PC laptop recommendation

Discussion in 'Computers' started by buyhighselllow, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. buyhighselllow

    buyhighselllow Regular

    Nov 29, 2011
    San Diego
    I just sold my iPad2 so I could get a Macbook Air. The iPad was great but the limitations were bugging me more and more, especially typing on a touch pad. So I decide to go the MBA route however I see I can get a lot more computer for less if I go the PC route. I have a iMAC desktop too so I will always have a MAC available. Going to run Lightroom on it.

  2. Not sure if I would agree with you on that one. I went down that path early last year because I had the same thinking, plus, I needed PC to run some diabetic software I wanted to keep track of my levels. Anyway I came home with a really inexpensive Acer, with a 15" screen and Windows 7 Home premium. It had 4G RAM and IIRC a 320G hard drive. Long story short, the screen was rubbish and would not display at a higher resolution than 1386 (and on 15" that was woeful). I wasnt worried, I decided to install Ubuntu instead, which I am quite happy to use. Nope... Ubuntu wouldnt install because the PC was locked down in some way to the Acer software only. Futzing about in the bios didnt help. I reinstalled from the recovery software 24 hours later and returned it for a full refund.

    I now have a 13" MBP instead, and really wish, often, that I had got an Air. I'm glad I have the MBP though, and an iMac on the desk, and an iPad at the lounge and an iPhone in my pocket. PCs can be cheaper yes, but they won't have the best hardware and if you want hardware that matches the macs, you probably do need to pay almost as much, so in the end it really comes down to the OS choice. My opinion, of course :)

    [edit] oh yeah, the diabetic software works just fine in Parallels with W7. So I never really needed the Acer anyway...
  3. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    cheaper is a relative thing
  4. stillshunter

    stillshunter Super Moderator Emeritus

    Nov 5, 2010
    Down Under
    Well I'd jump on the Mac bandwagon in a heartbeat, but the Minister of the Interior says "NO!". I've had an Acer and a HP and neither has lasted like the Toshiba (4 years o with the Laptop and still going strong....oh Jeez fingers-crossed). Just bought a Netbook to replace the burnt-out HP (lasted just over 1 year :eek:) and now it is only Toshiba for me!....well until I successfully complete Persuasion 301. :blush:
  5. If you haven't ever checked the refurb store, it might be a good idea. I got a 2011 MBP for $1099, in July, and the only thing that was different was that it didnt come with Lion. It was only released in May and according to coconut battery even now is only 27 weeks old. I've only had it a few weeks less. It was worth the discount.

    Refurbished Mac Computers - Refurbished Notebooks & Desktop Computers - Apple Store (Australia)
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  6. Michael

    Michael Rookie

    Sep 7, 2010
    Western Australia
    Why anyone who needs Photoshop, Lightroom or almost any other post processing software would buy a windows machine beats me. I have taught Adobe products on both platforms and those using Macs just do better because they don't have to battle with a poorly designed O/s and even those who know it are much slower than Mac students. For me its a no brainer. If you can't afford the latest mac buy a good used or like kiteflyer says a refurb. The Mac mini server is also a real bargain compared with other desktops on the market...
  7. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    These threads always have an unpleasant tendency to turn into a Mac vs PC battle of the zealots.

    For what is basically single-application work, there's no reason not to buy a windows-based machine; it is just a tool after all, and Macs really are staggeringly overpriced considering that beneath the (admittedlly well designed) skin is - these days - identical hardware.

    I use a Lenovo G770 i7/6GB/750GB - it is very good; I've also had a Toshiba RF711 i5/6GB/1TB and it was as good if not better.

    The main thing is, if you're going to buy a laptop, is to budget in for a hardware colour calibrator (such as a Spyder3) - Mac or PC
  8. Pretty pathetic, isn't it. I use to train people on both PC and Mac platforms and use both for desk-top-publishing. Those that think one is particularly better than the other haven't used them side-by-side with the same software on machines costing a similar amount of money; or have become conditioned to the quirks of one operating system over the other.


