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dfw5914
01-14-2012, 05:26 PM
I am finally going to have to buy a laptop computer. Never had or needed one before now, and now I need one now .
I need to be able to take my drawing program (AutoCad) on the road and my desktop is just a bit too bulky to carry on the airplane with me;)

I know what I need performance-wise, I just have no idea which manufacturers to avoid.

So, the question is:
Who makes the good ones, who makes the bad ones?
(budget: like to keep it under $1000)

mike4
01-14-2012, 05:30 PM
I am finally going to have to buy a laptop computer. Never had or needed one before now, and now I need one now .
I need to be able to take my drawing program (AutoCad) on the road and my desktop is just a bit too bulky to carry on the airplane with me;)

I know what I need performance-wise, I just have no idea which manufacturers to avoid.

So, the question is:
Who makes the good ones, who makes the bad ones?
(budget: like to keep it under $1000)
I have a Toshiba with me for field work and it ha ssurvived 2 years of riding in a tool carrier in around 40 degree celcius temps over some not so smooth roads .
It cost more than $1k but I wanted something similar to you .
Michael

MaxHeadRoom
01-14-2012, 05:40 PM
I have an older Dell D600, You can pick them up on ebay very cheap, I have picked up many for family and friends, they have proven very sturdy and batteries last unlike some of the later cheap models..
Not sure if it has the performance you want, but has 1.6ghz processor and I am running AutoCad on mine.
Also you can pick up the docking station for around $10.00 if you need one.
Max.

Grind Hard
01-14-2012, 05:45 PM
New, I have no idea. Used, find an IBM or HP in your horsepower rating.

KiddZimaHater
01-14-2012, 05:48 PM
My wifes Toshiba is 5 years old, and still runs fine.
My Toshiba is 2 years old and haven't had a glitch yet.

flylo
01-14-2012, 05:56 PM
I've been happy with my HP.

J Tiers
01-14-2012, 05:57 PM
I have an older Dell D600, You can pick them up on ebay very cheap, I have picked up many for family and friends, they have proven very sturdy and batteries last unlike some of the later cheap models..
Not sure if it has the performance you want, but has 1.6ghz processor and I am running AutoCad on mine.
Also you can pick up the docking station for around $10.00 if you need one.
Max.

I have mentioned these also. D600, D610. Got roundly jumped on for it too.

Don't care.... they are built well, and last. At least they have for us.

goose
01-14-2012, 06:11 PM
So, the question is:
Who makes the good ones, who makes the bad ones?


Check the warranty and checking Amazon for online reviews for quality and customer support is probably the best recourse. Otherwise, I'd venture they're all pretty much the same in the same price bracket.

"I bought XXX five years ago" is meaningless, especially with electronics. I used to swear by Dell, now I'd be more likely to swear at them, their support is so bad.

You know your system requirements, meet that, but don't necessarily buy the minimum, someday you'll need to upgrade to a newer version of Autocad or whatever, leave yourself some elbow room.

Ohio Mike
01-14-2012, 06:16 PM
Well its not just the brand it comes down to picking the right model, everyones made a lemon or two. Personally I've had very good luck with Dell. I'd recommend the Inspiron 15R (or the small business Vostro machine). This is the 5th or 6th Dell I've helped purchase and I was very impressed with the 15R. I've had laptops for years and have two work laptops assigned to me along with my personal one here at home. When shopping be sure to consider screen size and the keyboard layout. I hate some of the keyboard layouts on laptops. The newer wide screen machines tend to be much better in that area.

Additional note... I don't carry any additional warranty or accident coverage on any machine. If one breaks replace it. Someday it will cost me but I've saved well over a thousand dollars in warranty coverage I didn't buy in the past decade.

j king
01-14-2012, 06:42 PM
My old IBM t43 is still going good.probably jinxed me.,..I took it in last week to get a virus removed.ask guy what was the best laptop these days.he told me Toshiba ..

chipmaker4130
01-14-2012, 06:57 PM
My old Toshiba gets hauled around the country with me weekly. No problems and it's at least 5yrs old. I have had bad luck with HP.

Oops, I did replace the battery after 3yrs.

