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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2016 10:26 pm 
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I feel a bit foolish asking this, I'm still a 20 something with a techy job (I work as a business analyst) and for my work I know some very techy stuff about PC software, databases and applications. But I know next to nothing about PC hardware mainly because outside of work I tend to not have high end demands from my tech (I don't do video gaming/PC gaming etc).

Essentially after 4 1/2 years of loyal service my laptop is dying. The battery life has reduced to 5 minutes, the fan hardly works meaning it gets red hot and the charging cable has started only working intermittently. I may be quieter online as a result over the next 4 weeks or so. However, with Black Friday being next month I thought about getting a replacement :D

Here's a list of the main tasks I use my laptop for;
  1. Boardgaming (Boardgame Arena, Yucata... etc) - tend not to have high graphics requirements
  2. Social Media (Facebook, OK Cupid... etc)
  3. Forums (Here, Boardgamegeek... etc)
  4. Skype (rarely)
  5. Netflix, iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Spotify...
  6. DVDs
  7. Online Shopping...
  8. Other Internet...
  9. CV Writing/Job Applications (very likely I'll have to go through that process again next year)
  10. Letter writing
  11. Excel/Power BI fun (Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View, Power Maps) - sometimes I just like to learn new stuff for work
  12. Storing and organising music
  13. Storing and organising photos
  14. Sometimes downloading Torrents (obviously only if I can't source a specific bit of media through any of the more desirable channels)

Personal choices;
  1. I'd like it to be fast (from a technical point of view fast enough to comfortably run Microsoft Power BI products)
  2. I'd like it to last. I've had 2 Toshibas and they've lasted me 5 years and 4 1/2 years respectively, whereas I've had an Acer last 18 months and a Packard Bell last just 12. If we can aim for minimum 3 years life expectancy then that would be good
  3. Preference for a laptop with a keyboard over say a tablet due to the keyboard and fact that I use it primarily for typing
  4. Preference for a good battery life

Budget; £350-400, let me know if this isn't reasonable

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:22 pm
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Location: Warsaw, Poland
I got an Acer Aspire V Nitro recently and found I have no need for most of its decent hardware :lol: I do love my SSD drive, though, so whatever you get make sure it has that ;)

BTW, what do you play on BGA? :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:21 am 
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The list of things you want to do isn't anything special. Most modern laptops can easily handle these. There are no processor or memory intensive task in the list. Since there are no "real" computer games on the list there is no need for a separate graphics card, which is already a saving. So I would say that your budget is reasonable.

I agree with RE.Lee on the SSD drive. They're an order of magnitude faster then traditional hard disks. Which means faster start-up time (which is where it's most noticeable). But also simply gives a faster feel overall. I'll not recommend a specific model, but things to look for in general:

- size: most common size is either 13'' or 15''. Which you pick is personal preference and a matter of how portable the laptop needs to be. 13'' tends to be very portable, 15'' is more something that you leave at home and carry around there. Price doesn't make much difference. The extra cost for the screen is usually negated by simply having more room to stuff everything in for a 15''
- Processor: I'm most familiar with intel chips, so I'll use those as reference (nothing wrong with AMD by the way, just google for equivalents). I would go for an i5 chip, it's fast enough for everything you need. i7 is really a top of the line thing. But it's also more likely to give enough performance a few years down the line compared to the i3. When looking keep an eye out for which version they put in. The current version is the 6th generation (codename Skylake). If a laptop looks cheap, it is often the case that a previous generation chip is in it. (5th generation was broadwell)
- Memory: 4GB and up is good. Depends on how serious your Microsoft Power BI is. If you plan on working with larger files the more is better of course.
- HD: as mentioned I would get an SSD, probably 256 GB. If you have a lot of photo's / videos and feel you need more, you could look for a dual configuration with an SSD for windows / programs and a regular HD for the photo's. Get 126 GB minimum though, it will make you happy when large windows updates come around.

Hope this helps a bit.

Rod

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:08 pm 
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Posts: 1073
Thanks for all the advice :) As discussed the key point is to get something reliable as I don't want to be buying another new laptop in 18 months time.

On BGA I play Tzolk'in (was the world number one for a while), I play Stone Age (I was the UK number one for a while), Hearts, Jaipur, Can't Stop, Colt Express, Love Letter, Troyes (occasionally), Keyflower (occasionally) and Through the Ages (occasionally)

Are you on Boardgamegeek? You can see the full collection of games I own and have rated in there https://boardgamegeek.com/user/High%20Elf%20Andrew

140 games owned, 444 (and 78 expansions) rated :p

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Bring me my bow of burning gold, bring me my arrows of desire, bring me my spear O' Clouds unfold, bring me my chariot of FIRE!

Check out my rather slow caledor themed painting log and my dragon project... also my faster moving nurgle themed Warriors of Chaos themed painting log


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:22 pm
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Location: Warsaw, Poland
Quite the euro-gamer, I see :) I'm not that into boardgames yet, though I did play Tzolk'in a couple of times.

My, much more modest, BGG profile:
https://boardgamegeek.com/user/GrannyRELee

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 1:17 pm 
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Location: PA, USA
Agreed with the above posters. I think more or less any average laptop you get should meet your requirements. SSD is also a good choice. My only advice would be to check the number of ports, etc as a lot of the newer laptops are cutting down to just a couple of USB ports (or less!).


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