Wife needs a new PC

Discussion in 'The Barber Shop' started by njpaddy, Sep 11, 2019.

    My wife has an 8 year old Dell running Win7 and a 5 year old HP laptop running Win8 (we both hate 8). Rather than waste money on upgrading her pc to Win10, she's considering a laptop, where she can use a full size monitor and keyboard at her desk and use the laptop to take on the road or stream movies in other parts of the house. We were at a Microsoft store today and she liked the Lenovo Flex 14" laptop with 16GB ram. Anyone have comments on the Lenovo or suggestions for a laptop that she can substitute for a desktop.

    At present, I'm only looking for something for my wife. My pc, which I built with Intel in '07, upgraded, then rebuilt in '14 with AMD is also running Win7. I'm undecided about mine. I'm a dinosaur and hate change. I'm perfectly happy running Office '97 and older games on Steam until it tanks. It will take a motherboard or hard drive failure for me to do another rebuild.
  1. I highly recommend getting getting something with a good screen resolution. It will be much easier on the eyes if she is staring at the monitor for any significant length of time. As far as Lenovo, the seem to be about average laptops from what I have heard.

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  2. Go Chromebook - both the HP x360 14" and the Asus C434 come with 8GB RAM, great keyboard, trackpad and screen, always on sale for well under $500. Unless you 100% need a very specific Windows-only app (and let's be honest, you don't :) , you'll not find any equivalent hardware for anywhere near the price.
  3. For myself, I only buy Thinkpads. But I have worked in IT for along time and know what I can trust and how far.

    Currently have an older Thinkpad Yoga (which is 5 years old and only now the battery is toast) and an X1 Extreme (which is REALLY nice).

    Lenovo's consumer-grade stuff is fine. If I wasn't a Thinkpad guy, I'd probably have bought a mid-high range Ideapad of some ilk.

    For Dell laptops I would stick to the Latitude or XPS lines. Nothing else. And still buy a warranty.

    HP, it's Elitebooks or Probooks or nothing.

    Lightcs177s makes a good point about resolution. Never go below 1080p. Aside from the pixel density, lower resolution screens are also usually dim, junk panels with poor color rendition and bad viewing angles. There is also not a huge case to be made for going over 1080p either for just regular everyday use. As long as it's a decent panel, that's more important than having 4k resolution. For editing photos, sure, get a Dolby 4k panel like Lenovo has on their absolute top-of-the-line X-series Thinkpads. They are gorgeous. Personally, I didn't bother because if I'm going to be doing anything that requires such a nice screen, I'm going to use a large external monitor so I can see better.

    Screen size does matter. Current trend is to stuff a 15" panel into a chassis that isn't much bigger than the 14" models. I like this trend as screen real estate is nice to have, but a huge fat laptop is not. My X1 Extreme is like this, as would be something like the Dell XPS15. Thin and light, but still a good size screen.

    If your wife actually anticipates docking and undocking her laptop a lot, it may make sense to get a model with a dedicated docking connector and a port replicator. You can get a USB-C dock and use for anything, of course, but using the docking connector is pretty convenient and it's a connector designed for durability that will take docking and undocking a couple times a day for years.

    IMO, Chromebooks make a great second laptop. Great for what they do, and as long as you understand their limitations, they are a bargain.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
  4. IIRC, Chromebooks do about everything on "the cloud." Whenever someone goes on about "the cloud," I feel like Drac in the song-around-the-campfire scene in Hotel Transylvania II. If someone wants to do everything on "the cloud," that's their choice, but I'm not a big fan of "the cloud" and increasingly less of one on Google products. "The cloud" + Google = No Thanks on my part.

    The Flex looks like it could double as a large tablet, which is interesting. The screen works out to be largish for a tablet, but small for a laptop (14" diagonal should be 12.2" x 6.86"). It all depends on how it will be used away from home.
  5. I replaced my laptop with a tablet. An iPad. I love it. I mean the majority of my time online is entertainment. When I need to do some real work, I add a keyboard and I’m off. I doubt i’ll ever stop being a tablet kind of guy.
  6. I have my old MacBook that is still going strong, I run windows on it when needed and it does everything else I need. Most of the time though I just use my iPhone, only use the laptop when I’m typing or editing photos.
  7. I will echo the high marks generally given for the Thinkpad line of computers from Lenovo.
  8. I inherited a Lenovo laptop from my son when he bought a new one. It was running Win 10 and was horribly sluggish.
    I bulldozed it and repaved it with Lubuntu (a species of Linux). It became much more responsive.
    Now several keys on the keyboard don't work, but that's a hardware issue and an external keyboard is okay.

    Soon though, I plan to get a MacBook Pro (to replace my 2007 Mac Mini) and then partition it to run Mac OS or Ubuntu.
  9. Chromebooks can actually do everything locally now, the cloud is just for backups and connectivity (just like every other laptop out there of course.). And while you need a Google account to get set up, it can be a dummy account that isn't otherwise used for anything else.

    And I really can't think of any drawbacks or limitations unless you do a lot of video editing. With the ability to install Linux and Android, the world's your oyster.
  10. The one issue that prevents me from getting a chromebook is the lack of full MS Office. I am able to easily install Office 2010 on my Linux Mint laptop via Wine and PlayOnLinux. While I like Libre Office and Open Office, there are too many pluses to MS Office when doing college papers. The MS Office for chromebook is limited, as is the web browser based version.

