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Time for a new Laptop


BoonHauler

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It’s time for me to start looking for a new laptop. I plan on using it for just general computer stuff, surfing the web, emailing, etc, and as an entertainment center. When I say entertainment center I mean I’ll be using it to play movies on, as a TV (with OTA stations), and play music (MP3’s). I won’t be doing any intensive work on the machine and I have no plans for any high definition video.

I’m currently using a Gateway laptop with a 15” screen running Windows Vista Home Premium that I bought back in 2007 so just about anything will be a huge leap forward for me.

Being that I’ll be going fulltime with mobile internet I hear that Windows 7 is the way to roll.

So here’s my questions to all of you aficionados:

What would you think would be a good machine for this task? ….. a Dell?

Can any of you give me any pointers on how to limit the OS as to updates that swallow up huge amounts of data?

Any good add blockers out there that should be used?

Any good programs that I should be thinking of to play my ISO files?

Any ideas of a good USB Tuner?

Anything that I’ve forgotten?

Thanks in advance for your help, god knows I need it :unsure:

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Stores are now only selling PC's/Laptops with Windows 10. Little bit of learning curve from vista to 10. Updates are auto, so settings.

some companys like newegg still sell some win 7, an you can always get a refurb win 7,

win 7 is almost just like vista, few minor differences.

you can also try hp.com they last time i checked had some win 7, but they know many ppl want it so $$ is little higher. but you have control on updates when / where. ect.

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I've used PC's MicroSoft operating systems for 30 plus years. Still use a Dell with Windows 7 for work (few more months anyway). But, made the switch to a Apple Macbook Pro. If your budget allows, I would highly consider a refurbished Mac from the Apple Store. When using my Windows 7 PC I have to be very careful with updates. No issues with the Mac.

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I've used PC's MicroSoft operating systems for 30 plus years. Still use a Dell with Windows 7 for work (few more months anyway). But, made the switch to a Apple Macbook Pro. If your budget allows, I would highly consider a refurbished Mac from the Apple Store. When using my Windows 7 PC I have to be very careful with updates. No issues with the Mac.

 

 

Agree. Love my Mac!

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Another vote for Apple. :)

I have the Macbook Air.

Made the switch to Apple when I went on the road. Chose it because of the long battery life and the solid state drive (less worries about vibrations and bumps in the road). And it's perty.

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Boon Hauler,

When you say use as a TV are you expecting to have a TV tuner built in, or get an external USB tuner Like the Hauppauge Win TV - HVR 955Q like I have, or do you already have a tuner? What size screen do you think you would like? Apple has large monthly updates too, some bigger than Microsoft's some smaller. For example : https://www.intego.com/mac-security-blog/apple-updates-os-x-el-capitan-issues-security-update-2016-002/

 

Apple is using the exact same hardware chipsets as were developed by Intel for Windows boxes since the early DOS days. I don't use Apple myself but a lot of folks like it. For someone not a techie like me and others Macs might be a good deal, but remember that they only have about 9.5% market share to MS' 90%, so no matter where you are online or off you can likely get help with a problem or parts.

 

I got rid of my laptops and use only tablets for mobility now, A surface Pro 3 for me and my old Dell Venue 11 Pro for my wife, both Windows 10 tablets.

 

Do you like Tablets, or want to stick with the laptop format?

 

Let me know whether Windows or Mac, one of the Mac folks can help with Macs.

 

And if Windows once I know what you mean by OTA TV I can give you a list of the best buys of the day for either laptops or tablets with keyboards.

 

If you run across a good one make sure you have 4 GB of RAM preferably 8 today, A quad core Atom or i5 processor. If a Tablet a minimum 64GB SSD and plan for a $60 external hard drive.

 

I can tell you to plan an additional $129.00 to upgrade a decent entry level quad core i5 laptop from a Hard Drive to a 256-500GB faster SSD.

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Thanks all for the replies so far, it's GREATLY appreciated!

 

I'm going to stay with a PC format as I just can't get there with an Apple format and want to stay with a Laptop as well. I'd also like to move into a larger screen size as well. I'm currently using my Gateway for all of the above that I've mentioned except the TV.

 

When I say TV I mean using a USB TV tuner for OTA stations as RV has mentioned.

 

I've read a little about controlling the amount of data that's being used for OS updates, ads running videos and stuff in the background, etc. I'm looking at a prepaid V&D plan from Verizon. I'm far from rich and will be going on a fixed income so I'd really like to push a prepaid plan as far as possible.

