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Old 01-17-2012, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default Computer Advice Needed

Hey fellas, I have some questions and need some recommendations.

My current faptop is on it's last leg. It's an old Dell Studio and it's being used with a monitor because the entire top half of the screen, frame assembly kinda fell off...

I do not consider myself a computer savvy person, and I do not keep up to date with the latest trends or technology. Unfortunately, this is starting to become a pain in the butt for me.

What I really need are some recommendations for a new latptop or even a netbook. Hopefully you guys can lend me a few ideas.

Budget-I'd say roughly 400, but no regards going a bit higher if needed for a nicer model.

What I need out of it:
-Tuning Megasquirt
-Running iTunes or some other small media player
-Cruising the internet

That's about it really. I plan on having a nice desktop built later this year when I get out of basic and get settled in the military. So just having the basics will get me by just fine.

From what I've read so far, I should be able to get away using a netbook. However, I am all open to ideas and suggestions for brands, or whether or not I should get a laptop vs. netbook.

Please and thank you.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:54 PM   #2
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Well I have a shitty $300 ACER I just picked up with more than enough power to do what you propose. $400 should be able to get you something decent.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834152302
The above would be baller if it was in stock. I'd shoot for something with those specs.
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Old 01-17-2012, 09:57 PM   #3
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I don't know what those "specs" mean.

I checked a bit on Newegg and it seems I can get a refurbed netbook for like 200 bucks. I budgeted 400 because I thought that was what I going to have to spend. Damn it's been a while..


Thanks for the link, FRT. I'll send them an email.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:02 PM   #4
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Do you really want a 10" netbook? I hated mine. 15.6" is as small as I will go.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:03 PM   #5
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In your situation, Viper, I would look for a processor a step above an Atom or an AMD E-whatever, and drop a SSD in it.

Something like http://www.officemax.com/technology/...s&siteID=k1971 with a cheap SSD.

I find netbooks are practically unusable for me for tuning (At least my ****-poor attempts at it), so I would stay away from anything smaller than a 14" or 15" if you want to do that and browse the internet.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:10 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FRT_Fun View Post
Do you really want a 10" netbook? I hated mine. 15.6" is as small as I will go.
I'm not sure if I can live it. I think my Dell was a 15.6"

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Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
In your situation, Viper, I would look for a processor a step above an Atom or an AMD E-whatever, and drop a SSD in it.

Something like http://www.officemax.com/technology/...s&siteID=k1971 with a cheap SSD.

I find netbooks are practically unusable for me for tuning (At least my ****-poor attempts at it), so I would stay away from anything smaller than a 14" or 15" if you want to do that and browse the internet.
Hey not bad! That seems like a good deal. I'm assuming "ssd" is solid state drive? Why would I need one of those and how would I do about doing that?
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:26 PM   #7
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I don't PC game. At all. I also have a terabyte external hard drive and several other external drives.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:27 PM   #8
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No need for a SSD IMO. They will give a huge boost in speed, but they are expensive for a relatively small amount of space.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:34 PM   #9
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No need for a SSD IMO. They will give a huge boost in speed, but they are expensive for a relatively small amount of space.
Ok thanks for the info.

Would you recommend the computer that Blaen linked?
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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Looked good to me. It will definitely get the job done. I'm very happy with my ACER so far, and it is almost exactly the same.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:22 AM   #11
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I'd recommend you see whatever your going to get in person. My mom and brother both got laptops recently, my brothers laptop has a touch pad that feels weird and my moms laptop has a weird button layout.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Hey not bad! That seems like a good deal. I'm assuming "ssd" is solid state drive? Why would I need one of those and how would I do about doing that?
Just giving my advice as to what I'd do with your budget .

I was not joking in an earlier thread when I said a SSD was the single largest upgrade I have seen in a long time component-wise. I cannot use my laptop anymore if it does not have a SDD.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Budget-I'd say roughly 400, but no regards going a bit higher if needed for a nicer model.

What I need out of it:
-Tuning Megasquirt
-Running iTunes or some other small media player
-Cruising the internet
Pretty much every netbook-class machine presently in existence fits this bill.

