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  1. #1
    Senior Member wiskic10_4's Avatar
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    Question Best Brand of Laptop

    Hey AO!

    A friend of mine just called and he's wanting to purchase a laptop from Best Buy.

    It's been a while since I've shopped for one new, but the best thing I could tell him was to look for something with at least a dual-core 2.0GHz, and that I prefer AMD over Intel.

    As far as brands, I told him to not even look at anything that said Acer, Toshiba, Gateway or eMachine. I said that I was on both sides of the fence with HP and Dell (unless they had an XPS up there), and that I would recommend Sony or ASUS. This is based on my personal experience owning or working on the above brands.

    I thought I'd see what the general consensus of the forum was. He can spend up to $1000, but less is better. He will use it only for very basic surfing and office work.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Dissident 4dm1n brokencrow's Avatar
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    Intel definitely has an edge over AMD in laptops. The AMD laptops I've seen tend to crap out a lot sooner than those w/ Intel chipsets. Desktops, another story.

    I'm partial to Lenovos, but that's based on my experience with the old T-series, most of which were IBM-designed. I've read Lenovo quality has dropped the last few years.

    Dells are nice, I've owned a couple, but they run hotter than most laptops. Not sure why, but I've seen more thermal issues w/ Dells than other makes.

    Acers tend to have shorter life-spans than other makes I've seen. Toshibas? What's wrong with Toshibas? I'm typing this on a six year old A45-S120 Satellite. They hold up well in my experience.

    Sonys got a good rep that has gotten better over the years. Gateway has gotten better too, but there was no way but up for them from their models 10 years ago. HP's have improved too. A few years ago they were not known for their laptops.

    E-Machines surprised the feck out of me. Had a client that bought 7 or 8 of them, $300 models no less, about a year ago. They've held up remarkably well, but they don't get moved off the desks on which they replaced Dell desktops. And these models have an Intel processor.

    In the enterprise environments I see, Lenovos, Dells and HPs are predominate. The off-the-cuff advice I usually offer to laptop buyers is don't buy anything "shiny". Lots of cheap laptops have a glossy chrome look to them, I think there's reason mfg'ers make them "shiny". The more expensive laptops look more functional. And are.

    HTH, BC
    “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.” — Will Rogers

  3. #3
    Senior Member wiskic10_4's Avatar
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    Heya brokencrow! Thanks for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    Intel definitely has an edge over AMD in laptops. The AMD laptops I've seen tend to crap out a lot sooner than those w/ Intel chipsets. Desktops, another story.
    Perhaps. I'm just partial to AMD all around, but I don't have a lot of experience with buying laptops - I've only owned a handful in my "career".

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    I'm partial to Lenovos, but that's based on my experience with the old T-series, most of which were IBM-designed. I've read Lenovo quality has dropped the last few years.
    I have no experience with Lenovos. I would have thought it a cheap brand though. Glad you put that in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    Dells are nice, I've owned a couple, but they run hotter than most laptops. Not sure why, but I've seen more thermal issues w/ Dells than other makes.
    Agreed. Not sure why either, but that's been my experience. I also had one a while back that the screen crapped out on, and my friend just bought one a month ago and the HDD is already on its way out. I like the XPS series though, and it's my understanding that they use "better" hardware in those systems.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    Acers tend to have shorter life-spans than other makes I've seen. Toshibas? What's wrong with Toshibas? I'm typing this on a six year old A45-S120 Satellite. They hold up well in my experience.
    I see Acers for sale on Craigslist all the time that have crapped out. Their longevity is not worth the money spent. Toshibas suck in my experience - I had one a week ago that the graphics chip overheated and unsoldered itself on - was only about a year old.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    Sonys got a good rep that has gotten better over the years. Gateway has gotten better too, but there was no way but up for them from their models 10 years ago. HP's have improved too. A few years ago they were not known for their laptops.
    I just worked on a Vaio that was at least ten years old - runs like a champ. And my Mom has a Vaio desktop that is also about ten years old, and runs as well as the day they bought it. I associate Gateway with Acer and eMachine. HPs use cheap hardware, and are also not known for their longevity in my experience - and after repairing (sometimes unsuccessfully) several models from the dv2000/6000/9000 series, my opinion of them has really turned negative. I owned a $1500 HP lappy that the onboard fan-controller went out on too... I stay away from HP laptops these days, if I have an option.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    E-Machines surprised the feck out of me. Had a client that bought 7 or 8 of them, $300 models no less, about a year ago. They've held up remarkably well, but they don't get moved off the desks on which they replaced Dell desktops. And these models have an Intel processor.
    That surprises me too. Emachines are notorious for hardware failure, in my experience anyway. They are a "cheap class" of computer.

