Random thoughts.... [Tech Edition]

Blind_Io

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My ancient hand-me-down laptop appears to be on it's last legs and I have not payed much attention to computer hardware in years. Any particular brands/models of entry/mid-range laptops to avoid or gravitate towards?
 

GRtak

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My ancient hand-me-down laptop appears to be on it's last legs and I have not payed much attention to computer hardware in years. Any particular brands/models of entry/mid-range laptops to avoid or gravitate towards?
What to get varies greatly depending on how you use it. The AMD cpus made great strides in both efficiency and power, so are worth a look.

Beyond that, I am not a laptop user, so my best advice is to start looking at reviews.
 

93Flareside

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Depends on what you do. My guidelines usually are, don’t spend less than $600 on a laptop no matter what, and newest generation of cpu for the given budget is best. While it may not be a thing anymore, I’d still make sure the machine has an SSD and at least 16GB of memory.
 

Blind_Io

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Typical netbook stuff, but I'd also need it to run MS office, and download/play media. I'd like it to be able to manage photos, do some entry level photo and video editing.
 

gaasc

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Depends on what you do. My guidelines usually are, don’t spend less than $600 on a laptop no matter what, and newest generation of cpu for the given budget is best. While it may not be a thing anymore, I’d still make sure the machine has an SSD and at least 16GB of memory.
I would tend to agree, but then he said photo and video editing. Also, the fact that he's described it as an ancient, hand-me-down laptop implies he doesn't change devices very often. Barring Apple stuff, this gives me a couple of options.
Base LG Gram ($1100): Very light, impressive battery, decent all-rounder if perhaps a bit underpowered for the photo and video editing
Acer Aspire 5 ($700): Built a bit worse than the LG, this one has a dedicated GPU and a 10th-gen processor with a dedicated GPU , so it should be more powerful. It has Better IO as well. That being said don't expect to game on that thing, the MX250 will speed up photo and video editing, but that's about it.
Microsoft Surface laptop 3 ($1100): More premium than the gram and similarly specced. This one suffers from appalling I/O with a single USB-A and a USB-C for all inputs
Dell Latitude 5400 ($760): I asked someone who does computer maintenance for a living and he recommended a business-class laptop from Dell. I would agree. If anything build guys and support should be easier to find as the computer ages. An 8th gen like the Surface and the LG, but decent IO and a robust chassis with some cool features like Windows Hello facial recognition available depending on budget.

Prices as specced around a core i5 and 8GB of ram (the Dell, however, has 16. Buy as much ram as you think you'll need from the get go.) all of them are around 13-14" Options for better specs or larger-screen models with a similar spec are available for all but the Surface, which seems to have sold out in its 15" iteration.
 

prizrak

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Dell Latitude 5400 ($760): I asked someone who does computer maintenance for a living and he recommended a business-class laptop from Dell
Yes! That is what I’m running, their business stuff is not pretty but it’s made to deal with a lot of travel. Other alternative would be Thinkpad (NOT IdeaPad), but in my experience they cost more. Another benefit of business grade laptops from not Apple is that they typically have user replaceable components. So if you can’t afford/don’t want to spend more for 16GB RAM or bigger SSD you can do those later

Anything ultraportable is not likely to have user serviceable components, keep that in mind.
 

thevictor390

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Yes! That is what I’m running, their business stuff is not pretty but it’s made to deal with a lot of travel. Other alternative would be Thinkpad (NOT IdeaPad), but in my experience they cost more. Another benefit of business grade laptops from not Apple is that they typically have user replaceable components. So if you can’t afford/don’t want to spend more for 16GB RAM or bigger SSD you can do those later

Anything ultraportable is not likely to have user serviceable components, keep that in mind.
My work laptop is a Precision 7520 and it's been pretty bad. Motherboard replaced under warranty and the service tech installed a fresh copy of Windows to the HDD, which I did not even know was present because I had been booting from an SSD. Luckily resolved by changing the boot order and now I unlocked a bunch of storage space I guess. The ongoing issue is the fan pulses instead of spinning consistently, always has a CPU fan error at boot. Co-worker has the exact same problem.
 

