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  1. #1
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    A more detailed request for help for a new laptop.

    Hi, again I am looking for some knowledgeable folks to voice their opinions. I have to replace my 17.3 HP Pavilion dv7t, that is now 6+ years old and showing problems and I believe dying, in fact my fingers are crossed that it won't die before Win 10 comes out. I know upgrading from 7/8/8.1, probably won't be too much of a hassle, but if it can be avoided, why not. I've driven myself crazy researching laptops trying to fit the criteria I've established in my own mind.

    Number 1, Above all, I am looking for build quality and I have no problem about paying for it along with an extended warranty and a good service/support system. I hope this next PC lasts as long as this HP, which is as main stream and commercial as it gets. But has not caused major problems over it's life. (fan, optical drive, normal battery stuff and the case is falling apart)

    Number 2, I do want to keep the bigger screen, I've grown used to it over the years and the extra weight and shorter battery life is not a problem for me. 95% of the time this PC will be plugged in and the 6+ lbs, I can still handle, even in my "3 score and 10+ years". Touch screen not needed.

    Number 3, The display, resolution, refresh rate, back lit or not, LED or not, glare or matte finish etc, should be above average but it doesn't have to be gamer quality, as I don't do games.

    Number 4, CPU, it would be great to have the newest and best, but not for gaming, or 3D, or video editing, only to handle what will be coming down the pike over the next few years. Somewhere there should be a happy medium between routine usage and the ability to be ready for the new stuff of the future. Number of "cores", speed etc enough to handle my routine (media, email, surfing, videos and streaming movies/shows) with a thought to what's next on the horizon.

    Number 5, GPU/Audio, here I'm lost, a fancy, dedicated powerful with cache, chip, I don't really think I need at all. Again, handle my routine and hopefully handle new stuff in the coming 2/3 years. Audio, it would be nice to hear videos, etc, but LT speakers are limited and I don't use extra speakers, so whatever is best for this given unit.

    Number 6, RAM/memory I guess today a minimum of 8GB is the way to go, anything bigger, probably would be a waste of money.

    Number 7, Storage, the only criteria here is a choice between HHD,SSD, Hybrid. Size, the HHD in this PC is 300GB and I have never come close to using 50% of it. (No music, movies or photo collection, just OS and programs/apps (and they come and go). I guess SSD because it's faster and maybe less mechanical problems down the road.

    Number 8, Networking, now here I want the "best", I do travel and end up sometimes in out of the way places, so here, state of the art in 802.11 would be great. What it is I don't know "ac, n, whatever" and Bluetooth is a necessity.

    Number 9, Optical reader, again I don't know, I hardly ever use the DVD/CD drive, but when I buy or get the new OS, I will want the backup media (disc or flash drive). That means when I have to reinstall OS or someone sends mean disc, I'll need a drive but I guess a USB plugin drive would work as well????

    Number 10, Card readers, fingerprint stuff, docking station. not important. Keyboard, touch pad, mouse, not important, I'll use a wireless mouse. Connections for USB 2 and 3, MDMI, Ethernet, yes they are important and needed.

    Number 11 Battery, Whatever battery comes with this PC will be hard pressed to keep up with a 17" display, as stated above unit will be plugged in most of the time.

    A big question: I got nothing against any PC company HP, Dell, Lenovo, Sony, etc. That said, it is very hard to get close to what I'm looking for, from these main suppliers. I discovered in my research, small PC builders, who mostly seem to cater to gamers, hi end business LTs, but some seem to want to work with someone like me. Some were located in the UK and seemed to be well thought of here in the states. Also, some seemed competitive in price, even factoring in shipping. Is it silly for me to consider looking at these small builders? It seems to me and I might be incorrect in thinking, that these smaller shops might take quality/service/support, more important then say, a multinational corp. Also am I being unrealistic in my desires here? I'm a big boy, tell me. I'm open to any suggestions, directions, opinions. Anybody who has weighed through this long winded request and wants to comment, hey, feel free, I'll be happy to hear anything you all have to say.....Thanks, Stan
    Please reply buy email, dropdown box doesn't work for some reason, thanks.

