Saturday, June 5, 2010

New Laptop Advice Sought---Windows 7? 64 or 32 bit? XP Mode Necessary?

My current laptop is on life support.  I had to buy a docking station because the port to plug in the power cord to is shot.  Which required a base to put on my lap for balance.  The battery life is exactly 16 seconds.  It runs so hot the fans sound like jet engines.  My replacement HD is only 80 gig.  It's a 2004 laptop.  Bottom line, time for a new laptop.

I'm looking at some on, which seems to have the best bang for the buck.  I'll never go with HP/Compaq, and Dells are overpriced.  Alas, I can't afford a good mac. Price range is like 700-900 bucks. 

I'm definitely going to get the I3 or I5 Pentium, with at least 4 gig RAM, and at least a 320 gig HD.  The real problem I'm facing coes down to the software/OS side.  I still run XP, so I'd be jumping the whole era of Vista, which from what I've heard is not such a bad thing.  Windows 7 seems to have a lot more fans. 

Now the question I have is to go 64 or 32 bit.  I hear some basic 32 bit apps don't run on Win7.  Even Firefox seems to have had issues.  My protection right now is Avira, Zonealarm, and Spybot, along with Ad-Aware, all the free versions. Will I have problems with those?

Next, the other programs I commonly use---Pidgin as a universal chat interface, Shareaza, Bit Tyrant for torrents, Thunderbird, Firefox, MS Word 2007, older version of WordPerfect.  I'm hoping those all have editions which will run on 64 bit, or even under Win7 in general.

Then there's the list of programs I have that I use once in a while, but are handy utility programs nonetheless.  Things like programs to convert .lit formatted files to .pdf. 

I guess overall my question is, is Win7 worth it?   Should I stick with XP?  How much am I giving up? 

Then, the question of XP mode which comes on more expensive versions of Win7.  In other words, versions which don't come pre-loaded on the pc.  I've sort of resigned myself to the fact that I'm going to buy the full OS anyhow, because I loathe how they don't give original CD's anymore with the pc.  Dell was the last holdout which used to do that, but since they stopped that practice, I'm not buying from them. Not worth the price.  Plus I don't want to have to a reinstall with all the bloatware.  There's about a $100 difference between Win7 Home and Win7 Pro, which has XP mode.  Is it worth the 100 bucks?

The hardware side of things seems to be the least of my worries, ironically.  Hardware specs, chipsets, etc, are pretty straightforward.  The software side seems to be driving the price up.  What are your experiences with newer laptops running Win7 with the latest Pentiums? 

Any advice is greatly appreciated. 


  1. Oh, here's a compatibility checker for software on Win7:

  2. Thanks man! One thing--how about Win7 with the new Pentiums? the I3, I5, and I7? Do you lose anything going 32 bit other than the ability to go beyond 4 gig on RAM?

  3. I understand that this is no help for you at all, but my advice is to buy a mac book. It is expensive, but it runs like a dream.

  4. I have a macbook and a win 7 pc, vista laptop and an xp netbook.. If you are migrating from a pc, stick with a pc. I love my mac, but I can work on a pc in my sleep

    Windows 7 has made me forget all about Vista (I still have nightmares about Win ME tho'...)

    I run my Win 7 Home at 32 bit, my son runs his at 64. Neither of us have had compatibility problems thus far.

  5. Windows 7 is pretty nice compare to the past - the learning curve migrating from XP is small. I did have massive problems trying to take my hardware with me - some of my cards weren't compatible.

    as for the 64/32 thing... I'm a power user in terms of Photoshop and other graphics apps, and appreciate the improved performance. If I was not, I can't imagine why I would care - those are the only apps I run that take advantage of it.

    I've not had a single issue in terms of software compatibility.

  6. Thanks for all the good advice guys. Looks like I'll be going the 64 bit route, and I have far less concerns about compatibility than I did when I postd this. :)

  7. Not that it exactly match your wishlist, but I have a Lenovo laptop with Linux, with software that can do IM, WordPerfect and Word access, torrenting and dozens more everyday tasks. Couldn't be more happy. :)

  8. So this is what I ended up going with yesterday:

    Now I'm fucking broke...but happy! Or, will be as soon as it comes in the mail. :)


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