Mcgyver
01-14-2012, 07:17 PM
I bought a Dell :mad: recently, fairly high end lap top, was around 2200 so no bottom end stuff and I would not recommend it. The screen seems to be fading, looks more and more washed out unless you look at from extreme view angles. So far the crappy screen has won out over dealing with the Indian call centre the gushing accented gladness they feel at the opportunity to wish you a wonderful day :D I hate that stuff and probably should have avoided a company that wants to distance itself from its customers.

macona
01-14-2012, 07:24 PM
Most of my fellow dorks carry around MacBooks even if they are running linux or windows on them. Apple has the highest consumer satisfaction for laptops.

Tony Ennis
01-14-2012, 07:40 PM
I prefer Dells for general purpose boring work stuff. But I love my Mac. I'd recommend Mac if the software you have runs on it.

kf2qd
01-14-2012, 08:07 PM
I have used Dell, Toshiba and HP laptops on the road and if I were responsible for recommending laptops I would recommend DELL. The only way I have had a DELL die is to cause it physical damage. (accidentally foldes one in the power track on a machine I was trying to get running and forgot it there. Killed the display but the rest of it was still good. Used the display from another unit that got smashed in the middle of the keyboard...)
Toshibas that for whatever reason loved to eat hard disks, probably heat, and the designs inability to get rid of it.
HP's that have their charge control/power section die and become a boat anchor.

Dr Stan
01-14-2012, 08:41 PM
My local computer geek highly recommends HP. I was considering buying a laptop, but due to a change in my employment no longer needed the portability so I bought a HP desktop as a replacement for my 12 year old Dell.

As others have mentioned I found the support (even when brand new) for the Dell was poor at best.

coalsmok
01-14-2012, 08:43 PM
Toshiba or Dell would gets my vote

My personal laptop is a Toshiba that has seen alot of travel in the last 6 years or so.
Work computer has been a Dell for the last 4 years in the gas patch. Considering how we (ab)use them suprisingly few of them die. Some are strapped to an atv rack and beat for miles, others get left of hot engines and handled with oily hands.

Evan
01-14-2012, 09:21 PM
Brand name means very little when it come to build quality. Regardless of the company that sells it that is not necessarily an indication they built it, even if they do build laptops. Brand does matter in respect of after sales support since that doesn't depend on build quality.

My usual advice is to buy the most power you can afford as that will last the longest in terms of usability. However, if you are traveling with it a lot I would buy the least that will accommodate your software requirements. Traveling exposes a laptop to a lot more hazards from poor handling to theft. Also, since you will be traveling learn how to use the encryption features in Windows 7 and use them. If you will have mission critical data on the machine look into "phone home" software and a remote control package that will permit you to wipe it remotely if it goes online.

Evan
01-14-2012, 09:29 PM
BTW, if you are looking for something that will really last, this unit is being released to the consumer market. Price not given.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/computervest.jpg

http://www.mobilemag.com/2011/05/27/ultra-rugged-wearable-pc-takes-on-civilian-duty/

mike4
01-14-2012, 09:45 PM
Brand name means very little when it come to build quality. Regardless of the company that sells it that is not necessarily an indication they built it, even if they do build laptops. Brand does matter in respect of after sales support since that doesn't depend on build quality.

My usual advice is to buy the most power you can afford as that will last the longest in terms of usability. However, if you are traveling with it a lot I would buy the least that will accommodate your software requirements. Traveling exposes a laptop to a lot more hazards from poor handling to theft. Also, since you will be traveling learn how to use the encryption features in Windows 7 and use them. If you will have mission critical data on the machine look into "phone home" software and a remote control package that will permit you to wipe it remotely if it goes online.

I have only one beef with my Laptop it came with windows7 and I had to wipe that and put an earlier os in it place .
Its a pity Linux is not supported by more of the industrial control people as I would happily dump any Microcrap products.
I dont like any os which tries to take over my computer and stop me from operating as I choose ,windows does exactly that and I spend a lot of time resetting things to what works for me ,not the least bit interested in just having the latest if it is not able to be tailored by the user to their requirements.
Michael

steve45
01-14-2012, 10:01 PM
I had a Gateway for 7 years, it was a workhorse. I had a Dell Latitude, it was a pile of crap--slow, and it couldn't even perform some of the keyboard shortcuts I needed because of proprietary Dell software.

