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Gonna need to turn in my work laptop - what kind of replacement should I get?

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 11:01 am
I'm starting a new job in September, so I'm going to have to turn in my company laptop this week. Won't be getting a laptop with my new job, so I'll have to get a replacement myself -- since I don't have a desktop anymore, I basically depend on my laptop for everything. But what kind should I get? I have no idea, really - any recommendations?

Sorry to sound like a complete ignoramus btw - I'm a nitwit when it comes to hardware. (Well, when it comes to other things too, but definitely on hardware.)

I'll try to say a bit more that could help in finding the right recommendation in a first post below..
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 2,900 • Replies: 21
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 11:08 am
My current laptop - the one I have to turn in - is an IBM ThinkPad Lenovo T60. What I like about it is how sturdy it is, which is pretty important if you're as careless as I can be. It works fine otherwise too - though there's three things I'd like, ideally, to have an improvement on:

  • Battery life. This one started off with an OK lifespan, both when I got it first and when I got a replacement battery - 2- 2.5 hours I think. But it degraded rapidly, and following the instructions on battery management didn't do all that much to recover it .. I got to live with 1-1.5 hour at best. More would be much appreciated.

  • It does get awfully slow when you use stand-by/hibernate for too long without a proper restart. That's how it's supposed to be I guess, but it's still annoying. That's a memory thing I guess? The T60 has a 60GB harddrive and 1024MB memory... what should I be looking for considering I'm pretty much using my laptop, worktime included, 11-12 hours a day and tend to have a lot of programs and browser tabs open at the same time and dislike restarts?

  • the T60's speaker is crap, anything more powerful would be good.

I use my laptop just for all the usual things really. The only crunch times I ever have with this one are:
a) when I've had too large a shitload of browser tabs open for too long and it starts eating so much of the CPU the computer slows down (true for Firefox in particular);
b) when I want edit photos in Photoshop that are like 4,000x2,5000 pixels big ... that slows it down noticeably. (Photos of around 1,800x1,200 px are fine).

I'm not a gamer. I would like to watch movies on the laptop more often though. I don't want a Mac. I don't particularly care about whether the design is hip or anything. Sturdy's good though.

I'm torn on screen size vs weight/handlability - big screen is good but I do carry around my laptop pretty much anywhere, and I do have a large desktop screen at home I could just plug in. What do you go for, small and carryable or panorama large?
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 11:17 am
@nimh,
I'm as much of a nitwit about hardware (software, too!) as you, maybe more so. So I can only relate personal experience. This Sony Vaio I'm typing this on is the first laptop I've ever had. (I used a Dell at work for a while but never really got intimate with it.) I am extremely satisfied with this machine and would readily recommend it.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Aug, 2009 11:23 am
@nimh,
http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-1005HA-PU1X-BK-10-1-Inch-Black-Netbook/dp/B002DYIXMI/ref=dp_cp_ob_pc_title_1

I am extremely happy with my new notebook; super light, upgraded to 2 gigs of Ram, and if you've got an external monitor at home, the small screen is no problem.

Cycloptichorn
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 05:18 am
@Cycloptichorn,
Beside a monitor for a few dollars you can connect a full size keyboard and mouse to a netbook by way of the USB ports.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 06:53 am
I have a HP Pavillion dv9000

I can and have run 2 different Photoshop programs at once, open up to 30 photos at once and ran internet..

no slow down

Battery life right now is 4 hours if it is only internet.
If I bog it down with all that other stuff, I can lower battery output to things and get about 3 hours. ( lower how bright the screen is, have it sleep after a minute or two non use etc..)

Graphics card handles everything very well.

Runs on Vista . I hear a lot of bad things about vista but i have yet to experience anything wrong myself..

17inch monitor. Dropped it. Hit it, you name it. I am not easy on computers.
This thing is still going strong. Smile
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 07:06 am
@nimh,
Congrats on the new job!

I don't have recommendations but need a new computer so will listen in, if that's OK. I'll probably get a mac but am interested in learning more about what's out there and what's good/bad.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 09:49 am
Oh as all notebooks/laptops are at very high risk of being lost and or stolen I would also download for free truecrypt and used it to encrypted the whole hard drive.

It bad enough to be out the cost of the laptop without the need of worrying about all the information on it that could be used against you!

On boot up all anyone will see on my netbook is my name and cell phone number and in order to get it to information on my drive you would need to know to enter an very long passphase and then hit enter.

I can take my netbook containing all my banking and credit cards information and other such with me and not need to worry that it will fall into evil hands if I lost my netbook.

Over 600,ooo laptops are lost and or stolen at airports every year.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 01:17 pm
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01471/three_1471315c.jpg
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/6105506/Dual-screen-laptop-on-sale-by-Christmas.html
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 01:25 pm
@nimh,
when I emerged from the hospital last Feb I could not get my wheelchair into our home office and bought a Compaq laptop (wi-fi equiped) that i could use in our living room. I spent $450 for it and have used it almost exclusively ever since. I suppose that in the future I might look for something better but not for now.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 05:29 pm
Thanks Merry and Cyclo for the recommendations, will look at those models.