  2. #2
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    First, I'd be making images of the current system frequently. Second, I'd wait and see what gets announced with the Windows 10 release. If you have to buy before the release check out Alienware.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    A laptop for the next Six years...

    #1. Come up with a budget that reflects more than what your intended use will be over the time you'll use it.
    2. Yes you do need a decent processor, at least a dual core of no less than 2.8GHz.
    It doesn't matter at all whether you game/3D or not. All the more so if your graphics are to be integrated.
    3. 8GB memory I would consider the starting point. (At no less than 1600MHz speed).
    4. An SSD of at least 250GB in size...And get a 1 TB backup external mech. drive just for this laptop.
    5. Make certain it fully supports USB 3.0.

    6. Make a backup image shortly after turning it on and inspecting everything.
    7. [optional] Dump the OS and clean install from a "PRO" genuine disk, or seriously decrapify
    the OEM setup.
    8. Learn how to maintain your laptop's software environment to a very clean and lean fashion.

    When purchasing a laptop to last I will always look to either an enthusiast grade (gaming), or a rock solid business grade machine.
    You'll ALWAYS get more out of them. I don't game either, but I do gain from the performance.


    *Don't get sucker punched into ANY deal that doesn't fulfill any of the above.


    Lenovo

    Alienware

    HP

    ASUS

    Is it silly for me to consider looking at these small builders? It seems to me and I might be incorrect in thinking, that these smaller shops might take quality/service/support, more important then say, a multinational corp. Also am I being unrealistic in my desires here?
    Not necessarily, but one thing to keep in mind though, smaller businesses tend to go out of business more frequently.
    Go with someone who's been around for a while and has a good track record with support, if that's what's important to you.

    Number 8, Networking, now here I want the "best", I do travel and end up sometimes in out of the way places, so here, state of the art in 802.11 would be great. What it is I don't know "ac, n, whatever" and Bluetooth is a necessity.
    Enthusiast/gaming machine and business machines tend to have better networking capabilities, for obvious reasons.

    Number 4, CPU, it would be great to have the newest and best, but not for gaming, or 3D, or video editing, only to handle what will be coming down the pike over the next few years. Somewhere there should be a happy medium between routine usage and the ability to be ready for the new stuff of the future. Number of "cores", speed etc enough to handle my routine (media, email, surfing, videos and streaming movies/shows) with a thought to what's next on the horizon.
    It's a common misconception that if all you're doing is web surfing and email, that you don't need the processing power.
    That's just plain wrong because you will always benefit from more processing power. The processor is one of the most
    important aspects of the machine.

    Number 7, Storage, the only criteria here is a choice between HHD,SSD, Hybrid. Size, the HHD in this PC is 300GB and I have never come close to using 50% of it. (No music, movies or photo collection, just OS and programs/apps (and they come and go). I guess SSD because it's faster and maybe less mechanical problems down the road.
    An SSD will be noticeably faster than any mechanical drive, especially when paired with a decent processor
    and a good amount of fast memory...and they perform best when they are NOT filled up, so keep it lean.

    Number 5, GPU/Audio, here I'm lost, a fancy, dedicated powerful with cache, chip, I don't really think I need at all. Again, handle my routine and hopefully handle new stuff in the coming 2/3 years. Audio, it would be nice to hear videos, etc, but LT speakers are limited and I don't use extra speakers, so whatever is best for this given unit.
    Here you really do not need a discrete GPU or sound card unless you have a more specific usage.
    This will be where a decent CPU will compensate for lack of an add-on GPU in a small device like a laptop.
    Sound volume will usually always be an issue with a small device, but small add-on speakers can be had
    quite easily at a decent price. Again, enthusiast/gaming machines will usually always have better sound/volume quality.

    Number 3, The display, resolution, refresh rate, back lit or not, LED or not, glare or matte finish etc, should be above average but it doesn't have to be gamer quality, as I don't do games.
    YES IT DOES...
    IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU DON'T DO GAMES
    Better quality is better quality is better quality.
    Besides, you're looking to buy a laptop, not a 1000 dollar 4K desktop monitor.
    If a laptop is offering a better quality monitor than many others...go for it, ...that's your direct interface.

