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tlcmd

Need New Computer

8 posts in this topic

Moderator: If this is not in the right topic, please move it.

My wife' computer is 10 years old and is the big Windows user here and as we move toward on-line banking, etc, we're going to have to replace it. She's also the family financial wizard, so will need a new one, preferably a laptop. She is more comfortable with the Windows OS, currently running Windows XP SP 3. Neither of us is gamers so do not need a computer with bells and whistles. Replacement is going to be essential since XP's support and updates from Microsoft cease in April 2014.

I'm raising these questions here since most of y'all are experienced Windows users and are not trying to sell me anything, and I believe I can get honest appraisals of the newer Windows OS's.

Other than the new Windows 8.1 (Blue), is anyone aware of the next OS coming out from Microsoft, as well as any anticipated breakthroughs in computer hardware. BTW, we're 72 so will probably never be computer gurus.

My questions

1) Which Windows OS should we get for a new computer, 7, 8, 8.1, or wait for a few more months?

2) Since we use our appliances, cars, etc until they become unreliable, what is a reasonable amount of hardware to have on a new computer (probably laptop)?

3) Any other comments would be appreciated.

Note: I'm slowly moving to a LINUS distro for my use, so our current computers will work for me until they "die" and I do keep their data backed up on an external HDD.

Thank you for your time and advice.

tlcmd (aka Dick)

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It sounds like you have decided on a laptop, this limits the screen size considerably. I don't know if you ever used a large screen but it allows more information available to be displayed at a time, and also allows you to crank up the font size if your eyes are less than optimal. So I would immediately look for the biggest screen available. If money were not a big consideration I would be looking at higher quality 17+ inch Toshiba laptops with lighted keyboard and good reputation, photo ( I have no stock in them, but have used a few, and there are certainly others besides Toshiba ).The point is that Life is far too short to always be using technocrap.

But note that there are such things now called AIO ( all-in-one ), photo, which can almost be compared to laptops because of the lack of wires everywhere, they are not foldable and travel worthy but they are far from immovable around the house. If the laptop decision matrix demands true portability ( cars, airplanes, whatever ) then AIO is not a choice. If you only plan to shuffle it around the home, it might be a good option because you can get even larger screens.

The operating system decision is personal when considering the difference between Windows 7 and 8. The first question is what do you know about 8? There is a legendary thread here called Windows 8 - Deeper Impressions ( not too mention everywhere else on the internet ) that will illustrate every bad thing about it. However, if you want to use a touchscreen with an OS that approximates a cellphone interface, then by all means do it. It gives you the option to not only use a mouse and keyboard, but also push things around on the screen with your finger.

As far as availability, a laptop or AIO with Windows 7 will be much harder to come by ( though Toshiba and high-end manufacturers will probably have some laptops at least ), but the vast majority will ship only with Windows 8.

If you decide to go with touch and Windows 8 you will still have a usable desktop, but it will not look like Windows 7 or XP, because they have pulled away most of the visual effects from recent years. Theming is not the same as it was in XP and I think the flattening of the visuals and whitewashing of Windows removes the clear and crisp delineation between desktop objects, making it less friendly to my older eyes. But that's just me. Probably of most importance they have completely removed the Start Button and the now 18-year old Start Menu. Here are a couple of images of what to expect if you launch it and go to the "desktop" ...

windows8-desktop.jpg

windows-8-desktop-interface-color-changfe.jpg

windows-8-desktop.png

If you are so inclined you can actually add back some of the things Microsoft ripped away: Ways to get back the Start Menu/Button in Win8.

Windows 7 itself is quite a change from Windows XP, so either way you will have a little shock. The main difference is that on Windows 8 the Start Menu is no longer a failsafe fallback for those familiar with it.

So it comes down on the choice of operating system I guess. But most importantly of all, have your wife also look at images and read some comments first before deciding. You don't want to get served divorce papers because you brought home the wrong operating system! :lol:

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If you decide on Windows 7, you will probably not be able to go down to the local big box store and get one.

I had a friend get a HP laptop with Windows 7 on it within the last few months. They said they had to go straight to HP and use the telephone, but they were able to get it with Windows 7 installed. I also recall seeing somewhere that Lenovo was still selling Windows 7 computers.

Adding to what Charlotte said about the bigger screen, remember that on most laptops you can hook up an external monitor and then have the best of both worlds. A Big screen when at home and a portable to take on the road.

