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Desktop or laptop (or both) ?
Thread poster: Lucie Brione

Lucie Brione  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to French
+ ...
May 2, 2004

Just wondering what you people are using, and why you prefer it above the other. I have also noticed that some of you have both a laptop and a desktop. Which one do you use the most ?

My own PC (desktop) is very old and is only good enough for the Internet and basic stuff like word processing. I will start my Translation studies in September this year and then become a freelance translator, so I was wondering what the best hardware choice was.

I've already read some of Jerzy's precious advice regarding the specs and I may even follow his advice to build my own machine, unless the consensus is to go for a laptop.

Thanks for your suggestions !


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Nedzad Selmanovic
Local time: 10:43
English to Bosnian
+ ...
Chose both May 2, 2004

Chose both, because of the volume of work. Did you think of working in the field, and how useful is having a laptop?
You can use a desktop in your office only, while a laptop says enought for itself.


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:43
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
A laptop is a very good solution May 2, 2004

but with some limitations, though.
First, it is still expensiver than a desktop, but this is even not that bad.
You can buy a good laptop, attach a keyboard and a mouse to it and use it as a good desktop replacement (if you choose one with a screen big enough to be able to enjoy working with it; so at least 16" are recommended). You can still buy one with 15" screen and buy an additional TFT with 17" or more (they start at about 350 Euros these days, and I saw recently a quite reasonable notebook for approx. 900 Euros, while a good desktop was sold for 999 Euros by Aldi at the same time). To get some ideas about hardware prices look here for example http://www.serhend.de/

Well, now the limitations: if you decide for a laptop, you MUST choose a good one, as you surely want to use it for longer time. But after you purchased it you will not be able to upgrade it - perhaps you can increase RAM, but that´s all. Upgrading anything else in a notebook costs so much, that you can almost afford a new one for not much more.

So taking all this into account I would not go only for a laptop, but would build me a good desktop system. Then I would lease a laptot for a small amount of money in a month. This has the advantage, that you can give tha laptop back after leasing is finished and choose a new one. So you can still have both, and for reasonable conditions.

Leasing via Internet: for example with them http://www.weblease-europe.com/index.htm

This gives you the necessary freedom while you can reduce you taxes.

Kind regards
Jerzy


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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 05:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
I went for the laptop more than a year ago May 3, 2004

and I'm very happy.

I added just the mouse. I tried with another keyboard but I had already got used to the soft keys of the laptop.
My choice was first due a necessary change of computer. I was beginning to have work during week-ends or holydays, that's why I thought about a laptop, and then came the idea of having it as the main and the only one, so it had to be good, with a comfortable screen (mine is only 15', but it's OK).
I moved some months ago and I installed a wireless connection in the new house. Now I can go everywhere in the house (or outside) with my laptop. I like this freedom too. My Déjà Vu dongle is always there (USB connection) and the Wi-Fi card too.

The only problem I have is with my neck and back. The keyboard is not comfortable, so you'd better get used to another keyboard from the beginning.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:43
English to Polish
+ ...
Word processing can be anything but basic! May 3, 2004

Lucie Brione wrote:
My own PC (desktop) is very old and is only good enough for the Internet and basic stuff like word processing.


When you receive an MS Word document for translation which is 178 pages long and loaded with tables, graphics, footnotes and other "goodies", your old computer will say "no, thanks" immediately, causing you much grief and frustration.

A notebook is expensive, and even more so if you decide to buy additional goodies, like monitors, mice, keyboards etc.

I think the key point is: "How much do you plan on translating out of your home?"
If you will be moving around a lot, then a notebook is a good solution, but if it's only once in a while, then I would spend the money on a good desktop and a good monitor. The monitor is especially important, because you will be spending a lot of time staring at the strange things you have to translate and you want to be easy on your precious eyes.

HTH
Pawel Skalinski


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
have a look at this... May 3, 2004

Hi Claudia,
Claudia Iglesias wrote:
The only problem I have is with my neck and back. The keyboard is not comfortable, so you'd better get used to another keyboard from the beginning.


