Accountant Needs a New Computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SirWilliam, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. SirWilliam macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I cannot for the life of me figure out which computer to buy. Right now I have a 5 year old business class HP notebook (predecessor to the current Elite Books). I spent around $2k for it and to be honest it still works perfectly. It has difficulty though playing Netflix and Hulu smoothly because of the old graphics card. DVDs and avi files are fine. I also have a new work computer (Dell Latitude) which because it is so burdened by all the enterprise software is much slower than my HP. I also have an iPad.

    Apart from the Hulu and Netflix problems I have no complaints with my HP. I like the idea of a portable computer but (to my knowledge at least) Macs do not have docking stations...which is where my computer sits most of the time.

    I want a computer that will last me 5 years without trouble. Which Mac is the most reliable? I have always wanted a Mac Pro and would certainly be willing to spend the money if it would last me 5 years...I just question whether I would have a better experience with a 27" iMac or a 15" or 17" Mac Book Pro (which I imagine is too fragile for me).

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. Barnzee macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Location:
    Oak Harbor, WA
    #2
    Actually Macbook Pro's are not fragile at all; they are enclosed in a metal Aluminum unibody structure unlike most windows notebooks that are made of plastic.

    Also the Imac is coming close to a refresh so I would wait if you plan on getting one.
     
  3. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #3
    I used work in an IT department and ABS plastic is a much better material for laptops than aluminum. I would get PowerBooks with all sorts of dents...cd drives could not eject because the causes would bend by the opening...though you just bend it back but it never looked the same.
     
  4. Padraig macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    #4
    You're an accountant and you're considering a laptop without a number pad?
     
  5. Bloodstar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA, USA
    #5
    Should one really be needed, you could always get a USB numpad. I did this back when my old Gateway still worked.

    Besides, no numpad would make the machine easily more portable.
     
  6. kevingaffney macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    #6
    As an accountant, you may find the accountancy packages for the mac limited. However, I use parallels to run my quickbooks and illy and photoshop and all the fun stuff on the mac os. You'll also have no problem getting five years from the new mbp's, they're a terrific machine
     
  7. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 5, 2008
    #7
    I have a company provided laptop...I would not dream of using my personal computer for work.
     
  8. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #8
    Best thing I've read today!

    I suggest the 13 inch MBP. Despite that FUD about unibody cases a few posts ago, it is really the best design on the market for a notebook if you aren't willing to shell out for one of those lenovo magnesium reinforced tanks or panasonic toughbooks. And if you buy one of those you don't get the option to use OS X. I look forward to using OS X at home after a long day of corporate IT mismangled Windows 7.

    If cost is not an object, you can consider the larger (and heavier) 15 in MBP which has anti glare and higher resolution available as add on options. But if a 13 inch screen is enough for you, the 13 inch MBP is your best bet.
     
  9. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #9
    My HP has a magnesium chassis and a 1680 x 1050 which Apple laptops never had until recently. I think that the 13" has the computing power I would need but the screen resolution is too low...which means I have to spend a lot more money. Why does the air have a better screen than the 13" MBP?
     
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #10
    Check out the Dell Latitude lines (the E64xx series is beautiful), I've had great experience with them, and they have dock connectors. I can't speak for HP's eliteBook.

    Also, the new MacBook Pro's all have ports on one side, so it's not as much of a pain to unplug and plug everything in... but it is a pain.
     
  11. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #11
    My work computer is a Latitude E6410 but I want a Mac, I am bored of Windows (although I am sure I will be bored of OSX after a week or so). Unfortunately Apple offers very little options in terms of screen resolution so I need either a 15" or 17" MacBookPro...which with a high resolution antiglare screen gets me with in a couple hundred dollars of a Mac Pro which would last me a long time.
     
  12. r0k, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011

    r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #12
    That's a very good question. You would think Apple would have bumped the screen on the 13 in MBP during the recent refresh to be at least as good as the 13 in MBA. SJ works in mysterious (and occasionally out of touch) ways.

    I have the Latitude E6400. It is awful. The wifi switch turns off the bluetooth. What idiot came up with that idea? It's friggin' heavy. Boat anchor heavy, though I admit it might not be much heavier than the 15 in and 17 in MBP options you are considering.

    I must admit Apple seems slow to come to the 1080p party but I'm sure they will arrive with next spring's crop of MBP models. When I think of replacing my aging Macbook, I'm tempted to consider the hires option 15 in MBP, but the 13 in MBP is only $999 at Microcenter so that's tempting as well. I think Apple made a decision to let the screen resolution lag so they could kick some serious butt with cpu performance such that this years' slowest MBP is faster than last years' fastest MBP.

    Meanwhile, when I'm putting my E6400 in my backpack, Win 7 is groggy but not quite asleep yet and if my finger touches the cd drawer catch I've gotta deal with putting that thing back in. VGA out and audio out are on opposite sides of the machine. The trackpad is an awful joke and cannot reliably be switched off based on the presence of a usb or BT mouse. The BT mouse works intermittently with the scroll wheel ceasing work for hours at a time. The vent grilles on the top of the case next to the keyboard are traps for all sorts of dust, dirt and debris.

    Then there's the most heinous flaw: Windows 7 / Microslow Office 2007 administered by knuckleheads who seem to pride themselves on harvesting clicks, logins and re-logins. No, I wouldn't buy one of these things except possibly to use it at the bottom of my cat's litterbox.

