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Offline cfx795

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laptops.
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:11:30 pm »
I was looking at this:

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Celeron-Storage-Windows-A114-31-C4HH/dp/B0746NCNSG/ref=sr_1_10?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1515953417&sr=1-10&keywords=laptop&refinements=p_n_feature_five_browse-bin%3A7817222011%2Cp_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A12035945011#HLCXComparisonWidget_feature_div

Although I know I should "aspire" to something more powerful... (ba-dum-bum  :D) This cpu (N3450) scores almost twice as high on passmark as the cpu in my chromebook (N3060) which works just fine. I know y'all think I've got to be positively miserable with such a low-power device. But I'm not. Actually for 6W and $200 it's sort of impressive. There's an Amazon review there that even shows this Acer performs admirably with 4K video, and  no problem with 1080. I guess if there's a hitch here it's that it's only got 4GB of RAM. Although I wonder if there's a slot for another 4?

I also looked at the used/refurbed Dell E-Series, per PCNetSpec, and there's more processing power there.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Latitude-E6430-Laptop-WEBCAM/dp/B01M31QNF2/ref=sr_1_6?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1515945639&sr=1-6&keywords=laptop&refinements=p_n_operating_system_browse-bin%3A12035945011%2Cp_n_feature_five_browse-bin%3A7817223011%7C7817224011&tag=incepin-20

Although, I will say that when it comes to HDD vs SSD, I generally would prefer a small SSD over a large HDD. And then there's the DVD Burner.  ::)

A lot of the more high-end laptops, even the new ones in 2017 and 2018, they swap out the small SSD you see in a lot of lower-end units with, say, a 5400rpm drive, 1TB or 2TB, but I don't really see this as an upgrade. I'd choose speed over large capacity, for which I have little use. Cloud storage works fine for me. It just seems like they're selling me some stuff I don't want or need.

I dunno. I'm just looking. I've hit a mental roadblock with regard to building and upgrading this desktop computer. My computing needs max-out at about Pentium level, I think, and beyond that I have other priorities for my $$. Additionally, I have very little physical space here for a desktop computer. I'm probably going to dismantle the desktop, and sell it off on eBay. I have a real nice 550W Seasonic PSU. I'm not sure what I thought I needed to power: a hair dryer? Toaster oven or microwave?

So about tax refund time I think I'll get a 14 or 15" laptop. Something like that. Meanwhile, I'll continue browsing.

[EDIT] I see that the SSD and memory are NOT upgradeable. So maybe not this Acer laptop... also maybe I could just swap the HDD out for an SSD. It seems like most laptops at a reasonable price just aren't going to come standard with an SSD.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 10:08:47 pm by cfx795 »

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2018, 11:09:56 pm »
Go with the Dell Latitude E6430. I own one with an Intel Core i7. Great machine!

Personally, I don't care about anything except the general overall condition, and the CPU, when I buy refurbs. I replace all the other components and roll my own anyway.

Not sure how hard it is to rip an Acer apart, and upgrade 'the guts', but Dells are a breeze.

Plus, NIB OEM Dell parts are available on eBay for pennies on the wholesale dollar.

Lastly, if I showed up at a board meeting with an Acer craptop, I'd never hear the end of it.

It's a pissing contest of sorts, you know? LoL!   ;D


Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2018, 11:37:46 pm »
Yeah as I explore Newegg, now, I see there are a lot of these refurbed Dell Latitudes on the market. Acer craptop, huh? Hah hah! Well, if that's how it is, I'm probably benefiting from other folks who just wouldn't be caught DEAD with last year's Dell, right? Actually the Latitude is a few years old, isn't it? What is it now? Inspiron? This is just for personal use, not professional. So I'm pretty unconcerned with anyone else's pee stream. I'll look at the i7's but I've never had anything anything like an i7, and I'm pretty confident I could make do with an i5 as well. Seems to be the go-to machine of the business world, or something, because there's tons of used ones out there.

Yeah what I heard - from Mark (PCNetSpec) and others seems to indicate they're very upgradeable and swappable and rugged and etc, etc... like sort of standardized, right? I seem to remember him saying he'd replaced the DVD slot with a backup HDD? Because that's probably what I'd eventually do, after I'd replaced the boot drive with an SSD. And swap Windows out for Linux.

I'm probably sold on the idea of a refurbed Latitude. Thanks.

