New Computer Advice Thread

Talk about computers, hardware, applications, and consumer electronics.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.11.24 (20:32)

=w= wrote:And I never said they were. o.O

Heh, fair enough. I read that post about 20 minutes before I went to bed last night and my first thought was of blowing in to NES cartridges repeatedly, and then went off on that tangent without reading your post again.

Re: Topic. Watch for black friday deals.
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Postby Tanner » 2010.11.25 (06:28)

http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/wiki/ind ... e=SNEmulDS

DS + Flashcart is under $120. Homebrew will emulate any Nintendo handheld except the GBA. I can play either version of Chrono Trigger while I shit.
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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.12 (03:33)

Right, so I've found a laptop that pretty much has everything I need:

HP Pavilion dv6 3078TX
Processor: 1.60GHz i7-720QM
Memory: 8GB
Graphics: 1GB ATi Mobility Radeon HD 5650
Screen: 15.6", 1366x768
Battery: 6-cell, 2550 mAh
HDD: 640GB


I have three pages here containing pretty much any other information about this computer, so please ask if you need to know.

Now, here's the bad news: it's a touch screen. Obviously, this isn't a feature I'm particularly interested in. My question is whether or not having a touch screen and not using it (I'd probably just use it a little, seeing it's fairly cool) would be bad for the laptop. In other words, does it matter that is has a touch screen, or would it be heaps wiser to find another similar laptop without the touch screen?

EDIT: Don't pester me about screen size: It's not something that bothers me. Also, this is important: I can get it on wholesale price for US$1200.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.12.12 (03:57)

Get something better without touchscreen. Those specs are brilliant but that res... I will continue to pester you on buying anything with that resolution.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.12 (04:13)

I'm honestly not sure who that laptop is meant for. At first glance the 8gb and the touchscreen suggests someone editing huge images and wants the capability to do so on the go. But then the CPU is only 1.6ghz (I didn't even know the i7s went this low, obviously it'll still trounce an Atom, but this feels like bastardization of the i7 line to save power), which if you're working with giant images you're going to need a decent CPU. And why do they need to save power? Because they put a tiny fucking battery in there. I'd consider you lucky if you got 2 hours out of that thing typing in notepad. (For comparison, my macbook has a 5600 mAh battery, most decent laptops are in the 4000 to 4500 range). And then on top of that no one is going to want to edit giant images on a horrible resolution screen. My (retired) nearly 5 year old 15" powerbook has a resolution of 1440x900. To reiterate that, a 5 year old laptop with a (slightly, .6") smaller screen has 246,912 more pixels.

TL;DR: more than 4gb of RAM is stupid (super especially in a laptop), this is not the laptop for you.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.12.12 (04:59)

sa: About the i7 processors: They are advertised as 1.6 or 1.x or whatever GHz because that's what they run on to save battery power. The 720QM goes up to 2.8GHz when it needs the power.
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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.12 (05:46)

Eeeenteresting. Not because this is anything new, but because CPUs have throttled down when they didn't need the power for years. For instance, my 2.4ghz quad in my desktop runs at 1.6ghz when it is mostly idle (as shown below). The only advances in this recently is that the nehalem chips can overclock individual cores beyond their standard speed to help with single threads that require more processing power (as opposed to multiple smaller threads running better on several slower cores).

It looks like Intel has thrown these two together and simultaneously fucked with their marketing. Now I'm curious as to the max speed that all 4 cores of that chip can run at simultaneously (which would be somewhat equivalent to the speed most processors have advertised). 1.6ghz seems to be to slow to be the max that they can all run at, and it seems to fast to be the slowest speed it can clock down to (I would expect in a laptop part that is meant to save energy, they would drop to somewhere closer to 1ghz at idle). If 1.6ghz really is the max that they can all run at at the same time, that really isn't that good of a chip, even if two cores can run at 2+ ghz at once and a single core can be pushed to 2.8ghz.