I don't buy anything from Toshiba after they gave our submarine secrets away.

I'd recommend you go to the source and buy MSI, they make them for many of the other 'manufacturers'.

Just make sure whatever you buy has a Synaptics touchpad, NOT a Sentelic. Sentelic touchpads suck! With either one, you'll have to download the latest driver from the website to make it work right.

MichaelP
01-14-2012, 10:16 PM
On my scale from the worst to the best (1 to 10) Dell laptops take position #0, Toshiba is about #4, HP #5, and ThinkPads are about #7.

My friend, who is a very cleaver guy and IT professional (Microsoft shop), has recently fallen in love with Apple laptops with dual boot system (Mac and Windows). And although he, mostly, uses Windows applications, he is very glad he went this route and stated that his machine/operating system is a way more stable and pleasure to work with than PCs. Again, he, mostly, deals with Windows software, but even then he often manages to stay with Mac operating system on his dual boot machines.

J Tiers
01-14-2012, 10:19 PM
I had a Dell Latitude, it was a pile of crap--slow, and it couldn't even perform some of the keyboard shortcuts I needed because of proprietary Dell software.


??????????????????????????????

Using the D600 right now....

it happily runs Autocad, ICAP4 electronic simulation software, Alibre cad software, etc, etc.

Never had any trouble with the "proprietary Dell Software".

Did have to upgrade the wireless card after I got a new router, so what.

Disk is a bit smaller than some, that's what stick memory is for.

Eh, no pleasing these serpents................

H380
01-14-2012, 10:25 PM
I have been using a laptop every day since 1993. I can recommend Dell Latitude and Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad. You want the corporate models not the home consumer models. My current work PC is a Dell D630. It is 3 years old. The company still runs XP 32 pro. I have had zero problems with hardware. Toshiba satellites used to be good back in the Pentium days. Not much luck lately. Same with HPs.

steve45
01-14-2012, 11:36 PM
it happily runs Autocad, ICAP4 electronic simulation software, Alibre cad software, etc, etc.

Never had any trouble with the "proprietary Dell Software".
I was using a sales management program called Selltis. I use keyboard shortcuts as much as possible, and a number of the shortcuts for this program (ctrl + whatever) would cause the machine to do unintended things. I called Dell support and was told that, indeed, there were some shortcuts that could not be used on it because they were proprietary.

My Dell came new with a USB 1 port, even though USB 2.0 had been available for over a year. It did not like my Epson printer, and would crash almost every time I tried to print with it (yes, I installed the latest driver). It didn't take very long for it to develop cracks in the corners of the case, either.

J Tiers
01-14-2012, 11:43 PM
Guess you just hit the windshield on that one, then.

Most likely you had a conflict with a screen control key combination or the like....

Seems like a number of others agree with me that the D600 series generally are good. Ours are solid, no cracks, no funny biz. BTW, ours are all corporate, or at least came from corporate sources, law firms, etc. I wasn't aware there was a "De-mil'd" or "civilian" D600 variety.

Had an ancient Toshiba "satellite", worked OK, but the hard drive died too soon, and the clock/cmos battery died also. Turns out the geniuses at Toshiba apparently integrated the battery with part of the processor system so that it could not be replaced.

Evan
01-15-2012, 12:08 AM
I just picked out a new Acer mini desktop for my wife at Christmas. Got a real nice deal with 1.5TB drive dual core Pentium something or other at 2.6 ghz, 4gb ram, DVD, wireless + KB and mouse for $329. Way more performance than a laptop for less money and nearly silent too. I already have a 19" wide screen for it.

It takes me about two days of fiddling to whip Windows into some sort of reasonable working order. If you have a look in Task Scheduler you will be dismayed at how many processes are scheduled to phone home for some reason.

Once all that trash is taken care of I have to install a number of background apps that make the system a lot easier to use. One in particular is Classic Explorer/Classic Start Menu. Highly recommended. In particular it gives back the fan out menu panels in the Programs Menu.

Another nice little item is the God Mode folder.

Create a new folder on any drive in the system and rename it to this:



GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}


You will be amazed and surprised when you open it.

