Desktop recommendations, anyone?
Thread poster: Denise Phelps

Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
May 6, 2012

Hi,

I'm currently using a (3 yr old) laptop and am perfectly happy with it, but have recently been reading here about how they're not so robust and have problems with crashing etc., so have been thinking about getting a desktop and using it as my primary computer.

I work mainly with Word docs, occasionally the odd ppt or Excel sheet, and I use Trados Studio 2011, and that's it (I mean, I don't have any other complicated programmes using memory space). I translate an average of 40,000 words a month. I don't ask my computer to produce fireworks or tap dance on demand, and I don't want a Mac.

Thing is, I know/understand very little about computers*, so would be very grateful for info about specifications that other translators consider important. I've looked in past forum posts and found the following recommendations:

64 bit
Intel i7 processor (because I might be thinking about voice recognition in the nearish future)
120 GB Intel SSD hard drive
16 GB RAM
Wacom tablet (no idea what this is or what it does)

For those of you who understand these things, does this sound reasonable to you? Do you know offhand of any specific PCs that meet these specs? What make do you think is the most reliable/robust?

*(computing is not my working language)

Thanks.


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Not true May 6, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:

.....am perfectly happy with it, but have recently been reading here about how they're not so robust and have problems with crashing etc.,



Not true. If you're happy with your current computer hang on to it. Later this year you may come back to this question again when Windows 8 comes out. Although your computer is 3 years old, I don't think that's long enough for there to be a risk of your hard drive crashing. But just in case, I would strongly suggest you have a backup strategy in place, anyway.

But laptops are no more fragile than desktops. Unless of course you drop them on the floor, etc.

I don't think you'll need a Wacom tablet. A Wacom Tablet is a device primarily used for graphic design. It simulates a virtual sheet of paper on which the user can draw with specialized tools.

You're right about not wanting a Mac. As a long-time Mac user, I would have recommended a Mac to anyone - until about 6 months ago when the new Apple operating system, Lion, was released. It's a real turkey. I am not recommending Macs any more.

Windows 8 is looking good though. If you wait until the end of the summer and buy a new computer then, it will come with Windows 8, which would be better.

[Edited at 2012-05-06 19:52 GMT]


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Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:24
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What for? May 6, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:
64 bit
Intel i7 processor (because I might be thinking about voice recognition in the nearish future)
120 GB Intel SSD hard drive
16 GB RAM
Wacom tablet (no idea what this is or what it does)


If you will be using this computer mostly for translating then these specs are overkill unless you aren't worried about price in which case go for it, however if price is a consideration you could get lower specs which would still be more than enough for translating work.

Just translating you could get an Intel i5, 40 GB SSD and 8 GB RAM I don't see why you would need a Wacom tablet (that's a digitizer tablet, i.e. a tablet you write on with a stylus for it to show up on the computer screen)


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 23:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Those numbers are misleading May 6, 2012

Denise Phelps wrote:
I'm currently using a (3 yr old) laptop and am perfectly happy with it, but have recently been reading here about how they're not so robust and have problems with crashing etc., so have been thinking about getting a desktop and using it as my primary computer.


Is your laptop unstable? Does it crash all the time? No? Then don't listen to people who say that laptops are unstable and crash all the time. My laptop lasted 6 years before I had to replace it.

I'm quite happy with my current computer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLVgA32UTQo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7ksXBOWVts

64 bit
Intel i7 processor (because I might be thinking about voice recognition in the nearish future)
120 GB Intel SSD hard drive
16 GB RAM...


A new computer is likely to come with Windows 7, and for that the best option (if you buy a new computer) is 64-bit (not 32-bit).

The i7 processor is for graphic designers and game addicts -- you can get buy with an i5 or even an i3, or with something else that is similar. In fact, these numbers are misleading because one i5 machine may be nearly as good as an i7 machine whereas another might be barely better than an i3 machine. So don't let these numbers fool you. Instead, when you see a computer that is reasonably priced, search for its processor at http://cpubenchmark.net/ to see how fast it is on average. In fact, fill in your existing laptop's processor on that site to see how fast it is. Any score over 2000 should be fine for a translator (if you'll allow me to make sweeping statements).

16 GB of RAM is not necessary -- you can do with 8, or even with 4. What is important is that your computer is capable of handling at least 8 GB, in case you want to add more RAM later.

A fast hard drive is very important for speed, but SSD drives are quite expensive. Get a normal hard drive but try to get one that is rated at 7200 speed and not the usual 5400 speed. As for the size of the hard drive, I think 1 TB is about standard these days (but 500 GB should be fine too).


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Gianni Pastore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 23:24
Member (2007)
English to Italian
Specs May 7, 2012

While I agree that the specs are overkill for the tasks you usually have to tackle, if money is not an issue I'd say go for it. SSD especially are blazing fast and not prone to failure as mechanical disks, you can install all program on that and get a couple of 500 GB standard disks for storage/backup purposes.
Don't think a tablet is necessary, if not for amusement or surf the web when you're on the sofa or whatever.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
English to Polish
+ ...
Windows 8 is looking good May 7, 2012

and think of all the time spent learning to use it instead of working...

Always go with a stable, tested operating system on a working computer.


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Denise Phelps  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks everyone May 7, 2012

for your input. That's given me something to think about and a clearer idea of what I might need if I decide to go for it.

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