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So I Need A Computer

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by icoverbucks, Sep 9, 2011.

  1. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    I am an independent contractor (according to my contract) and that means I have to supply my own computer, it seems. I have been using a company-issued Dell Latitude E 6400 with Vista. I like it well enough. But the display is starting to fritz out from time to time (I assume it's going to go bad over a period of time).

    Part of my job entails editing photos for web use. The rest is writing, editing, Tweeting, etc.

    Just curious if anybody has good suggestions on what computer I should look for. I don't want to spend more than $500-700. I was at Wal-Mart and it looks like you can get one with a 500 GB hard drive in that price range.

    I don't want a tiny one. I figure that would be too hard to edit pics on. And I don't want a gigantic one either because I am constantly on the move from home to office to games to so on.

    Any help appreciated from anybody who can give me any kind of meaningful suggestions!!!
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    To me, the biggest issue isn't the laptop so much as what software that comes with it.

    If you have to pony up $200 more to get what you need, it's not such a bargain.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Memory and speed is more important than hard drive space (although that's important too), especially if you're going to be using photo editing software.

    The lower price ones may not have the speed to be able to do that. I would guess you would want 6-8 GB of RAM, along with a dual-core processor, at the minimum.
  4. icoverbucks

    icoverbucks Member

    Thanks!! Is any manufacturer (Dell, Toshiba, IBM Think Pad, HP) any better than any other. I'm on this thing about 12 hours a day. I need something that is durable and performs.
  5. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Get a Macbook. They cost more, but they last. I've bought HP and Dells that have crapped out a few months after the warranty expired. My Macbook has lasted almost five years.

    Plus, word processing software (Pages) is ridiculously cheap through Apple's App Store at $19.99.
  6. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Do you have the photo editing software? If so you can get a very nice PC laptop for 500-700. If not you are looking at getting a 400-500 laptop and then buying the software for 150.

    In terms of what you need, unlike previously stated you DO NOT need 6-8 GB RAM. If you are building pages in InDesign or Quark, editing photos and doing a little video work from time to time then yes you need that much. Outside of doing all of that you need a 4 GB computer if you want it to work quickly. That is putting you in the 450-500 range.

    You also want to have at least 2.4 GHz and a dual core processor. 5400 RPM is enough but if you can find a laptop that is 7200 RPM you would be much better off.

    if you have 700 to spend on just the laptop then you can get all of that. If you need to buy the software you can get the 4 GB and 2.4 GHz but likely not the 7200 RPM.

    As for the brand of PC laptop, do not get a Lenovo. Their laptops are not very user friendly and are really only great for accountants. They are widely disliked in the computer sales industry. My brother is an accountant and even he hates them. Dell, HP would be the preferable ones but Toshiba is fine too.

    And for the record I majored in telecommunications and worked as a technology sales associate right out of college. I also just wrote a column criticizing the school district for paying a ridiculous amount for its laptops so all this is fresh on my mind.
  7. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    Do you mean the secretary doesn't need to have a $2,000 laptop to type Word docs from home? For the record, I did a similar story about a college's laptop purchases. I requested info on all laptops purchased for the past two years and what department or individual received the laptop. The university president's executive assistant had a $2,500 laptop for "Powerpoints", in his words.
  8. Cubbiebum

    Cubbiebum Member

    Haha, this was for an elementary school. They spent nearly $37,000 on 30 laptops and they put it out to bid. State law requires any purchase of more than $25,000 to be put out to bid and they told me they just knew it would cost more than that. I got the bid specs and the winning bid. Did my research and got it all for $19,000. Again, these are laptops for elementary school kids.
  9. Stitch

    Stitch Active Member

    You should keep your eye out for bids so you can make one. Probably make a nice chunk of cash.
  10. Smash Williams

    Smash Williams Well-Known Member

    Don't get a Macbook if you're on a budget. They cost much more for less processing power and, in my experience, are no more reliable than a well-treated PC. My current work Macbook is a piece of trash - it's on it's second body because the LCD screen on the first one went dead, it's been through four batteries (because Mac batteries apparently have a problem with overheating and swelling to the point of near bursting) and is slower than Shaq trying to get down the court.

    Because budget seems to be an issue for you, Mac's aren't going to be the answer.
  11. flexmaster33

    flexmaster33 Well-Known Member

    If your work is expecting you to do the Photo work it can't hurt to ask if they'll at least cover the necessary software to do the job.
  12. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    i think you can deduct the cost of your computer on your taxes since it will be a work-related expense. somebody correct me if I'm wrong about that.
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