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New Computer Advice?

Discussion in 'Internet Marketing' started by Heather, May 22, 2015.

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  1. Hi! So, I realized thanks to the Google Hangout wake up call that the reason my computer can't really handle any video calls is that it only has 2GB of RAM. I looked into getting more RAM, but apparently my computer is so old it's not even possible. (It's a Toshiba Satellite L Series laptop from 2007 I think.)

    So, I need to get a new computer. Do you guys have any recommendations or things I should think about?

    I'm thinking about getting another Toshiba laptop since this one has lasted so long, so well.

    I'm also leaning toward a screen at least 15 inches, because I want it easy to see.

    I don't know how much RAM I need.

    It also needs to be inexpensive.

    I appreciate any thoughts or recommendations. :) Thank you!
  2. Also, in another group I'm in, some people are suggesting a Mac, even if I have to get one used... Thoughts on that route?
  3. Quick reply now to ensure i don't forget later...macs are a waste of you're on a budget, will go into some more detail tonight...
    Heather likes this.
  4. I don't know the exact model number of your laptop, though a quick search shows that most of those laptops have a maximum RAM capacity of 4GB. Doubling your RAM to 4GB will definitely help you. You won't have a super fast computer, but it will definitely help with things such as Google Hangouts. But by the sounds of it, you're particular model can only handle 2GB of RAM.

    As someone who has a Windows laptop and an iMac, I don't believe that macs are worth the additional cost. Yeah, they look nice, but there are a lot of nice computers from other companies today that are considerably cheaper. First thing to do is set your budget. That will help us check out deals on stores such as Amazon and see if we can find a good solution for your money.
    Heather likes this.
  5. Thank you!

    I can spend up to $400, although less would be better. I appreciate your thoughts about the Mac. I really would prefer a new computer, too, and I'm not sure if I trust a refurbished one. Do y'all have any opinions about buying refurbished?

    My model is a Satellite L350, and I when I did a search on Crucial, it said that there were no compatible upgrades available. The processor is a 32-bit processor.
  6. So, starting to try to research this myself I'm realizing I don't know much about all this or what I really need.

    I found this article: http://www.hardware-revolution.com/best-budget-laptop-march-2015/

    I'm planning to use it for the internet, also for Skype/Zoom/Google Hangouts, etc., and I'd like a screen that's not too small.

    My current one has a dvd drive, and it seems like that might be nice to have.

    I think it would be good to have bluetooth, so I could play something and listen in around the house with my bluetooth headset (I guess that's what they mean by bluetooth?).

    I've been thinking about how much RAM I should get. I really don't know, but I'm guessing at least 4, maybe 6? Maybe it depends on the processor?

    I won't be carrying it around much, so battery life is not a big issue. I'd like it to last a long time so I won't have to replace it anytime soon.
  7. According to this, you can expand up to 4GB of RAM, though you only have a 32 bit system installed you can only use around 3.2 to 3.5GB of RAM.

    Not sure if this is too much out of your budget at $449.99. Seems like decent specs for the money.
    • 5th Generation Intel Core i5-5200U 2.2 GHz Processor
    • 8 GB DIMM RAM; 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
    • 15.6-Inch Screen, Mobile Intel HD graphics
    Heather likes this.
  8. Thank you so much for trying to help me figure this out. I might be able to afford that. I like that it's a Toshiba since my current one has worked so well, so long... And 8 GB of RAM, and a good-sized screen, and a 1 TB Hard Drive... yay! That all sounds good. :)

    I will strongly consider this one... I may have even saved it in my Amazon wishlist. I've been searching and searching, but feeling like it's hard to know for sure what I need or what's what.

    I know I'm out of the loop, but there's a lot I don't know about laptops these days... like one thing, that Chrome now has an OS? I didn't know that. :)
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  9. I'd avoid using Chrome as an operating system. As someone who needs to maintain their blog/website, you will find it very restrictive as to what you can do with it (though it's much more useful than an android tablet).
    Heather likes this.
  10. Alright, time for my oh-so-humble opinion :rolleyes:

    First off, Macs: As Kevin Muldoon has already stated, they're overpriced, you are paying for the branding more than anything else. My work computer is a MacBook, and I can't wait to get home, simply so I can switch to my Ubuntu 14.04 desktop :D I think Macs are supposed to be better for video editing and whatnot, but I don't believe you do too much media work other than grabbing various stock images and perhaps the odd crop or two, something which can be done on any OS you use...

    Before you get a laptop, ask yourself if you really need it. The time for laptops has come and gone for everyone but those who frequently travel and work. There are a few problems with Laptops:
    1. Upgrading hardware is a royal pain the ass - manufacturer's are under pressure to build the lightest, thinnest product they can, and that means squishing all the parts together - which is great, until you have to take apart the entire damn thing just to replace a cooling fan.
    2. They aren't truly mobile. Yes, you can pack it in a travel bag, but with a 15" in screen (minimum that I could possibly use), try to fit that on your lap during your next flight and not annoy your neighbor (remember your elbows will be pointing out as well).
    Point #1 is resolved by getting a Desktop, Point #2 by going with a tablet. The golden age of the laptop ended around 3 years ago or so, now you really should go with a Desktop or Tablet.

