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Buying a New Laptop

SiggeSigge Member Posts: 53 ✭✭ - Stalwart
I want to buy a new laptop soon and am planning to spend around $400 on it. I was wondering if anyone had any advice or could point me in the right direction.

All I really think I would like it to be able to handle is:

Mudlet
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Dungeons & Dragons Online
Typical internet stuff (Youtube, Flash-games, Etc.)

Should I try to get Windows 7 or Windows 8? Should I save up even more to buy a really kick-ass one instead? I'm fairly certain I'll have the $400 by the end of the month...

The other thing I'm wondering about is this. My Mothers laptop is a Compaq Presario with Windows 7 on it. She got it a while ago but now it's slow as all hell despite defragging and such. Is there any way to combat this? Is there any way to fix her laptop? I googled it and all that comes up is those computer cleaning programs you have to download but I have no idea if they can be trusted, and if it's a virus then I'm wondering how it got past Norton...

Any Ideas/Advice?

Comments

  • NellaundraNellaundra Member Posts: 1,556 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Most modern laptops should be able to handle all of those, but I HIGHLY recommend you get Windows 7 if possible.  Windows 8 isn't quite clean of bugs and such yet.

    As for helping your mom's laptop, I'd recommend the program CCleaner and Avast! Antivirus.  They're a wonderful duo for keeping your computer clean.  Though, the more likely candidate is just age.
    image
  • RugnarRugnar Member Posts: 29 ✭✭ - Stalwart
    If you don't mind getting used to something new, I'd recommend you get Windows 8. There's a lot of hate going around on the internet about it, but I personally like it. Sure, I've disabled the metro interface and added a start button, so it kind of just looks exactly like the previous versions of Windows, but that new interface is not the reason why I'd recommend it. It's been proven multiple times that the performance of 8 is better than 7 on almost every field, and personally I believe it's a noticeable difference. However, if you don't want to start meddling with new stuff and having to change things around to get 'em how you like, stay at 7, but most of the computers you'll find nowadays will start having 8 as the standard. About the bugs: it's much worse than when it came out, and getting even better every day, you probably won't even notice anything buggy anymore at this point.

    About your mom's laptop: you can start trying to run several programs that try fixing part of your problem. But the solution that would really help, and the one I recommend you do once a year, is just a clean install. Don't know how computer savvy you are though, as it would require backing up everything you didn't want lost, reinstalling, and then reinstalling all the drivers and software you lost. If you don't plan on doing that, I agree with Nellaundra on CCleaner! Great software!
  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorMember Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    edited January 2013
    Due to a clause with my employer contract, I have to make the following disclaimer: I am a Best Buy employee, and the views expressed here are my own.

    Now, with that out of the way, I'll try and give you unbiased opinion. I recommend to my customers the following. If you are looking for a computer that will meet your needs today, and maybe for three years or so, go with an Intel i3 processor, or AMD A6. If you are looking for a computer that can grow with you, and maybe last you like four or five years, go with one with an Intel i5, or an AMD A8/A10.

    No less than 4GB RAM. If you can get more, then by all means do so.

    Hard drive size makes little difference these days, so long as you have more than 320 GB, or so.

    You should be able to pick up a no-frills i3 with 4GB RAM, and around a 500 GB hard drive, for about $400, so you're probably in luck, there.

    Additionally, I will agree with what has already been stated: a hard drive wipe, and complete re-install of your Windows operating system, should remove any viruses that are present. There are a few exceptions (MBR viruses, which Windows 8 is actually designed to fight against), but they are still rare enough to not be a major cause for concern. Do note: by default, the system recovery on most computers will not wipe the hard drive, but merely install a new version of Windows right on top of the old one. If you go this route, you want to make sure that you are choosing the option that gives you the warning that it will wipe out all of your personal files and settings, otherwise, this will have been for nothing.

    EDIT: Took a look at forum rules. I had recommended a specific Best Buy service to handle viruses, and I am concerned that my post may be construed as an advertisement (it wasn't, I don't get anything if he bought it). But anyway, removed so as to prevent the appearance of advertisement.
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    Anaidiana
  • AepasAepas Member Posts: 1,619 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    400 dollars is not going to get you something that will play SWTOR very well. I wouldn't count on a decent frame rate.

