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#411279 - 04/04/15 03:18 PM Time to buy a new laptop
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3993
Loc: Up yonder

I was in Radio Shack a while ago. Almost bought a laptop, but restrained my impulsiveness, so I could research them a bit. And of course, seek the sage advice of this group of IT / electronic experts.

I use my laptop primarily for two things. I calibrate my displays with it, and I tune vehicles.

The things I need:

1) Sometimes I'll have three USB inputs, so I need to have at least three of those.
2) A pretty good battery.
3) At least a 15" display, preferably larger, but the laptop can't be huge, because I carry it back and forth from the vehicle to the house.
4) It can't be a fragile thing, but not "tough book" tough either.
5) I'd love the screen to be glare resistant. My current laptop screen is very difficult to see when sunlight hits it.
6) Thin and easy to carry around would be great.
7) My software runs on Window. No Apple compatibility.

When I use it for tuning, I plug the interface into the laptop. Then I scan the engine/trans as I drive the vehicle, or when it's on the dyno. After I get the data I need, I then go into the tune file and make changes. One of the things I work is VE tables, and they are 3D. This is why I need the larger screen. It's hard to see the little dips and valleys in the 3D cube on a small display. Here is an example to give you an idea of what it is I'm trying to describe.... http://www.hptuners.com/products/vcmsuite/ssl_vcmeditorgfx.jpg

The cube can be rotated, and viewed from all angles. I then just grab a line with the mouse curser, and move the line up/down/right/left as needed.

Sometimes I'll just find somewhere to park while in the car to make some tweaks to the tune. In ambient daylight, this can be a challenge. Is there a particular screen type that might help in these conditions?

I'd like to keep costs under about $700.
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#411280 - 04/04/15 03:47 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
oakvillematt Offline
devotee

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 306
Loc: Oakville, Canada
what you have described as glare more than likely is that the screen it a backlit LCD. For those screens to work you need to have a backlight that exceeds the ambiant light present to be able to see what is on the screen. Sunlight is VERY bright and I don't know of many LCD screens that can produce enough backlight to exceed that of the sun.

And the brighter you run the screen, the more that you drain your battery as the screen is the items that uses the most power in your device


Edited by oakvillematt (04/04/15 03:48 PM)
_________________________
Matt

People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

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#411286 - 04/04/15 06:07 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1142
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Over the last 7 years, I have had the use of 5 different laptops. Mostly used for Microsoft Office – Excel, Word, & Power Point, along with Chrome for surfing, research, etc. Starting with the oldest:

Lenovo ThinkPad – I can’t remember the model. Bought it “off lease” from an engineering company. Excellent build quality, and the performance was good for a 2 year old model. Loved the track point feature. After 3 years of ownership, it would only turn on intermittently.

Toshiba Satellite L500. Bought new to replace the Lenovo as a combination work and “family” laptop. This thing has taken a beating and never let us down. It was being used 14 to 15 hours a day on average between 3 kids and 2 adults. 6 years later it still works, but the battery has about a 30 second life – just enough to unplug and run to the next outlet. And I had to buy a universal power supply. Based on our experience, I would buy another Toshiba.

ASUS (Model ???) Bought new for me by the company I work for. I had no say in the selection. Actually they bought two – one for me, and one for the service manager. Biggest piece of crap we have ever used. Both have lags and glitches galore, and are slow as molasses. I stripped all the bloat software out of them, boot with only the absolute minimum, and it only makes a slight difference. I complained so much that my boss gave it to his daughter, and bought me the next one.

Lenovo G500. This is the computer I am currently using. Night and day performance compared to the ASUS - it is fast! But because this is the entry level model, the build quality is not that great. It is flimsy, and one of the hinges partially broke about a year in. Not enough to send it in, but you can tell something isn’t right. The other drawback is the proprietary power supply connector. This prevents using a universal supply if the original dies. If I were to look at Lenovo again, it would be one from the ThinkPad line.