 

Does this help any?

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Yep! Now I gotcha. BTW CEE, that one awesome project you are building there.

 

Your answers from me.

I currently use the Hauppauge USB TV Tuner above. It also is a legal OTA DVR. I can record programs while watching another on my screen. It was originally made for Win 7 and then they did updates on it. I use the onscreen controls easy once you understand them. simplistic really. It does an excellent job of tuning in my HD 1080p crystal clear and I know, I'm running it with its tiny antenna on my 27 inch quad HD touchscreen Dell all in one XPS one 2720. It hangs once in awhile and works great with Windows 10 except the remote which I never used anyway stopped working right with 10. More controls onscreen than you need. When it crashes or hangs, about once or twice a week, just a shut down of the program only and restarting it works every time fine. It really is worth the 60 or 70 bucks to me. http://www.amazon.com/Hauppauge-1191-WinTV-HVR-955Q-Tuner-Notebook/dp/B001DEYVXO

 

Here is a good deal on a laptop with a 17" screen, i7, 8GB RAM, and a 1 TB HD as well a great touch screen. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834321081&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=IGNEFL051216&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL051216-_-EMC-051216-Index-_-LaptopsNotebooks-_-34321081-S1A1C

 

Here is a 256 GB SSD from Crucial BX series which is a bit faster than their MX series for $59 on sale with promo code ESCEJFG33 at checkout.

 

Personally. I would go with a Windows 10 unit, and get it over with. As well ,my taste runs to getting a good used unit out of Craigslist or taken in trade as my last two were such that I had less than 70 bucks in them and with some extra RAM and an SSD today would still be an excellent buy with only about $150 - 175 invested.

 

What size screen do you want or do you still have to go to best buy to play with sizes. or do you want a 15"

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I thought I needed to use a "Laptop" because I was mobile and needed Wifi. Not true I have an "All in One" with Wifi that is so much better than a laptop. Much larger screen, Detached keyboard, no track pad and it's almost as mobile as my previous laptops. Just drop it in the box and I'm on my way. I guess you can't sling it over your shoulder. For the true mobile device I have a tablet or my smart phone. Best of all it was Hundreds of dollars less expensive for a Better machine.

 

Rod

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I also love my Mac. I was in IT (and Windows)during my working days and just before I retired, we made the personal switch to Apple. Have not regretted it one bit. We are full timers and travel with a MacBook Air, Ipad, and 2 iphones. I do all of what you are looking to do.

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Yep! Now I gotcha. BTW CEE, that one awesome project you are building there.

 

Here is a good deal on a laptop with a 17" screen, i7, 8GB RAM, and a 1 TB HD as well a great touch screen. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834321081&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=IGNEFL051216&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL051216-_-EMC-051216-Index-_-LaptopsNotebooks-_-34321081-S1A1C

 

 

That is a good deal, but I don't think it's touchscreen. On the specs page, it says No to Touchscreen.

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Again, thanks everyone for chiming in on the thread and thanks RV for the compliment on my project.

 

I've taken a little turn here and am now looking into a mini computer with a 24" monitor. Again, I'll be using it mostly as an entertainment center and can plug in just about anything I need.

 

I'll update the thread accordingly.

 

If I could get you guys to focus one one topic it would be the OS. Is it really better to run Win 7 and can I get Windows Media Center with Win 7?

 

Again, thanks guys for the input!!

 

Cee

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Define mini computer? Please a link. If you are going to use it as a HTPC ( Home Theater PC) Then please tell why you want to run Media Center? Windows 10 has their new movie players and my old standby Windows Media Player. As well I always load VLC media player for their extra codecs that are not infected. If you are going to use a computer as your media player a mini may not have the onscreen resolution you will want.

