Buying a laptop

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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-02-26 23:07

@Fopenp, that's a beast of a system ... nice. Sounds like something OP should definitely consider too. If they have some kind of decent enough credit or reasonable payment plan arrangement that doesn't include extortionate interest rates. Here in the states payday loan and rent to own places can legally charge people more than what mafia loan sharks generally do. Yikes. You buy new and pay it off you have most control of features, spec's and components. Can make sure you don't end up with a problem child hardware component, ie: Broadcom. Plus you should get warranty coverage with it there? Something breaks, they've got to fix it.

Only ever bought one laptop new myself and yep, ironically the hard drive did blow out in less than a year. Had them send me a shipping box with shipping already paid on it, sent it back to them. They had to fix it and send it back to me. They had to cover all shipping costs both ways too. Lol ... at first they actually offered to just send me a new drive and I could install it. Nope that's why I bought w a warranty. You/they got to handle such hassles.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby Hallvor » 2020-02-27 09:27

fopenp wrote:So, for a main machine, I suggest you to reflect on this: it's better saving money today and using a precarious machine for years, or is better accumulating money and buy a modern machine (for 400-500 EUR) which will go fast for a decade?


Computers tend to last longer than their usefulness. I still have a working Commodore 64 from the early 1980s.

I would rather have a high quality second hand computer, not only because it is a high quality piece, but because it is a few years old and almost certain to work with Debian stable.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby fopenp » 2020-02-27 12:34

stevepusser wrote:Do you have that hardware video decoder working in Linux? I know we have it working out of the box for Intel GPUs with va-api on MX Linux, and suspect we also have it working for AMD GPUS, but don't have any hardware to test that, and it's tough to get users to test that for some reason.

Yes, I use the amdgpu driver and I never had any problem with H.264 and HEVC. VDPAU works out of the box in Debian.

I tried to playing Big Buck Bunny at 1080p60 with H.264 and HEVC encoding, using mplayer. VDPAU has been automatically chosen, and the videos are always fluid. Mplayer complains that my system is too slow... it's the opposite! "vdpauinfo" command indicates the following supported profiles: H264_BASELINE, H264_MAIN, H264_HIGH, HEVC_MAIN... and others.

I've installed and upgraded a new MX 19.1 (Patito Feo) AHS x64 and I seen the same results.

P.S.: In MX I had to use a Wi-Fi dongle key because the (staging) "r8822be" module for my Realtek 8822BE Wi-Fi chip has not been compiled into kernel.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby arzgi » 2020-02-27 15:48

Hallvor wrote:Computers tend to last longer than their usefulness. I still have a working Commodore 64 from the early 1980s.


Those times electronics was more coarse, wider conduct lines etc. I had long a Spectravideo SV-328, which back then here was the biggest rival to C64. I kept it till I noticed have not touched it for 5 years, so discarded it.

I have had many mother boards breaking last, err, n years. Add on cards too.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby Hallvor » 2020-02-27 16:11

Yes, by all means, those things were built to last, but I am not suggesting that people should keep their hardware for 40 years. I have not owned hardware before that I didn't want to throw in the garbage bin after maximum 10 years and get something new, even if they worked flawlessly.

I have never had any big problems with hardware failing, except a HDD and a motherboard, but the latter was my own stupid fault. I am sure it would have lasted much longer without my abuse. :lol:
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby stevepusser » 2020-04-15 04:39

Just to get back a bit to HEVC, I built the latest release of Mystiq transcoder for MX 19, and added a preset for MKV h.265 No Resizing High Compression, (copied from their MP4 preset) and it works very well to shrink my h.264 encoded video collection by a considerable percentage size without loss of quality and embedded subtitles. I never could figure out how to do that simply in handbrake, though now of course I know the ffmpeg flags since Mystiq can show that.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby qyron » 2020-04-20 12:30

This thread picked up a life of its own but I thought I should come back, now that I took the risk, and tell how things actually went.

I eventually got one of those machines. It was a slightly better model, with an Intel N3550 CPU, 3GB of RAM, 500GB HDD and the same 32GB eMMC. I got it for less than €200, with two years warranty, brand new. It also has a SD card reader, which was a surprise, as it wasn't listed on the product page.

Debian 10 installed like a breeze in it (I opted to load the system to the main hard drive), even alerting me that the wifi card required a given package to be installed (I let the installer work it magic and then installed manually the package from the non-free branch), the machine works fine, it's very responsive abd does the job. The only thing I haven't been able to get configured was the function keys; I'll eventually try to get that working too.

I may eventually get one of the cheaper models (under €150), with only the 32GB eMMC to try to find out how can I fit a fully functional linux in there.

Is it the best laptop I ever used? Not by a long shot. I haven't installed that many laptops over the years but my first laptop (an MSI MegaBook, with an AMD platform) was comparatively much more painful to install and getting wireless to work was close to impossible, with the hardware constantly halting or complaining no drivers were available. If this little machine was AMD based, I'd be a lot happier camper but as it is, it was not a bad deal.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby Eva Smith » 2020-05-27 14:47

Was useful to read, I'm planning to buy new laptop too. I'm thinking of MacbookPro 2019 I have found short term loan service here where I can borrow some cash for this purchase. They give loans for everyone even people with bad credit score. That's convy.
Last edited by Eva Smith on 2020-05-29 07:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buying a laptop

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-05-27 16:17

Eva Smith wrote:I'm thinking of MacbookPro 2019

No. Just no. If you want a quality laptop then buy a ThinkPad, Lenovo offer Ryzen versions now and the new 4000 series is out next week. I'm buying one :)
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