New Computer Advice Thread

Talk about computers, hardware, applications, and consumer electronics.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.21 (06:21)

Here's a giant custom Newegg list that roughly matches your requirements.
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.21 (07:09)

=w= wrote:Do you have use for 8GB of ram?

My thoughts exactly. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the 8 GB RAM listed.

You will never ever ever use that shit up. That is way too much. Your best attempts at purposefully overloading that RAM will fail.
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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.21 (08:55)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:
=w= wrote:Do you have use for 8GB of ram?

My thoughts exactly. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the 8 GB RAM listed.

You will never ever ever use that shit up. That is way too much. Your best attempts at purposefully overloading that RAM will fail.

To be honest, Minecraft. I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and it runs at one frame per second. Besides, it's future proofing. In a few years, 8GB will be the norm.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.21 (14:58)

Universezero wrote:
T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:
=w= wrote:Do you have use for 8GB of ram?

My thoughts exactly. I actually laughed out loud when I saw the 8 GB RAM listed.

You will never ever ever use that shit up. That is way too much. Your best attempts at purposefully overloading that RAM will fail.

To be honest, Minecraft. I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and it runs at one frame per second. Besides, it's future proofing. In a few years, 8GB will be the norm.


This is because you do not understand computers.

You make threads like this, and Pavel says, the resolution of this screen looks like shit! and you say Well, I never cared about resolution. But that is the basis of how nice everything you look at on your computer is going to be.

Similarly, you are getting 8GB of RAM so that you can play Minecraft better. There are two things that are wrong with this:

A) You are not future-proofing your RAM by getting 8GB of (probably) DDR2, since DDR2 is already outdated. This is akin to future proofing your video game collection by buying a LOT of PS2 games.
B) RAM isn't a big factor in playing video games. The people who need 8GB of RAM are people who do heavy HD video editing at the same time as 3D animation software along with using software to render DVDs. The kind of buffer that 8GB will provide you might improve Minecraft to a point, but it would be the same point reached by anybody with 4GB of RAM. People who build computers know this, and that is why 4GB is generally the accepted "Wow, you have a nice computer" and 8GB is the "You are fucking stupid."
And C) The most delicious of points! 8GB of RAM is well and good if you have the components to keep up with it. There is a generally understood theory of choking; how if all of your parts do not reach a certain plateau, then the use of parts will be limited by your weakest part, and this is especially true when your weakest parts are your Video Card (and even your processor).

In sum, you have too much money and not enough discretion.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.21 (19:36)

Universezero wrote:To be honest, Minecraft. I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and it runs at one frame per second. Besides, it's future proofing. In a few years, 8GB will be the norm.

Slappy already explained it pretty well, so I'll just offer a second opinion to let you know that your Minecraft problem has jack-all to do with RAM.

For reference, I have 6gb of RAM in my desktop (this is because I originally had 2gb, wanted to upgrade to 4gb, but it ended up only being another $5 to just get a 2x2gb instead of a 2x1gb set so I was like, fuck it, more RAM). This is with, being a decent desktop, a CPU and graphics card that is completely out of the range of anything you can find in a laptop (some of the highest i7s might actually keep up with the CPU, you would need roughly 6 of the laptops you spec'd to match my GPU). With the rest of my machine so thoroughly beyond any laptop you'll find, I've still never seen my computer use much past 4gb of RAM. This is including uses such as decently large-image photoshop editing, any one of my collection of about 30 games on Steam (most of which don't even go over 2gb), doing my school projects (including programming), running multiple fucking VMs (essentially using enough memory to run 2 or more operating systems at once!), and a host of other things. So remember that performance plateau thing Slappy is talking about one post up? Your laptop has no hope of using 8gb of RAM, as any situation in which you would possibly need it would be horribly bottlenecked by the rest of the system.

You don't need more than 4gb of RAM. Honestly, you'd probably be just fine on 2gb.
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.21 (19:40)

Related:
My little sister is getting a laptop for Christmas. It's $350, and it can kick the crap out of the $1,000 laptop I bought a year and a half ago. Also, she's 11.
Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.21 (20:37)

Ok, I accept that 4GB of RAM would be fine. However, as I said, I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and Minecraft lags horribly. If not the RAM, then what else could be causing that?

Also, I have a 1440x900 monitor which I plug my laptop into, so size is really not an issue. I'll happily watch a movie on my 3rd generation nano, anyway.

I think I'll call up a few local tech companies and ask them what laptop they recommend with those specs.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.21 (21:09)

Universezero wrote:I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and Minecraft lags horribly. If not the RAM, then what else could be causing that?

Graphics card, CPU, or running a bunch of other stuff at the same time.

