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Old 09. Jun 2013, 05:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My wife' computer is 10 years old and is the big Windows user here and as we move toward on-line banking, etc, we're going to have to replace it. She's also the family financial wizard, so will need a new one, preferably a laptop. She is more comfortable with the Windows OS, currently running Windows XP SP 3. Neither of us is gamers so do not need a computer with bells and whistles. Replacement is going to be essential since XP's support and updates from Microsoft cease in April 2014.

I'm raising these questions here since most of y'all are experienced Windows users and are not trying to sell me anything, and I believe I can get honest appraisals of the newer Windows OS's.

Other than the new Windows 8.1 (Blue), is anyone aware of the next OS coming out from Microsoft, as well as any anticipated breakthroughs in computer hardware. BTW, we're 72 so will probably never be computer gurus.

My questions
1) Which Windows OS should we get for a new computer, 7, 8, 8.1, or wait for a few more months?
2) Since we use our appliances, cars, etc until they become unreliable, what is a reasonable amount of hardware to have on a new computer (probably laptop)?
3) Any other comments would be appreciated.

Note: I'm slowly moving to a LINUS distro for my use, so our current computers will work for me until they "die" and I do keep their data backed up on an external HDD.

Thank you for your time and advice.
tlcmd (aka Dick)
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Old 09. Jun 2013, 06:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Windows 8.1 preview will be releasing in June.. so, MS is not going to come up with a new OS anytime soon. So, if you want to go for a latest Windows OS, go with Windows 8. 8.1 will be released on the Windows App Store, so you can get it from there.

As you have used Windows XP, so even if you move to Windows 7, it will take a bit before you get used to things. So, I will suggest that you take a laptop with Windows 8. Many people are against Windows 8, but I personally do not find it bad. It will take a bit of time to get used to it, but other than the Start Menu disappeared, things are pretty much the same as in Windows 7. As it is also the latest OS, and the latest laptops are coming with Windows 8, I will say Windows 8 is the way to go.

Regarding hardware, no... no breakthrough in hardware anytime soon. Since I guess that your needs are browsing, using office, movies, and music.. a laptop with Intel i3 processor with inbuilt graphics will do the job. I don't have idea about AMD processors, so I can't say about them, but if you want to go with AMD processor based laptop, then that is an alternative too, and it will be cheaper too.

I will suggest that you post on a forum like TomsHardware, to ask about what laptop you should buy. You tell them your budget, your use of the laptop, and other choices, and they will suggest you which laptop you should go for... so that you get the latest and best of a good laptop within your budget. They will also tell you if should wait for a few months to get newer hardware, like Intel fourth generation processors, which I think are about to come.. but I don't know in how much time.

It's good that you are getting used to Linux. Make your wife get used to it too, by running distros out of live discs. I will suggest that for banking work, you should use Linux, out of a computer, or, from a live disc.

I hope this helps.
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Old 09. Jun 2013, 08:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd just like to add that many new owners have found Windows 8 challenging, perhaps because of how much time they have to spend on re-learning the OS when they would just like to get on with their work or whatever. Many recommend installing a program that will make Windows 8 more like XP or Windows 7. In case you fall in that category, you could read this article.

Haswell, or the new Intel fourth generation processors, are already beginning to appear on computers as evidenced by articles like this. Some articles, like this one, advise buyers to take advantage of the discounts that are likely to come about as a result of the emergence of the new technology. Whether you take that advice will depend on your needs, and if you are one of those people who always like to be on the breaking edge of technology.
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Old 10. Jun 2013, 06:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi Dick, if you haven't purchased a new computer in 10 years, there is going to be a new learning curve, its unavoidable if you want to be current. I suggestion a computer configured with the following options and just deal with learning Win 8, you'll be happy another 10 years. Remember everyone complained about XP at first. Operating system - Windows 8 64, Processor - 3rd Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3770 quad-core processor [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache], Memory - 10GB DDR3-1600MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs], Hard drive - 1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive, Graphics card - 2GB AMD Radeon HD 8570 [DVI, HDMI & VGA via Adapter; DX11].
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Old 10. Jun 2013, 06:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeguru View Post
Processor - 3rd Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3770 quad-core processor [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache], Memory - 10GB DDR3-1600MHz SDRAM [2 DIMMs], Hard drive - 1TB 7200 rpm SATA hard drive, Graphics card - 2GB AMD Radeon HD 8570 [DVI, HDMI & VGA via Adapter; DX11].
Don't you think that's a pretty heavy configuration, for people who are just going to do pretty normal stuff on their computers? They are not even going to play games, and all. Sure this would be pretty good in the long run, still, it's really unnecessary, and it will also cost a lot more.

With no gaming requirements, I don't think a graphics card is required. A processor with inbuilt graphics will be sufficient.

