Which one of these PCs would you buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Smileyguy, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Smileyguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I started a thread here a couple of months ago asking for advice about secondhand iBooks and PowerBooks. I'm now close to opting for a PC laptop instead. It's down to a number of reasons: There is a very reputable secondhand PC laptop store near me that will provide good support and a warranty (unlike buying secondhand on eBay or privately), I can get a machine with very good specs very cheaply, and I'm becoming increasingly comfortable and beginning to really like Linux.

    I'm going to be needing this laptop mainly for word processing and the internet, but also for some desktop publishing (Quark, InDesign, Scribus type stuff..) and basic photo editing music and home photo library stuff. The following are some of the different refurb machines they are currently selling:

    IBM ThinkPad T40
    Pentium 4 Mobile Processor 1.5Ghz
    512MB DDR RAM
    40 Gb Hard Disk
    CDRW\DVD Combo Drive
    14" TFT LCD Screen
    802.11b/g Wireless LAN
    Windows XP Professional
    €549 Incl VAT


    Dell Latitude C640

    ntel Pentium 4 Processor M 1.8GHz
    14.1" TFT Active Matrix
    40GB Hard Drive
    512Mb DDR SDRAM
    CD DVD Combo Drive
    Integrated LAN and 56k v.90 data fax modem
    ATI Mobility Radeon 7500
    Microsoft Windows 2000
    €529 Incl VAT

    Toshiba Tecra T9100
    Intel Pentium 4 Processor
    1.7 GHz
    14.1" Display
    30GB Hard Drive
    512Mb DDR SDRAM
    DVD ROM Drive
    Integrated Speakers
    Integrated LAN and 56k v.90 data fax modem
    Windows XP Professional
    €495 Incl VAT

    I'm in a bit of a dilemma here. At first, I was going to jump at the ThinkPad - they seem to be very well built, are quite stylish, have gotten great reviews, and I've heard they're very light, which is something I'm looking for, though I do want a 14' screen.

    However, I'm wondering if the specs (namely the 1.5Ghz processor) will be able to handle the above listed needs for the next 3-5 years (ideally 5 if possible). I suppose what it comes down to is: Should I buy a machine that is regarded as being better built and of a higher quality (Thinkpad) but a little slower, or should I go for one of the quicker machines? If the processor difference won't matter a whole lot, I'll go for the IBM - if it will do what I need for as long as I need. Otherwise, I'll go for one of the others, or wait for another deal to come along.

    I know this isn't a mac question, but this forum is full of such knowledge and good advice that I couldn't go and buy one of these machines without asking for some suggestions here first.

    Thanks guys

    PS No telling me to buy a mac :p
     
  2. Reaver macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus, Ohio
    #2
    I would go with the IBM they make solid laptops.
     
  3. pixelbaker macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #3
    Thinkpad, definitely. built much better than the dell or the toshiba. don't worry about the 300mhz difference. you most likely wouldn't notice the difference between them.
     
  4. lmalave macrumors 68000

    lmalave

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    Chinatown NYC
    #4
    All 3 computers are almost indistinguishabe in terms of their CPU. They are all Pentium 4 laptops, and The IBM is 1.5 GHz whereas the other two are 1.7 GHz and 1.8 GHz. This is really a negligible difference. The 300 MHz difference shoud make no difference in the useable lifespan of the computer.

    I would say definitely go for the IBM if you are looking for reliability and longevity. I use an a ThinkPad T42 at work and it is definitely a great computer. Considering you are looking at computers that are already at least 2 or 3 years old, and you want it to last for 5 more, I would say reliability HAS to be your primary purchasing criteria. The IBM is well worth it even though it has a slightly slower CPU and slightly higher price than the other two options.
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #6
    Out of those, definitely the Thinkpad.

    As for longevity, 3 - 5 years... definitely not. 2 years on the outside if you keep up with recommended app / OS updates (especially for web use) before it becomes untenably slow... although that of course will depend on your tolerance.
     
  6. lmalave macrumors 68000

    lmalave

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    Chinatown NYC
    #7
    I wholeheartedly disagree. No OS or App updates should be needed: why can't he just continue using Windows XP Pro, Firefox 2.0 or IE 6/7, and Office 2003? why does he need to "keep up with recommended app / OS updates?". All of the above apps should still be more than adequate 5 years from now.

    And as far as Web use - I happen to make a living developing web sites, and I can tell you that websites are developed for the LOWEST common denominator. A computer from 2001 should definitely be able to have no problem viewing websites developed today. Don't believe me?: IE 6 is *the* browser that web sites are developed for, and IE 6 was released on August of 2001. Yup, just over 5 years ago. I would say 5 years from now maybe the lowest commond denominator will be IE 7 and Firefox 2.0 (both just recently officially released), and a 1.5 GHz Pentium 4 has NO problem running either of those applications.

    The same holds true for Office and hardware/software compatibility. Office 2007 is *still* not out yet (obviously), so Office 2003 should have little or no compatibility issues for at least the next 3 to 5 years. And the consumer version of Vista is *still* not out, so the vast majority of hardware and software makers will make sure they are still compatible with Windows XP.
     