Just quickly reading over the minecraft forums, it looks as if minecraft is just really touchy with some peoples systems. There are reports of people running it at 30 FPS with 1.6ghz Atoms, 1gb of RAM, and integrated graphics, and then there are others having trouble with 2ghz CPUs with 2gb of RAM and a better-than integrated graphics card.

So,
1) Give us your current system specs (mainly because I'm curious)
2) Turn your minecraft settings down
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Postby T3chno » 2010.12.21 (21:16)

Universezero wrote:Ok, I accept that 4GB of RAM would be fine. However, as I said, I have 2GB of RAM at the moment, and Minecraft lags horribly. If not the RAM, then what else could be causing that?

Also, I have a 1440x900 monitor which I plug my laptop into, so size is really not an issue. I'll happily watch a movie on my 3rd generation nano, anyway.

I think I'll call up a few local tech companies and ask them what laptop they recommend with those specs.


My Envy14 has a dual graphic system (Intel GPU on battery, 5650 on AC power). CPU is i3-370M (2.4 Ghz). 4 GB DDR3 RAM.

On the intel GPU, minecraft lags like crazy. When I switch over to the 5650, the game runs flawlessly. Also, Minecraft runs on Java, someone else can probably explain its demands off this (I can't; don't know anything about Java).
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.21 (21:17)

Universezero wrote:I think I'll call up a few local tech companies and ask them what laptop they recommend with those specs.

Local tech companies? I'm not entirely sure what you mean by this, but I sure hope you're not planning on calling some software developer and asking him to recommend you consumer electronics.

Or if you're talking about retailers: my faith in electronics salesmen has been at a steady low ever since I actually started working as one. In my ~3 years working in retail (which I'm thankfully out of now), I've learned exactly the expectations their managers have for them, and they're not very pretty. There are always the few who do truly understand what they're talking about and give recommendations based on good intentions, but that sure as shit isn't most of them, and the ignorant are indistinguishable from the competent to the uninformed customer (and the informed ones wouldn't need to ask the questions that give misguided answers in the first place).
Essentially, I'd take any answers you get out of sales staff with a grain of salt. Your answers won't be any more reliable than you'd get here; the only difference is that they'll be given with more superficial confidence.

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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.21 (21:26)

Minecraft's on Tiny render distance, fast graphics; basically everything lowest. As for my specs:

Toshiba M500
88GB HDD
Intel Core 2 @ 2.00GHz
2GB RAM
1280x800 screen
256MB Mobile Intel Graphics Card

I'm not sure what specs my battery has, but after two years, it lasts less than ten minutes on the lowest power settings.

And Suki, I was thinking of contacting these guys. In a Consumer article specifically about laptops, Millennium was high over the average for service.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.21 (21:58)

Universezero wrote:256MB Mobile Intel Graphics Card

This is the problem with your framerate in minecraft. (I'm also about 95% sure that is shared video memory, meaning it actually uses your main memory, which besides being pretty slow compared to normal memory on a graphics card also steals RAM from the rest of your system, so, in effect, you only have 1.75gb of RAM for your system to use).
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Postby T3chno » 2010.12.21 (22:03)

Universezero wrote:256MB Mobile Intel Graphics Card


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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.21 (22:24)

As far as I'm aware, I don't think Minecraft uses the graphics card lots, as the textures and such are pretty simple. The issue is just rendering a whole lot of data. Anyhoo, I'll make sure to get a good 1GB of graphics in the new one.
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Postby Scrivener » 2010.12.21 (23:27)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:Related:
My little sister is getting a laptop for Christmas. It's $350, and it can kick the crap out of the $1,000 laptop I bought a year and a half ago. Also, she's 11.
Merry Christmas, everyone.


what is it? because as i've said I'm looking for a really cheap laptop. $350 would be nice and it must be better than a 3.5 year old, $500 laptop if it's already better than a 1.5 year old, $1000 laptop. heh.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.21 (23:34)

Honest to god, you are going to tell us that you understand what Mincraft requires with regards to specs, and you were going to build a laptop with 8GB of RAM to remedy the problem?

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Postby T3chno » 2010.12.21 (23:36)

Universezero wrote:As far as I'm aware, I don't think Minecraft uses the graphics card lots, as the textures and such are pretty simple. The issue is just rendering a whole lot of data. Anyhoo, I'll make sure to get a good 1GB of graphics in the new one.


מנחם מנדל מקוצק wrote:My Envy14 has a dual graphic system (Intel GPU on battery, 5650 on AC power). CPU is i3-370M (2.4 Ghz). 4 GB DDR3 RAM.

