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Discussions => Public Discussion => Topic started by: Richardk on November 03, 2018, 07:11:59 am

Title: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on November 03, 2018, 07:11:59 am
It's time to replace my old Win XP laptop and a collection of other old desktops with something new. I'm thinking a new laptop since that seems to make the most sense though I wonder what a desktop offers that isn't available as a laptop? Yeah, kind of a dumb question but I feel like I've been out of the market for so long that I'm not clear on what my options are.

So what I'm looking for is suggestions on specs, I'm guessing mostly speed and RAM since I'm still living in the past. Would like to still play around with some virtual machines, video editing but otherwise typical everyday use. I'm still just amazed how much memory you can now get and wondering how much is enough?

Also I cringe at using Windows 10 but that's almost a given. I would entertain a Linux boot option but maybe I'm cramming too much into a single machine? I'm just looking to get current again and wondering what does that mean since I don't feel up to date on the current state of affairs.

So maybe consider this a request of what does your ideal machine look like or at least what would be sufficient? Thanks!
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: pxsant on November 03, 2018, 09:08:13 am
I'll tell you what I did.    I purchased a refurb Hewlett-Packard HP EliteBook 2570p  on Amazon.   It has 16GB of memory, an I5 processor advanced generation, a 1TB hard drive and a DVD writer, all in a small package.  The total cost was around $200.   Very fast, although I'm sure it is not fast enough for unix!  ^-^.  You could always put in an SSD.

Whether new or refurb, the value with an HP is that you can get docking stations for most models.   So when using as a desktop with monitor and external keyboard, it is in the docking station.  To take it somewhere else, you simply press the release button on the docking station - no cables to unplug or disconnect.

I have not purchased a new machine for probably 7 years or so.  All of mine are refurbs and I am very satisfied.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: The Gorn on November 03, 2018, 09:21:44 am
The total cost was around $200.   

Uhhh, you just got my attention, lol. Nice work.

I have not purchased a new machine for probably 7 years or so.  All of mine are refurbs and I am very satisfied.

So far the HP desktop refurb my wife bought has chugged along and is plenty fast even with Win10.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on November 03, 2018, 02:31:19 pm
Wow that is dirt cheap! I will have to take a look at that particular model since my impression of HP consumer computers wasn't very good but with enterprise-level stuff it was great.

I'm guessing about 16 GB of RAM is a good Target and like you said it should be fast enough. With those prices if I can manage to get back into some kind of professional job then I can always afford to buy something better later on.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: pxsant on November 03, 2018, 02:58:26 pm
I can't remember the vendor I purchased from but there are plenty of vendors selling 2570p refurbs.

Some info on the model.

*  The 2570p only has a 12.5-inch screen but when connected to an external monitor, that doesn't matter.   
*  As far as I know this is about the smallest laptop you can get with a built-in DVD writer
*  My cost on the laptop itself was about 200 - maybe a small bit more.  The docking station was separate and cost about another $75 - worth every penny.
*  The 2570p does not have HDMI - it does have a DisplayPort adapter - you can get DisplayPort to HDMI converters just about anywhere.  I bought one at Best Buy.
*  To work on most laptops to do things like replacing or upgrading memory or hard disk, you need to take out a bunch of screws.  Not with this laptop.  There are slide releases on the bottom much like the battery release.  slide them to the side and the whole bottom plate comes off exposing the internals.  A piece of cake to upgrade.

This laptop is nice and small/light so if you need to carry it anywhere it will not give you a hernia.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on November 03, 2018, 03:44:38 pm
I have a gaming laptop that was expensive when new but now can be had for a reasonable price. Loaded with everything and has 4 SSDs, 24GB of RAM, it's an MSI machine, MSI Titan.

The best thing about it, it uses a mechanical keyboard. I absolutely love it.  It's an odd machine, heavy with a huge 18" screen and a desktop replacement, really. it's a stupid feature but I don't think I could live without a physical keyboard again, just love the clickiness of it. Cherry MX Brown keyset so it's not the loudest they have.

