Recommendations? New PC

Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
It’s been a while since I have been in the market for a computer. I currently own a Lenovo laptop from 2011...and it has served me well.

I am using Windows 7 and will have to upgrade to Windows 10 next month. I will likely try to upgrade my existing laptop, but I am concerned about components not being compatible.

In any event, I should probably be looking at a new laptop as my existing one must be nearing the end of its expected life.

I am looking for recommendations on specs and perhaps a specific laptop recommendation. I require some decent computing power as I have a D850 and often run HDR and focus stacking. I believe my current laptop has an i7 chip, 32GB RAM and a 500 GB solid state drive. I might not need that amount of RAM in the new laptop.

I am also concerned about migrating my programs and hardware to a new version of Windows on a new computer. I run several old programs and plugins...such as CS5...and I am not sure if I can even access all of the updates since I downloaded the program in 2012...let alone the plugins.

Any ideas would be appreciated!

Thanks,
Glenn
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3
The specs you have are good. What laptop is it and does it have a discreet graphics card?
It's a Lenovo ThinkPad W520.

I'm not sure what a discreet graphics card is, but here are the device adapters:
Capture.JPG
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


Also, a few people are telling me to upgrade my current computer using the old Windows 10 free upgrade option (still up and running), but that I will then need to run a couple of years worth of updates. Wondering if I should try that first. Here's a further explanation of that from CNet from a few days ago:
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/upgrade-to-windows-10-free-heres-how/

When I look at new laptops, not very many have 32GB of RAM...and I am not at all comfortable with working on the computer hardware myself. I am wondering if 16GB is enough to handle what I do...or if I need to limit my search to computers with 32GB...

Thanks,
Glenn
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2006
Messages
6,803
Location
On a Big Island Down Under...
I am also concerned about migrating my programs and hardware to a new version of Windows on a new computer. I run several old programs and plugins...such as CS5...and I am not sure if I can even access all of the updates since I downloaded the program in 2012...let alone the plugins.
Any ideas would be appreciated!
Glenn, what you could do is upgrade your current laptop to Win10, check that all your current programs are working OK, then do a disk image of it. And when you get your new laptop, then restore the image you made from your old laptop onto your new one and all your programs and updates will be there. Just a suggestion… :)
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5
Glenn, what you could do is upgrade your current laptop to Win10, check that all your current programs are working OK, then do a disk image of it. And when you get your new laptop, then restore the image you made from your old laptop onto your new one and all your programs and updates will be there. Just a suggestion… :)
That sounds good. Will a disk image work if I restore a laptop of a different brand? Let’s say I do a disk image for my existing laptop and then restore it on a new Dell?

Thanks, Glenn
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,728
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
That sounds good. Will a disk image work if I restore a laptop of a different brand? Let’s say I do a disk image for my existing laptop and then restore it on a new Dell?

Thanks, Glenn
I don't recommend doing this, especially with a laptop, even of the same brand. A laptop will come configured from the manufacturer with all sorts of drivers. CPU chipset, motherboard, video, audio, power, etc etc. If you do this you will need to download all those from the manufacturer and apply them all yourself. You can easily end up in a mess.
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,728
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
Your laptop is only 8 years old and still has a good spec. I never replace a computer until it is at least 10 years old, although like you I buy well specified machines. 16GB is fine for almost everything. I'm surprised your 2011 machine has 32GB. Are you sure about the specs? Go to Control Panel/System and tell us exactly what it says under Processor and Installed Memory.

I recommend you do as follows.
1. Make a backup disk image before you start. I use Macrium Refect (free version). Put the backup file on an external drive. It will be about half the size of the used space on your current drive (it is compressed). You can use this to get back to where you are now should you need to.
2. Do the Win 10 upgrade to v1909 and keep checking for updates until it is fully up to date. I agree with using the media creation tool as descibed in the link above. However you may still hit license issues. It may work but say it needs a license. If that happens, ask me and I can give you some special Microsoft commands to try. And if you have the original Win 7 holographic label keep it as you may need the number on it for these special methods.
3. Make a new image backup and keep that. Then you can always get back to the upgraded system.
 

