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The Parish Hall => The Geek Forum => Topic started by: Non Nobis on February 28, 2019, 09:20:20 PM

Title: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on February 28, 2019, 09:20:20 PM
I have a 2012 laptop and it is working OK for what I use it for - internet (including SD and youtube and general website viewing and aps started there (e.g. acrobat reader), ms word, excel, occasional movies, a little web development (in the past).  It has only Windows 7.  The C drive is down to 21 GB out of 120 (of course that's not so bad) and the D drive has 111 GB left (plenty out of 153GB).  It's booting and firefox is loading slow and has to be restarted too often, and files are opened slower than I like  - it is a little annoying but it's not THAT bad. (It is slower than when I bought it). Of course I could update to Windows 10 and things can be sped up without replacing the laptop, but....

So I don't absolutely need a new laptop.  I can afford it "right now" but I am definitely not made of money.  But (as you can probably tell) I am tempted...

What are the improvements in laptops since 2012 (in your personal experience)? I certainly would enjoy a little more speed and better display and video and sound and still more storage and also a little less weight (although not that much, my current one weighs 5.7lb). Getting up to date with Windows 10 is also a good idea, I imagine.

The new one I'm looking at:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077XFNXX1/?coliid=I284G6F16NDJM0&colid=308HTL5SNANO3&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

My old one (if you even care): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007X0ASZM/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1  I found this via my orders, and                   couldn't find it via search, so maybe you won't be able to see it.

OK, I'm looking both for words of wisdom and a little enthusiasm here!

I suppose I'm showing my materialism and attachment to "the world"!

Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Bernadette on March 01, 2019, 07:31:34 AM
I just replaced my 10 year old desktop with a laptop. I’ve always had Dells, but I went with HP this time because of the metal body.  It’s coming on Monday and I can’t wait to see all of the bells and whistles it has. So naturally I would vote yes.  :P
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Maximilian on March 01, 2019, 10:18:00 AM
I have a 2012 laptop and it is working OK for what I use it for - internet (including SD and youtube and general website viewing and aps started there (e.g. acrobat reader), ms word, excel, occasional movies, a little web development (in the past).  It has only Windows 7.  The C drive is down to 21 GB out of 120 (of course that's not so bad) and the D drive has 111 GB left (plenty out of 153GB).  It's booting and firefox is loading slow and has to be restarted too often, and files are opened slower than I like  - it is a little annoying but it's not THAT bad. (It is slower than when I bought it). Of course I could update to Windows 10 and things can be sped up without replacing the laptop, but....

So I don't absolutely need a new laptop.  I can afford it "right now" but I am definitely not made of money.  But (as you can probably tell) I am tempted...

What are the improvements in laptops since 2012 (in your personal experience)? I certainly would enjoy a little more speed and better display and video and sound and still more storage and also a little less weight (although not that much, my current one weighs 5.7lb). Getting up to date with Windows 10 is also a good idea, I imagine.

The new one I'm looking at:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077XFNXX1/?coliid=I284G6F16NDJM0&colid=308HTL5SNANO3&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

My old one (if you even care): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007X0ASZM/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1  I found this via my orders, and                   couldn't find it via search, so maybe you won't be able to see it.

OK, I'm looking both for words of wisdom and a little enthusiasm here!

I suppose I'm showing my materialism and attachment to "the world"!

I have an Asus laptop similar to the one you are considering, and I've been very happy with it. If you're upgrading from a 2012 model, then I think you'll be pleasantly surprised be how much faster and better it is.

Looking at your old model, if you're moving from a Pentium to an I-7, it will be like night and day.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 01, 2019, 10:48:32 AM
My main concern with your current setup is that it's probably at or over its end of life expectation for the hardware, which can up and die at any moment. Then again, so can anything -- I've seen new laptops at work die after a few weeks.

My suggestion would be to make sure you back up any data you don't want to lose, think you *probably* don't want to lose, etc. You should be doing this anyway!

I'd do this on something like a high capacity thumb drive: https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-Cruzer-Glide-Drive-SDCZ60-128G-B35/dp/B007YX9OGW/ref=sr_1_3?crid=34LB72YYEOA8B&keywords=thumb+drive+128+gb&qid=1551454350&s=gateway&sprefix=thumb+drive%2Caps%2C205&sr=8-3

You probably also want to go into your profile folder and copy things like your favorites folder and any other folders that contain stuff you want to retain. You can then dump these in your new user profile (if/when you get a new machine) to make your experience more seamless. I don't think Firefox is included in that, but I'd have to look and am not on a Windows PC right now.

W/ Firefox, if you make an account and sign in, it should follow you to the new machine whenever you sign in as far as settings/favorites.

