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Where do I buy a new laptop from and what should I get?


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Old 30-06-2013, 19:22
bluewomble88
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Hi

It's been a long time since I had to buy a laptop for a specific purpose rather than just for Internet and doing letters etc.

I need to invest in a machine for when I begin my digital design course in a few months. This involves graphic and web design with some HTML5 work later on. I don't need it for anything else besides general Internet access. Some questions:

Where should I be looking for one? (I.e. I refuse to use Currys / PC World)
What OS should I get? I've heard a lot of negativity with Windows 8 - should I just get 7? I use Vista now and it's terrible; much slower and unstable compared to XP.
Where should I go for the best prices on software? I want the latest version of Office (but which one? There are many...), and a machine good enough to handle programs to support my course (I.e. Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc).

Is there anything else I need to think about?
I'd like to get an Apple MacBook or whatever but there's no way I could afford that.

Thanks.
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Old 30-06-2013, 19:28
paulker
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Hi

It's been a long time since I had to buy a laptop for a specific purpose rather than just for Internet and doing letters etc.

I need to invest in a machine for when I begin my digital design course in a few months. This involves graphic and web design with some HTML5 work later on. I don't need it for anything else besides general Internet access. Some questions:

Where should I be looking for one? (I.e. I refuse to use Currys / PC World)
What OS should I get? I've heard a lot of negativity with Windows 8 - should I just get 7? I use Vista now and it's terrible; much slower and unstable compared to XP.
Where should I go for the best prices on software? I want the latest version of Office (but which one? There are many...), and a machine good enough to handle programs to support my course (I.e. Dreamweaver, Photoshop etc).

Is there anything else I need to think about?
I'd like to get an Apple MacBook or whatever but there's no way I could afford that.

Thanks.
You get what you pay for. MacBooks have amazing build quality and you will get great second hand value (min 50% after 3-4 years) where as a windows lappy will be worth wallies a few years down the line.
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Old 30-06-2013, 19:33
Stig
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If you wait until you are a student you will get lots of offers on software, and even some hardware.
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Old 30-06-2013, 19:40
mred2000
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You can either have something that will do the job or something that will do the job well... as a designer who uses WinPC as well as Mac, desktops and laptops, a Windows laptop that will cover as many bases as you want as well as have some longevity will cost in the same region as a Macbook anyway.

Sure, you can spend less but results will vary. Laptop wise I have a couple of high end Dell machines with business support. For lower end stuff I've recommended Acer in the past but that might not be the case anymore.

In all honesty, yes, you'll get better results and not have to fork out as much if a desktop machine was an option.

(O/T but don't forget some layout/drawing pads and pens. Design work should always start out as scribbles on paper. I don't have much faith in these overall, all encompassing, 'digital' design courses... Whenever I've been on the hiring side of things, candidates who have done courses like these have never stood out enough to make it to interview, unfortunately...)
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Old 30-06-2013, 19:45
barky99
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where for a laptop? http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/

These days virtually any laptop out there will be able to do web design & graphics as all but very cheapest are over-specced for what you need.
more you pay typically the better the build quality but not always

where for cheap software? http://www.software4students.co.uk/

Do people still use dreamweaver?
how long is the course?
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Old 30-06-2013, 19:50
mred2000
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Do people still use dreamweaver?
I know a few agencies who use it but the top bods still do most of the coding under the bonnet... that then filters through to the juniors.

It's still taught in colleges and unis, though. It's an easy option to teach it on more traditional graphic design courses for students to get ideas down quickly but that'll be backed up by sketch work etc...
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Old 30-06-2013, 23:15
TheBigM
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A few things:
Yes a 1,000+ Macbook has historically often depreciated by less than an equivalently priced computer.
This may change as Macs become more popular and the demographic buying them changes.
This will also be irrelevant when someone is considering a much cheaper computer (e.g. 400) where the entire value of the computer is less than that, that the Mac will depreciate by.

Macs do have great build quality but often I've found that "lesser" build quality is plenty sufficient in that your plastic computer shell on a 400 computer won't physically break. Both I and my sister have run cheap acer laptops for a number of years and both are perfectly fine. The ability to upgrade them has helped their longevity.

