Laughing City

Which computer?
Keep the old, one is silver and the other gold
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Mac
71%
 71%  [ 5 ]
Total Votes : 7

Author Message
vintage_snowflake
Golly, Poster


I'm thinking about getting a new laptop for school, but not sure whether I should just keep my old one, or what one to buy if I do decide to get a new one.

My old one is a Dell Inspiron with Windows Vista. I bought it gently used about two years ago. It's not in terrible shape, but I must say the battery is awful (I've replaced it once) and dies at unexpected times (usually when it tells me that there is 30% or of life remaining), which can be very inconvenient/not very mobile. Also, I had to have it cleaned out by a computer guy a few months ago when it started refusing to turn on. It works much better know, but I have a lingering fear of old problems returning. The antivirus isn't great. Also, it will not keep a wallpaper, which isn't a huge deal but lends to my suspicions that something, somewhere, is not right.

Anyway, the reason I've been thinking about getting a new one is though I'm hesitant to spend the money, when I'm on my own I know there are no problems with it, and also I'm hoping for something a little more hardy/durable/easier to carry around in a bag (sorry, I don't trust the Dell plastic to protect the insides). I also don't think the computer's going to last another 4 years, so either I get one now or get one later anyway.

I've been consulting my brainy computer-maniac friend, but unfortunately he's a bit of a snob and consequently conversations turn into messes I don't understand and invariably end in withering scorn. So... no help there.

Here's what I've been thinking about:
I could get a Mac for a little over $1000. My sister likes hers, it's lightweight and durable, and best of all if I have problems, I can always take it to an Apple store to be diagnosed. It's an attractive option, but a little pricey. However, I can stomach it.

On the other hand, I can but a PC for about half the price. Buuuuuut if anything goes wrong I need to pay some computer person to fix it. If it happens multiple times, that can really add up.

So what should I do? Keep the old one and see how it works out? Buy a mac? Or a PC? All opinions valued.

signed,
the person who doesn't know anything
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DRMS_7888
Vintage Newbie


Keep your laptop until it disintigrates. The lifecycle of a laptop should be at least 4 or 5 years if you don't beat the hell out of it. Buy a new battery if you want to go cordless a lot. Also, buy a decent portable HDD to backup your whole computer (peace of mind). Having a nice external HDD will also make it really easy to swap files when you finally need to buy a new computer.

That being said, I'm mostly happy with my new aluminum Macbook Pro.

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Saellys
Vintage Newbie


DRMS_7888 wrote:
Keep your laptop until it disintigrates. The lifecycle of a laptop should be at least 4 or 5 years if you don't beat the hell out of it. Buy a new battery if you want to go cordless a lot. Also, buy a decent portable HDD to backup your whole computer (peace of mind). Having a nice external HDD will also make it really easy to swap files when you finally need to buy a new computer.


This. I've had my MacBook since 2006, had one hard drive crash which was no big deal because I'd backed it up recently (huge external drives are getting cheaper all the time), and replaced the battery three times (once under AppleCare, twice out of pocket). It serves my purposes, so I figure why bother upgrading?

If you expect yours won't last the next four years of school, set aside money for when you ultimately need to buy a replacement. If you do want to get a Mac later, make sure the external hard drive you get for the time being is compatible with both Mac and PC and formatted correctly for both.

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wilsmith
Vintage Newbie


Also, I would make sure there isn't an issue with the actually power supply and jack on the Laptop since you've replaced the battery once and it's still dying at 30%, and the thing with dell is they do offer some decent online DIY support topics. Just create an account on their site and use the service tag to have it isolate your make and model of PC and appropriate trouble shooting steps, common problems etc. I would by components from third party vendors to save some $$$ but proprietary stuff sometimes works better.

Also, consider purchasing a pricier PC laptop to up your quality and still pay half as much as a Macbook would cost. They are not as light as you think unless you get an air. I work with Macbooks and Mac Pros at my job, and they are just as much bricks as any other laptop I've lugged around from Dell, Toshiba, or Lenovo. And any programs you've used on Windows you'll have to replace to get them to work on Mac if they vendor doesn't make versions for both and sell them together. Once you go mac, you enter the realm of platform specific software, it's a shifty place.