DickDastardly40
01-15-2012, 01:07 AM
Another nice little item is the God Mode folder.

You will be amazed and surprised when you open it.

Wow, I think I like it, be the first place to look to make any changes, not only that is it tells you what it does rather than you having to figure out what the icons do.

TYVM

needlenose
01-15-2012, 01:11 AM
Buy a Ford!



Just kidding. I've spent a number of years in software engineering and system administration and as someone has already mentioned, most of the laptops are all the same. I've been told by hardware engineers on more than one occasion that there are only a few companies who actually make the major components used to build laptops. Everyone buys from them.

If you buy a laptop with a standard platter drive, expect that the drive will likely die somewhere between year one and year two(usage dependant of course). High capacity drives mean microscopic heads that don't last long.

Stay away from fancy hardware with stupic gimick features. Stick with standard, ordinary features and plenty of USB ports. I bet if you look hard enough, you can find a USB powered navel cleaner, so skip the built-in Hollywood fingerprint authentication gizmo. It'll probably just break or lock you out of your computer at some point.

Just about any laptop running with at least one 2GHz+ core is sufficient for most medium to heavy duty tasks. It's all the cr@p the OEM bundles with the machine that bloats the install. The person complaining about "proprietary" shortcuts is a victim of this. Had this person stripped the laptop and went with a vanilla install of XP/Windows 7, I bet these problems would have dissapeared. I have a WinLite'd version of XP on a 900Mhz netbook that boots in about 12-15 seconds on a woefully deficient SSD.

Having said all that, Dell, Toshiba, IBM, ASUS; I've owned/used them all and found them pretty much equal.

Oh, and the fewer moving parts the better. No cute little compartments, swingout connectors, swiveling displays, or other rediculous contraptions that will most predictably warp, crack, snap, split, or otherwise cease to function immediately subsequent to the expiration of that pathetically short warranty.

DFMiller
01-15-2012, 03:14 AM
+1 for MacBook Pro.
Runs Windoze 7 nicely when you have to.
Dave

dfw5914
01-15-2012, 03:30 AM
I went out intending to buy a Toshiba, somehow came home with an ASUS U56E.:confused:

http://reviews.bestbuy.com/3545/2712418/asus-laptop-intel-core-i5-processor-15-6-display-6gb-memory-lake-blue-reviews/reviews.htm

$630.00
Salesman seemed to know what he was talking about, I certainly did not. Time will tell how bad I screwed up.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+Laptop+-+Platinum/4566353.p?id=1218492344573&skuId=4566353&st=U56E&cp=1&lp=1

Tony Ennis
01-15-2012, 07:34 AM
ASUS is an older, established brand in the electronic component industry. I used to prefer ASUS motherboards when I built my own computers.

Brett Hurt
01-15-2012, 08:29 AM
go to cnet.com and look up your pc I have 3 hp they work great get lots of ram I have 8g in mine Brett

Peter N
01-15-2012, 09:24 AM
Dell, IMHO.
I have a Precision M60 from early 2004 and a Precision M4300 from early 2007 that are in use every day of he year, without a single operating problem.

To be fair on the M60 I did have the backlight for the LCD fail after almost 3 years, but Dell had a service tech out the next day and put a complete new screen on it, completely FOC as it had a 4-yr nextday on-site warranty that it came with.

We also haver 4 Dell desktops we use as well, 2 are T7400 workstations, but the other 2 are are a Dimension 8200 that was bought in 2000, and a Dimension 8400 that was bought in 2003.
Both still run faultlessly on their original hardware configurations.

topct
01-15-2012, 10:46 AM
My only experience with laptops is with a Toshiba. It is used by a teenage girl that has found a way to cover her internet activity by somehow commanding the blue screen to appear almost at will. She never seems to remember what is was that she did, it just happens.

Not knowing what to look for as far as anything going wrong with Windows I only see what she has done to this poor thing physically. Peanut butter and jelly all over the keys and screen. A couple of key tops missing. The hard drive cover is now gone. At first it came here with the cover held on with band aids.:D That was cute. Replaced the screws that time. Then the next time it came here in 3 pieces. The laptop itself, the cover, and the hard drive were handed to me. The cover screw holes had been ripped out, so I wedged the hard drive in place super glued the cover and went all around it with neatly trimmed electrical tape.