You may be able to get student discount on Macs, Apple offers up to 15% discount on Macs to university students which may make them affordable for you. You could also consider buying a second-hand Mac.

Despite what all the naysayers say, Windows 8.1 will be fine to run for you, it's quite easy to remain on the desktop side of things. As you're doing graphic design, I'd say make sure your new PC has 8GB of RAM, a decent screen and an SSD if it can fit in your budget.
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Old 01-07-2013, 00:18
coachtrip_fan99
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have a look at the sony educational store, where you get student discount of "up to 10%"

you can get it now - as long as you have your ucas number, which I imagine you already do.

you can also log in via topcashback and get something like 7 or 8% cashback

I just got a new sony vai pro laptop from there, and it seems good so far!
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:19
mred2000
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I've just had a read, OP doesn't have a great history of coming back to their threads much...
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:08
bluewomble88
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What does that have to do with anything? I've read and understood every reply.

What about OS? I'm so used to Windows XP and Vista that 8 looks just too different.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:31
IvanIV
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Windows 8.1 changes make the start screen of Windows 8.0 rather tolerable, I would think. You do not have to look at Apple to get a good quality build, but it seems people have a problem to cough up more money for a good Windows laptop, but they splash on Apple laptops easily and marvel how great they are compared to something cheap. I'd check what tools you will be using for your courses, maybe you will need a mac after all or you will need Windows. As for Office, for Windows Office 365 is the latest with a subscription per year or you can buy a license as with previous versions. There might be discounts for students.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:33
mred2000
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What does that have to do with anything? I've read and understood every reply.

What about OS? I'm so used to Windows XP and Vista that 8 looks just too different.
It's not, you'll get used to it.

What does you not coming back to threads have to do with anything? Folk ask questions and take the time to give you advice that goes without response. That's what.
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:41
Daedroth
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Simply, you can't get a laptop with Windows XP or Vista any more. They are too old. You'll more likely get a laptop with Windows 8 on it, and you may have the option to downgrade it to Windows 7.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:38
bobcar
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What does that have to do with anything? I've read and understood every reply.
Didn't your mother ever tell you the meaning of the phrase "thank you"? People on here give their time for free and a simple acknowledgement of your appreciation would help a lot.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:48
bluewomble88
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Didn't your mother ever tell you the meaning of the phrase "thank you"? People on here give their time for free and a simple acknowledgement of your appreciation would help a lot.
Yes, and I would do that once it has reached a natural conclusion. I'm not going to say thank you after every reply!! Don't be so patronising, it doesn't suit.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:14
John259
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It might be wise to check if your course has any special requirements, both hardware and software.

Possible places to buy include Argos, Asda, Sainsbury's and Tesco (physical shops and online) and Dabs and EBuyer (online only).

Windows 7 models are still available but getting more difficult to find.

Windows 8 can be made tolerable by installing one of the third-party user interface utilities. These have options to boot in desktop mode, restore the Start button and its menu, and disable the charm icons. The utilities therefore allow you to very largely ignore Metro mode, which most people don't have a high regard for.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._for_Windows_8
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:17
mred2000
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Yes, and I would do that once it has reached a natural conclusion. I'm not going to say thank you after every reply!! Don't be so patronising, it doesn't suit.
Well you didn't appear to do either, nor answer questions posed to you that would've helped folk reply to you when you've been a wee bit sketchy, whether it be on a thread about moving to NZ or a thread about training to be a designer or a web coder...

(NZ has a high demand for actual web coders, by the way. Don't think the demand is as high for inexperienced designers)
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:51
Admiral Star
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Look at Lenovo or Dell.
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Old 01-07-2013, 12:55
John259
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Asus and Samsung are also worth considering IMHO.
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Old 01-07-2013, 13:36
jonner101
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A few things:
Yes a 1,000+ Macbook has historically often depreciated by less than an equivalently priced computer.
This may change as Macs become more popular and the demographic buying them changes.
This will also be irrelevant when someone is considering a much cheaper computer (e.g. 400) where the entire value of the computer is less than that, that the Mac will depreciate by.