 

If I might suggest you get yourself a really nice 24-36 inch smart TV for your monitor? I had a 40" LCD TV in my 28' foot 5th wheel which I just swapped out for my spare bedroom TV because that 40" is 1080p and the mini computer I run in that spare bedroom looked horrible on the 720 screen I had. http://www.bing.com/news/search?q=Business+News&bu=http%3a%2f%2fwww.cnbc.com%2f2016%2f05%2f16%2fthis-is-the-biggest-change-to-hit-start-up-investing-in-years.html&FORM=NWRFSH All of them have HDMIs now and your mini should also have an HDMI out. That way you have a premier 1080p or even 4k tuner and can take full advantage of your Over The Air (OTA) TV stations from the RV amplified antenna, your computer HDMI output, and a Blu-ray player for all the 99 cent DVDs, and $1.99 Blu-ray disks like I do, then ditch the jewel case and store the liner notes and the Disk/s in one of these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00005ATMF/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687762&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000JJSQ3K&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1XTFC12T7MW1Q6V4EF70

I have 13 of these, most are the larger 300 CD/DVD cases full of our music CDs we had for DJing and already ripped to mp3 on our computers. I also rip[ the movies and keep them because regardless of buying them used at Goodwill or Pawn shops, they are still legally mine now and I can burn backups of each. I do not burn copies for others or do music for others as that takes time and they can earn enough to download a $5.99 Amazon album, sometimes 99 cents, in less time than it takes for me to copy twenty songs for them. Friends or families go buy their own digital music. The rest don't get close enough to see our collection! ;)

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Good catch Chirakawa,
That i7, now sold out, was not a touch screen. I was in a bit of a hurry and should have read the full specs.

 

Back to focusing on the OS. Windows 10 does not have Media Center for a good reason. For me it was laggy, slow, and not user friendly. However, in 1990s I was the guy resisting Word because I was so good on DOS and WordStar a keyboard command only word processor. So I can understand being happy with a program that is overcome by tech or better programs usually both.

 

If you are worried about playing music or DVDs any new system will have programs to do all of that, and VLC Media Player is free and does a very good job.

 

Windows 7 is pretty much like 10 in that they both have start screens and you can uninstall most apps as well as set up your apps to only update/patch when on unmetered wifi.

 

See, Windows 7 runs out in 2020, just four years from now, like XP did two years ago.

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RV:

 

Here's what I'm looking at right now. Gigabyte Intel i3

 

Costco has a 24" Samsung (1940x1080) monitor for $130 right now.

 

I'm still in the Win 7 camp as I feel it will give me more control over limiting the OS updates and other related tasks that chew through data.

 

I'm not sure how the Gigabyte works, could you enlighten?

 

Rod

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The Gigabyte is 'barebones' meaning it has no hard drive, no memory, no operating system, no keyboard, and no mouse. Adding these brings the price up to at least $450. There still are laptops available with Windows 7 that are in this price range. Here's several listed on Amazon:

 

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_nr_p_n_feature_sixteen__0?sf=qz&fst=as%3Aoff&rh=n%3A172282%2Cn%3A541966%2Cn%3A13896617011%2Cn%3A565108%2Ck%3Alaptop%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A2232492011|2232493011%2Cp_n_condition-type%3A2224371011%2Cp_36%3A2421886011%2Cp_n_feature_sixteen_browse-bin%3A3093652011&keywords=laptop&ie=UTF8&qid=1463486247&rnid=3093651011

 

From Newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&IsNodeId=1&N=100006740%204814%20600514776

Is the Samsung a monitor or a TV? Typically a monitor has no TV tuner. You can use a TV as a monitor by connecting your laptop using an HDMI cable.

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If you go just a hair bigger in form factor but essentially the same small form factor for much less: Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny Intel Quad Core N3700 8GB 250GB SSD Windows 7 Professional 2016 New Mini PC Desktop Computer for $404.99 ships free, no tax: http://www.amazon.com/ThinkCentre-Windows-Professional-Desktop-Computer/dp/B01E0FYZB0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1463549707&sr=1-1&keywords=windows+7+mini+pc

It is a full system with Windows 7 Professional new and warranted. Costs less than the Gigabyte. Has built in WiFi too

 

The Lenovo is 7 x 7.2 x 1.4 inches

 

The Gigabyte is 4.5 x 4.2 x 1.7 inches

 

Here is the Gigabyte processor: http://ark.intel.com/products/75107/Intel-Core-i3-4010U-Processor-3M-Cache-1_70-GHz It is a dual core much slower than a quad core. It also is a static 1.7 GHz

 

Here is the Lenovo processor: http://ark.intel.com/products/87261/Intel-Pentium-Processor-N3700-2M-Cache-up-to-2_40-GHz It is a quad core and is a 1.6GHz base and has a burst frequency of 2.4 GHz

 

Should save you money and be much faster with little increase in size, and already has Win 7 Pro loaded, 8 GB RAM, and a 250GB SSD!

