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Laptop Noob I know nothing about Computers but am in the Market. Lot's of questions

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by warwick.hoy, Oct 4, 2009.


  1. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    In a couple of weeks I'll be in the market for a new laptop. My desktop is kaput so I want a laptop that will do a few things. I intend to have an external hard drive to keep large music libraries and image folders off of the laptop.

    Streaming Hockey Games @ 1600 kbps: This is the big thing that I want it to do. What does that require? Good Video Card? Lots of memory? High amount of RAM? I'd like a big wide screen and little to no lag. For games; I'd consider hooking it up to a LCD screen TV,...if I had one. Can you hook one up to a newer tube TV?

    Wireless: I'd really like to have my laptop setup next to me when I'm preparing dinner and doing other chores so I can sorta of not miss the game (focus will be the task at hand obviously,..but you get the picture) so I'd like to have it wireless capable. Does this negate the high stream/buffering (whatever) rate? What sort of wireless card/router should I look into? FWIW Right now I have Comcast broadband. My reasoning is that my team is East Coast,...and I am on the West Coast. Games start at 4pm out here which is about the time that I'm feeding my wife.

    Bit Torrent: Yup, I want to steal music,...sorry if it offends you but I don't think Micheal Jackson will mind if I pirate Thriller. The artists I like I don't mind paying for,...the songs that get stuck in my head because they are catchy and I'd like to listen to them from time to time,...not so much.

    iTunes: So I intend to have iTunes on my cpu so I can manage my iPod. All music entertainment would be run from a separate surround sound style iPod compatable system as opposed to my computer. iPod = 80 gigs,...I know how to run my iPod manually; instead of that hella annoying auto sync, so I'd transfer songs to my iPod and then dump the music files from iTunes to the external hardrive,...can this be done? Is it worth it to do this?

    Internet: Yeah,...I need to come on here and ask dumb questions of you guys. FF trumps IE every time.

    So in addition to the above questions,...I'm I asking too much of a laptop? I'm I in desktop territory? I've been looking at newegg but honestly,...most of it is mumbo jumbo to me. I'd like to avoid useless freeware/demoware that you see on most Dells,...HPs...Compaqs,...etc. Word Processing???? meh,...I'm a baker. Gaming? Nah,..not really into it,...sim city 4 is fun though. I may want to put some simple recording software and perhaps something like Frooty Loops on it. My budget is flexible but I'd like to keep it under a grand,...the cheaper the better.

    Thanks for looking and HELP ME,...I'm bassmart,...computer dumb.

    EDIT: Maybe a little vocab lesson would help. Lets take this one for example.

    "4GB Memory" = RAM = how "fast" the computer is. Yes/No?

    "250 GB HDD" = Storage Space? How many pictures and music files it will hold. Keeping the amount of space used up low helps keep the computer running faster.

    "5400rpm DVD Super Multi ATI Radeon 3100" ???? DVD Burner? The one on my desk top crapped out a month after I got it. (the desktop is a compaq presario,...I've had it since 2003, hence,...update time.)
     
  2. LCW

    LCW Banned

    Mar 2, 2009
    OREGON!
    A month or so ago i would have told you to get an HP there cheap , tough and tI hought they worked good. Now i warn you to steer clear of them, i got this HP (the one i am using to type this) 6/2008 and last month something went out on it to where it cant hold a charge more then 5 minutes , thus my laptop always has to be plugged in making it more like a desk top.
     
  3. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Thanks,...I plan on steering clear of HP, Dell, and Compaq (which I think is HP anyway). I'm borrowing an old Sony Vaio and it streams the games at 800 kpbs with no lag,...I'd like a full screen though and this computer is prone to crashing. But that makes me believe that it can be done on a newer laptop,...it's just all the other stuff I'm not so sure.

    Check my OP for edits. I'm interested in the Toshiba that is linked.

    I may settle on a tower and use my existing monitor and paraphernalia. It appears as though I can pick one up locally for ~$600 scrilla.

    I guess one of the other things I was curious about,...how easy is it to upgrade certain feature on a laptop,...add RAM,...Memeory,...upgrade video card?
     
