Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


A few purchase parameters

  1. #1


    Posts : 13
    Win7

    A few purchase parameters


    My current Thinkpad T61 is 6 years old & without going into details, it's telegraphing it's time to replace.

    Having gone through this drill many times I've fairly well learned what to look for and pay for in a new machine (I will be staying with the Thinkpad--since the machine largely stays home weight is not an issue). However, there are several particulars that I would like to run by the experts.

    1. I will order an SSD primary drive (and the optional drive for the DVD bay). Do you need to be particular about manufacturer and spec with an SSD as you might with a traditional drive?

    2. Is there a significant performance increase with a 4 core vs. 2 core processor and if so, can laptops generally handle a 4 core?

    3. Since I keep my computers for 5+ years and I've yet to buy one where I haven't had to upgrade memory later on (for example, this machine had 2GB at purchase and now has 4) and given the low current cost of memory and that I'd 'normally' now order a machine with 8GB...I'm thinking that 16GB makes sense (assuming the laptops can normally hold that amount with a 64 bit OS)?

    4. Lastly and probably most important--I do not need to buy a machine right this minute. 'If' Intel will be introducing a significantly better (performance + battery duration) laptop chipset within the next 6 months or so, I'd hold off?

    Comments appreciated--

    Mark

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Just my opinion on question #3. The average individual is usually fine with 4GBs; however, 8GBs would be great but I think 16GBs is really overkill but if money is no object and/or you perceive the need, then go for it. Good luck.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 13
    Win7


    Norton frequently reports 'high memory use' (which I've verified) while only running 3 apps--1 of which being Firefox (not known for excellent memory usage). So given that history on a Win7 64 bit machine with 4GB of memory, going to 8 for me is a given. Going to 16 may be an unnecessary precaution but I'd be interested in hearing a few other points of view.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by markg2 View Post
    Norton frequently reports 'high memory use' (which I've verified) while only running 3 apps--1 of which being Firefox (not known for excellent memory usage). So given that history on a Win7 64 bit machine with 4GB of memory, going to 8 for me is a given. Going to 16 may be an unnecessary precaution but I'd be interested in hearing a few other points of view.
    Absolutely the correct way to approach this new build. So, let me give you a firm opinion that 16GBs is too much! That should stir the wolf pack a bit... Cheers!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Memory is meant to be used, not to stand idle, only if all of it is used so interferes with work you can say you need more. I'd say that 2 gigs per core is enough for anything, with 1GB / core being minimum.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 13
    Win7


    Coincidentally, I came across this article yesterday that answer my processor question:

    "Lenovo has used the Intel Developer Forum to announce a refresh to its lineup of ThinkPad business notebooks including products in the ThinkPad T, W, E and L Series of laptops. The Chinese device maker has upgraded these notebooks with new fourth-generation Intel Core (Haswell) processors, as well as improved graphics, among other features.

    In the ThinkPad T-series, Lenovo has introduced the T440p and T540p notebooks that are powered by up to Intel quad-core i7 processors. The T440p and T540p claim to offer a battery life of up to 13.7 hours and up to 12.6 hours, respectively."

    Mark
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Lenovo recently (VERY recently; yesterday) updated their ThinkPad line with Intel's 4th generation Haswell processors. These processors introduce a modest performance increase and a much more significant increase in battery life. If you're mostly using your laptop at home, maybe battery life isn't an issue at all. If not, you could get a really good price on a (barely) older machine 3rd generation Ivy Bridge and bump up other specs.

    1) SSDs come as an option on all ThinkPad laptops. I'm not sure what you're asking, but you don't have to worry about compatibility or manufacturer. The only spec you'll really need to think about is storage capacity.

    2) People talk about # of cores vs clock speed vs chipset vs whatever ALL DAY and it usually just results in a headache. I prefer to be more qualitative. If you're just doing regular, day-to-day stuff with your machine, you probably don't need to upgrade to a quad core, core i7 processor. There's a continuum with current Intel laptop processors starting with a dual coal Ivy Bridge (3rd gen) core i3 on cheaper machines to quad core Haswell core i7 processors on, for example, the brand-spankin' new, beastly Thinkpad W540. That machine is the upper limit...you can order up to 32GB of RAM on that one. Which brings me to...

    3) 8GB of RAM is likely fine. I just bought a new ultrabook with 8GB (like you, my first in 5ish years). Again, it really depends on what you want to do with this laptop.

    4) This is a perfectly good time to buy a new laptop- prices for perfectly good Ivy Bridge machines are at rock bottom and you can also go cutting edge on literally brand new Haswell machines.