The laptop you are considering is very nice. But I'll be honest that it sounds like much more than you need. You could achieve a good result for $300 (or less!). You also might consider a business class refurbished model, as they tend to be a little more robust than consumer grade.

Your old one has a number pad to the right on the keyboard, which you are likely used to using. In my experience, going from one of those to a keyboard without a keypad to the right is a pain. That might be a consideration.

You could also do what I typically do and use a program which backs up your current hard drive and dumps it all on your new one, but they can sometimes be finicky. For most instances I'd recommend simply transferring the truly desired data.

You mention slowness -- have you deleted temp files and such?

Windows 7 standard service support (updates and such) ended in 2015. Extended support ends in Jan 2020. Here's an article on the difference: http://home.bt.com/tech-gadgets/computing/what-is-the-difference-between-windows-mainstream-support-and-extended-support-11364050710601

I'd suspect you are currently running an unsupported version, which is a security concern.

If you aren't familiar with Win10, or don't want to be familiar with it (understandable), you could always go a Linux route w/ a desktop environment that is more in line w/ Win7. Examples include Linux Mint Cinnamon or MATE, or Ubuntu MATE.

If that sounds interesting to you, you could transfer needed data to your new machine, install Linux on your old machine to try it out, and then once satisfied w/ it simply do the same on your new machine.

Or, you could cuss and hit the new one until you get used to Win10 :D
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: maryslittlegarden on March 01, 2019, 11:47:55 AM
I'll second the Linux recommendation... .
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Der Polka-König on March 01, 2019, 08:44:54 PM
By far the biggest laptop improvements that the casual user will notice over the last several years are:

Really the only major dis-improvement has been the increasing lack of modularity. Way too many components are connected right to the main board now, so they can't be upgraded or replaced.

All that said, I still use an old 2013 Dell laptop as my usual "general browsing" machine -- YouTube, movies, checking the news, etc, and don't notice much of a difference between using that or one of my newer laptops for that sort of use. So you probably really don't need a new one.

If I tried to do any of my usual programming on it, though, it would definitely struggle compared to my newer machines -- one of which is an ultra-portable Asus ZenBook -- not terribly different from the VivoBook you're looking at -- which I've been very happy with.

Regarding Operating Systems, I stick to Gentoo and Arch Linux, but for anyone looking to dip their toe in the proverbial Linux waters, either Ubuntu MATE or Linux Mint are probably the best options. I haven't even booted Windows in a VM in close to a year; it's been many years since I've run it bare metal, so most of my knowledge of Win10 is from hearing friends complain about how devastating the latest update was at work.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Maximilian on March 01, 2019, 11:24:37 PM

  • Solid-State Drives -- way faster to load files into memory for I/O, keep much cooler (so less risk of data loss from overheating), and generally considered safer since there aren't moving parts as with conventional hard drives.

Regarding the Solid-State Drive, another advantage in addition to those you mentioned is that it removes the need for a fan. No fan means lower weight, greatly reduced power draw on the battery, and the elimination of noise. My Asus laptop is virtually silent while my previous laptop maintained a pretty steady noise level.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 01, 2019, 11:49:18 PM
There are other parts that need fans or some cooling source, though.

CPU and GPU activity will gen heat and require a cooling mechanism. CPU w/ degraded thermal paste will fry and I've removed GPU cards w/ heat damage (though that was a particular model from ~2012 and was known for grenading -- sometimes literally w/ a POP!).

The main benefit for OP's usage will be faster load times and such.

SSD's go hard when they go, but regular backups of critical data can resolve that problem. Even HDD is hard to recover from if it grenades.

For OP's usage model, I cannot see spending more than a few hundred dollars. $799 seems excessive imo.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on March 02, 2019, 08:01:35 PM
Thanks everyone for a lot of great info.  Decisions, decisions..

Now for some more decisions (trouble and/or fun): I'm considering getting a desktop (maybe an all-in-one) instead.  The only real reason for this is the bigger monitor; my eyes would really appreciate it, and I hear someone oohing and aahing (and I've done that too) about theirs.

I rarely need the portability of a laptop, although it was handy when I stayed with my Mom for 3 years (moving a desktop wouldn't have worked out as well).  Other than that the laptop stays in one place. I occasionally used it for watching movies in more comfort, but now my 10" kindle is doing OK for that. As I'm not working I don't really need 2 computers, and even in the past had been using a laptop as a desktop for years. (I still have the TV monitor for DVDs)

Looking at all the possible features, I am accumulating a supposedly "gotta-have" list;  gotta-have i5 or i7, gotta-have SSD, gotta-have >= 256 GB (oops, not TB!) and so forth (any other suggestions?).  Of course these make the price go up.  Gimme the best of everything and the cheapest price.  I did find a refurbished HP business class all-in-one that might do the trick:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HPC3R48/?coliid=IN8BWRLT2YQML&colid=308HTL5SNANO3&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it  Not as cheap as Gardener wisely advises, but at least it is cheaper than my last idea.  I like that it has a DVD drive.

