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First post, by Kerr Avon

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A friend of mine is looking for a laptop to replace her old desktop, and she's asked me to recommend one, preferably one she can purchase locally (we are in England), so probably from:

https://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/index.html

https://www.argos.co.uk/

The operating system probably doesn't matter, as all she wants it for is web surfing, internet browsing, and at most, playing Facebook games. I've not played any Facebook games (I can't stand Facebook, it baffles me why people use it) but I'd imagine that they're all browser based and so don't use the host computer's 3D ability? If so, then that should knock something off the cost, as the laptop won't need a good GFX card, I imagine.

She wants a large screen, and for the laptop to last for years (would 8GB be enough for what she wants for the next decade or part of a decade, or is 12GB or 16GB more desirable?), an SSD drive probably isn't necessary I'd have thought.

She doesn't think she'll want to install any new software (though I'd put Avast! and Malwarebytes on it if it has Windows as it's OS), and if it's not Windows then that's probably OK, as long as it allows full web browsing and maybe basic word-processing, which I'd imagine is standard with all OSes now. And unlike most people, when she says she won't be gaming on it, that does mean that it doesn't need to run commercial games, as she lives on her own and so no one in the house is going to want to play anything demanding on it, and she just plays Facebook games.

Cost is an issue (she's retired, and if you know England then you know that a pension isn't much nowadays), so nothing too expensive, and the screen should be large. And even though she'd prefer to buy local, I might be able to convince her to buy online, so any online purchases might be worth looking into too.

Any advice or help would be much appreciated, thanks.

Reply 1 of 8, by gdjacobs

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Is a laptop necessary or would a compact desktop do? SFF/USFF desktops are very compact when tucked behind or mounted to the back of an LCD screen.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 2 of 8, by Kerr Avon

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gdjacobs wrote:

Is a laptop necessary or would a compact desktop do? SFF/USFF desktops are very compact when tucked behind or mounted to the back of an LCD screen.

Well, she doesn't go out much,and didn't say if she'd want to take it out with her ever, but she did say she wanted a laptop rather than a desktop, so I'm guessing even a small desktop/small form factor PC wouldn't be what she's after.

Reply 3 of 8, by SW-SSG

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Since she only wants it for web browsing, I'd recommend a Chromebook as a relatively low-maintenance option, something like this 15.6" Acer. The main issue with a Chromebook is her wanting a "laptop" with "large screen", as that Acer is seemingly the only Chromebook available in 15" (the majority seem to be 14" and down). 4GB of RAM, though, should be enough for a few years yet given that Chrome OS ought to be significantly lower-profile than Win10 ever could be.

Otherwise, sans the requirement for a laptop, I would certainly go with an Intel NUC or Gigabyte Brix attached to the back of a ~20" monitor, as already mentioned.

Reply 4 of 8, by gdjacobs

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Kerr Avon wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:

Is a laptop necessary or would a compact desktop do? SFF/USFF desktops are very compact when tucked behind or mounted to the back of an LCD screen.

Well, she doesn't go out much,and didn't say if she'd want to take it out with her ever, but she did say she wanted a laptop rather than a desktop, so I'm guessing even a small desktop/small form factor PC wouldn't be what she's after.

I'd check on this as it can mean quite a difference in cost/performance ratio.

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 5 of 8, by keenmaster486

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Get a Dell business-class laptop (they overprice the consumer-marketed models) with:

SSD (a small cheap one, like 128 GB - since minimal local storage needed)
Recent Intel i5 (i7 if can afford)
8 GB memory, 16 GB if can afford
And some Linux distro, maybe Ubuntu or Mint, or even better, Elementary OS! With Google Chrome installed. No need to bother with Windows if everything is being done on the browser! The SSD will make any loading operations very fast, and grease the wheels of the browser big time.

A Linux distro tasked only with running a browser will probably run on this setup for a decade or more. Pretty future-proof for the stated requirements.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.
World's foremost 486 enjoyer.

Reply 6 of 8, by xjas

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SW-SSG wrote:

[...] 4GB of RAM, though, should be enough for a few years yet given that Chrome OS ought to be significantly lower-profile than Win10 ever could be.

At this point, the browser is by far the biggest memory hog most people are going to run; the OS almost doesn't even matter anymore. According to my process manager, right now Vivaldi is using ~750MB with ONE Facebook & one Gmail tab (basic HTML view) open, and Opera is using 500ish MB in 150 threads(!) with three Youtube & two Vogons tabs open. I have 16GB in this PC though.

That said, I still have a couple 2GB machines I might pop open a browser for some light use on, and they do allright, but I wouldn't want to load Facebook or Youtube or multiple tabs of anything modern on them.

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Reply 7 of 8, by nforce4max

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My advice is to get picky but if you want easy choices then go for either a second hand Thinkpad or a Dell Precision on the cheap and do some basic upgrades as they are easy to maintain machines with good availability of replacement parts. Modern laptops are pretty crappy in the long run if not babied like a 1950s Ferrari as they break easy and are made like crap.

On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.

Reply 8 of 8, by oeuvre

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^^^ Get a second hand Dell Latitude 14", or a used ThinkPad T450 or newer... or HP EliteBook 840 G2 or newer.

Buy the RAM + SSD yourself, upgrade them. SSD is a MUST in 2019. I'd rather have SSD with 8GB RAM than HD with 16GB.

HP Z420 Workstation Intel Xeon E5-1620, 32GB, RADEON HD7850 2GB, SSD + HD, XP/7
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