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Re: [NTO] laptop advice please

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  • sisterscape
    If you re planning on dual booting with Linux, you need to be aware of this. Someone on the local LUG list bought a new HP only to find it had 4 primary
    Message 1 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
      If you're planning on dual booting with Linux, you need to be aware of this. Someone on the local LUG list bought a new HP only to find it had 4 primary partitions - system, rest of Win7, recovery and HP tools - and file system was set to 'dynamic'. So no way to manipulate the partitions without wiping the drive (which he did and only installed Ubuntu). Someone else who also got burned, just replaced the drive with a spare and kept the original intact should there be any hardware failures.

      I don't know whether other companies are adopting this scheme but it seems like a conscious tactic to prevent Linux from becoming more accessible.


      --- On Fri, 8/20/10, Adrien Verlee <adrien.verlee@...> wrote:

      From: Adrien Verlee <adrien.verlee@...>
      Subject: [NTO] laptop advice please
      To: ntb-OffTopic@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Friday, August 20, 2010, 8:56 AM

      Hello,

      Next week (Monday or Tuesday) I need to buy a laptop. No experience 
      with laptops. Wich brand is reliable on hardware level? What do 
      people think?
      Good hardware is now for me the main thing.

      Thanks,
      --
      Adrien





      ------------------------------------

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    • Axel Berger
      ... As often happens my advice differs from the others . HP and Compaq used to be very good until Carly Fiorina. IBM was very good, but Lenovo is not. Used
      Message 2 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
        Adrien Verlee wrote:
        > Wich brand is reliable on hardware level?

        As often happens my advice differs from the others'. HP and Compaq used
        to be very good until Carly Fiorina. IBM was very good, but Lenovo is
        not. Used machines from those times still are. Dell did not use to be
        the best but has not deteriorated and kept its quality.
        Secondly there is the bath tub curve for failure rate over time.
        Technical machines fail when new due to variable production quality and
        when very old for obvious reasons and in between there is a low flat
        bottom of reliability. So it is a very good idea to buy the used units
        the leasing firms get rid off. All the dodgy ones have been weeded out
        and leasing firms select for quality in the first place. You also tend
        to get good offers for accessories like docking stations at the same
        time.

        My daughter has just (i.e. a year ago) bought a new laptop for more than
        twice my upper price limit and it is off for repairs for the second
        lengthy time now. She did not heed my advice, that if she really uses
        and needs it, she must have one or better two backup units. The
        engineers in my aquaintence are proud to use elderly machines the
        management flacks smile at and to achieve much more with them that those
        will ever do, but she unfortunately takes her cues from the flashy allow
        wheels crowd.

        Axel
      • Scott Fordin
        FWIW, I ve been pleased over the years with several machines from Toshiba and Asus. We ve also had some HPs, but I ve found their reliability to vary across
        Message 3 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
          FWIW, I've been pleased over the years with several machines from
          Toshiba and Asus. We've also had some HPs, but I've found their
          reliability to vary across model lines; some very good, some not so
          good. Toshiba and Asus just always seem to be very solid. With Dell, you
          get the "parts du jour," and so quality can vary widely, and Dell's
          reliability, once very solid, has been trending downwards over the past
          few years, based on lots of different news reports.

          Scott

          Axel Berger wrote:
          >
          >
          > Adrien Verlee wrote:
          > > Wich brand is reliable on hardware level?
          >
          > As often happens my advice differs from the others'. HP and Compaq used
          > to be very good until Carly Fiorina. IBM was very good, but Lenovo is
          > not. Used machines from those times still are. Dell did not use to be
          > the best but has not deteriorated and kept its quality.
          > Secondly there is the bath tub curve for failure rate over time.
          > Technical machines fail when new due to variable production quality and
          > when very old for obvious reasons and in between there is a low flat
          > bottom of reliability. So it is a very good idea to buy the used units
          > the leasing firms get rid off. All the dodgy ones have been weeded out
          > and leasing firms select for quality in the first place. You also tend
          > to get good offers for accessories like docking stations at the same
          > time.
          >
          > My daughter has just (i.e. a year ago) bought a new laptop for more than
          > twice my upper price limit and it is off for repairs for the second
          > lengthy time now. She did not heed my advice, that if she really uses
          > and needs it, she must have one or better two backup units. The
          > engineers in my aquaintence are proud to use elderly machines the
          > management flacks smile at and to achieve much more with them that those
          > will ever do, but she unfortunately takes her cues from the flashy allow
          > wheels crowd.
          >
          > Axel
          >
          >
        • Chris Laarman
          Adrien Verlee on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:56:14 ... What do you intend to use it for? If you should want to be able to check your E-mail
          Message 4 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
            Adrien Verlee <adrien.verlee@...> on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 15:56:14
            +0200:

