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Clad in Sky
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:29 pm    Post subject: Laptop/ SSD advice Reply with quote

Hi there,

I need to get a new laptop for my mother. It does not have to be fabulous, since she's neither a gamer nor video - so it should be good enough for LO/ OO, browsing the internet and, you know, what the average person does on a computer.
The only thing she was specific about is its colour - no shiny black (matte black is OK), everything else is up to me. Although the laptop needn't be fast as far as the CPU is concerned, it should be fast at booting and loading programmes, which is why I'd prefer it to have an SSD.
Price may be up to 600€, which rules out a ThinkPad (at least T-Series), which personally I'd recommend. It also rules out any Apple (which I wouldn't've gotten her anyway).
Battery is not an issue, because she'll probably never run it on battery, except perhaps if there is a black out.
Preferably there shouldn't be a Windows on it and if there is, it MUSTN'T be 8.

Since probably I won't be able to find one for that price that already has an SSD built in, so I might have to install a small one myself. Is any product to be avoided like the plaque?

Thanks for your input.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a cheap Dell laptop and threw a Samsung SSD in it later. It was miserable with the stock 5400 rpm drive, but the SSD made all the difference in the world. Highly recommended. The CPUs would be underutilized, plenty of free memory, and yet I'd still be waiting on the hard drive all the time.

I got real hung up on which SSD to buy and spent a ton of time comparing them... At some point I just stopped worrying so much about it since even the slowest of the SSD's would greatly outperform the electro-mechanical drives by a large factor.
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wildhorse
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Save the money and trouble. Ask her if a used one would be acceptable and then find one that produced the smallest number of complaints.
Don't buy US American crap.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Predictable troll is a boring troll.
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Clad in Sky
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wildhorse wrote:
Save the money and trouble. Ask her if a used one would be acceptable and then find one that produced the smallest number of complaints.
Don't buy US American crap.

When did you buy your last laptop. It's all Chinese crap these days. And before that, it was hardly US made, neither. I hear Apple produces some stuff in the US again, but I ruled out Apple, so that's not an option anyway.
How would a used one NOT be US crap (provided it were from the US) but a new one would automatically be?

I'm not too fond of Dell, so I'll not get one in any case.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it's all opinions and assholes, but while I don't care for the Dell brand in general, I'd prefer to use my cheapo home user targeted Dell Inspiron with SSD upgrade over the supposedly Enterprise grade ThinkPad T410 that my employer provides me.

What a fucking dog that thing is. I still don't see what is so great about Thinkpads. It's all the same low end chipsets and components used in a million other laptops. There is absolutely nothing special about it. I'd heard all the hype about thinkpads and was initially excited about my corporate masters deciding to switch to Lenovo, but what a disappointment when I got my hands on the thing. I'd punt the fucker off the roof if I could. I can't wait for my next upgrade cycle.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought my parents a Lenovo Edge 530 something, for 300 € or so. Throw in a SSD instead of hard drive and you're set. Made in Slovakia, for whatever it's worth.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure about the T410 (might be a model wswartzendruber had), but I really like my X61 ("tablet" form of the T61). Lenovo has since ditched the older style keyboards, so I'm really hesitant now. Seems like they've scuppered the ThinkPad name. Only HP has a TrackPoint style pointing device, but I've not been impressed with the HP laptops I've used. And their version of a TrackPoint seems to lack sensitivity and needs blunt force trauma to move it.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tl;dr

MacBook Air. 'nuff said.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 25, 2013 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or that. :)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
tl;dr
Which is why you missed the disqualification of Apple.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Disqualification of Apple is probably due to personal bias i.e. "you are a hipster if you use Apple." "You lose your geek credentials if you use Apple." etc.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

notageek wrote:
Disqualification of Apple is probably due to personal bias i.e. "you are a hipster if you use Apple." "You lose your geek credentials if you use Apple." etc.
Don't forget "You spend inordinate amounts of money on hamsters if you are Mac owner". At least there will be something to watch movies on during the wait for the triage nurse to look into the improbable rectum wedging explanation.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clad in Sky wrote:
wildhorse wrote:
Save the money and trouble. Ask her if a used one would be acceptable and then find one that produced the smallest number of complaints.
Don't buy US American crap.

When did you buy your last laptop. It's all Chinese crap these days. And before that, it was hardly US made, neither. I hear Apple produces some stuff in the US again, but I ruled out Apple, so that's not an option anyway.
How would a used one NOT be US crap (provided it were from the US) but a new one would automatically be?

I'm not too fond of Dell, so I'll not get one in any case.
I am well aware of that. Maybe I should have written Do not waste your money on a US American fake label. :P
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ratmonkey wrote:
I know it's all opinions and assholes, but while I don't care for the Dell brand in general, I'd prefer to use my cheapo home user targeted Dell Inspiron with SSD upgrade over the supposedly Enterprise grade ThinkPad T410 that my employer provides me.

What a fucking dog that thing is. I still don't see what is so great about Thinkpads. It's all the same low end chipsets and components used in a million other laptops. There is absolutely nothing special about it. I'd heard all the hype about thinkpads and was initially excited about my corporate masters deciding to switch to Lenovo, but what a disappointment when I got my hands on the thing. I'd punt the fucker off the roof if I could. I can't wait for my next upgrade cycle.