Now you can annoy not only passengers on an airplane but also interesting people in foreign airports world-wide.

I am going to guess here this is not what you meant.

Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on November 03, 2018, 08:46:50 pm
Hmm, that HP has some interesting features and its portability is nice.

As for the MSI gaming laptop, wow, nice but probably more than I need though more in line with past purchases as desktop replacement laptops. Though after years of having such laptops, lugging a heavy machine around gets old, even if the features are nice. Then a nice tablet becomes desirable when reading or doing light duty work.

I'm confused about the "mechanical keyboard"? Aren't all "real" laptop keyboards mechanical? Also on the larger ones, I really like the numeric keypad. Miss that feature on my Dell.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: pxsant on November 04, 2018, 03:48:57 am
It's an odd machine, heavy with a huge 18" screen and a desktop replacement, really. it's a stupid feature but I don't think I could live without a physical keyboard again, just love the clickiness of it. Cherry MX Brown keyset so it's not the loudest they have.

Now you can annoy not only passengers on an airplane but also interesting people in foreign airports worldwide.

A laptop with an 18" screen??  That is not a laptop anymore.   Something that size is certainly not portable.  Trying to carry that around would be an arm breaker.   Where would you even find a case for it?   

Why not just get a high-end desktop?
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on November 04, 2018, 03:51:53 am

yeah, it weights 10 lbs and not sure that includes the power device that feels like it weights several pounds.

You cannot easily move a desktop but you can this device.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on November 06, 2018, 07:35:52 pm
Been looking around a bit and while I haven't found any deals like those mentioned, they are close.

Looks like I need to make a short list of "must have" features. So many are soft key features which is OK but two hardwired features that I like on my old Dell is a switch for the Wi-Fi, where I slide it and I'm offline. Same for the sound. Hard buttons for the mute and volume up and down. Much quicker than hitting a function keep and something else and hoping that Windows eventually sees the request.

Otherwise the rest are pretty standard or so I think. I also noticed that a few had the old school video out plug plus HDMI. I guess that can be handy since it seems that plenty of places have older equipment that still works but lack any HDMI connections. Any others that would be handy to look for?
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on December 20, 2018, 07:18:45 pm
Ok, I don't run Windows 10 nor do I have a "modern" laptop. If I want to do virtualization of Win 10, under Linux (or vice-versa?), have how fast is fast enough and how big have these programs gotten? Also the occasional DB or web server. 

8 GB enough RAM? or do you go for 16 GB? What about the CPU? An i3 good enough? Or an i5? Yeah, this sounds kind of dumb but I'd rather not get an under powered laptop and I'm feeling like a fish out of water.

Also I'm guessing that most have disks that are 500 GB or bigger? Hmm, apparently not? But with USB 3.0, you can offload most of your data?

Also no DVD drives? Missing Ethernet ports? Do the USB to Ethernet dongles work good enough? Anything else here that I'm missing?

I'm assuming they all have video and audio outputs?
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on December 20, 2018, 07:37:04 pm
The most important thing is  ssd and secondly ram. Cpu speed is irrelevant imo. Win needs 8gb and linux works on much less.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on December 30, 2018, 09:04:39 pm
It makes sense that an SSD would improve performance but with such high clock speeds compared to the "dark ages", I would expect better performance. The weakest link is still the hard disk drive. I guess so, just with all the buffering and improvements over the years it feels a bit counter-intuitive. Though I'm sure one quick look at the specs for both would clear up any misconceptions pretty quickly.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on December 31, 2018, 02:48:28 am

May I suggest Dell XPS L702x?  It's a 17" model but there is also a 15" version if you prefer compactness. It's very nice. I have one and being from 2012, you can pick them up for a song.  Nobody wants them anymore.

