PCs & Laptops

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PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:41 pm

As you probably know, I'm not very computer literate. I'm fine with the bit's I've needed for work (Email & Excel mainly) but the actual computer processor/ram/gig/etc kind of misses me. I know some on here earn their living knowing about this stuff, so thought someone may be able to help. I use this PC for email, letter and internet. Forums, News, Youtube, The Bay of Es, Maps, sometimes shopping research and Hotmail but don't play games or do anything clever with it. No banking but I will have to in the future (see Q2).
1) I'm expecting to move house soon (jan) and will be in temp accommodation for a few months where I won't have space to put this old PC up, so I don't really want to splash out on new Virus protection (as this 'bullguard' expires tomorrow). Do I have any alternative?
I will probably get a laptop soon (see Q2), would I be able to use the same protection on both or would it be transferable? A friend mentioned AVG but said it would be a resources hog on an old PC like mine!
2) It's very possible I'll go travelling in India/Sth East Asia mid-late next year and would want a laptop which could withstand the treatment that comes with travelling. I've heard of rugged (& semi-rugged) laptops which look a bit expensive. Are they any good? Do they take a regular 'dongle' or do they need something special, Would a 5 year old one be OK for such a low level user or would I really have to spend ? Any suggestions? :crazy
Am I just a skinflint? :shhh
I'm sure there's more questions but these are the main points.
Thanks.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby darrenbiggs » Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:11 pm

Hi Andy,

Since no one else has answered, here's my two cents. Yep I work with computers a lot, but your requirements were similar to mine, (I don't do games). Mine was also getting very old, so I recently went for a refurbed job off ebay e.g. :

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WIN-7-HP-Dual ... 1228344556

My spec was different in that it was a Dell and I wanted it to support twin screen, but you get the idea.

In the meantime, assuming you just want a temp fix then yes, for what it's worth AVG is good, I don't think it hogs CPU anymore than a lot of them. Just watch out you don't need to upgrade to the Pro version - which you tend to get prompted for occasionally. Really not needed.

However, if you do upgrade the desktop then if you buy one pre-installed with Windows 7 it has built in anti-virus anyway - they tend to come flashed with a fully licenced version of Windows plus OpenOffice. What I then did was install MS Office alongside this using my existing disks and licence.

My new one works great, allowed me to keep the old peripherals (screens, speakers and printer) - the only thing I bought in addition was a USB keyboard / mouse as my old one used the PS2 connectors (now pretty defunct and shows you how long the old Dell Dimension I had before lasted) - all for 160 quid. Well and truly future-proofed.

All I did was take the side off when I got it, re-seated the disk and copied the old data over via USB drive.

Re laptop. As opposed to the above, I wouldn't opt for second hand. Desktop towers tend to be fairly robust and not exposed to much hardship. Laptops are portable by their nature, so you really can't tell how much abuse they've had. You might get a good 'un, you might not - luck of the draw.

If you opt for a laptop normal ones are not expensive anyway and I'd probably go down PC world and have a look where you can actually physically have a proper look.

I've not much experience with the rugged ones (well, not for a long time back when you had pressure valves on the flight cases anyway). I'd probably just opt to get a good padded bag instead unless you have a specific reason for abusing it.

Cheers

Darren
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Dave Williams » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:34 pm

For q1..like what Darren said.
Only thing I'd add is subscription ending typically means the antivirus continues..but you don't get updates...for an old machine, on an old OS it might be the case that miscreants don't bother writing viruses...but better safe than sorry ..so try a free one. In any case..backup all content you would be upset to lose to an external drive.
For q2..I have worked out of different countries for short periods and need to be online...I take a laptop for work and a tablet, and a smartphone...but we are starting to shift to crossover tablets/pcs with touch screens...
maybe try out a windows 8.1 tablet/laptop thingy..essentially a laptop with a touch screen...
Positives
-touch screen
-lightweight
-no spinning disks..no moving parts to break
-v good battery life
-run cool
-small power supplies
-some can have external cases
-good for Skype calls etc..showing folk the beach etc
Negatives
In general a compromise...not a laptop..smaller screen...a bit slower...less storage..fewer ports
The mechanism where the tablet connects to base could be a weak spot...

They are termed convertibles/detachables....go try in John Lewis (good for warranty)...or PC world/currys before looking on the internet for best deal.
These seem to do most things you would need..while travelling..a touch screen is good. The light weight means you can carry it with you and not worry about leaving it behind in insecure hotels etc.

If you want a conventional laptop..I think lenovo are well built...my work PC is HP (I have no choice)....and have inflicted all sorts of damage on my HP laptop clunking it when taking it in and out of hotel safes.
If you want real rugged it gets expensive and you would want a machine with no spinning disk..

