Author Topic: Most frugal laptop choice  (Read 3307 times)

ketchup

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3947
  • Age: 28
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2019, 11:44:48 AM »
Surface Pro might fit the bill.  They're the first tablets I've seen that could actually have a purpose (x86 and run full Windows) instead of just being a less convenient smartphone.

Have you used one?  They're a solution desperately pretending there's a problem that they can somehow fit.

They're not very good laptops (gutless wonders with cooling issues), they're not very good tablets (quite heavy, somewhat poor battery life if you're doing much of anything), they're not upgradeable, and they're generally an expensive pain in the ass used by people who want to look cool.
Well damn, I hoped I'd finally found a tablet that I might consider using.  No, I haven't actually used one.  I don't see a need for something between a smartphone and laptop with all the negatives of both, but seemed like the least bad option.

Case

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 749
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #51 on: January 16, 2019, 11:45:07 AM »
Hard drive or SSD?

Based on your boot time, I'm guessing hard drive.

It's a Sandy Bridge CPU, which... I mean, not amazing by modern terms, but still useful.

Take the time to put new thermal compound on, put a 64GB or 128GB or something in that range SSD in, do a fresh install of Windows 10 (upgrade first, if needed, so you get the license key done correctly, but Win10 is pretty tolerant of running in unlicensed mode indefinitely - you can't change the wallpaper and a few other things, but I've got VMs running that way since a long while ago), and you should be more than acceptable for a control box.

You could stay with the hard drive, but a cheap 120GB SSD is under $30 now, so... seriously, just upgrade.  The difference between a laptop hard drive and a cheap SSD is still night and day.

I am not sure... I will have to check it out again when I get back home tonight.  I also would guess a hard drive... it seems like most computers still come with hard drives as standard.

It looks like I can get a refurbished Lattitude with 6th gen core processor, SSD, and windows 10 for $300-400.  I could get the home user (Inspirion) version for even less (from what I can tell, the business machines have sturdier shells/screens/etc... but the performance is no different).

Syonyk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3848
    • Syonyk's Project Blog
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #52 on: January 16, 2019, 12:21:56 PM »
Well damn, I hoped I'd finally found a tablet that I might consider using.  No, I haven't actually used one.  I don't see a need for something between a smartphone and laptop with all the negatives of both, but seemed like the least bad option.

It's a poor compromise device.  One can imagine niches in which it works well, but it's far heavier than an iPad (while running enough crap in the background that battery life is typically a few hours, tops), so less comfortable as a tablet.  The stock keyboard is... usable, I guess, but it's one of the worst keyboards I've ever used (the folding cover thing) - better than the onscreen keyboard, but that doesn't take much.  It's just too many compromises crammed into a single system.

I am not sure... I will have to check it out again when I get back home tonight.  I also would guess a hard drive... it seems like most computers still come with hard drives as standard.

It looks like I can get a refurbished Lattitude with 6th gen core processor, SSD, and windows 10 for $300-400.  I could get the home user (Inspirion) version for even less (from what I can tell, the business machines have sturdier shells/screens/etc... but the performance is no different).

Most new machines come with SSDs.

$400, or $40? :p  Fix the one you have, man.  Or ship it to me and I'll fix it for far less than a new one.

Case

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 749
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #53 on: January 16, 2019, 05:57:55 PM »
Well damn, I hoped I'd finally found a tablet that I might consider using.  No, I haven't actually used one.  I don't see a need for something between a smartphone and laptop with all the negatives of both, but seemed like the least bad option.

It's a poor compromise device.  One can imagine niches in which it works well, but it's far heavier than an iPad (while running enough crap in the background that battery life is typically a few hours, tops), so less comfortable as a tablet.  The stock keyboard is... usable, I guess, but it's one of the worst keyboards I've ever used (the folding cover thing) - better than the onscreen keyboard, but that doesn't take much.  It's just too many compromises crammed into a single system.

