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new computer recommendation?

1704 Views 30 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  EAJuggalo
I've asked this before, but it's been long enough ago that things may have changed...

looking for relatively low cost, but dependable portable computer. I don't do gaming, so no need for that. I would like decent sound quality (music-lover), ability to use Word and Excel.

email and Internet surfing are primary uses.

what do the experts recommend?

Thanks!
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If you don't need to purchase right away and time is not critical, subscribe to Microsoft.com email / text alerts.

Every year Microsoft has their '12 days of Christmas Sale' and have excellent deals; best deals of the year. Online and in-store purchases

Last year they had an HP 11" lap top (not a desktop replacement) for I believe $149, primarily for email and web surfing. 2GB memory, USB port, excellent battery life; the very basics.
 

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You're going to have to define two things.

1. What does Decent Sound mean to you?
2. What do you mean Music lover?

Basically what I'm getting at is do you want some that an average normal person would say sounds good? Or are you one an audiophile?

By portable, I'm guessing you mean laptop? They all use on board sound, which is better than it used to be but typically not that great. With some good headphones though it should be okay for most people. Speakers on laptops are pretty bad. Which should be obvious, there isn't any place to fit a good quality speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
appreciate the replies.

I guess I'm not quite the high end audiophile, but I definitely appreciate the nuances of good music...classic rock almost exclusively. which headphones would fit that bill?

might want to do a little photo editing, as well. nothing serious, though.

my little netbook finally gave up the ghost. I'm on my wife's computer at the moment. would rather not wait until Christmas.

Thanks!
 

· Drop those nuts
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Sounds like you're planning on putting a fairly low computing load on the machine, and won't be needing a fancy graphics card. What with all my recently increasing disgust over the direction Windows is going (invasive collection of private data they should keep their noses out of) and all the recent hacker interest in attacking Android devices, I suggest you look into a Raspberry Pi. It costs 35 bucks, about the size of a pack of butts, consumes only about a watt or two of power, has Linux stored on board in chip memory, so it boots fast, has a web browser, and software built in to let you learn to do PC programming. I'm pretty sure you can get free Linux software to do anything you've mentioned that you want to do. It has enough bulk storage on it's single circuit board to let most people download whatever they want as long as they're not trying to build a huge picture & video collection. You can put it in your pocket and plug it into any monitor & keyboard you find where ever you go. They make great little controllers for a home entertainment system if you set them up that way.

Oh yeah, they're still unpopular enough that I don't think hackers have taken much interest in them yet.

I like the low power aspect of the Raspberry Pi too, because there are PC graphics cards on the market nowadays that can easily add 30 or 40 bucks a month to your electric bill if used for work all day every day - above & beyond what the PC itself already uses.
 

· Drop those nuts
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https://www.raspberrypi.org/

They have a lot of stuff on that site that you can read about how to get one and use it. Google for pictures and you'll see why it's cheap. Circuit board is about the size of a credit card. It's basically all the circuits and functionality of a Linux PC, including graphics hardware and good video playback ability, finally shrunk down to one little board that's shockingly cheap, and shockingly powerful for the price. You can use it with little to nothing hooked up to it as far as mass storage goes because it has some on board, but it can also be connected to external hard drives through the USB port, so you can expand it cheaply into something bigger.

All the potential uses are a lot to write, but it's all on the site of the ORG. Plenty of reading there. The thing was really designed to be a tool for schools to use as a cheap way to encourage youngsters to learn to be programmers, but it's good for practical use by everyone.

Not sure if you'll consider it easy to get into or not. I'm old too, but I've been pretty heavy into electronics & programming for a long time now.
 

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Pi's are great but it probably won't work out for him. They are a building/learning tool. While they are fun to play with and can be made useful, but they aren't a replace for a real computer, even for a very casual user.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
so, the chrome books...you can only use them when they're connected to the net? how do you use MS Office on them (or can't you?)

[you can see now just how technically challenged I am. I can use computers when they work right, but I'm pretty helpless, otherwise]
 

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so, the chrome books...you can only use them when they're connected to the net? how do you use MS Office on them (or can't you?)

[you can see now just how technically challenged I am. I can use computers when they work right, but I'm pretty helpless, otherwise]
You don't use office, but you can use google docs.

They are mainly designed to be used while connected to the net but you can still use them offline sure.

https://support.google.com/chromebook/answer/3214688?hl=en
 

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I used to be a "died-in the-wool" Windows computer guy. Everyone kept telling me "Get a Mac and I'd never regret it."

Well, they were right. First I bought a Mac desktop (and my wife took it over), then I bought me a 15" MacBook Pro and it is great.

I have a program called VMware Fusion and it can run all my old Windows software on my new Macs. I also have Mac Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc) - especially for MAC.

I really like the new Macs, I'll never go back.
 

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Arent the lower end surface pros around $700? That's not that much cheaper than the lower end macs.

I've got another solution:
https://system76.com/laptops/lemur

$600 for a well built good quality laptop running linux preinstalled.

Ubuntu is pretty user friendly as well. Even my mother can use it and she's the kind of person who has trouble switching the inputs of the TV to use the DVD player.

You can use Firefox or Chrome for your web browser just like now. If you like email clients (like outlook) Thunderbird is a nice one built by Mozillia. Libreoffice is great and compatible with everything but 1 or 2 very rarely used functions (mainly a concern for excel docs with lots of functions). There is a program on linux to do pretty much anything you need.

And, if you end up not liking Linux, buy a retail copy of windows and install it. The hardware alone is easily worth the $600 price tag so you won't regret it.
 

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Whatever you get as far as mgf OEM machines w/the OS and other wares PREinstalled, remember that you are NOT getting a full version of the OS, and you may or may not get 'rescue' or 'recover' media with it. First and foremost before you do ANYthing is to ensure that Win's shadow copy is enabled for ALL hardrives and partitions, do a complete backup of the entire system (including all drivers and such) and lable it appropriately - preferably on a USB device like a 8+ USB 'thumb/flash' drive or such. Relying on DVDs to restore your machine in the event of failure is a problem if the OS does not have the drivers installed at that level that are required to even READ the DVD drive in bootup mode. Best to require the mfg to provide you with a FULL version of the OS (thus, OS repair facilities should be included, which often are not in OEM neutered, mass-licensed versions of the OS) as well as FULL versions of installed MS software - again, those are often installed in pseudo-trial mode and you won't be able to use them for long or fully, w/o shelling out MOAR MUNNY despite thinking you bought a machine w/them fully installed and operational.... once you have a complete true "image" of the machine the way it came from the factory, and have recorded all product keys (see Belarc Advisor - free and spyware-free audit program) and full ID of all internal parts (Belarc also does this) and CMOS and BIOS info/settings, print off and save elsewhere as well the Belarc report, then prepare to totally wipe the harddrive and start from scratch w/a clean install of the full, real OS. Reload/reinstall needed programs after that, set a restore point after EACH CHANGE. DISable 'automatic installation of MS updates' and change that setting to 'notify but do nothing else unless I tell you to' in control panel subsections.
And back the dang thing up weekly at the least; keep identical copies of important docs, pics, etc., off on a removable, USB device (even 500GB ones are dirt cheap nowadays compared to years prior).
DO lookout for OEM crapware.... and beware the malware this seems to be coming bundled w/tons of FF, Chrome browser 'plug-ins'/extensions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
EA,

Thanks, I'll check that out!

MB,

Whoa! (in a good way!)...a lot to absorb!

I'm a low-intensity computer-user...I'd like to do email, web-surfing, use Word and Excel, and listen to some good old rock and roll while doing so.

truly appreciate ALL of the replies!
 
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