[EDIT] something like this, I suppose:

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834849172&cm_re=e6430-_-34-849-172-_-Product

[EDIT2] Oh yeah. Are these integrated graphics? I see the chip is from 2012. OK, nevermind, I see now. HD Graphics 4000. I suppose most laptops have cpu's with integrated graphics of some sort or another...
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 12:02:59 am by cfx795 »

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 06:12:38 am »
I prefer to buy my Dell refurbs directly from Dell: https://goo.gl/1znNYL

I bought the last Dell refurb (last week) from a turd party on Amazon.com, because we were in a pinch for time, and needed winders 10. The machine was fine, but it came with winders 7 installed, so I had to scramble to install '10'.  I've already filed arbitration against the vendor with Amazon. Caveat emptor.

If you decide to go the Dell-from-Dell route, keep an eye out for online coupons. I NEVER pay retail at Dell. I make up my mind which machine I want in advance, then wait until I find a 50%-60% off coupon. Using a 60% off coupon, I bought my Dell Latitude E6430 i7 lappy for less than $200 - then dumped another couple of hundred in it upgrading the RAM, SSD, slice battery, back-lit keyboard, WiFi card, replaced the DVD burner with a HDD spinner, and so forth, and so on.

All of this upgrading would probably have been impossible with an Acer, for instance, without a major effort involved - but that's a hunch.

And, yes, in the business world it's dog-eat-dog. When I was first elected at the International level, I showed up at the first meeting with an Asus Eee PC, which suited MY needs perfectly. But, I started looking around at what everyone was using, and quickly felt totally inadequate and naked. It was a learning experience for me.

That said, 13-14" lappies seem to be the sweet spot for 'Enterprise Business' machines. Those are the only sizes I would consider, no matter what brand it is. I need to lug a lappy around, all over the country, so size DOES matter.

Anyway, good luck with your purchase.  Different strokes, for different folks, and all that stuff ...  :)

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 09:11:46 am »
My Peppermint system in on 17" laptop ... just so I don't need to turn on the TV to watch Netflix

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Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2018, 09:37:44 am »
OK. Yeah buying directly from Dell would make a lot of sense - I hadn't thought of it. To tell the truth, I wasn't eager to make that sort of purchase from some Amazon vendor. I might return a video card that I just got and so I might have some Amazon credit, but I think I'd rather use it for something else.

What's a slice battery? What's the deal with the WiFi card? Would it be a bit antiquated or something? You buy the parts direct from Dell, also? I'll have to keep track of the coupons. This would be a bit of a learning experience for me, but then so was building my first desktop...

Probably not gonna do it 'til March or so. Tax refunds. I see the video in most of these 6430's says "Nvidia Quadro NVS 5200M (1024 MB)" That's not integrated video, is it? Or is it? What do you do with that? Swap it out for something a bit more modern/capable?

Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2018, 09:39:37 am »
Quote
I prefer to buy my Dell refurbs directly from Dell: https://goo.gl/1znNYL

I bought the last Dell refurb (last week) from a turd party on Amazon.com, because we were in a pinch for time, and needed winders 10. The machine was fine, but it came with winders 7 installed, so I had to scramble to install '10'.  I've already filed arbitration against the vendor with Amazon. Caveat emptor.

If you decide to go the Dell-from-Dell route, keep an eye out for online coupons. I NEVER pay retail at Dell. I make up my mind which machine I want in advance, then wait until I find a 50%-60% off coupon. Using a 60% off coupon, I bought my Dell Latitude E6430 i7 lappy for less than $200 - then dumped another couple of hundred in it upgrading the RAM, SSD, slice battery, back-lit keyboard, WiFi card, replaced the DVD burner with a HDD spinner, and so forth, and so on.

All of this upgrading would probably have been impossible with an Acer, for instance, without a major effort involved - but that's a hunch.

And, yes, in the business world it's dog-eat-dog. When I was first elected at the International level, I showed up at the first meeting with an Asus Eee PC, which suited MY needs perfectly. But, I started looking around at what everyone was using, and quickly felt totally inadequate and naked. It was a learning experience for me.

That said, 13-14" lappies seem to be the sweet spot for 'Enterprise Business' machines. Those are the only sizes I would consider, no matter what brand it is. I need to lug a lappy around, all over the country, so size DOES matter.

Anyway, good luck with your purchase.  Different strokes, for different folks, and all that stuff ...  :)
OK. Yeah buying directly from Dell would make a lot of sense - I hadn't thought of it. To tell the truth, I wasn't eager to make that sort of purchase from some Amazon vendor. I might return a video card that I just got and so I might have some Amazon credit, but I think I'd rather use it for something else.