    I am currently using a Toshiba L500 laptop. It is now getting long in the tooth and some multi-layer files tax it but has served well. When I bought it, I compared it to about a dozen machines in the same shop and had each one running the same performance measuring software. The L500 topped machines with newer and more powerfull processors as it had the best graphics section. Agree with the spyder calibrator and the other thing to note is that the screen resolution isn't so important as I only rely on the screen when travelling (as I am now). Normallhy I have the machine plugged into a good quality 24" HD monitor.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I use both Macs and PCs. I also write about various gadgets for a living. I can honestly say that currently there are exactly zero PC laptops comparable to MacBook Air. All so called 'ultrabooks' are either flimsy or slow or they have poor screens or they don't last that much on a battery or their keyboards and touchpads are a pain to use. But for the most part they are prone to all the aforementioned issues. The only PC ultraportable I can recommend is Lenovo ThinkPad X220. You can get it with IPS screen and 9-hour battery and it will still be comparable to 13" MBA in terms of weight (but much thicker).
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    I am using an HP Pavillion G series with a 17" screen to run Lightroom for my Leica M9. 1600x900 screen resolution. No problems dumping a card, and having it batch convert to JPEGs. The computer has 4GBytes of RAM, and uses no where near that running the conversions across 4 processors. The computer was under $600.

    Win7 has been fairly problem free. 4GBytes is probably required, a similar machine with 3GBytes required a manual load for Win7 Service Pack 1.

    I've worked with computers for 35 years now, Personal Computers since the late 1970s. I wrote my own image processing software on a machine with 64Kbytes of RAM, long before there was a Photoshop. It's amazing that you can buy a machine with this much power for less than the cost of a 5.25" floppy drive.
  11. Grant

    Grant Veteran

    Nov 12, 2010
    Lunenburg Nova Scotia
    Because you already have a Mac I have to weigh in on the side of Mac on this one. If you didn’t already have a computer I would say pick a price level you are comfortable with and flip a coin.

    You have an iMac so sticking with Mac has many advantages. You won’t have to learn a new operating system as you can use all the Mac knowledge you already have. Any software you get from the App Store and much from other suppliers can be used legally used on both Macs. Because you have a Mac you can leverage certain Mac specific features such as FaceTime, AirDrop, Screen Sharing,and iCloud.

    If cost is an issue a PC can be very attractive. You can always buy into the PC platform at a very attractive price but I suspect you will be comparing apples and oranges (pardon the pun). The price get very close when you compare compatible machines, and even closer when you factor in iLife replacement and the cost of virus protection. But if price is an issue with you, and price is always an issue for most, then I think you should consider a refurbished or a second hand Mac.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. pdh

    pdh Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    I'll qualify my earlier comments as I live in the UK, and comparable spec machines here are not at all close in price ... which may not of course be true in the US or elsewhere
  13. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    For me it would be buy the mac you can afford, used or refurbished , most do not need the latest model
  14. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I own both an iMac and an iPad... but I use Windows PCs at work all day every day. I prefer Mac for myself but have nothing against Windows. Generally, I tell people if they like to play with their computers, try all kinds of new software and enjoy upgrading components themselves, then Windows is definitely the way to go. On the other hand, if a computer is simply a means to an end and you have no problem living within the Apple universe, then Mac is the choice. Just my two cents' worth.

    Meanwhile, to the OP, I agree with Grant about all the advantages of sticking with Mac in your specific situation. Your decision to dump the iPad is interesting, considering you have an iMac for when you need a full-featured computer. I also have an iMac and I'm typing this post on an iPad2 right now. I'm realistic about what the iPad can do and the limitations of the tablet platform in general. So far, I'm very pleased.

    But to each his or her own and if the iPad doesn't work for you, then go for the MacBook Air. But, given that you have the iMac, I wouldn't go for anything larger than the Air. A MacBook Pro would be great if you had no other computer. But since you have the desktop platform covered and you have a computer for the real heavy lifting, the purpose of the second device is portability.

    Good luck!
  15. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    I feel bad about your experience with your Imac, but judging a whole product line by one faulty machine would be a large mistake. I have owned countless MAC towers and I have had zero problems other than one dying hard drive, I am now also using my 9th or 10th MBP, out of all of those I have replaced one out of warranty hard drive and one in warranty mother board and keyboard. To answer the question why so laptops none of the units had any problems, I am always upgrading to the newest and fastest, the old ones have been either sold or given away.
    I am very impressed about the speed and power of my latest tower and laptop.
  16. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I don't think that any of the PC ultrabooks give you much more for your money than the current MacBook Air models. It comes down to your OS preference. As for ultrabooks being flimsy or having poor displays, I think it's premature to say that. There is a flood of ultrabooks coming out now, and I doubt there are any among us here who have tried them all. Several have been well received by the tech press. I have an 11" MacBook Air and like it well enough.

