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How powerful a laptop for freelancing?
Thread poster: mattsmith
mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
German to English
+ ...
Mar 21, 2006

Hi everyone, I'm working in an in-house post but am thinking of going freelance. I have limited resources and a very very old and slow PC at home that really isn't up to much. As such, I was wondering if anyone could tell me how powerful a laptop I would need to be able to work as a translator from home comfortably - or any recommendations?

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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Go laptop Mar 21, 2006

Hi Matts,
A cheap one is fine. I got a HP centrino over a year ago I think and do everything on it. The centrino uses less battery power, a small stock battery will last about 2-3 hours. I’m pretty sure there’s some new fangled tech coming out to do even better. It wasn’t the cheapest model but pretty cheap still, about 1000€. What’s really good is that if you have a wireless modem at home you can work basically anywhere, like in the garden, on the terrace, whatever (I’m on the sofa with me legs up at the mo, and if you have a Umts cellphone with a flat rate that goes anywhere too, use Bluetooth to link it to the laptop and you can be online in the woods, on the road, anywhere. You can get a 12V power adapter to use it in a car or camper for more autonomy. Costs a bit though, about 120€ mine was, but well worth it.
Go laptop.


Here’s the specs: Pentium 1.5GHz, 480Mb RAM, 40Gb Hard Disk, ADSL/Broadband. Easily running Trados 7.1, SDLX 2005, Office 2000 Premium, PageMaker, Windows XP




**********************************
Jo Macdonald
Italian English Freelance Translation
Via Arno 14/G
47042 Cesenatico (FC) Italy
Phone +39 (0)547 675373
Web: www.italian-english-freelance-translation.com
E-mail: info@italian-english-freelance-translation.com
ProZ profile: www.proz.com/pro/122941
Skype: mrjomac


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Lucinda  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:57
Member (2002)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Go for the laptop Mar 21, 2006

Hi Matts,

Like Jo said, go for the laptop. I also bought a HP Centrino laptop about 7 months ago and I like it a lot.

I also have Windows XP on it, Office 2003, WordFast and a score of other programs. It has a DVD/CD player on it and is wide screen.

It was about USD 1300 when I bought it and it is a pretty fast little machine. I also liked the service that I received in the store from a very patient computer guy. I am technology-challenged.

I usually do not move mine a lot because I like the spot where I work. The dogs would also hate it if I move because they each have their own napping place around me.

But I like it that it is moveable when I want to travel.

Good luck and happy shopping!

Lucinda


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Aleksandr Okunev
Local time: 17:57
English to Russian
Laptop Mar 21, 2006

I also have a budget HP (nc6125)

WIth CAT tools smooth operation is sometimes more
important than the sheer processing power.

One more point is - treat the laptop as your only
computer, it is very hard to work on a desktop and
a laptop.

Best,
Aleksanr


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 16:57
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Add a flat screen monitor Mar 22, 2006

Nowadays laptops all come with wide screens, which is less than ideal for wordprocessing. You can add an extra screen (17 inch). And I would add keyboard and mouse and put everything up ergonomically. Laptops keyboards are not appropriate for extended working.
The more RAM the better.


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 15:57
French to Dutch
+ ...
Add at least a keyboard and a mouse Mar 22, 2006

Heinrich Pesch wrote:

Nowadays laptops all come with wide screens, which is less than ideal for wordprocessing. You can add an extra screen (17 inch). And I would add keyboard and mouse and put everything up ergonomically. Laptops keyboards are not appropriate for extended working.
The more RAM the better.

Put the laptop at eye's height and the keyboard a bit lower. every laptop with a wide screen (17") will do. And you'll have to add an ADSL modem too. And don' forget a good chair.


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Jo Macdonald  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:57
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Extras Mar 22, 2006

Matts,
I would try the laptop keyboard and keypad (with a scroll function) to see if you like it, then plug in a normal keyboard and mouse and try that before investing in anything mega, because after having several extremely costly brand humungous wireless ”dis is da biz” keyboards and tailless rats, I actually prefer working straight off the laptop.

No prob with the screen either.


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone...but what about Dell? Mar 22, 2006

...the HP is probably a bit above my price range really, but thanks for your recommendations.

Does anyone know if a basic Dell notebook for under 700 Euros would be fast enough for TRADOS or SDL - or offer a reliable broadband internet connection? Or, for that matter, a Dell destop PC at a similar or perhaps lower price?


My current PC is about 10 years old with a very slow dial up modem and I really don't know anything about computers or laptops!

Thanks for your help...


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Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 15:57
Swedish to English
+ ...
Dell customer service Mar 22, 2006

I have worked on Dell laptops for years without any problems (my first one which is over ten years old is still functioning, albeit slowly). I bought my new one at the end of last year and rang customer service to order it - the salesman was helpful and I actually ended up buying a cheaper laptop than the one I originally looked at because he thought it would be more suitable for my purposes... Ring customer service and see what they recommend! (I'm very happy with the one I ended up with).

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Roman Bulkiewicz  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 16:57
Member (2004)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
some things to consider Mar 22, 2006

Matts25 wrote:

Does anyone know if a basic Dell notebook for under 700 Euros would be fast enough for TRADOS or SDL - or offer a reliable broadband internet connection? Or, for that matter, a Dell destop PC at a similar or perhaps lower price?



Laptops generally have slower HDDs than desktops (in comparable price ranges). I don't know prices in your place, but it seems that you will have hard time finding a laptop for this money with HDD faster than 4200 rpm. If you are used to 7200 rpm drives (which have been standard for PCs for several years), it may be a pain. I was buying a laptop for myself recently, and was specifically taking care to get one with a 5400 rpm HDD (at the shops, they often don't even show this parameter).
As for broadband Internet connection, it doesn't go with the computer. I guess all laptops are equipped with a 56k modem, and with a LAN card. A useful thing to have is a Wi-Fi (wireless LAN) adapter.
Make sure it has enough USB ports to connect you peripherals (including external mouse and keyboard), though you may add ports through an external USB hub. A monitor port is a standard feature, I guess.
If you are not going to carry it with you a lot, it doesn't have to be extra light or have long battery life, and you may save on that. You probably don't need a powerful video card either.

I bought me a HP nx6125 (PY419EA) for ~1100 US$, and it's got about everything I could want, configuration-wise --
http://tinyurl.com/ofnu8
Regarding performance, I am still getting used to it, so it's hard to say... The screen quality is mediocre, for sure, so another monitor is a must. But it was planned anyway.


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mattsmith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:57
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks.... Mar 22, 2006

Thanks for all of your very generous help.

You've (all) given me some very interesting ideas and food for thought.

Matts.


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