Some general buying advise for overworked IT guy, please.

Hi all, I work in a small office that it significantly smaller personnel-wise than it once was. I am the only IT person at the company and I'm currently covering for our former office manager while simultaneously training another new person. More than you care to know, but I'm hoping you'll take a bit of pity on me. ;)

My boss badly needs a new laptop. Please give me your thoughts and opinions on the best, most reliable brands and the things you think are most important for best performance and longevity (we don't want to have to do this again for several years).

I'm already figuring on:
15+" screen
320+GB HDD
Don't really know about the CPU yet.

He wants something light enough for travel, but balanced by battery life and budget considerations.

Probably willing to spend somewhere between $600 - $900 depending on the value & quality.

Will not be gaming, will be using for general office applications, photo editing, music, movies, internet, email, etc.

Again, whatever advise you can offer will help. I generally do a fair bit of research for a purchase like this and my time is simply too limited for that right now. I don't have much experience with laptops in general and need a bit of direction.

Many thanks!
Lynn Haven, FL
6 answers Last reply
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  1. ^+1

    Toshibas are the best among laptops as far as reliability. My issue with them, is that if you have to fix them they are usually damn hard to properly disassemble and reassemble without breaking anything :D. So yeah get the extended warranty on that. If it's something you may have to personally fix, hey some managers expect you to do everything, and you expect him to break it then I say go with an HP instead.
  2. Thanks to both of you!

    That Toshiba looks like a good place to start. I wonder about battery life since I didn't notice it listed in the specs on the BB site (maybe I overlooked, I'll check again later). I'll certainly at least use that system as a reference point in my search ...if not simply going with that exact model.

    I did have the idea that Toshiba makes quality laptops and appreciate the advise regarding HP and the ability to repair them more easily. I don't know if I'll ever have to do anything more than replace a drive or upgrade RAM, but it's a good thing to consider.

    I guess even Dell laptops have a decent reputation and I would think Lenovo wouldn't be a bad choice.

    Would anyone disagree if I was thinking about these brands:


  3. Another question: Should I be hung up on the processor? Trying to go for a Core i5 over a Core 2 Duo or Turion II, etc.?

    For example, I see Core i5, Core 2 Duo and AMD Turion II laptops all available at 2.2 GHz and not priced all that much differently (configurations notwithstanding). Is there any simple guideline to the performance and power consumption differences between these CPU types? Again, power consumption is not as important to us as processing power and longevity.

    Also turns out he does not want anything that measures more than about 13" in overall width, so at least that narrows (pardon the pun) my choices somewhat.

  4. Arguing which brand is more reliable can be kinda funny when you recognize that 19 outta the 20 brands you have probably heard of actually make laptops. In many cases when you argue Brand A is better than Brand B, it will turn out that both were made by the same manufacturer.

    * Quanta sells to (among others) HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, Acer, NEC, Gateway and Lenovo/IBM - note that Quanta is currently (as of August, 2007) the largest manufacturer of notebook computers in the world.
    * Compal sells to Toshiba, HP/Compaq, Acer, and Dell.
    * Wistron (former manufacturing & design division of Acer) sells to HP/Compaq, Dell, IBM, NEC, Acer, and Lenovo/IBM.
    * Flextronics (former Arima Computer Corporation notebook division) sells to HP/Compaq, NEC, and Dell.
    * ECS sells to IBM, Fujitsu, and Dell.
    * Asus sells to Apple (iBook), Sony, and Samsung.
    * Inventec sells to HP/Compaq, Toshiba, and BenQ.
    * Uniwill sells to Lenovo/IBM and Fujitsu.
    * Clevo sells to Alienware, VoodooPC, Sager, WidowPC and other boutique brands.

    My professional society has a relationship with a Clevo distributor whereby we are essentially "the brand". But anyone can buy direct from a Clevo distributor which essentially lets you "cut out the middleman". When I bought my laptop, it was bout 80% of a comparably equipped Dell XPS but a few of the XPS's components were not quite up to what the Clevo had. You can find Clevo distributors here:

    I have used this one (6 purchases so far)
  5. I take pity on you as i am (was) in the same position.
    Marketing manager and director. In a small business it doesn't really matter what your position or title is... you do what needs to be done.

    I got sofa king sick of fixing broken pc h/ware and s/ware every week i decided to try switching over everyone to Mac's and OSX. It cost a fair chunk up front but it saves me and my staff a ton of aggravation.

    To your question...
    In your price range you will find it hard to get a laptop that will last more than 2 years or so. You are really shopping by price only at this stage. Laptops break. They can break often and early and when they do, its usually expensive. Id look around and depending on the cost, get one of those extended warranties.
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