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Thread: Help wanted in buying a laptop

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Help wanted in buying a laptop

    Need:
    #1. Processor(64 bit) - Core i5 (clock speed of min 2.5ghz), quad core. Think all core i5s are quad cores.
    #2. RAM - 8GB
    #3. Dos/Linux machine (compatible with windows). Will install windows if needed, later.
    #4. Ergonomic, robust and stable keyboard. My keyboard lasts only 3 months, such is the nature of finger pressure or his holiness' grace upon my fingers.
    #5. Cheap.
    #6. Exchange offers with my old Lenovo laptop are more than welcome.

  2. #2
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Need:
    #1. Processor(64 bit) - Core i5 (clock speed of min 2.5ghz), quad core. Think all core i5s are quad cores.
    #2. RAM - 8GB
    #3. Dos/Linux machine (compatible with windows). Will install windows if needed, later.
    #4. Ergonomic, robust and stable keyboard. My keyboard lasts only 3 months, such is the nature of finger pressure or his holiness' grace upon my fingers.
    #5. Cheap.
    #6. Exchange offers with my old Lenovo laptop are more than welcome.
    2.6 GHz CPU
    8 GB Ram
    500 GB HD

    $159 with free shipping


    Comes with Win 7 Pro installed, but you can always dual boot with the Linux distro of your choice. At this price point you can get a new one each month if you want to.

    Any reason you couldn't spend $6 on a little roll up silicone keyboard that can take the kind of beating you deliver when typing without increasing the bulk you carry around much?

    If you think you'll still beat that one up, you could go for a $29 laser keyboard. It projects the keys on to the surface of the table or whatever you set it on.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 30 Apr 18, at 23:01.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    Think all core i5s are quad cores.
    There are also dual core and hex core i5s.

    The one linked by Steve has a 3rd gen dual core i5.

  4. #4
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    There are also dual core and hex core i5s.

    The one linked by Steve has a 3rd gen dual core i5.
    I figured requirement #5 nixed the hex core options

  5. #5
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Steve, kato - thanks.

    I want a cheap laptop, yes, but not refurbished. I saw some pics of newer laptops, the keyboard look okay.

    I have a doubt. I had bought a Windows XP Pro cd, which I guess was OEM. I could install XP from that CD like 25 times, then it would give out a message that I cannot install it again. Then I bought another XP Pro cd, this I have probably installed more than 500 times on my current laptop. What is the difference? Is the current one a retail version? Is retail for life, I mean I can install it for infinite number of times?

    Microsoft is notorious when giving details. The important part is multi-tasking, and 8GB RAM is for 64 bit OS.

    My budget right now is $ 450. Mind you, I will buy it in India, and electronics here are a little expensive than in the US.

  6. #6
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    I checked out Macbook Air. Pretty cool for an entry level laptop. Core-i5(5th gen), 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD. Expensive, but I have used Apple products before and know them to be worth the buck. Any views regarding the laptop?

  7. #7
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    I don't know what the secondhand market looks like in India, but here in the US, we have used computer shops/charities that sell computers and laptops that are either donated charitably by corporations, or are bought on the cheap in lots by secondhand shops from computer/equipment recycling companies.

    One can get a few generation old i5 laptop/PC with SSD for ~$200. Generally speaking, one would have to put a modern OS on it.

    You can get a lot of bang for your buck by shopping around the computer charities/secondhand shops. The downside is that there is a very limited period warranty on these computers, and they may come loaded Windows Vista/7 or even variants of Linux to comply with OS licensing arrangements. Putting the proper OS on the PC/laptop is often on you.

    With one exception, over the last few years, I've been purchasing nothing but pre-used laptops and PCs for myself and others, and upgraded them as appropriate for use by myself, and as gifts.

    The charities, especially, are a good place to purchase from. They simultaneously train out-of-work people for IT/computer work, and these trainees thoroughly test all the components in a PC/laptop to ensure there are no problems, and the computer is saleable. More market value labor might go into testing components than you ultimately spend on the PC/laptop. Good prices can be found, as the corporations donating equipment get a write-off on their taxes.

    The secondhand shops might not be so rigorous in testing components, as their primary raison d'etre is profit motive.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 04 May 18, at 12:24.
    "Every man has his weakness. Mine was always just cigarettes."

  8. #8
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oracle View Post
    I checked out Macbook Air. Pretty cool for an entry level laptop. Core-i5(5th gen), 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD. Expensive, but I have used Apple products before and know them to be worth the buck. Any views regarding the laptop?
    How do you intend to use this thing?

