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tesla posted 3/12/2014 21:01 PM

My 11 year old laptop is on its last leg...
So I guess I need to go out and get something...somebody help point me in a stores overwhelm the shiznit out of me.

I need to write tons of papers and create powerpoint presentations for grad school. I need to connect to the internet.
That's about it.

Suggestions? What kind of price am I looking at?

Wodnships posted 3/12/2014 21:09 PM

If all you need is a connection to the internet the cheepest laptop anywhere should work fine for you. In a general rule if you are looking at 2 computers of the same price go with the one with the most memory over any other feature. is my favorite computer site. They have a decent HP laptop right now for $269, but you can go anywhere. HP, Dell, even wal-mart, if you have a costco card they have good deals sometime. if all that matters is surfing the web and checking your email you really can't go wrong.

sad12008 posted 3/12/2014 21:26 PM

Cheapo Depot is the way to go, IMHO. If all you need is the basics, why pay more?

If OpenOffice will work, it's free so use it.

[This message edited by sad12008 at 9:27 PM, March 12th (Wednesday)]

cayc posted 3/12/2014 22:17 PM

Well yes, if you're on a budget you'll have to go the PC route. Check out for some good prices.

If you can afford a MacBook with a solid state hard drive they are really nice. Apple sells refurbished laptops via their website which is a cheaper option if money is tight.

Either way, be sure to get a USB portable external drive. Save your stuff there. Then no matter what you do, you've got a good back up system in place.

Dreamboat posted 3/12/2014 22:44 PM

My advice is to forget brand, go for the features you need.

You need a large hard drive. That is pretty much a given now a days, but just make sure you have at least 500GB

You probably need 4GM RAM, but you absolutely do not need 16 GB RAM. If you can get 8GB for about the same price as 4GB then go for 8. But 4GB is more than adequate for what you need right now.

You do not need a video card. Unless you plan to acquire a hellofa gaming addition in the neatr future.

You need to decide if you NEED MS office or if OpenOffice will work for you. It depends upon how much you have to share with others. Porting between OpenOffice and MS Office can be a pain in the butt. I sucked up the cost for DD's laptop just to avoid that issue for her.

IMO, Macs are expensive and not compatible with 80% of the other computers in the world, so why bother. JMHO. I don;t hate Mac and I don;t hate Apple. In fact I kinda hate Microsoft, but 80% of the world uses their software and it is easier for me to use their software too.

You should pay between $200 and $400. A lot depends upon the features and software included. MS Office will tack on a good chunk of change (not sure how much right now, but generally in the past it has been between $50 and $100). So even with MS Office, do not pay more than $400. And even that is expensive, IMO.

Check the sales flyers and the websites others have suggested. See what is on sale and buy that.

This laptop will last at least 3 years and perhaps as long as 11. So when you spend the money, think that you are spreading the value across many years, so really the laptop will cost less than your internet connection in the long run.

Lionne posted 3/13/2014 00:15 AM

I am going to weigh in only on the software angle. I use Open Office. But it is tricky to share any docs with people who don't. Microsoft Office is about $200 right now. Of course if you already have a recent version if it you can load it on a new machine. It depends what version you have...

Amazonia posted 3/13/2014 08:19 AM

The fact that you're using your computer primarily for school - if you make a powerpoint that you need to show in class, if you collaborate on papers with classmates and send word processing docs back and forth, if you hand in your homework electronically - Microsoft Office Suite is worth paying for. Open Office is okay, but it's not properly compatible at the level you need, and if you're not techy, you'll probably get frustrated with the bumps you'll hit along the way much quicker.

Wodnships posted 3/13/2014 08:59 AM

I wouldn't ever suggest Open office. If you are technically inclined, you probably already know about. If not it's going to be more trouble then it's worth.

Geeks crack me up. (I say this with love guys I am one) this thread has gotten way to complicated for some very simple needs.

I will go back to what I said. Buy the cheapest laptop you can find. If there are two that are the same price buy the one with the most memory.

Don't ever think this.

FaithFool posted 3/13/2014 09:00 AM

Mac person here (I do lots of webz and grafx stuff so that's my excuse...).

If you're a student you should be able to access super cheap educational rates on software downloads.

I agree, spend the few bucks on MS Office.

I have an instructor who does his presentations trying to convert documents from Word Perfect (he really is delightfully Stone Age...) and his ancient laptop always bombs.

We spend a lot of time enjoying pictures of his cats while he tries to get things up on the screen.

[This message edited by FaithFool at 9:02 AM, March 13th (Thursday)]

sisoon posted 3/13/2014 14:19 PM

If you need MS Office, consider a Surface - very light and convenient. My son is hooked by his 1st gen Surface, and the 2nd gen is a lot better.

