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  • #31
    Re: Buying a laptop-need help

    Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
    First a comment to CPW, if you're reading I think you have been a welcome member of this community and you're input here has been very helpful. I also have a question regarding Vista. Is it difficult to switch from the vista operating system to windows xp, and what would be the down side? I am use to XP and with the exception of ordering XP installed by Dell I'm kind of stuck with vista. Thanks.
    The problem with "downgrading" to XP from Vista is finding all the right "drivers"

    Some companies of the computers offer the drivers, BUT for some new models , you will have many issues as the drivers for the components may not be available because they were made for the vista system,

    There really is no reason to downgrade in my opinion.

    I am a web developer as well as a plumber and I switched to Vista without a hitch , no software issues at all

    In fact Wikipedia has a growing list of compatible software ( Most stuff works )

    Here is that list of compatible software with vista

    Hope that helps !
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    • #32
      Re: Buying a laptop-need help

      Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
      First a comment to CPW, if you're reading I think you have been a welcome member of this community and you're input here has been very helpful. I also have a question regarding Vista. Is it difficult to switch from the vista operating system to windows xp, and what would be the down side? I am use to XP and with the exception of ordering XP installed by Dell I'm kind of stuck with vista. Thanks.
      I really don't know. I have never had a Vista installed Laptop. My work laptop is always going to be the Professional version of whatever, and I didn't install Windows on my last personal laptop.

      From what I have heard the real problem isn't what you are used to or not used to, it is that if you upgrade an old machine the bells and whistles will make it slow. Also if you have older software that you install beyond what the base machines comes with it might not work.

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Buying a laptop-need help

        Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
        The wireless thing. If I use wireless internet, could someone access my computer files while I'm connected? What dictates how fast the computer is?
        -When using public wireless (no key, no encryption), YES they can see what you send. They could connect to your laptop and read files stored there. If your laptop must stay relatively secure, do not ever use a public wi-fi center.
        -Speed of the computer is relative to the many components found inside. The CPU is always listed as most important. I don't agree. The amount of RAM you have will make a huge difference in how fast the thing feels. More RAM, more better! Then the CPU speed will make a difference, then the speed of the hard drive. For online access, the best speed is found through FIOS, then cable, then DSL, then Wi-Fi, then cell card wireless. In that order.

        Originally posted by DSurette View Post
        Sorry to add another factor to consider, but most new laptops will come with Vista installed. If you have programs that you might want to install or anything that requires drivers, you should check to see if they are Vista compatable. I do believe that there are still some XP laptops available. I think Tiger Direct had some in their last catalog.
        If you purchase a computer without an OS, you can purchase Windows XP separately. Or you can find a brand that offers XP. As you mentioned, TigerDirect does have some that will come with Windows XP. Make sure it's XP Pro and not Home!

        Originally posted by Frankiarmz View Post
        First a comment to CPW, if you're reading I think you have been a welcome member of this community and you're input here has been very helpful. I also have a question regarding Vista. Is it difficult to switch from the vista operating system to windows xp, and what would be the down side? I am use to XP and with the exception of ordering XP installed by Dell I'm kind of stuck with vista. Thanks.
        -Switch from Vista to XP?? To do that, you'll have to check and see if the manufacturer will support XP. Some of the new HP's will not allow you to install XP on the machine. There's an actual chip-based code that will not allow the XP install to complete. It's annoying as all get-out, and they do not advertise that fact. If it's a generic brand of computer, chances are you can install whatever you want on it. You'll have to provide a purchased copy of XP. Having Vista on your computer does not mean you have a license to install XP.
        -Vista is a weird OS and some computers run it better than others. I've seen HP's that work really well on Vista and some brand new Dell's that are slower than molasses in winter with Vista. A lot of it is how Vista is installed and what options are turned on. Vista is a memory HOG and will want to do LOTS of things all at the same time, before you even load an application! Even MS exec's have been known to dislike Vista. I'm hopeful that in a year or so MS will figure out what the problems with the OS are and fix them. If you have Vista now and it works, good deal! If you're like many others and the OS is the slowest thing since Timex-Sinclair, then it's time to think about changing out to XP.
        I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Buying a laptop-need help

          Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
          I don't think I max out my computer's capability as much as you do. I have a dell desktop at home that is 512 meg/40 g hard drive and it's 5 years old. Runs fine no problems and haven't maxed it out yet.
          If you haven't maxed it out, why are you looking to upgrade? Not trying to say not to; just pointing out that computers have gotten so fast that just internet browsing and word processsing doesn't tax even older machines (as long as you don't upgrade everything to the latest bloated software).

          Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
          The wireless thing. If I use wireless internet, could someone access my computer files while I'm connected? What dictates how fast the computer is?
          The answer should be no. Unless you share the files on purpose or get spyware installed. Of course, if there are bugs in Windows, then the answer becomes yes until there is a patch.

          Also, I wouldn't worry about banking over wireless any more than wired. Just make sure that the website is SSL enabled (has https://www.bank.com instead of http://www.bank.com).

          As far as what dictates how fast the computer is, there is no clear cut answer. For any given task you'll be limited by the CPU, memory, or disk; and different tasks will have different limitations.

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          • #35
            Re: Buying a laptop-need help

            I apologize to CPW for contradicting him. My work in computer security makes me paranoid. I hate using public wi-fi. I wouldn't ever do my banking when on a public connection. I know they run on SSL but I never feel comfortable with it. Even in my small little town, I won't use the local coffee shop wi-fi for anything other than browsing the Internet with my phone. What can I say...I'm paranoid!!
            I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Buying a laptop-need help

              Originally posted by VASandy View Post
              -When using public wireless (no key, no encryption), YES they can see what you send. They could connect to your laptop and read files stored there. If your laptop must stay relatively secure, do not ever use a public wi-fi center.
              -Speed of the computer is relative to the many components found inside. The CPU is always listed as most important. I don't agree. The amount of RAM you have will make a huge difference in how fast the thing feels. More RAM, more better! Then the CPU speed will make a difference, then the speed of the hard drive. For online access, the best speed is found through FIOS, then cable, then DSL, then Wi-Fi, then cell card wireless. In that order.


              If you purchase a computer without an OS, you can purchase Windows XP separately. Or you can find a brand that offers XP. As you mentioned, TigerDirect does have some that will come with Windows XP. Make sure it's XP Pro and not Home!


              -Switch from Vista to XP?? To do that, you'll have to check and see if the manufacturer will support XP. Some of the new HP's will not allow you to install XP on the machine. There's an actual chip-based code that will not allow the XP install to complete. It's annoying as all get-out, and they do not advertise that fact. If it's a generic brand of computer, chances are you can install whatever you want on it. You'll have to provide a purchased copy of XP. Having Vista on your computer does not mean you have a license to install XP.
              -Vista is a weird OS and some computers run it better than others. I've seen HP's that work really well on Vista and some brand new Dell's that are slower than molasses in winter with Vista. A lot of it is how Vista is installed and what options are turned on. Vista is a memory HOG and will want to do LOTS of things all at the same time, before you even load an application! Even MS exec's have been known to dislike Vista. I'm hopeful that in a year or so MS will figure out what the problems with the OS are and fix them. If you have Vista now and it works, good deal! If you're like many others and the OS is the slowest thing since Timex-Sinclair, then it's time to think about changing out to XP.
              Thanks for the helpful info. I'm going to print this out for the future.

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                Originally posted by VASandy View Post
                I apologize to CPW for contradicting him. My work in computer security makes me paranoid. I hate using public wi-fi. I wouldn't ever do my banking when on a public connection. I know they run on SSL but I never feel comfortable with it. Even in my small little town, I won't use the local coffee shop wi-fi for anything other than browsing the Internet with my phone. What can I say...I'm paranoid!!
                No need to apologize. Life's no fun without room for debate.