The reason I don't think 1.6ghz is the max that all cores can run at at once is that the desktop parts have "turbo frequency" speeds of 10% to 20% faster. For instance, one of the mid range i7s, the i7 930, has a stock frequency of 2.8ghz, its max turbo frequency for a single core is only 3.06ghz. However, I can't imagine Intel trying to sell their chips short in a world of consumer mindset of "More bigger numbers is better!". So I am truly confused by this chip.
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Postby Donfuy » 2010.12.16 (11:39)

Mine is essentially the same, without the touchscreen, with 4GB of RAM and it cost me 900.

I'll give you some feedback:
- the battery isn't as weak as smartalco put it;
- the screen is kind of an issue - i feel kinda bad whenever there's a mac around. for me it isn't that much of a problem since go dual-screen at home.
- it's very solid, strong.
- the keyboard is amazing.
- I haven't tested many high-detail games on this, but from the ones I tested (DiRT 2, F1 2010, WRC) I've managed to play them at very decent at maximum visual quality.

-- will finish later; gotta go to a class.
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Postby Scrivener » 2010.12.16 (21:31)

What do you guys think about this one? I know Vyach won't like the screen but it's exactly the same as my current and I don't mind at all. The RAM and processor look good to my uneducated eye, and I don't know much about the rest (harddrive I think is big enough for me). So anyway, is this a decent computer for $700, ergo should I buy it in the next few days for $470?

Related: I think I got a virus on my old laptop, I got some errors about hard drive C not responding then it restarted, when i turn it on I get a black screen with a single icon, HDD Repair, and no start menu (!!!). I have mixed feelings about getting it fixed if that's even possible. By that I mean I want a new computer.

Oh yeah, almost forgot the link!
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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.12.17 (07:15)

Universezero wrote:Right, so I've found a laptop that pretty much has everything I need:

HP Pavilion dv6 3078TX
Processor: 1.60GHz i7-720QM
Memory: 8GB
Graphics: 1GB ATi Mobility Radeon HD 5650
Screen: 15.6", 1366x768
Battery: 6-cell, 2550 mAh
HDD: 640GB


I have three pages here containing pretty much any other information about this computer, so please ask if you need to know.

Now, here's the bad news: it's a touch screen. Obviously, this isn't a feature I'm particularly interested in. My question is whether or not having a touch screen and not using it (I'd probably just use it a little, seeing it's fairly cool) would be bad for the laptop. In other words, does it matter that is has a touch screen, or would it be heaps wiser to find another similar laptop without the touch screen?

EDIT: Don't pester me about screen size: It's not something that bothers me. Also, this is important: I can get it on wholesale price for US$1200.


I can't believe they made the TX line in a 15.6", but I've been appalled at the previous years' models of the TX series. They've been nothing but problems, but perhaps this one is different. Also, the price tag is a bit steep for what I'm seeing, but not terribly outrageous.
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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.12.17 (07:17)

Scrivener wrote:What do you guys think about this one? I know Vyach won't like the screen but it's exactly the same as my current and I don't mind at all. The RAM and processor look good to my uneducated eye, and I don't know much about the rest (harddrive I think is big enough for me). So anyway, is this a decent computer for $700, ergo should I buy it in the next few days for $470?

Related: I think I got a virus on my old laptop, I got some errors about hard drive C not responding then it restarted, when i turn it on I get a black screen with a single icon, HDD Repair, and no start menu (!!!). I have mixed feelings about getting it fixed if that's even possible. By that I mean I want a new computer.

Oh yeah, almost forgot the link!


So long as you don't care about incredibly shitty graphics and barely the ability to play Solitaire, Satellites are great computers.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.17 (16:05)

Kablizzy wrote:
Scrivener wrote:What do you guys think about this one? I know Vyach won't like the screen but it's exactly the same as my current and I don't mind at all. The RAM and processor look good to my uneducated eye, and I don't know much about the rest (harddrive I think is big enough for me). So anyway, is this a decent computer for $700, ergo should I buy it in the next few days for $470?