    Number 10, Card readers, fingerprint stuff, docking station. not important. Keyboard, touch pad, mouse, not important, I'll use a wireless mouse. Connections for USB 2 and 3, MDMI, Ethernet, yes they are important and needed.
    Get only what you need, but make sure your USB is 3.0, no reason to go backward.
    If there is something that comes with your laptop that you don't plan to use then disable it and remove the driver.


    Bottom line; You're not going to get everything you want, but more importantly, you'll always get things you don't need.
    Don't look away from a gaming machine just because you don't game, they will usually always be a BETTER performing machine.
    And everybody can use better performance, be it a web surfer or a work station, better/smoother performance for a better overall experience.
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2015-06-08 at 12:07.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
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  5. #4
    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    Oh and for backup eSATA would be nice. I don't know how common that is. But even faster than USB 3
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    I don't know which UK companies you are referring to but I've never heard of custom built laptops as you'd probably need to have an OEM machine stripped out and rebuilt as the hardware is built into the motherboard.
    Last edited by Sudo15; 2015-06-09 at 04:13.

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    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    ...And get a 1 TB backup external mech. drive just for this laptop... - Clint
    I would add to his excellent post: get 2 1TB HDs [2 2-3TB HDs]. I have two external usb HDs, and I'm glad I did! Each computer's OS partition gets backed up onto external usb HDs. The giant data & downloads partition is only backed up once onto each external usb HDs. Sometimes, during a restore, 1 drive goes offline for some dork-reason; or, even if rare - sometimes something causes a corruption in a backup image [weak or bad sector, I don't know], I'm glad I had two parallel copies.
    And, I have my OS partition as C-logical drive, my data/downloads partition as D-logical drive.
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  8. #7
    Silver Lounger RolandJS's Avatar
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    ...C-logical drive... I should have indicated this C logical drive is Primary and Active.
    I can no longer edit any of my posts, does anyone else have trouble editing his/her own posts?
    "Take care of thy backups and thy restores shall take care of thee." Ben Franklin revisited.
    http://collegecafe.fr.yuku.com/forum...-Technologies/

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubinontheroad View Post
    Number 5, GPU/Audio, here I'm lost, a fancy, dedicated powerful with cache, chip, I don't really think I need at all
    I have a fairly standard ASUS motherboard with on-board audio hooked up to a stereo amp and some decent speakers. I don't get huge volume but the quality is excellent and a major improvement on my old PC with on-board audio. The chipset is Realtek ALC887.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #9
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    I've just test edited mine Roland and it worked okay - were you still logged in ?

  11. #10
    5 Star Lounger Lugh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rubinontheroad View Post
    replace my 17.3 HP Pavilion dv7t, that is now 6+ years old
    ...
    I hope this next PC lasts as long as this HP
    ...
    to handle what will be coming down the pike over the next few years. ... ability to be ready for the new stuff of the future. ... with a thought to what's next on the horizon.
    ...
    am I being unrealistic in my desires here
    Unrealistic no, but unclear, yes

    What 'new stuff' do you envisage 'coming down the pike' as you drive over 'the horizon'? Your stated usage is tablet standard, I don't see you dabbling in voice recognition [old hat by now] or virtual reality. So is there something specific you have in mind for the next 6 years?

    Above all, I am looking for build quality and I have no problem about paying for it
    As Clint points out a few times, if that's true, then you do need a gamer machine or a business laptop made specifically for heavy road usage. However this is unclear--if it's 95% plugged in, why is build quality "above all"?

    Unless you don't mind paying many thousands, I suggest you look for a second-hand or refurbished Alienware--the company was bought by Dell a few years ago. I had a MX18 for over a year, which I got second-hand for under $2K--I was moving around a lot at the time, so 'rock solid' was top of my list as a businessman, you sure don't want any likelihood of problems when you boot up before some deadline. You'll see it touted as a gaming machine of course, no need for its features in a normal consumer or business machine.

    Number 2, I do want to keep the bigger screen
    My laptop had a nice 18" screen, but too small for me. Since you're plugged in most of the time like me and the Alienware's current user, check out attaching it to a TV or two--I used cheap 36" and 42" TVs as my monitors. Great for those movies and shows! Of course, your laptop must have suitable ports, or else you'll need a docking station.