On the intel GPU, minecraft lags like crazy. When I switch over to the 5650, the game runs flawlessly.
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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.22 (04:33)

Bah.

What're Sony Vaios like? I contacted the guy at the tech specialist and he found me a model that seemed to fit the bill.
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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.12.22 (05:50)

=w= wrote:I'm cautiously skeptical of your ability to obtain the data of the number of units you have sold that have not failed.

Edit: And moreover, the quality of their customer service. Customer service is a tricky thing to measure, since it exists entirely on anecdotal evidence, but the anecdotal evidence here (I'm Canadian, so that is a factor) indicates otherwise. It seems really unusual to me that you would have ever talked to their customer service over the course of selling thousands (Another number I am cautiously skeptical of.) especially considering you have in-house repairmen at Best Buy, I would think that any interaction with their shit-awful customer service would be minimal.

But yeah, no, nobody can provide their anecdotes otherwise on the forums, guys, Blizz has sold thousands and checked up on all of his sales five years later and he also does all of their phone calls for them.


No, no. You're right. Best Buy, the corporate electronics giant, has no way whatsoever to track their sales units, failure rate, returns, or customer satisfaction whatsoever.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.22 (06:53)

I think that's rather naive. First of all, your original argument seemed to be anecdotal:
Oh, I 'm sorry. I've only sold thousands that have lasted years and years without repair.


And the reason I bring that up is we were sharing our anecdotal evidence, and you basically implied that we were wrong because you had thousands of anecdotes versus our two. The fault with this is that you had one anecdote. That's the slippery slope with anecdotal evidence. The second flaw was that you appeared to be indicating that every laptop you've sold has had followthrough on your part, and moreover, that you've either sold thousands, which still seems like a tremendously high number to me, or otherwise, you've sold even more and thousands of them have gone on working great.

The fact of the matter is that for a specific brand of laptop to be sold by you personally even 1000 times and then followed up on for years personally seems incredibly unlikely.

Now, you are bringing up the fact that the major corporation that is Best Buy keeps track of failure and return rates. That information is far more interesting, if you can post it. It still will not negate my experience, but it would be interesting for a prospective buyer, if you can provide this information.

But that said, I think it is also quite naive for you to think that Best Buy actually has a lot of information. Studies have shown that most people who will respond to customer service surveys or review the product they purchased either have incentive to do so, i.e. financial compensation, coupons, which skews the results, or moreover, people who have had experiences in the far extremes; extremely positive or extremely negative. Now, imagine this: my laptop melts to pieces one year after I purchase it from Best Buy. This is not acceptable for a laptop, in my opinion; but my warantee has likely expired, it would be difficult for me to return this product. I do not rush to the website to write a review. I post shit on the forums a few years later because this was annoying but alas, a product of a terrible quality will produce terrible results.

My implication is not that Best Buy cannot track customer response whatsoever; merely that the computer I purchased was not well built, and that your sales experience is not the be-all-end-all of this argument.
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.22 (07:43)

=w= wrote:I think that's rather naive. First of all, your original argument seemed to be anecdotal:
Oh, I 'm sorry. I've only sold thousands that have lasted years and years without repair.


And the reason I bring that up is we were sharing our anecdotal evidence, and you basically implied that we were wrong because you had thousands of anecdotes versus our two. The fault with this is that you had one anecdote. That's the slippery slope with anecdotal evidence.

Pfft. And where was this attitude on August 21st, 2009? >_>

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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.12.22 (10:28)

=w= wrote:I think that's rather naive. First of all, your original argument seemed to be anecdotal:
Oh, I 'm sorry. I've only sold thousands that have lasted years and years without repair.


And the reason I bring that up is we were sharing our anecdotal evidence, and you basically implied that we were wrong because you had thousands of anecdotes versus our two. The fault with this is that you had one anecdote. That's the slippery slope with anecdotal evidence. The second flaw was that you appeared to be indicating that every laptop you've sold has had followthrough on your part, and moreover, that you've either sold thousands, which still seems like a tremendously high number to me, or otherwise, you've sold even more and thousands of them have gone on working great.

The fact of the matter is that for a specific brand of laptop to be sold by you personally even 1000 times and then followed up on for years personally seems incredibly unlikely.

Now, you are bringing up the fact that the major corporation that is Best Buy keeps track of failure and return rates. That information is far more interesting, if you can post it. It still will not negate my experience, but it would be interesting for a prospective buyer, if you can provide this information.

