MajorGeeks Support Forums

Go Back   MajorGeeks Support Forums > ----------= PC, Desktop and Laptop Support =---------- > Hardware
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Casino Mark Forums Read

Hardware Hardware like hard drives, motherboards, video cards, printers, CD-ROMs, etc.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 08-02-12, 08:49
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Laptop Replacement Question

Hi All,

I am currently in the process of deciding on a replacement for my laptop which is rapidly approaching 5 years old.

My question is this: Do the mighty people of Majorgeeks feel that spending £64 Hard-earned Engish pounds on a jump from a nVidia 630M to a 650M, as well as getting the space for a second hard drive and a chipset that supports RAID is worth it?

For those interested, I am looking at the Optimus III and the Genesis IV by pcspecialists.co.uk.

I have already settled on the 2.5GHz core i5 and with either model I will get a discrete graphics chip, which are either the 630M or the 650M as above. The chipset difference is a HM76 to a HM77.

The uses for this laptop will be as a university luggable (lecture notes, work in library etc) for a year, then as a possible desktop replacement after I leave uni.

Thanks as always!

Your friendly local moderator,
collinsl
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #2  
Old 08-02-12, 15:53
gman863's Avatar
gman863 gman863 is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 2,387
Thanks: 178
Thanked 494 Times in 442 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

My only thought is on the RAID. If you're not fanatical about doing daily backups, setting up a RAID1 might not be a bad idea if one of the drives tanks. It'll also be helpful if you're in the middle of something and don't have several hours to drop what you're doing immediately while getting a new drive and reloading everything
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 08-02-12, 15:57
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by gman863 View Post
My only thought is on the RAID. If you're not fanatical about doing daily backups, setting up a RAID1 might not be a bad idea if one of the drives tanks. It'll also be helpful if you're in the middle of something and don't have several hours to drop what you're doing immediately while getting a new drive and reloading everything
Thanks for the idea!

The thing is, the hard drive I have is a 320GB WD black & the hard drive I had specced to go with the build was a 90GB SSD. Therefore RAID would be useless to me unless I change hard drives.

Also, 320GB is not a lot of space for my use so I probably wouldn't RAID anyway as I could use the extra space.
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 08-03-12, 08:17
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

RAID on a notebook? I don't see the need. RAID1 is not all that it used to be. Yes, it does provide robust redundancy in the event a hard drive fails, but that's all it does. And realistically, when was the last time you had a hard drive fail? Okay, it might provide a slight improvement in reads, but nothing you would notice with today's modern, buffered drives, adequate RAM, and a modern OS. These days, I only recommend RAIDs on servers, or special purpose systems that have a mission requirement to stay up 24/7/365. And then, I would be looking at a better RAID than those that come integrated on motherboards - a dedicated RAID card that "truly" supports hot-swappable drives.

RAID does NOTHING to protect you or your data from malware, notebook theft, OS corruption, user error, or most other common causes for data loss. So it is paramount you have a reliable backup plan in place, and current anyway.

Quote:
then as a possible desktop replacement after I leave uni.
In spite of what the notebook makers would like us to believe, notebooks do NOT make good desktop replacements (or gaming machines), for many reasons - 3 standout:
  1. Desktops, with large openings and many large fans struggle to keep the interior cool of taxed system. Notebook cases are designed for looks, not cooling, and limited and weak cooling solutions - often forcing notebook CPUs to toggle down in speed and performance, to stay cool,
  2. Desktop interiors can easily be exposed for proper cleaning of heat trapping dust,
  3. Desktops lend themselves to easy, and an abundance of upgrade options - notebooks have very limited, if any upgrade options and those limited options are often proprietary, and therefore more expensive.
My advice is to use your notebook for your school work, and to help get that new job after you graduate (with honors! ). Then, when you get your first new paycheck, take the wife and/or girlfriend out to a nice dinner, then buy (or better yet, build) yourself a new desktop.

As for which of those two notebooks to get now, I say the one with the most RAM.

Oh, BTW - I am trying to push "notebook" instead of "laptop". Being a bit OCD about heat in electronics, the word "laptop" suggests you can use your "notebook" in your lap. Notebooks should never - as in never ever be used on your lap - or on the bed, the carpet or on anything that will block air from getting underneath. Of course all rules have exceptions. If you must use your lap, I recommend the use of a Notebook Cooling Pad w/ext. power supply. Powering the pad's fans with an external power supply (instead of through the notebook's USB port) does not increase the demands (and thus, generated heat!) on the notebook's battery and/or power circuits.