    If you look at larger workstation class notebooks, there is no doubt that some PCs give you more power for your buck as compared to a MacBook Pro. My Lenovo W520 has three hard drive bays (two of them can be configured as RAID) and 4 DIMM slots for RAM, so right out of the gate I have 16GB RAM, an SSD, and massive storage along with a killer processor, beautiful high-gamut matte display, and great graphics card. All for half the price of a similarly spec'd Macbook pro which offers only two DIMM slots and two hard drive bays.

    As for the the Adobe apps themselves (eg, Lightroom, Photoshop), there was a time when those performed better on a Mac than a PC, but that time seems to be long gone. In my experience, those apps are equal in performance and ease of use on both platforms.
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Jul 3, 2010
    I've had a couple lemon Macs too. One of my Powerbooks had random kernel panics pretty straight out of the box from day 1. To this day, my 2008 MacBook Pro display zonks out on me sometimes, and I have to press a key combination to get it right. Never happens when running Windows 7 under Boot Camp, so I know it's a software problem. It's a known issue for Penryn Macbook Pros and has been since the beginning. Every time a discussion thread about this got to a few hundred posts in the Apple support forums, they would just delete it. Never got addressed, they just released another model.

    My current iMac freezes all the time, but it put in 5 years of solid service and probably just has hard drive problems. Unfortunately, it's beyond my ability to replace the hard drive in this old iMac (newer ones are easy), which is a design flaw IMO since hard drives are generally the first component to fail. At least OS X is bootable from an external drive, unlike Windows.

    Ever since upgrading to 10.7, my Macbook Air trackpad is unresponsive for a few seconds after waking from sleep. Very annoying. Even with their relative lack of hardware variety to support, the Mac OS is by no means immune to glitchiness.

    Of course, PCs have plenty of problems too. I bought a top spec'd Dell XPS laptop two years ago which was an absolute bust. Complete lemon, which I promptly returned. I have a couple of their consumer laptops which have run well for years, and their business class laptops are rock solid.

    Overall, I'd rate Apple computers as average in terms of robustness and dependability. Customer service is above average, especially if you buy Apple Care, but not quite on the level of Lenovo or Dell business.
  18. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    More memory maybe but I am not sure why I would want any more internal drives in my laptop, I find using a eSATA card and externals work out great. I am now using a 512GB Solid State Drive internally and loving it
  19. stratokaster

    stratokaster Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 27, 2010
    Kiev, Ukraine
    I have tried Toshiba, ASUS, Acer and Lenovo. I think ASUS Zenbook is the best ultrabook overall, but its trackpad is a bag of hurt and its screen doesn't hold a candle to MacBook Air. Toshiba Z830 has the best screen and the best selection of external ports, but it's flimsy compared to MacBook Air. Acer S3 is flimsy, slow and has a very poor screen and the worst keyboard I have ever seen. Lenovo U300s is mediocre in all respects except keyboard and its battery life is only about 4 hrs.

    YMMV :)
  20. As I said in my first post, it really comes down to your OS choice.

    I've used Windows from 3.1 right through to Win7 Ultimate, and anything between Windows NT/2000 and Windows 7 was generally unacceptable. XP came close but not close enough. I've used various Linuxes (RedHat 5/6, Mandrake 8/9, Fedora 12, Ubuntu 5 through to the current which I hate... 11.04 is the best IMO, and just the other day installed OpenSUSE 12 KDE. erk), I've used OS/2, I've used the Commodore OSes, and Mac OSes from System 6 onward (hated those *and* the 9" screen I was using them on)... and OSX from 10.2... and thats where I have stopped (except I have Ubuntu 11.11 on a netbook and really I need to reinstall 11.04). I switched from Windows permanently in 2003, with a purchase of an eMac. Hideously expensive for what it was, but I found that I adapted to the new OS much faster than I expected, and when I had not even switched on the PC which I had been using until then, I sold it.

    I think Windows 7 is a competent OS and certainly the quality has improved to a point where I would likely be happy to use it again if I cannot continue to afford my OSX machines... but because I like OSX so much, and I am not a gamer, there doesnt seem to be any reason to go back to Windows... and if I REALLY need to use windows not in a virtual machine, theres always bootcamp. I find the VM works just fine for my needs. I expect this laptop I am posting from at the moment to last me a very long time. I've added more RAM to the 2007 iMac: 2G beyond the stated specs for a total of 6G, and plan to add anotehr 4 to the laptop, for a total of 8G. An SSD for each of the machines is very appealing, but expensive.

    I think Grant about summed it up. If you are already Macced, why change? The software will cost a fortune if you are going to replace/duplicate it, and there seems to be no logical reason except in the cost of acquisition... and a refurb or even second hand machine will do the job, no worries.