But that said, I think it is also quite naive for you to think that Best Buy actually has a lot of information. Studies have shown that most people who will respond to customer service surveys or review the product they purchased either have incentive to do so, i.e. financial compensation, coupons, which skews the results, or moreover, people who have had experiences in the far extremes; extremely positive or extremely negative. Now, imagine this: my laptop melts to pieces one year after I purchase it from Best Buy. This is not acceptable for a laptop, in my opinion; but my warantee has likely expired, it would be difficult for me to return this product. I do not rush to the website to write a review. I post shit on the forums a few years later because this was annoying but alas, a product of a terrible quality will produce terrible results.

My implication is not that Best Buy cannot track customer response whatsoever; merely that the computer I purchased was not well built, and that your sales experience is not the be-all-end-all of this argument.


Apologies if the evidence seemed anecdotal. I do actually have monthly, quarterly, and yearly reports that I (ran) regularly until I switched to Home Theatre, but simply from memory, company-wide, through the first year of ownership, failure rates per thousand of all PC brands were lowest amongst Asus and then Toshiba by a small margin, ~40 and ~50 respectively. Macs fell in between, around ~48 parts per thousand failed. These problems ranged from HDD failure to screen malfunctions to manufacturer's defects, but do not include user error (Viruses, physical damage, and their ilk are considered user error). Two and three years ago, respectively, Toshiba was ranked lowest amongst failed/returned/repaired laptops, and four and five years ago, they were ranked sixth due primarily to faulty or incorrectly-managed AMD processors and insufficient heating ventilation to compensate for the problem. Beyond that, a part of doing my job well is researching my store's numbers, of which the results were almost exactly consistent. Another large part of my job is browsing consumer reports and Cnet and associated sites to research for my customers, all of which again mimic the results almost exactly. Atop that, I regularly browse Best Buy's CSI index as well as competitor's websites for personal customer reviews, which yield again almost precisely the same information, and have for the past three years or so - as long as I've been looking, at least.

Now with those things said, I don't adhere much to brand. Because we're talking electronics. If you drop a laptop down a flight of stairs, the stairs don't care which brand of laptop you drop, they will all react the same regardless. But the line "<Brand> sucks! I had one and it broke!" is not an argument for or against said brand. If your laptop melts after a year, it is by no means and under no remote circumstances necessarily a result of manufacturing. The average lifespan for a laptop is two to three years, and while everyone would like to be at the top of that bell-curve, if not beyond (God knows, I've heard the line "Well, my last laptop lasted me seven years!" daily for the past three years, and it only serves to make me less receptive to the customer), but there are laptops that will last you a matter of days. I mean single digits. Again, nowhere even remotely necessarily the fault of the manufacturer. If your laptop dies within a year as a result of a manufacturer defect or fuckup, their warranty will repair or replace the laptop accordingly. The unfortunate truth of the matter is that a vast majority of things that can occur to a laptop are by no means the fault of the manufacturer and they know this. This is why the manufacturer's warranty will only cover the cost of a part replacement and the cost of the labor to replace said part, and only in the instance that the part and/or the labor can be considered and proven to be faulty. The way the industry deals with it is through failure rate analysis, repair frequency, and customer reviews.

Now, as for models that Best Buy does not sell and/or has not repaired a large quantity of, I don't have numbers on. There could be a line of Toshiba laptops made for Wal-Mart that are indeed the shittiest laptops on the market. Hell, every manufacturer builds specific laptops to push on Black Friday every year that are quite simply the shittiest-manufactured electronics imaginable. Hell, every electronics manufacturer builds things to said specifications, whether it be televisions, laptops, desktops, GPS units, what-have-you. I don't doubt that you had problems with your laptops - a lot of people had the same issue that you had. But that issue was localized to a handful of models during a period of time that is long past now. Hell, Dell and Alienware used to be grand. Gateway had a time before they were bought out by Acer/Emachines when they made complete piles of shit in boxes marked like cows. Nearly every customer I've ever interacted with outright refuses to buy a Gateway. A vast majority of my customers now refuse to even listen to what I have to say about Plasma TV technology, because of their preconceived notions about issues they had years ago. There will again come a time when Toshiba makes shitty laptops, and there will also be a time when Apple churns out a shitty product. They're electronics, it happens.

Anyway, apologies that I seemed like I was providing anecdotal evidence. My point was rather that anecdotal evidence in this instance really isn't the best way to shop for technology. Plus, I don't really read these threads anyway. I just pop in and shake my cane at the young'uns for a bit.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.22 (16:12)

I am sorry, also. That was an awesome post.
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Postby krusch » 2010.12.23 (00:20)

Just jumping in to say that that was the most engrossing post about the failure rates of laptops that I have ever read.
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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.24 (04:57)

I finally got one. Sony Vaio VPCEA36FG. I heart it.
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