Sadly, in the interest of keeping their pads light (notebooks are primarily for "road-warriors", after all), pads with external power supplies are hard to find so you may need a notebook cooling pad like this one then use a small, lightweight USB wall-charger/adapter.
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 08-03-12, 09:27
musksnipe's Avatar
musksnipe musksnipe is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: The Third Coast
Posts: 1,290
Thanks: 311
Thanked 222 Times in 186 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
The uses for this laptop will be as a university luggable (lecture notes, work in library etc) for a year, then as a possible desktop replacement after I leave uni.
I have successfully used a laptop, for a desktop, for the last two years.
I have an i7 740QM Toshiba, with a 640GB HDD, saddled with a terabyte external.
I always have had desktops, with top of the line CPUs. This laptop rivals most any normal desktop.
True the GPU could be better, but considering it will play Quake 3 and Crysis, it does the job.
I use Photoshop heavily, with no problems. I run music, PS, my browser, open picture folders, and anything I need to, without trouble (all at the same time).
From what I hear, the new generation i5's are this good, too.
I don't consider it a gaming PC, but it does any desktop jobs as fast as I need them done. (I have an i7 2600K desktop to compare to)
It's been plugged in, pretty much continuously, for two years, with little battery wear and power downs maybe once a week.
I don't believe there is a desktop chore, that new laptops can't perform.
I made a lap desk. Just a rectangle of plywood, big enough for the laptop and a mouse pad. Works anywhere and I don't need to depend on the touch pad.
Both that i5 and GPU, are better than what powers my laptop, so I see no reason why it wouldn't suffice as a desktop.

Just my opinion, but it's an experienced user's one.
__________________
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst." – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #6  
Old 08-03-12, 09:54
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Thank you both for your input. Just for everyone's information, I placed the order today and will provide the specs and a review when I receive it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
RAID on a notebook? I don't see the need. ...cut... So it is paramount you have a reliable backup plan in place, and current anyway.
I tend to agree with you on this. The only place I have ever used RAID is on a server, and I removed that as it was more hassle than good at the time. Personally, I don't consider RAID0 as a raid at all, and I avoid it like the plague.

As for this laptop build, my plan was never to RAID anything, I just put that in there to highlight the difference in price.

Backups-wise, I always perform regular backups to my file server, and I am currently investigating an option for syncing to the file server as well.

I have only ever had five hard drives fail on me, four of those were 9/10 years old from workplace desktops (I.E. constant use) and the fifth was a controller failure. So, hard drive failures are rare now but to be expected, as with anything.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
In spite of what the notebook makers would like us to believe, notebooks do NOT make good desktop replacements (or gaming machines), for many reasons ...cut...
Again, I agree with you. However, in my personal situation, I tend not to play any high-resource computer games, apart from the odd blast on MW3, but that is rare & I could live without it. The most I tend to use my computer for is watching DVDs, browsing the internet, and work when necessary. None of this requires all that much power.

The reason I was asking this question is that I was considering the future-proofing of the system, both in the terms of performance and possible resale value.

And, if I do sell off my desktop, I would use the laptop to drive 2x 1080p screens (one on laptop and one external HDMI) so I want to ensure that the laptop has sufficient power for the task with some to spare.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
My advice is to use your notebook for your school work, and to help get that new job after you graduate (with honors! ). Then, when you get your first new paycheck, take the wife and/or girlfriend out to a nice dinner, then buy (or better yet, build) yourself a new desktop.
Great advice, and I would only ever build a desktop. I love the process and wouldn't buy another pre-assembled one unless I had to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
As for which of those two notebooks to get now, I say the one with the most RAM.
As the company I am going for allows complete customisation of features (processor, RAM, HDD etc) I have specced both machines with 4GB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
Oh, BTW - I am trying to push "notebook" instead of "laptop". Being a bit OCD about heat in electronics, the word "laptop" suggests you can use your "notebook" in your lap. Notebooks should never - as in never ever be used on your lap - or on the bed, the carpet or on anything that will block air from getting underneath.. ...cut...
I quite agree. The laptop I have currently has a protruding battery allowing better airflow so I have a reduced risk of this but the new one won't. I do understand the limits of the laptop-style cooling system and I try to alleviate problems wherever possible.