    Regarding Refurbished: Don't go there. Your talking about electronics which have been labelled defective at one point. Supposedly whatever was broken got fixed, but in my experience with refurbished products (I've made this mistake before!) the machines are simply doomed to fail.

    If you wanted to go the desktop route, I managed to find this tower for $400 (monitor not included):

    DELL I3847-4461BK Desktop, Intel Core i3, 8 GB, 1 TB
  11. #11 Kevin Muldoon, May 23, 2015
    Last edited: May 23, 2015
    I am not sure I subscribe to the theory that Macs are better for media work. I used Adobe Premiere Pro CC on a Windows laptop for a month or two and have no started using it more on my iMac. Both computers have the same generation of i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. I haven't seen anything to convince me that the Mac is faster or more efficient at editing or encoding. In fact, I suspect my Windows laptop is slightly quicker (though I haven't run any tests).

    I agree with you about laptops vs desktops. If a laptop is too big to be taken anywhere and is always kept at a desk, then you would be better off buying a desktop computer.

    If you are referring to ipads and Android tablets, I cannot agree with the comparison to desktops and laptops. It's very difficult to use those mobile operating systems for doing proper work e.g. photoshop, downloading files, FTP etc. I used my old iPad with the wireless Apple keyboard in the past and the whole thing was a pain to use; even with simple tasks such as blogging.

    Something like a Microsoft Surface, however, would be a great alternative (albeit an expensive one).

    I do think a desktop is a better option if Heather is never going to move her laptop. But this is an i3 and doesn't come with a monitor. I can't see full specifications to see if it has a good sound card or graphics card, but the laptops on Amazon in this price range offer an i5 processor and the same amount of RAM and storage.

    Something like this offers a lot more for $479:


  12. Thank you, Kevin! @k06mars I really appreciate your insight. That's helpful to learn about your experience with Macs, and also confirming what I thought about refurbished. I also can relate to what you said about laptops being difficult to upgrade and expensive to fix. A while back, maybe 7 or 8 years ago, I had some bad experiences with laptops stopping working and being too expensive to fix. And I think one of them was under a year old .Very frustrating!

    Kevin, interesting to hear about your experience with Macs as well, especially that doing media work seems just as good on the PC. Not that I'll be doing that really, as Kevin mentioned, but still. That's an oft-cited reason I've heard of for choosing a Mac, so interesting to hear your experience with it.

    I'm going to get the Toshiba. It is similar to what I have now, except much better and faster. We've had good luck with Toshibas, and there is a chance I'll actually want to move it, if only to watch a movie in bed or on the couch.

    I looked into buying it at Toshiba, but they don't sell that model, and what they sell that is similar is more expensive. I like Amazon and get free shipping, so most likely I'll buy it from there. I did see that Toshiba provides support whether or not you buy straight from them, so that's good. Also I noticed it doesn't come with a bunch of trialware on it, thank goodness. I hate having to deal with that.

    I hadn't heard of those Surfaces. They look nice (and yes, expensive).
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  13. I haven't actually used Macs for media work (or a PC...or Linux), was just going by their reputation. Guess this is just one more thing Apple Fanboys brag about which really has no merit :)

    I suppose I could have been a bit more clear. I did not mean to infer that you could do you work on tablets, just that they are good things to have if you are regularly on the run, and need access to simple tools like Email or Skype, or just always need access to your own media library or Facebook, etc. If you need to be mobile AND get work done, then laptops are still the way to go. I just find that most people do not really need to bring their work wherever they go, and (IMO) having a permanent workstation somewhere in your house - versus being able to blog in your living room or patio is a small sacrifice to pay for the ability to upgrade painlessly as time goes by and the need for more RAM or upgrading video cards arises.

    My link was merely to get the conversation on desktops started, seemed to be the best option on the first page of google shopping with the limitation of PCs between $350-$450. With regards to i3 vs i5, I think for someone who's on a budget the i3 will suffice, but again it all depends on what Heather will want to accomplish with the machine.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  14. Thought I would chime in... Before I got into marketing I worked IT from 2003 up through 2013. Helpdesk at a University + doing computer repair housecalls and then as an IT administrator at a health insurance company. I've taken apart and re-assembled hundreds of macbooks, laptops, PCs, you name it. Macs and PCs have all the same components inside of them. The whole idea of one being better at video/graphic editing is complete rubbish. I'm sorry but Apple you are paying for the brand name. Although I do agree their casing and shell are quite nice.

    After seeing thousands of laptops go through our helpdesk I'll give you a rating of # of repairs, or at least the brands I would stay away from.

