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General Category => Random Technology => Topic started by: Farabomb on September 05, 2014, 03:23:49 PM

Title: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 05, 2014, 03:23:49 PM
My HP 17" laptop is getting a bit long in the tooth. It's at least 6 years old and I'm starting to have issues playing 1080p files on the TV. For some reason and not with all files the video will lock, sound will still play with VLC. It has a new SSD in it and otherwise works fine with the exception of the worst keyboard ever made. The colors barley contrast so in anything but bright direct light I can barley see the keys.

I've been out of the tech world for a long time so I have to do some research. I have a ballpark budget but I can go over for a compelling reason. Since it will be a x-mas present for both me and the GF it's less of a hit. I've been looking and honestly seeing the prices a Macbook isn't totally off the table. It would have to be an amazing deal and I'd have to teach the woman how to use it so it's far out in left field.

I've had good luck with HP's in the past but I am not impressed with any of their offerings. I've had bad luck with Dells so I'd avoid them unless it was a great deal. My one experience with Win8 was so unpleasant that I don't want to touch it but since it's a new laptop I don't think I have a choice. That being said it will have to have a touchscreen.

Here are the brands I'd consider: ASUS, Lenovo, Toshiba, Panasonic (toughbook only), Samsung if I win the lottery. I've seen some new names like Digital Storm but I'm not too sure of getting a brand that's unknown to me.

It will be mainly for multimedia use, internet surfing and some CS work. I'd love to convince myself that I need some super highend gaming laptop but I honestly don't.

Things I want:

- Lighted keyboard. Hunt and peck typing in the dark sucks.

- Aluminum/Carbon fiber/Unobtainum chassis. It will rarely be on my actual lap I don't care of it's a nut roaster.

- Gobs of storage. I know with the SSD's in most that might be an issue but my HP has 2 bays. I'd love to have the option of a SSD for the system and a HDD for storage. The cloud is not an option with my shitty connection.

- HDMI out. That should standard on any laptop now.

- Good soundcard as this will be my movie player. Good speakers are also a bonus for when it's not hooked up to the TV.

- Any nifty HTPC doodad. Not important as I just remembered I have a remote for the one I have now and damned if I ever used it.

- Touchscreen. Since I'm stuck with Win8 I consider it mandatory. It will mainly be used to drive my flatscreen TV so I don't need the latest and greatest screen on it but if it is, bonus.

- Doesn't have to be ultraportable but again, it would be a bonus.

Other than that I don't know if there is any new tech that I should consider. I see the convertible laptops like the Yoga but I'm not sure if I really need that.

I will be visiting Amazon's retail location (bestbuy) to actually lay hands on all the ones they have that I can fondle. I will also take a trip to the local Microcenter to get a feel for what they have.

Please chime in with ideas and experiences. I do have an eye on the ASUS N550JV (http://www.asus.com/us/Notebooks_Ultrabooks/N550JV/) but only just started looking.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: DigiCorn on September 05, 2014, 03:29:14 PM
Forget the laptop; it's all about the iWatch: http://www.fool.com/video-alert/rule-breakers/rb-wearable-ext-wide-music/?source=erbfbads0860010&preroll=false&exitpop=false (http://www.fool.com/video-alert/rule-breakers/rb-wearable-ext-wide-music/?source=erbfbads0860010&preroll=false&exitpop=false)
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Joe on September 05, 2014, 04:16:52 PM
The thing I hate about Windows laptops is all of the crapware that comes preloaded. And they won't give you a retail copy of Windows to make a clean install so you are left trying to hack out all of the crap. FYI you can still get laptops with Windows 7. As for as brand names they are all about equal. The more you spend the better the specs but you can get a lemon from any of them. Personally if you can swing the $$$ for a Mac I would go with that. But beware of memory glued/soldered or hard drives that have to have the Apple firmware to work. I'm not up to speed on Mac laptops but I know some models have that limitation.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: DigiCorn on September 05, 2014, 04:33:27 PM
I bought an Acer back in '07 that's still running with Vista, but it's gotten noticeably sluggish as the OS updates have outpaced the RAM/CPU/hardware. I got the wife a Toshiba (no touch screen) with the i5 2 years ago, and it's a rocket!

