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Help me pick out a laptop - I don't know anything about computers

Discussion in 'Computers, Games, Electronics etc' started by civicious, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. civicious

    civicious FüK-VTEC VIP

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    OK, so I like to think that I know a fairly good bit about cars/engines/automotive electronics/etc; now, take the exact opposite of that, and that's what I know about computers.

    I will not even pretend that I know the first thing about this stuff. I've had the same laptop since '06 or so, and it's a dinosaur (Compaq something or other)...watching videos sucks, editing videos sucks, it's generally a slow and clunky piece of shit.

    Since I'm not a gamer, and all I do with my laptop is work-related stuff (wiring diagrams, repair guides, emails, etc), I haven't ever really had a need for anything more from my laptop - I bought a PS3 last year, and since I'm capable of transferring movie files onto a flash drive I can watch whatever I downlo...er...buy online, and I've got Netflix and YouTube on the PS3, so that's not an issue. One thing that I am going to have an issue with very soon, however, is video editing.

    With the Pikes Peak race coming up, and the race car on the verge of being completed, I'm going to have to start editing and uploading videos of the car; once I get to Colorado, I'll be editing and uploading daily video updates from the Peak....and I already know that isn't gonna happen with my current setup.

    I would like to stay under $250, but can stretch $300 if I absolutely must - I simply can NOT afford more than that, though. I've been looking at something called a 'Chromebook', but I'm not really sure how that works and if there is 'decent' (read: good enough for YouTube) video editing software available for those (or what those actually are, really)...

    Can anyone recommend something? Is my budget for this simply not achievable? Anyone got something laying around with a decent video card they wanna sell?

    Halp!
     
  2. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    I love my chromebook (acer c720 wtih 4gb ram) and would recommend it to everyone. But you must remember, it's NOT a computer. It's a glorified web browser with some keyboard and screen wrapped around it. You can't install stuff like you would in a normal pc.
    There IS a video editing app
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...or-and/okgjbfikepgflmlelgfgecmgjnmnmnnb?hl=en
    but it's very basic in what it does. It's also a paid app (limited HD exports in trial mode). There may be others.
     
  3. civicious

    civicious FüK-VTEC VIP

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    If I'm looking at that correctly, it's $0.99 per 720p HD export - which, really doesn't seem that bad. Also, from looking at that link, that video editing app looks like EXACTLY what I need - basic, user friendly, and 'capable of cutting and splicing clips together with music'.

    Before posting this thread, I was looking at this:
    http://www.amazon.com/Acer-C710-2055-11-6-Inch-Chromebook-Iron/dp/B00BB9OXM0?SubscriptionId=AKIAICE7LOAJMK3SSLPA&tag=pcm_rounduptable-20&linkCode=xm2&camp=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B00BB9OXM0

    I can get a refurb for right at $200, and it's got 4gb ram and a 320gb hard drive. I am 90% sure this is going to be the one I get.

    Now, here are a few questions about the ChromeBook:
    1. Since it's web-based, will I be able to save the video files on the hard drive itself?
    2. Is this like a regular laptop in that I will be able to connect a USB cable or SD card to get my videos from my cameras onto the laptop?
    3. Will I be able to turn it on, watch videos that I have saved or have imported from the SD card, and edit videos without being connected to the internet? Or is this thing not even functional without WiFi?


    edit: Doing some research on the Googlewebs, it looks like this thing is going to be a great option for me...ordering this thing. Will report back once I get it in :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2014
  4. FLounder

    FLounder power hungry VIP

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    im interested in this as well... been considering getting one.
     
  5. TurboMirage

    TurboMirage YEEAAAHHH VIP

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    If you guys decide you need something with a little more Power and a little less palm pilot let me know. I will hook you up.
     
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  6. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    that 710 is the previous generation... Look for the Haswell architecture chip set.
     
  7. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    yes, there's a file system.

    it is designed to use the web for most storage though (google drive)

    it has ports for sd cards and usb devices... the question is, will it have a driver for it? most things plugged in will mount as a 'hard drive' which should let you browse to see it. i've honestly never plugged anything into mine other than usb sticks (no cams). As long as the camera saves things in a compatibleformat (like avi, mp4, jpg, etc) it should be able to ready the files.
    That editing app will require the internet i think... you will be able to watch anything 'local' without the internet though.
     