An i3 or i5 processor will be sufficient. Even i3, because they are not going to do heavy stuff. Similarly, 8 GB of RAM will be sufficient.
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Old 10. Jun 2013, 12:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I tend to agree with Anupam on this one.

If your requirements are unlikely to change much in the coming few years, and from what I can gather from your post, you preferably want a laptop Windows PC to use predominantly for general internet activities such as shopping and banking, to use as a word processor, and maybe to store and view photos, videos and music etc., then you're not going to need top end hardware.

It also sounds like you are looking to upgrade mainly due to the fact that the OS is becoming dated rather than any extra performance needs.

I would suggest an i3 processor with 4GB RAM would be more than sufficient, along with a reasonable size hard drive (big enough to accommodate all your current files with plenty of space to spare).

Don't forget some form of backup plan for your data, such as an additional external HDD.

It is going to be a steep learning curve to adjust to Windows 8 initially but it does make sense to go for the latest OS currently available. You can find plenty of advice on how to make it work more like XP or Windows 7 if necessary.

One last point. If you don't spend any more than necessary to get a laptop that fits your needs now, you could take the view that it doesn't need to last 10 years, and you could plan to upgrade every 3-4 years. That way you will be able to keep more up to date with the latest OS'es as they evolve, and benefit from the inevitable future technological improvements. In 4 years time, if it turns out you're happy with what you've got then there's no need to change until you feel it's become necessary again.
Sadly, modern hardware doesn't tend to be built with longevity in mind these days so there's no guarantee the laptop you buy now will make it to 10 years of age. So look for good after sales backup reputation and a decent length warranty if possible.
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Old 12. Jun 2013, 03:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I respectfully disagree. The i3 processor is outdated having been released 3 years ago. The i5 is moderate for now but won't be in a couple of years. The i7 (not restricted to gaming) is large now, but in a few years when Windows and the Internet becomes more bloated and complex, the i7 will be a good processor. Computers will run for over 5 years for the average user. It's not the computer that has the problem, its the ability for the computer to keep up with software technology that eventually spells its doom. To that end, beefing up hardware from the beginning will keep the computer relevant longer. The only restriction to getting the higher configuration would be finances.

Dick sorry all this got away from your original question. I have been a Windows user since version 3.0 and a DOS user before that. The biggest objection to any major Windows version is always the learning curve. Most people hate having to learn something new, but technology demands it so it's just a fact of life with computers if you want to utilize modern functions like the internet. I have an HP that is 13 years old running XP. The computer works fine, but it's too slow to load a web page any more. Its all in the perspective and need of the user.
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Old 12. Jun 2013, 06:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The trend of Windows getting more resource-hungry hasn't been the case for 3 versions now (Vista, 7, and 8). Same for software, excluding unnecessary bloat and professional software. Only issue might be compatibility, but I'll bet it's more likely going to last, especially with Linux to fall back to.
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Old 12. Jun 2013, 07:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeguru View Post
I respectfully disagree. The i3 processor is outdated having been released 3 years ago. The i5 is moderate for now but won't be in a couple of years. The i7 (not restricted to gaming) is large now, but in a few years when Windows and the Internet becomes more bloated and complex, the i7 will be a good processor. Computers will run for over 5 years for the average user. It's not the computer that has the problem, its the ability for the computer to keep up with software technology that eventually spells its doom. To that end, beefing up hardware from the beginning will keep the computer relevant longer. The only restriction to getting the higher configuration would be finances.
I disagree too. Maybe i7 is a good processor in the long run, but it's quite a powerful processor, and the question is, do they really need this processor? They really don't. Also, buying i7 will mean spending more money, and I think it would be really unnecessary, considering their requirement. When they won't be using the real power of the processor, what's the point in getting it?

Even myself, considering am an above average user, have taken a desktop PC with i3 processor, because my needs are simple, and it meets those needs nicely. Even with occasional audio/video conversion that I do, I think i3 is quite enough for my needs, and it will be, for 4-5 years to come, atleast, I suppose.

Maybe an i5 will be good choice, somewhere in the middle, and if their budget permits getting an i5, then I would recommend i5, but i7 would be really overkill IMHO.

Or, maybe, if Intel Haswell chips are released soon, and the prices of the third generation processors drop a lot, then maybe i7 can be considered, only if its coming real cheap.

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Originally Posted by Sope View Post
Sadly, modern hardware doesn't tend to be built with longevity in mind these days so there's no guarantee the laptop you buy now will make it to 10 years of age. So look for good after sales backup reputation and a decent length warranty if possible.
I totally agree with this.
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Old 12. Jun 2013, 10:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I disagree too.
We'll agree to disagree Anupam. After all as you mentioned there are several unknown factors and Dick didn't ask for any hardware advice.
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