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Help purchasing a lap top

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by swampratt, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. PJM

    PJM Sharpshooter

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    First off remember that she will be toting this thing around all day. Size is important. Find a balance between usable key board size and functional screen size. Solid state drive is nice but if the unit has a decent cpu and a generous amount of memory the ssd should not be a deal breaker. Remember if considering Apple that Apple OS is unix based, Windows is not. Compatibility with the school is important. You might consider a 12-14" screen for weight savings, and you can always add a wireless keyboard, mouse when she is using it at home Helps a lot with typing long papers etc. AMD or Intel your choice. Intel based system will tend to be a bit more expensive but that becomes your preference. either base will be adequately fast for what you describing her needs are. Good point of advise, take her shopping and see what she likes and what she feels comfortable with. She will be spending a lot of time on the thing so it ought to fit her, and that ultimately is the most important criteria.
    Good luck with the computer and goo luck to her with her education.
     
  2. jstaylor62

    jstaylor62 Sharpshooter

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    A lot of good suggestions in this thread ...

    I worked at OU for 10+ years and every Fall incoming students were buying new laptops. A lot of great back to schools deals to be had this time of year. But, some vendors take advantage and dump some of their outgoing technology into the production line to meet demand and price point.

    Plan your purchase to support whatever application she will be using. The instructors are a great source about what the system requirements are to support any required software for their coursework.

    BACK UP YOUR DATA FREQUENTLY AND KEEP SEPARATE FROM LAPTOP! Disaster recovery 101
     
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  3. Snattlerake

    Snattlerake Sharpshooter

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    I haven't read every post here. I just purchased a laptop and wanted to get this in before you purchased one. Try to get one that does not have the left and right buttons usually found on the mouse or the bottom of the touch pad integrated into the touch pad. Make sure you get one that the two buttons are physically present. Mine is too touchy and a pain in the A$$! Just now, the damn thing quit and gave me a chime and I couldn't type because I did something like touch the touch pad wrong. You have to find your cursor ad bring it back onto the screen which pisses me off because it keeps happening. It isn't just once or twice a session.
    Rant over
     
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  4. SMS

    SMS Sharpshooter

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    Imho, flash drives have surpassed cd/dvd drives for simplicity, ease of use and ample data storage. Unless she specifically needs dvd capability for class material or wants to watch movies, I’d skip that feature altogether, internal or external.
     
  5. NightShade

    NightShade Sharpshooter

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    @swampratt

    The laptop you are looking at should be fine except for one thing. Windows S-mode. https://www.howtogeek.com/354057/what-is-windows-10-in-s-mode/ Basically that means if she wants to use chrome or firefox, no dice. If she wants to install something the school requires but isn't in the "store" provided she is SOL. You can turn it off so don't let that limit you but my guess is when you pull it out of the box it will be a pain and not understand why there is an issue. I also personally dump the OS and reinstall it from scratch to get rid of the bloatware. They ALL have it, the question is how much. Not to mention that windows 10 includes bloatware now too.

    I would suggest you go look at the weight then add another pound or two for accessories and then put that in a suitcase/duffel bag/briefcase and tell her to go to the store and walk around with it on her shoulder. If it's too much it's probably a good idea to step down to a smaller size screen. At home you can usually plug in an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse and use them. So far the ONLY wireless mouse I have had good things to say about is the Logitech G602 https://amzn.to/2KCJCUD I ran wired 100% till I tried this one and it's not that much more than the cheapo you find at the local big box store. Just buy some AA batteries and enjoy. It will run on a single battery as well so if you don't like the weight of two it's all good. In the "Green" mode two will last for about 6 to 8 months of usage for me. She will want a mouse for use most of the time, touchpad's work in a pinch but only just especially if you are used to a mouse.

    SSD's are great to have. Very fast especially when you have an NVMe drive that hooks direct into the board. With that said they do wear over time but at this point you are looking at similar lifespan compared to a spinning drive which also has parts that wear. The issue is that if you are writing a lot of stuff to the drive a SSD will wear out faster while a HDD wears the motor, bearings, and the heads if they park and unpark a lot. I have wore out an SSD and it was working fine one day and then poof it wasn't. Most HDD's have given some sort of an error for me before dying so I had time to back up the data and switch.

    Memory, 6GB is bare minimum today and even then it is anemic. 8GB is what I consider bare minimum and 16GB is more ideal with big apps or any games outside of some really old or small stuff (yes I know gaming is not the ideal but I am sure someone out there has a kid who will want to spin up a game and want to know) or using apps for video editing etc. Basically if the app you are installing takes a lot of space or is going to use the processor at 100% you need 16GB of RAM. With an SSD you may even want it for smaller apps as you can shift the temp file writes to a ram drive. https://sourceforge.net/projects/imdisk-toolkit/ it will speed things up even more and you can use it to put temp files on among other things like the swap file.

    Optical drives (CD/DVD/Bluray) are nice to have but I agree a big flash drive can be easier to work with in a lot of situations. A portable so that you can read from a disc when needed is a must have but for writing most people look at them like the old floppy drives, no longer relevant.

    I agree that you want to backup the data on the computer especially if you have projects that can't be lost. To do this get a portable HDD and some software. https://www.lifewire.com/free-backup-software-tools-2617964 Or have a server to backup to.
     
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  6. blake711

    blake711 Sharpshooter

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    As has been said unless you need an optical drive for something specific. You don't need one. Get a 128gb USB 3.0 thumb drive. You can use that to backup a lot of data and they are $20 bucks. If she needs to move things or whatever can use that also. Make sure its 3.0 to get the faster speeds.

    I think a 17 in is too big in my experience if she is carrying it around everyday. 14-15in is best compromise if you have to tote it around that is my experience for that last 15 years with one on my back daily.
     
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  7. BReeves

    BReeves Sharpshooter

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    This is the way I buy all computers, several on-line vendors sell lease returns. I don't need or want the latest greatest whizbang and never got a lemon.
     
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  8. swampratt

    swampratt Sharpshooter

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    Interesting.
    Thanks for all the replies guys very helpful.
    See If I can get the wife to read any of it.
     
  9. okietool

    okietool Sharpshooter

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    Search Woot deals. They've had some interesting deals lately.
    I think Dell, Gateway and probably HP all have student programs.
     
  10. okietool

    okietool Sharpshooter

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