Microcenter and Tiger Direct are sources for good refurbed machines close to your area. I just saw a ThinkPad T400 for $140 on local Craigslist, but that's more iffy than a reputable refurb. (I suggest refurbs because you can get Windows 7 and probably Office 2010, and I do not like - that is, I hate - win 8 and O2K13 (and O2K7, for that matter).

Do you really need to collaborate?

gypsybird87 posted 3/13/2014 14:47 PM

We spend a lot of time enjoying pictures of his cats while he tries to get things up on the screen.

I agree features are more important than brand. I got a Dell laptop at Costco a little over a year ago (I think), and I love it. I chose it based on weight, battery life, features, and especially the keyboard, because I'm super picky about my keyboards. Just my dorky quirk.

As far as where to purchase, I can't recommend Costco enough. All my personal and business computers, printers etc have come from there. I like knowing its a great deal, but the best part is not having to worry about problems. I bought an HP desktop system there for my employee. It worked great then croaked after about 2 months. Costco took it back no questions asked, even though I no longer had the box for it. You can't do that at places like Best Buy or Fry's.

Good luck, and have fun shopping!

edited because apparently I can't spell "Costco"

[This message edited by gypsybird87 at 2:48 PM, March 13th (Thursday)]

tesla posted 3/13/2014 16:52 PM

I do need to collaborate and post my grad stuff to it sounds like microsoft office on the laptop is a must. Thanks for the costco suggestion...a friend has a membership so I think I'll be checking that out this weekend...didn't even think of that...just started thinking about having to go to best buy and the sensory overload that comes with that place makes me go

AgainandAgain posted 3/13/2014 18:07 PM

I've had every brand of laptop/computer out there and the best I have found is a Macbook. You can get a regular Macbook Air and they last quite a while. I've had my Macbook for over 2 years and only one issue which the Genius Bar solved within minutes for free

If you contact Apple, they have a discount for students but they have a deeper discount for teachers. I saved over $600 for mine but I got all the bells and whistles with it. I also purchased an external hard drive so I could back up photos, reports, documents, etc. It was 500 GB for $110.

Plus, they have interest free financing for up to 18 months so you buy and pay no interest for a year and a half.

ETA that I have Microsoft Office on my Mac. My DS is homeschooled and does presentations and such. His teacher was quite impressed with his tools he has. You said you post to blackboard but I don't know if that is a literal blackboard or Blackboard Collaborate. My DS's 1st grade teacher had a Macbook and did all her presentations on it.

I hope that helps!

[This message edited by AgainandAgain at 6:11 PM, March 13th (Thursday)]

StrongerOne posted 3/13/2014 21:02 PM

I teach and direct curriculum and teaching at a university. Get the MS office. Very cheap once you are a student. OpenOffice is unlikely to be supported by the school and you will have a hell of a time getting your work into a format that your instructors and classmates can look at. That's exactly what happens to several of my students every year. This year I have a stubborn cuss who will not be passing my class because he hasn't turned in anything that I can actually open, read, and grade. Then again, he's not passing anything else either, so...

caregiver9000 posted 3/13/2014 21:10 PM

one more option to consider!!

Google. If you create a gmail account, the google drive has a presentation tool. Sharing and collaborating with other google users is beyond easy. Uploading to blackboard is doable to the best of my knowledge. (last class I took used moodle which is similar)

Best thing about the google drive is it is in the cloud, so it is available no matter what device you are on.

I just had my laptop die. I replaced it with a Dell I order from Amazon. Biggest complaint I have is that a few of the default settings made web surfing impossible. And the mouse pad buttons are "loud." I paid less than $400.

h0peless posted 3/13/2014 21:34 PM

I bought a $300 refurbished laptop from about six months ago and it has worked out really well for me. Brand does matter. The chassis design and the cooling make a huge difference when it comes to reliability and some brands last a lot longer than others. My Mom bought a much higher end HP laptop at the same time I bought my Asus and it has already been in for warranty repair twice.

This chart is a little dated (I think it's from 2009 so it's really dated by computer standards but it's still being cited by tech sites) but it might help you choose.

million pieces posted 3/14/2014 08:58 AM

Didn't read all the responses, but I think as an educator and as a student you can get some good deals on software and computers. MS Office would be a must. I rarely use it, so didn't get it, but will next time. Have a lot of issues with kids school stuff.

itainteasy posted 3/14/2014 13:36 PM

I have a Toshiba that is under a year old. I like it a lot, though the microsoft tile thing took a little getting used to.

My internet is awesome, I have it through TimeWarner. I spent the $$ on microsoft office. I didn't get the subscription one, I bought the one time download one. I didn't see the point of paying $99 for the subscription EVERY YEAR. No thanks.

I also have a Sony Vaio that worked wonderfully for 5 yrs. Then the harddrive died. It cost me $60 for a new hard drive, and the laptop is good as new. (only down side is I didn't pay for the Geek Squad to recover any of the files that were in my documents or pictures that were stored, so I lost all of that.)

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