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buying a laptop - advice please (again!)
Thread poster: xxxLia Fail
xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 10, 2002

I got some very useful advice here recently about what to look out for when buying a laptop. I have investigated various offers, and have a few final questions to put to you who know about these things:



I will go for a min 1000Mhz/20Gb/256Mb/14 inch screen/DVD



Given a limited budget, of the options of more Mhz, more Gb or more Mb, which is the more important?



Is there an ideal ratio between the three (in other words, would one have problems of having one of these elements enormous and the others normal)? Is there any possible problems of \'overloading\' a laptop?



As far as the DVD goes, I\'ve seen that there is sometimes the option of a DVD-CDRW (I think), a kind of Combo? Of what use is that? I only have CD-ROM at present so am not very well aware of DVD or DVD+CD benefits.



As far as my usage is concerned, what I want is a fairly powerful laptop for processing texts (not for games or anything else).



Finally, I will be living between 2 (EU) countries next year and am taking this into consideration in terms of warranty, but...any advice on this aspect?



Thanks to all in advance.





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MIGUEL JIMENEZ  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
MY LAPTOP Mar 10, 2002

HI



I WOULD DEFINETLY GO FOR THE CONFIGURATION THAT YOU HAVE OUTLINED. I BOUGHT A LAPTOP WITH THOSE SPECIFICATIONS LAST YEARS AND IT IS GREAT.

AS FAR AS THE DVD-CDRW, I GOT IT AND IT IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT. YOU FEEL SO FREE WHEN YOU HAVE ONE OF THOSE. YOU MIGHT CONSIDER ANOTHER OPTION IF YOU USE YOUR CDROM ALL THE TIME. THAT USE CAN MAKE THE DVD-CDRW WEAR TOO SOON.



MAKE SURE THAT THE LAPTOP HAS A 10/100 ETHERNET CONNECTION FOR CABLE INTERNET. I HAVE ONE OF THOSE AND THAT WAY YOU HAVE YOUR USB PORT FOR OTHER USES.



GOOD LUCK AND HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR LAPTOP.



MIGUEL

(BY THE WAY, I BOUGTH MINE IN THE USA AND I WAS MUCH CHEAPER THAN IN SPAIN.....)


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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:34
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
laptop discussion Mar 10, 2002

Hello Ailish,



As I\'m sure you know, the more you pay the more you get. Generally a laptop costs twice as much as a desktop computer. There are certain limitations which I won\'t go into here but my opinion is that almost anything you buy over a certain price (over 2000 euros or so) will suit a serious translator\'s needs. Most laptops on sale these days have at least 64 Mb RAM (good for opening several programs at once) but perhaps a translator would be more interested in at least 128 Mb if he/she wants to have electronic dictionaries in memory while working.

If you got a hard disk with only 20 Gb then you might want to also buy a CD-RW perepheral (be careful that it is external which can be hooked up to a laptop). This would be a good idea to free up space on your hard drive as well as back up your work.



As far as MHz goes, 1000 sounds good.



Brands that seem to have a good reputation:



Laptops - HP, Toshiba, IBM

Hard drives - Toshiba

Brand X - Laptops are much touchier than desktops and are much harder to open up and work on. You\'re call.



In any case once you buy it I guarantee you\'ll find a much better offer within a month and that your beloved laptop will be old, wrinkled and obsolete within 4 years.





Good luck,



Edward


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Magda Dziadosz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 15:34
Member (2004)
English to Polish
+ ...
Buying a laptop Mar 10, 2002

Dear Ailish,

As a devoted laptop user what I can advise to you is as follows:

the Gb feature is most important, that is how big your hard disc will be, in other words how many information you can store. As you probably know, there is no limits, you will always need more and more, so you may want to go for as big GB figure as available.

Secondly, 1000mhz seems to be fairy enough to me. I do not think you would ever need more. The 256 memory seems to be enough, however you need to consider types of software you use and try to guess memory requirements of new developments, which is a bit tricky.

Third, why do you need a DVD function? You said you are not a game-player so unless you are a film-maniac and plan to watch movies while travelling, you don\'t really need it in your laptop. (Think about watching movies on 14\" screen), so if this function costs more - I would rather forget it. CD-rom drive of course, it is a must.

