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#1 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:24 PM

Wife told me I'm too outdated (snort) and need to get upgraded before I retire.

So I finally broke down and took a computer class on Windows 10. (Yuck).

Microsoft finally discontinued support for Windows XP in March (Boo hiss) so I guess I'll get upgraded. (@$$!#/×÷%÷).

So now I'm in the market for a new Win-10 laptop. Great Caesar's ghost. How things have changed over the years. (Have you looked lately? There are dozen's of categories of procesdors, storage, memory, displays, form factors, cpu's, etc. etc. And even in the same product lines, you can't figure out apples-to-apples.

And no CD/DVD drives! How the hell do they expect me to load my copy of Lotus-123, anyway?

So, anyway, I'm down to either Dell or Acer. Narrowed down to 8th gen i5 processor and a 128gb SSD. 8 gigs memory. Display with either NIVDA or Intel (not a gamer, no biggie). Couple of USB-3 ports and at least 1 USB-2 legacy for all my old jump drives. Like to get it in a 14" but would consider 15.6" if price right.

Anyone have any other suggestions?







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#2 OFFLINE   1004ron

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:38 PM

Those specs would be quite adequate for basic use, such as web browsing, MS Office etc., but if you intended using image software such as Photoshop, or video editing software, then I'd go for something with a larger SSD drive and more RAM.

 

If you're a Costco member, take a look at theirs - usually best prices and unbeatable warranty.


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#3 OFFLINE   omar302

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:43 PM

128 GB is not much nowadays, you need 1 Tera or more.
For the USB-2, shouldn't old drives still work on USB-3 ports since they are backwards compatible? Maybe you meant USB-C? Even for that you can get an adapter. Maybe what I'm trying to say is don't let the USB ports limit your options.
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#4 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:17 PM

I usually take the basic config and upgrade to the next higher processor and double the memory.

 

I went with a HP convertible that you can use as a tablet but honestly I use my ipad pro 95% of the time now.


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#5 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:46 PM

128 GB is not much nowadays, you need 1 Tera or more.
For the USB-2, shouldn't old drives still work on USB-3 ports since they are backwards compatible? Maybe you meant USB-C? Even for that you can get an adapter. Maybe what I'm trying to say is don't let the USB ports limit your options.


There one model I was looking at, used 128gb SSD as the boot drive and 1 tb harddrive.

Still not certain about using a 2.0 in a 3.0 connection. I tried a USB 2 drive in a USB 3 socket on the Windows 10 computer I have in my office and it refused to work. I'll have to do some more research on this.
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#6 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 05:51 PM

I usually take the basic config and upgrade to the next higher processor and double the memory.
 
I went with a HP convertible that you can use as a tablet but honestly I use my ipad pro 95% of the time now.


I'm not really crazy of going up to the i7 because of the additional heat it generates when under load. (Fan get noisy as well). Really think i5 in the 8th generation will be sufficient.

I looked at the type that splits into keyboard and tablet, but honestly I don't think I'd use that feature much.
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#7 OFFLINE   WWWPerfA_ZN0W

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:21 AM

Not sure of the offerings these days, but Intel used to offer full power and low power versions of their processors.  I would look into that.  If you dont do heavy duty computing/graphics/gaming, i5 should be fine.  Def max out memory and storage tho, don't wanna short yourself there.  Having an SSD boot drive has been great for me.  Quick and stable.

 

As far as CD/DVDs you can get an external reader, OR copy the software onto a USB drive and install from there.



#8 OFFLINE   evh

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 06:26 AM

Here are some things to look at that many people miss because they focus only on specs:

 
1. Construction – specifically, take a look at the hinges that hold the display.  I use my computer a lot and have had 3 laptops (HP, HP and Toshiba) where the hinges failed.  Computer still works fine but hinges wore out and failed because they were mainly cheap plastic.
2. Keyboard.  Try typing on the ones you are looking at.  Did they simply make the keyboard look cool (line up all the keys to mimic iMacs…) and functionally it is terrible to type on?  That is usually the case of cheaper models.
3. Mouse/Touchpad.  Many of the cheaper models have touchpads that don’t always react when you touch them.  That gets frustration after 20+ minutes of use.  I would also look for a touchpad that has actual buttons.  Much easier to use (think click and drag, etc.).  
4. The 15.6” screens usually come with a huge keyboard with a keypad on the right.  I would focus on the 14” models that are smaller unless you need the keypad.
5. Look at the screen and think how you will be using it.  Some have bright vibrant screens that reflect a lot.  Others are more matt finish and show no reflections, but aren’t as vivid.  Also look at the specs of the screen and make sure they are a high enough resolution that text looks clear.  I just had a family member buy a fairly expensive laptop that seemed a good buy.  It was because the screen had a low resolution and text was a bit difficult to read on it.
6. I would ignore many of the gimmicky features that you would likely never use (i.e. screen folds to the back of the unit to make it a tablet, etc.).  Unless you think you would really use them. Think if you need a touchscreen or not.  I haven’t used one yet, but I can see where it might be an advantage (I bought my wife a Chromebook with a touch screen and see her using it instead of the mouse – surfing, Facebook, etc.)
7. Many of the cheaper retail machines (Dell, HP, etc.) are about the same.  You won’t notice too much difference.  If you pay more you can get into the “business” line of laptops that are constructed better.  I come from the corporate environment and like the T series from Lenovo (you won’t find them in the stores).  Their keyboards are rated #1.  Their touchpads are near perfect.  They are built like tanks.
8. If you are coming from an XP environment I would argue most any computer “technical” specs will suit you just fine.
9. Will you be using it sitting on your lap?  My wife complains that the Chromebook I got her has a sharp edge where her wrists are.
10. Most laptops today are coming without a CD/DVD drive.  That is usually ok.  If you need one, you can usually but a USB CD/DVD drive for < $30 for the times you need one.