prizrak

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My work laptop is a Precision 7520 and it's been pretty bad. Motherboard replaced under warranty and the service tech installed a fresh copy of Windows to the HDD, which I did not even know was present because I had been booting from an SSD. Luckily resolved by changing the boot order and now I unlocked a bunch of storage space I guess. The ongoing issue is the fan pulses instead of spinning consistently, always has a CPU fan error at boot. Co-worker has the exact same problem.
I had a previous model at previous job and it was starting to develop fan issues. I think with Precisions they tried to copy Apple too much and stuffed too much shit into too small a package, it doesn't work for Apple either...

Lattitudes being geared towards business users are a bit less show and a bit more go.

There is always Thinkpad to look into, they have pretty good track record as well.
 

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I got a new desktop for work the other week. Fujitsu something or other ultra small form factor with an i3 and SSD. Didn’t care as long as it had an SSD and could drive two monitors.

It’s plenty fast enough for my basic office needs but the fan keeps changing speed all the damn time. It’s also a flatulent drone instead of a white noise woosh.

Why is this still difficult to pull off in 2020? The things i’m doing with it is hardly more tasking than basic iPad stuff and a fanless iPad doesn’t even get slightly warm.
 

gaasc

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Well, in the case of SFF PCs it's a matter of balancing speed and silence. If they stuffed an 80-100mm fan in there there's only so much you can do between the point where your computer will thermal throttle and where you will be able to notice the fan ramping up.

Swap it for a noctua ;)
 

Perc

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Well, in the case of SFF PCs it's a matter of balancing speed and silence. If they stuffed an 80-100mm fan in there there's only so much you can do between the point where your computer will thermal throttle and where you will be able to notice the fan ramping up.

Swap it for a noctua ;)
My 13” MacBook Pro is faster and doesn’t make noise unless I actually put some load on the thing. The PC starts whirring randomly with only outlook and a dozen browser tabs open.
 

GRtak

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My 13” MacBook Pro is faster and doesn’t make noise unless I actually put some load on the thing. The PC starts whirring randomly with only outlook and a dozen browser tabs open.

You got a tiny box with what I bet is a stock cooler. This is the worst type of cooler, in a box that does not have a lot of room to move air through it. Yell at whoever chose that box.

I bet they know very little about what makes a PC work, and went for the cheapest good looking box that was small.
 

gaasc

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My 13” MacBook Pro is faster and doesn’t make noise unless I actually put some load on the thing. The PC starts whirring randomly with only outlook and a dozen browser tabs open.
MBPs (and Apple products in general) have generally preferred a lower fan curve which emphasizes silent operation over cooling performance. This is based on the reasonable assumption that people will generally do things which load the CPU in bursts rather than continuously. When they don't, the fan ramps up. The CPU will likely throttle to minimize heat output anyway as well. I am guessing the fujitsu is less generous and has an inferior cooling solution anyway.
 

prizrak

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MBPs (and Apple products in general) have generally preferred a lower fan curve which emphasizes silent operation over cooling performance. This is based on the reasonable assumption that people will generally do things which load the CPU in bursts rather than continuously. When they don't, the fan ramps up. The CPU will likely throttle to minimize heat output anyway as well. I am guessing the fujitsu is less generous and has an inferior cooling solution anyway.
Yeah, one of the reasons why MBPs desolder their own shit
 

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I bet they know very little about what makes a PC work, and went for the cheapest good looking box that was small.
Fujitsu, a major (well) PC maker, wouldn't know "what makes a PC work"? And the box is their own design, of course.

I guess it's just a shit computer.
 

GRtak

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Fujitsu, a major (well) PC maker, wouldn't know "what makes a PC work"? And the box is their own design, of course.

I guess it's just a shit computer.
Not Fujitsu, the person at your company that ordered it.

Although, they did build it, and it seems to annoy you. :dunno:
 
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