  8. invisibledemon

    invisibledemon Bored Moderator VIP

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    keep in mind that the chromebook is pretty much useless in most cases if you arent connected to wifi.
    while out on the peak, you may just have a fancy paperweight. most of the actions and programs are web based, therefor need a connection to run. no web, no go.

    for editing video you need to make sure you have sufficient ram and processing speeds. depending on the size of the vids, and the HD quality you want, this could be a tall order. but for basic youtube stuff, most new(ish) computers can handle it.

    look into refurbed business laptops. from all of my looking around when buying mine, the business ones where by far the best bang for the buck. lots of refurbs available thanks to companies buying fuck tons of them and then selling them when upgrading. most business laptops are built more solidly than consumer versions (all aluminum/magnesium vs plastic) which could be a handy strength when playing out in the field on the track. plus, using it for business related stuff that you will be doing, the ability to add a docking station is pretty neat. turning your laptop into a desktop in one swift move is an awfully convenient luxury.

    i have a preference for HP myself, always had good luck with them. so, i looked into the HP probooks and elitebooks. ended up with an elitebook 8570p and couldnt be happier. except for when i grab the computer to start using it and having to deal with a cold as fuck wrist thanks to the all aluminum body while typing.
     
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  9. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    I sort of agree.

    The chrome book is not a work horse. Its for causal farting around on the net.
     
  10. civicious

    civicious FüK-VTEC VIP

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    ...so one of my employees pointed out that that Chromebook has less ram and a slower processor than my old-ass dinosaur Compaq laptop.

    Cancelled that order, the search continues!
     
  11. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    It also doesn't have windows on it that eats 50% of the resources too....
     
  12. SlushboxTeggy

    SlushboxTeggy It's only stupid if it doesn't work VIP

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    What is cell service like on the Peak? I can tether to my cell anywhere I have service. WiFi on the go.
     
  13. GSRCRXsi

    GSRCRXsi Super Moderator Moderator VIP

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    for ~300 bucks, and what you want to do, youre looking at a Craigslist used computer, with a high probability of semen deposits under the keyboard.

    you just wont really find anything new that will be capable enough to do what you want.
     
  14. civicious

    civicious FüK-VTEC VIP

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    Right, I just don't really know *what* I need in order to do what I want.
     
  15. Briansol

    Briansol Admins Admin VIP

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    ram and cpu are both important for video editing... cpu allows it to process faster. ram allows more of it to happen at once.
    you can probably use your current machine... it's just how fast do you want it?
     
  16. civicious

    civicious FüK-VTEC VIP

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    My current machine's video card is crappy, I can't even watch HD video from a local file without it getting all stuttery and such.


    At least, that's my understanding as to why I have issues playing HD. The computer gets REALLY hot when I'm playing an HD video, too
     
  17. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    Most modern non-netbook laptops will have no problem decoding HD video. Your current laptop has issues because it does all the video decoding at the processor and your processor is too slow. For basic video editing and storage, I'd go with a refurb business laptop, or one of the newer "cheapo" 15.6" laptops always on sale at Fry's. Either way you can be done for about $300-400. If you need a hookup on lenovo (IBM Thinkpad) hardware, let me know.
     
  18. endlesszeal

    endlesszeal Senior Member

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    id hit up craigslist or some refurb sites.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834300220&ignorebbr=1
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834200858&ignorebbr=1

    looking at newegg, they have some decent refurb machines under $300. I would go with at least something with an i5 or something like that, even though a core 2 duo over 2.0ghz would be okay. the newer the better because the "video card" on the laptop will be somewhat better and allow smoother video playback.

    just for reference, i have an old macbook pro with core 2 duo @ 2.4ghz and dell core 2 duo @ 2.0 both with SSD and i can do everything my class mates do with new macbook airs etc... never can tell the difference. the only thing is it gets a tad hot while watching HD streaming stuff (local HD plays with minimal heat), so thats why i said get the newest one you can afford so the GPU can do more work and not make the laptop so hot.

    some benchmarks to show improvenment of upgrading over core 2 duo:
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2902/3
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/2901/4

    SUMMARY: look at refurbs, try to get intel with i-series. amd is okay too if its A4 or A6 should be okay too.
     
  19. phunky.buddha

    phunky.buddha Admin with a big stick Admin VIP

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    I'd actually recommend NOT going with Craigslist because you get no warranty. There are enough low priced factory backed refurbs not to go with a random zero warranty sale with no return policy.

    CPU recommendation is good here. I'd also recommend 8GB of RAM, or at least the capability to hold that much. More memory = more room to play around without hitting the hard drive for virtual memory = faster experience and better battery life.
     
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  20. endlesszeal

    endlesszeal Senior Member

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    totally agree with both. i suggested CL because sometimes you may find a diamond in the rough. if anything, Id buy it with AMEX card which doubles whatever warranty is on it, and perhaps SqTrd if they allow you (some ebay crap about refurbs).

    i was hesitant about the RAM since DDR2 is getting pricey now and 4GB is more than enough for most people. I, myself, would rather have 4GB and SSD than 8GB and regular HDD.
     
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