Thanks Shewolf for the details, sounds like a great machine, will check out the price.
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 05:33 pm
Bill, good point.

DrewDad, ha! That looks pretty cool. But at the cost and weight, I don't think so ;-)

Dys yeah I dont need a top-end machine either, just something that works well :-)
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Aug, 2009 05:36 pm
@nimh,
No suggestions regarding a laptop replacement, nimh. Just posting to congratulate you on your new job (could we have a hint of what it is you'll be doing?) & to wish you all the very best with it. Will you be shifting countries to take up this new job?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 10:59 pm
@nimh,
nimh wrote:
Battery life.


With mobile computing (laptops and especially phones and pdas) a huge fundamental limitation is the relationship between CPU and battery life. Simply put, the better the CPU the more juice it's going to use, and it makes a very big difference. So you can look for laptops with weak CPUs or mobile chipsets to make a big difference, otherwise look for good software to extend the battery (e.g. Toshiba ships with software that will slow down your cpu etc in order to save battery life).

Quote:
It does get awfully slow when you use stand-by/hibernate for too long without a proper restart. That's how it's supposed to be I guess, but it's still annoying. That's a memory thing I guess? The T60 has a 60GB harddrive and 1024MB memory... what should I be looking for considering I'm pretty much using my laptop, worktime included, 11-12 hours a day and tend to have a lot of programs and browser tabs open at the same time and dislike restarts?


For XP you should get at least 1GB of RAM, for Vista at least 2GB. Double either for very nice performance.

Quote:
the T60's speaker is crap, anything more powerful would be good.


This goes against the battery life and size factors, you might want to just consider using external speakers.

Quote:
I use my laptop just for all the usual things really. The only crunch times I ever have with this one are:
a) when I've had too large a shitload of browser tabs open for too long and it starts eating so much of the CPU the computer slows down (true for Firefox in particular);


That's most likely RAM, not CPU and quite frankly is just due to Firefox being buggy. No matter how much RAM you have it can leak it all away and force you to restart the browser. If you don't use any Firefox plugins I'd recommend switching to Google Chrome (the lack of plugins is the only thing keeping me from switching myself, but it's as superior a browser to Firefox as Firefox was to IE when it launched).

Quote:
b) when I want edit photos in Photoshop that are like 4,000x2,5000 pixels big ... that slows it down noticeably. (Photos of around 1,800x1,200 px are fine).


This is where a good CPU and especially a good graphics card will help.

Quote:
I'm not a gamer. I would like to watch movies on the laptop more often though. I don't want a Mac. I don't particularly care about whether the design is hip or anything. Sturdy's good though.


HD video takes a lot of resources, but otherwise anything decent will do for video.

Quote:
I'm torn on screen size vs weight/handlability - big screen is good but I do carry around my laptop pretty much anywhere, and I do have a large desktop screen at home I could just plug in. What do you go for, small and carryable or panorama large?


I usually have both, but I caution against trying to get anything that tries to be the best of both worlds. If you go small, I recommend getting a laptop that isn't very powerful, if you want a desktop replacement I don't recommend going small.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Aug, 2009 11:56 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
This goes against the battery life and size factors, you might want to just consider using external speakers.

I just use a good set of headphones with my laptop. Built-in mic, too, for when I use my laptop as a softphone.

Get the $20 plantronics (that uses regular phono jacks; don't get the USB-based stuff).
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 1 Sep, 2009 08:52 am
@nimh,
nimh wrote:

Thanks Merry and Cyclo for the recommendations, will look at those models.

Thanks Shewolf for the details, sounds like a great machine, will check out the price.


I've been stress testing the '10.5 hour' battery life on the one I bought... and it really does last that long, if you tell it to stay in power saving mode. No hiccups on youtube or hulu. I did spring for 2 gigs of Ram tho.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 05:10 am
@msolga,
No, thank god not changing countries again.. :-) in fact, staying in budapest was the main (if not only) reason I chose this job.

(Yes, i ended up being able to choose between two jobs, one in London and one here - what are they thinking??)

I'll be working at a university here, but i wont be teaching and research will be about 1/4 of my work .. the rest is project development / funding applications, website work and editing papers, and practical/organisational stuff. I will be very different from my mostly solo player work now... I'm a bit intimidated.
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 05:12 am
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you very much, Robert all very useful advice. I made notes!

I'm kind of doomed to go with muddling through trying to get some kind of best of both worlds (or something decent in both worlds, anyway), though, since I do need something mobile but I dont have a lot of money ...

Cyclo, again thank you as well!
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 05:57 am
@nimh,
Quote:
I'll be working at a university here, but i wont be teaching and research will be about 1/4 of my work .. the rest is project development / funding applications, website work and editing papers, and practical/organisational stuff. I will be very different from my mostly solo player work now... I'm a bit intimidated.


Sounds interesting, nimh. That's quite a varied job description. But you'll rise to the occasion, I'm sure. Yes, quite a change ... from solo to team player. So when do you start?
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Sep, 2009 08:47 am
@nimh,
That sounds really good! Challenging, but good. More interaction will suit you, I think.
0 Replies
 
 

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