Author Topic: Laptop/Desktop  (Read 1010 times)

Offline MDixon

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Laptop/Desktop
« on: March 29, 2016, 01:19:08 PM »
My desktop bit the dust for the second time and it was running XP so I figure it is time to destroy the hard drive and let it go. I cannot get it to boot even in safe mode so unless someone has a nifty means to access the hard drive I'll most likely just take it apart and hit it with a hammer.

I need to replace my current old laptop which is also XP. My wife has a laptop so I could potentially go into another desktop or I could get a laptop as the home computer. Most of you guys are far more advanced in computers than I will ever be again, but looking for solid inexpensive options for replacement. I have an iPad so touchscreen on a laptop is certainly not a necessity. I believe I have a means for free Office so no worries there. The computer would mainly be utilized for going online and some light use of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It needs to be able to play a video without issue. I assume now with most laptops a DVD player is a plug in instead of standard. I do not play games on the computer so those capabilities are not required.

Open to all suggestions.
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Offline kramerog

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 02:16:28 PM »
A few random thoughts:

I last bought a windows laptop because I need windows for work.  I got BeerSmith 1.4 to work on it just fine so I'm happy.

For my few desktop purchases over the last 25 years, I took the hard drive from my old computer and plugged it into the new computer so I could easily access my old data.

Don't you also run some brewing software?


Offline MDixon

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 02:25:04 PM »
I do not run any brewing software. Over the years I generally calculate the recipe by hand and figure out the hop utilization using the Recipator, but eventually that resource will probably be gone.

I may try to access the hard drive data, I believe my wife bought a device which would allow me to do so.

In looking online I am actually leaning toward a laptop. Asus has one available on Amazon for $370. I do believe I want a decent HD and a DVD/disc slot. Right now I am thinking the top of my budget is $400 to keep costs low.

FWIW - I found the receipt for my first desktop - $2,200, my second was $800. It's amazing how costs have dropped. Of course TV was inexpensive at one time and now our bill is higher than ever. ;)
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 04:08:10 PM »
I'd go with a laptop. A desktop really only makes sense if you are gaming or rendering large audio or visual data. Laptops today are the same or slightly more expensive in cost than a desktop unless you are going superlight, need a large screen, or want serious computing power. I paid $900 for my current laptop that runs my entire law firm and handles some moderate audio rendering. It's touchscreen and a 17" screen. Two laptops ago I had a 14" screen for $400 and did everything but handle modern games. So it's definitely not necessary to go top of the line. If you think you might need more screen capacity just hang on to the monitor from your desktop and plug it into the laptop and give yourself dual screens when you need it.
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Offline denny

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 04:19:09 PM »
Yeah, go with laptop.  Really no reason not to any more.

Re: rendering large audio files....I run Pro Tools 12.4 on my laptop to do all the production for the podcast.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 04:32:53 PM »
If anyone is following along my wife had an adapter for hard drives to back them up. I pulled the hard drive from the desktop and neither of our computers could get through so it is kaput. It spins nicely when powered, but makes some really rough noises as the USB to the adapter fires up to do it's job. Looks like I'll take it apart and destroy it.

Still contemplating what laptop to get and when. This morning the one I am on gave me fits. It forgets the WiFi and cannot play a video without choking. Plugged into CAT5 is better, but it still chokes on video. Might be good for having as a backup, but I believe it is costing me 2X to 3X the time using it for any task other than something simple. Pages load slow and sometimes time out.

So I guess the decision is laptop. Just need to decide the particulars.
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Offline denny

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 04:37:42 PM »
I just picked up a HP laptop for myself and a Toshiba for my wife.  Mine runs Win7, hers runs 10.  Both are great machines, but about twice your $400 budget.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 04:56:47 PM »
For me, a sub $500 laptop is just not worth it with all the compromises they push to hit those low price points. $700-900 is the sweet spot in my opinion.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 05:27:11 PM »
If anyone is following along my wife had an adapter for hard drives to back them up. I pulled the hard drive from the desktop and neither of our computers could get through so it is kaput. It spins nicely when powered, but makes some really rough noises as the USB to the adapter fires up to do it's job. Looks like I'll take it apart and destroy it.

