Author Topic: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model  (Read 1428 times)

dodojojo

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Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« on: July 31, 2019, 09:48:38 AM »
I need a laptop, like yesterday....

I'm looking at refurbished ThinkPad T450 that is/was a business workhouse laptop. I use a ThinkPad for work and generally like it. It's $370. I think the T450 is from late 2014?

Versus a budget Acer spin 3 for $350. I'm no computer ace, though new, the specs are still lower end than the ThinkPad?

With tech moving so quickly nowadays, would a low end budget laptop be a better product than a great business laptop from 4 or 5 years ago?

Need laptop for job search asap. In long term, personal use overall.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2019, 10:00:04 AM by dodojojo »

nereo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2019, 12:33:48 PM »
It depends greatly on what you are using the laptop for. 

If your needs are basically email, internet/forum browsing and light spreadsheet use then basically anything you buy will be up to the task. There are models all the time on Ebay/CL for < $100 that will work as an email browser.

 If you need to do more processor intensive tasks like video editing, gaming, data wrangling (say, with >100,000 lines of data), or generally working with larger files the current 'entry-level' full-feature laptops (e.g. not chromebooks) will outpace the ThinkPad T450.  But again, if you are just emailing and browsing, you're unlikely to notice or care.

So... what's your basic use, and what's the most intensive use you anticipate?

dodojojo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2019, 01:07:07 PM »
Personal home use--browsing, word processing, light spreadsheet, use, some video play, etc.

I have a 2011/12 budget Dell that I bought for $350 and it was slow and quirky from day one.  I hardly touched it.  I found the 13 inch screen and accompanying keyboard too cramped.  I find 14 inch is the ideal size.  It's what I'm used to for work.  I tried using it recently but it was so slow and since it's on Win 7.

Actually, I just found https://www.staples.com/hp-pavilion-14-ce2068s-6me71ua-aba-14-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory/product_24393910 and at $400, it's slightly more expensive than the two I initially had in mind, but it's new and the specs look decent.  Not SSD, but offset with large 1TB storage.  It's $485 but I called the nearby Staples and they agreed to match the online price.

Rubic

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2019, 03:36:00 PM »
I'm currently typing on a ThinkPad T440s and love it, but I'm also running Linux which uses less resources.  Regardless, I think these line of ThinkPads are great values.

mtnrider

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2019, 07:09:09 PM »
I need a laptop, like yesterday....

I'm looking at refurbished ThinkPad T450 that is/was a business workhouse laptop. I use a ThinkPad for work and generally like it. It's $370. I think the T450 is from late 2014?

Versus a budget Acer spin 3 for $350. I'm no computer ace, though new, the specs are still lower end than the ThinkPad?

With tech moving so quickly nowadays, would a low end budget laptop be a better product than a great business laptop from 4 or 5 years ago?

Need laptop for job search asap. In long term, personal use overall.

If you're not doing high-end video editing, gaming, etc... on this, I'd seriously think about a Chromebook.

dodojojo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2019, 07:17:03 PM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet. 

2sk22

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2019, 06:32:31 AM »

With tech moving so quickly nowadays, would a low end budget laptop be a better product than a great business laptop from 4 or 5 years ago?


As a matter of fact, laptop tech is not really advancing very rapidly nowadays. I'd recommend going with the reconditioned laptop. I've had a lot of luck with reconditioned Thnkpads

nereo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2019, 07:28:24 AM »

With tech moving so quickly nowadays, would a low end budget laptop be a better product than a great business laptop from 4 or 5 years ago?


As a matter of fact, laptop tech is not really advancing very rapidly nowadays. I'd recommend going with the reconditioned laptop. I've had a lot of luck with reconditioned Thnkpads
hmmm... highly debatable.  Certainly single-core processing power isn't doubling as fast as it was in the late 1990s, but there's a slew of other metrics that have grown by leaps and bounds in the last five years, including smaller, more power efficient processors (allowing for better battery life - perhaps the most noticible advancement), higher rez and brighter displays,  higher memory limits, SSD throughput and more of the processing load being transferred to GPU. 

What is true is that many users typically need such a small fraction of the available processing power that they often won't notice any difference from, say, the much improved graphics cards or more/faster memory.  But the machines themselves are much better today than from 2014 at similar price points.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2019, 07:50:57 AM »
I just went through this same exercise, and came to the general conclusion that in the past 5-10 years most of the improvements in laptops have related to A) making them use energy more efficiently or B) making the laptops thinner/lighter. If you're willing to carry around a big heavy laptop, you can get one that is not "that" far off from the specs of a modern laptop for a good price.

I ended up going with a Lenovo W530. The good was that was only $180 (plus shipping), has a 200 GB SSD, 16 GB ram, and an i7-3740QM quad core processor that turbos up to 3.7 GHz. With a $5 caddy, I was able to swap out the DVD drive for a second hard drive from an older laptop bumping up the storage by another 400GB. The bad is that the graphics card is outdated and the thing weighs about 7 pounds when factoring in the power adapter.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2019, 08:01:02 AM by YttriumNitrate »

DadJokes

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2019, 07:55:08 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

nereo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2019, 08:12:39 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

Office Libre (aka 'Open Office').  Open-source version that replaces the whole MS Office suite of applicaitons, and it's FREEEEEE!!!

mikedom

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2019, 08:30:30 AM »
Another vote for a refurbished T440 off of ebay. I run Ubuntu, and do relatively heavy processing (lots of Python) with no issues. Make sure to get the higher resolution (1600x900), and I put an SSD in mine.