            >Next week (Monday or Tuesday) I need to buy a laptop. No experience
            >with laptops. Wich brand is reliable on hardware level? What do
            >people think?
            >Good hardware is now for me the main thing.

            What do you intend to use it for?

            If you should want to be able to check your E-mail while away from
            home, any of these "netbooks" might do. Just add USB-hardware (like a
            DVD-burner).

            If you should want to do heavy graphics (video editing or 3D
            Modeling), you 'd want a powerhouse with Full HD graphics, much memory
            (and a 64-bit operating system to address it) and a fast and large
            hard drive.

            I have both, I love both.

            --
            Chris Laarman
          • Axel Berger
            ... These are always spoken of as if they were somehow low power and unable to do much. My newish fully featured workhorse notebook is a PIII with a 80 GB
            Message 5 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
              Chris Laarman wrote:
              > any of these "netbooks" might do.

              These are always spoken of as if they were somehow low power and unable
              to do much. My newish fully featured workhorse notebook is a PIII with a
              80 GB drive. That said I do use the DVD ROM cum CD-writer from time to
              time and 600 pixels of screen height is rather small. (But I also get
              useful work out of a PI laptop with 800*600 screen.)

              If I were to buy a new (new to me) notebook now, I'd probably make it
              one of them. They are small and light, seem to be rugged, and have far
              more power than I have now. The biggest problem would be, I'd finally
              have to switch to Linux now and that's a big step I keep holding off.
              But I wouldn't be able to get Win98 drivers and all later Windows are
              far too virus prone apart from slowing even the most powerful hardware
              to a complete standstill. My daughter's notebook feels slower than mine.

              Axel
            • Adrien Verlee
              ... Thanks to all. And anyone have an opinion on Acer? -- Adrien
              Message 6 of 19 , Aug 20, 2010
                Op 20-aug-10, om 18:39 heeft Scott Fordin het volgende geschreven:

                > FWIW, I've been pleased over the years with several machines from
                > Toshiba and Asus. We've also had some HPs, but I've found their
                > reliability to vary across model lines; some very good, some not so
                > good. Toshiba and Asus just always seem to be very solid. With
                > Dell, you

                Thanks to all.
                And anyone have an opinion on Acer?
                --
                Adrien
              • Chris Laarman
                ... I bought my Asus netbook as an extra. But it s half the size and weight of my two Full HD notebooks, so it quickly became my commando equipment . To be
                Message 7 of 19 , Aug 21, 2010
                  Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> on Fri, 20 Aug 2010 22:56:33 +0200:

                  >Chris Laarman wrote:
                  >> any of these "netbooks" might do.
                  >
                  >These are always spoken of as if they were somehow low power and unable
                  >to do much. My newish fully featured workhorse notebook is a PIII with a
                  >80 GB drive. That said I do use the DVD ROM cum CD-writer from time to
                  >time and 600 pixels of screen height is rather small. (But I also get
                  >useful work out of a PI laptop with 800*600 screen.)
                  >
                  >If I were to buy a new (new to me) notebook now, I'd probably make it
                  >one of them. They are small and light, seem to be rugged, and have far
                  >more power than I have now. The biggest problem would be, I'd finally
                  >have to switch to Linux now and that's a big step I keep holding off.
                  >But I wouldn't be able to get Win98 drivers and all later Windows are
                  >far too virus prone apart from slowing even the most powerful hardware
                  >to a complete standstill. My daughter's notebook feels slower than mine.

                  I bought my Asus netbook as an extra. But it's half the size and
                  weight of my two Full HD notebooks, so it quickly became my "commando
                  equipment". To be brought wherever any computer is needed, to show a
                  presentation using a projector, for example.
                  Or to prevent me from printing documents for a meeting: I copy the
                  E-mail attachments and whatever to the netbook, and have them with me.