On the subject of netbook vs. "real laptop", this has been a bane for me of late. My job requires that I tote around some reasonable processing power, and yet since I fly a lot, I prefer to carry the smallest, lightest thing available.

My previous machine was a Vaio TXN, an 11" laptop with a Core Solo (U1400) processor. When it was finally used up this past year, I found myself in a bit of a quandary- nobody was making a machine this small that didn't have a crappy processor anymore! I finally located a refurbed Dell E4200 (12", Core2duo U9600) which I bought, and although it's a bit on the large side for my preferences, I like it.

Now, here's where things get interesting: Out of random curiosity, I happened to find myself cruising around the passmark.com website of late, where practically every x86-architecture CPU ever made has been benchmarked, and I found something which really surprised the hell out of me. It turns out that the newer N-class Atoms (N47x / N5xx) and C-class AMD processors (C-50/60) slightly outperform the Core Solo processor in my old Vaio, and the AMD E-class processors absolutely blow if out of the water.

Now, of course, we're still talking about chips that pale in comparison to a Core2Duo or i-class processor, but this is still 1.5x to 2x the performance of my old machine on which I ran some pretty heavy database apps and which, apart from being physically destroyed, was still quite a nice computer.

Make no mistake, there are still some limitations. Microsoft licensing agreements stipulate that machines which are OEM-licensed for the "lite" version of the operating system have certain hardware limitations, such as a cap on total RAM capacity. So be cognizant of such things, but don't let the "netbook" term scare you completely away. They have evolved into a surprisingly capable class of machines, nearly un-noticed.


Long story short: I wouldn't hesitate to buy a $300 netbook as an "everyday" computer. Gearhead has given the best advice of this thread so far- go and physically lay hands on the machines, and make your purchase decision based on that. We have gotten to the point where keyboard/touchpad layout is pretty much the only determining factor worth giving a crap about.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:57 AM   #14
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I just got this
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+...&skuId=4602027

It was $400 and should last me at least the next 2yrs until I need something bigger/better for school. Pentium i3, 4g ddr3 ram, 15.6 led/lcd screen, and 320gb hard drive Came with word and eccel unlocked, haven't had time to see what else. Got it Friday due to my last one dying last week, has worked well over the weekend. Touch pad takes some getting used to, my last one was recessed down a bit. Plus has a ten key which is a bonus for me in math so much. Also the RAM is expandable to 8g later. Speakers do alright as long as it isn't to loud in the room already. 2usb slots, don't really need more and a splitter is cheap.

EDIT: "We have gotten to the point where keyboard/touchpad layout is pretty much the only determining factor worth giving a crap about."-Joe Perez
-----The touch pad is a little to the left vs center like my last one. A weekend of use and it doesn't bother me anymore. Short of the fact it is 2finger sensitive. Cool feature but keep resting another finger on it accidently and zooming in/out on accident

If anyone thinks it was a bad purchase let me know. Not a big geek but seamed the best for the price.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:00 AM   #15
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Geeks.com has the Dell E4300 (13.3" screen instead of 12" like the E4200") for under $300.

http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?Cat=957
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueZombie View Post
EDIT: "We have gotten to the point where keyboard/touchpad layout is pretty much the only determining factor worth giving a crap about."-Joe Perez
-----The touch pad is a little to the left vs center like my last one. A weekend of use and it doesn't bother me anymore. Short of the fact it is 2finger sensitive. Cool feature but keep resting another finger on it accidently and zooming in/out on accident
What I mean by that is this:

When I was laptop-shopping, I actually found a couple of other machines which, on paper, beat my Dell in terms of the specs. One was some Asus or Acer machine (can't remember which) and the other was an HP. Fry's had both in stock, and I went down there ready to buy. I'm glad I played with them first.

The Asus/Acer had an i7 processor, a decent display, great battery, etc. But the surface of the touchpad was textured with a sort of horizontal grain pattern which did a great job of aesthetically matching the rest of the case, but made it really difficult for me to accurately use the damn thing. I also had a lot of frustration with the side-scroll section of the pad. The target area was extremely narrow and, unlike most machines, if you strayed out of the zone at all while scrolling, it exited scroll mode. Lose.