What's a slice battery? What's the deal with the WiFi card? Would it be a bit antiquated or something? You buy the parts direct from Dell, also? I'll have to keep track of the coupons. This would be a bit of a learning experience for me, but then so was building my first desktop...

Probably not gonna do it 'til March or so. Tax refunds. I see the video in most of these 6430's says "Nvidia Quadro NVS 5200M (1024 MB)" That's not integrated video, is it? Or is it? What do you do with that? Swap it out for something a bit more modern/capable?

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2018, 09:47:33 am »
You already know what my choice would be...

A lump of cheap plastic built from component with the lowest shelf price with zero upgrade path and that will likely fly to pieces of dropped from 2 inches .. or a business class Dell where all components have been tested to work optimally with each other at the design stage, can have the HDD replaced with an SSD, and even have the optical drive replaced with a second HDD/SDD running at FULL SATA III speed, has a better screen and keyboard, components can be easily sourced and replaced if necessary (including battery), and if dropped from 2 FEET will likely just dent the floor.

Even if the Acer does have a spare RAM slot, I'll put money on it that it's a complete stripdown (including motherboard removal) to fit it .. voiding any warrantee.

And you can Dell's on Ebay for the same price or less that the Acer.

A slice battery is just a big battery that generally clips to the underside of the laptop and feeds in via the docking port underneath.


You can also get large 9 cell batteries for the Dells that fit in the normal battery compartment .. effectively giving you 18 cells if you desire .. heck you can even get another battery for the optical bay if you wanna go mad.

The wifi card that comes with the Dells is usually a very good wireless 'N' cards but remember these were built before wireless 'AC' .. if you have a wireless 'AC' router it's trivial to swap out the 'N' card for an 'AC' one such as the Intel Wireless-AC 7260 (ebay) which is a very fast card when linked to a good AC router.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 09:54:21 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 10:39:49 am »
OK. This is starting to make sense to me. I could probably drop the SSD from my desktop into this Dell laptop, right? 2.5" SSD? It's sort of a small-ish SSD, which I always sort of intended for boot purposes, but then you're saying I could aIso install a secondary HDD for storage in the optical storage bay if I'm not into optical storage...  I guess I'm glad that I didn't get too far and too much wrapped up in the whole desktop thing, having sort of discovered that it's probably the wrong route for me. With desktops, the focus (purpose, even) is always gaming. It's been interesting, I guess, and I learned a lot, but just not my bag. I'm intrigued with the Latitude scheme, and I think I'll go that route. Sounds like the worst that could happen is that I get momentarily confused... sounds like I probably won't break it!

[EDIT] In fact, so like if the laptop comes with, say, a 320GB HDD (or whatever) I could probably drop my PM7 SSD into the laptop as the boot drive, and swap out the optical storage with the original laptop HDD, for extra storage. Right? I suppose there's a tray or something that you'd use to swap out the dvd drive with a HDD?
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 10:48:54 am by cfx795 »

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2018, 10:45:02 am »
Yep the 2.5" SSD will just replace the HDD in the HDD bay .. and you can buy one of these:-
https://www.ebay.com/itm/2nd-Hard-Drive-Caddy-for-DELL-Modular-Bay-E6520-E6530-E6420-E6430-E632-NO-TAX/222566787746?hash=item33d203aaa2:g:CfcAAOSw311Zutf7

or cheaper Chinese variant .. but sometimes these can be a tight fit:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Ejector-2nd-HDD-SSD-Caddy-for-Dell-Latitude-E6420-E6520-E6320-E6430-E6530-E6330/252745594180?hash=item3ad8cfb544:g:v-MAAOSw-YBXG7z8

to replace the optical drive with another 2.5" drive (SSD or HDD) .. which lock in place at the push of a button.

The socket in the optical bay on the Latitudes connects via a FULL speed SATA-III controller .. the optical bays in most consumer grade laptops aren't full speed SATA-III
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 10:50:40 am by PCNetSpec »
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Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 11:01:24 am »
OK. Yeah that's pretty nifty. This does make a lot of sense. So you think eBay and Dell are the best places to look? For laptops, I mean?

[EDIT]I'll have to look into this wireless AC thing. I'm using this Motorola SBG6580. It's wireless A, B, G and N, I think. Doesn't say anything about AC. Seems like I could use the existing wireless card in the Latitude, unless you think there are like remote locations that will be using this wireless AC. I guess this is something I'm unfamiliar with.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 11:17:40 am by cfx795 »

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2018, 11:16:29 am »
Right on. There was a small edit about the wireless in my previous post.