    The ThinkPad line has a number of series (E, T, S, W, X, etc) so what machine you go with really depends on what you want to do with the machine. Any special programs you'll be running? Are you interested in a touchscreen? What about convertible capabilities, like flipping the screen all the way around making a "tablet"?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,191
    Windows 8.1


    Quote Originally Posted by Qriztofer View Post
    Lenovo recently (VERY recently; yesterday) updated their ThinkPad line with Intel's 4th generation Haswell processors. These processors introduce a modest performance increase and a much more significant increase in battery life. If you're mostly using your laptop at home, maybe battery life isn't an issue at all. If not, you could get a really good price on a (barely) older machine 3rd generation Ivy Bridge and bump up other specs.

    1) SSDs come as an option on all ThinkPad laptops. I'm not sure what you're asking, but you don't have to worry about compatibility or manufacturer. The only spec you'll really need to think about is storage capacity.

    2) People talk about # of cores vs clock speed vs chipset vs whatever ALL DAY and it usually just results in a headache. I prefer to be more qualitative. If you're just doing regular, day-to-day stuff with your machine, you probably don't need to upgrade to a quad core, core i7 processor. There's a continuum with current Intel laptop processors starting with a dual coal Ivy Bridge (3rd gen) core i3 on cheaper machines to quad core Haswell core i7 processors on, for example, the brand-spankin' new, beastly Thinkpad W540. That machine is the upper limit...you can order up to 32GB of RAM on that one. Which brings me to...

    3) 8GB of RAM is likely fine. I just bought a new ultrabook with 8GB (like you, my first in 5ish years). Again, it really depends on what you want to do with this laptop.

    4) This is a perfectly good time to buy a new laptop- prices for perfectly good Ivy Bridge machines are at rock bottom and you can also go cutting edge on literally brand new Haswell machines.

    The ThinkPad line has a number of series (E, T, S, W, X, etc) so what machine you go with really depends on what you want to do with the machine. Any special programs you'll be running? Are you interested in a touchscreen? What about convertible capabilities, like flipping the screen all the way around making a "tablet"?
    Very impressive response IMHO.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 13
    Win7


    I had just posted an excerpt of the article I read at the gym yesterday regarding the new Thinkpads and processor lines. Norton is now not infrequently issuing High Usage messages for drive access and processor in addition to the memory. Since I'm not doing anything significantly different with the machine than a year or 3 ago, I'm thinking the warnings may have as much to do with overall age of the components and not just individual component use overloading--but this cannot be confirmed.

    The spec on my current processor is:
    2.20 gigahertz Intel Core2 Duo
    64 kilobyte primary memory cache
    4096 kilobyte secondary memory cache
    64-bit ready
    Multi-core (2 total)
    Not hyper-threaded

    Common sense tells me if I'm getting a high CPU use message on a 2 core, quite possibly a 4 core would go a long way towards helping to resolve the problem--in addition to newer chips having more cache on the chip + > clock speed + handling multi-threading (for those apps that can address the function).

    Regarding the SSD--I had read an article a few months ago describing cloud server centers on the technical periphery. The article made a point that not all SSD's are created equal--differing tech names for differing advanced capabilities. Plus, with standard drives there's the consideration of rpm, various flavors of disk access speed, etc. All of which may be a non issue when dealing with the current generation of 'consumer' SSD's which may just come in 1 flavor unless you're a gamer seeking the utmost at any $?

    The problem with laptop vs workstation RAM is slot space. You can't go back later and add to, you have to toss and start all over (past experiences). That + the length of time I keep the machine vs. current market price + who the heck knows what software machinations are coming within that time frame leads to the evaluation of 8 vs 16.

    My last 2 Thinkpads were T's and giving my spec requirements the current will likely too.

    Though I do not often take the machine with me, when I do nothing is more aggravating than having it crap out sooner than expected due to battery life--so yes, the Haswell processor article's emphasis on life was important.

    Mark
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    If they just would not insist on making everything so thin there would be much more space for batteries, I'd rather sacrifice small thickness in favor of much longer work time, after all, those portable devices are supposed to be PORTABLE and not connected to power supply, I have a desktop computer for that.
    In my first cell phones batteries lasted more than a week, next ones 3 to 4 days and newest smarty pants one only couple of hours if I use WiFi and GPS, heck, I could get lost in that time. Let it be twice as thick and havy, just don't make me stop and charge them before I get to where i was going to.
    Portable devices used for work should be able to be used full time at least full work day without having to worry about the quitting before the work is finished. To heck with quad and octa cores, I'm not going to use them for Autocad.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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