I had the same problem with my laptop keyboard. It lies too flat and was terribly uncomfortable. So I started searching for a light stand that would lift the back of the laptop and found this: http://www.koolsink.com/det-main.html .
It's absolutely great, exactly the shape I was looking for and on top of that it helps cool it down.

Now back to the PC or laptop question...I have both, but to be honest, I hardly touch the desktop nowadays. My laptop is a Toshiba Tecra S1 - 15" screen (think now they released the M1 and M2, very similar to this). I added memory, plugged a mouse, a printer and I have everyhing I need.
I have a wired and wireless network at home (freedom of being able to take it to the garden and work from there and even be connected to the internet is great!). I also travel during weekends and this allows me to work if necessary.
However, the desktop is easier and cheaper to upgrade. Even some basic fixes can be done by yourself without the need of expensive services.
You'll have to weigh up the pros and cons and what's best for you and your activity.

Happy choosing!!!
Grace.


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ghun
Local time: 15:43
English to Vietnamese
Desktop or laptop May 4, 2004

For laptop, it\\\'s important to upgrade your RAMs (>=512 MB}, because as your TM grows, your laptop may run slowly due to its processing capacity usually less than that of your destop.

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Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 05:43
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Interesting site Graciela May 4, 2004

Graciela Carlyle wrote:
I had the same problem with my laptop keyboard. It lies too flat and was terribly uncomfortable. So I started searching for a light stand that would lift the back of the laptop and found this: http://www.koolsink.com/det-main.html .
It's absolutely great, exactly the shape I was looking for and on top of that it helps cool it down.


I had a look, and it does seem to be simple and useful. I had never seen comments about the heat, but the few times I used it on my knees I noticed that it was a real problem.

Thanks

Claudia


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:43
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Laptop May 5, 2004

For me, the laptop is the "only" choice. I can't imagine spending the whole day sitting in front of the desktop computer on a chair.

With a laptop, I can move around. A wireless LAN is a good thing to have and by now pretty cheap. I can work in different rooms, sit outside on the balcony, work from my bed, or even do some of the more tedious tasks such as formatting or maintenance in front of the TV.

Another big plus for me is the track pad, which reduces a lot of the strain of using a mouse. On top of it it's much faster than with a mouse.

I think the screen is better for your eyes also, no flickering.

If you should go with a laptop, though, make sure to try out the keyboard. Some laptops feel more comfortable than others.

BTW, I do also have a desktop, which hardly ever gets turned on...

[Edited at 2004-05-05 01:35]


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Lucie Brione  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you May 7, 2004

Thanks all for your advice.

Well it looks like the laptop is the clear winner... however its higher cost compared to the desktop is putting me off, as well as the fact that it is not possible to upgrade.

Having both is probably the best solution, but at the moment I am looking at getting only one of them due to the cost. I don't think it will really do to get a mediocre laptop, and as for getting a good laptop for 900 euros, I don't think this is actually possible in the UK (but I could be wrong), so it looks like a desktop is more appropriate for me.

Please could you tell me a bit more about your setup for those of you who have a wireless network ? Do you use it to get online and print stuff, or to get files from your desktop ?


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
router+adsl modem May 7, 2004

Hi Lucie,

If you're tight with your budget and you don't have the real necessity to travel a lot and move around with your work, I'd definitely advice you to go for a desktop. You can get an excellent desktop for a fraction of a laptop's price.
When things are better you can always get the laptop. And you're right, you can't get a good laptop in the UK for under £1000-1400.

About the wireless network...I've got a router with a built in ADSL modem.
This connects desktop and laptop downstairs and soon another pair upstairs.
The router is connected to the internet on demand, so there's no need of a main computer being connected to the internet for the rest to be able to connect.
I mainly use it for the internet and to share files and printer. However, to use the printer, the computer to which the printer is connected needs to be on, as the router has no conection for it.
Well, that's mainly it.