I've had four others buy these based on my recommendation with pleased customers so far.

2sk22

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2019, 08:32:27 AM »

What is true is that many users typically need such a small fraction of the available processing power that they often won't notice any difference from, say, the much improved graphics cards or more/faster memory.  But the machines themselves are much better today than from 2014 at similar price points.

I agree that the biggest gains have been in the switch to SSDs and more cores but these are of little relevance for most casual users.

Two thoughts for cost-effective improvements that come to mind are to do the SSD swap yourself (can be bought cheaply from Newegg etc) and using an external monitor. You can often find discarded monitors cheap on Craigslist

DadJokes

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2019, 08:35:53 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

Office Libre (aka 'Open Office').  Open-source version that replaces the whole MS Office suite of applicaitons, and it's FREEEEEE!!!

It doesn't use the same VBA programming language. I might have to live with it though.

RWD

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #14 on: August 01, 2019, 08:56:43 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

Office Libre (aka 'Open Office').  Open-source version that replaces the whole MS Office suite of applicaitons, and it's FREEEEEE!!!

It's called LibreOffice and it isn't exactly the same thing as Apache OpenOffice (though both were derived from OpenOffice.org). And then there is NeoOffice too. The timeline has been pretty confusing...

Last time I checked LibreOffice was the preferred version and most up-to-date/maintained.

nereo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2019, 09:01:58 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

Office Libre (aka 'Open Office').  Open-source version that replaces the whole MS Office suite of applicaitons, and it's FREEEEEE!!!

It's called LibreOffice and it isn't exactly the same thing as Apache OpenOffice (though both were derived from OpenOffice.org). And then there is NeoOffice too. The timeline has been pretty confusing...

Last time I checked LibreOffice was the preferred version and most up-to-date/maintained.
Good info.  Yes, my mistake on LibreOffice (vs OfficeLibre).  I always wondered what the difference was between the various offerings, as they all seem to originate from the same open source platform.


RWD

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #16 on: August 01, 2019, 09:10:52 AM »
Really hate working on word/spreadsheet files online/in a browser so I'm not quite ready for Chromebooks yet.

I'm in the same boat. Unfortunately, I've found that Microsoft Office costs as much as the computer itself, which seems crazy.

Office Libre (aka 'Open Office').  Open-source version that replaces the whole MS Office suite of applicaitons, and it's FREEEEEE!!!

It's called LibreOffice and it isn't exactly the same thing as Apache OpenOffice (though both were derived from OpenOffice.org). And then there is NeoOffice too. The timeline has been pretty confusing...

Last time I checked LibreOffice was the preferred version and most up-to-date/maintained.
Good info.  Yes, my mistake on LibreOffice (vs OfficeLibre).  I always wondered what the difference was between the various offerings, as they all seem to originate from the same open source platform.

The history is pretty fascinating. Lack of maintenance of OpenOffice.org and reluctance of Oracle to accept outside contributions prompted the fork LibreOffice. They requested Oracle to donate the name OpenOffice but Oracle refused, instead donating it to the Apache foundation a year later when they discontinued development. It's been long enough now that the LibreOffice name has been mostly established but at the time it was really hard to point people new to open source in the right direction. "Yeah, you want OpenOffice which is actually called LibreOffice now. Yes yes, there is also still an OpenOffice but that's not the correct OpenOffice."

mtnrider

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2019, 05:18:31 AM »
RE: OpenOffice or LibreOffice

These are great.  I use LibreOffice daily.  But be aware that it is it's own office suite.  It isn't entirely compatible with MS Office.  Old spreadsheets with programmable macros won't work.  Even new spreadsheets with VBA won't work.  Those with C# often won't work, and if they do you might need some MS Office .lib files.  Document rendering is very often different between the two.  Heck, even MS Office and Office 365 aren't entirely compatible. In short, if you're planning on sharing and expecting compatibility, pay for Windows and MS Office.  If you're using this for non-technical sharing (eg student writing papers), you'll mostly be OK.

But if you're doing non-technical sharing or just working on your own, you're pretty much OK with Google Docs.  Or Libre Office.

Spitfire

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2019, 11:18:13 AM »
I have gotten a couple refurbs for my parents which have turned out well. They were the same model as my work laptop at the time so I had some experience with them. Got them my current model, which is from 2015, last year and it has been just fine for them. It's a Dell e5450 and it was under $300 on ebay. 

mtnrider

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2019, 06:10:28 PM »
If you really want a non-chromebook* computer, then I'd take two paths:

  • If you're experienced technically, get the older computer.  Old Thinkpads are great.  Old Macbooks are great too.  These are both made very well, and unless you need gobs of memory or lots of parallelism, you'll be fine.
     (Hint: MS Office doesn't really require those.)  The biggest downside is that you might have to replace the disk if you need more space, or add memory if things get too slow.  You also may need to reinstall the OS.
  • The best thing about a new computer is that it's new.  The cheapo models won't last long.  The hinges break, the glue comes undone, the internal cables or parts might get loose or just die.  But that probably won't happen for a few years.  In the meantime, you'll have a mostly worry-free, freshly installed system.

Of course, without knowing exactly what you're doing, how you're doing it, how much you know, etc... it's hard to say precisely what'd be best for you.

dodojojo

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Re: Old refurbished laptop versus new budget model
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2019, 09:22:10 PM »
I picked up the new Acer tonight.  Just started doodling with it.  The keyboard is proving to be an adjustment issue...Hopefully as I do, it'll prove to be less annoying.