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Old 11-11-2008, 09:03 AM   #1
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I've got the dead laptop blues

The mother board and processor on my faithful laptop have died (thankfully the hard drive survives) and its time to find a replacement. I dread the hours of endless comparisons ahead and the probably inevitable move to the new windows. I also dread the unexpected expense. Oh well, fresh start time. I know I want/need a big screen and plenty of processing power, other than that all bets are off. Wish me luck.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:18 AM   #2
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Rodney, I like my IdeaPad. It has a 250Gb hard drive, big screen, and a DVD burner. I got it from Office Depot for about $800. Model Y510.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:22 AM   #3
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Consumer Reports, most recent issue, has a review of laptops. I've been thinking about a fairly high-end model with 17" screen. (I can't see poop on smaller screens.) They like the Toshiba. Always get as much processing power and memory as you can possibly afford.

I wouldn't fear Vista unless you've got a bunch of peripheral stuff of older vintage, where drivers can be difficult to locate. Maria's computer died and had Vista with the new machine. It's been free of problems (indeed, more problem-free than my XP machine.) Only thing to remember is that Vista is indeed a different OS from XP, so go in with the expectation of learning the new OS. No big deal.

Thank heavens your hard disk made it through. Similar thing happened when Maria's machine died, though it was thankfully the data half of her partitioned HD (her old D: drive) that made it through. I was able to wire the HD into my desktop and read everything.


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Old 11-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #4
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When my old ThinkPad died, I salvaged the hard drive, and got a hard drive enclosure for it. I was able to retrieve the data from it, and now have an 80 Gb external drive. (both good things). I don't have any experience with Macs, and won't pretend to know. Rich Luhr was here last weekend with his Mac laptop, and he says he loves it. The only thing I can tell you about it was it was silver and white.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:49 AM   #5
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TigerDirect has a Acer 15.4" pentium dual core with 3 Gig of memory (webcam, dvd burner, Vista) for $599 on special. The ad just came out this morning and is one heck of a deal... if I needed yet another laptop I be buying one myself.

While I've heard good things about Acer from folks at work... I've just took a friend's apart to fix a broken power connector about a month ago and it was quite well designed and constructed. I was so impressed I just bought a Acer Aspire netbook for $350 as Costco for roaming around on vacation.
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Old 11-11-2008, 09:51 AM   #6
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Oh... forgot to mention it has a 250G HD and the part number in the ad is A180-15009.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:16 AM   #7
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Marie's laptop is an Acer, widscreen, dvd burner, yada yada, with a 160 Gb hard drive. She likes it, but for some reason, when typing with it your left hand touches the "ctrl" button too easily. Hitting "control" and other keys can have some interesting results...
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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MacBook Pro...nuff said.

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Old 11-11-2008, 10:38 AM   #9
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MacBook Pro...nuff said.

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I'm a long-time PC user, but my next laptop will be the new MacBook Pro. Now that they can run both the Mac OS as well as Windows, I see no reason to stick with Windows PC's. My current machine is an Acer Aspire with 17" screen and a dedicated video card (not a fan of video integrated into the motherboard - not enough juice to run AutoCad). My brother is a graphic designer and has always used Macs. I'm impressed with their build quality and their apparent longevity. I'm willing to spend a bit more to give it a go. Since my screen is starting to fail, I suspect I'll be doing this sooner than later.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:42 AM   #10
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I just wanted to offer a suggestion about screen size. You can save a few dollars by going with a 13 or 15" screen rather than 17". An option is to pick up an LCD monitor in the size that you like for doing the bulk of your work. I find my 17" laptop too heavy to be truly mobile. My next machine will be the 15" weighing in at about 4.5 pounds vs. the 7+pounds of my current machine.
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:02 AM   #11
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Sorry for your loss - it reminds me how poor I've been about backing-up, but at least your hard drive is OK. Maybe your old hard drive, in an enclosure, can serve has an external back-up drive for your new computer.

I have an HP 17" notebook with Vista. I have no complaints about Vista (except the annoying security "are you sure?" messages) but I do not like the highly reflective plasma-like coating on my HP screen. Also, if you are tempted, the HP TV tuner card that came with it never performed well (I planned on using my notebook as my trailer TV).

