Could Anyone Recommend a Laptop?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by JN8642, Aug 1, 2018.

  1. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    Hey TB,

    I'm in the market for a new laptop for when I return to school this fall and could use some recommendations. I need something that will run fast when I'm writing and researching papers. Watching videos on said laptop is a huge plus as well.

    I'm not very tech savvy so I hope I'm wording this alright. I'm currently using an old half broken Dell Vostro.

    Ideally looking to stay under the $400 range. The laptop doesn't need to be able to run games, but running basic, not uber high graphic requirement games would be a plus, but not required for me as this will be dominantly used for school purposes.

    Any help is appreciated!
  2. Rumbledore

    Rumbledore Inactive

    Jun 2, 2018
    JN8642 likes this.
  3. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    What software do you intend to run or are you using cloud based stuff?
  4. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    I think just mostly programs that will help me write papers, make graphs, power-points, and possibly even make basic videos (As those seem to be popular assignments lately)

    I currently don't know if I'll be using cloud
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Look for a used ThinkPad.
    I have had great experiences with them over the last 7-8 years.
    I have one now (Carbon X1) I got in 2013, still working just fine.

    Killed_by_Death and JN8642 like this.
  6. I just got a Chromebook and more or less jailbroken it to run Ubuntu with a lightweight desktop environment. It's a lot easier than it sounds, and it runs doom, what more do you need?

    That being said, if you want it to run out of the box as is, Chrome isn't a particularly great OS. I can't say I dig Chrome on its own too much, but I would look into it myself before coming to a decision if I were you.

    Plenty of cheaper laptops as well, but I replaced my old laptop with this Chromebook, and it's got a solid state drive, so it boots quickly, and I put the old hard drive into a usb case, so I still have some good storage space. It suits my needs for storing and editing documents, listening to music, and playing doom.

    I'm not saying that a Chromebook, stock or jailbroken, is for you, I'm just saying it's an option.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    So if you go Chromebook you can’t run Windows or OSX versions of, say, MS Office software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint). You’ll need the Chrome versions of those software from the Google Play Store and you’ll need to verify the version of Chrome so you get the right Chromebook.

    I’d check and see if your school gives you access to educational licenses for office software and buy a computer that supports that.
  8. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Do you regularly use any Office apps like Word or Excel?

    A subscription to Office 365 is $6.95/mo and you get access to pretty much everything including cloud storage.
    MJ5150 likes this.
  9. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Check the area around the school. Prolly some dropouts selling stuff cheap.

    Win 10 with $100 Office Subscription should will work.
    pie_man_25 likes this.
  10. I'd also like to mention Libreoffice, for no reason other than that it's functionally identical and free.
  11. Yeah, Chrome OS is another operating system entirely and chromebooks also tend to have lower cost hardware and very little internal storage IOT keep costs down and encourage the use of cloud storage. If I didn't put Linux on the thing, I wouldn't have gotten a Chromebook, tbh.
  12. T_Bone_TL


    Jan 10, 2013
    SW VT
    Run Debian/LXDE and choose whatever old useless (when running windows or macos) laptop you can find to fit your price point. An i5 is often a good price/perfomance tradeoff, but I have been using an Atom powered micro-book with that software load for a couple weeks while traveling and not wanting to drag the bigger stuff along. Libre Office, GIMP, MuseScore, etc. without additional costs or sucking up to MicroSloth/Adobe/etc. Crack it open and drop in a SSD for the old spinny disc to really boost the performance into the stratosphere for around $100.

    Some older ones can be had pretty cheap as they won't work unplugged without replacing the battery. Replacement batteries can be had, ranging from very expensive from the original maker to cheap junk from ebay. Somewhere in the middle is usually functional without being absurdly expensive.

    Broken or ancient WiFi is another reason to find them cheap, and is easily fixed with an inexpensive USB WiFi adapter.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
    Mushroo and pie_man_25 like this.
  13. Low8

    Low8 Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2014
    Check your local area for an Experimac store. Experimac is to Apple gear as CarMax is to cars -- they take stuff in, clean them up, verify that everything's good to go and then sell them at a discount. They haven't been around that long but they've got locations in sizable cities all over the U.S.

    And I received a note from them earlier this week -- this coming Friday and Saturday (Aug. 3-4) tax-free before school starts back.
  14. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    Goodwill has refurbished tested gear with a warranty for pretty cheap.
  15. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Snaggletooth Inactive

    Ditto on Lenovo ThinkPad, the most solid personal computers out there!
    I've been using ThinkPads exclusively since 2006 & never had such a trouble-free life on computers prior to then, & I serviced & supported many different brands.

    Make sure it's a ThinkPad!
    Don't go for the IdeaPad.
    MJ5150, Christine and OldDog52 like this.
  16. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    ThinkPads are very good. Former employer bought them by pallet loads. Very very reliable.
    MJ5150, Christine and Killed_by_Death like this.
  17. viribus

    viribus Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    I never actually learned to play very well
    What about cloud storage? I’m asking because I’m ignorant and/or brainwashed. MS OneDrive is included with Office 365 and it works very well across multiple platforms. Windows, OS X, and iOS anyway.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2018
  18. MrLenny1

    MrLenny1 Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Lenovo Yoga
    MJ5150 likes this.
  19. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    The advantages of a Chromebook are, it's cheap, super reliable, and with Gmail you have access to a full office suite on Google Drive. Google Docs is all you'll need to write papers and do some light powerpoint/worksheets.
  20. No cloud storage on LibreOffice. The thing with LibreOffice is that it's "open source" software. To my understanding, this means that it's not regarded as the intellectual property of one person or business entity unlike Microsoft office. It was designed by a person or collection of persons with the intent of free distribution to whoever wants it, and if a person feels they can improve it they're also permitted to modify it and distribute it (for free to my understanding) in a similar fashion. Since it's not owned by a centralized business and it can't really be monetized, getting resources together for cloud storage isn't really a thing.

    I could be completely wrong but that's my understanding of it.

    To be completely honest with you, I'm not too easily influenced by cloud storage myself, and I'd rather get a thumb drive but it's a practical service and if you like it that's perfectly fine, I wouldn't call you ignorant or brainwashed for liking it at all -it's really all about perceived value.

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