General Question

hungerforpizza's avatar

Getting a new laptop?

Asked by hungerforpizza (247points) March 7th, 2009

Hey guys, I’m helping my mom get a new laptop and i want to know what the graphic/video card does. She does not do any gaming or editing but she does watch a ton of online videos. It’s going to be for basic things like word processing and web browsing. What type of specs do i need? Ram, Hard drive etc. Thanks!

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18 Answers

hungerforpizza's avatar

Also, what’s the difference between dual core and single core?

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I’m most happy on my MacBook. The smallest of which would more than fit your mom’s needs. I Iove my mac; you turn it on, it does it all for you.

There was a recent article in Wired about netbooks, and it mentioned that the average home user tends to overbuy on computers, focusing on features that make little difference to the average user.

eambos's avatar

I’m guess she just wants to surf the Internet, play solitaire and things that that, correct?

If I were you, I’d get a netbook. An MSI Wind or Asus Eeepc 1000HE would be perfect. They are low on cost($250—$400) and perfect for doing exactly what you want.

As for graphics card, a dedicAted card is better than inegrated, but for your mother’s purposes, integrated is fine.
Edit: You said she watches a lot of online videos. Integrated graphics probaby are fine, but if she tries to watch HD video, it might not work as well. Normal YouTube and Hulu videos should be fine.

RAM, you’ll want at least 1GB. Most come with this standard.

I’d try and get one with a mechanical HDD with at least 100gb space. Many of these netbooks come with low capacity SSDs, which are safer, but have very little space.

A dual core processor has more power than a single core. The dual core will make the computer faster, but most netbools don’t have them. You don’t need a dual core. I expect any netbook to have an Intel Atom 280 processor, with the Intel 945G integrated graphics. This will be more than suitable for her needs.

Sorry for the giant response, but I hop this is helpful. Happy buying, and once again I think you should look into a netbook.

simpleD's avatar

The least expensive Macbook should do all your mom needs it to do, plus give her room to grow. 2GB RAM and 120GB hard drive should be fine. She might decide she likes to organize photos and edit short videos, and maybe even post them to a website. The Mac will let her do that without being intimidating. Also consider the virus/spyware issues. She’ll be less likely to suffer from malware on the Mac platform. The price difference between a limited PC netbook and a full-featured Macbook will be worth the lack in headaches and regrets.

eambos's avatar

For what you want, a mac is not a good option. It is extremely overpriced, and has eye candy that I doubt she’ll care about. For $1400, you could buy your mother an incredible Windows machine, vs a basic mac. Once again, I suggest a netbook.

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

You can get a Mac for about $800

But I think you’re right about the netbook. The only other thing she might need is an external DVD player. The 10” Asus 1000eee is really nice. Nicer than my laptop from work. Almost as nice as my MacBook.

theladebug's avatar

A netbook may be exactly what you need, although I would make sure that you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase it, since there are some limitations versus a full fledged laptop. I would just verify that any programs your mom would like to install and run would work on the netbook.

If its price you are concerned about, sells their dinged and dented or refurbished machines for EXTREMELY reasonable prices.

eambos's avatar is the best site for new technology. I’ve never had a problem buying there.

hungerforpizza's avatar

She doesn’t like net books shes more in to regular laptops

DeanV's avatar

Yeah, I agree with @Eambos. I’m a mac guy here, but i agree that a macbook is overpriced for her needs. I would go with the netbook here, but i would warn you, they have smaller screens than standard notebooks, and if she has eyesight issues, you may want to look into a bigger screen. I would also try all of the OS’s that usually come with the netbooks. Personally, i would avoid linux and vista for a netbook, but i would go to best buy, circuit city, etc., find a model she likes, and see if you can find that online.

eambos's avatar

XP is definitely the way to go for a netbook, at least until Win7 is released.

Linux will be too confusing for her, and Vista will run like a dog on those specs.

basp's avatar

Whatever you do, don’t get an Acer. I had one and it never worked right. They “fixed” it three times and still didn’t work. I finally gave up and threw it away.

eambos's avatar

Threw it away! No matter how many problems you have, there is always someone who will find a use for that computer. Send it my way next time, I’ll even pay you!

simpleD's avatar

@Eambos: Its not just eye candy. Macs are designed not only to be easy on the eyes, but to be comfortable to use. The attractiveness of the hardware and GUI lies in its simplicity. It does not scream for your attention with blinking lights, stickers, and superfluous buttons. The user, especially the non-geeks among us, is able to connect more directly with her data, and manipulate it in fun and meaningful ways.

For moms or for anyone that want to actually enjoy their computing experience, rather than being confused by security patches, continual spyware scans, and incompatible peripherals, the Mac is not “overpriced”, but well worth the added value. Then when she discovers that she can instantly connect her camera, create her own photo albums, video chat with her grandkids… that’s life changing. As attractive as a $300 netbook is to many folks for doing nothing other than Web browsing and email, I wouldn’t want to subject my mom to one.

eambos's avatar

See, I guess I’m a geek. I love knowing what makes my computer tick, and why. That’s why I hate macs. (that and the outrageous price).

aprilsimnel's avatar

A processor is sort of like the the brains of the computer. All the power to keep programs open and running at a good clip are due to the processors and the memory. So if your computer has a dual-core processor, it’s like it’s got two brains. And more memory is like having more fast-twitch nerves.

If all your mum’s going to do is surf the web and maybe type a few letters, she won’t need as much power to do that. A couple gigs of memory and a decent single core processor (mine is the AMD Turion 2400 dual-core, but that’s because I deal with a lot of media apps), a decent video card, and she’s good to go.

Frankly, I’d get her a Dell Studio 15. It’s under 1K and the basic specs will be fine for what she wants.

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