Using laptop as a desktop replacement--good idea?


R

RayLopez99

Power user, willing to spend around $2000, but seriously can you use a
laptop as a desktop replacement? Last I looked into this issue, about
10 years ago, the answer was no, because of excessive heat concerns.
At that time I had (and am still using!) a Dell Inspiron series
Pentium II laptop (that is heavy but gets the job done--I still use
it, as it has a 56k modem in it).

I might be setting up another office (my third!) and I'm thinking,
because the room itself is very small, that a laptop could be used as
a desktop replacment, but maybe it's better if I spend $500 and get
one of those entry level desktops.

So the more general question is:

what gives you more bang for the buck: a $500 desktop or a $2000
laptop for heavy duty use? The latter will outperform the former, but
only on performance indexes, but long term the former is more easy to
service and is (I guess) 70% of the power of the latter, which for me
is good enough. Right now BTW I am writing software via Visual Studio
using XP Prof on a Pentium IV! Slow, but it gets the job done.

RL
 
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J

John Doe

RayLopez99 said:
Power user, willing to spend around $2000, but seriously can you
use a laptop as a desktop replacement? Last I looked into this
issue, about 10 years ago, the answer was no, because of
excessive heat concerns.

A laptop is not a home built computer. The answer is clearly No
here because my homebuilt PC is perpetually home built. There is
no comparison when talking about upgrades. You can find a wide
range of components for desktop for much less money.
--
 
T

TVeblen

Power user, willing to spend around $2000, but seriously can you use a
laptop as a desktop replacement? Last I looked into this issue, about
10 years ago, the answer was no, because of excessive heat concerns.
At that time I had (and am still using!) a Dell Inspiron series
Pentium II laptop (that is heavy but gets the job done--I still use
it, as it has a 56k modem in it).

I might be setting up another office (my third!) and I'm thinking,
because the room itself is very small, that a laptop could be used as
a desktop replacment, but maybe it's better if I spend $500 and get
one of those entry level desktops.

So the more general question is:

what gives you more bang for the buck: a $500 desktop or a $2000
laptop for heavy duty use? The latter will outperform the former, but
only on performance indexes, but long term the former is more easy to
service and is (I guess) 70% of the power of the latter, which for me
is good enough. Right now BTW I am writing software via Visual Studio
using XP Prof on a Pentium IV! Slow, but it gets the job done.

RL

For office applications and normal business/recreational computing a
laptop is the the better choice, particularly if you don't spend any
time "under the hood". It combines functionality with portability. And
if you connect a real monitor you won't be missing anything.

Where the desktop still rules is in graphics intensive programs where
large or multiple video cards are needed, gaming where big graphics and
cooling are key, and "extended use" machines that require additional
peripherals and cards, multiple hard drives, etc.

You figure out what the job is you need to do and pick the right tool to
do it.
 
A

Al Dykes

Power user, willing to spend around $2000, but seriously can you use a
laptop as a desktop replacement? Last I looked into this issue, about
10 years ago, the answer was no, because of excessive heat concerns.
At that time I had (and am still using!) a Dell Inspiron series
Pentium II laptop (that is heavy but gets the job done--I still use
it, as it has a 56k modem in it).



Of course you can. Get a docking station (not expensive and cheap on
eBay) Hoook a real kbd, mouse and monitor on it. Set the laptop up so
it's screen is blank when it's in the dock.

Advantages;

The laptop will last longer. Items like the hinge and the screen
backlight will not get as much abuse.

It will run cooler becuase the power supply doesn't have to light the
screen.

You can leave the little power fob in the bag and won't forget it. If
yu leave it somewhere, the dock gives you a spare.
 
R

RayLopez99

Thanks. Very interesting. I did not know a laptop could be so
powerful. I like the fingerprint option too--with so many machines
you start forgetting the passwords on each of them.

HP is a good company, I was looking at their stuff and now in some
areas they are cheaper than DELL (at the high end).