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Sorry, but those all-in-ones are just plain laptops in most cases (on the inside); when it breaks, it most-likely ready for the trash. Most of the laptops and AIOs are just made to use for a few years and even IF you take real good care of them, they will fail within 3 years as THAT is how they are build/designed. "The point is that Life is far too short to always be using technocrap." - and I call AIOs and laptops technocrap :).

I would go for a sturdy PC again; easy to repair if some part breaks down or needs to be upgraded for what ever reason. You will save some cash too (the wife will love that for sure ;)) on the purchase. Power-consumption can be the same as a laptop or AIO. The only question is, can you build your own or do want to buy an out-of-the -box PC?

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Sorry, but those all-in-ones are just plain laptops in most cases (on the inside); when it breaks, it most-likely ready for the trash. Most of the laptops and AIOs are just made to use for a few years and even IF you take real good care of them, they will fail within 3 years as THAT is how they are build/designed. "The point is that Life is far too short to always be using technocrap." - and I call AIOs and laptops technocrap :).

I would go for a sturdy PC again; easy to repair if some part breaks down or needs to be upgraded for what ever reason. You will save some cash too (the wife will love that for sure ;)) on the purchase. Power-consumption can be the same as a laptop or AIO. The only question is, can you build your own or do want to buy a out-of-the -box PC?

I work in a repair shop for all computers, and the only brand with reliable all-in-ones are Apple iMacs. Sounds ridiculous, but it's true, because Apple doesn't use laptop cooling. It's based on the cooling of a laptop, but the fans are actually decent.

Get a good mATX or mITX machine and a low end dual core Pentium, 4GB of RAM, and a small SSD (80-120gb). Keep a regular backup, and you'll never have an issue with that machine, and you'll never hear a sound out of it. Shouldn't cost you more than $600 in parts either as long as you shop around.

If you wanted to buy one pre-built, look at the selection from Logic Supply. They aren't cheap, but have excellent support reps that will help you out. Those thin clients will do more than your wife will need it to do for years and years.

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Sorry, but those all-in-ones are just plain laptops in most cases (on the inside); when it breaks, it most-likely ready for the trash. Most of the laptops and AIOs are just made to use for a few years and even IF you take real good care of them, they will fail within 3 years as THAT is how they are build/designed. "The point is that Life is far too short to always be using technocrap." - and I call AIOs and laptops technocrap :).

I would go for a sturdy PC again; easy to repair if some part breaks down or needs to be upgraded for what ever reason. You will save some cash too (the wife will love that for sure ;)) on the purchase. Power-consumption can be the same as a laptop or AIO. The only question is, can you build your own or do want to buy an out-of-the -box PC?

Yeah, I wasn't really recommending an AIO, just mentioning an option. I also look at them as big laptops, they are certainly portable enough to move around a house on a whim, but definitely not anywhere else really. Thing is, they do bring one good thing to the table, a large screen ( without any need for using a separate one ) so cranked up font and icon sizes don't use up all the real estate. This is a big deal when you get older ( and for some young'ins I would imagine ). Additionally, if the couple decides they want Windows 8 and a touch screen, an AIO might be a good fit. In fact, it may be the only real good fit for that pOS. :lol: For anyone curious, a good article from today that shows the AIO innards and discusses the differences with desktops ...

How to Build: All-in-One PC ( Maximum PC 2013-06-20 )

Overall I'd still recommend a good laptop, possibly a gamer model to get the best spec'd parts. If using Intel, i5 minimum, i7 preferably. Make sure it has as many communication options as possible like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC, and many video output connectors and then you can easily do what someone said above, just mirror the display to a large monitor or even a Smart TV. There really are so many ways to do these things nowadays.

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Microsoft will stop updating Xp in 2014 (be there still bugs or not) but you can continue using it.

A laptop has only drawbacks except its size. Take a desktop as far as you can.

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My questions

1) Which Windows OS should we get for a new computer, 7, 8, 8.1, or wait for a few more months?

2) Since we use our appliances, cars, etc until they become unreliable, what is a reasonable amount of hardware to have on a new computer (probably laptop)?

If you get a laptop, tlcmd, then I'd recommend sticking with the OS that's included--especially if you'll depend on the warranty for service, because servicing hardware in a laptop yourself is a PITA. :) For this reason I consider laptops to be disposable PCs.

A laptop won't last as long as a well maintained desktop PC. Laptops are easier to break and lose. And replacement parts are cheaper and easier to source for desktops than they are for laptops.

Edited by 5eraph
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