I'd recommend checking reviews on Newegg, Amazon, etc.
My basic laptop impression is that, for most brands, consumer models tend to have problems, but the business models tend to be pretty good. Although I am going to pass it on, I still really like my Thinkpad X61t (wonderful keyboard, good mechanical quality, still quite usable); however, I've read that the consumer Lenovos don't have the same level of quality.
Although the latest Intel integrated graphics are supposedly better, I still strongly prefer discrete graphics. Then again, YMMV; I sometimes do 3D CAD.
For most uses, 4G memory is enough, unless you start doing stuff like lots of VMs, huge pictures, huge datasets, etc. I can notice the difference between 7200 & 5400 RPM HDDs, but I doubt I'd notice the difference between i5 & i7 (my work desktop has a Xeon; if I had spec'd it out, I would've chosen a SSD + normal CPU over Xeon and no SSD).
Both seem to have generally good reviews. The Lenovo was criticized for short battery life, but I never run my current laptop on battery. I take my work Lenovo around with me and it has the large battery.
So here I am three years later having bought the HP. No hardware issues, though it takes a long time for the hard drive to settle down that I use Hibernate most of the time rather than shut down. But like all PCs, they should be rebooted once in a while in case of mamory leaks.
The only problems have been software. I made the gruesome mistake of downloading software from CNET. That installed all kinds of adware. The fix: roll back the machine to just before the installation, then get the software from the publisher's web site.
"What kind of equipment are you running on Win 3.1?"
Its used within a 3 x 6ft rack system. An ancient version of LabVIEW which runs a VXI chassis containing a number of modules such as a DMM, Waveform Generator, Digitiser, switch matrix. Also controls 6 GPSUs and a HVPSU. These are all connected via GPIB. The rest of the racks house company designed units to simulate loads and distribute power to the various units.
Everything is basically back from the early/mid 90s which doesn't seem that long ago until you realise its 20 years ago (being 30, 20 years ago seems like a long time to me)
We have 7 of these systems and we've been forced to upgrade them because the Digitiser and Waveform Generator are getting to the point where they're not supported by outside calibrators. So, it's a new PC, new OS, a more recent version of LabVIEW, new Digitiser and new Waveform Generator.
Other than that, I'm not sure how much more I'm allowed to disclose on here, sorry.
@MB... "Windows 3.1! I love it." Glad someone else does. It was so easy to maintain. Everything was in the WIN.INI file....bit cryptic maybe but nothing like the damn registry. Win 3.1 was a little flaky sometimes, but I liked it better than a lot of the later stuff.
@MeasurementBlues: Win98 2nd edition was a big improvement over Win95 in terms of stability.
I remember how frustrated I was having to upgrade to Win 98 from Win 95 because so many things had changed -- I feel the same way everytime I have to undergo an upgrade in OS or in applications (like Word) ... wxcept the change to Win 7 ... that one I really liked (still like on some platforms -- on others I'm on Win 8 which sucks)
@Max ,i tlooks like I'll replace on of my old Dell Computers with a Win7 laptop that comes with a Win8 liscense. I'll probably stay with Win7 as long as possible.
All my computers at home, except for my wife's, have Office 2010. She's still on Office 2003 because asking her to change to a new look is painful. It took me years to get her to switch from Outlook Express to Outlook 2003.
@MeasurementBlues: She's still on Office 2003 because asking her to change to a new look is painful.
It is, but... (a) the longer (more generations) you leave it, the more painful it will be for her and (b) there will come a point where someone sends her a document in a later format that she won;t be able to open ... at which time it will become your fault/problem (pick one :-)
I have a legal secretary friend who was dreading the conversion from Wordperfect to MS Word 2007 in her office. She was afraid that she would be left behind the younger secretaries who were already familiar with it. She was actually relieved when they went to Word 2010 instead, because that put them all in the same boat.
Upgrades are a fact of life. Companies and people need to plan for them. That plan might be conservative or aggressive, but ignoring it is not a plan. Many companies (and people) wait until something forces them, such as hardware failure or a fatal security flaw.The result usually is a hasty and painful upgrade, not to mention an expensive one.
My own approach? I experimented with the early Win8 releases and came to the conclusion that it was a dog. I bought a new laptop a little earlier than I would have otherwise and went with a high-end Asus running Win7. Now I am tracking the news about Win9 to eventually decide whether to go with that or something else (I am also using an Android tablet more and more).
Although I make do (we're on Office 2010 at work), I'm not a big fan of the MS ribbon interface.