I am not sure... I will have to check it out again when I get back home tonight.  I also would guess a hard drive... it seems like most computers still come with hard drives as standard.

It looks like I can get a refurbished Lattitude with 6th gen core processor, SSD, and windows 10 for $300-400.  I could get the home user (Inspirion) version for even less (from what I can tell, the business machines have sturdier shells/screens/etc... but the performance is no different).

Most new machines come with SSDs.

$400, or $40? :p  Fix the one you have, man.  Or ship it to me and I'll fix it for far less than a new one.

Alright, youíve got me convinced.  Let me confirm the software works acceptably this weekend and iíll get in touch.

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1372
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #54 on: January 21, 2019, 08:28:27 AM »

From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

As for the dress shoe example -- I was buying two pairs of Johnston and Murphy about every 18 months (or $200/year). I got tired of that a while ago and bought three pairs of Allen Edmonds for about $900 (big post-Christmas sale).  They are still good as new and will honestly probably last another 20 years (with a re-soling here or there). The thought of investing the difference in a brokerage account, pulling from said account, paying gains taxes on these returns (hoping they go up in a two year span), just to buy some shoes simply isn't sound to me.

As applied to this example, I cheaped out and bought a $300 Dell about four years ago. It was a complete piece of shit very quickly. Opening an internet browser to do simple things (email, calendar, etc.) took forever. I was starting my computer and then doing chores around the house it took so long to load up. And then the performance sucked.  It was a waste of money.

So here, the thought that you can just buy a computer with minimal processing to run a coffee roaster just isn't sound. Your computer will be jammed with just trying to run itself. Opening the coffee roaster program will start to take a really long time and will make the activity far less enjoyable.

I really don't see the point in sweating over an extra $600 on a one-time purchase for a far, far, far superior product that will last you far longer and bring you much greater enjoyment.

Quote
From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

It might lead to more purchases, that does NOT necessarily equate to higher total cost, as I stated previously.

Quote
As for the dress shoe example -- I was buying two pairs of Johnston and Murphy about every 18 months (or $200/year). I got tired of that a while ago and bought three pairs of Allen Edmonds for about $900 (big post-Christmas sale).  They are still good as new and will honestly probably last another 20 years (with a re-soling here or there). The thought of investing the difference in a brokerage account, pulling from said account, paying gains taxes on these returns (hoping they go up in a two year span), just to buy some shoes simply isn't sound to me.

Seriously? 

Unless you are living on the ragged edge financially, you won't have to be "pulling from the account and paying taxes" every time you want to make a purchase.  I was making a general point that there is OPPORTUNITY COST in every purchase, and that by purchasing a less extravagant item, even if you have to do so more frequently, you will come out ahead in the long run because you can invest the money you didn't spend.

Quote
As applied to this example, I cheaped out and bought a $300 Dell about four years ago. It was a complete piece of shit very quickly. Opening an internet browser to do simple things (email, calendar, etc.) took forever. I was starting my computer and then doing chores around the house it took so long to load up. And then the performance sucked.  It was a waste of money.

Okay, you must be trolling now.

Any PC or notebook, even a cheapy, built in the last 10+ years will be able to pull up email, browse the net, etc. with  no trouble at all.

I think you are just looking to justify buying a Ferrari when you a Hyundai would have done the job.

BTW, I'm currently using a sub-$200 Dell notebook.  It works fine for email, surfing and the like.  It wouldn't work well for high end gaming, but again, you need to choose a machine and a price point based on what you plan to do with it.  Running software to control a coffee roaster does not sound like it would need a high end computer like one would need to run Grand Theft Auto 5 on max graphics.  My guess is, any old computer would do the job just fine.

Quote
I really don't see the point in sweating over an extra $600 on a one-time purchase for a far, far, far superior product that will last you far longer and bring you much greater enjoyment.

I do see the point.  Making smart choices with money is one of the points of FIRE.  This is the MMM site.  Take a look around, spending for the sake of spending isn't really the theme here.