The parameters you have given seem to be reasonable for me and I would probably go for it (exept DVD). Another thing you may want to consider is weight (you do not want to carry too havy bags with you) and all those terrible wires, one tend to forget each time. So check whether the electricity connector is not too big and heavy and if there is an infra-red connection with printer and other computer. This is helpful, you can then forget carrying at least some of them

As concerns warranty: most of top brands offer technical support in all countries. You need to check it first and never buy any annonymous or unknown make, even if the salesperson assures that laptop never fails. It does. And it always pays to buy even more expensive but reputable one.

That\'s it, comments from user who have learned on her own mistakes.

Cheers,

Magda


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:34
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Little MHz, big RAM and big HDD Mar 10, 2002

Hello,

since two years I\'m using an notebook with a Mobile Celeron 500 MHz, 6 GB HDD and only 64 MB RAM. It includes a CD-ROM 24x and a 14\" TFT-screen.

It\'s more than enough to process all kind of textes even with DTP - such as FrameMaker oder PageMaker if necessary. I worked with TRADOS as well - it makes no problem. Recently I upgraded the system memory to 320 MB - the notebook is dooing a little bit faster now.

So if you have only a limited budget, please pay attention to following items:

- you have to buy \"real\" mobile processor, it means, there should be stated \"Mobile CEleron; \"Mobile Pentium\" or so - never buy a desktop processor in a notebook - the power conspumption is to high, the computer becomes hot during the work and you are not able to hold it on your knees in a train or airplane (and it\'s sometimes essential).

- A Celeron/Duron/Pentium PIII at 800-900 will do. 1 GHz is not necessary - better buy one from IBM or Toshiba or Acer with less MHz as a no name with more MHz - the quality is much better by IBM an others, no name is not so good. This is quite different here - for \"normal\" PC it doesn\'t matter if it comes from IBM or Fujitsu-Siemens, but for notebook it is essential!.

- Pay attention to a good display, less than 14\" is very bad. If you can, go for one with 15\" and less MHz.

- by as much RAM as possible - 256 MB at least.

- Perhaps you want to connect your notebook with your home PC and some other equipment. For connections with a handy you can use Infrared, for connection with home PC USB - if you home PC has got this interface. Your notebook can also have LAN - if no extra cost, than it\'s OK. But it should have an INfrared port and at least one USB port. You should be able to connect an external monitor (or beamer) to your notebook, as well as an external keayboard and mouse.

- A notebook shold have am modem - it\'s absolutly necessary.

- Big HDD is good HDD, 20 GB are enough.

- DVD is not necessary, better is CD-R or a CD-RW combo, the best CD-RW/DVD combo. With CD-R/RW you can record (or even rewrite (RW)) your own CDs - it\'s very good for backup.

- What kind of poniting device you prefer - take a look on some notebooks - they may vary a lot. You have to check out for yourself, what kind of pointing device you like.

You can contact me any time for further information.

A good buy would be at this time:

COMPAQ (1.493,00 EUR nett) http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=374KAgENnQwAAADsI2eroQRd&CatalogCategoryID=xFIKAgFwuoYAAADoQArK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=

or

TOSHIBA (1.785,00 EUR nett)

http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=ZWYKAgEMk3cAAADrAyCGmGqB&CatalogCategoryID=vVoKAgFwxVMAAADocQrK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=


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Eden Brandeis  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:34
Japanese to English
+ ...
MB, CDRW, GB, Warranty, MHz Mar 10, 2002

Quote:


Given a limited budget, of the options of more Mhz, more Gb or more Mb, which is the more important?



As far as my usage is concerned, what I want is a fairly powerful laptop for processing texts (not for games or anything else).



Finally, I will be living between 2 (EU) countries next year and am taking this into consideration in terms of warranty, but...any advice on this aspect?







Quote:


Given a limited budget, of the options of more Mhz, more Gb or more Mb, which is the more important?



As far as my usage is concerned, what I want is a fairly powerful laptop for processing texts (not for games or anything else).



Finally, I will be living between 2 (EU) countries next year and am taking this into consideration in terms of warranty, but...any advice on this aspect?







My general advice is beef up on RAM first, HD second, and MHz last. The MHz you get will always be enough at first and not enough eventually, but you will notice the difference for RAM and HD much faster. The minimum specs you listed should serve you very well for at least three years esp. if you are only using it for translating.