I strongly recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice; it's updated much more frequently. And LibreOffice is better than MS Office in some areas; for example, LibreOffice Writer is significantly better than MSWord for writing long technical manuals (I know, I switched from MS Office to Writer for a ~250 page manual because Word was driving me crazy. Writer wasn't perfect, but it was significantly better).
I am mystified that so many folks still subscribe to the notion that WinXP was the most stable OS, and everything after was a step in the wrong direction. I have an engineering lab FULL of WinXP PCs (some LT, some DT) that are running test benches ( vehicle simulators mostly). I can't WAIT to upgrade these all to new HW/Win7Pro because these machines are running 24/7 and are used remotely by teams all over the globe. Typically, I have to do at least a warm reboot every few days, plus a full power cycle cold reboot every week or two to keep them functioning. This is absolutely due to various driver and OS issues that cause test applications (that work fine forever on Win7) to SEEM like they are working but really aren't. I suspect the memory limitations of the 32-bit OS/HW aggravate the situation; all of the replacement machines on order will run 64-bit Win7Pro with at least 8GB RAM and i5 or better CPU. The prototype one I have just keeps on keepin' on!
My concern with moving to Win 7 for a test environment is the availibility of drivers for legacy hardware. I actually like Win 7, I'm just heasitating because of the old equipment that connects to a parallel port and uses a program that runs under DOS. I notice that new PCs don't seem to come with parallel ports.
Actually, you might be surprised -- if you have room for some brackets. My Asrock micro-ATX Motherboard has on-board connectors for serial and parallel ports (but not on the back panel), but unfortunately I can't use them because my 4 slots are used up (2 for video card, 1 for USB 3.0 card, and 1 for Kvaser CAN card).
For industrial use, the Foxconn H61AP motherboard has some interesting features: back panel serial port, back panel parallel port, internal connector for second serial port, and 6 PCI slots. I picked one up last year, and loaded with Windows XP and a whole bunch of PCI cards (mostly CAN cards). It's still available at Newegg for <$60
My guess is that driver support is much better for Win7-32 than Win7-64. VirtualBox has good USB pass-through support and IIRC experimental PCI pass-through support (but no parallel port pass through).
I'm pretty sure you can get parallel port PCI cards, but don't know how well they're supported by software.
I agree with your concerns; in my particular case, all peripheral connections to the PC are USB. I don't require any GPIB or parallel port interfaces. For some OTHER applications, I do use external USB to serial port converters (readily available, as are I think USB-parallel port and USB-GPIB). Because of the number of USB ports (limited on the old XP boxes) I generally use external "universal" port replicators that provide lots of USB ports, an additional Ethernet port, and (most important) another monitor port for dual-monitor configurations. These are dedicated setups used primarily for QA SW testing, not production HW testing.
usually it is very important, that your clients liking your product, that gives you a good hint, how your next product should look/work, and of course in that new product you will build in all the popular features of the old product, so the client will like it, and buy it, that is a good business practice, which worked in various part of the industry for very long time. For some reason software industry does not follow that logical and good practice, in case if the get it once right, you could be sure, that the next generation of the same software will be different and with a few exception less use friendly, well that is valid not just for Microsoft products. And also as soon as one learned the required new tricks to get around, there will be new operating system, which has more gimmicks – e.g. touch screen in widows 8 – which are in most of the case annoying, and it turn out very fast that they are even more sensitive to malicious, do not work with the old engineering software and need a new hard ware again, which will be usable after the learning curve for just a short time again. XP was one exception it worked relatively well with software made for previous operating system, did not required a super fast new hardware and it was usable, we got used to it.
Question: it would be not make more sense to "redo XP inside" but leave it the outside ?
@apummer945 Question: it would be not make more sense to "redo XP inside" but leave it the outside ?
Unfortunately. It's not so easy to do that....
Actually I think that Windows 7 is about as close as you could get at least from a user interface view. Unfortunately the problem is that redoing the inside affects the ability of old drivers to operate which is the main compatibility issue that is of concern to me when I have a device where the manufacturer is out of business but it is still working and I would like to keep using it for as long as possible. Also this is something (a device programmer) that is not used as often as before so it is hard to justify a new one... I also have some old PCB design software that requires a parallel port dongle. I still need to figure out how to get the data transfered to the software I'm currently using...