I've "sweated" the small purchases for years, taking care to not spend more than is necessary.

That's one of the reasons I'm a multimillionaire, and many of the folks walking around in "Allen Edmonds" (I had to look that one up, I'd never heard of it before) and carrying the latest "gee whiz" iWhatever phone/computer from Apple are not.





« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 08:30:49 AM by libertarian4321 »

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2342
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #55 on: January 22, 2019, 08:52:34 AM »

From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

As for the dress shoe example -- I was buying two pairs of Johnston and Murphy about every 18 months (or $200/year). I got tired of that a while ago and bought three pairs of Allen Edmonds for about $900 (big post-Christmas sale).  They are still good as new and will honestly probably last another 20 years (with a re-soling here or there). The thought of investing the difference in a brokerage account, pulling from said account, paying gains taxes on these returns (hoping they go up in a two year span), just to buy some shoes simply isn't sound to me.

As applied to this example, I cheaped out and bought a $300 Dell about four years ago. It was a complete piece of shit very quickly. Opening an internet browser to do simple things (email, calendar, etc.) took forever. I was starting my computer and then doing chores around the house it took so long to load up. And then the performance sucked.  It was a waste of money.

So here, the thought that you can just buy a computer with minimal processing to run a coffee roaster just isn't sound. Your computer will be jammed with just trying to run itself. Opening the coffee roaster program will start to take a really long time and will make the activity far less enjoyable.

I really don't see the point in sweating over an extra $600 on a one-time purchase for a far, far, far superior product that will last you far longer and bring you much greater enjoyment.

Quote
From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

It might lead to more purchases, that does NOT necessarily equate to higher total cost, as I stated previously.
Yes, but in the shoe example, if the $900 purchase really does replace a $300/18 month purchase for 20 years that's about a 28% return. Since the shoe prices are assumed to follow inflation, it is an after inflation return. Assuming a 10% after inflation annual return opportunity costs (a high assumption for passive investors), the $900 shoes are more frugal than $300/18 month shoes as long as they last at least 5 years. Often buying quality new beats buying cheap new (the challenge is finding true quality). Of course for things that you can make do with something used, used usually wins - either cheap regularly for nearly nothing or quality with most of the utility remaining for about as much as the cheap new options.


YttriumNitrate

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
  • Location: Northwest Indiana
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2019, 01:22:35 PM »
Surface Pro might fit the bill.  They're the first tablets I've seen that could actually have a purpose (x86 and run full Windows) instead of just being a less convenient smartphone.
Have you used one?  They're a solution desperately pretending there's a problem that they can somehow fit.
They're not very good laptops (gutless wonders with cooling issues), they're not very good tablets (quite heavy, somewhat poor battery life if you're doing much of anything), they're not upgradeable, and they're generally an expensive pain in the ass used by people who want to look cool.
Doing a search of my local Craigslist, it seems that at least for right now tablets are running about twice the price as laptops with comparable specs. Perhaps in a few product cycles the tablets might be way to go, but at least for now the used laptop market reigns supreme in my area.

jim555

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2054
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #57 on: January 22, 2019, 02:32:12 PM »
If you have income of under 200 FPL these folks will give you a good deal:
https://pcsrefurbished.com/sales/salesHome.aspx

FiftyIsTheNewTwenty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2019, 04:01:05 PM »
I've done fairly well out of buying ex-corporate-lease Thinkpads from eBay. Bombproof, well-specced machines for maybe 1/10 what they would have been worth three years earlier.

I'm a Thinkpad guy too, and have bought used ones for years.  But it's worth checking the Lenovo site for deals.  I'm typing this from a Thinkpad 13, Core 3, SSD, Windows 10 Pro machine I got for $400 shipped.  With a warranty and everything, for once!