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  11. My issue with chromebook is Google. I wouldn't use one if it was free.
  12. Ran into something interesting a couple of days ago. Had problems with a Word template needed for work. Desperation time: Loaded it in LibreOfffice. I use LibreOffice at home, and at work have used it to recover corrupted .doc files Word wouldn't open. It was much easier using the template in LibreOffice than in Word. Wasn't really expecting that, but didn't argue with the outcome.
  13. Interesting. I will have to see if they updated any of their formatting capabilities. My biggest concern is being able to quickly and easily create references in APA format. Word makes it easy to select a hanging paragraph. It also made Turibian formating easy, which was a common requirement in my last degree program, but not this one. Once I am done with college courses, at which point I will be near 60,i can use any document application without any concerns.

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  14. Lenovo's consumer PCs are as okay as anyone else's. Thinkpads are excellent. Anything should have an SSD now. Mechanical hard drives are just painfully slow in comparison, the 5400RPM drives that generally get put into laptops are the worst.
  15. Most likely it can be done, but whether it can be done easily, can't say. LibreOffice has its quirks, but for me the price is right. For Office, I balk at the price, and MS is pushing the annual subscription model.

    A nuts and bolts issue for me is the Home and Student edition states it for non-commercial use. All fine and good. But if I were to write and sell a story in Home Edition, would that count as commercial use? Most likely. That just bumped up the price to just over the mid $200s, IIRC, for the next step up.
  16. I agree. I get Office through work and college, so the price for either is the same for me.

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  17. Just an update. We went with the Lenovo Flex with 16GB of ram from a Microsoft Store to replace my wife's 8yo Dell desktop and HP laptop. The Lenovo Flex is really fast. The Microsoft store sales & tech guy were very helpful and they also matched Amazon prices for a MS bluetooth keyboard and mouse for my wife, and a 1TB Samsung T5 SSD backup drive for me (no way was I leaving a computer store empty handed). My wife also got Office 365 with OneDrive cloud storage.

    I have to admit that Win10 isn't as bad as I expected. I dreaded working on my wife's Win8 HP laptop and I expected 10 to be worse than 8, but it's much better. I've used Windows pc's since 3.1 and 8 was the worst (even worse than Vista). End result: My wife is a happy camper with her Lenovo Flex. She can use the Flex as a laptop or jack in a HDMI cable from her old 24" Dell monitor when she needs a bigger screen. As the saying goes, if she's happy, I'm happy.

    Now, I've got 4 months to figure out what to do about my Win7 pc. I'm undecided if I should try upgrading to Win10 on a AMD FX8350 with 8GB of ram, upgrade/rebuild my pc, or buy new. I've always enjoyed building and ungrading pc's, but I'm getting old and lazy. As I don't need a monitor or any peripherals, I'm considering saving some money and buying a mid-range Digital Storm rather than doing another rebuild. I always go way over-budget when building my own pc.

    To be continued...........
  18. When purchasing a computer, the first question you have to answer is: What is the computer to be used for?

    If you want to play modern Steam games in high resolution, you need to high-powered computer with a fast CPU and a high-end graphics card. 16 mb of RAM and an SSD also helps.

    If you want to edit movies shot on a Go Pro or other camera, you need a lot of memory and a fast CPU, but you do not need a high-end graphics card.

    If you are like most people and use a computer for surfing the web, sending email, streaming full HD video and music, etc. nearly any mid-range or higher computer will do.

    When purchasing a computer, be sure you examine specifications carefully. For example, many laptop computers will say they have Intel i7 processors, but you may find that it has a "U" processor that is designed for low power usage rather than high performance. If your intent is to use the computer plugged in most of the time as a desktop replacement, you may find the tradeoff of power usage and performance does not meet your needs. Some Core i5 processors have more physical cores than some Core i7 "U" processors.

    Since you tend to keep computers for a long time (8 year old Dell), I suggest you purchase the best computer you can afford. You might not need it now, but you may find that you need it 5 years from now. I have several computers that I thought I would never outgrow, but they have been replaced for improved performance.

    Although there is little content for 4K resolution video these days, there will be more in the future, so you might want a computer capable of 4K resolution video. If it is a laptop, you might not want a 4K screen, but being able to drive a 4K monitor or TV might be useful.
  19. Esox

    Esox Ambassador

    If you're happy with your CPU it should be fine. If you do any video encoding, photoshop work or work with very large files you might increase your memory to 16gb.

    Win7 Ultimate was my favorite OS until I changed to Win10. For the first week or so I set up a dual boot between Win7 and Win10 and compared them both. They each had the same programs installed and I did the same things on both OS's. Once I learned how to properly set up Win10, I wiped my SSD, loaded Win10 and never looked back. That was July 16 2016.

    I've been using a Creative X-Fi sound card for about 12 years now and the only drivers that I can make work properly are Vista 32bit. When I was an online gamer and using Win7 I'd sometimes have a conflict and BSOD once a month or so. Since I've changed to Win10 I havent had a single BSOD and I'm still doing the same things.

    Win10 manages memory differently, and better, than Win7. I easily go two weeks between reboots and I'm only using 8gb DDR3 1600 memory. Lately I've been re-encoding video files and thinking about adding another 8gb of memory.

    Support for Win7 ends January 2020 so if you rely on Windows Updates, they'll be ending.


    If you dont rely on Windows Updates, I havent since Vista cured me of them, it wont matter. You can use Win7, or any other version, indefinitely without updates.

    I have all Windows Updates turned off on my Win10 install, you can do it. You have full custom control of a Win10 Professional environment. Learning how it works is similar to Win7, but as I said, more complex, flexible and customizable. Learning to use the Group Policy Editor is a must. Its a very powerful tool for customization and turning off all the data logging and tracking inherent to both Win7 and Win10, but its more invasive in Win10.


    Once fully set up how you like it, it also has Disc Imaging software included in it that allows you to save an image of your OS drive to an external device, the same as Norton Ghost. In over 3 years now, I havent had to reload my image or even a restore point.

    Overall I find Win10 far nicer than Win7. Its faster, more stable, more responsive and looks nicer. I've not had a single issue.

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