The HP was similarly well-endowed, however its touchpad, while quite large and nicely sensitive, didn't have physical buttons. They'd gone the Apple route and simply defined two little zones at the bottom to be "clickable", and while they were visually recognizable as buttons, there was no tactile sense that you were in a button zone. Using this machine also made me aware of the fact that I tend to rest my thumb on the left button of the pad while operating the pad with my finger. This pad interpreted that as a multi-touch gesture! I played with that machine for about 20 minutes and just couldn't get comfortable with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Geeks.com has the Dell E4300 (13.3" screen instead of 12" like the E4200") for under $300.
Too big.

I see that the E4200s are gone, but that D430 they have ain't bad. It lacks the ability to take the optional 9-cell MegaBattery, but aside from that is a pretty good machine.

Or, like I said, the higher-end Netbook machines are actually pretty capable computers these days, if you can deal with the Microsoft-imposed 2GB RAM limit.


This machine is kind of interesting: http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...052-DT&cat=NBB My gut feeling is that I'd probably despise owning it, but kudos for innovatively
copying the interface paradigm of a popular handheld videogame.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead_318 View Post
I'd recommend you see whatever your going to get in person. My mom and brother both got laptops recently, my brothers laptop has a touch pad that feels weird and my moms laptop has a weird button layout.
That's a great idea. Unfortunately I live in a horrible, horrible place; so it's not likely I will be able to see the computer before I buy it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaen99 View Post
Just giving my advice as to what I'd do with your budget .

I was not joking in an earlier thread when I said a SSD was the single largest upgrade I have seen in a long time component-wise. I cannot use my laptop anymore if it does not have a SDD.
As far as the budget goes, I just said 400 because that was what I thought netbooks would end up costing. I had no idea quality laptops/netbooks could be had for so little money.

I'm also getting parts for a coolant reroute, so what's left over from the new computer will go to that, lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Pretty much every netbook-class machine presently in existence fits this bill.

On the subject of netbook vs. "real laptop", this has been a bane for me of late. My job requires that I tote around some reasonable processing power, and yet since I fly a lot, I prefer to carry the smallest, lightest thing available.

My previous machine was a Vaio TXN, an 11" laptop with a Core Solo (U1400) processor. When it was finally used up this past year, I found myself in a bit of a quandary- nobody was making a machine this small that didn't have a crappy processor anymore! I finally located a refurbed Dell E4200 (12", Core2duo U9600) which I bought, and although it's a bit on the large side for my preferences, I like it.

Now, here's where things get interesting: Out of random curiosity, I happened to find myself cruising around the passmark.com website of late, where practically every x86-architecture CPU ever made has been benchmarked, and I found something which really surprised the hell out of me. It turns out that the newer N-class Atoms (N47x / N5xx) and C-class AMD processors (C-50/60) slightly outperform the Core Solo processor in my old Vaio, and the AMD E-class processors absolutely blow if out of the water.

Now, of course, we're still talking about chips that pale in comparison to a Core2Duo or i-class processor, but this is still 1.5x to 2x the performance of my old machine on which I ran some pretty heavy database apps and which, apart from being physically destroyed, was still quite a nice computer.

Make no mistake, there are still some limitations. Microsoft licensing agreements stipulate that machines which are OEM-licensed for the "lite" version of the operating system have certain hardware limitations, such as a cap on total RAM capacity. So be cognizant of such things, but don't let the "netbook" term scare you completely away. They have evolved into a surprisingly capable class of machines, nearly un-noticed.


Long story short: I wouldn't hesitate to buy a $300 netbook as an "everyday" computer. Gearhead has given the best advice of this thread so far- go and physically lay hands on the machines, and make your purchase decision based on that. We have gotten to the point where keyboard/touchpad layout is pretty much the only determining factor worth giving a crap about.
Thank you for the insight, Joe. I will take that all into consideration.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TorqueZombie View Post
I just got this
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+...&skuId=4602027

It was $400 and should last me at least the next 2yrs until I need something bigger/better for school. Pentium i3, 4g ddr3 ram, 15.6 led/lcd screen, and 320gb hard drive Came with word and eccel unlocked, haven't had time to see what else. Got it Friday due to my last one dying last week, has worked well over the weekend. Touch pad takes some getting used to, my last one was recessed down a bit. Plus has a ten key which is a bonus for me in math so much. Also the RAM is expandable to 8g later. Speakers do alright as long as it isn't to loud in the room already. 2usb slots, don't really need more and a splitter is cheap.

