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Offline Carolyn

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Best Computer Brand
« on: 28/03/2006 06:12:22 »
My daughter is graduating from high school in May.  We want to purchase a laptop for her graduation gift.  What is the best brand, and what are the most important features to look for.

Carolyn


 

sharkeyandgeorge

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #1 on: 28/03/2006 11:56:33 »
for value look at dell for coolness try apple but as to the hardware itself it very much depends on what kind of user your daughter is is she into games, music the internet or something else. although modern computers are very good its much better to get a computer thats quite activity orriented rather than an all rounder this is especially true of laptops where you can only cram so much in. Also will she be carrying it around or leaving it in her room this is quite important when it comes to things like battery life ,weight and durability what ever she is interested in may i suggest a cd writer it will come as standard with many laptops but is invaluable for backing up data and should not be overlooked.

if you give more specific information ie interests, use, price range well be able to give more specific advice.

J.B.S Haldane on the perforated eardrums which were a consequence of his pressure experiments "the drum generally heals up; and if a hole remains in it, although one is somewhat deaf, one can blow tobacco smoke out of  the ear in question, which is a social accomplishment".
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #2 on: 28/03/2006 13:04:01 »
I have not been in looking at laptops for many years (and in any case, the market might be slightly different in terms of available brands in the USA than here in the UK), but I would suggest that the first question you have to ask yourself is how, and for what, is the machine going to be used.

The first starting point is to ask about the size/weight of machine that is appropriate.

A machine that is being used while you are on the move is often something that you will want to be fairly light and physically compact.  Ultra compactness will cost more, but at least as important, you can squeeze less into a small box, and you might miss a lot of functionality.

Often, university students don't really need a portable laptop, what they really want is simply a machine that will never leave the desktop, but the only reason they want a laptop is because they don't have a lot of desk space on which to put a desktop (and they want also to be able to easily transport the machine easily to and from college at the start and end of term, but will not really be using it on the move).  In this situation, you can buy a bigger laptop, which is either cheaper, or has more functionality, than an ultra portable laptop.

Other factors are whether your daughter will be using the computer to play lots of games, which can be far more demanding on the processing power and the graphics capability of the computer than mere office applications.

If the computer is being used a lot on the move, battery life will be important; but if it is simply going to be tied to a desk, then this is largely a non-issue.

If she will be using it a lot, then it has to be comfortable to use.  Squeezing things into a small space can sometimes compromise usability.  Again, she may want to consider having a separate mouse, or even keyboard, that might be more usable than the built in pointing device or keyboard.

One thing that I would urge you to bear in mind is that laptops have a very high theft rate.  This is not just a question of replacing the laptop itself – what is more important is the information stored on the laptop.  It is far too regularly that one hears of an academic who has lost his/her laptop, and with it has lost 3 years worth of research, simply because over the 3 years he had made no backups of his/her work.  But, also remember, if any personal information is stored on the laptop, make sure it is properly password protected (the password protection on office documents is useless – you need to store the data on an NTFS partition, with logon passwords set on the computer, and the files themselves marked as encrypted – the spooks will actually use hardware level encryption on the hard disks, but this will cost money that I suspect you would consider too high a price to pay).  Something else I use these days is a little program called KeyNote which allows me to store personal notes in a truly encrypted file (and these will remain encrypted even when I copy the file to a backup medium).  The other alternative is to not use Microsoft office products, but something like OpenOffice, for which the password protection is supposedly better implemented.

Ofcourse, if your daughter is going to do the right thing, and make regular backups of her documents and other key data, she will have to make sure that she has the facilities with which to make the backups, a CD or DVD writer.  These can either be built in to the laptop (assuming you have bought one of the larger laptops), or bought as an external unit that can be attached via a USB cable.



George
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #3 on: 28/03/2006 13:10:44 »
Having said about not getting involved in brands, the laptop I did use myself and was very satisfied with at the time, was an Acer.  The computer market moves very fast, and I really know very little about where it is (in terms of laptops) at present, but I have recently heard some other people still talking in positive terms about Acer.  I am not going to recommend it to you, since I don't have current experience of the brand, but I would suggest that if the brand is available to you in the USA, you should at least look at it.

Apple may be cool, but much more restrictive in what is available for it – this may or may not matter to you – if it does everything you need, you may not worry about all the things it cannot do if you will never need them.



George
 

Offline daveshorts

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #4 on: 28/03/2006 17:13:05 »
I have found that second hand IBM laptops are very cheap and very hard to destroy as they cost a fortune in the first place... Not as fast as a new one, but I don't play games so it doesn't really matter.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #5 on: 28/03/2006 18:37:15 »
quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn

My daughter is graduating from high school in May.  We want to purchase a laptop for her graduation gift.  What is the best brand, and what are the most important features to look for.