    Quote Originally Posted by brokencrow
    In the enterprise environments I see, Lenovos, Dells and HPs are predominate. The off-the-cuff advice I usually offer to laptop buyers is don't buy anything "shiny". Lots of cheap laptops have a glossy chrome look to them, I think there's reason mfg'ers make them "shiny". The more expensive laptops look more functional. And are.
    Excellent advice friend.
    My Corner of the Intarwebz: Jeremy Dean Online

  4. #4
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    Toshibas? I'm typing this on a six year old A45-S120 Satellite. They hold up well in my experience.
    I had a Toshiba Satellite. It may have even been the same model. The touchpad stopped working out of the blue. I found out there had been a number of recalls but my warranty had already run out. The case in itself was kinda clunky for a laptop. Really I was hoping someone had smuggled drugs and guns inside when I bought it.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Well, I think you need to consider how it is going to be used. I saw your requirement, but will it be run off battery a lot or mostly from mains power supply.

    I have a new Compaq CQ61-420US. It has a wide screen and an AMD dual core 2.1GHz. It is basically the business & economy range of HP.

    It is perfect for my needs as I really wanted a portable desktop rather than a full-blown laptop. I guess that at full speed the battery will only last a couple of hours, but why pay for more if you don't need it?

    Toshiba?........... all I can say is that my 486/75MHz still runs just fine

    My other one is an IBM (genuine) Thinkpad PIII/500MHz/512MB running XP.

    Which brings me to my main point: do you buy a cheaper model knowing that it will probably crap out in 3 years or an expensive one that will last 10 years and be totally obsolete? I look on laptops much the same as automobiles, you change them pretty frequently because you can't upgrade them anything like a desktop.

    Also:

    He will use it only for very basic surfing and office work.
    You don't need a powerful machine for that............. my PIII/500 is just as good as my wife's Core Duo 2.8GHz/2GB RAM desktop when it comes to that.

    I spent several days testing the Compaq with AMD dual core 2.1GHz and 3GB of DDR II 667 running Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit against a single core 2.17GHz AMD desktop with 2.5GHz of DDR I 400 running Vista Home Premium 32 bit.

    I couldn't tell the difference performance wise!

    Sure, if you are into CAD, graphics, gaming and possibly home entertainment then it would matter, but not for the basics , because the applications are designed to run on low end hardware, and you pretty soon come up against the law of diminishing returns.

    Hell, I even have 3 customers still running Windows 98SE! Perfectly adequate for their needs.
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
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  6. #6
    Senior Member wiskic10_4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nihil
    Which brings me to my main point: do you buy a cheaper model knowing that it will probably crap out in 3 years or an expensive one that will last 10 years and be totally obsolete? I look on laptops much the same as automobiles, you change them pretty frequently because you can't upgrade them anything like a desktop.
    I'm leaning towards the one that will last 10 years and be totally obsolete. I have a lappy that's around 10 years old, and while it may be obsolete, it still does what I need it to do - surf the web (using the latest browsers) and runs MS Office 2007 w/out a hiccup. It's a Compaq Evo, and at 768MHz Pentium III/384MB RAM, it still runs like a champ. I'm a little restricted on disk space (I think it has like a 30GB HDD), but I keep most of my stuff on my file server anyway.

    I used to swear by Compaqs, but since they've merged with HP and I've had such headaches with HP products, I'm not as quick to recommend them anymore.