Still contemplating what laptop to get and when. This morning the one I am on gave me fits. It forgets the WiFi and cannot play a video without choking. Plugged into CAT5 is better, but it still chokes on video. Might be good for having as a backup, but I believe it is costing me 2X to 3X the time using it for any task other than something simple. Pages load slow and sometimes time out.

So I guess the decision is laptop. Just need to decide the particulars.

IF there's data on there you need, you can try freezing the HD for a while and then trying to access it.  Dunno why, but it has worked for me.  An IT guy recommended it.

If your old computer was any good, you could just slap a new HD into it and reinstall an OS.  Maybe Linux?
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Offline denny

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 06:09:23 PM »
For me, a sub $500 laptop is just not worth it with all the compromises they push to hit those low price points. $700-900 is the sweet spot in my opinion.

Yep.  Both of my new ones were about $800 at Costco.
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Offline toby

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 06:10:15 PM »
IF there's data on there you need, you can try freezing the HD for a while and then trying to access it.  Dunno why, but it has worked for me.  An IT guy recommended it.

It will work for certain physical issues (caveat: use a freezer bag because condensation is bad).  Specifically 'stiction'.  If you've ever taken apart a hard drive, the read/write heads glide across the platters on a very small cushion of air created by the spinning.  If for some reason the heads have not returned to their 'home' point and the platters stop (can also be caused by physical jolts), you get a 'head crash' where the heads make physical contact with the platter.  That's bad.  The friction may result in it sticking magnetically (sometimes referred to as a 'click of death').  Freezing or jolting the hard drive won't fix those sectors, but can unstick the head and allow it to glide free again allowing you to read the undamaged sectors and recovering data.

To the original question, a big chunk of cost in most cases these days is the software.  Professional OS adds $100 and some versions of Office add $300 on top of that.  Also, display size is another huge factor.  You can get a 13" laptop with just the OS for sub-$400 pretty easily, but most people want a significantly bigger screen for a desktop replacement.  ASUS and HP are good brands IME (full disclosure: I work for a VAR and HP is our server/PC brand).  Dell is decent enough, but I hear more quality complaints than I used to depending on the product line (business laptops have less complaints than home product lines, and that same holds true for HP as well).

Offline a10t2

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 06:47:23 PM »
For me, a sub $500 laptop is just not worth it with all the compromises they push to hit those low price points. $700-900 is the sweet spot in my opinion.

That was going to be my advice too. Especially since the iPad can fill in for light mobile use.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 08:26:36 PM »
For me it's laptop all the way, but I'm sorta schizophrenic on it. If it's a personal laptop, I'll go for a cheaper lenovo because those are fairly bulletproof. If it's a personal/business/heavy lifting laptop - that's where I hit the MacBook side of the equation, but yeah, that's not fitting in your budget.

To me the only reason to have a desktop/tower these days is as a media server/game box.
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Offline MDixon

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 08:33:24 PM »
How long would you suggest to freeze the drive in a freezer bag, and then I'm guessing thaw for a few hours?

I don't think a laptop for me will be going for big $$. This is not for work, this is for browsing and for writing bi-monthly beeriodical submissions. I might use if for occasional classes which require PowerPoint and videos, but they are pretty straightforward and should work on most any computer (except this old beast I am working on at the moment).
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Laptop/Desktop
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2016, 08:47:01 PM »
How long would you suggest to freeze the drive in a freezer bag, and then I'm guessing thaw for a few hours?

Can't help with the details.  I left one that was majorly f'ed in an unheated attic for a winter.  It worked well enough to recover 100% of the data after that.  All of my music, all of my photos, all of my movies.  Not backed up at the time of the crash.
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