I would consider going for a CDRW or a combo that includes CDRW. This will give you the ability to backup all your business files to CDR. This way a hard drive failure will only set you back some time and money and not days of work and important client contacts. The important thing is to organize your files well and make weekly backups. It is worth the effort to store the backup at a secure location (bank deposit box). You wouldn\'t want to lose everything in a fire, now would you?



You might consider going with some sort of \"super warranty\" if this laptop is going to be your main work machine. Extended warranties are good business for companies, which means that it isn\'t such a good deal for consumers in general. However, I think it is worth the peace of mind in this case. I have a Dell 3 year super warranty. I can spill orange juice on my computer and they will fix or replace it, no questions asked. Now that is a warranty!

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FrancescoP  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:34
English to Italian
+ ...
Laptop Mar 10, 2002

In my opinion, if you use your laptop just for word processing, hard drive capacity, CPU, and RAM are not of primary importance.



The only advice I can give you is: be sure your display is an excellent one. Your sight is the most important thing, especially if you spend 12 or more hours in front of your pc. You can\'t change a laptop\'s monitor... you have to change the whole pc.



Make also sure the keyboard is enough confortable (keys shouldn\'t be too small...).



A 20GB hard drive is enough. You could always store your oldest and heaviest document in your desktop simply connecting the two computers.



But the point is you cannot assemble your laptop as you usually do with your desktop (choosing components one by one).



Go and see what is the best and the worse on the market and ... buy the one which stands right in the middle.



No, there isn\'t an ideal configuration. Obviously, you wouldn\'t assemble a pc with a 1000Mhz CPU and a 1GB hard drive, would you?



Also because it\'s very difficult to find a 1GB hard drive in these days...



If you want to save some money, just forget the DVD unit! Are you going to watch a film on your laptop? I don\'t think so... Also the CDR-WR can be avoided... you can always ask a friend in case you need to write a CD...



Good luck!



FP

[ This Message was edited by: on 2002-03-10 20:54 ]


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Klaus Dorn
Local time: 17:34
German to English
+ ...
a little bit of advice, for what it's worth Mar 10, 2002

I am too always plagued with the question what to buy and after being 20 years in this business (the computer one), I decided, that less is more in so much that if you haven\'t got the latest gadgets, they cannot go wrong either. If you have the choice between different options, I too would recommend to have a good display and secondly lots of processing power - if you use several software packages together at the same time, then you really appreciate the speed.



A word on the warranty - as far as I know, if you buy a product in one country and move it on to another, even with the EU, the warranty may become invalid (seen it happening before), so check on it and find out whether you can get a world-wide warranty from the manufacturer directly.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:34
English to German
+ ...
My two cents... Mar 10, 2002

I agree with Francesco\'s point regarding the display - besides the size of it (14 inches are quite ok, take 15 inches if you can slot this into the budget - well worth it), the resolution is also an issue: 1280 x 1024 pixels, for instance.



The CPU clock speed (\"MHz\" or even \"GHz\") is not the big issue; neither is the hard disk.

Check for a special mobile CPU (e.g. \"Pentium IIIm\" as in *m*obile) - these processors have power-saving capabilities, such as an automatic reduction of the clock speed when running on battery. Basically, I would prefer an 800MHz mobile processor to a \"normal\" one with 1 GHz or more.



RAM is vital, but 256MB should do for most applications, even when working on bigger documents.



Although I agree to the limited use of having a DVD drive (which allows you to view videos...), the DVD/CD-RW combo is a nice one. \"CD-RW\" (\"CD read/write\") means that you can burn (=write) CDs as well as reading them - very handy if you need to return a large file which will not always work by e-mail.



Finally, I have found a second battery to be very useful \"on the road\" - my newest laptop can run for 6+ hours without recharging.



HTH - good luck, Ralf


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MIGUEL JIMENEZ  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:34
English to Spanish
+ ...
Mar 10, 2002

YOU CAN CONECT YOUR LAPTOP TO ANY OTHER MONITOR... IN FACT, I HAVE IT HOOKED TO A 17 INCH MONITOR AND A KEYBOARD AND MOUSE....



PRETTY NICE AND USEFUL



MIGUEL


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Christina Clark  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:34
English to Danish
+ ...
Don't forget about cache Mar 11, 2002

Make sure that you\'ll get at least 128kb cache memory but 256 is better. This allows quicker access to stored data.