Macs do have great build quality but often I've found that "lesser" build quality is plenty sufficient in that your plastic computer shell on a 400 computer won't physically break. Both I and my sister have run cheap acer laptops for a number of years and both are perfectly fine. The ability to upgrade them has helped their longevity.

You may be able to get student discount on Macs, Apple offers up to 15% discount on Macs to university students which may make them affordable for you. You could also consider buying a second-hand Mac.

Despite what all the naysayers say, Windows 8.1 will be fine to run for you, it's quite easy to remain on the desktop side of things. As you're doing graphic design, I'd say make sure your new PC has 8GB of RAM, a decent screen and an SSD if it can fit in your budget.
My 2 year old macbook pro still looks new and the battery is still good even after pretty heavy daily use. Particularly good is the excellent magnetic power connector, solid keyboard that doesn't seem to wear. Top of the line track pad and the fact that there are no bottom heating vents to get blocked. The metal case naturally acts as a heat sink so I think the components just last longer since they don't overheat as much.

I think that the lack of depreciation on mac stuff is partly down to the build quality and partly name. What I would say is that after a certain amount of time once a mac can't run the latest Osx properly will start on a steeper depreciation curve so you really need to sell it within 2-3 year. The other reason they don't depreciate so much is that the models have a strong non-generic identity. I don't see this changing anytime soon.

I have never been able to make a cheap acer laptop which is used heavily ( 2-3 hours per day ) last more than 2-3 years, usually the battery goes or the rubbish power connector will just wear out or even burn out. Also because of the vented heating of cheap laptops through the bottom they tend to get filled with dust and will have a tendency to overheat, especially if used in a way that blocks the vents. The other thing that normally happens is that the some of the keys will start to fail, well that's my experience with acers.
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Old 01-07-2013, 21:54
bluewomble88
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Thanks for the input.
I'm going to a meeting about the course in a few days so I should know much more about what is required then.
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Old 01-07-2013, 22:45
coachtrip_fan99
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Thanks for the input.
I'm going to a meeting about the course in a few days so I should know much more about what is required then.
yes, it would certainly be worth asking them. Im going to do a business IT course and was considering (amongst other things) a MacBook.

However, after speaking to one of the lecturers, they suggested against this... because most of the business software they use, runs on windows.

(I know I could dual boot a Mac with windows... but I couldn't be bothered, and decided just to go for a windows laptop!)

There may be specific graphics software you need to use, which may be more applicable to either windows, or mac!
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Old 01-07-2013, 22:58
mred2000
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There may be specific graphics software you need to use, which may be more applicable to either windows, or mac!
Every industry standard (read: Adobe...) 2D graphics design tool (vector graphics, raster graphics, web creation, DTP) is available on both platforms so it pretty much comes down to user preference nowadays. If the uni/college isn't using Adobe then questions need asking... I'm not saying it's the best but use of Adobe software is across the board in the industry.

Off the top of my head I think only Corel is Windows only but the one studio I knew who used Corel dropped it a while ago.
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Old 02-07-2013, 17:09
scruffpot
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A program that is for mac and windows will look just about exactly the same on both machines...e.g I use Ableton, they are both the same on both OS.
One OS may look a behave different then the other, but its just personal choice in the end.

Look at the requirements for your software and get the machine that fits the requirements and has a bit more omph under the hood as well, just encase a few years later you may have to get an upgrade in software or you have to do a lot of multi-tasking..

Go to a store and have a play with the machines and do not be bought into any technical fanboy babble dribble that one is better the the other, because if someone says one is better then the other and you go on that info and you hate it... waste of money...
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Old 02-07-2013, 19:23
Maxatoria
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A lot depends on your views on looks...if it has to be silver/shiny and usable in starbucks then pony up a grand or so and get an apple, but if you are clumsy, don't give a crap about looks and don't have serious money to burn then a 2nd hand laptop will probably cover it for less than a few hundred quid but do make sure whatever you buy it will easily take a leak over the min specs for the software the course will require
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