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Buying a new laptop

Old 01-06-13, 01:21 PM
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Buying a new laptop

I'm in need of a new laptop. My Pell grant hits in 10 days and I plan on using some of that to buy a new laptop for myself and one for my eldest son.

The problem I'm having is that I honestly don't know what to buy. I do not have much in the way of computer smarts....

Here is what I think I need and what I'll be using the computer for:

I need Office, this is a must have and would be fabulous if the laptop came preloaded with it.

I will be using the computer to write papers, check emails, Facebook and play the silly facebook games, some picture stuff, basic web surfing, things like that.

I need it to be a PC; I cannot afford a Mac and don't know how to use one anyway.

I need it to have Windows. Whatever version is current is fine, I am not attached to any sort of feature.

I don't mind a refurbished unit.

I'm in Portland (NE) and would really consider it a bonus if I could buy local though this is not a deal breaker.

Any help you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-06-13, 01:27 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Sounds like you could go to Best Buy/Staples/Office Max and buy any run of the mill sub $500 laptop and it would be fine for what you need. As for Office, since it appears you are a student, there are student versions that are discounted. Check with your school.
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Old 01-06-13, 02:28 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

I had not thought of software discounts for students. Thank you, Deftones. I will look into that.

Ok I found this:http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/...D361csB7WHVo82
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Old 01-06-13, 02:58 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Use the following link and check out some of the deals for various laptops. You can purchase a quite capable laptop for under $500 if you have no gaming requirements.

http://slickdeals.net/forums/forumdi...order=&icon=23
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Old 01-06-13, 04:43 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

from the slickdeals link

If you have a staples, this is a decent deal you can most likely get tonight (the 14" screen is ok for you, better size for travel, but I would think most want a 15" these days)

http://www.staples.com/Toshiba-Satel...product_931106

Toshiba Satellite R945-P440 14" Laptop

$455

If you have to wait the 10 days BEFORE you are able to purchase this, then wait 8 more days to ask. PC "DEALS" usually don't last 10 days...
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Old 01-06-13, 06:52 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
from the slickdeals link

If you have a staples, this is a decent deal you can most likely get tonight (the 14" screen is ok for you, better size for travel, but I would think most want a 15" these days)

http://www.staples.com/Toshiba-Satel...product_931106

Toshiba Satellite R945-P440 14" Laptop

$455

If you have to wait the 10 days BEFORE you are able to purchase this, then wait 8 more days to ask. PC "DEALS" usually don't last 10 days...
That looks like an awesome deal. i5 light weight, 11 hr battery.

How would it work for photo editing?
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Old 01-06-13, 07:58 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Thank you I appreciate the help. Pell money hits the 16th and then I can buy
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Old 01-06-13, 09:33 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
That looks like an awesome deal. i5 light weight, 11 hr battery.

How would it work for photo editing?
I would think it would be fine for many, but I have to ask which software you are using and exactly how intense is your 'editing' work?

Are you using the latest Photoshop? If so, this might not be enough. If you are using a more 'consumer' level program, it would probably be ok. The 6GB ram could be a limiting feature (but it is upgradeable to 8 which is the 'recommended for PS)

http://blogs.adobe.com/crawlspace/20...rformance.html
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Old 01-06-13, 09:35 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by Kittydreamer View Post
Thank you I appreciate the help. Pell money hits the 16th and then I can buy
Bump this thread on the 14th and I am sure we can come up with something for you.

Also tell us what is the most important.

1 - as cheap as possible while still being effective

or

2 spend a tad more to get something a notch above as cheap as possible


#1 does not mean you will end up with a piece of shit, it just means you more need the extra $50 to eat than go towards a computer
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Old 01-07-13, 09:25 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

TE=Deftones;11529149]Sounds like you could go to Best Buy/Staples/Office Max and buy any run of the mill sub $500 laptop and it would be fine for what I need. As for Office, since it appears you are a student, there are student versions that are discounted. Check with your school.[/QUOTE]

Certain employers participate in Microsoft Home Use Program, and you can buy office for $10,if you qualify.