Now it shows up without the cover at all. I have made one out of a piece of plastic. This time I epoxied it in place and again covered the seams with tape.

I keep wondering when this thing is going to quit forever but it keeps going and is still in use. I know for sure the hard drive has hit the floor more than once.

I don't ask any more questions as to how and why. I only ask that they keep the restore disk in a safe place and bring it with them when they bring the laptop. So far I have been able to restore it back to operating condition every time.

Oh, and this Toshiba is about 8 years old. After seeing first hand how badly it has been treated, if I was to be looking at a laptop I really would have to give Toshiba a good look.

j.molaski
01-15-2012, 10:51 AM
Lenovo is a mainstay in the business world for their "road warriors" because of their ruggedness. Police depts use them in their cruisers. Used to be the IBM Thinkpad line - now Lenovo. I just purchased one for my son (Christmas present). It was from there website. They also have an outlet where they discount returns and refurbishes. Mine, for instance, initially shipped with a bad processor. It was returned, a brand new upgraded processor installed, the whole thing restored to factory fresh, and shipped. 14" screen, W7, one of the best keyboards on a laptop, wifi, etc, etc, etc. $400.

I'm not saying others aren't as rugged - just saying that Lenovo has the reputation.

lazlo
01-15-2012, 11:04 AM
Lenovo is a mainstay in the business world for their "road warriors" because of their ruggedness. Police depts use them in their cruisers. Used to be the IBM Thinkpad line - now Lenovo.

That used to be the case, but when IBM sold Lenovo to the Chinese, the quality and reliability went in the crapper. They've gotten better in the last couple of years -- I recently got a new Thinkpad T-series notebook, and it's pretty nice.

But like Evan says, there are only a few OEM's making laptops, almost all with Intel motherboards. The laptops are tiered according to build quality/price.

So quality will vary a *lot*, even within a single brand. In other words, you can buy a sh!tty Dell laptop for $300, and you can buy a flagship, "business class" laptop from Dell for a lot more money.

As far as the brands mentioned so far: I had the Dell D600 that Jerry mentions. It was a tank, but it was also bulky. I bought an HP D-series laptop for my wife, and it died after 18 months when the flex cable to the LCD display delaminated. Very common failure mode with that laptop, which was made by Pegatron. But you can't judge a brand by a particular model -- HP probably has a different OEM's for each market segment, and the OEM's change all the time.

Amusingly, HP dropped Pegatron in 2009 because of high failure rates, but Apple has contracted Pegatron to build the iPad3. :)

As far as overall reliability rates:

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/bto/20091118/by-manf.jpg

J Tiers
01-15-2012, 11:45 AM
At work there are a bunch of older "Stinkpads", and no way would I buy one...... not unless the new ones are a lot better....

Slow, prone to lockup with no reason, GAHHHHHHHHHHHH!

The newer one HAVE to be better than those..... or they would never sell.

BTW, they have been wiped and have bare bones installs, just what we need on them. No extras except basic AV stuff

bborr01
01-15-2012, 11:56 AM
1. 500 mhz Compaq Presario. Bought probably about 15 years ago. Good machine until a cat knocked it off from my end table and broke the charging jack off from the motherboard. Repair place told me it could not be fixed. I tore it apart and found the board to be ok but couldn't find a new part for it. A year later I found the part on ebay and fixed it. Gave it to my brother several years ago.

2. Sony vaio 1.2 mhz. Bought around 10 years ago. Display went out on it after it was out of warranty. Same story. You need a new laptop bunky. I plugged in an old crt monitor and used it for years as my shop computer.

3. Sony vaio 3.x ghz. Bought around 8 years ago. Also had some display problems. Two different occasions when we traveled to Arizona in the winter time the display quit working. When we returned to Michigan it would work fine again. Never did figure that one out. It got a nasty virus a few months ago and I quit using it.

4. Compaq cheapo to replace the Sony that failed in Arizona. Bought about 7 years ago. Worked great until it got a virus about the same time the last Sony did. It now resides with the other old machines. I tried to upgrade it to windows 7 but could never get the internet explorer to work right. It was a good machine.

