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what's the oldest spec laptop you'd recommend for office work?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Hey head-fi,

 

Normally I fix computers and sometimes recommend upgrades and such but usually they've been "upgrades" to newer things or "replacements" that are equivalent in performance.  This time around I need to find a replacement for a totally obsolete laptop (because of a dead hard drive that still uses an ide interface) and I think finding the "equivalent" performer is a bad investment. 

 

This computer is for an older gentleman (~40-50 years old) so I figure the monitor size should be >= 15.6''.

 

I know the Intel 'i' architectures perform quite a bit better while also consuming less power than predecessors, and the last series of notebook processors I can see are the 'T' and 'P' series (both from intel) which I know are >3 years old (since that's about when I stopped looking at computer parts on a daily basis).  So I think the i3 series is perfect for him.  However, he's having an issue with the price as it seems that the old generation i3 architecture still goes for ~$400-500 CAD ( + I'd like to slap a 60gb ssd on it).

 

So I was wondering what you guys would suggest to be a "good deal" that's, processor-wise, less than the i3?

 

Everything else (ram amount, hdd size, screen quality, battery life, etc.) is largely unimportant.

   

Thanks.

post #2 of 29

An i3 laptop costs around 400cad, that's about as cheap as laptops get unless you get a netbook, however those have much smaller screens.

The problem with getting below 400 is the screen size. Checking on newegg shows that the only laptops below 400cad with a 15" screen are refurbished.

As a general rule of thumb, amd is cheaper than intel.

post #3 of 29

I'll put aside the comment that an "older gentleman" is "~40-50 years old" - but you're on my list you young scalliwag - and d@mnit, get off my lawn!

 

The process stays the same:

 

1) Determine what the user wants to *do* with the computer.  Browse the internet and look at pron videos?  Play Pac Man (or whatever you young bucks do these days)?  Design multi-billion dollar office buildings for the Saudi Royal Family?  Run a mathematical simulation model of the event horizon of a black hole?

 

2) Select the best software to accomplish #1.

 

3) Select the best hardware to run #2.

 

Nearly everyone does this exactly back-@ss-wards.  They buy a whiz-bang computer, then they buy some whiz-bang software, then they try to make the software do whatever they really wanted to do - and the whole thing fails miserably because it doesn't do what they need or doesn't run well - or they spent way more money than they really needed to.

 

  

wheelchair-smiley-face.gif

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

I understand the process and, sorry for my mis-categorization of "old".  tongue_smile.gif

 

I was just wondering what you guys might consider to be too slow or outdated.  This office work really is almost exclusively spreadsheets and quicken.

I suppose that it really doesn't matter since these can be handled by any computer really, but I feel that the i3 is the best "bang for the buck". 

 

I haven't researched the wacky names of the amd processors yet.  Anyone know how their APUs fair?

post #5 of 29

OK - Grandpa forgives you...

 

Actually, I agree with you - the i3 is probably the cheap choice right now - especially since many businesses are now standardizing on i5 workstations in order to finish rolling out Win7 and get any remaining XP out of their environment.  Just like always, having lots of RAM is probably more important than the choice of CPU.  Having an SSD is nice for boot times and app start-up, but it isn't necessary, and if the budget is tight, I would make sure there is enough RAM before spending more on an SSD.

 

I'm like you - I really don't pay attention to AMD CPUs.

 

I suppose you could try to find a close-out deal on a Intel 960 - that would also work fine in this application.  However, what this customer needs to consider is that he kept his old computer for how long?  5 years?  More?  If I was going to try to keep a laptop for 5+ years, I wouldn't want to buy a processor that has already been out of the mainstream for over 2 years.

 

Of course, if he really doesn't have the money, then he probably should be looking at desktops instead of laptops.  

post #6 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

OK - Grandpa forgives you...

Actually, I agree with you - the i3 is probably the cheap choice right now - especially since many businesses are now standardizing on i5 workstations in order to finish rolling out Win7 and get any remaining XP out of their environment.  Just like always, having lots of RAM is probably more important than the choice of CPU.  Having an SSD is nice for boot times and app start-up, but it isn't necessary, and if the budget is tight, I would make sure there is enough RAM before spending more on an SSD.

I'm like you - I really don't pay attention to AMD CPUs.