About 2 weeks ago we bought my daughter a Macbook Pro for her 16th birthday. This thing is unreal. Build quality seems to be off the charts, and the Retina display is simply stunning. 10 hour battery, SSD storage, and it only weighs 3.5lbs. I want one – bad.
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Epic 80/600 + M3's + Custom Finish Algonquin V3's

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#411309 - 04/06/15 09:16 AM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 3993
Loc: Up yonder
A friend of mine is an Apple guy. Loves his Apple laptops. He gets a new one every time they come out with a new model.

So is there a preferred processor, memory? Anything that I should avoid when searching for one?
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#411310 - 04/06/15 10:28 AM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
oakvillematt Offline
devotee

Registered: 05/06/14
Posts: 306
Loc: Oakville, Canada
There is a cult following with Mac's. They are effectively an Intel laptop that has gone through a style consultant. Are they build any better.. I don't think so. You get to give up some items like memory upgrades, and a replaceable battery. They are making them slimmer all the time as they think that slim is better.

Keep in mind that once you cross over to apple, then you now have to deal with the software issue. If you are running windows apps, they don't natively work on your apple. You will need to deal with bootcamp that can have issues as Apple does not support it at all.. or some virtual machine solution. Not always the best.

You can take the side that you can pay the premium for an apple machine, or buy 3 lesser (cheep) windows one and replace it once it breaks.
_________________________
Matt

People are like a box of chocolates. It's hard to tell initially which ones are nuts.

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#411313 - 04/06/15 04:22 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: oakvillematt]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4690
Loc: Marion, IA
Originally Posted By: michael_d
A friend of mine is an Apple guy. Loves his Apple laptops. He gets a new one every time they come out with a new model.


Sounds like a "perfect Apple consumer"... I know a few of them as well at work. Always spending money on what Apple tells them is the latest "you will be cool if you own this" product. I kid you not that several of them admit that they don't see much improvement over the previous model/product to justify jumping every model or year, but yet they keep doing it. LOL.

I just don't understand why someone would buy a new product when the old one isn't even that "old" or anywhere near its end of life.

Originally Posted By: oakvillematt
There is a cult following with Mac's. They are effectively an Intel laptop that has gone through a style consultant. Are they build any better.. I don't think so. You get to give up some items like memory upgrades, and a replaceable battery. They are making them slimmer all the time as they think that slim is better.

Keep in mind that once you cross over to apple, then you now have to deal with the software issue. If you are running windows apps, they don't natively work on your apple. You will need to deal with bootcamp that can have issues as Apple does not support it at all.. or some virtual machine solution. Not always the best.

You can take the side that you can pay the premium for an apple machine, or buy 3 lesser (cheep) windows one and replace it once it breaks.


So true.

Then again, I haven't offered any insight into anything good yet.

I will say this, at work we offer Apple MacBook Air devices, Dell Ultrabook E7440 laptops, iPads, and now the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

The hands down favorite right now are the Surface Pro 3s. From a tablet perspective, even Apple users are loving them. Plus you get the power of an actual laptop.

I saw my brother-in-law this weekend and he has been in the Apple camp for many years. His family only owns Apple computers, tablets, and cell phones... His work switched him from a MacBook Pro to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and he couldn't stop talking about how much more he likes the Surface Pro 3. So much so that he is talking about buying a Windows computer or some sort for their home when the Apple one dies or gets too old.
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#411316 - 04/07/15 03:21 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
newf Offline
devotee

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 419
As a IT, Sys Admin, Net admin, Security admin, wireless admin and whatever admin I've been over the years.....

I HATE APPLE.

Biggest overhyped POS products on the planet. I can not tell you how many issues we have with these things where I work from staff, faculty, students etc (University). It's been like this for years. iPads, iPhones, MACbooks..all of it. Thankfully I think people are finally catching on....hence the term CrApple that gets tossed around by the kids.

The Surface tablet has gotten REALLY popular with everyone here now and we can't keep up with the demand. It has completely replaced my laptops. I have had a Surface Pro 1 , and now a Surface Pro 3. Best machines I've had in years and I've had almost every brand of laptop and tablet you can think of over the last 25yrs. Do NOT even consider the RT version of the surface tablet though. Junk.