Edited by evh, 14 July 2018 - 06:28 AM.

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#9 OFFLINE   TheWizard

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:17 AM

As for Lotus 1-2-3, you can now download it from IBM's website so you won't need a CD drive for that. ;)


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#10 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:15 PM

Here are some things to look at that many people miss because they focus only on specs:


You made some really excellent points. I hadn't thought about things like hinge construction and separate buttons for mouse click (drag and drop). (And so many other items).

Because of your post, I dropped several models I had been considering. Will concentrate on the better brands and construction now. My last laptop is going on 12 years and still running OK (abet Windows XP as well. It's a better quality Dell).

Thank you so much.

#11 OFFLINE   enigma-2

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 01:28 PM

As for Lotus 1-2-3, you can now download it from IBM's website so you won't need a CD drive for that. ;)


Thanks, I didn't know that. Really good information to know.

I do use Excel, but 123 is so much faster to use (key strokes instead of mouse clicks), more powerful (user Witten macro language that is fast and simple to develop; don't need to learn a different computer language to write scripts). I have hundreds of worksheets dating back to the early 80's in 123. Almost none of these can be used in Excel due to the very powerful macros incorporated in them. One click and I can perform over 10,000 keystroke operations, formula rewrights (where formulas rewright themselves due to various inputs), create new rows and populate, move data around, etc. To do this in Excel, you need to learn their difficult syntax (some say it's easy, I dont), & how to use the compiler.

I actually tried to teach myself. Takes way too much time and energy, so I stuck with 123; a program I completely understand and have mastered.

(I also still use WordPerfect for many of the same reasons). 👍

#12 OFFLINE   TheWizard

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 04:04 PM

You can activate the 1-2-3 slash menu in Excel.  Starting with Excel 2010, go to the File tab, select Options->Advanced then scroll down to the Lotus Compatibility section and put a check in the Transition navigation keys box.  Now you can use Lotus shortcuts like /FO to open a file.  I don't think it works with macros but there are times when the slash menu can be quicker than mousing through Excel menus.  Alternatively, you can use keystrokes to go through the Excel menu as well (e.g. Alt-F then O for file open).

 

Oh... and Word Perfect is still available (although not free) from Corel.


Edited by TheWizard, 14 July 2018 - 04:05 PM.

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#13 OFFLINE   I'manedgeowner

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 11:25 PM

akirby,

 

For what it's worth my 2 cents. I'm on a HP Omen graphics laptop and I'll never own another HP. I admit my opinion may not be rational to others but HP has pi---d me off. Support is non-existent unless a support plan is bought. The other option is an HP managed support forum that is hit or miss with the information. What bothers me the most about HP though is they equal and maybe exceed Micro Soft in their disregard to the reality that this is my computer, not theirs. Anywhere from the first 5 to 10 minutes and at sometimes more that I'm on the computer it's a waste of time trying to do anything on the computer. They apparently think that whatever they want to do with my computer is more important than any use I have for it. They audit and update daily and they will take as much bandwidth they want to do it. Trying to stop them is useless because they don't allow it. Attempts at using the firewall to stop them doesn't work because access to the necessary buttons is greyed out. When the buttons aren't greyed out attempts to use them results in the "administrator access required," even though this computer only has one account on it, administrator. I did the online chat thing with Micro Soft for help with this--the HP forum was useless--and they couldn't stop it. The MS tech went in to the registry and tried to change what was there so I could be the administrator of my machine but they couldn't do it. Whatever they did, when they were done and they saved the work, the machine would do a self initiated refresh and all the changes in the registry were undone. There are also problems with the software they put on the machine. This machine has 3 different choices for controlling the graphics; Microsoft, Intel and HP. I can turn off the Micro Soft or Intel in favor of one of the other controllers but if I choose Microsoft or Intel they work but I can't shut off the HP. To look at what's going on, the resource monitor in the task manager shows HP hogging all the bandwidth. But, if I choose HP to control the graphics only a fraction of the bandwidth is used by HP. To view what they're doing, a look at the Firewall logs shows they are not doing anything more than when they are picked to be the controller. They are just again hogging bandwidth with a continuous test and verification of the connection. Their bandwidth use goes from 15 to 25% to well over 100% when they are not controlling the graphics. I can't explain what the in excess of 100% of the resources means but that's what the real time graph shows.