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hisownshot
Vintage Newbie


I'm more of the mindset to say buy a new computer now (or before school starts). Here's why:

1.) Buying a new battery (or ANYTHING) for your Dell costs $$, that's extra money that you could be using to buy the new laptop. It's a waste to put the money towards something you expect to replace soon.

2.) If your laptop bites the bullet while your in school, timing is almost never perfect. Got a paper due the next day? That stinks. How about a project? Or homework assignment? Maybe all three? You don't want that stress while you're in school. It can take hours to transfer data from a hard drive to a new computer, do it while you have the time.

3.) You said you can stomach the money now. GOOD. Because when you're in school you'll probably find it harder to save. I know from experience that when I'm at school, the temptations are outrageous. Chipotle, movies, bars... not to mention mandatory things like shampoo and toothpaste.

That said, I agree about the value of an external hard drive. It could save your life. Sort of.

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inorbit
Laughing Citizen


Didn't vote, 'cause it depends.

The biggest problem with your existing laptop is that its on Vista, which is not only obsolete but was a POS to begin with. Where I work (a university, by the way), when Vista came out central IT kept sending out memos to everyone telling them to hold off on moving to Vista, as they were still testing the latest updates and couldn't recommend the upgrade. This went on for a while (years?), and they finally announced that they were recommending anyone not yet suffering under Vista just skip it altogether, it was that bad.

It has security problems that were never fixed, doesn't play well with some other stuff, and is a complete resource hog (meaning less of your computer's speed left to do your work with)

Generally, I like cheap, commodity laptops and use them until they croak. Hisownshot makes a good point about that being inconvenient, but my experience is that it doesn't happen with anything like the probability of them getting stolen or dropped hard, which will trash a laptop of any age. Bottom line, laptops are disposable; ALWAYS have a backup, and if you can swing it, another computer of some kind (netbook, dirt cheap desktop, whatever). IMO if you work on time-sensitive stuff (like in school where everything you do goes on your permanent record), having only one computer operational is just asking for it. Give me two cheap machines over one nice one any day.

With that setup, your primary backup is the sync to do every day between them. You discipline yourself to use, say, the desktop at home and the laptop, obviously, when you are out. That way you HAVE to sync them regularly, and you don't spend a lot of time running big batch backups. I start getting paranoid if I have work I haven't synced to more than one machine in a while. I think you should too.

If you aren't up to an OS upgrade on the old machine, get a new one before college. Macs are great (solid, *nix based OS), but costly and proprietary. Your school might have a deal where you can get windows 7 super cheap, in which case it might be worth just upgrading. Otherwise, if you have to pay full fare for Windows 7, you might as well go ahead and get a new laptop as well, I think.

My personal (not work) laptop is an aging Lenovo that I bought about five years ago on sale for $350 (came with Vista, which I immediately reformated and installed Ubuntu). Still does great.

The days are long gone when software demands are moving so fast that you really need to upgrade hardware frequently to catch up, unless you are a fanatic gamer or something.

If you get the mac, nothing says you have to throw away the old machine. Unison is what I use to sync (its free, google it), and it works well across OS's. There is nothing like the security of always having at least two machines running that are fully set up and have all your work on them ready to go.

Good luck getting ready for school!
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hisownshot
Vintage Newbie


I agree. Get a new computer and use it lightly until the old one dies, then you'll be safe and all your info will already be transferred. It'll be a good computer to carry around in risky places, too. All of my friends who have studied abroad encountered some kind of mugging/thievery, and a couple of them have had laptops stolen. It can happen anywhere.
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tahruh
Vintage Newbie


I say get a new one and sell the old one on Ebay. I made $300-something on the one I had prior to my Mac, even though it wasn't working (it dropped and needed a new hard drive and some kind of -board (circuit, logic...mother? I don't really know the difference Laughing). A lot of people buy them, fix 'em up and sell them for a little profit. You could use that money to get an external hard drive.

I've had problems with my Macbook (which I bought refurbished - can't personally recommend it, although I know people who have, who've had no problems), but it really is one of those, "Once you go..." things. And Apple, after some arm-bending, did take care of most of those problems.
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Christian
Sea Post King


Buy a new Mac, keep the old laptop as a backup. It's what I did when I got the cash to make such a purchase a year and a half ago, and it was one of the best purchases I have ever made. I don't regret it for a second.
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