BussoV6

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 106
  • Location: Egoli
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #59 on: January 23, 2019, 06:35:50 AM »
I got an IBM Thinkpad T60 in early 2006 as a company laptop. When the company upgraded in mid 2008, they asked me to destroy the HDD and dispose of it. I kept it, put in a bigger hard drive. Upgraded to Windows 7 at some stage and put as much RAM in as I could. It is still going strong as my personal laptop after 13 years of medium usage. I replaced the battery about 3 years ago for approx $68.

Some of these older machines are very sturdy. I cannot imagine that my current work laptop will last much beyond 5 years  (HP Elitebook 820).

AMandM

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 879
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #60 on: January 23, 2019, 08:00:10 AM »
Thank you all so much for all the information and advice in this thread!  My husband was looking for a cheap laptop to simple, non-graphics work. This morning someone suggested he get a Celeron-based 3-in-1 tablet/notebook designed for the education market. I pointed him to this thread and instead he bought a refurb Dell Latitude with an i7 and way more memory for the same price!  (The original price in 2015 was $1700, the refurb was on sale today for $350.)

libertarian4321

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1372
Re: Most frugal laptop choice
« Reply #61 on: January 28, 2019, 09:42:09 PM »

From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

As for the dress shoe example -- I was buying two pairs of Johnston and Murphy about every 18 months (or $200/year). I got tired of that a while ago and bought three pairs of Allen Edmonds for about $900 (big post-Christmas sale).  They are still good as new and will honestly probably last another 20 years (with a re-soling here or there). The thought of investing the difference in a brokerage account, pulling from said account, paying gains taxes on these returns (hoping they go up in a two year span), just to buy some shoes simply isn't sound to me.

As applied to this example, I cheaped out and bought a $300 Dell about four years ago. It was a complete piece of shit very quickly. Opening an internet browser to do simple things (email, calendar, etc.) took forever. I was starting my computer and then doing chores around the house it took so long to load up. And then the performance sucked.  It was a waste of money.

So here, the thought that you can just buy a computer with minimal processing to run a coffee roaster just isn't sound. Your computer will be jammed with just trying to run itself. Opening the coffee roaster program will start to take a really long time and will make the activity far less enjoyable.

I really don't see the point in sweating over an extra $600 on a one-time purchase for a far, far, far superior product that will last you far longer and bring you much greater enjoyment.

Quote
From a general standpoint, I tend to buy quality over quantity. I wear Brooks Brothers dress shirts, Allen Edmonds shoes, etc.  I've found that cheaping out on these items leads to more regular purchases and more money spent in the long run.

It might lead to more purchases, that does NOT necessarily equate to higher total cost, as I stated previously.
Yes, but in the shoe example, if the $900 purchase really does replace a $300/18 month purchase for 20 years that's about a 28% return. Since the shoe prices are assumed to follow inflation, it is an after inflation return. Assuming a 10% after inflation annual return opportunity costs (a high assumption for passive investors), the $900 shoes are more frugal than $300/18 month shoes as long as they last at least 5 years. Often buying quality new beats buying cheap new (the challenge is finding true quality). Of course for things that you can make do with something used, used usually wins - either cheap regularly for nearly nothing or quality with most of the utility remaining for about as much as the cheap new options.

I wasn't arguing his "shoe" numbers, I was arguing that his assertion about having to put the money in an investment account and withdraw it for every purchase was silly.

Though his assertions about dress shoes are also ridiculous.  He's blowing through a pair of $100 Johnston and Murphy dress shoes every 9 months?  Really? 

What is this guy doing, running through Ranger school in dress shoes?  Or wearing his dress shoes while doing a construction job?  Years ago, I used to make inexpensive dress shoes (costing far less than $100 even today) last for years.

Higher cost items are usually better quality.  That does not mean they are necessarily a better deal.  Often, you are paying a huge "label" premium- paying for a brand name or perceived prestige.  All of that extra cost is usually not just because the product will last longer. 

Everyone should do their own analysis, but anyone who thinks buying the most expensive product is always the "best deal" is probably fooling himself.