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What Laptop Would You Advice?

  1. Jul 24, 2010 #1

    So I bought an Acer two years back and it's been nothing but pure horror. I want to get myself a new laptop, but I'm very unknowing when it comes to hardware. I was thinking about a Dell because I've heard they're decent and cheap, but then (when searching "Dell" on this forum) I found a thread breaking it down, so now I'm not sure anymore. I've never had a Mac and I'm not eager to jump into one (I think it's too much with every button shining and buttons enlarging when hovering over them etc -- Vista is painfully trying to copy the style and failing, making it even uglier in my view) but it's the only brand I've heard nothing but good things from. I do hesitate on it due to the price and incompatibility with .EXE. Anyway I don't even need that much and I don't want to overdo it: I'm a first year Physics & Math student and don't play computer games, so I suppose a decent processor is all I need (although then again I've heard about calculating programs using the graphics chip...). Actually I have no idea what kind of college computer programs I'll have to run in the future for Physics & Math, but I'm guessing nothing too intense.

    All help is appreciated :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2010 #2
    MacBook Pro. The OS is terrific, although you can always install/run Linux on it, which I believe will suffice to your college programs and other such software. Go for Pentium i5 or i7.
  4. Jul 24, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    I don't doubt MacBook Pro gives you quality, but isn't it too much quality (which doesn't come cheap...) if all I'm looking for is basically the basics like internet, text editors, ... and the occasional programs from college? (although I have no idea how intensive the latter could be)
  5. Jul 24, 2010 #4
    As a different advice. Threads like these will get you nowhere, people will all advise different things, and they will all say the other is wrong. Some people will say their experience with brand X has been great, and others will say their experience has been really bad.

    And this is how it goes in the end, for the most part, brands are not that relevant, specs are. If a computer breaks is 99% user and 1% hardware. Most brands don't manufacture their own parts, if you buy a Dell, an HP, or an Acer, it's going to have the parts in it from the same other people.

    Some people here will recommend a Mac as seen above, other people will staunchly recommend against that and say that the OS is overrated, and the hardware is not worth the price. Others will say you can just install OS X on a much cheaper notebook, and others will tell you that though it's theoretically possible, you often run into some things. (About as much things as when you try to install GNU, face it, it doesn't work out of the box if you install an OS yourself, has nothing to do with Mac OS or with GNU, everything with that you installed an OS yourself)

    Of course, different people, different needs. There is no easy formula for this, and you'll probably see that people are going to recommend [itex]\pi[/itex] away from each other. For one, I would expressively recommend against using a Mac, maybe there was a reason to get a Mac in the XP days. But with Seven there isn't any more. Windows powershell is a far better thing than your Mac terminal, which is also nicely tucked away.

    Going by brands is however a fool's errand I cal tell you. Going by models is in the end more sensible, 'brand loyalty' is for fools in the end. Every brand has good models and bad models. What's the most important thing is is the spec, and which label is on it is hardly going to matter. Computers break on software level due to the user, computers do not magically go slower over time. Also, often you don't need a new computer, 90% of the 'speed' a new computer appears to have is due to that you're running a clean install. If you just format and re-install your OS, you're going to get the same 'Wow, it's so fast how it boots' sensation which is quickly gone again once you install stuff on it.

    Hardware breaking is partly bad handling, but most importantly just sheer bad luck, I once had an MP3 player, it broke after 8 months, I really liked the interface and I luckily knew that these things breaking is just bad luck, so I got the same make again, this one has been with me for years and years now.
  6. Jul 24, 2010 #5


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    I'm on a regular MacBook as opposed to the Pro. It can do just about anything, and costs approximately $1,000 less than the Pro. It's still a hell of a lot more expensive than most Windows-burners, but avoiding Windows is well worth the extra cost. As with the Pro, it will operate in Linux if you so desire. Come to think of it, you can also run Windows on it, but that would be sort of like injecting your wife with AIDS.
  7. Jul 24, 2010 #6
    Mr. Vodka, given your needs (which are fairly primary), go with the Gateway NV7915u. One of the best laptop out there for its price range.

    @ZQrn, W7 is definitely a great improvement from the lackluster Vista, but nowhere as good as Snow Leopard.
  8. Jul 24, 2010 #7
    Probably because Vista was like Winamp 3, no new improvements over XP, buggy and resources man...

    If you want to go budget though, cut out the OS and get a free and gratis one. The OS alone is about 20% of the price on notebooks in some cases.