If you are travelling get yourself on three...they have a global roaming..which covers Indonesia, Macau, and hong kong...really great deal. (Plus 13 other countries outside Asia)
Otherwise use an android phone for tethering..ie use your phone as a hotspot...
Or get a mifi.
I use a dual sim phone..so you can buy a local sim for data...and still have your uk sim active.
Or get an unlocked mifi..which you can use as a hotspot..but suggest an android phone..as cheap and good as a hotspot.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:05 am

Thanks for the feedback.
On Q1 'db', that PC looks exactly what I'd need but I still haven't decided if a laptop may be better.
I uninstalled the bullguard and installed the free AVG for the '30 day trial' so I can decide after the making the PC/Laptop decision.
On Q2, The Toughbook CF-31 is a very heavy lump. But as it's built for strength I'd figured a second hand 'refurbished' one would be OK. It does look to be a bit 'overkill' though. As a side note, there seem to be quite a few of them on ebay coming from the USA. Any idea why?
I think I'll do a bit more research about the semi-rugged ones (like the CF-52). I think I saw a Lenovo one as well... If I do go walkabout then I don't want it busting the first time my bag bounces around in a taxi, tuk-tuk or jeepney....But it'll have to be refurbished as the new ones are bloody expensive.

'DW', can you name one of the tablet thingys you're talking about, so I can check them out.
I guess I'll need to get a smartphone... and find out what a mifi and a hotspot are....

Yes I was planning to have a look at them in the flesh (PCW and JLewis) but prefer to do some research before I look at them.

Again, thanks for your input.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Dave Williams » Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:57 am

image.jpg

There are a bunch of options....here are a couple of budget ones...one is more a laptop with a big hard disk the other a detachable with smaller storage (no spinning disk)
There is also the Microsoft surface pro...which is a bit pricier
All the manufacturers have options..and there is just too much choice
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby darrenbiggs » Thu Dec 11, 2014 11:21 am

Yes lenovo laptops are well built. My current one is a Dell (wafer thin and very high spec) but my old IBM thinkpad (now Lenovo) was built like a tank in comparison. Hinges on it were almost billet milled style things. ...
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Thu Dec 11, 2014 3:19 pm

DW, thanks. I'll have to have a proper look at them some time.

The last work laptop I had (2001!!!) was an IBM thinkpad (with the teat rather than the finger pad mouse...) and I do remember it being rather robust.
Lots to think about then.... After I've had a proper look (a couple of weeks'ish) I'll probably be back asking more technical stuff like is an i7 really necessary etc etc.
Thanks again.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby BIG_MVS » Thu Dec 11, 2014 6:19 pm

Panasonic Toughbooks are shite in my opinion. What are you going to be doing in India/Far East Andy looking for land mines or summat?

Just get a cheapie laptop running avast or a tablet. Bish bash bosh.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:02 pm

Big Man, you're the only person to say anything negative about a Toughbook other than the weight and cost! Here, friends and online, all say they're decent but nothing exceptional other than their resilience.

I'll just be travelling around. Probably buy a motor bike while I'm there and see as much as I can.
Not sure if I'm going alone, or meeting up with friends out there or not. A few plan to come but it's still a long way off. One of the guys was a firm yes but now he's besotted by a member of the fairer s e x !!! Sh1t happens.

What's 'avast'?

I'm not up to speed on a IT, especially tablets capabilities and resilience but that may be the best option.
What I don't want to do is find myself in the backwaters with a system that doesn't work and I have to drive to the nearest big city just to get it looked at or replaced.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby BIG_MVS » Sat Dec 13, 2014 10:11 am

I just think they are over engineered for what you need and when I supported them had no end of grief with them. To be fair it was more the encryption software we were running on them more than anything causing problems.

Avast is another free anti virus software similar to AVG.Used it for the last 5 years with no issues. It works for me.

I just think a tablet in a nice outer protective case or similar with a laptop will do you.

Have you looked at these as well?

https://www.google.co.uk/chrome/devices/

We are just starting to roll them out in our business mainly to combat Microsoft's increasing License costs (no W7 or Office License will potentially save our company over £50m globally). They are quite a nice bit of kit as well. 7 seconds to boot up!
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Tue Dec 23, 2014 2:16 am

MVS thanks. I think I'll stick with a windows system as I'm a bit more familiar with it. I've heard the other systems are better and if I was comfortable playing with IT then I'd give it a go, but I'm not.
I'm hoping that my PC will hold out until the new year so I can see what the Jan sales have to offer. At the moment Lenovo and Toshiba are the favoured manufacturers but I may change my mind before then. I want a laptop rather than an Ultra or Tablet as I'd like to have the dvd facility and a decent sized screen (old age...).
Once again, thanks all for your input. I'll advise when I finally sort one.
Cheers
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Fri Jan 02, 2015 12:27 am

Hi, I ended up getting an ASUS X555L from pissyworld. It felt a little more robust than anything else I could find for £350, particularly the hinge. It's got an i5, 4RAM, dvd and 1TB disc. Seems to be quite easy to use although Windows 8.1 feels odd after 7. I did look at Lenovo and Toshiba but they felt very cheap unless it spent 600. Thanks again for your input, and I won't blame anyone here (apart from El President and Clee of course!) if it goes into meltdown.
Cheers

:pint



I forgot to say that I'll spend money on a decent 'robust' case, if I do go 'walkabout'.
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:59 pm

It's Virus Protection renewal time.

Is this something worth believing or is it just a commercial exercise for them?
http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/test-centre/ ... e-3263332/
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Re: PCs & Laptops

Postby Alpineandy » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:35 pm

If anyone's interested, I went for the Free Avira virus protection.....
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