Where's the best place to get Microsoft Office? 

I COULD switch to Linux; I used Unix for many years (and liked it more than Windows, back then). Maybe I'll see how much I hate Windows 10.  It'll be a real test of my cleverness and patience; maybe a waste of time? What caveats are there for using Linux instead of Windows? How much trouble/cost is it to replace Windows S/W that won't work - including software that I downloaded online already and (at least used to) use pretty heavily? I do know there are substitutes for MS Office, but are there caveats there too?
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 02, 2019, 09:30:22 PM
All-in-one has some advantages, but personally I would steer clear due to the issues noted in this article:
https://www.windowscentral.com/benefits-and-downsides-buying-all-one-pc

I'd also steer away from something w/ an internal webcam that cannot be unplugged.

You could also do a dual-boot and retain Windows. Or you could run Wine, but that... that exposes Windows issues to your Linux box that otherwise wouldn't be a concern.

For MS Office, you will likely need a subscription after a while. That subscription will allow you to do stuff online on OneDrive, so it's actually unnecessary to have the software installed on your box.

Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on March 02, 2019, 11:30:55 PM
All-in-one has some advantages, but personally I would steer clear due to the issues noted in this article:
https://www.windowscentral.com/benefits-and-downsides-buying-all-one-pc


But isn't this comparing all-in-one vs standard desktop?  Doesn't a laptop have the same disadvantages as listed for the all-in-one?  (Except perhaps(?) the laptop can be cheaper, if I follow your advice!)

I've tinkered with/updated hardware in a tower computer in the past, but never particularly enjoyed it. (I did software at work, and only a little hardware at home).   But yes it would be more repairable and probably cheaper to start. (When I bought tower computers in the past the manufacturer put them together according to my specifications, and that was not so cheap).

I like the positive points listed for the AiO - taking up less room, being easier to move.

But here is an even more convincing article against the all-in-one: https://www.digitaltrends.com/computing/why-you-shouldnt-buy-an-all-in-one/  Maybe what's most convincing is the line "I recently described all-in-ones to a co-worker seeking buying advice as “terrible, hateful, overpriced things full of regret.”

I'll think about it... Again that article is talking about AiO as opposed to tower pc.

But the author also says "I’d recommend buying a laptop and using it with an external monitor over an all-in-one".  I've considered that, but it would be more expensive. Maybe I could get a cheaper laptop, and then add the external monitor.. but I only want ONE monitor, straight in front of me.  I guess I could deal with 2...
--
I  think the HP all-in-one that I linked to can have the webcam turned off via the device manager, if that is all you had in mind.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 03, 2019, 01:33:39 AM
Here's an article that compares laptop/desktop/AiO:
https://www.lifewire.com/all-in-one-pcs-832299

You can set the laptop so you can close it and only have one monitor displaying in your face. I regularly use a laptop w/ external keyboard, mouse, and monitor w/ the lid closed.

The repair costs, if ever needed, *should* be less on a traditional desktop PC. If you get something where everything is built into the motherboard, that could be a problem.

Any component should be able to be turned off via settings in Device Manager, or even BIOS -- internal mics, onboard NIC, etc. The problem w/ Device Manager or even BIOS settings is if malware gets admin access it can turn those things back on. I'm personally not a fan of internal/onboard webcams and internal mics. I like to be able to physically unplug things rather than trust a setting.

Linux Mint and Ubuntu in their various distros w/ a Desktop environment include LibreOffice which is basically an open-source Office suite, and as I said you can do online documents w/ OneDrive should you need Microsoft Office.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 03, 2019, 11:03:42 AM
I've attached a screenshot from OneDrive Word doc editor.

This was from a laptop running Linux Lint Cinnamon.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Philip G. on March 03, 2019, 08:35:15 PM
Non Nobis - I have used old laptops with lightweight linux for years now, and I am satisfied. 
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on March 04, 2019, 02:06:32 AM
Non Nobis - I have used old laptops with lightweight linux for years now, and I am satisfied.

Is this dual booting or replacing Windows with Linux?

I see Linux in my future... I used to have Cygwin years ago on Windows and it was great to have something Unix-y again.