  4. RAM: Random Access Memory. In essence it's the short-term memory of your computer. Kinda hard to explain fully to someone with lack of knowledge of computers.

    HDD: The hard disk. Yes, this is where you store all your data (e.g. foto's, movies, programs and even your OS (operating system: Windows, Linux, whatever)) The 5400rpm is with the HDD, not the DVD drive OR your video card.

    DVD Super Multi: your dvd drive. Derp.

    Ati Radeon 3100: Your video card. Takes care of all the images on your screen, from basic interface to computer games.

    How big do you want your screen to be 13", 15.4" or 17" diagonal? And what do you mean with streaming? As in, from the internet?
     
  5. Upgrading on a Laptop is impossible. There are minor exceptions concerning the RAM, but then again, if you buy one with 4GB you won't need to. That's why desktop computers are still around, they're easily upgradeable.
     
  6. Very untrue. I can very easily upgrade the CPU, RAM, and hard disks (there are bays for TWO hard disks. I have my OS and apps on a OCZ SSD, and a 500GB HDD in the second bay for data) on my Gateway P-7811FX. The only tough upgrade would be the GPU, but this system (being a gaming laptop) has a pretty high end video card already. Here are the main specs for my system, stock (minus my SSD and HDD upgrade):

    2.26Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3 MB L2 Cache and 1066 MHz FSB
    Intel® PM45 Express Chipset
    17-inch screen at 1920 × 1200 native res.
    4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 Memory
    320GB SATA 7200rpm hard drive (available second bay for additional drive)
    NVIDIA GeForce® 9800M GTS Video Card with 512 MB of GDDR3 dedicated Video Memory
    Audio High definition audio - 2 channel
    1.3 Megapixel webcam
    HDMI Version 1.3 connector
    E-SATA port

    I'm currently running Windows 7 on here and this system is a freaking monster! This (especially with the SSD) will bury most desktops out there, and I have the benchmarks to prove it! :smug:
     
  7. Ok, you've got an exception laptop. But on many laptop's there aren't multiple bays for hard drives and such. AND, if you already got 800mhz 4gb ram, there's no need to upgrade if you don't use the laptop for heavier programs. Besides, if you upgrade you should be very careful not to bottleneck your CPU.

    Wanna take on my desktop then?

    Core i7 920 OC'd to 3.2 ghz
    Asus P6T
    Scythe Mugen 2 Processor cooler
    26" Full HD screen
    6GB 1600MHZ DDR3 Memory
    1 TB Samsung F1 Spinpoint
    Intel X25-E SSD
    Sapphire RADEON HD 4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 dedicated
    ASUS Xonar D2X/XDT
    And some internal fans in my Antec P182


    God I feel like a geek now:help:
     
  8. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Streaming,...as in over the internet.

    A 17' screen would be nice. The computer I linked to in my OP is one I'm considering.
     
  9. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    The laptop you linked looks like it has good bang-for-buck. I just helped my mom pick out a laptop in that price range. Most fo the 600 dollar models have less RAM than that one and no dedicated video card.

    My mom ended up with a Gateway nv58 from buy.com for $585. It has more HD space and a more efficient processor but no dedicated graphics card. I'm pretty impressed with it for the money. It would have no problems streaming live video with a good Internet connection. It also has HDMI so it can easily send the pic and sound to a TV.

    bc
     
  10. For the most part, since you appear to be interested in streaming video, piracy, and syncing with iTunes, you simply need a machine with a decent processor and a fair amount of RAM.

    Just FYI, but you can order most Dell notebooks with no software pre-installed. You can call and tell them that. Anyway, since you're looking at New Egg, take a look at these two machines:

    1. ASUS Notebook

    2. Toshiba Notebook

    Both of those notebooks have Core 2 Duo processors which really demolish AMD's offerings in that price range. They also both have 4GBs of RAM. According to New Egg, the Toshiba comes loaded with a bunch of pre-installed software, so that's something to keep in mind. It does have a faster processor though, which could make quite a difference when compared to the 1.30 on the ASUS.

    In any case, since you're not heavy into gaming or any of that stuff, just look for something with a Core 2 Duo processor and at the very least, 2GBs of RAM.

