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Budget laptop


Bryan
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We have an aged Panasonic laptop that is used as a TV in our caravan, and for word processing, email  and catch up TV by my wife. I very occasionally process a photo or two, but that is not its primary purpose (indeed now that I have been kicked out of Live News, probably irrelevant). The Panasonic does everything that we require, but it is becoming unreliable, shutting down when it gets tired/hot or if the mains supply is temporarily disconnected, probably due to a dodgy connection and a defunct replacement battery. We paid around £400 for this thing new, and I had hoped that prices had fallen as technology moves on, but it appears that there has been considerable laptop price inflation and that we will be unable to find anything suitable for less than an eye wateringly large amount of cash, I.e. more than £1000!

 

We don't need bells and whistles, just a decent large screen and keyboard and enough processing power for fairly low level tasks. Any suggestions?

 

 

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I have, on more than one occasion, bought a laptop for the kind of work you describe, from a company in Bolton who specialise in buying and refurbishing corporate cast-offs and redundant stock. Typically we might pay a couple of hundred quid for a laptop two or three years old with a 90 day warranty. I'm pretty sure you will be able to find something similar in your area - f you can find one locally it enables you to return it more easily if it does go wrong. I've been happy with the various brand I have bought in this way over the years (mostly for my daughter at university in Newcastle, who gave them a suitably harsh student environment to live in).

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5 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

I have, on more than one occasion, bought a laptop for the kind of work you describe, from a company in Bolton who specialise in buying and refurbishing corporate cast-offs and redundant stock. Typically we might pay a couple of hundred quid for a laptop two or three years old with a 90 day warranty. I'm pretty sure you will be able to find something similar in your area - f you can find one locally it enables you to return it more easily if it does go wrong. I've been happy with the various brand I have bought in this way over the years (mostly for my daughter at university in Newcastle, who gave them a suitably harsh student environment to live in).

 

Thanks Joseph, that's not a bad idea!

 

We've already had our old machine looked at by a local repair person and he did bring it back to life, but it's still not functioning properly.

 

Further to my query, I have since found that there are cheaper laptops available at around the £400 mark, and they would probably fit the bill. I guess that when you do a search they try to push you towards the more expensive options, or that just could be me being cynical.

 

Given that I have nothing to lose I might try to open the old machine up and give it a good clean, that occasionally brings electronic kit back to health.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Bryan said:

 

Thanks Joseph, that's not a bad idea!

 

We've already had our old machine looked at by a local repair person and he did bring it back to life, but it's still not functioning properly.

 

Further to my query, I have since found that there are cheaper laptops available at around the £400 mark, and they would probably fit the bill. I guess that when you do a search they try to push you towards the more expensive options, or that just could be me being cynical.

 

Given that I have nothing to lose I might try to open the old machine up and give it a good clean, that occasionally brings electronic kit back to health.

 

 

 

Always worth opening up the casing and having a firtle round when you get to the point you have nothing to lose. Laptops are awkward in this respect though so search You Tube as you may find a  video of someone doing a step by step disassembly video of your specific model.  If the laptop is geting hot I'd have a look to see if vents and/or fan are clogged with dust, which may reduce the cooling. If the fan had failed altogether the CPU would probably be fried in a matter of minutes.  The low voltage power connection to the mainboard is a weak point in many devices, but if you have had it to the repair shop I would have expected him/her to have identified this problem (or indeed a clogged fan!). Best of luck anyway, attempting a repair is always educational, maybe even fruitful, if you have  time on your hands and a degree of mechanical aptitude (and at my age, a decent pair of glasses so I can see the tiny screws).

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HI Bryan .. quite a few companies do refurb laptops - a google search will bring them up - with a 1 year warranty. Here's an example :-

 

Refurbished HP Elitebook 840 G2 Ultrabook Core i5 5300U 8GB 256GB 14 Inch Windows 10 Professional Laptop with 1 Year Warranty  £350

 

regards Simon

 

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Thanks for the further responses. To bring you up to date, thinking about buying refurbished led me to contact a local computer repair person, liked what he had to say, and put it with him. Visited the other day to find the laptop completely stripped down and cleaned and him ordering a replacement on-board socket  for the power supply. Hopefully this will see us get a few more years from the machine.....

 

Possibly general knowledge but news to me - he told me to remove the battery if regularly using the laptop with a mains supply as otherwise the battery will rapidly become defunct. - it did.  Apparently it needs a discharge - recharge cycle to remain healthy. 

 

Oh, and it's a Toshiba, not a Panasonic (doh!), our TV is a Panasonic.

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Hi Bryan,

Am assuming you have done all the usual housekeeping stuff on your laptop? Clean-up hard disk space, defrag hard disk, Windows updates, anti-virus updates, deleted temporary internet cache files/systems junk, etc? What version of Windows are you using? Also, check that the version of Lightroom/Photoshop will be compatible with the new Operating System on the new PC. Apologies, if I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs!

We miss your invaluable contributions! Hope all is well. :-)

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1 hour ago, Jansos said:

Hi Bryan,

Am assuming you have done all the usual housekeeping stuff on your laptop? Clean-up hard disk space, defrag hard disk, Windows updates, anti-virus updates, deleted temporary internet cache files/systems junk, etc? What version of Windows are you using? Also, check that the version of Lightroom/Photoshop will be compatible with the new Operating System on the new PC. Apologies, if I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs!

We miss your invaluable contributions! Hope all is well. :-)

Cheers John. All is satisfactory thanks!

 

I'm pretty sure it's a combination of two hardware faults that cause it to shut down.

 

One, it gets too hot probably due to dirt in the cooling channels, and maybe a breakdown of the thermal paste between processor and heat sink. Two, the battery is flat and won't take charge, while there is a connection fault in the power supply socket. If you waggle the lead it loses the connection and the computer shuts down. 

 

Re software etc, the primary user is my wife and she mainly uses Word and Gmail. It's hardly ever used for processing photos. We get regular updates and I occasionally purge it of irrelevant stuff and scan with Malwarebytes or similar.

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