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Problem New Lappy

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by AJ, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. AJ

    AJ Administrator Administrator

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    Need to get a lappy for my son, who hopefully is going to Portsmouth Uni to study Compter Science.

    Now i am unsure as to what Spec of lappy he will need. However, it will need to do the usual Uni stuff as well as Skype, MSN, watch movies and a few games. I have an external HDD in RAID 5 for him to store his data on, so storage is not an issue.

    Also I will need to get him a printer of some sort, either laser or inkjet.

    Do you guys have any suggestions? I am thinking if either a Dell or HP. Screen size pref 17" 4 GB RAM, Dual core CPU and a good battery life.

    Thanks guys
     
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  2. wagnerk
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    wagnerk aka kitkatninja Moderator

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    If you can get it, go for this Acer, and the platium warranty.

    I've had this laptop for about 3 months now with no problems at all, it's got a decent spec:

    Core i5
    4GB of ram
    500GB HDD
    ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1GB
    DVD±RW (±R DL) / DVD-RAM / BD-ROM drive

    So powerful enough for virtualisation, programming, Office work (report writing), playing movies/music, as well as the newest games (Supreme Commander 2, StarCraft 2, etc...).

    The only downside is the battery life, about 2 - 2 1/2 hours...

    The other laptop that we've recently bought is this: Acer Timeline X 4820T (again with the platium warrenty), good spec - the downside is the size of screen (but you can buy an external monitor) and the graphics card (HD Intel), but the battery runs for about 8 hours and the laptop itself is lightweight. Here are the specs:

    Screen size - 14 in - 1366 x 768
    Processor - Intel Core i3 - 2130 MHz
    RAM - 3072 Mb
    Hard Drive - 250 GB
    Operating System - Windows 7 Home Premium
    Optical Drive - DVD±RW DL
    Graphics - Intel HD
    Webcam - Y

    Can't really recommend Toshiba or HP (had a few problems with them recently) and Dell - their prices have increased recently so no recent experience with them...

    As for printer, I guess it depends on how much you want to spend. We purchased the Samsung CLP-300 Colour laser printer (small office printer). For a full set of toners it's about £100, we've had the printer for about 1 1/2 years and we still haven't had to replace them (if it was ink, them i'd have to worry about ink drying), the only downside to the printer is that it doesn't print photo's that well...

    -ken
     
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  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Get Asus or Acer, I went with a U30Jc, good compromise between, size, weight, battery life, performance and screen size.

    Model: Asus U30JC
    Display: 13.3" HD LED Glossy ( 1366x768 )
    CPU: Intel® Mobile Core i5 430M
    Graphics: GeForce 310M with 512MB GDDR3, Intel HD, Optimus auto switching.
    RAM: 4096 MB DDR3 1066MHz
    HDD:320GB 5400RPM
    CD: Super Multi DVD±R/RW/CDRW
    Wireless: Built In WIFI

    UL30JT comming soon too...

    Maybe get a normal external keyboard, and larger screen too and an external HDD. Then save up for an SSD.

    I went portsmouth Uni, hope he enjoys it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010
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  4. bazzawood30

    bazzawood30 Byte Poster

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    I swear by toshiba for laptops they are very durable and there are loads of different specs to suit all users. I personally would not have an acer have seen a few with dead motherboards just look on ebay and see how many are up for spare and repairs.

    http://uk.computers.toshiba-europe.com/innovation/home/
     
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  5. moondas

    moondas Bit Poster

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    Dell, Asus, Toshiba - best value for money and reliable laptops. I still have doubts about HP after they sold thousands pavillions with overheating gpu...
     
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  6. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    I have seen a similar issue with a few Toshiba laptops as well. A mate purchased one (not sure of model) that was advertised as a gaming laptop. He later found out after it kept freezing and crashing when gaming that in fact they had just underclocked the graphics card due to heat issues yet it was still overheating. He managed to return it under not fit for the purpose it a was sold as.
     
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  7. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    I currently use an Alienware M11X R1 (SU7300@ 1.7ghz), 500gb HDD and with 8gb of Ram, it's been a great little machine for under a grand.
     
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  8. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

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    Might as well buy a pretty decent pc for that :p
     
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  9. LukeP

    LukeP Gigabyte Poster

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    That laptop is more than pretty decent to be fair.
     
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  10. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    No, my decent PC cost me over 2k all in (that's components I chose rather than a prebuilt machine).

    Now go away and price up 8gb of DDR3 Sodimms, the price on the Alienware website is £380... just for the ram.
    Add the other components and I am afraid that the M11x is a bloody good buy (it is after all a gaming notebook), sure I could have gotten a crappy HP or Asus laptop for £350 from Tesco but it wouldn't be as powerful or as well built as the Alienware and it's good enough to run plenty of virtualisation software on it.
     
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  11. Modey

    Modey Terabyte Poster

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    In the past I may have agreed with that, but recently we had a batch of Tosh laptops (about 25) which have been a right pain. The VGA output ports have been failing quite regularly which has required a system board replacement in each case.

    We have also had quite a few Acer's and they have been pretty good so far. Other than users actually dropping them etc.. no major issues.
     
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  12. invierno

    invierno Nibble Poster

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    I have seen a lot of Toshibas with lots of problems - overheating and other hardware issues. It's made me very wary of them.
     
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  13. Boycie
    Honorary Member

    Boycie Senior Beer Tester

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    I've got two ageing Toshiba satellites which have been great although in all honesty would go for dell from now on.
     
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  14. nick9one1

    nick9one1 Bit Poster

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    I used to work at a company who primarily did hardware repairs on desktops/laptops. We used to replace motherboards, screens, housings, keyboards, repair broken DC jacks etc. daily.

    I would say its very difficult to say one brand is better than another. As i remember virtually every manufacturer had a particular model with some kind of weakness.
    Toshiba satellite pros used to nave non removable RAM, it was actually soldered to the motherboard! typically it was unreliable and there wasn't much you could do about it. On a couple of occasions though we managed to remove the surface mount chips and upgrade the one removable dimm module.
    some of the later dells had some kind of proprietary lcd inverter which were prone to failing and couldn't be swapped with a generic replacement. as the brightness controls wouldn't work correctly.
    A lot of Sonys had problematic motherboards and were a fortune to replace.
    Acers always seemed to suffer cosmetically.
    IBM T41's had a problem with the GPU needing reflowing. similar to the 'ring of death' on the xbox 360.

    the list goes on!

    The one piece of advice I would give you is make sure you get an extended warranty that covers damage.
    Bar far the highest number of laptop repairs were accidental damage, broken screens, snapped dc jacks etc.

    We only used to sell 'new' Acers because their 3 year accidental damage warranty used to be less then £100. Meaning you were pretty much guaranteed 3 years of computing.

    Its also worth noting the bigger the screen the easier it is to break (and more expensive to repair!) this also seemed to cause a lot of dry joints forming on the motherboard. As people would pick them up from one corner and the base would flex putting solder joints under stress. Also bigger/more powerful typically means less battery life.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  15. Josiahb

    Josiahb Gigabyte Poster

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    Definitely agree with this, I had an HP handed to me to repair because the owner had dropped a uni folder on it. Landed corner first right on the corner of the laptop where the HDD was spinning away.

    Totally dead, had to replace the HDD and rebuild the machine.

    I've scene huge numbers of buggered hinges etc from bad handling and one guy buggered his DVD drive by sneezing while watching a film (I kid you not).

    Accidental damage cover will keep the machine running through a university career.
     
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