    Number 4, CPU ... Number 5, GPU/Audio
    You don't need separate graphics or sound cards for your stated usage, the recent versions of those built into the motherboard are quite good enough. However, you do want a decent CPU since it's doing the extra audio, graphics and network work on top of its normal work. To last 6 years, get an i7 or AMD equivalent in case something does indeed come down the pike--alternatively an i3 tablet should be strong enough for your current needs. PS if you like tablets, MS's new Surface 3 doubles as a laptop.

    Number 6, RAM/memory I guess today a minimum of 8GB is the way to go, anything bigger, probably would be a waste of money.
    More than 8GB is a waste for many advanced uses atm, altho that'll likely be different in 6 years. For your stated usage, 4GB would do--but get 8, it's cheap.

    Number 7, Storage ... the HHD in this PC is 300GB and I have never come close to using 50% of it.
    SSD is better, get 256gig if you never come close to using 150gig atm. If losing stuff would be a hassle, then do what others suggest and get an external USB3 backup drive.

    Number 9, Optical reader, ... I guess a USB plugin drive would work as well
    Yes, external is fine for occasional use. That was the one thing I didn't like about the Alienware, the DVD drive didn't have a manual eject hole--I kept waiting to need to buy an external, but so far, so good.

    Is it silly for me to consider looking at these small builders?
    Look for a local small shop first, with whom you can build a relationship, discuss your needs, and bring the machine back if necessary. They often have second hand and refurbished too, so you might get a good deal as well as personal and better service.

    Sudo is right tho afaik, there's limited scope for 'building' laptops from raw components. I was able to add a couple of drives inside my Alienware, but that was about it. Maybe a very skilled tech would be able to buy a base laptop and then customize it for you, I don't know. I'm a desktop guy, that was my only hands-on laptop experience.

    Anyway, good luck with your choice. Consider a tablet+TV solution, might be just the thing.

  12. #11
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    Always nice to see a new thread launched right after an old one on the same issue by the same OP.

  13. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I'll look into deleting or combing the old one.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
    Latest Build:
    ASUS X99 Deluxe, Core i7-5960X, Corsair Hydro H100i, Plextor M6e 256GB M.2 SSD, Corsair DOMINATOR Platinum 32GB DDR4@2666, W8.1 64 bit,
    EVGA GTX980, Seasonic PLATINUM-1000W PSU, MountainMods U2-UFO Case, and 7 other internal drives.

  14. #13
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    I strongly recommend ASUS (laptops). I have sold lots of them. Nothing but, rave reviews from clients after purchase. Internally they are very well built & sturdy construction. Great warranties. They a just really good machines, well equipped, well made, nice Features, they stay cool, good audio & much more. And some very kewl models offered, too.

    Just sold another one 2 days ago. 5th one through the same gentleman.. for he, his family & now his brother... they all love their ASUS machines a lot!

    The brother bought a 17" you might like a lot, also. ASUS X751LN-DH71-CA Might come close to filling ALL your criteria... darn nice laptop!! An 8.1 he is going to Upgrade to Windows 10 @ the end of July It will pretty much run neck & neck w/ any fairly robust Desktop PC.

    Been recommending ASUS as 'brand of choice' for a long time & will continue.

    Not, solely due to being a VAR myself but, I will always advise to go w/ a good, independent consultant (IT Pro) or small shop vs any big box store. You will get better, more caring & personalised service, more time devoted to you & your particular, specific needs & desires.. more thoughtful discussion & chances are more knowledge, too & less irritating upselling. And their Extended Warranty ploys or 'Service Plans' are oft unnecessary (cash cows) or a waste of $$. And in that environment can do nicely getting custom-built PCs... I know we are talking laptops @ the moment. A machine built FOR YOU is always better for a few reasons than pre-loaded off-the-shelf OEM machines. The after-sale service is always better from a small shop or person like myself. Certainly, there are exceptions but, not hard to check reputations, but, overall, what I have said here is valid & credible or true.

    Cheers,
    Drew
    Attachment 43738
    Last edited by Drew1903; 2015-06-18 at 05:38.

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