So for now I stay with Windows XP on one computer (actually I just recently upgraded to that computer from one running Win 98)
first of all I did not insulted you, but more details; please show me how would you run Pi-Spice of Cadence Design Systems or any other higher performance microwave or rf simulation software, higher performance mechanical engineering soft ware e.g. Solid Works on Linux. And if you could not do it I will still not call you narrow-minded, but perhaps for something else. On the other hand I would be happy if these software's would be usable with Linux, but here is little chance for that, because there is no one Linux, but many variation -- sometimes not compatible with each other -- and one can not call "Linux" to get support if has some problem, while – although I am not excited either from Apple or Microsoft's performance – one could cal them and get some kind of support. Of course if somebody would "own" Linux and third party software companies could count on a given specification of the operating system, but in that case Linux would become an other proprietary system, trading it's charm for reliability.
apummer wrote: ... and one cannot call "Linux" to get support if one has some problem...
You can get support if you purchase GNU/Linux enterprise editions from Red Hat, Suse, or other vendors. Red Hat has been a $1B+/year company for several years now -- pretty good for a company that sells free software.
As an example of engineering software running well on GNU/Linux, Xilinx has quite good support. This makes sense, because their software ran on Unix workstations before they adapted it to Windows. Xilinx deals with the multiple GNU/Linux issue by only officially supporting certain versions from Red Hat or Suse. If you run Xilinx ISE on other distros it will (mostly) work, but if there are problems you're limited to support you can get from on-line forums. For example, I run ISE WebPack 12.4 on Ubuntu 11.10, and it mostly works fine. One thing I haven't gotten working is the FPGA Editor. If I cared enough to track down the problem I could probably get it to work.
Martin...just another 2c worth. You don't mention battery life. which is one of the most crucial "need to knows" on a new laptop. You mentiioned a faster processor running hotter...but it will thus also consume more power....but you don't want it to slow you down if it's tooo slow.
And being a semi-geriatric I would consider screen size to be an important consideration, but your eyes might be better than mine.
I jsut saw you said it would likely never leave your desk and will use an external monitor, so maybe neither of the above will be a factor....but you are getting a laptop so you must foresee using it on the move sometime, right?
@MB - I think the HP is the way I'd have gone, but for different reasons. If you are only using it as a desktop, why not GET a desktop?
I don't have room in my home office for a desktop. I did look at some of those small desktops (HP and Dell), but they only had celeron processors and honestly, I didn't like the mechanical design. Laptop prices are essentially the same as desktops.
Then, I installed iTunes and connected my phone. iTunes reported an unknown error. Thinkig it might hav eto do with needed to install the latest iOS, I did the upgrade using iTunes. The result: the upgrade didn't finish. The phone told me to connecto to iTunes but iTunes said to finish the restore first. Caught between a rock and a hard place. The only way out was to set the phone back to its factory settings. That cleared up the problem, but I lost everything on the phone. Actually, I only lost a few photos. By contacts and calendar sync to a gmail account and the restored once I set up the account on the phone. I had to reinstall some apps, but installed fewer than I had before because somere were no longer in use.
What caused the unkown error? A google serach turned up some USB driver issues. Then I realized what happened. I have an LG external CD/DVD burner that had given me problems on my XP box. I unplugged it. that seemed to take take fo things.
I have found that I need to start iTunes before connecting any of the three iPhones and iPad. My daughter's phone resulted in the unknown error if It was connected before iTunes starts. But I was able to back up her phone, my phone, and the iPad.
Next came my wife's Samsung Android phone. I installed Samsung's software and it connected. I was able to back up the phone. The Samsung Kies software also lets you sync calendars and contacts to gmail and ti lets you expert contacts as a CSV file that can open in Excel. I did that as well.
Bottom line: you can copy pictures off your phone without software and you can set u[ your phone to sync to a gmail account. Before doing any more upgrades, I'll manually copy the photos so I have them.
I then copied all of the Apple and Samsung backup flied from the HP hard drive to to external drives.
Today is the last day to return the HP. I've had some issues, but have resolved them, albeit with too many hours late at night.
The first came fromdownloading the latest version of irfanview, a graphics-viewing program that I've used for years. I went to http://www.irfanview.com/ to download, but the link takes you to cnet. Installing the download from cnet also installed adware. It kept popping up with ads and surveys. A google search results in telling me to uninstall it, which I did. That problem went away.
Next I downloaded malwarebytes, another progam I've used for years. A scan revealed some monit issues and I selected to quarantine them. That resulted in the complete loss of internet access. Firefox told me that I was using a proxy server that was refusing to let me through. So, I did a system restore to the latest data before installing irfanview. All was well.
