View Full Version : Choosing a new computer...any advice?

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04-24-2010, 06:37 PM
I haven't bought a new computer in about 8 years. Even though computers are a big part of my life, I still feel pretty clueless about them. But, I am at a point where I really, really need a new one and so I am starting to look at both laptops and desktops. Since FSU is the place where one can find all kinds of information and advice, I thought I'd see what I could learn from you all.

I use my computer mostly for facebook, email, and, of course, FSU. I also download music from time to time and like to burn cd's as well as put books and music on my mp3 player. Based on this little bit of info, do you have any suggestions as to what I should be looking for in terms of memory, operating systems, etc.?

I can get employer discounts from Dell and HP so I am looking at their websites but I may just go to a store and purchase a computer. It all depends on what I find in terms of price and such.

04-24-2010, 07:40 PM
My brother is an IT tech who swears by HP. I have an ASUS (the 2 year international warranty was important to me) and LOVE it. I got it because it was the best deal at the time, but I really wanted an HP too.

Based on the info of what you want, anything will do :) If you wanted it for more creative purposes I'd suggest mac, but as you want it for normal things that's not imperative.

But I can guarantee that the majority of people here will advise you to buy a Mac ;) I hate them, I prefer to have more control over my computer than macs allow, but most people seem to love them.

It's like a cult :sekret: :P

04-24-2010, 08:19 PM
My IT department swears by Dell. And the best of our IT guys says to watch for good deals here:


Good luck on your choice. :)

04-24-2010, 10:00 PM
Here's why I like the Mac: It works, no geek genes required. When I update software, the rest of my software still works. I can download music or play videos and everything still works. When I get a new peripheral, I plug it in, and, whee! it works.

Getting my daughter a Mac was a great stress relief, because I no longer needed to play sys admin every time her music or videos crashed or froze the system. I never was confronted with challenges like THIS software requiring version 4.3 of some necessary software, but THAT software only working with version 5.1 of the software. Finally, Apple has real English speaking computer support folks who are adept at handling phone calls and who can usually get you going again, and the Apple Store retail store in the town we live in.

I don't particularly want to like Apple -- it is a little trendy for the likes of me -- but I can't argue with how easy it has been to make work. Or how many hours I spent trying to get the Dell/Windows XP system configured as new versions of software were released, or the frustration of talking to Dell reps in India when I had a problem, or the way Comcast pointed the finger at Dell, and vice-versa when I had an internet connectivity problem.

Our school district has a contract with HP, and the HP computers over the past three years have been pretty reliable hardware wise. Software wise we still have some of the same old issues, but our district has not yet switched to Vista (that will happen this summer, I understand).

04-24-2010, 10:58 PM
Eight years of service is pretty awesome, Nickel!

I have a Dell at work that is speedy, pretty reliable, and can perform a number of functions at the same time. I can find what I want to find, either on the computer or on our network with no problem. Our company replaces our computers every 4 years or so, and when there is an issue, I contact IT Support, who either remotely fixes what ever problem I have or pops into the office and takes care of it. That said, I haven't had to diagnose and fix my own computer problems for quite awhile and wouldn't know how to go about doing so. I probably killed my last personal computer and wanted its replacement to be something I could not murder.

So I bought a Mac. It has not crashed, locked up or done all the various things PCs do - or at least, my PCs. :) Cult or not, I'd buy another Mac in a heartbeat.

04-24-2010, 11:06 PM
I just impulse bought a tiny Toshiba Satellite laptop (11.6 in monitor, 3lbs, really long battery life) because I have a lot of on-site client meetings coming up, and it was so incredibly painless to set up, it basically set itself up for everything I've wanted so far, includinng getting access to client's remote desktop and installing client-based add-ins to Word (that took hours of tech support to install on my Vista desktop 2.5 years ago) - it's running Windows 7 - it's really speedy too, all for <$500.

I'm actually considering getting a larger Mac laptop at some point (my main desktop is a PC), for more entertainment purposes, but this little Toshiba is definitely a keeper.

04-24-2010, 11:59 PM
I have a Toshiba Satellite A300-D5310 and I'm really satisfied with it! It's like this: http://www.laptopviews.com/assets/toshiba-satellite-a300-laptop.jpg.


04-25-2010, 12:28 AM
I highly recommend a Toshiba. They were among the highest rated PCs for reliability this past year, and they make a bunch of good, basic laptops.

04-25-2010, 12:37 AM
Don't know whether it's just me but I have 2 HP Pavilion, bought on 2006 and 2007 and they both ended with the same problem. The right side of the speaker ceased to work. I :wuzrobbed of listening music at the highest level. Otherwise I'm ok with HP

04-25-2010, 12:46 AM
I second the Asus. My husband and I both have an Asus, and we both love it! My husband is a software engineer, so he's pretty picky about his computers...

04-25-2010, 01:45 AM
I've had a Toshiba and an HP and had very negative experiences with both. The Toshiba's screen stopped working twice and the motherboard had to be replaced twice as well. Luckily I had purchased an extended warranty so I never had to pay but the second time the motherboard was replaced the tech guy told me that this was a known defect in these models which Toshiba had done nothing about. If you don't have the warranty the motherboard costs $500 to replace! A decent company would have done a recall or offered free repairs for that particular problem I think.

The HP computer I had was also very bad. HP installs a whole bunch of their own programs on top of the already crowded Windows Visa which slows the whole thing down even more.

After struggling with Windows Vista for 3 years I swore that I would never give another cent to Microsoft and just this week I made the switch to Mac. Obviously I haven't had it for very long yet but so far it's been a pleasure to use and the switch has been super easy :)

04-25-2010, 02:54 AM
Thanks for all the input! My research so far shows that Mac's are expensive, but worth it and the Asus (which I had never heard of before today) and Toshiba both had high marks. The Dell Inspiron was also spoken of well. We have Dells at work and I notice my library uses Dell as well. I've only had HPs so far and they have been ok, both desktop and laptop, but I've never been all that excited or impressed with them and actually have had many days of frustration with them, so I'm kind of doubting I'll get another HP.

Meredith, I wish I could say I've had 8 years of service with my computers but actually they only lasted about 5 years. What I have at home right now came with my husband about four years ago. ;) But this one has been giving us fits for about a year and I'm ready to get something new. (plus this way I can have my own and he can have his own, lol)

04-25-2010, 03:29 AM
Well - I have Dells....for the most part. I have a small business and a FAB IT guy....and he either makes the computer to our specs, or he phones Dell and negotiates. The first time I heard him ask (after given the price) - and what will you do for us......I almost fell off my chair. But they will throw in goodies.

If you get a laptop........know that internal broadband cards (which you can get from Dell), cannot be purchased in the store.

Good luck, and have fun.

04-25-2010, 05:35 AM
PC girl since the original x86 bought a mac last year and I don't regret it one bit. I love it!

04-25-2010, 06:51 AM
If I could afford a Mac I would so have one! IMO they are the best. I had a G4 iMAC in 1999-2005 (Bad move on my part giving it up to my neice-It still works but my windows pc I upgraded for is long gone :( )The thing with Mac is everything is expensive but worth it. I have a Toshiba Satellite and at first I hated it because my screen kept fading like I had an electrical short. Now that I've had that fixed no other issues except for Typical windows OS issues. I would recommend it except I'll say make sure it's new and not refurbished. I didn't have to pay to have it fixed but I was out a computer for 10 days :( My boyfriend bought my computer at MicroCenter not realizing it wasn't new.

My sister has a Dell she bought from Qvc and she got a great deal with a lot of extra's. Her service is supposedly great.