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Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
6/10/08 12:14 a.m.

Um, yeah and how many laptops does Dell sell?

Also since most people are too cheap to pony up the bucks for the onsite repair, they have to be sent back and forth. This is not exactly unheard of in the electronics world.

I've used Dell's almost exclusively throughout my IT experience and unless you really beat them to death they have worked well for my users and I. Like I said before, stay away from the inspirons and other home units and try to snag a Latitude as they tend to be a little better built.

Most of the issues I've seen were with the operating system, the batteries or the harddrive. There were a number of issues with people shipping the machines poorly (amazingly when I worked at a freight company I saw some of the worst packing jobs you could imagine.

That was mostly on the early Dell's which had "customized" versions of Windows, most manufacturers hve given up on that outside of Sony. Learn to reload the operating system yourself and you'll be miles ahead of most folks. BTW, Hard drives are relatively cheap now and batteries simply wear out and should be replaced.

Luke
Luke UberDork
6/10/08 12:24 a.m.

My former highschool and the University I attend now, both use exclusively Dell, seemingly without major issues.

I've had a couple of Toshiba notebooks (Satellite series), and they've been great, (apart from having relatively short battery lives that is.) Whatever you do don't get a Durabook (Toughbook rip off.) My Dad bought one 'cos he thought it would be cool, and it turned out to be nothing but a flimsy piece of crap. As soon as the warranty expired, it began to fall apart.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
6/17/08 2:21 p.m.

What about the student discounts that Apple offers? By the way, I have Dell horror stories, too.

Jack
Jack SuperDork
6/17/08 2:33 p.m.

I have three Dell machine (1 laptop, 2 desktops) and beyond the dedicated power supply wiring issue, which they are now past, I have no issues with Dell. They are solid machines. If I didn't start building my own, I'd likely buy a Dell again.

Jack

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 2:56 p.m.

I am baffled by the people hanging on to the notion of "just not liking" Apples. To me, this is like the people who won't look at BMWs because they're "Nazi cars". In other words, it's a prejudice that may have had some legitimate basis in the distant past, but at this point is completely silly and irrational. Apples ARE pc laptops at this point, they just happen to come installed with an OS that many people prefer over Windows. If you hate it you can wipe it and run whatever OS you want, or dual boot, or use virtualization, etc. etc. They aren't the cheapest, no, but they are usually price competitive when compared feature for feature with PCs. They just don't offer bargain priced loss leader models. And when you consider the included software, generally higher quality of construction, and resale value, Mac laptops are often cheaper to run and own. Not to mention the free support you get if you have a local Apple store. The student discounts/special offers are also very generous, especially around back to school time when they tend to give away Ipods with them. I'm not saying Apple always has what everyone needs, just that you shouldn't rule them out for no reason.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
6/17/08 4:00 p.m.

I don't like Apple because of the Steve Jobs tax where you buy a product and within a few months or a year, a newer version is out with more features that is cheaper. If you're lucky you may find that it is backwards compatible. If you're unlucky, well, sorry mate!

They do have wonderful designs though, I will grant them that. Their user interface isn't bad, certainly the multi-touch of the newer iPhones is a great solution.

In the grand scheme of things if I wanted to move away from Windows, I'd go Linux with a regular PC/Laptop. One that I can more easily upgrade, repair, etc. that is just me being me and not buying into the Apple hype simply to be trendy.

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 4:17 p.m.
fiat22turbo wrote: I don't like Apple because of the Steve Jobs tax where you buy a product and within a few months or a year, a newer version is out with more features that is cheaper.

Um, this is the most ludicrous argument of all. Welcome to the wonderful world of consumer electronics. Whatever you bought today will be cheaper, faster, and more feature packed tomorrow, and this will continue to happen until the end of time. Thanks for playing :).

Also, I fail to see how upgrading an Apple laptop is harder than any other laptop. Ram is easy, hard drives are a minor pain as always, and everything else is a major PITA if possible, which is just like every laptop on the planet. I will leave the Macbook Air out of this argument obviously, but that's a niche product even among Apples. Their desktops OTOH are rigoddamndiculously easy to upgrade. Drive and card swaps take about 2 minutes.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
6/17/08 5:05 p.m.
fiat22turbo wrote: ....If you're lucky you may find that it is backwards compatible. If you're unlucky, well, sorry mate!...

Although very true and potentially frustrating, this is also a respectable aspect of Apple, they have the courage to change. An example of not having the courage to change is the elephant balanced on a marble that Windows is. The move to OSX was a very bold move, but a much better idea than pilling more crap onto System 9 (see Windows).