    While 400$ will get you a decent computer or laptop, it's really not going to get you a good graphics card or anything, which is kind of needed. I'd say build one.. but by build one I mean build a desktop.

    Also, the reason your mother's computer is slow is because it is a compaq.

    Now that my sarcasm is out of the way, let's talk real technician stuff.  I personally have a soft spot for SONY VIAO computers, but everyone has their sense of fanboyism. What I enjoy about them is that the drivers interface really well with most other peripheral stuff. Still, if you want a computer for playing games, get a desktop. If you want to casually play stuff, or play achaea only, a laptop is better. At 400 dollars.. I can't really offer you too much help.. just.. don't buy a netbook.

    I'll have to agree with @nellaundra, Avast! is a must. I have not used the program CCleaner before, But I normally stick with AVG and Avast. I'd say download one or both of those, then do this.
    1)start your computer up in safemode with no networking. This disables most drivers and programs that are not needed, which helps eliminate any form of coding that might help hide a virus.
    2) run the antivirus program(s) one at a time. Should clean up a massive amount of stuff, and chances are everything it pulls up will be safe to Q or delete. Don't fret when it asks to delete all the stuff it finds, just do it.

    I'd have to respectfully disagree with @Nizaris however, I've never found best buy to be amazingly helpful, but they don't have a lot of overall standards for their tech department, so I'm sure it varies from store to store. no offense intended Niz.

    If you can, avoid windows 8. It no longer supports a lot of outdated engines, so if you ever want to play good ole retro games, you're out of luck.
    Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
  • TahquilTahquil Member Posts: 4,631 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Windows 7.

    For love of god, Windows 7.
    SherazadSkyeKyrraAlyssea
  • SynbiosSynbios Member Posts: 4,636 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Aepas said:
    I'd have to respectfully disagree with @Nizaris however, I've never found best buy to be amazingly helpful, but they don't have a lot of overall standards for their tech department, so I'm sure it varies from store to store. no offense intended Niz.


    Tech support is a box of chocolates - you never know if you get the good ones.
  • CinyaCinya Member Posts: 298 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    I'm no expert, but: 

    - Get Windows 7. I recently bought a new Windows 8 laptop when my last laptop died unexpectedly, thinking, it couldn't be that bad... and it definitely was. I hated it. Less than an hour after setting up, I was determined to return it the next morning.

    - I agree with @Aepas that $400 probably won't get you anything that will run SW:TOR particularly well. As weird as it sounds, check things like Groupon and whatnot unless you need one RIGHT NOW, as I've seen several pretty decent deals on there for laptops in the past month. 

    - As for your mom's computer, I assume you know how to add/remove programs? I would go through and just do that for a lot of the crap (you can usually Google something to find out if it's actually important, if you're uncertain), and then defrag again. If you suspect a virus, I would recommend running MalwareBytes - I've had it recommended to me by several of my most computer-competent friends, and I've always found it to be safe and reliable. 
  • AkiaAkia phoenix, azMember Posts: 180 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished

    Tahquil said:
    Windows 7.

    For love of god, Windows 7.
    Windows 7 is going to be the better choice, it's extremely well written and stable and FAMILIAR most of all.  Windows 8 is ugh..just no.

    For 400$ you won't be able to get too extreme of a system, but you should be able to handle those games decently, be sure to get a fan/cooling pad for prolonged life of your laptop.  Airflow is terrible and will really bog down your gaming when you get overheated.  

    Once you can afford a bit more, grab a solid state drive instead of a traditional hard-drive for your laptop, the increase in performance will be mind  blowing, trust me.  Especially for large file loading games like MMOs.


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  • AkiaAkia phoenix, azMember Posts: 180 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    Also, as far as your mother's computer is concerned:  On top of uninstalling unneeded programs like the above posters have said, one of the best way to increase performance is to go to System Configuration (just type it into the run bar) then go to the Startup tab, from there start disabling things that are unneeded, and if you're not sure what's needed, of course look it up.  There's probably only 3-4 things that are direly needed on startup though.

    What happens is non-computer savy people have EVERYTHING load up into memory on boot, so when they actually need to use something else the memory is already being used, thus windows has to do a whole dance of transferring over to VRAM which is much slower because it uses hard-drive space instead of RAM. 