That being said, while they do have display port out/hdmi out, the screen isn't big enough for your needs at just over 10" but keep in mind, with a tablet you do not need such a big screen as you hold it closer, and it has a nice high resolution.

Dell Business laptops (not home line), or Lenovo would be my suggestion.

But don't buy an apple...just don't.
_________________________
M-80TI
VP-150TI/QS8TI
M3V3/M22OWV3/M2OWV4/VP150OWV4/M3ICV4
HSU VTF3-MKII/SVS PB-2000/SB-2000
Dolby Atmos

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#411317 - 04/07/15 03:33 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17850
Loc: NoVA
As an IT, sysadmin, UNIX admin, Windows admin, Mac admin, and whatever admin I've been over the years....

I'm not religious about what I hate or don't. I like using Macs, so I use Macs. Someone else doesn't, use something else. I happen to think the build quality tends to be higher on Macs than on other laptops. Hell, my boss uses one that he runs Windows on because he doesn't like OS X.
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I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#411318 - 04/07/15 03:55 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4690
Loc: Marion, IA
I think that my dislike (yeah, it turned into a bit of hate over the years) started when I was in Apple Macintosh technical training back in the mid 90's. Oh my gosh, the fanboys were heavy there too from the instructors, but the people taking the classes pretty much all left certified, but not liking the limited support that can be provided by a "field tech." People complained about Windows and the BSOD, but dang, at least it wasn't a useless Error Type 11. The BSOD had some code information that could lead you to either an application or hardware piece. On the Mac, nope... nothing... I do remember some slick tools that *if they were running in the background* an the machine crashed, you could recover a lot of the information, but that was basically something doing an "autosave" to a temp location every minute or so.

Not sure about durability of things today... Not just the particular Mac or PC in question, but just things in general. Yeah, there are some advancements in materials, but people can and will still break anything, or do what my wife did a few years ago and close a pair of earbuds inside a new laptop and crack the screen, or set a laptop running Netflix on a blanket on the bed or couch and block the fan port, etc.

While I won't ever knowingly own an Apple product, it doesn't mean that I don't see the market for them. It just isn't for me. Yeah, I like to have cool stuff too, but an example would be that I am trying to get my wife to upgrade her old phone to a Samsung S6 on preorder. The early reviews of the S6 and S6 Edge are very good. The Edge has some cool features that can be done with it, but it is also a $100 premium over the regular S6. The reviews that I've seen from people known for Apple products say that the $100 more expensive S6 Edge is a "must have" despite the features being worth about $20 in my opinion over the regular S6.... Why? Because several openly admit that you will be *THE* coolest person with it... Sounds like Apple marketing, but for an Android product.

I don't care to be cool... That ship sailed shortly after college. I do, however, care about functionality and price (I call it "value"). If someone else wants to spend more of their money on something with the similar functionality, then let them. Just like the guy I work with that I offered to buy, install, configure, and calibrate all of his home theater gear in his new house because a local "expert vendor" was selling overpriced mediocre stuff... He said that he wanted "turnkey" (which I was offering) and didn't care that he paid a premium for a lesser quality setup. He can now say that he has a "home theater installed by __________"... It was really about the name for him... He also buys a new iPhone, iPad, and MacBook every year, then later admits that he didn't *need* to, but just wanted to have the latest Apple products. So be it. It is his money, not mine, and if he is happy with it, then it isn't my place to tell him otherwise.
_________________________
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2-M60s, VP180, VP150, 4-QS8s, 4-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45

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#411320 - 04/07/15 05:40 PM Re: Time to buy a new laptop [Re: michael_d]
newf Offline
devotee

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 419
Sadly, I do have Apple products in the house and at work. iPads, phones, macbooks. I'm required to know them. But I'm not required to like them. Just too many hurdles and issues. Do they have some very specific uses for specific types of users that will serve those users better than alternatives? Yes. But most of the time the "alternatives" are the better decision.
_________________________
M-80TI
VP-150TI/QS8TI
M3V3/M22OWV3/M2OWV4/VP150OWV4/M3ICV4
HSU VTF3-MKII/SVS PB-2000/SB-2000
Dolby Atmos

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