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/17/08 5:16 p.m.

Okay, I don't care for Macs.

I kinda like their laptops. The construction quality is good. However, they only have one mouse button. That's stoopid and wouldn't be able to stand that.

The desktop machines... are now just PCs but with MacOS, and much more expensive. You can buy a new mouse to give you the necessary number of buttons.

But I don't like MacOS. It seems to assume that I'm a complete moron, or a unix programming sys-admin. I really hate dealing with drivers. MacOS comes loaded with "all the drivers you'll ever need", if you attach a peripheral that it doesn't have a driver for, then clearly that's not the right peripheral and you shouldn't be using it. If it was a device suitable for you to use, MacOS would already have the drivers.

I've also seen my dad (who is a computer genius; helped develop PPP and the first dial-up router) manage to loose Safari from all of the machines on a network. Just... gone.

I've also had a brand new Mac decide I didn't actually put a CD in the drive. No, not a "blank CD" image... nothing. Which with their brilliant design and ergonomics meant that I need to hunt around for half-an-hour online to figure out how to eject the disk that MacOS brilliantly decided didn't exist.

ARGH! I had more problems in dealing with Mac Minis for two weeks, than in dealing with franken-puters for most of college.

Again, the hardware is the same. Only the case is different. In which case, I'll spend the money on a Lian-Li case and have the best there is. Then I'll save money by just building my own machine.

And Macs don't have any modern games. And I don't know if their MoBos support SLi, but I suspect not.

Twin_Cam
Twin_Cam UltraDork
6/17/08 6:06 p.m.

I will never, ever recommend anything other than an Apple anymore. Mine is almost 4 years old and I haven't had a single problem with it, except for a CD drive that's a little disfigured, but still works well.

Yea, it was more expensive than a PC would've been ($950), but it NEVER freezes. I would pay way more than $950 to never have to deal with a frozen computer or the Blue Screen of Death again.

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 6:18 p.m.
Salanis wrote: Okay, I don't care for Macs. I kinda like their laptops. The construction quality is good. However, they only have one mouse button. That's stoopid and wouldn't be able to stand that.

I guess I'll give you that one. I do wish they would give up and put two buttons on the trackpad. So does most of the Mac user community. This is one I can't figure out.

However, I hate trackpads to begin with, and even with a laptop I almost always carry a little wireless mouse along, and never use a trackpad unless I am on a plane or something and it's utterly infeasible to use a mouse, so this little niggle doesn't bother me all that much in regular use. Plus if you REALLY demand the function of the second button, control-click on a trackpad where your hands are right there anyway is not THAAAT much of a nuisance.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter UltimaDork
6/17/08 6:34 p.m.

Actually, the new trackpads are pretty sweet... two button functionality without the second button. Just put a second finger on the pad.

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 7:06 p.m.

Does that actually work this time, or is it like the mighty mouse? I'm sort of in the market for a Laptop right now (as in, I really want one, I can't afford one, but I might buy one anyway).

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter UltimaDork
6/17/08 7:08 p.m.

Seems to work pretty well. I rarely use it (I actually rarely use the trackpad at all, being more of a keyboard guy), but it seems to work pretty well. I have a mighty mouse... I hear eventually you get used to it. I keep waiting. Actually, it's OK so long as you only configure it for two buttons (plus the scroll wheel button) add in the side ones, and it's too much. Inadvertently triggering things all over the place.

Anyways, I wouldn't recommend the Mighty Mouse.. I'd say just go get whatever mouse you like and plug it in. Cheaper, and probably better.

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 7:28 p.m.

I have logitech cordless notebook mice scattered all around the house :)

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
6/17/08 7:35 p.m.
Salanis wrote: And Macs don't have any modern games. And I don't know if their MoBos support SLi, but I suspect not.

Uh, my quad-core PowerMac plays WoW just fine.

Wait, there are OTHER games? Hmm. First I've heard.

And, yeah, I have Logitech mice and keyboards for all my Macs, too. Like 'em a lot.

jg

Josh
Josh SuperDork
6/17/08 8:46 p.m.

People still play games on computers? I mean aside from low-tech mmorpgs. I don't know what the kiddies are up to these days, but everyone my age seems to have gotten tired of having to buy a $400 graphics card with each new game, and stick to the consoles now. Let's see, spend $400 on a console and run all the latest games flawlessly for several years, or buy a graphics card and run all the latest games flawlessly for several months...