Regards,
Grace.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:43
German to English
+ ...
Laptop stand May 7, 2004

Graciela Carlyle wrote:

So I started searching for a light stand that would lift the back of the laptop and found this: http://www.koolsink.com/det-main.html.[/quote]

At US$ 40, that looks like one mighty expensive shelf.

I've just taken delivery of my first laptop (after 17 years with desktops), and I'm looking around for a stand myself, for both ergonomic and cooling reasons. There are several models with built-in fans of their own for US$20-30. The Bytecc Aluminum gets rave reviews and can be had for as little as $18 in the US; unfortunately, the US distributor won't ship to Europe, the UK distributor wants a whopping GBP 30 for it, and it isn't available in Germany at all.

Marc

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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
not cheap May 7, 2004

MarcPrior wrote:
At US$ 40, that looks like one mighty expensive shelf.

I've just taken delivery of my first laptop (after 17 years with desktops), and I'm looking around for a stand myself, for both ergonomic and cooling reasons. There are several models with built-in fans of their own for US$20-30. The Bytecc Aluminum gets rave reviews and can be had for as little as $18 in the US; unfortunately, the US distributor won't ship to Europe, the UK distributor wants a whopping GBP 30 for it, and it isn't available in Germany at all.
Marc


Yes, I know it's not cheap
When I bought it (beg. of last year) it worked out at £26 (doesn't sound so expensive in pounds!), and considering that it includes delivery, it was worth it. And personally, I didn't want anything with fans or more electrical/battery connections around.
If you could get the US distributor to deliver the Bytec to Germany, it wouldn't be far from the price I paid.
Anyway, make sure you get something you really like.
Happy choosing!!
Grace.

[Edited at 2004-05-07 17:59]


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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 04:43
Member (2002)
French to English
+ ...
wireless Internet for laptop Jun 3, 2004

Graciela Carlyle wrote:

About the wireless network...I've got a router with a built in ADSL modem.
This connects desktop and laptop downstairs and soon another pair upstairs.
The router is connected to the internet on demand, so there's no need of a main computer being connected to the internet for the rest to be able to connect.
I mainly use it for the internet and to share files and printer. However, to use the printer, the computer to which the printer is connected needs to be on, as the router has no conection for it.
Well, that's mainly it.

Regards,
Grace.


Hi Graciela, everybody:
I just received my laptop, a Dell Inspiron 5150 (and I made sure to get 512 RAM). Great! It came with a wireless card installed. Great! So how do I get it to work? I followed the instructions, but I am sure I am missing something...to get things started.
Do I plug it into the hard drive of my desktop to get Internet going, do I plug into a phone jack, what? I am interested in getting to work in my backyard, pronto, but like most who are completely insensitive and oblivious as to how technology brings us these great things, I don't know where to start...
I have a dial-up connetion and it's very slow since I am in the country. But I have to wait for Bell Canada to remember us out here in the boonies for higher speed. I still think I should be able to let my kid play in the sandbox whilst I sit by, working away on my laptop.

Thanks for all your ideas!
Nancy


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Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
about wireless network Jun 3, 2004

NancyLynn wrote:

Graciela Carlyle wrote:
About the wireless network...I've got a router with a built in ADSL modem.
Grace.


Hi Graciela, everybody:
Do I plug it into the hard drive of my desktop to get Internet going, do I plug into a phone jack, what?
Nancy


Hi Nancy,

I'm not an expert, but the main thing to use the wireless feature of your laptop is to have a wireless reception at the desktop end (a Wireless network card), if not, who/how will the laptop talk to?

In order to connect to the internet you don't have any other chance than pluging it into the phone jack. If the desktop will be the main computer, you connect the desktop to the phone line and the laptop gets the internet from there.

I found here some articles that might explain better that I would probably do:

http://www.directron.com/wifiguide.html

http://compnetworking.about.com/cs/wirelessproducts/a/howtobuildwlan.htm

It's not so difficult once you get the grip of it.
Hope this helps


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