    Brands with high repair rate
    • Acer
    • Toshiba (Sorry :( )
    • Macbooks (yes Macs have lots of problems unlike most people think, most of them are due to overheating issues)
    Brands with lower repair rate
    • Asus
    • Dell
    • Lenovo
    • Samsung
  15. I think there was a time when there were more media applications available for Mac, but I don't believe that is the case now. The fact they all run in intel chips and similar motherboards, and the fact that many top programs are cross platform, makes me think that there is no clear winner today. And my experiences with both platforms confirms this (at least to me!).

    I used to use my iPad every day. It was so useful when I was travelling South America. I used it for podcasts, games, reading books, movies, browsing the web, and more. However, I later gave it to my little brother and have found that I do all those same things with my smartphone now. Perhaps because my smartphone has a 5" screen, I haven't felt the need to buy a tablet again. Though if I saw one on sale, I would maybe consider it for light browsing whilst sitting on the sofa etc.

    I have always found portable laptops to be invaluable for working online. I work on my iMac every day upstairs in my office, but use my Windows laptop downstairs and frequently take it with me when I visit my parents in case I need to do something work related. I always take it with me when I travel and occasionally use it in my office by hooking it up to a monitor. I simply could not replace it with a tablet, but I appreciate people who do not work online can get by with a tablet.

    An i3 will probably be sufficient, but like for like, the other option was giving you an i5 and was a laptop i.e. it had a screen. And laptops can be hooked up to monitors and used as desktops so are more flexible in that regard.

    If you compare a laptop and a desktop and both had the same specs, I would choose the laptop as I could use it on its own or hook it to a monitor. But it would have to be like for like. As you rightly say, with a desktop you can easily upgrade and replace parts etc, be it a graphics card, sound card, RAM, or whatever (though you are still a bit limited as to what motherboard you have....granted, that can be replaced too!).

    In general, when it comes to price, desktops should be slightly cheaper than laptops that have the same specifications, so choosing a desktop and a large monitor may be a good option.

    I worked in offices for a few years. It was always Dell and Lenovo (well, IBM at the time) that was being used by offices. The IT guys wouldn't go near macs.
  16. At the schools where I worked, I think all the computers were Dell, too.

    Brian, wow, you have so much experience fixing computers. That's interesting about which ones needed the most and least repairs, and I'll keep that in mind in the future. I bought the Toshiba so hopefully it will turn out to be a good one!
    Brian Jackson and Kevin Muldoon like this.
  17. Hopefully I've not jinxed you by recommending that one :LOL:
    Heather and Brian Jackson like this.
  18. #18 Brian Jackson, May 24, 2015
    Last edited: May 24, 2015
    You should be fine Heather :) A lot of those repairs are due to people not taking care of their computer as well.

    Trust me I've fixed it all. Professor's spilling coffee all over their laptops frying the motherboards, girls dropping their macbooks down the stairs bringing them into the office in pieces while they are literally crying lol. Sometimes I miss IT... but I don't miss the stress that goes along with it.

    Any brand of computer should last for many years if you take care it. And if for some reason you have a defective part or burn out... well that is what the warranty is for, or Newegg :)
  19. Here is my suggestion :) prices are in Polish Złoty and 1USD = 4,09zł

    screenshot-www komputronik pl 2015-05-24 11-40-43.png

    You should get this parts cheaper in USA :)
    PS. It would be great to double RAM and upgrade CPU to Intel i5 4590 - then you won't need new PC for at least 6-10 years.
    Also power supply should be good - that's why I picked up Thermaltake - it's modular, so you can plug off unused cables.
    Zalman T3 is nice and compact case
    SSD by Kingston will let you start working in 6 seconds

    Oh and get Windows 8.1 - it's great
  20. :) Ha! Don't worry. It's what I was looking for. You just found it before I did. Plus, my husband loves Toshibas, and he really wanted to get another one since they've worked well for him over the past ten or so years. Of course if it turns out to be a lemon, I'll know who to blame. ;) j/k lol

    Thanks for the encouragement. I feel good about it. I'm sure you've seen it all. I think I'd cry, too, if I dropped my laptop down the stairs. I'm actually a little nervous about carrying it around for fear I'll drop it. Yep, yay for the warranty! The motherboard thing reminds of how one time somehow one of my computers died, and my awesome computer lady at the time saved my photos by putting it in the freezer for a while. I can't remember if that was the motherboard or what. (I know next to nothing about how computers work.) But I thought that was neat that the freezer helped it, at least for her to be able to get my data off of it.

    @Kris Hoja I love your personalized, custom recommendation. Too bad you don't live close by. I could hire you to put it all together for me. I'm glad you think the i5 processor is good. That's what the one I'm getting will have. And 8 GB of RAM. I read a tiny bit comparing the i3 to the i5 processor, and they say it should be noticeably faster.

    I am really excited about getting a faster computer. Mine is really slow. Not 90's slow, but slow for today's standards. And it freezes up at times. So not good.

    Our printer just got fried I think by a power surge. Sigh... That should be an easier decision.

    Thanks again, everyone, for all of your help! :)
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