    It's tough to guide you to something useful when we don't know what it's purpose is. Do you do any photo or video editing? Play any games? Torrent movies you like to keep on the HD? Or is it strictly a word processing/web browsing machine? How long does it generally spend unplugged? If you carry it around a lot is weight a concern?

    Macbook Airs like to squeeze every component into the smallest space possible. That limits their thermal capacity and as such they tend to have slower CPUs and video processing than similarly priced, but larger laptops. They also tend to be expensive, due to both the size profile and the "Apple Tax" you pay for buying anything with their logo on it.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 04 May 18, at 14:27.

  9. #9
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    How do you intend to use this thing?

    It's tough to guide you to something useful when we don't know what it's purpose is. Do you do any photo or video editing? Play any games? Torrent movies you like to keep on the HD? Or is it strictly a word processing/web browsing machine? How long does it generally spend unplugged? If you carry it around a lot is weight a concern?

    Macbook Airs like to squeeze every component into the smallest space possible. That limits their thermal capacity and as such they tend to have slower CPUs and video processing than similarly priced, but larger laptops. They also tend to be expensive, due to both the size profile and the "Apple Tax" you pay for buying anything with their logo on it.
    Yes. Sorry I didn't mention the purpose. It's for coding. On an average I use my personal laptop for 10-12 hrs daily, now that I am not gainfully employed (on a sabbatical). Earlier during normal work days, I used the laptop for 3-4 hrs.

    I already ordered the Macbook Air, and graphics is integrated, while I can do some graphics work, continuous editing etc will heat up the laptop, but none like Windows Laptop. It's negligible, I checked the reviews. Moreover, I won't be doing any work related to graphics. Just pure coding. I don't play games, don't torrent movies or store them in my laptop, which is why I am satisfied with a 128GB SSD. None of the work I'll use the laptop for, will heat it up, even if I use it for 10 hrs continuously. Battery back up was also a concern. MBA has 12 hrs. For storage I have also ordered a 32GB Sony pendrive, and a JBL earphone for some DISCO when no one's watching. Plus I have 320GB of space in this old Lenovo laptop to store as much data I want to.

    On a side note, I can use VMWARE and run Ubuntu in my old machine. Or install Ubuntu fresh, kick out buggy Windows.

    It's costly for an entry level laptop, but I guess I will be spared of changing laptops again for the next 5 years, atleast.

    Edited: Out of the 10-12 hrs, I don't spend all of those hours coding. I read Medium, news sites, watch youtube, WAB etc.
    Last edited by Oracle; 04 May 18, at 15:37.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ironduke View Post
    I don't know what the secondhand market looks like in India, but here in the US, we have used computer shops/charities that sell computers and laptops that are either donated charitably by corporations, or are bought on the cheap in lots by secondhand shops from computer/equipment recycling companies.

    One can get a few generation old i5 laptop/PC with SSD for ~$200. Generally speaking, one would have to put a modern OS on it.

    You can get a lot of bang for your buck by shopping around the computer charities/secondhand shops. The downside is that there is a very limited period warranty on these computers, and they may come loaded Windows Vista/7 or even variants of Linux to comply with OS licensing arrangements. Putting the proper OS on the PC/laptop is often on you.

    With one exception, over the last few years, I've been purchasing nothing but pre-used laptops and PCs for myself and others, and upgraded them as appropriate for use by myself, and as gifts.

    The charities, especially, are a good place to purchase from. They simultaneously train out-of-work people for IT/computer work, and these trainees thoroughly test all the components in a PC/laptop to ensure there are no problems, and the computer is saleable. More market value labor might go into testing components than you ultimately spend on the PC/laptop. Good prices can be found, as the corporations donating equipment get a write-off on their taxes.

    The secondhand shops might not be so rigorous in testing components, as their primary raison d'etre is profit motive.
    There are some sites that sell refurbished gadgets, and many second-hand shops. The thing is, I procrastinate a lot. If there is a problem with the second-hand machine, I will waste 1 month over it. I am that lazy. I bought this Lenovo laptop in 2009, I still am using it. Plus I haven't gifted anything to myself in a long, really long time. I hope it's worth it.

    I like your idea though, back in 2005 IIRC, my Acer laptop had a RAM of 512 MB, I upgraded it to 1 GB, then sold it, and bought another Acer laptop. The aim is not to fix it, if it ain't broken. But this laptop over 10 years have degraded keyboard and performance. I have already changed the battery thrice, and the AC adapter twice. It's holding on. :D

    P.S.: Not selling this laptop.

  11. #11
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    2.6 GHz CPU
    8 GB Ram
    500 GB HD

    $159 with free shipping


    Comes with Win 7 Pro installed, but you can always dual boot with the Linux distro of your choice. At this price point you can get a new one each month if you want to.