 

I would buy a 24-28 inch 1080p TV for the monitor. all you need is a display port to HDMI adapter cable which I have and work great! $4.30 and ships free

http://www.amazon.com/BuyCheapCables%C2%AE-Quality-Black-DisplayPort-Cable/dp/B002CSRF9M/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1463550868&sr=1-5&keywords=Display+port+to+HDMI+cable

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If you go just a hair bigger in form factor but essentially the same small form factor for much less: Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny Intel Quad Core N3700 8GB 250GB SSD Windows 7 Professional 2016 New Mini PC Desktop Computer for $404.99 ships free, no tax: http://www.amazon.com/ThinkCentre-Windows-Professional-Desktop-Computer/dp/B01E0FYZB0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1463549707&sr=1-1&keywords=windows+7+mini+pc

It is a full system with Windows 7 Professional new and warranted. Costs less than the Gigabyte. Has built in WiFi too

 

The Lenovo is 7 x 7.2 x 1.4 inches

 

The Gigabyte is 4.5 x 4.2 x 1.7 inches

 

Here is the Gigabyte processor: http://ark.intel.com/products/75107/Intel-Core-i3-4010U-Processor-3M-Cache-1_70-GHz It is a dual core much slower than a quad core. It also is a static 1.7 GHz

 

Here is the Lenovo processor: http://ark.intel.com/products/87261/Intel-Pentium-Processor-N3700-2M-Cache-up-to-2_40-GHz It is a quad core and is a 1.6GHz base and has a burst frequency of 2.4 GHz

 

Should save you money and be much faster with little increase in size, and already has Win 7 Pro loaded, 8 GB RAM, and a 250GB SSD!

 

I would buy a 24-28 inch 1080p TV for the monitor. all you need is a display port to HDMI adapter cable which I have and work great! $4.30 and ships free

http://www.amazon.com/BuyCheapCables%C2%AE-Quality-Black-DisplayPort-Cable/dp/B002CSRF9M/ref=sr_1_5?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1463550868&sr=1-5&keywords=Display+port+to+HDMI+cable

 

Wow, this is awesome! ....... Thanks!

 

The increase in size can be easily dealt with.

 

I'll take a good look at going this route!

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YW,

I have a mini too but it doesn't have the graphics capability the one I recommended does. http://www.geekbuying.com/item/VOYO-Mini-PC-Windows-8-1-4K-Media-Player-Intel-Z3735F-2G-RAM-64G-ROM-WIFI-Bluetooth---White-341214.html It has a battery which makes no sense at all if you don't have a monitor that also has a battery. The battery lasts about three hours. It is essentially an Atom Z 3735 Windows Tablet, without the screen. It actually uses any 5v USB phone or tablet charger for power into its micro USB charging only port as it has several Full size USB ports.Very peppy for basic surfing and email etc. It is upgraded to Windows 10 and mine dual boots Android 4.4. I've loaded Office Home and Biz 2010 on it, as well as all the other utilities I load on systems. I run the Dell (Logitech) KM714 wireless kb and mouse on it too: http://www.costco.com/Dell-KM714-Wireless-Keyboard-and-Mouse-Combo-with-Windows%c2%ae-8-Gesture-Controls.product.100097307.html

 

It is on the spare bedroom TV which is one of these: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=seiki+retro+red+tv&qpvt=seiki+retro+red+tv&qpvt=seiki+retro+red+tv&qpvt=seiki+retro+red+tv&FORM=IGRE It is a pretty impressive to the novice system. BTW The TVs are $250-300 but Newegg cleared them out at $74.99 which is what I paid with free shipping. It's a flat screen 1080p LCD and uses the big enclosure as the subwoofer resonating chamber. It is very loud with decent sound, no soundbar or speakers necessary at all. If all one wants to do is watch OTA TV and BluRay videos, and do a little online surfing and email, these and a TV are perfect. I have a 64GB micro SD card in it, as well as a 64GB mini USB flash drive giving it 192GB of storage with nothing sticking out or attached by wires. http://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Cruzer-Low-Profile-Drive--SDCZ33-032G-B35/dp/B00812F7O8/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1463583890&sr=8-7&keywords=micro+usb+flash+drive

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I personally converted to Mac because that's all I used for work the past decade. However, your use sounds strictly personal, so you could probably save a lot of money by sticking to PC. I personally wouldn't go the Dell route just because that isn't their strength these days (not like the "Dude, you got a Dell" days).

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