5. HP dual core (wifes machine) Bought about 2 years ago. It has been in for repairs 2 or 3 times. I am not impressed with that one.

6. Samsung notebook. Real slow but the batteries run forever and it is real light. It also only cost me something like $250 re-furbished.

7. Toshiba dual core. Bought a couple of months ago. It is what I am using now. 500 gig HD, 4 gig ram, wide screen, not overly heavy, good battery life, under $400 out the door. I like it very well so far.

One thing that I always look for is a touchpad that is centered with the home keys of the keyboard instead of centered on the laptop. One of my previous laptops had the pad centered on the laptop and the palm of my hand was always hitting it and doing odd things. I guess that wouldn't be a big deal if you use a mouse and disable it or if you are a hunt and peck typist, which I am not.

Brian

atty
01-15-2012, 12:29 PM
Another nice little item is the God Mode folder.


Pretty slick, Evan. Nice trick. Sure beats slugging your way through a bunch of menus.

MaxHeadRoom
01-15-2012, 12:56 PM
ASUS is an older, established brand in the electronic component industry. I used to prefer ASUS motherboards when I built my own computers.

+1 on Asus, been using them for years now in enclosures, many as MB's in industrial environments.
Max.

Evan
01-15-2012, 01:10 PM
I use only ASUS motherboards too. I am also using an ASUS monitor to type this on. Very nice 24" with LED backlight. Beautiful colour rendition with real whites.

Evan
01-15-2012, 01:18 PM
Here you can see the difference in white rendition between the LED ASUS on the right and the ACER fluorescent backlight on the left. I am surprised it shows up so well in the camera but then, the camera isn't adaptive like eyes are.

http://ixian.ca/pics9/monitors.jpg

On the subject of laptops, try to find one with an LED backlight. Better screen visibility, lower power draw and nicer colours. I have one on my netbook and it is much nicer than my wife's. :D

macona
01-15-2012, 03:56 PM
I picked up the 25" version like yours when my projector was being swapped out. Really nice.

Though I like Gigabyte motherboards better.

CCWKen
01-15-2012, 04:21 PM
Not to sound too opinionated but I wouldn't use Gigo-bites boards if they were free. Don't know what they see in multi-controller chip sets for disks but they suck. They can't get SATAIII throughput. They should be banned in the US for false advertising. Besides that, every time I go to their website for info all I get is blank screens. They can't use simple HTML. They have to crap it up with JS. No wonder they're so far behind on driver updates.

SGW
01-15-2012, 05:43 PM
Let's see...
We've worked our way through a Compaq laptop, about 1995 to 1998 vintage (I can't remember if it came with W95 or W98). It worked, mostly, but was no standout. I think most of that was due to the state of technology at the time.

Then came an Acer 9500 with a 17" screen and XP. That is still going strong, except the screen has developed about a dozen vertical lines on it.

Then came a Levono Thinkpad with XP. It's heavy, but perhaps the most durable of the lot. I like its joystick mouse control much better than a touchpad. My wife would probably still be using it if she hadn't run out of disk space.

We replaced the Thinkpad with a Toshiba and W7, which so far is doing well. A former boss of mine, who was on the road a lot, was sold on the reliability of Toshibas.

Our son went through 4 years of college with a Dell Latitude 830, which survived the experience more or less in one piece, except for a few problems. The network jack wore out and would not reliably connect when an Ethernet cable got plugged in. It was covered under warranty. It took a few go-rounds with the support people to convince them that it was really a hardware issue and not some damn fool customer who didn't know what the hell he was doing (I suspect they get a lot of them), but once past that weeding-out process the warranty service went very well.

One of the cover hinges broke, past the warranty, so my son and I undertook to fix it ourselves. There is an online supplier of Dell parts I could order the new hinge from, and Dell has the service manuals for its computers online, so we had a relatively easy time of it. Contrary to some others, I think Dell service is pretty good.

The power jack is worn to the point that it needs to be replaced. I've got the new jack, but it needs to be soldered to the motherboard in place of the old one, and to do that you need to remove the motherboard, and to do that you need to remove the processor, and my son and I decided it was too much work as long as he could keep the old one stay connected and working. So far he has, If the jack ever completely croaks, we'll see about replacing it.