Most excellent review I've read in a long time. :lol:

The other problem with corporate laptops is that they load them down with all kinds of shit that runs in the background (encryption, endpoint security, anti-virus, their home-made update stuff, IPMI, all kinds of systems management crap of a half dozen categories, and often redundant stuff from multiple departments and vendors). It might not be quite so bad if you gutted it for personal use.

Also, a laptop is "old" when it's three years old, because they're typically skirting the lower edge of acceptable performance for the software that's out when they were made.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ratmonkey wrote:
I bought a cheap Dell laptop and threw a Samsung SSD in it later. It was miserable with the stock 5400 rpm drive, but the SSD made all the difference in the world. Highly recommended. The CPUs would be underutilized, plenty of free memory, and yet I'd still be waiting on the hard drive all the time.

I got real hung up on which SSD to buy and spent a ton of time comparing them... At some point I just stopped worrying so much about it since even the slowest of the SSD's would greatly outperform the electro-mechanical drives by a large factor.

What kind of a drive was in it? Was it SATA or PATA?
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Clad in Sky
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm quite fond of my T420. Runs very well - and this is key: it's got 4 years of warranty and a technician will be here within 24h should something break. But it's true that my disqualifying Dell is more of a personal thing. I've seen to many of them dead. Might have another look at Dell if I can't find anything else.
Disqualifying Apple is, of course, partly personal. The real problem with a MacBook is that you probably can't get a new one for 600€, which is the upper limit (well, perhaps 610€ :D)

As a student I can get quite good deals on Lenovos and could get an L430 for 499€ and throw in an SSD - I'm really tempted. But as much as I like my T420, I'm not convinced by the non-T/X series. Reviews are good, however.

@pjp - there's still a track point on the new [Letter]430 laptops. The X1 carbon or some UltraBook got rid of it, though. But since I seem to be the only person I know who loves the nipple, I don't think my mother would give a rat's ass if there weren't one on her new laptop - although, being somewhat clumsy with mouse and touchpad, she might like it.

Edit:
So I just visited Dell.de and Dell is out again. You can't get a Notebook without Win8, can't configure anything and they charge 30€ for shipping.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clad in Sky wrote:
The real problem with a MacBook is that you probably can't get a new one for 600€, which is the upper limit (well, perhaps 610€ :D)


Probably not, tho they may be stores selling 2012 models at discount now that 2013's are out. Older models have a bit faster cpu with a bit slower gnu and less battery life (not haswell). Talking about macbook air.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bet Microsoft like like computers with slower gnu's :)
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clad in Sky wrote:
@pjp - there's still a track point on the new [Letter]430 laptops. The X1 carbon or some UltraBook got rid of it, though. But since I seem to be the only person I know who loves the nipple, I don't think my mother would give a rat's ass if there weren't one on her new laptop - although, being somewhat clumsy with mouse and touchpad, she might like it.
Yeah, I mainly meant that as an alternative to Lenovo, only HP does a TrackPoint. I know many people who dislike trackpads, so I think there are more TrackPoint candidates out there if they just gave it some time. I _hated_ the TrackPoint when I first used it. But since I had to support laptops with them, I quickly grew to like it. Now I can't image not having one.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BoneKracker wrote:
The other problem with corporate laptops is that they load them down with all kinds of shit that runs in the background (encryption, endpoint security, anti-virus, their home-made update stuff, IPMI, all kinds of systems management crap of a half dozen categories, and often redundant stuff from multiple departments and vendors). It might not be quite so bad if you gutted it for personal use.

Also, a laptop is "old" when it's three years old, because they're typically skirting the lower edge of acceptable performance for the software that's out when they were made.


Yes... this.

The Lenovo took me off guard because historically we've always gotten relatively decent laptops. The T410 wasn't much of a performer to begin with, and then 3 years of one insane cyber security measure after another completely hobbled the fat little pony. I literally wait for 15+ minutes for the thing to boot to the login prompt and another 5-10 minutes to get a usable desktop... and that's a company wide complaint. I get to work, start the thing up and go take a shit or get a cup of coffee while I wait for it to boot and then check my e-mail on my phone while I wait for a usable desktop. Information security got real nutty last year, and there was one day where every laptop in the joint took almost an hour to load. After taking a decent black eye over the incident they released a memo stating that it was necessary to address some imminent threat or another. :roll:

BoneKracker wrote:
What kind of a drive was in it? Was it SATA or PATA?


SATA 3GB/S - not that the platters could feed the serial bus at that rate as far as I could tell. I didn't even bother with a fresh install when I dropped the SSD in. Samsung 840 for the record. Just cloned the existing drive and dropped it in. It's night and day in the performance arena. The SMART checks on the shitty seagate electro-mechanical drive said it was okay, and none of the other typical drive diagnostic tools had anything to complain about, but I suspect it was starting to fail with some bad sectors really mucking things up, because the performance was just so bad. It seemed to get significantly worse with certain files or programs. Doing dumb shit like copying the files to removable media, deleting them, and then re-copying them back to the drive would buy me some temporary relief.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ratmonkey wrote:
Samsung 840

I was considering getting one of those.
Seems to work for you, yes?
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Definitely. I've only had it for 3 or 4 months, but have zero complaints thus far, and am super happy with how snappy and responsive my computer now feels.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of old laptops, ExpressCard is like the worst technology failure since the Pentium floating point error. Whoever came up with the idea for an L-shaped slot device should be shot and sent to the Russian Front.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, really. :D
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