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2018, 11:23:26 am »
Quote
So you think eBay and Dell are the best places to look? For laptops, I mean?

It's kinda hard for me to answer that .. Dell refurbs (from Dell themselves) are not available over here (UK), and Ebay prices are also very different.

VinDSL may be able to give better US centric advice here.

I've bought all mine from Ebay (UK), and got some terrific deals (at least for the UK) .. but if they were available direct from Dell with a warrantee and less chance of getting ripped off (not that that's happened to me) and the price wasn't that much more.....

One things for sure, you'll find a LOT of them on Ebay .. corporations that bought them new for a grand plus tend to sell them to refurb companies prior to the guarantee running out, so you see a LOT of refurbs available (just not direct from Dell over here).

As these things are business class, there is also a TON of spares and accessories available for them.

If you decide to get one .. a couple of hints.

a) they came with 3 different screen resolutions (1366x768, 1600x900, and full HD 1920x1080) .. personally I'd steer clear of 1366x768, my personal preference is 1600x900 native,

b) they also came with the inbuilt Intel graphics only, or with both the intel and an nvidia NVS-5200M (in Optimus configuration) .. the ones with the nvidia cards are sometimes a bit more expensive but give you the option to switch between the two cards depending on whether you want the added performance of the nvidia or better battery life. For most use cases the intel will be fine but if yoou can get one with the additional nvidia card at the same price.....

I'd worry less about i5 vs i7 or dual core vs quad core than I would about the screen and graphics card .. though I'd probably steer clear of the occasional i3 you'll spot.

[EDIT]

Quote
I'm using this Motorola SBG6580. It's wireless A, B, G and N, I think. Doesn't say anything about AC. Seems like I could use the existing wireless card in the Latitude, unless you think there are like remote locations that will be using this wireless AC

Yeah if your router is Wireless 'N' the default card will be a good 'N' card .. they didn't generally fit cheap bits to these things ;)

But you can still upgrade later should you ever get an AC router.

All wireless AC routers are backwards compatible with Wireless N cards .. so even if you were at a location with an AC router you'd still be able to connect at wireless N speeds .. just not at AC speeds and distances.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 01:38:11 pm by PCNetSpec »
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Offline cfx795

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2018, 11:48:53 am »
Sure. So chalk the wireless card upgrade up to nice-to-have, as opposed to must-have. So where would you be likely to find wireless AC? Like hotels and airports?

Seems like I would have the biggest immediate upgrade pretty much already taken care of, with the SSD.

No one's really said much about the graphics. What about that? I don't really need gaming graphics, as I think you already know. But you know: like Netflix graphics, perhaps. YouTube graphics. Is it all integrated with the cpu, or what? Seems like most of these 6430's listed Nvidia Quadro NVS 5200M. I looked at this on UserBenchmark, or maybe it was Passmark, and it seemed like it might be slightly inferior to the integrated graphics on this Kaby Lake Celeron chip that I had in my desktop. Which was fine. But anyway. Just wondering about graphics.

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Re: laptops.
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 12:07:09 pm »
The integrated intel graphics on the Ivy Bridge i5/i7 (Intel HD4000) will be fine for most use cases and will happily output smooth full HD 1080p video or they wouldn't have that native screen option.

The NVS-5200M is a 'nice to have' for the occasional low-mid end 3D game .. where it does make a big difference.
(the N series Celerons are in my experience rubbish at this by comparison .. even in the Beebox with dual channel memory)

Is the HD4000 more powerful than the Kaby Lake Celerons HD500 .. possibly not (in some 'on paper' use cases) when taken in isolation, but the Celeron N will bottleneck first guaranteed.

I can tell you that I have two N3150 and J3160 based MicroPC's for HTPC .. the graphics are quite good on the things, but the CPU bottlenecks dragging the graphics with it if you give it anything other than a single task .. they're ideal for cheap KODI boxes and I love em, but i wouldn't want one as my main PC.

For simple video the N/J is a great CPU, and even has hardware HEVC decoding .. as a general use processor, not so much.

[EDIT]

Again, I have both and I know which I prefer ;)

And I'll put money on it the panel quality of the Dell is better than the Acer.

[EDIT 2]

Be sure to read the notes in my last posting about screen resolution.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 01:37:25 pm by PCNetSpec »
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