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UberDork
6/17/08 8:51 p.m.
Josh wrote: People still play games on computers? I mean aside from low-tech mmorpgs. I don't know what the kiddies are up to these days, but everyone my age seems to have gotten tired of having to buy a $400 graphics card with each new game, and stick to the consoles now. Let's see, spend $400 on a console and run all the latest games flawlessly for several years, or buy a graphics card and run all the latest games flawlessly for several months...

Ooooh, them's fighting words!

Unfortunately, I'm busy tonight and cannot engage in battle.

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter UltimaDork
6/17/08 9:09 p.m.

I can't play games on my computer cause I'm always working on it. Consoles are the way to go.

Brian
Brian MegaDork
6/17/08 9:53 p.m.

As an art/design student, I have plenty of exsperience with macs. Unless you are doing hard core editing type work(or downloading LOTS of porn, the #1 way to get viruses), it's not worth paying double vs. a PC,IMHO.

Thats just my $.02

Tim Baxter
Tim Baxter UltimaDork
6/17/08 10:36 p.m.

Double? Compare comparable machines. Macs are very competitively priced, for a comparable machine. They just don't compete in the low end commodity machine sector.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
6/18/08 1:00 a.m.

Yes. A Mac will run WoW. I love how, everytime the "no games" issue is brought up, Mac-philes always say that it has WoW... because that's about it. There have been other games since WoW. There are game companies other than Blizzard.

If you have a PC, you can find out what the Orange Box is really about.

And the "need a new $400 video card" is B.S. My <$200 machine has yet to be unable to run a video game. Crysis is the only game that was occasionally a little choppy. Even turned all the way down, graphics on this POS are way better than on my PS3.

$400 on a console... and you can run a bunch of games using the technology that was old on the PC a year ago... and they will look just as crappy for the life of the machine. Or that $250 graphics card, which will actually last you the lifespan of a console generation, but you might decide to upgrade it before then anyway because PC game developers didn't freeze the evolution of their craft with the technology from 3 years ago. But I guess you figure this is the "latest" in games if you're used to the selection for the Mac.

I love how the prettiest games I've seen on my PS3 are put to shame by Half-Life 2. I believe that came out something like 5 years ago.

I can buy a nice Falcon-NW machine for the price of a Mac. And play games on it that aren't 4 years old.

oldopelguy
oldopelguy UberDork
6/18/08 4:08 a.m.

Probably no good for an only computer, I love my eePC for traveling and take it with me nearly everywhere. With the new, bigger screen on the 900-series I can actually surf most internet sites (still hate the big side bar here, lol) and while it won't do big-time gaming it's done everything I've asked of it so far, including simultanious GPS, Sat radio, and OBD-2 data streaming.

And it's tiny, which is cool too.

CivicSiRacer
CivicSiRacer Reader
6/18/08 10:17 a.m.

Gah I wrote up this great post and I got an error message.

Anyway I would invest in a cable lock or some sort of security measures for your computer or laptoip. Back in my days of college my computer was HUGE and heavy, and would be next to impossible to steal. But nowadays laptops are small and so are desktops. A person could just walk in and grab your stuff in 10 seconds or less.

There are some good fingerprint recognition software/hardware, you don't want anyone just to steal your laptop and have free reign. I would also password protect your log-in screen as a 1st line of defense.

Other thing I can think of is maybe a good heavy duty file cabinet that locks, so when you leave your room and you have a stupid roommate like I did who always left the room unlocked because he would always lock himself out of the room you can have a little peace of mind.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
6/18/08 4:11 p.m.
fiat22turbo wrote: If you do go with a Dell, stay away from the home-based versions (inspiron) and try to find a Latitude series. The Latitude is the business based version and tends to be a bit more durable. Lenovo's (IBM) are the some of the most durable laptops around, outside of purpose built "rugged" portables, period. Can't go wrong there.

+1 on the Dell. I HATE the company, but my work laptop is a maxed out Precision M65 Workstation and it has been really good. I have not travelled much with it though.

My Lenovo/IBM was simple and basic, but tough as nails. I loved it. It never let me down through much abuse.

I also had a Toshiba laptop, a convertible tablet style. Perfect for my needs at the time, I really liked it and never had a problem.

Stay away from Macs. Only weirdos and graphic artists use those misfits. One mouse button? I guess you are OK with a girl with one eye too. Right in the middle of her head. Freaks.

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