Friday, October 12, 2007

Laptop Specifications

3 1/2 years ago, I bought this Compaq desktop I'm currently using and to be honest, I have been really pleased with it. Aside from it's tremedous hard drive and fast processor, what I really love about it is that it has a bunch of ports on the front including several USB, one that takes the adapter from my camcorder, and a few for memory cards, like the Sandisk I use in my camera and PDA.

But, I am stuck...literally in my office. I can't take it anywhere with me and I am feeling more and more chained down to this desk! And I'm coming to hate it!

So I've decided that hopefully before Christmas I will buy myself a laptop. I don't intend to just pop into Costco and buy whatever they have. I'm going to be discriminating. The problem is I don't know what to be discriminating about.

I could have bought a laptop when I bought this desktop but at the time, I was concerned about stability mainly, flexibility and durability. Those concerns are gone now as I have seen laptops evolve a lot and know now that they can be even better than a desktop, especially for what I do with them.

I am going to enlist this audience I've accumulated to help me, if I may. I'm sure that some of my readers will have suggestions to give so me figure out what I need please!

This is what I do on my computer:

  1. store and photoshop lots of pictures
  2. store lots of video and make lots of movies
  3. store my iTunes database (big) and lots of audiobooks
  4. blogging of course, email & internet misc.
  5. a little gaming
  6. scan old pictures & documents
  7. use Outlook (email & calendar), Office, Excel, Powerpoint lots

I'm pretty sure I can't move over to a Mac because I'm an old tricks - you know.

I do know I'd like anywhere from 150 - 200 G harddrive, but what about a processor? How fast? Do laptops come with those cool ports or do I need adaptors? How do I connect to my printers, PDA, scanner etc? Do they come anymore with floppy drives? We have wireless through my desktop - how will that work when I convert?

I have literally no knowledge when it comes to computer specs. Pretend I am a practical newbie and I have hired you to buy me a laptop to suit my needs. What would you buy me and why?

6 backward glances:

friendinME said...


If you are thinking about replacing your desktop with a laptop, you may want to reconsider that.

I don't think that laptops can be "just as good" for your applications. Laptops are nice but:

-- you will never have ergonomic comfort with a laptop. (I know, I use one all day.) If you have the screen at the proper eye height, the keyboard is too high. If you have the keyboard at the right height, you are looking down all the time. AND, the flat,fixed, smaller keyboard isn't as comfortable in the long run... arggg.)

--I hate laptop touchpads for most things but especially for working with graphics and Powerpoint. My hands are also a bit too big for those tiny external mice that laptops often use. You may want to have an external mouse for graphic work.

--Desktops are always more expandable. Laptops have to conserve space so they have no bays,fewer ports, and build more things onto the motherboard. (which, btw, makes them harder to repair)

--Most new laptops have a decent number of USB ports... but keep count. How many do you need? Printer... mouse... scanner... external backup HD for your pictures... how tethered will you need to be to your peripherals?

--Laptops (in general) do not have the processing strength/speed of a desktop (primarily because they are trying to save on power consumption and reduce heat).

--I trust you have a wireless network in your house. Otherwise, you will have to be tethered to your office anyhow. :)

I use a desktop and laptop every day. A laptop is great for working in front of the TV, taking work on the road, or downloading pictures on vacation. Otherwise, a desktop is better. I always prefer it.

What I do: Since my "work" computer is a laptop, I keep an external keyboard, full-sized mouse, and USB hub (to connect everything at once) on my office desk. That gives me portability and some comfort for long sessions at my desk. (I sync my files using sync software and a thumb drive).

As for staying with a Windows computer... imho, you are right. :) (I have a nice Mac that I never use.)

I know this post is already too long. :) Send me a note if I can help.

Jill said...

Amy ~
Don't get too excited...I don't have any profound advice for you, but I will be watching this post as I have been strongly considering a new laptop as well and my needs are very similar to yours. friendinme made some really good points...has me rethinking...

Thanks for posting a great question!

John said...

I doubt you will ever be able to replace your desktop with a laptop, they are just too different animals.

Keep your desktop for video/photo editing and your storage, but get a laptop for blogging and word-processing, checking emails and such.

Don't get fooled into buying a laptop with a huge screen and all kinds of peripherals, because the whole idea behind a laptop is portability... if you have to carry around a bunch of wires, or its "heavy"... its not worth having a laptop.

Amy said...

thanks for your posts! keep 'em coming! I'm starting to get an idea of what I'm going to get.

-Jamie said...

Amy, I was visiting your blog and wanted to tell you that you will love the mobility of a laptop. As a mom with little kids around, it feels horrible to be stuck in the office.

Anyway, I really like mine. Its an HP Pavillion and I did a ton of research like you. I got it from, it came with a two year warranty adn you can customize it. Mine ended up being $950 and it has lots of stuff. Just my thoughts :-)


Hungry Mother said...

I replaced my desktop a couple of years ago and am very happy with the outcome. I use the laptop's keyboard, but add a cordless USB mouse and disable the evil touchpad. I am a computer professional with a home business. My last several laptops have been on the leading edge and, consequently, expensive. I decided to go on the cheap this time and bought a HP Pavilion dv9408nr for $800. Some days I spend several hours on the computer and never get eyestrain or any other ergonomic problem. After many years of buying my computers online, I bought this one at BestBuy. Good luck!