Open Office is a good alternative, and free. Some pc also comes with office starter which is a limited feature word and excel. You can try these first before youbuy ooffice.
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Old 01-07-13, 09:51 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

I was surprised to learn I could get the latest version of Microsoft Office and Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 for free via my graduate school as an enrolled student. Students get a free copy they can put on up to two machines at once. If he or she withdraws or transfers or flunks out, it has to be uninstalled and if he or she graduates, he or she gets to keep it for free. I didn't know about this except a classmate also works in the school's IT department and mentioned it to me when I made small talk about wanting to buy a new desktop tower. It was all links on the IT portion of the school's website, no physical media.

Also, depending on your school, there might indeed be a tech store that is part of or separate from the bookstore where you can get discounted hardware and software.

My wife and I each got a Toshiba Satellite laptop (the A665 model) from Office Depot and we enjoy it a lot. The service plan has been worth it for us. For your purposes, this model may be too much for what you need as my wife barely uses hers for all of its capacity the way I do and now she understands why she could have gotten a less expensive computer. I will say that the first thing that caught my eye on the Satellite was the number key pad on the machine because I use that on my other computer a lot. This was a new laptop feature to me and, perhaps surprisingly, it steered me toward this unit as I did research.

I was going to offer unasked for advice about whether or not it's wise to spend student loan money on your kid instead of your school but then I saw this is a Pell grant and maybe that's not as big of a deal so I'll keep my mouth shut.
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Old 01-07-13, 10:15 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Knowing any preferences for size of the laptop and portability would be helpful in hunting as well. I feel like there's not much variation in laptops these days, so that might be a good jumping off point.
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Old 01-07-13, 05:40 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
I would think it would be fine for many, but I have to ask which software you are using and exactly how intense is your 'editing' work?

Are you using the latest Photoshop? If so, this might not be enough. If you are using a more 'consumer' level program, it would probably be ok. The 6GB ram could be a limiting feature (but it is upgradeable to 8 which is the 'recommended for PS)

http://blogs.adobe.com/crawlspace/20...rformance.html
I would say Medium level. But I'd be doing RAW. I haven't picked a software. I doubt full Photoshop. I'm thinking Lightroom...
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Old 01-07-13, 06:13 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

For the OP, do you care how big the computer is? I have a MacBook Air which I think is great, and there are now several Ultrabook type PCs on the windows side that are pretty similar.

Sdallnct: Lightroom 4 with RAW works just fine on my late 2011 Air.
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Old 01-07-13, 06:54 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by bdshort View Post
For the OP, do you care how big the computer is? I have a MacBook Air which I think is great, and there are now several Ultrabook type PCs on the windows side that are pretty similar.

Sdallnct: Lightroom 4 with RAW works just fine on my late 2011 Air.
One thing beyond the size of the laptop is the size of the keyboard, particularly if you wanted a very small laptop like a netbook.
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Old 01-07-13, 06:55 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Bought a Sony Vaio with the following specs:

Display: 17.3" WUXGA, resolution 1920x1080
Processor: Mobile Intel Core i7 3632QM Quad-Core (2.20GHz)
Cache: 6MB
Chipset: Intel HM76
Memory: 8GB (2x4GB) PC12800 DDR3 SODIMM (Max. 8GB)
Video card: AMD Mobility Radeon HD7650M 2GB VRAM
Hard disk: 750GB SATA 5400rpm


Very pleased!
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Old 01-07-13, 08:41 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
I would say Medium level. But I'd be doing RAW. I haven't picked a software. I doubt full Photoshop. I'm thinking Lightroom...
This would be fine for medium duty consumer use of Ligthroom. You might want to consider an SSD hard drive upgrade as Lightroom loves to workout the hard drive (I assume the smaller screen presents a travel benefit for you? most would want the larger screen for photo work)



Originally Posted by bdshort View Post
For the OP, do you care how big the computer is? I have a MacBook Air which I think is great, and there are now several Ultrabook type PCs on the windows side that are pretty similar.
OP clearly states no macs
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Old 01-07-13, 08:41 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by The Black View Post
Bought a Sony Vaio with the following specs:

...