Carolyn



Make sure it has a screen and a keyboard.


Glad I could help.

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Offline Dr B

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #6 on: 28/03/2006 18:53:53 »
It really depends on what she will use it for.  

1)  Decide what you can afford,

2)  Seriously doubling the memory of anything you buy,

and

3) compare the bundled software that comes with it.

You should also look into vendors that have educational discounts!


For what it is worth I use a Mac!

Dr B
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Offline Carolyn

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #7 on: 28/03/2006 19:32:16 »
quote:
Originally posted by neilep

quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn

My daughter is graduating from high school in May.  We want to purchase a laptop for her graduation gift.  What is the best brand, and what are the most important features to look for.

Carolyn



Make sure it has a screen and a keyboard.


Glad I could help.

Men are the same as women, just inside out !



Thank you everyone for your advice. Neil, yours was ever so helpful.;)

She will be attending college, not so much into gaming.  We would love it if we can get something that will not be outdated before she finishes school, and is under $1,000.00.
 

Offline ariel

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #8 on: 28/03/2006 21:38:07 »
I have a Mac... its an imac g5
and although its not a mac laptop
I still HIGLY RECOMMEND an apple
and not just b/c they are cool!
but
I have probably gone through about...6 desktop computers in my life
and I have NEVER EVER EVER had a single problem with my mac
It may seem more expensive than others, but i think in the long run its cheaper because it will never need to be fixed or replaced :]
plus...
this whole p.c. start menu business is extremely perplexing![?]

if your are looking for something in the $1000 range...you should look at iBooks, they are a bit cheaper than the powerbooks


ariel
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #9 on: 29/03/2006 01:54:07 »
Hi carolyn I'm not to sure about laptops.  but i don't think theirs any such thing as best brand.

Their all basically the same if you buy something from say  dell and open it up you will find parts from many different manufacturers and its the same practically with every other make and the only real difference between the different brands is what you get for your money and so you need to look around and compare.

what is she studying, if she's just going to use it as a word processor then it doesnt need to be fast, however if she's going to be doing video editing or using  programs like photo shop then the faster the better.
Some new PCs these days are being sold with 64 bit processors some are dual core and if you can afford to  buy one then do so as 32 bit is old technology and is being slowly faded out. 1 gig(1024 mb)of memory if possible and at least a 50 gig hard drive bigger if possible.

The larger the screen the better, check how long the batteries lasts between recharging, try out the keyboard to see how it feels, Has her college got a wireless network which she can connect to, if it has then buy one with a wireless card already installed.

Basically you get what you pay for no laptop or pc lasts for ever and today's technology  will be out of date in 6 months, but that doesnt mean a laptop you buy today will be useless in a year or two , i usually build a new pc every 3 years but will upgrade it with extra ram, new graphics cards etc after 18 months or so because I've got more money than sense.
I personally wouldn't buy a mac but i'm probably biased because most of my friends also have PCs which makes it easier for us to share things.

PS
DON'T PAY EXTRA JUST BECAUSE ITS GOT A PENTIUM INSIDE :)AMD'S ARE JUST AS GOOD.


NOT MUCH HELP AM I, SORRY:)

Michael
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #10 on: 29/03/2006 02:57:41 »
quote:
Basically you get what you pay for no laptop or pc lasts for ever and today's technology will be out of date in 6 months, but that doesnt mean a laptop you buy today will be useless in a year or two , i usually build a new pc every 3 years but will upgrade it with extra ram, new graphics cards etc after 18 months or so because I've got more money than sense.


Me too, but unfortunately, that's still not saying much.:)
 

quote:

NOT MUCH HELP AM I, SORRY

Michael


Actually, you were all quite helpful.:)

I know she'll be using more than word processing.  Not positive on what her major is, but definately something in art.  And, I don't know if this makes a difference, but she downloads alot of music from i-tunes.

« Last Edit: 29/03/2006 03:02:04 by Carolyn »
 

Offline MayoFlyFarmer

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #11 on: 29/03/2006 06:32:34 »
does any body know which barnds still manufacture laptops with the little knob in the middle of the keyboard for the mouse?  (i absolutly HATE the little drag pad thingy's!!)

Are YOUR mice nude? ;)
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #12 on: 29/03/2006 16:43:26 »
quote:
Originally posted by MayoFlyFarmer

does any body know which barnds still manufacture laptops with the little knob in the middle of the keyboard for the mouse?  (i absolutly HATE the little drag pad thingy's!!)




That used to be a speciality of IBM Thinkpads.

In all honesty, if you are not going to be using the laptop much on the move, I would strongly recommend attaching an external pointing device of your choice (be it mouse, trackerball, or whatever is to your personal taste).