Also do you think I should go for 64 bit Vista? From the net: "32bit
operating systems can access a total of 2^32 (2 because machine code
is .... 32 bit will only recognize up to 3.5 GB of RAM.... 64 bit
will do 24 GB+! "

RL
 
R

RayLopez99

A laptop is not a home built computer. The answer is clearly No
here because my homebuilt PC is perpetually home built. There is
no comparison when talking about upgrades. You can find a wide
range of components for desktop for much less money.

That's what I thought...but I dunno. What do you think is the price
multiple, is a laptop 2x as costly as the same power desktop? Aside
from the obvious service issues (and I've built many a desktop from
scratch).

Also: 64 bit or 32 bit Vista/ 7?

RL
 
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R

RayLopez99

Of course you can. Get a docking station (not expensive and cheap on
eBay) Hoook a real kbd, mouse and monitor on it.  Set the laptop up so
it's screen is blank when it's in the dock.

Advantages;

The laptop will last longer.  Items like the hinge and the screen
backlight will not get as much abuse.  

It will run cooler becuase the power supply doesn't have to light the
screen.

You can leave the little power fob in the bag and won't forget it.  If
yu leave it somewhere, the dock gives you a spare.


Aha....so you are of the 'traditional' or 'classic' old school of
thought that says (and I'm the same way) that laptops, since they use
different chips in tighter spaces, run hotter (and probably slower)
than desktops?

Also: 64 bit OS or 32 bit OS--which do I pick? I'm leaning towards
64 bit, since in theory it should run all 32 bit programs as well,
plus you can expand the RAM to beyond the 4GB limit.

RL
 
A

Al Dykes

Aha....so you are of the 'traditional' or 'classic' old school of
thought that says (and I'm the same way) that laptops, since they use
different chips in tighter spaces, run hotter (and probably slower)
than desktops?

"run hotter" is too vague. Try touching the heatsink on a desktop
system. Yes. Cooler is better.
Also: 64 bit OS or 32 bit OS--which do I pick? I'm leaning towards
64 bit, since in theory it should run all 32 bit programs as well,
plus you can expand the RAM to beyond the 4GB limit.

RL


64bit seems ready for prime-time and if you run lots of stuff at once,
physical memory in excess of 4GB can speed things up, but as a
generalization, any specific application can't use >4GB unless it's
compiled for 64 bits.
 
B

bobmct

Power user, willing to spend around $2000, but seriously can you use a
laptop as a desktop replacement? Last I looked into this issue, about
10 years ago, the answer was no, because of excessive heat concerns.
At that time I had (and am still using!) a Dell Inspiron series
Pentium II laptop (that is heavy but gets the job done--I still use
it, as it has a 56k modem in it).

I might be setting up another office (my third!) and I'm thinking,
because the room itself is very small, that a laptop could be used as
a desktop replacment, but maybe it's better if I spend $500 and get
one of those entry level desktops.

So the more general question is:

what gives you more bang for the buck: a $500 desktop or a $2000
laptop for heavy duty use? The latter will outperform the former, but
only on performance indexes, but long term the former is more easy to
service and is (I guess) 70% of the power of the latter, which for me
is good enough. Right now BTW I am writing software via Visual Studio
using XP Prof on a Pentium IV! Slow, but it gets the job done.

RL

My 2 cents...

Having been a developer both in the office and on the road I thought
I could suffice with a powerful laptop. What I found is that the
configuration for the road is quite different that at the office. Even
though I try to keep my applications in sync.

I finally, very recently, purchased a new HP Pavilion Slimline desktop
for $439. The config is AMD Athlon II X2 240 dual-core 3.0GHz, 4GB
DDR3 RAM, a 640GB HDD and Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit INSTALLED.

This is one FAST machine. I even loaded VirtualBox into it and then
installed Ubuntu 10.04 Linux.

I do have an external NAS to share data but what I found very
convenient was a small 2.5" external USB drive (80GB) that I regularly
plug between my laptop and my desktop.

So, for <$500 you can get one really really good desktop and spend a
few hundred for a big, wide LCD monitor.

