine. It is getting a little slow, but I need to do some clean up on it. It cost me a little over $500 about 3 years ago.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 1:32 am
by VictoryVinyl
Another good topic! I am a MAC guy but there are programs that are not MAC friendly (Corel). Right now I am using 3 computers! I still use my MAC for my Graphtec program, a used Toshiba for my Corel trial and an old HP that my brother gave me that had AI CS3 installed. Still trying to figure out which program that I can learn the easiest so my next computer purchase, I guess, will be a PC.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 6:29 am
by Charles
My laptop died, screen issues.....I was happy with everything about it.....looked on Craigs list found the same machine, almost never used, paid 250.00 swapped the hard drives.....just like nothing ever happened..


Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 8:32 am
by sgalante

I'm not a big laptop fan, due to the limits of what you can and cannot upgrade in them. Usually the biggest problem most people have is with video speed. Since there really isn't the capability on most of them to have a dedicated video card. Most today rely on video that is built into the CPU. You probably don't need to worry about that.

As a few others have said, HP and Dell are usually the ones you will find out in the stores like Best Buy, Staples, etc. If you have an idea of what type of specifications you are looking for, I find that a place like TigerDirect or NewEgg seems to save most a little money. You should still have similar support as one would get from a place like Staples or other brick & mortar stores without dedicated IT people, like Best Buy has.

I am also a fan, if you are going to buy online, of the laptops made by Asus.

Your other option is to find a local PC shop that builds their own laptops and PC's. Many times, they get the basic shells of the laptop, and can equip it the way you want.
Things to consider:
CPU - although an Intel I7 is the rage in PC's, most users can save some money by going with an Intel I5 processor. You probably don't need the extra oomph (ie cores) that an I7 has, but it doesn't hurt to have.
Memory - I would look at something in the neighborhood of 8GB, anything more probably won't get you much in the way of performance.
Hard Drive - 1TB "should" be plenty, but similar to the way we look at compressors, bigger is better. Many laptops today can have their Hard Drives upgraded.
Screen - Depending on the portability you crave, a 15.6" or 17" screen are great, especially if you are going to run it at higher resolutions.
Touch Screen - For Windows 8.x touch screens are nice, but if it were me, I wouldn't spend the extra money and just run Windows 8.x in a mode that looks like Windows 7. (Easy to do).

Nice to haves
External hard drive dedicated to this laptop for backup. If you can get one with USB 3.0 support (especially if the laptop has USB 3.0 ports) will make backups much faster.
HDMI video port - Allows you to plug your laptop into your HDTV to use your TV as a monitor. Also, I load movies I download onto my PC to connect to my HDTV for this purpose.

MONEY - How much do you want to spend????

Hope that helps.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 11:09 am
by Kelly Harris
Hey Steve,

That is huge advice, thank you!!!

For some reason I'm totally against purchasing a computer from places like Future Shop, Best Buy, etc.

Upon reading reviews and what was recommended to me by the sales guys at the computer store today, I ended up going with Asus, and they stock them there. This is the same place I purchased my first laptop, an Acer, which is now about 6 years old and still using as we speak. The guys got a kick out of the age of it. This is the one that I went with and I have no idea what any of the specs mean. I've got 7 days to try it and if I don't like it for any reason I can take it back.

I like having the mobility of the laptop, when it's nice outside I can go work out there. I can work downstairs, in my kitchen, wherever I want and my vinyl cutter is in a room upstairs that I hardly ever use but is the only spot where it fits.

I see what you mean about Windows 8, coming from Vista this seems like it will be a huge learning curve!!! Wow, I feel like such a moron trying to navigate through the thing. I have no clue what I'm doing. The sales guy mentioned Shell something or other to work more like Windows 7, do you know what he's talking about?

I have an external drive and will need to look into this USB 3.0 as the new machine has it. It's funny one of the requirements I had was the HDMI port as we stream tv shows through the computer to the tv. Would you recommend downloading versus streaming?

Something else they had mentioned to me was a solid state drive? I didn't want to spend the extra money at this time but perhaps I'll upgrade to that in a year or two.

So anyway.....thanks everybody for your input and suggestions. I'll keep you posted on how I make out.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 12:19 pm
by sgalante

Nice laptop. It really seems to have all the bells and whistles that one would/should need. It even appears to have dedicated video. That is a great selling point.

As for the "Shell" thing. You have 2 options:
1. Go to this URL and I believe you should be able to get to a more Windows 7 look to Windows 8.1 ( or
2. There are various "Shell" programs out there that can be purchased starting at less than $5.

I would talk to the guys/girls (don't want to be non-politically correct) where you bought it, and see what they say. Doing it via option #1 is internal to Microsoft, but may not give you all the flexibility that I believe both sites talk about using a program called Start8 from a company called Stardock. It is $4.99 American dollars, that might be millions of dollars in Canada :lol: Haven't looked at the exchange rate recently. I have some various software from Stardock at work, they make some neat stuff.

As for the question about downloading versus streaming, I download my movies via a Torrent and run them from my PC. I do stream Netflix and Amazon Prime. The nice thing about downloading stuff from a Torrent, (except for the fact that i isn't really on the up and up) is that you can find the most recent movies that are still at the theaters, and once downloaded, there is no sudden pauses like I get sometimes from Netflix and Amazon.

USB 3.0 is just the current "flavor" of USB connections. I have a 2TB drive I bought going on 3 years ago, and it is USB 3.0, so depending on the model and age if your drive, you may already have that. My Seagate drive actually was a drive that sat in a cradle that supported USB 3.0, so you may already have a drive that is already USB 3.0 compliant.

SSD (Solid State Drives) are a great way to go. Think of them as a giant Flash drive except really fast. They are basically like having your entire hard drive be in memory at all times. They aren't nearly as inexpensive as "regular" hard drives. A 1TB SSD would run you about $400 compared to about $65 for a "regular" hard drive of the same size. What most people do, is put something like a 128GB - 256GB SSD drive to load your OS and programs, and have your data files go to a regular hard drive. Everything flies. Not sure if these laptops can support both at the same time. I would guess more than likely, one or the other. I am in the middle of configuring a new Desktop PC and am going with a 256GB SSD a 2TB hard drive and room for a couple of drives from my current machine so I can easily get to the data on my existing system. They do make cables to interconnect your old and new machines to transfer your data files, you just can't transfer your program files due to the OS differences.

Sorry, I got so long winded. IT is what I do, and am always there to help when it comes to configurations.

Let us know how you feel about your new system once you get it to your liking.

Re: Shopping For A New Laptop

PostPosted: February 19th, 2015, 1:19 pm
by StrikingStone
I recently got an Acer E15 laptop with Intel i5, 8Gb, 1Tb, 15.6" screen with HD graphics card for $250. I have seen one just like it in Target with an i7 for the same price.
It is plenty fast and super lightweight. I am getting used to Windows 8, but have not used it for business yet. I will be trying out SignCut on it when I have time (what's THAT?! :lol: )