ASUS makes good stuff, for less money.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 05, 2014, 04:50:24 PM
The Macbook will be a really, really hard sell to the GF and I'm still not sold becasue of all the proprietary bullshit. I made the  HP last a long, long time because I can upgrade. Yes, they did rape me for the extra drive carrier I bought. $60 for some pressed metal? In hindsight I could have just slapped a drive in and cushion it a little and it probably would have been fine. At the time since I just spent $900 on the damn thing the $60 wasn't that bad. Would have been nice if they gave me screws with it but they were an extra $25 I would assume.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 05, 2014, 04:51:34 PM
ASUS is the only motherboard I would buy if I was making a box for myself. I've never had an issue with their products or service.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: DigiCorn on September 05, 2014, 04:59:40 PM
I've bought plenty of ASUS drives, but the last half dozen or so motherboards I've gone through have been gigabyte. No complaints.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Joe on September 05, 2014, 05:32:15 PM

The Macbook will be a really, really hard sell to the GF and I'm still not sold becasue of all the proprietary bullshit. I made the  HP last a long, long time because I can upgrade. Yes, they did rape me for the extra drive carrier I bought. $60 for some pressed metal? In hindsight I could have just slapped a drive in and cushion it a little and it probably would have been fine. At the time since I just spent $900 on the damn thing the $60 wasn't that bad. Would have been nice if they gave me screws with it but they were an extra $25 I would assume.


I understand that with the Macbook. And even though they are more affordable than they used to be they are still about double the price of a similar spec'd Windows machine. If you are set on the touch screen check out a Lenova.

Not sure if the option is there for a Windows laptop but OWC makes a replacement 2nd hard drive holder. You remove the optical drive and insert the new holder and it allows you to have 2 hard drives in the Macbook which works great for having an SSD for the OS and a 2nd drive for data.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Chilbear on September 05, 2014, 06:45:27 PM
You can get a few years old MacBook and still install Windows on it. If you believe that the MacBooks are better hardware then that is a good solution. I travel with a 15" 2006 and is really long on the tooth but still chugging. One bonus on looking at older machines - all the bugs are identified and the lemons exposed.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: born2print on September 05, 2014, 06:47:45 PM
Quick answer, we got an ACER a couple of years ago (for home) and it is great.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Made in Taiwan on September 05, 2014, 11:00:21 PM
I'm using a 15.5" Sony for almost 5 years now and no complaints. Had to set up Windows 7 several times new but that's not the computer's fault. Once his lifetime ends, I might end up with Sony again, maybe Asus or Acer. Been thinking about Lenovo before, but plenty of people have quality issues with them, so they are off my list.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: seratne on September 06, 2014, 01:10:14 PM
The Lenovo Yoga is pretty good. Not much crapware preinstalled. Backlit keyboard. High res screen. The yoga part of it is surprisingly useful if you're reading or watching video on it. And it's decently priced.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 08, 2014, 09:41:38 AM
Right now It's between the Yoga 2 pro and the ASUS. Not sure I need the gimmick of a tablet as I have 5 android devices.

Hell I still have my HP tablet, old dell, and an old sony in pieces. I can't throw anything away.

Taiwan, keep that Sony as long as you can. I'm pretty sure they have left the laptop market. I've had a laptop (the one in pieces now) and a desktop and both were quite good but they tend to command a higher price because of the name. 
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: andyfest on September 08, 2014, 02:58:57 PM

You can get a few years old MacBook and still install Windows on it. If you believe that the MacBooks are better hardware then that is a good solution. I travel with a 15" 2006 and is really long on the tooth but still chugging. One bonus on looking at older machines - all the bugs are identified and the lemons exposed.
I still have an old G4 Powerbook (2003?) and a 2008 Macbook Pro that still work well. Hell, I dragged out my old 2000 350 G3 iMac Blueberry, installed Tiger and it still works  - slow but well.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 08, 2014, 04:16:19 PM
The main reason I'm getting the new laptop to to be able to drive my flatscreen TV at 1080. The 17" HP will be brought upstairs for bedside TV duties. I have a netbook for portable use.