Let's see: 17.3" Full HD screen
Two 2.5" HDD or SSD
relatively fast i7 processor.

what else? I like that machine. I just upgraded the HDD with SSD, Samsung 850 EVO 1TB. The other slot goes to the backup HDD and I close the primary to secondly about once a month. Using Macrium Reflect, it's the Windows version of "dd".

Oh the coolest thing is, that just sold me on it, is the removable battery. It's kinda of a business class machine. The battery runs out, swap in a new one. Very handy on a plane or something with no charger. I usually carry 2 spares ones on an extended trip.


I absolutely love the dual 2.5" bay feature. It does not however have any 2280 slots so of course it's deeply obsolete. For $100 or so might be a great deal, or not. I still runs Win7 on it with 16GB and it flies. Maybe I should throw Fedora on the other HDD.


Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on January 01, 2019, 07:06:31 pm
Sounds like everything I'd want though I had to look up "2280 slots". Other than for a SSD, is there any benefit in a laptop? Wow, I really need to get up to speed on today's tech or maybe not and just buy what's new? If you're not building a specific machine or gaming, does it matter anymore?

Quote
Oh the coolest thing is, that just sold me on it, is the removable battery
Eh, really? Isn't that standard anymore? Every laptop I purchased has removable batteries. I guess I wouldn't consider one that doesn't have that feature. But really?? Are laptops now like tablets without a removable battery? God, I'm feeling old. Ha-ha.

Thanks for the tip. I will check it out.
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: JoFrance on January 11, 2019, 02:41:10 pm
I would look at what HP has to offer.  Their PCs are really nice and last a long time.  You can get some really good deals on their refurbished PCs and laptops.  They even come with a warranty.  Their configurations are good for most people.

The important thing is to buy a PC or laptop that is expandable so you can add memory and anything else you want to enhance it in the future.

I've always been a desktop person but I have a couple of laptops and a fire tablet.  My desktop has a Logitech surround sound speaker system.  I use my desktop PC as a second TV at times.  It works for me.

Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on January 12, 2019, 02:04:25 pm
I have a stupid MSI gaming laptop and while it excels in every category, they have a built-in battery you cannot swap (easily). And because it's so powerful, it runs down to zero in about 50 minutes.

The 2280 format of SSD is the size of the chewing gum stick and they hold up to 2TB, maybe even 4TB by now. Advantages are many - shock-proof, light and no noise or vibration and consumes less power, increasing your runtime. More compact, making your computer even slimmer. I wish I had about 8 2280 slots.  Instead of just 4. this is what my machine looks like disk-wise:

(https://i.imgur.com/tYFLWtn.jpg)
Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: Richardk on January 21, 2019, 07:29:54 pm
So what about a ThinkPad P72?

Yes, pricey but it sure has a lot to offer. Would end up being my main machine, basically a portable "desktop". A family member swears by their customer service and he has a need for a machine like that. I like the features but wonder if I can find something similar for less?

My goal is a replacement laptop which is more of a workstation or my "desktop", if that makes sense. I'd like to "play" with virtualization and servers again then I need something more than a consumer level machine but hell, I have enough "spare parts" and other computers laying around that I could probably cobble something together, so am I just fooling myself with this overpowered monster?

On the flip side, I buy expensive, quality (I hope) computers and run them into the ground. For instance my current machine still runs Windows XP. Ha-ha. I know. So this would be the next upgrade. Maybe I need to upgrade more often and buy cheaper stuff?

That Dell XPS L702x looked nice too but a bit dated and hard to find.

My situation has changed and I'm looking at a gift horse but don't want to foolishly spent that I don't need to. So does anyone have any experience with these machines or similar class?

Title: Re: Specs for a new laptop
Post by: unix on January 22, 2019, 06:53:08 pm
L702x is all over ebay. I don't know that the prices are sufficiently low on it. It's a bargain at say $100 or $150. Not at $500 or even 400.

My only requirement is a mechanical keyboard. I've become spoiled by MSI.