I suppose you could try to find a close-out deal on a Intel 960 - that would also work fine in this application.  However, what this customer needs to consider is that he kept his old computer for how long?  5 years?  More?  If I was going to try to keep a laptop for 5+ years, I wouldn't want to buy a processor that has already been out of the mainstream for over 2 years.

Of course, if he really doesn't have the money, then he probably should be looking at desktops instead of laptops.  

This. In spades.

I'd also say that you should check Geeks or your liquidator of choice and see what kind of refurb/off-lease gear you can snag for a bill or thereabouts. I mean, if the guy had a Pentium 4M (and is on a first-name basis with the nearest burn unit, no doubt) and it was running his applications fine yesterday, does he really NEED the i3? What's going to change for him in 2 years? Or 5 years? etc. So snatching up something similar for NOT A LOT OF MONEY is not a bad idea at all.

But like billybob said - stick to that 3 step.

2 seconds of searching:
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=E4300-C2D226-NOOS-C&cat=NBB

Sure, it's old, but it should get the job done.
post #7 of 29

One of the Truths of IT is:

 

If you *never* upgrade ANY of your software, then you will never need to upgrade your HW.

 

Unfortunately, that isn't practical as long as you are on the internet.  You will get OS updates, security software updates, browser updates - and any websites you connect to will also be doing upgrades that will force you to upgrade your flash, java, adobe reader, etc, etc.  The world will not stand still for this customer.  He will need to understand that even if his laptop doesn't break, it will probably need to be replaced every 3-5 years in order to stay operational.  It's not about having the latest cool thing - it's about having tools that remain productive.  Most savvy businesses now understand this, but home user and Mom & Pop businesses still don't.

 

Can you tell I'm an IT manager that has to constantly fight for budget to do maintenance and upgrades?  wink.gif

 

Edit:  Good choice obob - I used to have an E4300 and it was a nice system.  Slap Win7 on that machine and it's good to go.


Edited by billybob_jcv - 7/13/12 at 7:36am
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 

Cool, I've never heard of geeks.com before.  Do you guys have any experience with it? good? bad?

 

I've only used ncix and actually haven't even tried newegg yet.  I think these two are the primary computer stuff e-tailers for canada from what I've seen.
 

post #9 of 29
Oh, Canada, no idea if they ship to Canada. And yes I've shopped there before - good customer service, especially if you get them on the phone.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

I'm guessing shipping and such might be a problem.

 

Yeah the decision I'll leave him with is ~$400-500 laptop or I'll try to build him hopefully a cheaper desktop.

post #11 of 29

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131320

 

 

If I was going to get a new laptop it would be this. 

 

I see it as having a great price, a big screen, RAM, hard drive memory and windows seven. The only thing I would question is the running temp. After stacks of laptops over the years I tend to love the ones that run at a lower temp. Before I purchased this one I would go find one and just hold to see the temp. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

laptop.JPG


Edited by Redcarmoose - 7/13/12 at 10:53pm
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131320


If I was going to get a new laptop it would be this. 

I see it as having a great price, a big screen, RAM, hard drive memory and windows seven. The only thing I would question is the running temp. After stacks of laptops over the years I tend to love the ones that run at a lower temp. Before I purchased this one I would go find one and just hold to see the temp. 

That's a great find!

As far as the temps thing - oh boy. I think they stopped measuring it when the things were getting hot enough on the base to boil water. tongue.gif
post #13 of 29

My wife had one once that after a couple years of use the vents filled up with some lint and the processor melted loose! It always ran super hot! The other issue you have with heat is small video card connections getting loose. I believe heat is the death of most laptops used for a long time.

 

There are actually 5 laptops being used now between my wife and I but I just love this little cool running Samsung Atom processor! Not really that powerful but it's as warm as my dog! lol 

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

My wife had one once that after a couple years of use the vents filled up with some lint and the processor melted loose! It always ran super hot! The other issue you have with heat is small video card connections getting loose. I believe heat is the death of most laptops used for a long time.

There are actually 5 laptops being used now between my wife and I but I just love this little cool running Samsung Atom processor! Not really that powerful but it's as warm as my dog! lol 

Yeah, Atom is a great thing, I honestly wish they'd put it into full-size platforms. It's enough oomph for most users, but those 7-10" screens are...not.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

wow, that one is pretty.  I want one for myself...maybe I'll give him mine and buy this one for me.  rolleyes.gif

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