You can still use your laptop for more than 12 hours with a small screen, if you buy an additional piece of equipment.



I have got a port replicator also called a docking station which I plug my laptop into. This way, I have got all my documents on one pc and still have the advantage of using printer and network connections and being able to sit in front of a big screen when working at the office.


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Warranties Mar 11, 2002

Starting 1st Jan. this year, all EU warranties are supposed to be valid within the Union for 2 years. I got this information from a German lawyer, since Germany and Sweden are already implementing it along with the UK, but legally and theoretically there is no reason why Spain or Ireland should not do the same. To facilitate things, the availability of local technical service would help, but many firms also have on-line consultation services.

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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks...and DVDs and docking stations? Mar 11, 2002

Thanks to all for very valuable advice. One thing that seems clear is that I may not need a DVD - the fact is all I\'m concerned with is storing documents that won\'t fit on a diskette (these only seem to come in about twice or three times a year), I just thought that it might be better to be prepared for advances in technology).



And I think I will focus on as much memory as possible as the key requirement, although bearing in mind advice about screen size, Ethernet etc.



Six hours on the Internet yesterday convinced me that I have to buy a brand, only two companies within my price range clearly offered an international warranty - Compaq and Acer.



I won\'t actually be travelling a lot with it, it\'s just the fact that I will possibly be living abroad next year but still wanting to work!



I agree with Klaus about simplicity, especially as I\'m a dud when it comes to technology!



And thanks to Jerzy for the URLs.



Two things that I would appreciate further info on, if any of you return:



Would it be possible to attach an external DVD at a later stage, should I decide I needed one (for whatever reason)?



This docking station business: I doubt that I will need this facility, but again one never knows! Is it a built-in feature or a feature that you can buy at a later stage? It\'s not as if my present desktop is that modern, but maybe in two years I might have a new one and might need this possibility.



Thanks again to everybody. This is turning out to be the most thought out decision of my recent life!







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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wowee! Can you believe it - a 500 euro difference (apparently) Mar 11, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-10 19:11, JCzopik wrote:

A good buy would be at this time:

COMPAQ (1.493,00 EUR nett) http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=374KAgENnQwAAADsI2eroQRd&CatalogCategoryID=xFIKAgFwuoYAAADoQArK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=

or

TOSHIBA (1.785,00 EUR nett)

http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=ZWYKAgEMk3cAAADrAyCGmGqB&CatalogCategoryID=vVoKAgFwxVMAAADocQrK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=





NOTE that the Compaq you mention (on e of the ones I was considereing) is 200 euros more expensive in Spain that in Germany! Exclusing VAT, which you give me to understand is included in teh German Compaq!



When is price discrimination going to be made illegal at the EU level? I wouldn\'t mind but why is it that the poorer countries are so penalised???



I will now proceed to investigate other EU countries and see if I could buy there rather than here! If anyone can recommend any other cheapo EU countries for laptops????



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xxxLia Fail  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Wowee! Can you believe it - a 500 euro difference (apparently) Mar 11, 2002

Quote:


On 2002-03-10 19:11, JCzopik wrote:

A good buy would be at this time:

COMPAQ (1.493,00 EUR nett) http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=374KAgENnQwAAADsI2eroQRd&CatalogCategoryID=xFIKAgFwuoYAAADoQArK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=

or

TOSHIBA (1.785,00 EUR nett)

http://www.allago.de/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/eCS/Store/de/-/EUR/DisplayProductInformation-Start;sid=K5vavVQ9exja82i2hLPQv1UwN5C6C4Nb6Mw=?ProductID=ZWYKAgEMk3cAAADrAyCGmGqB&CatalogCategoryID=vVoKAgFwxVMAAADocQrK2Ewp&ProductPage=&BS=&F=true&BSS=&PPath=





NOTE that the Compaq you mention (on e of the ones I was considereing) is 200 euros more expensive in Spain that in Germany! Exclusing VAT, which you give me to understand is included in teh German Compaq!



When is price discrimination going to be made illegal at the EU level? I wouldn\'t mind but why is it that the poorer countries are so penalised???



I will now proceed to investigate other EU countries and see if I could buy there rather than here! If anyone can recommend any other cheapo EU countries for laptops????



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