Related: I think I got a virus on my old laptop, I got some errors about hard drive C not responding then it restarted, when i turn it on I get a black screen with a single icon, HDD Repair, and no start menu (!!!). I have mixed feelings about getting it fixed if that's even possible. By that I mean I want a new computer.

Oh yeah, almost forgot the link!


So long as you don't care about incredibly shitty graphics and barely the ability to play Solitaire, Satellites are great computers.


Fuck that. Satellites are poorly manufactured. My family has had two; my own, and an aunt of mine's. Both had chargers that melted, batteries that had problems and incredible amounts of heat generated from the computer - enough to cause shutdowns constantly. We are different users; this is the behaviour you might expect from me, but she is a newbie user who just reads email and chats. And these were different lines!

Something to note is these problems all seemed to happen 2-5 months after we got the computer. That is the only thing for my money that can explain the relatively positive vibe from the critical perspective. And the customer service from Toshiba is retarded.
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.17 (16:31)

=w= wrote:
Kablizzy wrote:So long as you don't care about incredibly shitty graphics and barely the ability to play Solitaire, Satellites are great computers.


Fuck that. Satellites are poorly manufactured. My family has had two; my own, and an aunt of mine's. Both had chargers that melted, batteries that had problems and incredible amounts of heat generated from the computer - enough to cause shutdowns constantly. We are different users; this is the behaviour you might expect from me, but she is a newbie user who just reads email and chats. And these were different lines!

Something to note is these problems all seemed to happen 2-5 months after we got the computer. That is the only thing for my money that can explain the relatively positive vibe from the critical perspective. And the customer service from Toshiba is retarded.

My first laptop was a Toshiba Satellite. I treat my computers like fucking royalty, but it took about a year and a half for the hardware to start randomly failing. I managed to jerry-rig the optical drive and USB ports back into functionality with clever applications of electrical tape (contacts were loose, and I had no soldering equipment), and even hunted down disintegrating contacts on my monitor's controller thingy to Jew another few months of functionality out of it. But it was all for naught.
And the customer service is worthless unless you speak Hindi.
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Postby Scrivener » 2010.12.17 (16:37)

What would you recommend for under $500? I don't know how to "make my own" so I'm looking at prebuilts unless the aforementioned option is easier than it sounds.

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Postby Heartattack » 2010.12.17 (17:23)

Scrivener wrote:What would you recommend for under $500? I don't know how to "make my own" so I'm looking at prebuilts unless the aforementioned option is easier than it sounds.


I don't understand your quotation marks. Also, you probably don't need a very powerful machines, seeing as how you "enjoyed your Satellite."
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.17 (18:06)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:
=w= wrote:
Kablizzy wrote:So long as you don't care about incredibly shitty graphics and barely the ability to play Solitaire, Satellites are great computers.


Fuck that. Satellites are poorly manufactured. My family has had two; my own, and an aunt of mine's. Both had chargers that melted, batteries that had problems and incredible amounts of heat generated from the computer - enough to cause shutdowns constantly. We are different users; this is the behaviour you might expect from me, but she is a newbie user who just reads email and chats. And these were different lines!

Something to note is these problems all seemed to happen 2-5 months after we got the computer. That is the only thing for my money that can explain the relatively positive vibe from the critical perspective. And the customer service from Toshiba is retarded.

My first laptop was a Toshiba Satellite. I treat my computers like fucking royalty, but it took about a year and a half for the hardware to start randomly failing. I managed to jerry-rig the optical drive and USB ports back into functionality with clever applications of electrical tape (contacts were loose, and I had no soldering equipment), and even hunted down disintegrating contacts on my monitor's controller thingy to Jew another few months of functionality out of it. But it was all for naught.
And the customer service is worthless unless you speak Hindi.


At the end, the slot where my charger connects to (that is to say, where the metal end of the charger actually connects to, inside the plastic) broke off, which seems almost impossible, and I ended up (rather famously, among friends) jimmying open the laptop and shoving a wrapper for a Wendy's Baconator in between the molding and the charge receptacle, thus pressing it to a point where I could reach with the charger.