    Good luck :)
     
  11. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    The Toshiba is attractive, the 16 inch screen would be a fair compromise. Does the "4500 MHD" refers to the graphics card? I'm assuming because it say "HD" that it is referring to that all important High Definition, which I assume would be good for watching hockey. Does that translate well to a TV screen? I intend to join the 21st century and get an LCD TV at some point in time,....for the time being I don't mind watching games on the Laptop.

    Also is it possible and does it make a difference to dump all that preloaded software? I'm wary of doing it myself as I fear I might delete and essential program inadvertently. I imagine I could pay someone to clean up all that unnecessary garbage.

    My kaput desktop had an AMD processor on it,...I've been told it's not so good.
     
  12. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I've had Dell laptops for work since 2000 and ended up buying a used one last week for personal use (replacing a <$500 3 year old Compaq). Spent $400 used from here + $80 for a bigger and faster hard drive. Loaded it with 64bit Windows 7 and it does everything you are looking for.

    It's a Dell D630 with 4gb of ram (and now 320gb of drive space).

    I really dig 7... I'm on day 4 since I installed.

    There is nothing wrong with AMD processors... people get all zealotish over Intel vs. AMD like they do over Mac vs. Windows vs. Linux. Lots of opinion based of hearsay and exaggerations.

    My last 3 gaming towers have been built around AMD chips... at build time they were the better bang for the buck. I must admit I am specing out an Intel i7 machine to replace it with later this winter :)
     
  13. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    James,...that's why I freely admit to not knowing anything about computers. AMD v. Intel is like the whole P v. J thing huh. Everyone has an opinion. I think the processor in my desktop was pretty slow (512??? Whatever that means). Whether or not that was it's death rattle, or it was age,...virus,...who the h.e. double hockey sticks knows.

    I'll look into that dell. I wasn't aware that you can buy one new and have them dump all the bundled software. All I need is an OS, and something where I can browse and DL Firefox. I'm not even sure I wan't a media player other than iTunes on it.
     
  14. popinfresh

    popinfresh

    Dec 23, 2004
    Melbourne, Aus
    So I didn't see a mention of budget or Mac's.. So my vote is a MacBook.

    Will do everything you want plus has garageband/iMovie/iTunes etc all ready. Basically buy it, turn it on and it's ready to use. Never had a problem with mine and it's been in 50c+ heat, and minus 30 cold, been traveling with me for 9+ months and not treated the best but still working as good as day 1.
     
  15. DigMe

    DigMe

    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I'm not a fanboy of AMD or Intel and I've built PCs with both but I prefer Intel in a laptop because they tend to run a little cooler and heat can be more of a problem in the constrained space of a laptop.

    bc
     
  16. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Bellow is an excerpt from my OP

    Honestly I'd love a MAC but they are on the upper end of my budget. Bear in mind that my first priority is a car which I already have some scrilla set aside.

    This computer looks attractive as well.
     
  17. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    toms_river.nj.us
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I'm far from an expert myself but I'm old, picky and cheap!

    There are MANY more specs that will increase performance that are overlooked by most of the marketing blitz. I was shopping for a similar machine to what you are... my budget was "as cheap as I can go". There are lots of good choices in the <$600 range.

    As far as bundled crap... I reformat and install my own OS on all machines. It's amazing how much faster a computer is without all that extra stuff!!!
     
  18. I said most! :bag:

    I have literally zero complaints thus far, and it's been a few months. Despite it *supposedly* being the same kernel as Vista, my experience has been night and day!

    I was the ultimate XP fanboy. I am now a 7 fanboy. That is, of course, assuming MS doesn't eff it up with bloatware, etc. prior to its release!!!
     
  19. warwick.hoy

    warwick.hoy

    Aug 20, 2006
    Spokane, WA.
    Beta Tester: Source Audio.
    Now there is an idea. What OS do you use and how did you go about getting it. My understanding is that the operating system comprises the bulk of the expense for most machines.

    I'm considering used as well and seeing what pops up on the CL. A reformat would give me a clean slate on a used machine?
     

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