The 17" may just be a software issue with VLC having issues with 1080 files. It's inconsistent so that leads me to believe software. I haven't found a solution and honestly, it's been quite a while since I've upgraded so I think I'm due.

I believe there is optical drive bay/ HDD carrier for the ASUS. Since the one I'm looking at has a 1TB HDD taking that out and putting it in the optical bay and replacing the system drive with a SSD is an option. The SSD version of the laptop is $500 more and all you get is a 256G SSD and a 8g bump in RAM.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: DigiCorn on September 08, 2014, 04:33:12 PM
Get a Roku and/or Chromecast. Between the 2, I can stream anything I want from my computer, which is a couple of rooms away (or my phone/Nexus/laptop), with no wires.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 08, 2014, 04:35:22 PM
The Roku can't do .mkv files. I've tried, it will play video but no sound.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: DigiCorn on September 08, 2014, 04:48:52 PM
But the Plex app will play .mkv files, and it runs on the Roku.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 08, 2014, 04:52:05 PM
That's another step and I'd have to have the server up and running. I may get to that point but I'm getting slightly obsessed with getting some new tech. I got the woman a Galaxy tab3 10.1 for xmas and told her when the new nexus 10 releases that's my xmas present but I don't see that releasing anytime soon.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Joe on September 08, 2014, 05:11:40 PM
Quote
My HP 17" laptop is getting a bit long in the tooth. It's at least 6 years old and I'm starting to have issues playing 1080p files on the TV.


So it is only a problem with 1080 files that used to play OK? To me that would indicate a Windows problem if none of the hardware has changed from when they used to play OK to now they don't. Have you tried a factory reset on the laptop?

Are the video files stored on the laptop HD, external USB, or on the network somewhere?
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 09, 2014, 09:36:09 AM
Some files are on a SD card, some on the SSD, some on the HDD some on the external HDD. Some files work fine, some skip badly. I see it most from the GoT files located on the SSD. The fun part is I can watch the same file on different days and one it will play through fine, the other skip central.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Joe on September 09, 2014, 10:32:28 AM

Some files are on a SD card, some on the SSD, some on the HDD some on the external HDD. Some files work fine, some skip badly. I see it most from the GoT files located on the SSD. The fun part is I can watch the same file on different days and one it will play through fine, the other skip central.


The SSD is the OS disk? Windows could be performing other tasks as you try to stream video from that drive? I could see some issues streaming HD from an SD card too. As far as the USB drive I assume it is USB 2.0? How about the USB cable? There are differences in USB 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0 cables. We had an older USB 2.0 drive on our XP CTP machine. It had one of the older Mac USB cables on it. I guess they needed a longer cable and they swapped it out for the longer Mac USB cable and didn't tell anyone. When we got our new Win 7 CTP PC's the USB drive would not work. Finally I tried a known good USB cable and the drive would mount and work again.

Are you running AV software? AVG was causing me all kinds of shit the last year or so. I finally dumped it and only run MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender in Win 7. In Win 8 MS Security Essentials and Windows Defender has been combined into one product (Windows Defender) so that is all I use for it. It is NOT the best AV software out there but I don't have any schmoes using those PC's so I am good with it.
Title: Re: Laptop ideas
Post by: Farabomb on September 09, 2014, 11:29:37 AM
MS security essentials, no AVG. The drive is a 3.0 drive using the stock cable to a USB 2.0 port. The SSD is the system drive, the HDD is in another internal bay.

Hell it could also be heat related. Normally won't happen on the first movie but will skip on the second... but not all the time. Sometimes it just won't play correctly from a cold boot.