He also has a System 76 Lemur laptop http://www.system76.com/laptops/ with Linux on it. I guess it's doing fine.

All of them still work, except for the ancient Compaq laptop with W95 or W98. I gave up on that one, but all the others are in at least occasional use.

It does seem to me that the Dell should not have had a worn-out RJ45 jack or a worn-out power jack or a broken hinge; I would expect more durability for all three items, although 4 years of college undoubtedly inflicted a lot of punishment.

Out of all of them, I'd probably say the Levono has been the most solid and reliable.

psomero
01-15-2012, 06:01 PM
I buy surplus dell outlet machines on eBay. they can be had for about 50% of retail.

while they're not *NEW*, the dozen or so machines I've got this way for myself, friends and work were unused and came with the full 3 year next business day service dell warranty.

dell's quality has slipped on their latest machines, unfortunately. my precision M90 was of excellent build, but my new M6600 is made out of friggin' sheet metal and has a bunch of dents in it from normal, gentle handling during transport to/from work.

it blows my mind that they thought sheet metal was ok for a product with a $4500 MSRP. I paid $1600 on eBay, though, so it's not as bad...

psomero
01-15-2012, 06:25 PM
+1 on Asus, been using them for years now in enclosures, many as MB's in industrial environments.
Max.

i used to be a huge asus fan, but they habe HORRIBLE customer service. my eee pc 1000HE netbook mysteriously smoked a week before the warranty ran up and they had the audacity to charge me $90 to repair it and took weeks to do it, even though i'm 20 min from their US hq where it was routed through.

i've had quality and firmware gripes with their mobos over the years, too. I'll skip them next time I buy a mobo.

their monitors look great, though.

macona
01-15-2012, 07:01 PM
Didn't know gigabyte had gone down so much.

Then it is intel boards for me. Their Skultrail boards are real nice.

Evan
01-15-2012, 07:39 PM
No problem with ASUS service here. I had a gripe with one that wouldn't work with the CPU I recently bought and they sent me a new one which I had in my hand in three days. That's a record for around here since even couriers take 2 days at the fastest from Toronto. Then they didn't bother to charge me for the advance replacement return board so I have a spare board which will work with nearly all other CPUs.

No problems with ACER either. The one company that has been by far the most trouble is HP. They indulge in illegal anti competitive practices here in Canada. They will only sell repair parts to authorized service centres even though the law forbids that. If you sell to anyone that isn't owned by HP then you must sell to everyone at the same price as well. They refused to sell me parts when I was in business. I won't buy HP computers if they were the only ones available.

Iraiam
01-15-2012, 07:40 PM
My vote would be for the Toshiba Tecra, the Tecra models in the past were sold as laptops that had the best parts in them (semiconductors, capacitors...etc) I had one that was flawless for many years, unfortunately it just got too obsolete

I need to get another one one of these days.

RandyZ
01-15-2012, 07:53 PM
At work, we were all given these Panasonic Toughbooks. turns out that you can't leave them running overnight or they overheat and lock up. I called the IT help deck and the person tells me not to leave it on. I said, but it's your policy to leave it connected to the LAN overnight to get updated. Now they don't know what their going to do. They bought hundreds of them.

MaxHeadRoom
01-15-2012, 08:04 PM
i used to be a huge asus fan, but they habe HORRIBLE customer service.
i've had quality and firmware gripes with their mobos over the years, too.
their monitors look great, though.

Never bought an Asus laptop, just the bare MB's, for custom industrial applications, motion control,CNC etc.
Max.

Mcgyver
01-16-2012, 09:22 AM
My vote would be for the Toshiba Tecra, the Tecra models in the past were sold as laptops that had the best parts in them (semiconductors, capacitors...etc) I had one that was flawless for many years, unfortunately it just got too obsolete
.


I had two tecras and went through 2 hard disks and three motherboards between them, thank goodness all under warranty (they wanted 1000 for the MB at the time) iirc the used to have a 3 year warranty. This was probably 10 years ago, I wonder if they've improved?