    Meanwhile my creaky old discolored 2008 white Macbook geekbenches faster than the 5 month old E6400 and is a pleasure to use mainly because of OS X. Ever try to print play tickets on the way out the door? This was an impossibility when we ran windows. On our Macs, things simply work. All the time. Every time. Yes, it's boring. In a good way. I don't want to diddle and fiddle with windows things like direct x 99 or virus definition subscriptions or even OS X things like the dashboard, expose and the dock. I want the OS to stay the heck out of my face and never stand between me and the email I need to send or the play tickets I need to print. Yes I'm bored alright. Very happily so. :)
     
  13. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #13
    My HP works fine. I have no issues with Windows 7 I am careful about what I put on my computer and it still seems quite fast to me and I have not wiped my computer once since I got Windows 7 a year ago. The graphics card is really what is holding it back.

    I do not really care for my Dell but that is really because of the loadset, it takes ten minutes to get into Windows XP. If you cannot effortlessly send emails or print tickets off the internet that is user error which has nothing to do with the operating system.

    How many years do you guys think I could get out of a Mac Pro? Is ten years reasonable for office applications, surfing the web, and playing video?
     
  14. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #14
    Sounds to me like you contradict yourself a bit.

    I'm not convinced the graphics card has anything to do with this; graphics cards typically do most of the heavy lifting on rendering models into video, not displaying already-rendered video like from a movie or TV show. It sounds more like either a bandwidth or CPU issue to me.

    My opinion - if your current computer does everything you need it to do, then there's no need to upgrade. If there's something you're trying to do that your current computer won't do, then it's time to consider an upgrade.
     
  15. AWallen90 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    #15
    Macbook

    I have a late 2006 macbook (2.0 c2d 2gb) that I think about replacing every once in a while but it works great. The only think I have trouble with is 1080P video and about the only game it will play is halo.

    CS5 runs great on it as well as office 2011 and iworks '09.

    5 years out of one of the new mbp's is a modest request in my opinion. I will be using mine for a couple more years and do not anticipate any problems.
     
  16. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #16
    Careful with those user error accusations. For a while, we had an HP network printer that relied on MS .net based drivers that took over a gig to download and install. The thing quit working randomly and the official HP support said to repeatedly install and uninstall until you got it working (you got lucky).

    We had a string of routers that were summarily killed off by our crappy Comcast internet service. Every ip reassignment resulted in a hung router. I've permanently bypassed Comcast's intermittent DNS servers with something that has more than 70% uptime. Strictly speaking, these Comcast issues were never a windows or a mac thing but now that I use an Airport Extreme, I may have to reset the cable modem a few times a month but never have to reset the AEBS. Now we use Macs and Brother printers. Perhaps those same printers would have also been more reliable with Windows but we've already moved on. I understand where you are coming from as in "normal" circumstances the inability to get on the net or print is frequently caused by user error.

    But to turn to your question, I think you'll get more useful life out of a MBP. I'm thinking of replacing my Macbook because I want to. Not because it's slow. Not because of some sort of compatibility issue. Though it is running low on storage. If you pick up a 13 in MBP, assuming you can live with the resolution, you should be able to get 5+ years out of it. 10 years is always a maybe because we don't know how things will look by then. 10 years ago, 802.
     
  17. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #17
    On a five year old laptop I would be looking at the CPU as the cause too. This can be verified easily enough by playing a video and running task manager (ctrl - alt - del). If it is a single core CPU then this is most definitely an issue. I also did not see you mention how much RAM the HP has as that could be the issue as well. Any Core Duo, Turion 64 x2 or Athlon 64 x2 with 2GB RAM should be able to playback HD flash embedded and/or movemedia content from any of the video streaming sites.

    Though my understanding is that new GPU's are capable of playing Flash embedded video and h.264 content. Though h.264 acceleration has been available since the Radeon 2000 series and GeForce 8000 series in Windows at least.
     
  18. SirWilliam thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    #18
    It is a T2500 Core Duo @ 2.0GHz...I suppose it could be the CPU. It can play Crysis fine at medium to low settings though. The computer does not feel slow when performing anything other than Netflix and Hulu...although I guess to be fair Netflix is only slow and choppy for the first five minutes then it smooths out...Hulu is always choppy. I just did a speed test at is says 21.7MB per second down and 4.27 up. I have 4 GB of RAM or 3.37GB useable. On the Windows Experience Index (not that this is worth anything) I have a 4.1 rating. The GPU is an ATI X1600 with 256MB
     
  19. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #19
    Is it always choppy or just certain times of the day? That computer should be able to handle Hulu video. Most of their content is not HD. Even then computer should be able to handle it fine.

    I would try updating your Flash plug-in. If you are using Internet Explorer or AOL (yes a lot of people actually use this) switch to Firefox then download and install the Flash plug-in through Firefox. While your at it download and install the latest Reader, Shockwave and Air at Adobe.com and the correct offline installer of Java for maintenance and security.

    If it is still slow and Task Manager is not showing 100% CPU Usage and a decent amount of Physical Memory is free. Then I would suspect it is some issue with too much traffic to their servers, some problem with your network or with your ISP.

    If the Physical Memory is full and no other program is running you may want to go into MSCONFIG and disable start-up entries. Be forewarned, only uncheck entries in "Startup" and "Services". In the "Services" tab make sure "Hide all Microsoft services" at the bottom of the windows is checked. All the Startup items and non-Microsoft Services may be unchecked for diagnostic purposes, though I would only leave the necessary ones you need checked like the printer monitor, anti-virus or programs you use that require their Startup items and Services to function (most don't).
     

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