    Of course, a lot of shops have deals with MS or Apple which means they either ship it with Windows or with Mac OS, but there are cases where you can actually get Ubuntu pre-installed, all working out of box.
  9. Jul 24, 2010 #8
    Thank you for the helpful replies! Something I maybe should've noted: I live in Belgium, so I'm looking for something they sell in every country or that ships.

    ZQrn - What you say sounds logical. I must say that I must've had a lot of bad luck with my Acer then. You say I should focus on the spec, I agree; is there a certain laptop you'd recommend?

    Danger - "but that would be sort of like injecting your wife with AIDS. " that made me laugh out loud, thanks for the visual comparison

    instant_ramen - NV7915u, I looked it up. It does seem to get a bad rating for the battery, but it looks nice all over. But as I said, I don't know anything valuable about hardware. Any specific specs that made you recommend it? I know Dell allows you to customize the laptop so you can downgrade on specs you don't need (like a graphical card in my case). Does this sound like a good option? It sounds so to me, because it'd allow me to avoid spending money on things I'll never use, but then again, I'm not specialized enough to know what to "throw out" so that might prove to be a bad choice.
  10. Jul 24, 2010 #9
    If we focus in specs, that's like saying 'get a fast car', only you know what specs are good for you.

    But really, for most computer users of today, a notebook from 2003 running XP or Mac OS 10.1 has enough under the hood for them.

    There is really no reason to get a quad for people. As I said, in most cases, a fresh install solves your problems.
  11. Jul 24, 2010 #10
    Yes, I admit the battery performance isn't so great...but hey for the price at which its being sold, I absolutely love what it has to offer.

    Here's a detailed review from CNET, give it a look and judge it for yourself.

    http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/gateway-nv7915u/4505-3121_7-33970181.html?tag=prodList.0;bingo.2 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jul 25, 2010 #11


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    I don't actually know what the battery life is like for my MacBook; it's always plugged into line current. I do know that the graphics tablet sucked it dry in a couple of hours the few times that I had to use it without the adapter. I think that without the tablet, it's supposed to be good for upwards of 6 hours, but I've never tried it.
    Mr. Vodka, there is another option available here in Canukville, but I don't know whether or not you have a similar opportunity. (I'm ashamed to admit that my knowledge of Belgium is restricted to the facts that Hercule Poirot is very cool and you make great chocolate. :redface:) Anyhow, a couple of Canadian internet providers such as Telus give the customer a free notebook computer with the service subscription. If such an offer is available in your area, it might be worth investigating.
  13. Jul 25, 2010 #12
    Hello Mr Vodka,

    I think you are studying at University.
    Around this time of year, my company (Studio T) prepares lots of laptops for students.
    I seriously recommend you discuss with your University IT department.

    Some University networks require the pro or business version of Windows to be able to log on to their system. The home version just doesn't cut the msutard.

    Most bargain computers have the home version.

  14. Jul 26, 2010 #13
    Acer, Gateway, Toshiba, Dell, etc, they are all pretty much garbage. Macs are generally built well but use lower quality hardware and rather expensive. I'd recommend something simple from a quality well known brand like Cleo, Sager, Asus, Samsung, etc. Asus has a decent line of computers out these days for the budget minded. For example,


    You get up to 12 hours of battery life and OK specs and features for under $700. You won't get the build quality of a Samsung or IBM Thinkbad but its not bad.
  15. Jul 26, 2010 #14
    Common, that's not true at all. They may be expensive, but they definitely are giant powerhouses!
  16. Jul 26, 2010 #15


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    I have been out of the market for a while, but seeing Toshiba get a bad rap is surprising. I used Mac, HP, Dell (yuck! horrible power-supply problems in the first models) and Toshiba. Of all of them, Toshiba was the best, IMO. Light-weight, very tough cases and components, and very good battery life. I would be shocked if they have fallen far below that standard sometime during the last decade.
  17. Jul 27, 2010 #16
    Uh huh. So what is it that makes Macs "giant powerhouses"?

    Compared to something like an eMachines or my favorite PC in the world, a Dell Optiplex, they are good. But they don't really compare to the nicer more business class notebooks.
  18. Aug 5, 2010 #17
    I used Dell Inspiron, it's good for me at cheap price nice style, Windows7 OS, but one thing i don't like is its shot power-supply
  19. Jun 3, 2011 #18
    I agree. Just do your research. And if you get stuck, do more research. Research is key.
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