    I know that there are better places to buy than Best Buy, too - but, I think that's the most practical option for my friend. I checked out the Best Buy site, and I like these ones

    ASUS K52F-BBR9 laptop - $599.99

    Sony VAIO laptop - VPCEB33FM/BJ - $679.99

    Is it just me, or is the ASUS a much better deal than the Vaio in this case? Same proc, slightly bigger display, same amt of RAM, 180 more GB HDD space... I wonder why the VAIO is $80 more? The extra USB port? Thoughts?

    [edit]
    Also, as far as battery life - if he's just going to leave it plugged in all the time like a desktop, I'll recommend to him that he take the battery out and stick it in the freezer.
    Last edited by wiskic10_4; October 17th, 2010 at 06:22 PM.
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  7. #7
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    In my opinion, a netbook seems ideal for your friend. Especially if all he is going to do is surf the web type in Microsoft Word. The battery life on netbooks are insane. Plus the small size makes it much more portable than a laptop. Now netbooks are not power housers but those Intel Atoms can hold there own. They are relatively inexpensive to boot!

    As far as brands go (consumer wise, I prefer the business models) I'd go with HP's laptops. I think Toshibas run hot, Dell's are cheaply made, Sony hates windows, Lenovo is chinese, and I dont care to trust any other brand. HP's DV lines main problems were caused by Nvidia chips overheating. Go with the Vision brand HP's and your good to go.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    I used to swear by Compaqs, but since they've merged with HP and I've had such headaches with HP products, I'm not as quick to recommend them anymore.
    I have Compaq Deskpro 386 and 486 and an HP Vectra V12 286. All work perfectly, but I think that it is time to upgrade them? No, I am not joking.....

    The 286 has a 20 MB HDD and I have an unused 52MB one. I will then load DOS 6.22 instead of the v5.0 it currently has. I was given it because it wasn't year 2000 compliant...........stuck a new CMOS battery in it, and discovered that HP had used a 4-digit date clock!!! so it was more compliant than a lot of stuff made 10 years later.

    The 386 has been upgraded to a 3.5" floppy............but I have a spare LS120.......I wonder? And its 256KB video card needs replacing with one of my 512s (ISA slots.........best I can do) I am tempted to upgrade from DOS to Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

    The 486 is a 33 MHz SX2..............it will certainly take a 66 DX4 and maybe even the Intel Overdrive (83MHz) I have lots of "new" DX4s and one Overdrive. Certainly, the video card needs replacing...........it is actually a 2MB card not an onboard chipset, but I have a nice 32Mb PCI card I guess I will look at Win98SE?

    //Back on topic:

    I wonder why the VAIO is $80 more? The extra USB port? Thoughts?
    1. World + dog have heard of Sony............. only IT people have heard of ASUS. You pay for the name.

    2. For 50 cents I can get a 4 port USB2 extension.......... about 5 bucks for the same with its own power supply, so that can't be it.

    3. The ASUS will be made in China, not sure about the Sony?

    4. Look at the onboard video and sound chipsets, they can make a difference. I suspect the Sony is better specified for home entertainment, as that would reflect their origins and core business activity? ASUS just make computer stuff Sony want to sell you music and crap afterwards?

    5. Look at manufacturer's warranty and what it covers.

    6. Bundled software? It isn't free you know, its part of the package (bundle).

    Incidentally, Compaq did not "merge" with HP............ they were bought out in 1992 for 30 billion dollars............sorry, I am a bit of an "industry watcher"
    If you cannot do someone any good: don't do them any harm....
    As long as you did this to one of these, the least of my little ones............you did it unto Me.
    What profiteth a man if he gains the entire World at the expense of his immortal soul?

  9. #9
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    I haven't gone through everyones response. However I have been using dell (4 of them in total) for over 6 years and i'm really happy with Dell.
    Parth Maniar,
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  10. #10
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    Apple have the best glass multitouch trackpads. They are worth the extra money to me just for that, but are expensive and have 1 year warranty. It depends what you mean by best. Best for what?

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