                  A 1024*600 screen is not suitable for quickly moving back and forth
                  through large documents, but it does allow one to have a useful
                  portion in sight. And one can have several documents open at once.

                  Mind the keyboard. It does have full-size keys, but probably less than
                  expected. On mine, the Home, Ens, PgUp and PgDn keys are emulated
                  through holding the Fn key while pressing the cursor keys. And Up and
                  Down are half-size keys.

                  These netbooks are designed for power efficiency. They do work on a
                  battery load for a couple of hours. But these Intel Atom processors
                  are less powerful than those of the Pentium line at the same speed.

                  Nevertheless mine seems to perform above my low expectations on music.
                  Not the mere playing of MP3 files, but playing MIDI files through
                  software synthesizers (which may be quite processor-intensive).

                  Using a small USB-adapter I can also use it as a television set,
                  either connecting to a wall outlet or to a small DVB antenna.


                  I have two different Viao notebooks that are Full HD. Like that Asus
                  netbook they are fitted with hard drives of the Seagate Momentus line
                  at 5400 rpm.
                  I have upgraded the older Vaio with larger Momentus at 7200 rpm. That
                  definitely improves performance.
                  I intend to do so (after the warranty period is over) with the newer
                  Vaio and that Asus netbook.

                  --
                  Chris Laarman
                • Don
                  I have had three dells, a toshiba and a gateway -- with my middle dell I was glad I had the long term support with two new screens and a new keyboard/mousepad
                  Message 8 of 19 , Aug 21, 2010
                    I have had three dells, a toshiba and a gateway -- with my middle dell I
                    was glad I had the long term support with two new screens and a new
                    keyboard/mousepad -- however I use a laptop hard.

                    On 8/20/2010 10:13 AM, Mike Breiding - Morgantown WV wrote:
                    > Adrien Verlee wrote:
                    >> Hello,
                    >> Next week (Monday or Tuesday) I need to buy a laptop. No experience
                    >> with laptops. Wich brand is reliable on hardware level? What do
                    >> people think?
                    >> Good hardware is now for me the main thing.
                    >> Thanks, Adrien
                    >
                    > I have a Dell 17" Inspiron 9400 WinXP.
                    > Been my only PC for 3+ years and it has been very reliable.
                    >
                    > Recently bought a Toshiba NB 205 10" 'Net Book'. I have not used it much
                    > but it seems solid and no crapware installed.
                    >
                    > -Mike
                    > www.EpicRoadTrips.us/mich
                    >
                  • Adrien Verlee
                    ... Thanks to all. And anyone have an opinion on Acer? -- Adrien
                    Message 9 of 19 , Aug 21, 2010
                      Op 20-aug-10, om 18:39 heeft Scott Fordin het volgende geschreven:

                      > FWIW, I've been pleased over the years with several machines from
                      > Toshiba and Asus. We've also had some HPs, but I've found their
                      > reliability to vary across model lines; some very good, some not so
                      > good. Toshiba and Asus just always seem to be very solid. With
                      > Dell, you

                      Thanks to all.
                      And anyone have an opinion on Acer?
                      --
                      Adrien
                    • Greg Chapman
                      Hi Axel, ... You appear to be confusing Netbook and Notebook. As I understand it, a netbook, by definition, will not have an internal optical drive, and while
                      Message 10 of 19 , Aug 22, 2010
                        Hi Axel,

                        On 20 Aug 10 21:56 Axel Berger <Axel-Berger@...> said:
                        > Chris Laarman wrote:
                        > > any of these "netbooks" might do.
                        >
                        > These are always spoken of as if they were somehow low power and
                        > unable to do much. My newish fully featured workhorse notebook is a
                        > PIII with a 80 GB drive. That said I do use the DVD ROM cum
                        > CD-writer from time to time and 600 pixels of screen height is
                        > rather small.

                        You appear to be confusing Netbook and Notebook. As I understand it, a
                        netbook, by definition, will not have an internal optical drive, and
                        while the term was invented for machines with small screens and solid
                        state drives, rather than magnetic disc drives, many do now have
                        conventional disc drives within.

