Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Moonlight_Graham

Help Me Buy A Laptop

Recommended Posts

Ok, my parents want a PC laptop. I am computer literate but have never owned a laptop & don't know as much about them as i do desktops. My parents just need the PC laptop (no Mac's!) so they can check email, pay bills online, browse the web etc. I also want this thing to be a bit future-proof as they will likely own this thing for many years to come (my dad is still typing away on his decade-old Pentium II 450 mhz PC lol). They also want it for when they go on vacations & can check email & pay bills while they are away at hotels or whatever. I'm trying to get something pretty cheap like $450-$550 since they don't need a fancy system.

 

questions:

- Are there any brands to stay away from? Right now i'm looking at a Toshiba, but are discount brands like Acer or emachines total crap or will they do for my parents needs?

- right now all our PC's in the house are hooked into a wired (read again: "wired") router. Is it possible to hook up a wireless router along with the wired router with just our one modem?

- WTF is the difference between wireless N and wireless G? All my stuff is wired so i know jack shit about wireless

- Right now i'm looking at systems with 2.0 Ghz PCU and 1000 GB RAM, i assume this should be enough for the foreseeable future?

- My mom has so-so vision so i can't get one of those small ass 9" screens. would a 15.4" screen be good, that seems like the average they sell?

- laptops seem to come pre-installed with Windows Vista. Can i somehow install XP onto the laptop instead, since Vista is a system hog & will just confuse my computer-illiterate parents anyways?

 

Is there anything else i should know about buying a PC laptop? I'm being careful here because it will be ME who will have to troubleshoot the damn thing whenever there is a hardware/software problem etc.

Edited by Moonlight_Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. computer to stay away from... i have never had a problem with dell, i know Aza had problems with Toshiba, but that was for with the place he bought it from, future shop.

 

2. you could always just get a wireless router that has ports in the back for wired connection.

 

3. Wireless N or 802.11N is the next generation of wireless after wireless g (802.11G). G is 54Mbps and N is 540Mbps with a greater range. but since they haven't finalized the standard for N, everything out there is just draft, so i will change.

 

4. for what you are going to be using it for, yeah, 2Ghz and 1Gig of ram should be enough.

 

5. 15.4 is normal. easy to read stuff off of it.

 

6. If you can find a store that will sell you XP, yeah just reformat it with XP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) A few of my friends have had issues with their Acers, mainly the cooling units crapping out on them. Toshiba is pretty good as is Lenovo (IBM). Dell's shouldn't be too bad either since a lot of people seem to use them without too many problems.

 

2) Like garsk said, you can just get a wireless router as they usually come with some wired ports in the back. A Linksys (WRT54G) would do great.

 

3) I'd stick with A/B/G rather than N. N is an unfinished protocol.

 

4) 2.0Ghz should be fine for most people. If you can, try to get an Intel Core 2 Duo or anything that as two cores really. 1GB RAM should be fine but if you end up running Vista, go for 2GB.

 

5) 15.4 is pretty standard and should not cost you any more than a smaller screen.

 

6) Be careful with your hardware, some drivers are only available for Vista. Vista will pretty much confuse anyone with the damned UAC prompts. Microsoft also has some strange policies on "downgrading" to XP.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My girlfriend has an Acer, and she has to hit the screen to make it work sometimes, and it randomly dies on her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had my Acer since October and I pretty much use it for what your parents would be. I haven't had any problems so far.

 

Don't most new computers come with Vista which is huge so you need more than 1G ram?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i've had 3 hp's and all 3 have had major freezing issues. don't ask why I got 2-3 lol.

 

look for long battery life, and weight for traveling...also make sure it has a good cooling fan/system. some laptops have poor ventilation and that coupled with being put in awkward places where there isn't great space for the fan to work can lead to over heating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had a bad exprience with Compaq/HP too so I'd stay away from that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own a Toshiba Satellite from 2004. It is a real work horse. I have never had any major problems with it as far as the processor burning out, or things like that. It is the computer I use everyday, and is my 2nd laptop and by far the best laptop I have used over all. The other nice thing about Toshiba is they are the only company that comes with a Windows install disc that contains all the drivers and everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had/continue to have a lot of problems with my HP laptop. Don't get an HP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dell is pretty good, and their service is excellent. Of all the hardware manufacturers I've dealt with over the years, they know how to treat their customers. I prefer their laptops, and desktops. As far as servers, I'd say it was a tie between them and IBM. Toshibas aren't too bad...they've improved over the years....but their service, bites ass.