Very pleased!
The price and link you provided are helpful to the OP
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Old 01-07-13, 11:44 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
Bump this thread on the 14th and I am sure we can come up with something for you.

Also tell us what is the most important.

1 - as cheap as possible while still being effective

or

2 spend a tad more to get something a notch above as cheap as possible


#1 does not mean you will end up with a piece of shit, it just means you more need the extra $50 to eat than go towards a computer
Sweet, I'll do that.

I need it to be user friendly and other than being a PC, my needs are fairly basic. I don't really know much. What should I ask about? Top spending is $500
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Old 01-07-13, 11:52 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Weight, screen size, if you need a built in DVD drive, is blu ray a requirement, what about bluetooth? How long do you need the battery life to be? What specific apps beyond what you posted above will you use? For basic uses,I have seen laptops on sale in the $300 ish range, if all you will be doing is what you said.
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Old 01-07-13, 11:52 PM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

You can always look at Cnet for reviews. I'm pretty sure you can filter by price.
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Old 01-08-13, 12:07 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by bdshort View Post
For the OP, do you care how big the computer is? I have a MacBook Air which I think is great, and there are now several Ultrabook type PCs on the windows side that are pretty similar.

Sdallnct: Lightroom 4 with RAW works just fine on my late 2011 Air.
Sure an Airbook would be great. However, it would be hard to swallow a grand (plus external hard drive) when this will literally all ill be using the computer for. I had given up laptops in favor of my tablet. But then bought a good camera that does RAW.

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
This would be fine for medium duty consumer use of Ligthroom. You might want to consider an SSD hard drive upgrade as Lightroom loves to workout the hard drive (I assume the smaller screen presents a travel benefit for you? most would want the larger screen for photo work)

.
Yes, I need as small and light as possible for travel. Thought I read where SSD's were not good for pic processing. Something about a limited number of read/write and photo editing does that constantly??

Last edited by Sdallnct; 01-08-13 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 01-08-13, 08:02 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

One more thing to consider in Laptop is reliability. If you do not want Macs. Toshiba makes very dependable laptops. Consumer reports ranks them just below Apple.

I have used one (Toshiba) for over 7 years still doing well, just bought another one last year. Have recommended to couple of my friends they are happy with Toshibas.

If you are a student - you could do fine with i3 or i5 - works well for M.Office, internet, light photoshop ( or Elements ) and other similar programs.

Remember you can get a better price for 15.6 inch than 14 inch (go figure) . Look for deals at Staples/OfficeMax etc. I was able to use a $50 coupon on top of dicounted price. You should be able to get one for about $500. During the holidays Best Buy had a Toshiba i3 for $399 ( not a holiday deal - just a regular sale) - they may still have some left over.

Good luck.
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Old 01-08-13, 10:51 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by Sdallnct View Post
Yes, I need as small and light as possible for travel. Thought I read where SSD's were not good for pic processing. Something about a limited number of read/write and photo editing does that constantly??
it's a price you pay for performance. You just wear the SSD out faster (I can see where that get's tagged - Not Good ) We all have different definitions of good.

but if you go with an enterprise class SSD, it's not as large a concern, but yes, writes do wear the drive, photo edits (especially in RAW) will make lots of writes to a drive, but you gain performance, battery life, etc, etc it's a personal preference of cost vs performance vs longevity. You are doing nothing 'wrong' using an SSD for photo edits.


something like this could take a little abuse

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820249027
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Old 01-08-13, 10:55 AM
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Re: Buying a new laptop

Originally Posted by Kittydreamer View Post
Sweet, I'll do that.

I need it to be user friendly and other than being a PC, my needs are fairly basic. I don't really know much. What should I ask about? Top spending is $500
user friendly won't be different, all will be win 7 or win 8, if you end up with win 8 we can talk you though how to make it look like win 7

There are always trade offs, D.Pham listed most of them. The other thing to look at is warranty. Do you have a credit card that doubles warranty on electronics?? that can be critical.

Also, will your world be destroyed (just joking) if your laptop is broke and has to be mailed in for service? (means you will be without it for a week or so)

You might need to spend some $$ on warranty

we will get you some good options when the time comes.
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