Good luck. B
 
R

RayLopez99

Having been a developer  both in the office and on the road I thought
I could suffice with a powerful laptop.  What I found is that the
configuration for the road is quite different that at the office. Even
though I try to keep my applications in sync.

I finally, very recently, purchased a new HP Pavilion Slimline desktop
for $439.  The config is AMD Athlon II X2 240 dual-core 3.0GHz, 4GB
DDR3 RAM, a 640GB HDD and Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit INSTALLED.

This is one FAST machine.  I even loaded VirtualBox into it and then
installed Ubuntu 10.04 Linux.

I do have an external NAS to share data but what I found very
convenient was a small 2.5" external USB drive (80GB) that I regularly
plug between my laptop and my desktop.

So, for <$500 you can get one really really good desktop and spend a
few hundred for a big, wide LCD monitor.

Thanks, that's interesting. I might go this route. I use Visual
Studio so I would not be using Ubuntu, though you also seem to be
saying that you dual boot, which is impressive. I'll check out the
AMD Athlon II at tom's hardware site.

RL
 
B

bobmct

Thanks, that's interesting. I might go this route. I use Visual
Studio so I would not be using Ubuntu, though you also seem to be
saying that you dual boot, which is impressive. I'll check out the
AMD Athlon II at tom's hardware site.

RL

RL,

While my laptop is dual boot (Kubuntu and Windows XP SP3) my new
desktop is NOT dual boot. I can run Windows 7 AND Linux
simultaneously using VirtualBox. In fact, there is a mode that
combines the desktop icons and task bars on the same screen
intermixed. You don't have to switch between the two. Just click the
apropriate program icon and it works. Allows me to use my favorite
Linux apps without leaving Windows.

As far as AMD, I have been a advocate of AMD for a couple of decades.
The last zillion machines I've purchase (and installed) have all been
AMD. I find them very fast for the buck.

Here is the model I purchases:
HP Pavilion Slimline S5310F Desktop PC (Black)

Good luck and let us know what you ultimately end up with.
 
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R

RayLopez99

RL,

While my laptop is dual boot (Kubuntu and Windows XP SP3) my new
desktop is NOT dual boot.  I can run Windows 7 AND Linux
simultaneously using VirtualBox.  In fact, there is a mode that
combines the desktop icons and task bars on the same screen
intermixed.  You don't have to switch between the two.  Just click the
apropriate program icon and it works.  Allows me to use my favorite
Linux apps without leaving Windows.

As far as AMD, I have been a advocate of AMD for a couple of decades.
The last zillion machines I've purchase (and installed) have all been
AMD.  I find them very fast for the buck.

Here is the model I purchases:
HP Pavilion Slimline S5310F Desktop PC (Black)

Good luck and let us know what you ultimately end up with.


Thanks. You make Virtual Box sound so easy, I'm tempted to try it,
Bobmct. Unfortunately the regulars that hang out at COLA (I'm cross
posting this message there) are so dishonest about Linux and so
negative, I don't know who to believe. If it's as easy as you say it
is, I'm tempted to give Linux one more shot (so far two times before
I've not been satisfied).

If Virtual Box is free for Linux, that would be another factor, though
I'd pay a reasonable amount for it if I had assurances it was as easy
as you make it sound.

Ray
 
R

RayLopez99

If Virtual Box is free for Linux, that would be another factor, though
I'd pay a reasonable amount for it if I had assurances it was as easy
as you make it sound.


I sure hope Virtual Box is not like Samba...an excerpt below.

Can anybody out there compare VB to Samba? Is it easier?

RL

HOWTO: Setup Samba peer-to-peer with Windows

As many fellow Ubuntu users seem to have trouble setting up samba peer-
to-peer with Windows I decided to write a small howto on this matter.

NOTE: I am aware that there's a wiki-page as well as several other
howto's around - but by looking at the constant "how do I setup samba"
posts that are floating around in the forum I simply see the need for
a more thourough guide on this matter.

Feel free to contribute and suggest - it'll only help to make this
howto a better guide.