The computer was actually still mildly functional with all of my insane Wendy's brand fixes, but I threw it out last year. (after nabbing the good parts.)
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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2010.12.17 (18:59)

=w= wrote:At the end, the slot where my charger connects to (that is to say, where the metal end of the charger actually connects to, inside the plastic) broke off, which seems almost impossible, and I ended up (rather famously, among friends) jimmying open the laptop and shoving a wrapper for a Wendy's Baconator in between the molding and the charge receptacle, thus pressing it to a point where I could reach with the charger.

That is awesome.
I ended up using the plastic cap of a USB drive to press onto the monitor controller by taping it to the inside of the monitor frame. I could totally have gone the Baconator route, and next time, God willing, totally will.

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Postby smartalco » 2010.12.17 (20:28)

=w= wrote:At the end, the slot where my charger connects to (that is to say, where the metal end of the charger actually connects to, inside the plastic) broke off, which seems almost impossible, and I ended up (rather famously, among friends) jimmying open the laptop and shoving a wrapper for a Wendy's Baconator in between the molding and the charge receptacle, thus pressing it to a point where I could reach with the charger.

The computer was actually still mildly functional with all of my insane Wendy's brand fixes, but I threw it out last year. (after nabbing the good parts.)

Ahahaha, that is awesome. I've rebuilt my old powerbook charger 5 times (being broken by sister, sister, dog, dog, and then sister for a 3rd time) just with standard solder and electrical tape. Clearly I should have used fast food wrappers and it would have lasted longer.
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Postby Scrivener » 2010.12.17 (22:37)

The only computer I've ever had is a satellite, so I don't know what I'm missing. I don't do a lot of gaming either, and not just because it does suck at graphics. I put that in quotes because I don't know exactly what it entails. All I know is there is an alternative to buying a pre-built.

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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.12.18 (00:43)

There aren't any consumer choices for building your own laptops... if you want a laptop, you need to go pre-built.
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Postby Kablizzy » 2010.12.18 (02:38)

=w= wrote:Fuck that. Satellites are poorly manufactured. My family has had two; my own, and an aunt of mine's. Both had chargers that melted, batteries that had problems and incredible amounts of heat generated from the computer - enough to cause shutdowns constantly. We are different users; this is the behaviour you might expect from me, but she is a newbie user who just reads email and chats. And these were different lines!

Something to note is these problems all seemed to happen 2-5 months after we got the computer. That is the only thing for my money that can explain the relatively positive vibe from the critical perspective. And the customer service from Toshiba is retarded.


Oh, I 'm sorry. I've only sold thousands that have lasted years and years without repair. They were probably purchased between three and five years ago, during the time when AMD processors in laptops were actually desktop processors shoved into laptops with insufficient cooling systems. As such, every brand of laptop with said processors in it overheated, not just Toshibas. Keep in mind these things are electronics. There is no other brand that provides any better customer service or longevity than Toshiba right now, with the exception of Asus at the moment. Satellites today aren't the best, but they are still, percentage-wise, some of the most well-made laptops in existence.

=w= wrote:At the end, the slot where my charger connects to (that is to say, where the metal end of the charger actually connects to, inside the plastic) broke off, which seems almost impossible...


This is actually incredibly common.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.18 (14:28)

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.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2010.12.18 (14:41)

Never underestimate/doubt the Blizz.
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Postby Universezero » 2010.12.21 (04:56)

Right, so I went on to the HP website and customised myself a dv7. The following specs are pretty much exactly what I want:

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I'd buy and ship it right now, but HP only ship within the US, and the New Zealand HP Website has no method in which to custom-build a laptop online. So, I'm basically posting this to ask if anyone can find a pre-built laptop of any brand that fits the above specs.
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Postby SlappyMcGee » 2010.12.21 (05:43)

Do you have use for 8GB of ram?
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