On a new laptop, maybe I could eventually dual boot (I will love (???) the challenge of switching from Win7 to Win10, and then using Linux too)

On the old laptop, maybe eventually just Linux

Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: The Harlequin King on March 04, 2019, 11:23:02 AM
Now for some more decisions (trouble and/or fun): I'm considering getting a desktop (maybe an all-in-one) instead.  The only real reason for this is the bigger monitor; my eyes would really appreciate it, and I hear someone oohing and aahing (and I've done that too) about theirs.

This is my recommendation. I still stubbornly adhere to the desktop PC model. My tower is custom-built for gaming, but even for casual use, I believe an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor on a desk (preferably with some kind of ergonomic chair) are significantly more comfortable to use than a laptop.

With a budget tower, you might have money left over to invest on a quality monitor. The easiest on the eyes would, I think, be one in the range of 27" to 32" in size, with a 1440p or 4k resolution and a 144Hz refresh rate. These kinds of monitors are not necessarily so expensive anymore.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Gardener on March 04, 2019, 04:22:28 PM
I've attached a screenshot from OneDrive Word doc editor.

This was from a laptop running Linux Lint Cinnamon.

HA! Mint, I meant Mint.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on March 04, 2019, 06:35:54 PM
I've attached a screenshot from OneDrive Word doc editor.

This was from a laptop running Linux Lint Cinnamon.

HA! Mint, I meant Mint.

 :D
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on March 04, 2019, 07:19:51 PM
FWIW

Right now I am not using my laptop keyboard, but rather it is slipped at an angle into a laptop stand (once a docking station) which makes the keyboard unusable but holds the monitor much higher than it would be if the laptop was flat on the desk. I have an external (wired) keyboard which does lay flat.  I would probably continue with this setup if I just get a laptop, but obviously not with an external monitor or all-in-one. I'm not sure if I really prefer this higher monitor position or I'm just used to it. I have bi-focal glasses now and lower might be better.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Bernadette on March 10, 2019, 03:00:05 PM

My suggestion would be to make sure you back up any data you don't want to lose, think you *probably* don't want to lose, etc. You should be doing this anyway!

I just moved over all of my files onto my new computer using a 4GB thumbdrive. It was like filling a bathtub with a measuring cup, but it was the only option that didn't involve buying more stuff.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Hat And Beard on April 02, 2019, 09:36:12 PM
Chiming in at the 11th hour here...I would urge you to keep your laptop for the time being, but buy a cheap desktop tower/monitor for the heavier tasks.
I've had good luck buying used desktops on ebay. You can get a 4 or 5 year old Dell Optiplex for well under $100. Put a cheap SSD in(there's a 240GB Kingston running for <$30 on amazon), and a good 1080p IPS monitor for ~$100 and you're in business. If you go this route, you can try out Linux like some other replies have suggested, and it's relatively easy to install on this hardware(especially if you've got Unix/web development experience). I would deviate from the others and recommend plain Ubuntu- it's the most impressive operating system I've ever worked on. Also, most of the guides online when you search for How-To ______ will assume you're using Ubuntu and it's very easy to get help. You also get security updates very quickly because they pay an entire team of developers to maintain desktop Ubuntu.
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: Non Nobis on April 02, 2019, 11:25:21 PM
Well I went against all good advice and will live to regret it, but I got an all-in-one (a few weeks ago).  I don't like the heaviness of towers (or the space taken), and would have a problem lugging it up and down my stairs (3rd floor) and squatting down to deal with it, with my bad knees (I'm getting old).  I'm not into replacing hardware, or upgrading to the very latest thing. Yes I will certainly have a problem with having mine fixed (or if I need to replace it), but "I'll deal with that when it comes", as they say! I also spent a lot of money (well I suppose way too much, but I'm not providing a link  ;D)  and got enough "good hardware" so that I hope I will be happy for long time.

I am keeping my laptop too, and will use it if I need something portable.  Possibly I will put Linux on it.

I guess I'm not very virtuous or prudent, "living for the present", but there it is!   :D

Thanks everyone. Time to refocus on my budget!
Title: Re: Convince me to replace my 2012 laptop - or not!
Post by: clau clau on April 03, 2019, 10:53:02 AM
The quality of computer hardware is dropping.  Moore's Law is finished.

I predict that the majority of computers going forward will be more unreliable and less and less compatible.  If I had a reliable computer I would hang onto it for as long as possible until it dies.

I think the best strategy going forward is to have a series of cheap (almost disposable) computers like Chromebooks or Raspberry PIs.  Then have a desktop server where you keep all the files you want to hang onto.

Save all of your files on google drive (or similar) and back them up to one of those 1-2 terabytes drives on a fairly regular basis.

I predict that in the not too distant future there will be a Windows upgrade which will brick a large number of computers and cause a major panic.  This will either be deliberate (industrial espionage) or accidental (due to incompetence).