New computer/laptop (windoze OS) advice needed


#1

I do a lot of recreational computing, as well as working from home (WFH) a lot - I need to connect via a Java plugin, and would prefer to run Visual Studio for career development. Sigh.

My current computer is a laptop - it’s 5 years old, and I bought it as a Woot! refurb. It’s served me well, but has started unexpectedly shutting down with nothing in the event logs.

So: urgent replacement time.

I am cash-strapped, so a refurb may again be likely. I’d like plenty of memory, wide screen (15.foo) and wouldn’t I adore an SSD for speed reasons?

I don’t haul it around a lot, but I do go to some places where it’s nice to have a laptop. And if I bought a desktop, I’d need a second monitor (use only one screen? Is this the Dark Ages?)

I’m not a hardware guy. Any advice?


#2

Wish I could help. I bought a Macbook Pro the last time I escaped a corporate collapse, and run a bunch of VMs on it to do various things. It’s fantastic for sitting in coffee shops and doing nefarious stuff while looking like you’re just typing up your latest failed novel.

SSD’s are great for mobile stuff too, as you can fling your laptop around / shake it like you just don’t care.

I’m clearly not helping though, so I’m just going to saunter off now


#3

Do you have a local place like these guys? Any refurb business class machine would suit you plenty though you will probably want an external monitor with one.

ETA they have some nice Latitudes on ebay with no drive and putting in your own drive is dead easy on those… that doesn’t get you a windows license though :crying_cat_face:


#4

Definitely go for an SSD. In fact, if your laptop allowed for such upgrades, and wasn’t actually broken, an SSD might have let you hang on to it for some time to come.


#5

a desktop might let you hang onto the computer for a bit longer with incremental upgrades.


#6

I love the two “Toucan” (customized Thinkpads) laptops I’ve gotten from Emperor Linux for professional work. Both dual booted Ubuntu and the least horrifying version of Windows available at the time. Pricey, but I learn stuff and things. The support from Lincoln has been terrific. I tried using other laptops between these two that were less expensive and boo!


Lenovo support response says laptop "locked per our agreement with Microsoft" to Windows 10
#7

Depending on your confidence level, you might get away with retreating the CPU with new thermal conductive gel. I had a computer that did the same thing and it was the CPU overheating. But you speak of error logs and I don’t know if you looked at your CPU temps. Just putting it out there on the off chance you didn’t.


#8

So, I’m using something called RealTemp 3.70 now, thanks!

http://www.techpowerup.com/realtemp

Also:

I linified one image successfully, one more that I didn’t save, and shut down the machine 3 other times.

I THINK I CAN TAKE A HINT.


#9

Yeah, I’ll be interested to see if you find anything from that - Linify is CPU-intensive. I’m running it right now, and my tower’s CPU usage is pegged at 100%. Laptop CPUs don’t use nearly the same power, but, by the same token, laptop interiors aren’t nearly so well ventilated.


#10

Yeah, my phone gave me a warning about CPU temp I’d never seen before and shut down.


#11

Boy, wouldn’t I like this: 2 k80s NVIDIA cards and a Xenon with 32 cores


Since my laptop has NOT died since I’ve been monitoring the temp, and adjusting, and not running crazy in-browser graphics generation… maybe I should get a desktop thingy, and just remote into it?


#12

A Macbook Pro can be a fine, reliable Windows machine with a very nice display. Probably not very good in the bang-for-buck territory in terms of graphics card performance though. And, well, why not just boot it in OS X, right? Oh, yeah, specific software. I would be tempted, though.


#13

Crap. I just overheated and shut down again. First time in over a week. I was hoping I could avoid ask this unpleasantness.


#14

So, what about this one?

Lenovo ThinkPad E560 15.6" Laptop, Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHz, 500GB SATA, 4GB DDR3, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, Win7Pro ($570)

Thinkpads are okay. Some people swear by those little red joysticks, but I find they’re still not very good for PacMan.

Or this?

HP ENVY Phoenix 810-470 Desktop, Intel Core i5-4670K Quad-Core 3.4GHz, 12GB DDR3, 1TB SATA, 802.11ac, Bluetooth, Win8.1 ($660)

I’d have to buy a second monitor, or keep using the laptop or something.

Speaking of which, I tried to take it apart to check for dust or other heating problems, and I’ve got two screws that fucked up themselves and my screwdriver. Yaaay.


#15

Check how easy it is to crack open that thinkpad if you need to do something basic like swap memory for bigger dimms, which you are probably gonna want to do anyway or change the drive, etc.

They both are good options it looks like. If you don’t need a huuuuge monitor for the 2nd screen check goodwill and such as they have functional ones just not big for cheap.


#16

Thinkpad fan here, esp. with Linux via Emperor Linux. But typing strangely jumps lines at a time, without warning. Don’t care enough to stop buying them when I can make the deal though.


#17

NewEgg has it for 629. Went there to check for reviews; found at they have “decent” prices.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883284932&cm_re=hp_envy_phoenix_810-470--83-284-932--Product

About reviews-- if available, read them. Went to check out an Acer 6th generation core i5, full HD laptop, with discrete card.

and discovered things like

" Plastic is flimsy. Do not drop this thing, ever. Be careful taking out the screws and opening the bottom if you are going to upgrade. The battery is basically just sitting there, unsecured. Best to tape it down while you’re working inside. Buy a proper neoprene case or backpack for this thing."


#18

I’m a huge ThinkPad fan (have 4 currently operating in the family), and you can usually keep them alive forever (repair manual online, parts readily available and cheap) but the “Edge” series (like the E560) are really souped-up Lenovo IdeaPads, and don’t have the usual ThinkPad build quality. You do get a quality keyboard and ThinkPad support, which are both generally better than the competition. If you like doing homework on such things, go to the unofficial ThinkPad Forums and look for the “ThinkPad Edge” subforum.

For about the same price as this E560 you might be able to find an open box or refurbished T450. There are some sellers on the forum I linked above,or try from one of the authorized “national sellers” (listed at the Lenovo website) like CDW.


#19

Seconding the T series, this is what my employer gives out for work machines and what I would be using if I was not required to use one supplied by who I contract to. The T series is the solid tank of a build case like the Dell Latitudes.


#20

Hrm. Or this one?

Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series 15.6 Inch Laptop (Intel Core i5 5200U, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, Silver) Touchscreen, no less – and it’s $540. I don’t need the touchscreen, but you know, have to try to be seen as “hip” and “with it” by the young programmers. Why do you think I’ve been growing a beard?