Edited by bishopx

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone so far, helpful stuff. My sis had a Toshiba laptop like 8 years ago, it crapped out on her. I just think laptops are not the most stable pieces of electronics. I rarely hear of a desktop crapping out.

 

Please keep the advice coming...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Laptops are definitely more vulnerable than desktops so my advice is always to check if you really need a laptop. If you just want it because it looks better and uses less space, that's not a good enough reason. Buy a laptop only if you plan to move it around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Toshiba is normally a good brand, worked perfectly up until the third year...but for christs sake don't buy any computers from FutureShop. Their "no lemon" warranty blows the serious ass. They have to ship laptops off to Mississauga (from Ottawa) to get laptops worked on.

 

1. Already answered that

2-3. You can plug a wireless router into your wired router, shouldn't affect anything at all. But I would recommend just getting a newer router, wireless N is supposed to be better but I use the one Anton mentioned...it kicks ass. So for reliability, stick with Wireless G.

4. Yea that should do

5. 15.4" should be fine, don't really need much more than that.

6. Reformat with XP should work out, if you can get a copy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i agree with charles, Dell's been pretty good to me over the years. my parents' dell desktop has been running (pretty much) trouble free all 5 years we've had it so far. still runs older games and web browsing stuff surprisingly well, despite my younger siblings and their "let's install lots of stupid crap" mentality.

 

i also had a dell laptop that i used in college for schoolwork, web browsing and "data relocation." needed a bit more keeping after, but it was great for the 3 years i used it. then i lent it to a younger sibling and the hard drive mysteriously crashed. verdict's out if it was hardware or tomfoolery. (i've since bought a macbook pro that i also use for video editing work, and it's pretty sweet.)

 

and i'm typing this on my giant dell desktop, which is amazing and happens to be fueled by the souls of the damned. no problems yet (knock on wood).

 

i also agree with shiri. laptops are a nice convenience, but desktops (from what i've seen) are more stable. they're also cheaper and easier to repair or upgrade. does the niftiness of a little laptop outweigh the stability of a desktop for your parents?

 

in the $400-500 price point, you have to be careful. my boss bought a cheapo dell laptop, but it had a flashy memory-hog version of Vista on it. not to mention it's not maintained well, since he's a mac guy. so it takes 2 minutes to load the simplest of powerpoint files. i often wonder if XP would do better on it. i'm guessing probably.

 

good hunting!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4) 2.0Ghz should be fine for most people. If you can, try to get an Intel Core 2 Duo or anything that as two cores really.

 

Will a dual-core processor really matter that much if likely the most intensive thing my parents will be doing with their laptop is watching streaming video? I've rarely if ever seen either of them multi-task anything lol, beyond maybe having 2 webpages open at the same time. ;) But they will be running Vista (system hog), so that's a concern.

Edited by Moonlight_Graham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why would you get a 1 core chip when two is the standard now? You'd be paying for out-dated technology.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, the PC will have very likely an Intel Graphics Media Accelerator for graphics, which i read is on-board the motherboard & hogs the RAM and CPU. However, my parents won't be doing any graphically intensive things. Google Earth at the most, but they've rarely even used that.

 

Why would you get a 1 core chip when two is the standard now? You'd be paying for out-dated technology.

 

Because its cheaper, and my parents use a desktop from 2003 with little-to-no problems. But they'll likely get a 2-core i think.

 

As i type this i'm using my 1.0Ghz AMD Athon, 512 RAM beast from 2001. But some streaming video on the web is starting to chop on this PC so i may have to upgrade soon too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Weird, I usually find single core chips to be a little more expensive comapred to dual/quad cores.

 

Whats the processor speed you're looking at?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this the one that keeps shwing up on our site?

 

The $599 laptop seems like a nice deal but you could also customize the Celeron you're looking at with the following:

 

Intel

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there any large advantage to having Vista Premium? I compared the features on Vista Basic vs Premium and all i see is a much of extra software that i probably don't need (expect the mobile stuff is not bad). Can you use Premium on several different computers or something etc. ala XP Pro?

 

edit: oh and i'm also thinking upgrading from the 4 cell to the 6 cell battery might be a good idea?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well it might be plugged into the wall most of the time like mine so that's up to you.

 

vista home is basically bad vista. if you're forced to upgrade to vista, you might as well go premium so you can use the stupid little features like aero.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bought my parents a laptop through dell. cost a bit more but went with a good brand & it has some nice extra features most didn't have like firewire.

 

so thanks everyone for their help, especially Anton.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.