                        However, I agree that "power" is not normally the issue, rather that
                        small screens and relatively low drive space, do make them impractical
                        for extensive graphics, video and audio work, and are best for email,
                        web browsing, and simple word processing, spreadsheet and similar
                        applications.

                        Greg
                      • Chris Laarman
                        Greg Chapman on Sun, 22 Aug 2010 19:14:33 ... To *my* knowledge (but I m ready to stand corrected) power *consumption* is a design
                        Message 11 of 19 , Aug 22, 2010
                          Greg Chapman <gregchapmanuk@...> on Sun, 22 Aug 2010 19:14:33
                          +0100:

                          >You appear to be confusing Netbook and Notebook. As I understand it, a
                          >netbook, by definition, will not have an internal optical drive, and
                          >while the term was invented for machines with small screens and solid
                          >state drives, rather than magnetic disc drives, many do now have
                          >conventional disc drives within.
                          >
                          >However, I agree that "power" is not normally the issue, rather that
                          >small screens and relatively low drive space, do make them impractical
                          >for extensive graphics, video and audio work, and are best for email,
                          >web browsing, and simple word processing, spreadsheet and similar
                          >applications.

                          To *my* knowledge (but I'm ready to stand corrected) power
                          *consumption* is a design feature, resulting in them being equipped
                          with CPUs from Intel's Atom line rather than Pentium etc.

                          The power adapter of my Asus HA1001 is much smaller (in size and
                          rating) than those of my Vaio notebooks.
                          However, it can power external drives (optical or magnetic).

                          As a result of that lower power *consumption* (at the same state of
                          the art) an Atom and associated chips offer less *processing* power.

                          And as I said before, my netbook appears to perform above my (low)
                          expectations even on sound generation.

                          And it was cheap (EUR 240 last February). Even its successors may be
                          cheaper than dedicated eBook readers.

                          --
                          Chris Laarman
                        • Axel Berger
                          ... Not confusing, comparing. And apart from the missing optical drive the netbook comes out trupms when compared to a not quite so new notebook, and that
                          Message 12 of 19 , Aug 22, 2010
                            Greg Chapman wrote:
                            > You appear to be confusing Netbook and Notebook.

                            Not confusing, comparing. And apart from the missing optical drive the
                            netbook comes out trupms when compared to a not quite so new notebook,
                            and that includes the twice as big hard drive.

                            > do make them impractical for extensive graphics,
                            > video and audio work,

                            And how many people actually do any of those on any kind of machine
                            except when gaming?

                            > simple word processing, spreadsheet and similar applications.

                            Quite, though TeX and big databases can be far from simple and in my
                            case there is some radiocarbon dating, presentation, geographical
                            information system, not to forget scanning, OCR and PDF-making.
                            It was in the early seventies, when you could compare serious work
                            computers and limited low power hobby home computers, today serious work
                            is at the lower end of power requirements and gaming at the top.
                            Around 1979 I wrote down the specs of the big central computer in the
                            Cologne university computing centre. I can't find it right now, but I
                            believe it was surpassed by about the 486 generation of PCs.
                            As to data, yes I have 15 GB of music, 150 GB of radio plays, and 15 GB
                            of family media, but my biggest serious database, the whole earth
                            elevation from satellite data, is about 20 GB. So you need to have a
                            strange frame of reference to call a hard disk limit of 160 GB small.

                            Of course marketing will tell you otherwise ...

                            Axel
                          • Axel Berger
                            ... Absolutely, but even that power is way above anything you re ever going to need in real usage. Axel
                            Message 13 of 19 , Aug 22, 2010
                              Chris Laarman wrote:
                              > As a result of that lower power *consumption* (at the same state of
                              > the art) an Atom and associated chips offer less *processing* power.

                              Absolutely, but even that power is way above anything you're ever going
                              to need in real usage.

                              Axel
                            • Jeffery
                              I have all three types, Desktop, laptop, netbook. All are intensely used, the main issue being the lack of a disc drive in the netbook, recently remedied with
                              Message 14 of 19 , Aug 22, 2010
                                I have all three types, Desktop, laptop, netbook.

                                All are intensely used, the main issue being the lack of a disc drive in
                                the netbook, recently remedied with an external DVD-RW.

                                I use it for Photography, Genealogy and Website writing.
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