                The thing is that your cable modem or FiOS or anything else isn't secure at all without end-to-end encryption either. When the Verizon FiOS sales people tried to claim it was more secure than Cable I told them it was a lie, to go away, and pulled the Computer Science Ph.D. out.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                  Originally posted by VASandy View Post
                  If you purchase a computer without an OS, you can purchase Windows XP separately. Or you can find a brand that offers XP. As you mentioned, TigerDirect does have some that will come with Windows XP. Make sure it's XP Pro and not Home!
                  One problem with that strategy is that the big boys have such volume discounts with MSFT that purchasing an OS separate costs way more.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                    Originally posted by cpw View Post
                    If you haven't maxed it out, why are you looking to upgrade?
                    I need a laptop for where I'm going. I currently have a desktop. What's "OS"?
                    Buy cheap, buy twice.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                      Operating System. One for the plumbers!

                      J.C.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                        Originally posted by gear junkie View Post
                        I need a laptop for where I'm going. I currently have a desktop. What's "OS"?
                        Makes sense. JCs got the OS question down. For most of us it translates into Windows. For many Internet servers, Tivo (and actually what I generally work with) it is Linux.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                          Ben. The crux of your needs I think is seeking one that is "tough". I posted earlier on this but should elaborate. There is not a high demand for these laptops and that keeps the price high. I looked for one a couple of years ago and prices haven't changed much last I checked. (Panasonic Toughbook $$$-Durabook$$). I think both can get close to MilSpec. ratings for dust, being dropped, water on keyboard? test etc.

                          I looked at getting a regular one and a Pelican Case but I know myself well enough that it would still get damaged.

                          I am by no means as knowledgeable as the computer guys (sometimes I wonder about plumbing too!) but most people don't need the power/speed they think unless they are pushing the computer to multitask or using high graphics & gaming programs.

                          I'd say look for your basic needs first. If it HAS to be tough spend the bucks for the ones designed for this. Otherwise get the cheapest one you can find that has wireless, dvd, & basic computer capabilities. Put as much memory in either as the budget allows. Don't worry about the rest.

                          J.C.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                            Quote:
                            Originally Posted by gear junkie
                            This is the criteria I was looking for, need lots of help;

                            1. Must be somewhat durable. I'm going to a very sandy place and will store it in a pelican case but it's still going to get dirty.

                            They make ruggedized ones, but they are way more than you want to spend unfortunately. The thing you'll probably have to worry about most with the sand is the keyboard. I don't know off the top of my head, but I do think some models have fewer ports on the side, you may want to look at that in a positive light since it is fewer places for the sand to get in.


                            I like the Panasonic Toughbooks. We use these at work in the field and they take a beating. If you can swing it get a touchscreen which is nice for not having to drag a mouse along if you don't want to as I find the glidepads to be a PITA.

                            As far a downgrading to XP Pro from Vista, not a good idea as others have pointed out due to the driver issues. Trying to find a leftover with XP Pro is probably a better bet. I doubt you will find XP for sale stand alone as MS has put the kibosh on that except for some large resellers who are supporting corporate installations with many machines. Most of them will not switch to Vista for another year or more.
                            Last edited by Bob D.; 05-28-2008, 09:43 PM.
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                            • #44
                              Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                              I bought an Acer 5520 about 8 months ago. Amazing machine. I've gone through a pile of laptops over the years but this one is far and away my favorite. Amd 64x processor nvidia graphics, 1 gb ddr, 200gb hdd, dvd writer all the bells and whistles for a tad under 7 bills.
                              sigpic

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                              • #45
                                Re: Buying a laptop-need help

                                I have an Acer travelmate about 3 years old now.Ive taken it traveling a lot in a caselogic foam carrier.I bought my wife a refurb toshiba.Both I bought from tiger direct.The toshiba crashed on the trip taking it to her but I brought it back sent it for covered service an 5 days later had it back working fine.
                                I read once that you can play any region dvd in an usa laptop but after the 5th region switch it stays locked to playing that region.I've no idea if thats true but if your going out of the country you might be buying dvd's from other regions.I carry a cheapo colby dvd player thats region free with a 7'' screen it runs on any voltage even 12 volts.
                                Sam

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