    Ok, TMI, but give that a try.

    image

  • PardinenPardinen Member Posts: 13
    I might as well throw the idea out there (This is Sigge btw, account got deleted), my brother also believe that if you want a gaming computer it should be a desktop, so that you can make improvements, and ideally you should build it from scratch.

    What if I did decide to go that route?
  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorMember Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    @Pardinen: If you're looking for gaming, then:

    Intel Core i7-3970 or Intel Xeon E5 series
    8+GB RAM
    1TB Hard drive, preferably a hybrid for added boot speed.
    nVidia GTX 690
    Asus mobo

    The problem with building your own computer is that ... you really get into a deadly spiral of ... Oooh! I can have this and this and this and this! And, it gets hard to decide what you want/vs what you can pay for.

    Generally speaking, for gaming, I would make the following base recommendation:

    Intel Core i7-3xxx series
    500+GB Hard drive
    8GB RAM
    AMD or nVidia card with 2+GB RAM dedicated

    Build from there. Definitely recommend an Asus motherboard, if building your own.
    image
  • PardinenPardinen Member Posts: 13
    So... I SHOULDN'T buy this?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227442

    Just because it's windows 8? Also, I have two monitors, the one I'm using right now came with our old gateway back when I was in 5th grade, do you think it'll still work until I can buy a better one?
  • AepasAepas Member Posts: 1,619 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    you don't really need an i7 processor for a decent gaming computer. A lot of the processes are still going to run fine on an i5 and it's going to save you a decent hunk of money. Also, don't go for the TB hard drives just yet, typically it's multiple drives RAID 0'd together, so the chance of a TB hard drive failing is quite a bit higher than most. Srsly.. you need some management if you need 1TB. if that 1tb is REALLY needed, go buy an external.

    @pardinen Gawd no. That's still running an i3 processor. Here is the simple stuff. If you are NOT tech savy, look for these numbers
    Equal or greater than i5
    500gb
    4gb (lower end) or 8gb(higher end) RAM
    NVIDIA (just about any random number here will do.)

    Typically, you'll be getting a decent Nvida card if all those numbers tend to match up.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883227443

    buy that one if on a budget
    Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
  • PeakPeak Member Posts: 970 @ - Epic Achaean
    edited January 2013

    Toshiba - Satellite 15.6" Laptop - 4GB Memory - 320GB Hard Drive - Satin Black

    • Model: C855D-S5305
    •  
    • SKU: 6978457
    Get that one from bestbuy. I have the C655D-S5508 and it is perfect for what I need it for. (plus it has a number pad for macros)
     It sells for something like $319 IRC so you can get a USB mouse to go with it and still maintain your budget.

    Might also want to browse at a pawn shop for a laptop. (I suggest Cash America because they're most likely to bend on their prices)
  • AepasAepas Member Posts: 1,619 @@ - Legendary Achaean

    Peak said:

    Toshiba - Satellite 15.6" Laptop - 4GB Memory - 320GB Hard Drive - Satin Black

    • Model: C855D-S5305
    •  
    • SKU: 6978457
    Get that one from bestbuy. I have the C655D-S5508 and it is perfect for what I need it for. (plus it has a number pad for macros)
     It sells for something like $319 IRC so you can get a USB mouse to go with it and still maintain your budget.

    Might also want to browse at a pawn shop for a laptop. (I suggest Cash America because they're most likely to bend on their prices)
    if a computer was only ram and hard drive space, I'd be a rich man.
    Replies the scorpion: "It's my nature..."
  • NizarisNizaris The Holy City of MhaldorMember Posts: 537 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    @Peak ... No.

    @Pardinen: Aepas's example on New Egg is a very good gaming computer on a budget.
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  • AradorArador Member Posts: 1,696 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    Yeah I do not get why people put i7s in mid tier gaming boxes. Seriously, put in an i5 and buy a better graphics card. Ram is cheap so go for 8GB.