George
 

Offline elegantlywasted

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #13 on: 30/03/2006 01:35:23 »
Carolyn, I would recommend an Acer as well, I have a desktop PC which is amazing (my only complaint is the speakers that came with my bundle) but when you spend 650$ canadian its hard to care.

Mayo:
 
quote:
does any body know which barnds still manufacture laptops with the little knob in the middle of the keyboard for the mouse? (i absolutly HATE the little drag pad thingy's!!)


my mother justgot a laptop from Dell with the little knobby thing. I had no idea what it did at first, its much easier to use than the touch pad.

-Meg
 

Offline free4440273

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #14 on: 06/04/2006 15:19:06 »
ibm lenevo laptops are very reliable, sturdy, well-built, great attention to detail. some of the sony business laptops (the mew BX series) are also worth considering.
 

Offline Hadrian

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #15 on: 06/04/2006 20:59:48 »
If want a reliable laptop that will take rough and tumble of teenage life then I would recommend you look a Toshiba laptop. The may not be a sexy others but they seem to last years.   Go for xp professional over home. Mac are nice but you are still in a niche market when it comes to software and they are over priced. If your need a good after sale service world wide then you have to go for a dell.      

What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #16 on: 17/05/2006 18:48:19 »
Michael or George (or anyone knowledgeable about laptops).  I think I have narrowed my search for laptops/notebooks for my daughter down to 2.  The following is a link to the page at Circuit City where the laptops are.  They are the
HP Pavilion Notebook PC (DV8210US) $899.00 and
HPPavilion Notebook PC (DV5120US) $1,099.99 sale price $949.99


Would one of you great guys have a looksee and tell me which you think is best.  She'll use it for school (she'll probably be studying art education) and she downloads lots of music.  Thank you for your help.

http://www.circuitcity.com/rpsm/catOid/-12963/N/20012961+20012963+312963001+40001085/link/ref/rpem/ccd/categorylist.do

Carolyn

PS - I have to make this purchase this evening.:DI know I'm pushy.

PPS - If you see a better one, please feel free to tell me.:)
« Last Edit: 17/05/2006 18:56:13 by Carolyn »
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #17 on: 17/05/2006 20:22:01 »
Could only take a quick look as i'm going out,but i would go for the Cheaper HP Pavilion dv8210us but with the $200 difference i would get them to increase the 512 ddr memory to 1 GiG and i would buy a mouse to go with it.
The only problem i can see with it is because it has a large screen the battery may not last long between recharges but as colleges tend to have many power points that maynot be a problem.

I just realized that your buying online so you maynot be able to get them to install more memory, and as your not qualified  if you were to do it yourself before the warrenty expires you will void your warrenty but you should be able to get someone at pcworld etc to do it for you.
 
But before you buy either you should really check out the feel of the keyboards and touch pads so maybe you should look for the same models in a pc store to see what their like first.

HP pavillion are a good make and have a good website offering free support and driver upgrades.


Michael
« Last Edit: 17/05/2006 23:57:08 by ukmicky »
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #18 on: 18/05/2006 05:38:33 »
Hi Michael – thanks for responding.  I appreciate all the computer help you have given me.  I decided not to buy tonight.  I was going to use a 10% off coupon that expired tonight, until I read the fine print.  Can’t be used for computers.  That gives me a little more time.

I took your advice and checked out the keyboards.  I was happy with all the hp keyboards.  They all felt comfortable.  I was also leaning toward the laptop you suggested, but was not happy at all with the larger screen.  This is surprising, as I’m usually a “bigger is better” kind of gal.  The resolution was not as good on this one as with the smaller screens.

I will probably purchase something by Friday.  If  you have time, would you mind telling me what you liked about this one, so that I can look for one with the same features in a smaller laptop.  Thanks again.

Carolyn

« Last Edit: 18/05/2006 05:39:37 by Carolyn »
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #19 on: 19/05/2006 02:20:06 »
What do you mean that the definition of the larger screen is worse?

The 17” screen of the 8210 has a higher resolution, but maybe the extra size makes the dots seem larger.

The 5120 will be the faster machine, with more memory on board (although both can be upgraded to a maximum of 2GB, but the 5120 comes with 1GB, and the 8210 has only 0.5GB).

The  8210 also has  a media card reader for reading/writing memory cards for cameras or mobile phone.  This may or may not interest you.

The two products seem to be targeted at slightly different markets.  The 8210 is more an entertainment centre, with larger screen and media cards and built-in speakers.  The 5120 seems to be a more conventional workhorse, with more speed, memory, and disk capacity than the 8210..