I've just been conditioned to say laptop and can't seem to break the habit!

@gloozit: Thanks for the input. Making the desk surface like you did would remove the cooling problem as the laptop is on a hard flat surface, unlike legs or clothing, which tend to squash, pushing the fan against a surface and blocking airflow.

I do agree that laptops can be used in the place of desktops, but there is a reason why desktops still exist. As Digerati said, laptops can't handle the loads placed on a desktop in the same way. Besides, laptop bus speeds are generally lower than a desktop, as well as mobile graphics cards and processors having lower TDPs and wattages.
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881

Last edited by collinsl; 08-03-12 at 09:59..
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 08-03-12, 10:05
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
I have specced both machines with 4GB.
I think that is a mistake. That bottlenecks all the rest of your hardware. With Windows 7 64-bit and 8Gb, your machine will run free - with you smiling all the way. IMO, with dual channel, 8Gb is the "sweetspot" with today's hardware and Windows 7 64-bit. 6Gb for triple channel.

Quote:
I don't believe there is a desktop chore, that new laptops can't perform.
Well, there are many, but I more or less agree with your point. And I think that's the problem with notebooks - at least the higher-end ones. Their makers jam all that capability into those tiny cases. It would be different if all that power didn't generate so much heat. And if all notebook case bottoms popped open for easy cleaning (or parts upgrading) - as with the side panel of a PC case. But they don't. Yet notebooks still have fans (albeit fewer and smaller fans) that pack layers of insulating dust deep into inaccessible (by the "normal" notebook user) places.

So when I say notebooks are not desktop replacements, I don't mean in performance - at least when they are running full speed.

But they are not desktop replacements. I have 2 hard drives, an SSD, a DVD R/W and a BluRay drive in my tower. My keyboard and mouse take up two USB ports, but I still have 6 more for my PDA, drive docking station, thumb drive, UPS monitoring cable, and more. My motherboard supports 4 RAM slots for up to 16Gb on my board, but many PC motherboards will now will take 4x8Gb.

Do any notebooks have more than 2 RAM slots?

Still, I am not knocking notebooks. I really like my Toshiba. But I love my PC with it's full size keyboard and mouse, and two 22" widescreens while listening to Pandora in 5.1 surround sound! (Ant Marching )
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 08-03-12, 10:11
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Thanks for the suggestion. I have amended the order to 8GB, which only cost an extra £21, which is nice.

Some high end motherboards now have 8 RAM slots for one processor!
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 08-03-12, 11:03
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
I have amended the order to 8GB
And I hope to 64-bit Windows too. If buying OEM, you have to specify at the time of purchase.

Quote:
Some high end motherboards now have 8 RAM slots for one processor!
Yeah, that would be for spinning a 3D, transparent view of a nuclear sub or something of similar extremes - or bragging rights!
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 08-03-12, 11:08
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
And I hope to 64-bit Windows too. If buying OEM, you have to specify at the time of purchase.

Yeah, that would be for spinning a 3D, transparent view of a nuclear sub or something of similar extremes - or bragging rights!
I opted not to purchase an OS with the laptop as I get them free as a student. I was always planning on using a 64-bit OS as I was speccing for 4GB in the beginning.

How I will explain a laptop quoted last night at £520 to my parents as costing £650 I don't know!
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
  #11  
Old 08-03-12, 11:33
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
How I will explain a laptop quoted last night at £520 to my parents as costing £650 I don't know
Show them this thread. As a parent and grandparent, it will show you are doing your homework before spending their money. And note you can typically get some super student discounts on Office too - the saving on Windows and Office alone selling points for you here too.

As a hardware technician, you don't want a budget notebook or it is likely it will not last you through school. Budget notebooks have budget batteries, budget motherboards, budget power supplies, budget hinges - do I need to go on?

You don't need to spend a 1000 quid on a good notebook but stay away from something that cannot take a few knocks and bumps over the next 4(?) years of constant use.

And remember when you are at school, filesharing of tunes without the proper compensation to the artist is one of the most common methods of malware distribution. Not good when you have a 10-page report due tomorrow.
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 08-03-12, 11:49
collinsl's Avatar
collinsl collinsl is offline
MajorGeeks Rather Average Moderator
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Portsmouth, UK
Posts: 2,929
Thanks: 46
Thanked 430 Times in 400 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

It's my money, but they have a say as I technically owe it to them.