The goal of this howto is to have samba act like a Windows Workstation
in the LAN. As a "value added bonus" we will use samba to do netbios
name resolution so that you can use the names of the workstations for
network drive mapping instead of their ip-addresses (i.e.:
\MY_WINDOWS_BOX\SHARE) - but only for as long as your Linux box has an
static ip-address and is up and running.
 
B

bobmct

I sure hope Virtual Box is not like Samba...an excerpt below.

Can anybody out there compare VB to Samba? Is it easier?

RL

HOWTO: Setup Samba peer-to-peer with Windows

As many fellow Ubuntu users seem to have trouble setting up samba peer-
to-peer with Windows I decided to write a small howto on this matter.

NOTE: I am aware that there's a wiki-page as well as several other
howto's around - but by looking at the constant "how do I setup samba"
posts that are floating around in the forum I simply see the need for
a more thourough guide on this matter.

Feel free to contribute and suggest - it'll only help to make this
howto a better guide.

The goal of this howto is to have samba act like a Windows Workstation
in the LAN. As a "value added bonus" we will use samba to do netbios
name resolution so that you can use the names of the workstations for
network drive mapping instead of their ip-addresses (i.e.:
\MY_WINDOWS_BOX\SHARE) - but only for as long as your Linux box has an
static ip-address and is up and running.

RL - I've also been using Samba for 20 years. It works as well as its
set up and quite reliably. But its not magic and it takes a
reasonable amount of understanding to get it right.

Back to the VirtualBox issue - I have and do run VirtualBox on other
machines just to be able to load Windows XP there. However, on this
NEW machine, my first thought was to do the same. But when I accessed
VirtualBox.org I saw that they had a binary for installion directly on
Windows 7. I downloaded then clicked on it and it literally installed
itself.

Next, started virtual box directly from the Windows 7 desktop and
click on New (new virtual machine). It asked what OS was going to be
the guest, I selected ubuntu, then pointed it to an ISO file of the
latest Ubuntu Beta 10.04 and in a couple of minutes I had a fully
functional unbuntu installation.

The really was one of the easiest installs and setups I've done ever.
And I've done literally hundreds! And VirtualBox and Unbuntu were
absolutely ZERO cost.

When I was attempting to copy my data (folders) from my old XP desktop
to the new 7 one I was running into permission problems which turned
out to be a registry entry on the old XP. however, I installed an FTP
server on the old machine and used an FTP client to transport entire
directory trees, old to new.

This has bee a fun experience. That's why I'm so enthusiastic about
it. Its the FIRST Windows version that I ever really liked.

bobmct
 
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R

RayLopez99

RL - I've also been using Samba for 20 years.  It works as well as its
set up and quite reliably.  But its not magic and it takes a
reasonable amount of understanding to get it right.  

OK, so you would be qualified to speak about Samba.
Back to the VirtualBox issue - I have and do run VirtualBox on other
machines just to be able to load Windows XP there.  However, on this
NEW machine, my first thought was to do the same.  But when I accessed
VirtualBox.org I saw that they had a binary for installion directly on
Windows 7.  I downloaded then clicked on it and it literally installed
itself.


Next, started virtual box directly from the Windows 7 desktop and
click on New (new virtual machine).  It asked what OS was going to be
the guest, I selected ubuntu, then pointed it to an ISO file of the
latest Ubuntu Beta 10.04 and in a couple of minutes I had a fully
functional unbuntu installation.

The really was one of the easiest  installs and setups I've done ever.
And I've done literally hundreds!   And VirtualBox and Unbuntu were
absolutely ZERO cost.

When I was attempting to copy my data (folders) from my old XP desktop
to the new 7 one I was running into permission problems which turned
out to be a registry entry on the old XP.  however, I installed an FTP
server on the old machine and used an FTP client to transport entire
directory trees, old to new.  

This has bee a fun experience.  That's why I'm so enthusiastic about
it.  Its the FIRST Windows version that I ever really liked.

bobmct

Wow! I'll save this message. To be honest though, it sounds too good
to be true. And if it sounds too good to be true...but still, I'll
archive this one.

Thanks,

Ray
 

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