@MB you have my sympathy. Crapware is a big problem - I am always careful to look for boxes to uncheck when I am, eg, updating Acrobat reader or Anti-virus programs, If you don't, before you know it they have installed a new browser and made it your default.
And the other thing is that you don't get a CD/DVD of the OS any more - it comes pre-installed. So if you end up with some software or a problem that you can't get rid of, you can't just re-install. Grrrrr...
I just got a reasonable motherboard off a friend who upgrades about once a year. I am SOOO tempted to try Linux on it - I have wanted to for a long time now.. I think I will build up the machine and then take a couple of days off to install and play around with it.
The HP computer came with disks for Win7 and Win8. Now that I'm keeping it, I will also make a rescue disk.
I too am tempted to take the XP laptop that the HP is replacing and try Linux. I have two others. One is totally dead. the thid works but one of the screen hinges is broken. I read about replacing hinges so I'm tmepted to take the dead one apart and see how it's assembled, then try removing a bracket and replacing ti in the working one.
So here's an annoying thing about these new laptops: You have to open the lid and push the button to turn them on. My old Dells have docking stations with power buttons and I even have a shelf with a power button. My Lenovo office latop also has a docking station with a power button. Not so for HP and I suspect, many nere laptops. To turn it on I have to open the lid and push the button. I was at the store where I bought it yesterday and asked about a docking station. They only sell a universal port replicator that connects through a USB3 port. This means I have to keep the laptop in a place where I can open the lid enought to reach the power button.
The old Dell is still attached to the dock and shelf. I'll remove it in a day or two. The external HDD and burner will stay under the shelf but HP will have to stay on top. I wouldrather it go below. I'll have to try it below and see if it opens enough to turn it on.
The HP has enough ports because my Dell monitor (to the right of the shelf) has four USB ports. Two are for the mouse and keyboard, leaving the other two free.
@MB - I used to have a docking station with an old Work IBM laptop (yes IBM not Lenovo). It was great. That laptop had a serial port - useful in my line of work - and a parallel port, so I could plug in my printer at home. Now they have no serial port (have to use a USB serial cable - once drove 100 KM and found I'd left it at base - and print via network (not a big deal I'll admit) and unplug 5 or 6 cables every time I want to move it. This is called progress :-)
Given that you're now replying to comments means it must be morning in the Australian winter. It's late afternoon here in the Boston summer.
I removed the Del in the photo below and put the HP in. The screen dowsn't open enough for me to get my finger to the power button. Before I give up, I'll look around for some widget that might be right for sliding in there.
@MB... "Given that you're now replying to comments means it must be morning in the Australian winter. It's late afternoon here in the Boston summer."
Yep, 7.45AM, 4 degrees C and drizzling. English weather. And I am off to the salt mines.
My current Lenovo work laptop swtiches itself off when I close it so at work (where I plug in a bigger monitor) I have to leave it open an inch or two. Others use a stand so that the laptop screen and the external monitor become one contiguous wide screen piece of real estate. I can't be bothered, I have a 19 inch screen and it's fine. Another workmate has a desktop and (like Max) has three huge screens working off it. Too much for my small brain I think.....
The external optical drive (unplugged) is on the right. To its left is the primary exteranl drive. Behind it is an Ethernet switch. the HP is above. The standing balck thing is a backup external drive. It's under a shelf with a Sonos sound system above. I'm thinking of getting another shelf to go over the Dell Laptop shelf. The HP coud go on top and that give me more surface area for papers to clutter.
This poll clearly shows many of the concerns XP users are facing, and why they simply "can't make the change". It is not as easy as it seems!
If you are one of the XP users, you can protect your PC by downloading a software called Rollback XP. It is like an instant time machine for your XP machine, and will protect you from viruses. You can test the product yourself by downloading it from here: http://www.horizondatasys.com/en/products_and_solutions.aspx?ProductId=40
CNET.com and download.com used to be a reliable source for downloads but no more. I downloaded irfanview for my new Win7 laptop and the install added adware in the name of a survey. It was easy to uninstall once I googled the URL that it was going to.
After that I downlaoded malwarebytes and ran a scan. It told me I had some nimor issues and do I want to quarantiine them. After I did that I lost all internet access. It was essentially blocked. The solution was to roll bak to a point before installing irfanview. I then installed an older version downloded from cnet before that started adding the extra crap.