Being on a placement year before my final year of uni has finally given me a bit of money to spend. However, it is my money so I want to be frugal with it.

And I don't do file sharing. I don't agree with depriving hard working people of the little bit of royalty they get from the mega-companies.
__________________
"Tombstone has two dance halls, a dozen gambling places and more than 20 saloons. Still, there is hope, for I know of two Bibles in town." -- Judge Wells Spicer in 1881
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 08-03-12, 11:55
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
And I don't do file sharing. I don't agree with depriving hard working people of the little bit of royalty they get from the mega-companies.
Sadly, many don't see it that way, and instead, they think they are punishing those mega-companies by filesharing. But as you note, it is the hard working people who are ripped off - not the fat-cats at the top.

"Frugal"? No. Smart, yes. You don't want to skimp on the things you "need", you just want to best bang for your money.
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 08-03-12, 15:37
gman863's Avatar
gman863 gman863 is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 2,387
Thanks: 178
Thanked 494 Times in 442 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Digerati View Post
RAID does NOTHING to protect you or your data from malware, notebook theft, OS corruption, user error, or most other common causes for data loss. So it is paramount you have a reliable backup plan in place, and current anyway.
Agreed.

My suggestion on RAID1 was based on the fact the OP stated they will be using the PC (presumably for hours at a time) at the library. The benefit in the event of a drive failure would be the OP could continue to use the PC until they had time to replace the bad drive (similar to having a spare tire in your car).

I'm glad to see the OP is using a WD Black series HDD. IMO, the quality of OEM drives (esp. 2.5" notebook drives) has gone to hell - I get quite a few notebook PCs in my shop that are under two years old each month with totally dead HDDs.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 08-04-12, 08:25
Digerati's Avatar
Digerati Digerati is offline
Major Geek
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Nebraska, USA
Posts: 1,844
Thanks: 6
Thanked 360 Times in 322 Posts
Default Re: Laptop Replacement Question

Quote:
I'm glad to see the OP is using a WD Black series HDD. IMO, the quality of OEM drives (esp. 2.5" notebook drives) has gone to hell -
I always buy "enterprise" quality drives for my own systems and recommend them for my clients. They tend to cost a little more, but they also tend to be warrantied for quite a bit more. Most entry level hard drives are warrantied for 3 years, but I've seen some lately that come with just 1 year warranty. Most enterprise quality drives are warrantied for 5 or more.

Quote:
The benefit in the event of a drive failure would be the OP could continue to use the PC until they had time to replace the bad drive
Clearly, that is the primary benefit for mirrored RAIDs. But note this a notebook, not a PC. Most notebooks don't have a lot of cavity space for extra drives without sacrificing other features - like optical drives.
__________________
Bill (AFE7Ret)
MS MVP, Windows Expert-IT Pro 2007-2014
Reply With Quote
Sponsored links
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
I want a new desk top replacement laptop JamesP Hardware 18 12-30-10 10:24
Laptop key replacement. trunksthebattler2000 Hardware 0 08-29-07 02:07
replacement keys for a laptop? Wally0311 Hardware 3 11-17-06 04:40
Toshiba Laptop DVD CDROM Replacement Question mgadient Hardware 2 04-30-06 19:36
Toshiba Laptop Fan Replacement and Mobo Monitor Question Allosaurus Hardware 0 04-01-05 16:14


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 16:29.

MajorGeeks.Com Menu

MajorGeeks.Com \ All In One Tweaks \ Android \ Anti-Malware \ Anti-Virus \ Appearance \ Backup \ Browsers \ CD\DVD\Blu-Ray \ Covert Ops \ Drive Utilities \ Drivers \ Graphics \ Internet Tools \ Multimedia \ Networking \ Office Tools \ NEW! PC Games \ System Tools \ Macintosh \ Demonews.Com \ Top Downloads

MajorGeeks.Com \ News (Tech) \ Off Base (Other Websites News) \ Way Off Base (Offbeat Stories and Pics)

Social: Facebook \ YouTube \ Twitter \ Tumblr \ Pintrest \ RSS Feeds


All content Copyright © MajorGeeks.com source code Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright © 2009 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.
Ad Management by RedTyger