The 17" is awkward and would not be good if you do a lot of airport travel; in the trailer, and occasional airport travel, it is fine and the screen size is great, especially for DVDs.

MS Office 2007 - now that is a different story. Word is now very hard to use, at least for someone accustomed to Office 2003 or earlier. And it uses a new file format so others can't read your files unless they have Word 2007, a down-loadable reader, or you save your file in Word 2003 format.
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #12
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I have an HP 17" notebook with Vista. I have no complaints about Vista (except the annoying security "are you sure?" messages) but I do not like the highly reflective plasma-like coating on my HP screen. Also, if you are tempted, the HP TV tuner card that came with it never performed well (I planned on using my notebook as my trailer TV).

MS Office 2007 - now that is a different story. Word is now very hard to use, at least for someone accustomed to Office 2003 or earlier. And it uses a new file format so others can't read your files unless they have Word 2007, a down-loadable reader, or you save your file in Word 2003 format.
Most laptops are available with the non-glare screen as an option.
I find the $300+ that Microsoft wants for many versions of Office expensive at best, and ludicrous in most other cases.
I use Open Office for my Word-type applications, and it works very well, plus it's free.
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:16 AM   #13
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...MS Office 2007 - now that is a different story. Word is now very hard to use, at least for someone accustomed to Office 2003 or earlier. And it uses a new file format so others can't read your files unless they have Word 2007, a down-loadable reader, or you save your file in Word 2003 format.
Last spring I had to upgrade to Office 2007 (a university package that I have to give back when I retire). And it is is true that the new user interface for Office is a pain to get used to. However, recently I reinstalled Office 2003, now running parallel with 2007. And I was actually surprised to find that many functions in 2003 were actually pretty hard to locate compared to 2007. Same old story: New software is sometimes hard to learn, but can also bring benefits. Now I wish I could keep the new version.

The new file format (e.g., "docx" as opposed to "doc") is ok. You can read all older files with 2007, but older packages can't read the new format (a practically universal truism for software). If you're sending files to somebody with an old package, then save to the older format.


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Old 11-11-2008, 11:25 AM   #14
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As said above...get a MAC. It may cost more, but it is worth it.
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Old 11-11-2008, 01:28 PM   #15
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Macbook or PRO is the only way to go. Get a small USB HD and configure Time Machine. I run OS X and Windows XP all day long.
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:24 PM   #16
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Mac is good choice with several IFs:

1. You have plenty of money to spend for a beefy machine. (Beefy PCs run around a third of the price.)

2. You are professionally into graphics, which Macs have always been superior for. (For amateur graphics, there's no difference.)

3. You want their OS.

Personally, I've never been sold on the Mac or Windows OS interfaces, but decided decades ago that graphical interfaces are here to stay. (It's amazing how often I still use the Windows Command Prompt, though.)


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Old 11-11-2008, 02:34 PM   #17
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Macbook or PRO is the only way to go.
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Old 11-11-2008, 02:55 PM   #18
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Another vote for MacBook Pro.

In fact, I just got back from two months full-timing, using my MacBook Pro as my HD video editing machine (connected to the LCD TV so I could have two screens), as a TiVO system (with the elGato EyeTV250), and for email, web and the usual laptop stuff. Never as much as a crash in all the time I've had it (ten months).

In fact, if I were in the market now, I'd check out the "Special Deals" on refurbished laptops at the online Apple Store (store.apple.com). I've ordered three refurb'ed machines from them in the past, and all have been great.

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Old 11-11-2008, 03:06 PM   #19
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Wow! There would seem to be a lot of Apple users on the forum. We've deployed over 2k laptops over the past several years in the school district where I work. All have been Compaq laptops. Not HP. All of our laptops have come off the old Compaq line. We've really had a good experience with the machines. We've stuck with XP. There is word on the street that a new MS operating system is on the way that will leap over the Vista debacle. If you look at the Compaq (HP) line, be sure to look at the commercial/business series. We are currently purchasing the 6710b model.
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Old 11-11-2008, 04:44 PM   #20
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