    Any reason you couldn't spend $6 on a little roll up silicone keyboard that can take the kind of beating you deliver when typing without increasing the bulk you carry around much?

    If you think you'll still beat that one up, you could go for a $29 laser keyboard. It projects the keys on to the surface of the table or whatever you set it on.
    The exact same laptop was recommended to me by a relative around a year back when i was in the market. 2012 model i think. Elitebook is HP's corporate range which means built like a tank and will last. A good purchase at the price and VFM.

    At the time i was using a think pad T43, this thing came out in 2005 which also sold at a similar price. It won't start now because of a fan error. So will have to do something about it

    I decided i wanted something more current after a decade and a half of refurbs and splurged on a HP spectre, had it brought over from the states. Lisa Gade is the reviewer that put me on to the spectre. She's awesome

    15" 4K screen (bigger is always better)
    i7
    16GB RAM
    500GB SSD
    Win 10 Home

    $1400 from the HP e-shop at nearly top spec, didn't need a 1TB drive. Half that of a fully loaded macbook pro. So its dual core and not quad core but there's battery savings with dual

    The annoying part is this goes for much more locally and the model they're pushing a yr back was a 13 incher and older. Laptops AFAICT aren't made here unlike mobiles so the prices include import duties. I see no reason why not if high end mobiles like Sammy's Note 5 are made here. When'd that come out. Over two years ago. Pricing is competitive with the US, at least contract free.

    Best part is the battery. This was a key criteria. It lasted almost 8h on a charge brand new, a year later its down to 6h. But compared to the 1h or so i was accustomed to getting with thinkpads this thing is way better. No longer tied to a desk because the last laptop didn't even have wifi. Charges really fast, half way in a half hour with the massive 100W charger it came with. This is really competitive, its consumer grade unfortunately not corporate but really nice. HP's got a winner here. Hope it lasts. I don't sell my gear, this is a till death do us part deal.

    Considered the Dell XPS but downward facing speakers, JBL or not was a show stopper. No reviewer i came across had anything nice to say about the Dell XPS keyboard. Hello! a keyboard is real important. Are they trying to ape Apple's zero travel keys. How easy will that be on hands !!!

    Mobile OS is no match for a PC OS, i can have over 120 tabs open in 4 browser windows and still have 8GB of memory left

    I look at people pushing chrome books and wonder why. Chrome books are a lot cheaper so i expect they will take off in school & offices but damn is it limited in what it can do compared to a PC. Easier to secure.A laptop form factor with the power of a mobile OS. Is Chrome OS even that. Nah! But the mobile communities i follow can't see beyond that. Tunnel vision.

    Laptops are passe for them, no they are not. They just don't get the same coverage. But they're been cranked out as usual.
    Last edited by Double Edge; 04 May 18, at 19:51.

  12. #12
    Senior Contributor Oracle's Avatar
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    /\/\/\ Agree. The part of India I'm in currently, battery backup makes a lot of sense, as pre-monsoon showers have started since March 20th. Raining straight for 20 hrs now. And keyboard is a very, very important factor. Use mobile for calls, that's it. Laptop is my thing, mobile not so much.

  13. #13
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    I always like it when it rains as it cools down and brownouts are less frequent. The other factor i think would help with that is the state assembly elections are up next week so power wise generally would remain stable, can't really say that was the case. I was expecting April to be a power cut free month, it wasn't

    As far as keyboards go i've always found thinkpads to have the best, lenovo these days

  14. #14
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    What's the deal with the power instability? Is solar getting big as a result?

  15. #15
    Former Staff Senior Contributor Ironduke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveDaPirate View Post
    What's the deal with the power instability? Is solar getting big as a result?
    Not enough power generation, and an inefficient power delivery system.

    When I was in Chennai, there were also often rolling blackouts. Power would be cut for 2 hours or more at a time, with different parts of the city essentially taking turns getting electricity.

    Really sucks when it's 120 degrees outside with 99% humidity, and you're just chilling in the hotel room mid-day watching TV, smoking Charms, beedis, and chugging bottled water, and all of the sudden you ain't got a ceiling fan running anymore. Or anything to watch on TV. That's when you go out, walk around, try to stay in the shade, and make sure to drink a Coca-Cola or Thums Up every 15 or 20 minutes to stay hydrated and energized.

    Rolling blackouts are intentional. There are also, of course, non-intentional disruptions to the power supply. During monsoon season, you're often halfway up to your knees wading through water in many Indian cities. The high winds and all that water can disrupt the electrical supply, much like anywhere else, by physically knocking out poles and lines.
    Last edited by Ironduke; 05 May 18, at 17:20.
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