EDIT: "We have gotten to the point where keyboard/touchpad layout is pretty much the only determining factor worth giving a crap about."-Joe Perez
-----The touch pad is a little to the left vs center like my last one. A weekend of use and it doesn't bother me anymore. Short of the fact it is 2finger sensitive. Cool feature but keep resting another finger on it accidently and zooming in/out on accident

If anyone thinks it was a bad purchase let me know. Not a big geek but seamed the best for the price.
That seems a bit too much for my needs. USB ports, I only need one. I don't even really need a CD/DVD drive. I normally keep all my stuff on external hard drives or in online storage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgeoffriau View Post
Geeks.com has the Dell E4300 (13.3" screen instead of 12" like the E4200") for under $300.

http://www.geeks.com/products_sc.asp?Cat=957
Well damn, that looks pretty good. Thanks for the link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
What I mean by that is this:

When I was laptop-shopping, I actually found a couple of other machines which, on paper, beat my Dell in terms of the specs. One was some Asus or Acer machine (can't remember which) and the other was an HP. Fry's had both in stock, and I went down there ready to buy. I'm glad I played with them first.

The Asus/Acer had an i7 processor, a decent display, great battery, etc. But the surface of the touchpad was textured with a sort of horizontal grain pattern which did a great job of aesthetically matching the rest of the case, but made it really difficult for me to accurately use the damn thing. I also had a lot of frustration with the side-scroll section of the pad. The target area was extremely narrow and, unlike most machines, if you strayed out of the zone at all while scrolling, it exited scroll mode. Lose.

The HP was similarly well-endowed, however its touchpad, while quite large and nicely sensitive, didn't have physical buttons. They'd gone the Apple route and simply defined two little zones at the bottom to be "clickable", and while they were visually recognizable as buttons, there was no tactile sense that you were in a button zone. Using this machine also made me aware of the fact that I tend to rest my thumb on the left button of the pad while operating the pad with my finger. This pad interpreted that as a multi-touch gesture! I played with that machine for about 20 minutes and just couldn't get comfortable with it.


Too big.

I see that the E4200s are gone, but that D430 they have ain't bad. It lacks the ability to take the optional 9-cell MegaBattery, but aside from that is a pretty good machine.

Or, like I said, the higher-end Netbook machines are actually pretty capable computers these days, if you can deal with the Microsoft-imposed 2GB RAM limit.


This machine is kind of interesting: http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...052-DT&cat=NBB My gut feeling is that I'd probably despise owning it, but kudos for innovatively
copying the interface paradigm of a popular handheld videogame.
I can live with a larger computer, I'm not dead set on screen size. I honestly am only really looking into completing the tasks that I listed above.

Thanks again to everyone who has posted in here. I'll be making my choice tomorrow. I will let you know if I have anymore questions.

But please, keep posting things that you think would be helpful.

I love you.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
I'm also getting parts for a coolant reroute, so what's left over from the new computer will go to that, lol.
Threadjack, move if you want mods:

My coolant reroute on my 1.6 ran me the cost of the GM hose, (originally) some heater hose, and either some wire extensions or two NPT fittings depending on which of the two first reroutes I did (No fab work necessary.).

What're you planning to do for a reroute? Or are you going with the full M-Tuned/BEGi/etc. kit?
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Old 01-19-2012, 02:56 PM   #19
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Hey guys, check this out. This is from Vash's Ebay deals thread.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Inspiro...68660.m2000037

I seriously think that might cover everything. Even has a webcam.
Thoughts and opinions would be great.


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Coolant reroute
PM
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viperormiata View Post
Hey guys, check this out. This is from Vash's Ebay deals thread.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Inspiro...68660.m2000037

I seriously think that might cover everything. Even has a webcam.
Thoughts and opinions would be great.
I personally hate the netbook form factor. Have you used netbooks at length at all, Viper?

If you have and have no issue, it's definitely a decent deal for the cash. But I detest the netbook layout personally - but that's just a personal bias.
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