By modern standards, a 15” screen is fairly pedestrian for anything that requires graphics design and editing.  In extremis, the 5120 can attach an external screen, but if you do that it rather undermines the benefit of using a laptop.



George
 

Offline Carolyn

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #20 on: 19/05/2006 12:40:18 »
quote:
What do you mean that the definition of the larger screen is worse?

The 17” screen of the 8210 has a higher resolution, but maybe the extra size makes the dots seem larger.

 

Thanks Michael and George.  The screen didn't have as crisp a picture as the smaller one.  However, my daughter preferred that one, and has more of the features she's interested in so that's the one I will be purchasing today.  I am also going to check into increasing the memory as well. Thanks for all your help.

Carolyn
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #21 on: 19/05/2006 20:28:38 »
quote:
Originally posted by Carolyn

quote:
What do you mean that the definition of the larger screen is worse?

The 17” screen of the 8210 has a higher resolution, but maybe the extra size makes the dots seem larger.

 

Thanks Michael and George.  The screen didn't have as crisp a picture as the smaller one.  However, my daughter preferred that one, and has more of the features she's interested in so that's the one I will be purchasing today.  I am also going to check into increasing the memory as well. Thanks for all your help.

Carolyn

Hi Carolyn the 8210 the one with the larger screen was the best value as it has more features than the other one and is two hundred dollars less and for that two hundred pounds you could buy enough memory to out perform the higher performance machine especially as the cheaper one has the faster hard drive.

As for the look of the display, All she more than likely will have to do to sharpen it up is either raise the colour quality to 32bit or raise the resolution . To do that if you dont know, Then from the start menu open the control panel double click on the dispay icon and then the advanced tab. Inside there will be a slider for the resolution and next to it a pull down menu for the colour quality.


PS ive just had a few drinks and i'm hoping my sentenses read right.:)


Michael
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #22 on: 19/05/2006 23:39:47 »
quote:
Originally posted by ukmicky
As for the look of the display, All she more than likely will have to do to sharpen it up is either raise the colour quality to 32bit or raise the resolution . To do that if you dont know, Then from the start menu open the control panel double click on the dispay icon and then the advanced tab. Inside there will be a slider for the resolution and next to it a pull down menu for the colour quality.









originally posted by another-someone
On LCD screens, it is very exceptional to run them below maximum resolution, since LCD's don't normally work very well at anything other than their rated resolution.



I would also be surprised if they use anything other than 24/32 bit colour, but even if they did, it would not effect the resolution only the nature of the colours on display.


George


« Last Edit: 20/05/2006 01:07:51 by ukmicky »
 

Offline ukmicky

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #23 on: 20/05/2006 01:05:53 »
quote:
Originally posted by ukmicky
As for the look of the display, All she more than likely will have to do to sharpen it up is either raise the colour quality to 32bit or raise the resolution. To do that if you don’t know, then from the start menu open the control panel double click on the display icon and then the advanced tab. Inside there will be a slider for the resolution and next to it a pull down menu for the colour quality.



 
quote:
originally posted by another-someone
On LCD screens, it is very exceptional to run them below maximum resolution, since LCD's don't normally work very well at anything other than their rated resolution.

Mine has on occasions defaulted to 8bits or can be set to 16 or 32.
On lots of the new pc's that I have seen the screen resolution is very rarely set to the optimum resolution for the monitor supplied.  The factory's which make them tend to set the resolution to one which can displayed on many different monitors and so is one of the first things I normally have to change when viewing my friends new pc's for the first time. Me and you build our own and naturally set the resolution to what is best and so don’t often see the problems that buyers of new complete pc's have.

 
quote:
I would also be surprised if they use anything other than 24/32 bit colour, but even if they did, it would not effect the resolution only the nature of the colours on display .

No but it can affect the quality of the image shown. Also most of the staff in large pc stores have very little working knowledge of how pc's work and therefore pc's on display in shops are not usually maintained very well and so if a device driver fails they are  often left to drop to the default settings of the graphics card or motherboard which can be even lower than the normal factory settings.

PS george i had to do a quick repair job on your post sorry.  i must be more careful edit is right next to quote and its so easy to click on the wrong one. Sorry:)


Michael
« Last Edit: 20/05/2006 01:17:04 by ukmicky »
 

another_someone

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #24 on: 20/05/2006 01:16:51 »
quote:
Originally posted by ukmicky
PS george i had to do a quick repair job on yours sorry.  i must be more careful edit is right next to quote and its so easy to click on the wrong one. Sorry:)



Yes – it definitely does not look at I left it.

In particular, you missed off my comment about anti-aliasing, or absence thereof, being a possible cause for poor text display (although it will have no impact on graphics).



George
 

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Re: Best Computer Brand
« Reply #24 on: 20/05/2006 01:16:51 »

 

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