SteveF
01-16-2012, 09:41 AM
At work, we were all given these Panasonic Toughbooks. turns out that you can't leave them running overnight or they overheat and lock up........... Now they don't know what their going to do. They bought hundreds of them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laptop_cooler

Steve

projectnut
01-16-2012, 11:47 AM
Well its not just the brand it comes down to picking the right model, everyones made a lemon or two. Personally I've had very good luck with Dell. I'd recommend the Inspiron 15R (or the small business Vostro machine). This is the 5th or 6th Dell I've helped purchase and I was very impressed with the 15R. I've had laptops for years and have two work laptops assigned to me along with my personal one here at home. When shopping be sure to consider screen size and the keyboard layout. I hate some of the keyboard layouts on laptops. The newer wide screen machines tend to be much better in that area.

Additional note... I don't carry any additional warranty or accident coverage on any machine. If one breaks replace it. Someday it will cost me but I've saved well over a thousand dollars in warranty coverage I didn't buy in the past decade.


Another vote for Dell. I'm writing this on the new Inspiron 15R I got Friday Jan. 13th. I ordered it Wed Jan 11th. If you're going to do CAD work make sure to get one with at least a 500g hard drive. I have an older Inspiron 15R that works fine but only has a 120g drive. After only about 4 years the drive is nearly full. Also make sure all your software will transfer unless you plan on buying new. The better processor chips are 64 bit and will not run some of the old 16 or 32 bit software

Evan
01-16-2012, 12:41 PM
64 bit CPUs will run 32 bit software just fine and even 16 bit software if 32 bit Win 7 is installed. With Win 7 64 bit it will not run 16 bit software but 32 works fine. Not much current software is 64 bit, yet. That is rapidly changing but a majority of user apps are still 32 bit.

lazlo
01-16-2012, 05:18 PM
The better processor chips are 64 bit and will not run some of the old 16 or 32 bit software

All x86 processors sold since 2006 have been 64-bit, and they'll all run 16-bit real mode (A.K.A. DOS). When I was at Intel, a great deal of time was spent on each new microarchitecture to thoroughly validate that all historical x86 modes worked flawlessly.

Most Win 7 OS's are shipped as 64-bit, and they run 32-bit code with no problems. There were a ton of driver issues with Vista when Microsoft went to the User-Mode Driver Framework, but that's unrelated.

But like Evan says, there aren't many 64-bit apps, unless you're a workstation user. Primarily CAD, high-end video editing, large database apps, ...

SGW
01-16-2012, 05:22 PM
When I switched to 64bit W7, the only legacy program I couldn't get to work was one truly ancient 16-bit program. All my 32-bit programs either worked completely or with only a couple of minor glitches that I think I could probably fix if I wanted to bother.

lazlo
01-16-2012, 05:39 PM
When I switched to 64bit W7, the only legacy program I couldn't get to work was one truly ancient 16-bit program.

I should have clarified :o -- the hardware is thoroughly validated to run all historical x86 modes, but Microsoft doesn't want to run 16-bit real mode from within Windows, since you can poke any hardware register or memory location directly.

So Windows opens-up a Virtual x86 mode, which goes through heroic efforts to make DOS work as well as possible from within a contained process.

spope14
01-16-2012, 07:45 PM
Lenovo, Asus, MSI, Toshiba in that order. I have one of each in the family abode, all have served us quite well. The Lenovo is my travel computer and takes quite a bit of abuse, The ASUS is my daughters college computer, going on three years in a dorm environment, the MSI is my wife's and seems to lately be used by the grandkids, and the Toshiba is a caddilac that has a huge screen, the best graphics, but is not one I am willing to let go to the "elements" of kids, dorms, or travel. You can't go wrong with any of these, but buy an ASUS through a local shop that also does local service and support.

Next LINK ( I believe this is it or NEXLINK - out of upper NY state) is coming on strong and we just bought some for the school at a gret price with great service.

spope14
01-16-2012, 07:50 PM
64 bit CPUs will run 32 bit software just fine and even 16 bit software if 32 bit Win 7 is installed. With Win 7 64 bit it will not run 16 bit software but 32 works fine. Not much current software is 64 bit, yet. That is rapidly changing but a majority of user apps are still 32 bit.

I will second this. I had problems with some real old software, but still got my main 32 bit windows 95 and even 3.1 era software working on my new I7 64 bit unit at home.

64 bit CAD/CAM, photo processing, and word processing software is just the greatest!