  • AkiaAkia phoenix, azMember Posts: 180 ✭✭✭ - Distinguished
    I just got 16 gigs of ram for 69$ on newegg, keep a lookout for good deals!

    image

  • JacenJacen Member Posts: 2,325 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I don't get all the Windows 8 hate. I'm running it and I'm pretty satisfied overall. Telling someone not to get it is kinda like telling someone to buy a new Samsung Galaxy S2/Apple iPhone4 6 months after the S3/iPhone 5 came out. Sure, its buggy, but its the future. Its going to get straightened out.

    The only problem I've had with Windows 8 so far is that the computer seems to register a single click of the mouse as a double click sometimes. Not often enough to be a huge bother, but its noticeable. And I've been running it since...the beginning of October.
    image
    Rugnar
  • IocunIocun Member Posts: 3,695 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    "It's the future, it's going to get straightened out" doesn't always apply though. Vista was the future of XP, but XP always remained the better choice between the two until Windows 7 came out.
    Sherazad
  • TahquilTahquil Member Posts: 4,631 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    I've calmed down a little so I'll give my frank and honest commentary on Windows 8 now.

    To begin with I found it to be an very unintuitive UI. My laptop didn't come with a manual. It was a rather sharp learning curve. I had a bit of a learning curve when I updated my old mobile phone to a smart phone but you only needed to learn 4 tricks at most get near full function out of it. Moving from window7 to windows8 you have to learn at least 12 new tricks which is quite overwhelming to begin with.

    You get two screens of charms I haven't figured out how to delete yet, I think I only use the skype one. With the previous windows you at least get a pretty blank slate to work with to begin with. Here your slate is pretty much covered in filth you have to clean off before making your mark.

    It's 2am in the morning, I thought it was 1am. Windows8 internet browser hides your time and battery life which is dangerous.

    When it is going to restart for updates, I haven't figured out how to put it off for a few hours. it just tells you it WILL be updating in 15 mintues.
    Alyssea
  • AveriAveri Member Posts: 555 ✭✭✭✭✭ - Grand Achaean
    It was ok. It ran mudlet and lasted me three years before the cpu or something fried and never awoken again. I don't know if it can run any games except minecraft because I don't play them.  
    Commission List: Aesi, Kenway, Shimi, Kythra, Trey, Sholen .... 5/5 CLOSED
    I will not draw them in the order that they are requested... rather in the order that I get inspiration/artist block.
  • JacenJacen Member Posts: 2,325 @@ - Legendary Achaean
    If you can run Minecraft, then your doing alright. Minecraft is a lot more graphics and hardware intensive than it lets on.

    Tried to makr a Minecraft clone... had bad lag with a 32x32 test area
    image
  • AlysseaAlyssea Member Posts: 417 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    Pardinen said:
    No. I had the older version of that and my cousin has that one. It's terrible, as with most Dell things, imo. If you want to do any gaming outside of MUDs, I'd seriously suggest things with graphics cards that aren't Intel.
    image
  • HaliosHalios Member Posts: 471 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    As far as laptops go I've always saved and bought something more reliable, but if finances don't permit then I'm sure there are reasonable budget options.

    In terms of a positive review I'd recommend any of the new Lenovo models.

    I have an X1 for school and it is incredibly portable, long battery, and runs SC2 and other high-performance games like a champ.
    Alyssea
  • PardinenPardinen Member Posts: 13
    All I want is a laptop that can hook up to the net, play DDO &/or SWTOR, use Mudlet, and watch Youtube etc...
    :((
  • KelloniusKellonius Cape Girardeau, MissouriMember Posts: 303 ✭✭✭✭ - Eminent
    I am the PC Network Coordinator for a hospital in the area that I work, and I did IT work when I was in the Military. It was nice, transitioning from one job to the next, and being able to use the same expertise between the two platforms. In the military we used Windows 2000 and XP, and here at the hospital we use XP, Vista and 7. It was a very easy thing to move from one platform to the next because everything was essentially the same. I have not used Windows 8 very much at all, but from what I understand and have been told, Windows 8 is an IT nightmare. Now, this may all just be hearsay and I could be completely wrong, I dont know for sure. But the idea that I would be able to move from 7 to 8 and be unable to satisfactorily perform my job scares the crap out of me. It probably wouldn't be too steep of a learning curve for someone who works in the industry(such as myself) to learn the new platform, but then again, the average every day user that would purchase Windows 8 probably does not work in the industry. Just my 2 pennies.
    image
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