  7. theman5725 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    #8
    If you really want a computer to last 3-5 years why are you going for a refurb? Unless I missed something earlier, I don't see the point.
     
  8. esaleris macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    #9
    I have a Thinkpad T40 1.6Ghz that I bought in June of 2003, when the Centrinos first came out. I have a Thinkpad T42 2.0Ghz at work that is much faster on paper, that I got new in June of 2005.

    My personal IBM boots in 12 seconds, apps launch instantaneously. I've even dropped it once from desk level. Not a skip. My work IBM boots in more than 60 seconds, and IE takes forever to load.

    The morale of the story? How fast your computer runs has a lot more to do with how you manage your software than it does your processing power (scientific use and gaming aside).

    That aside, get the IBM - it's a nice machine.
     
  9. iris_failsafe macrumors 6502

    iris_failsafe

    Joined:
    May 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #10
    None of the apps you mentioned run on Linux...

    So you want a kind of Unix but you want to run commercial graphic apps...
    Only if there was an OS that combined both...

    Oh wait there is it's called Mac OS X and it runs on macs... wow what a discovery. listen I wouldn't buy any of those computers, you will get stuck in Windows since you can't do any of the work in Linux...

    Buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro with a Core Duo, now that the core 2 duo have arrived there will be some flying around from people desperate to change...

    BTw you can run linux also in virtualization mode...
     
  10. backsidetailsli macrumors 65816

    backsidetailsli

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto!
  11. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
  12. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #13
    I mention three apps, one of which (Scribus) does run on Linux. I have no problem working in Windows if I need to do. Most of my work will be word processing and the internet as I said, and I'm sure Linux can manage that.
     
  13. AutumnSkyline macrumors regular

    AutumnSkyline

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    #14
    You can find a ton of powerbooks and iBooks on ebay, I don't see why you would want to get a windows machine....ick. I would much rather get a mac with more stability, and less chance of nasty virus's
    :D
     
  14. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #15
    The problem is that current apps are already pretty heavyweight for that class of machine. It's also not about just the browser and the OS but lots of other things that will go on it as web apps develop, even if we stick just to Internet-based stuff. Of course he won't/can't be upgrading to Vista, but there will be security fixes for the OS in order for him to browse securely and there will be browser updates as well as functionality updates, all of which will eventually demand more than his machine can deliver at a decent clip. I'm not saying it won't work but I'm betting it will be painfully slow in just a couple of years.

    If he sticks with Linux only, perhaps it's more viable. Either way I say go for the Thinkpad out of those.
     
  15. matthew24 macrumors 6502

    matthew24

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Location:
    Netherlands
  16. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #17
    thinkpad. they are the best windows-based laptops i've encountered.
     
  17. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #18
    Thanks for the input. Do you think the situation would be any different on an equivalent priced mac? Say a 1.2ghz Powerbook for example.
     
  18. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #19
    Worse in terms of power. The Intel Macs caught up with the PC's in terms of the power curve and as you can read by the comments on this board, that was a shock to the system. Core Duo wasn't actually that revolutionary a jump in the power scale in terms of Windows, but as you will undoubtedly note the Macheads were amazed by the increase in speed. Things will now go at the Intel scale, which means the PPC's will be left behind quickly.

    However, the inherent (for now) security of OS X does mean that you may not need to keep your system updated in order to keep browsing the web reasonably safely - in which case, it'll be irrelevant whether your system is truly obsolete as you can continue to use the same software. But you will most likely be locked out of any evolving web apps which need newer versions of plug-ins, etc.
     
  19. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #20
    If I were to somehow manage to squeeze enough cash together to buy a refurbished CoreDuo Mabook, do you think it would make a lot of difference overall? My budget is VERY tight, so if it wouldn't make a whole lot of difference I won't bother.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  20. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #21
    That would be the best option for many reasons which I'm sure lots of other people will point out to you. the only thing I would say is that given my experiences, I would definitely recommend that sometime down the line before a year is up, you scrape together enough money to Applecare it.
     
  21. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #22
    There's a
    on the Apple UK store

    Its got a 13" screen, which is close to the 14" you're talking about. Quark has gone Universal already, so you'd be running pretty snappy with that CD machine- CD is far faster than a Pentium 4. And you could run Linux and Windows applications alongside Mac applications, so this computer would be my suggestion for you.

    541 excluding VAT, while the prices you earlier mentioned include it. Apple refurb comes with 1 year Applecare.
     
  22. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #23
    Thanks x86, but that works out at almost 950euro when converted, which is well out of my price range. If I were to get a refurbished macbook, I'd probably get one from the US. Small Dog electronics seem to have a bunch going for around 650euro, though I'd need to factor shipping in on top of that. The PC option is just so much easier and more convenient. A guess a decision has to be made.
     
  23. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #24
    Oh, woops i misread the little symbol in front of the prices you quoted from your local dealer.

    I thought you were from England!
     
  24. Smileyguy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #25
    Ha, no worries. ;)

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know how much it would cost to surface mail (I presume this is cheaper) a 5lb laptop from the US to Ireland?
     

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