 

For all I know every computer brand may operate like this now but HP is all I know and has my ire right now. And like I said, you want help? Get the credit card out and that shouldn't be necessary of problems like this.  

 

EDIT: I've had to dells and the hinges went out on both. They couldn't take sitting on the passenger seat and being opened and closed as needed so they could be read in different sun light with one hand while driving with the other. The dells both had by far the strongest WiFi on any machine I've owned. A couple of hundred feet was nothing. I use a Panasonic power book for my IDS connection now and it's a tank but the WiFi is iffy after about 75 feet. I can't offer any explanations to what this is all about. Some people have told me that this about the antenna in the machine and not directly related to the WiFi itself. I don't know though.


Edited by I'manedgeowner, 14 July 2018 - 11:37 PM.

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#14 OFFLINE   fishx65

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:40 AM

If ya don't really need Windows for anything, I would highly recommend doing some research on Chromebooks with the Android Playstore.  I switched to Chromebooks just over 5 years ago and never looked back.  I was really surprised how quickly I started reaching for that cheap Chromebook instead of my Windows laptop and it soon became my main computing device.  I still have a few Windows lappys laying around but only turn them on a few times a year to keep up on those ridiculously long updates.   I really like the security and zero maintenance that Chromebooks bring to the table.    


Edited by fishx65, 16 July 2018 - 06:44 AM.


#15 OFFLINE   TheWizard

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:09 AM

EDIT: I've had to dells and the hinges went out on both. They couldn't take sitting on the passenger seat and being opened and closed as needed so they could be read in different sun light with one hand while driving with the other.

 

Why on earth would you be trying to read or operate a laptop while driving?  That makes cell phone use look tame in comparison.  If you need to use the laptop, pull over to do so.


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#16 OFFLINE   I'manedgeowner

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:16 AM

I have access to the former Dana test track in southern Michigan. I'm not on the road with others.



#17 OFFLINE   TheWizard

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:24 AM

Ahhhh... that makes more sense.  Still, couldn't you get one of those laptop mounts that position it on the passenger's side above the console near the dash (like police vehicles)?  That might eliminate the need to move the lid so much and be closer to your line of sight.  They go for about $100 on Amazon and just bolt under the passenger's seat track front bolt.



#18 OFFLINE   TheWizard

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:39 AM

Microsoft finally discontinued support for Windows XP in March (Boo hiss) so I guess I'll get upgraded. (@$$!#/×÷%÷).

 

Actually, Windows XP reached end of life in April 2014.  But you can still find new laptops with Windows 7 on them.  It doesn't reach end of life until January 2020 and is a much easier transition from XP than Windows 10 (the interface is much more familiar).  Acer still sells 14" laptops preloaded with Windows 7 Pro ranging from i3/4GB/128GB SSD to i7/8GB/512GB SSD.  Our company has standardized on Acer for the past several years and always had good results.



#19 OFFLINE   I'manedgeowner

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:42 AM

It's been awhile but I have looked at better options but the problem always came down to, these aren't my vehicles. Everything I found left too much of a chance of leaving a tell tale sign of having been there if they weren't permanent mounts to begin with. I'm looking at real time suspension graphs most of the time so I use a large screen so information that smaller screens obscure in the noise can be seen. Half the time I'm on a 20 acre water proving ground at different percentages of water. Sometimes I hardly spend any time looking at the track. I'm more concerned about whiplash than hitting anything. Actually there isn't anything to hit except progressive grades of gravel at the edge of the track. After a while you get to know the track too. You're right that no one should ever consider doing this work on a public road. That's insane.

 

My Ford bought IDS computer has 7 pro and it's suppose to be supported longer with no plans currently to not support it in the future.

 

EDIT: This may be exclusive to Ford since MS maintains and is the IT support for Ford diagnostic systems.


Edited by I'manedgeowner, 16 July 2018 - 07:49 AM.


#20 OFFLINE   akirby

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 08:53 AM

I've had both Dell and HP (laptops and desktops) at home for work and personal use.   Both have good and bad models and both have good and bad customer support.  Seems to be luck of the draw and changes month by month.   Stay away from the super cheap stuff and try to find product reviews.

 

Gateway was my favorite pc vendor with their cow boxes but that was before laptops.


Edited by akirby, 16 July 2018 - 09:03 AM.





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