Growltiger

Administrator
Administrator
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
12,728
Location
Up in the hills, Gloucestershire, UK
This is a good description of how to use your Win 7 product key to activate Win 10, even though the free upgrade expired. Some time ago Microsoft quietly started allowing all Win 7 and later users to upgrade free again. They want everyone on Win 10 - imagine their savings when they finally drop support for all the earlier versions.
https://www.howtogeek.com/266072/yo...ws-10-for-free-with-a-windows-7-8-or-8.1-key/
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
2,698
Location
London
It's a Lenovo ThinkPad W520.

I'm not sure what a discreet graphics card is, but here are the device adapters:
View attachment 1651912

Also, a few people are telling me to upgrade my current computer using the old Windows 10 free upgrade option (still up and running), but that I will then need to run a couple of years worth of updates. Wondering if I should try that first. Here's a further explanation of that from CNet from a few days ago:
https://www.cnet.com/how-to/upgrade-to-windows-10-free-heres-how/

When I look at new laptops, not very many have 32GB of RAM...and I am not at all comfortable with working on the computer hardware myself. I am wondering if 16GB is enough to handle what I do...or if I need to limit my search to computers with 32GB...

Thanks,
Glenn
These specs are still very good and you might be wasting money buying a new laptop.
The ones I use are from 2009, 2011 and 2014.
They are all on win 10 pro, have SSD, Max ram and new batteries.
I have a mixture of first gen i7, 3rd gen i5, AMD A10 pro, some Lenovo some HP.
When I run a benchmark they all perform with 10 percent of one another.
My work HP z station (2018) scores a 100% increase, but this is more akin to a desktop in a laptop’s case.
And it can cost up to 4x what they list for.
In most cases it makes little difference.
It halves the time to rip a DVD and helps with batch conversion.
But is heavy and very expensive.

your call really, I would not jump into buying a new one before having upgraded to Win 10.
 
Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
228
Location
Albuquerque, NM USA
Real Name
Don Roy
I don't recommend a copy-old-to-new image either. You've got 10 years of debris and updates there. It's a mess inside that you can't see. Since your old one will be there and not dead, it's not tough to cleanly install new versions of things you use. See an app on the old, download and install newest version of it on the new. It's also a great chance to not install the stuff you rarely use, keep the new one cleaner longer. Don't blindly install everything you had.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2008
Messages
3,007
Location
UK
Glenn,

Over the last couple of years there have been problems on Windows 10 Laptops with nVidia cards and Integrated Graphics. These problems remain unresolved and for my part I would try to find a laptop which did NOT have the Integrated (Intel) Graphics.

This is what a BOTTOM of the range laptop should look like. https://www.chillblast.com/chillbla...ml?category_id=508#product-details-tab-tab871

You can tailor the spec to your wishes.

I am not sure if Chillblast have a base in the USA but if they do I recommend them from personal experience.

DG
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14
Your laptop is only 8 years old and still has a good spec. I never replace a computer until it is at least 10 years old, although like you I buy well specified machines. 16GB is fine for almost everything. I'm surprised your 2011 machine has 32GB. Are you sure about the specs? Go to Control Panel/System and tell us exactly what it says under Processor and Installed Memory.

I recommend you do as follows.
1. Make a backup disk image before you start. I use Macrium Refect (free version). Put the backup file on an external drive. It will be about half the size of the used space on your current drive (it is compressed). You can use this to get back to where you are now should you need to.
2. Do the Win 10 upgrade to v1909 and keep checking for updates until it is fully up to date. I agree with using the media creation tool as descibed in the link above. However you may still hit license issues. It may work but say it needs a license. If that happens, ask me and I can give you some special Microsoft commands to try. And if you have the original Win 7 holographic label keep it as you may need the number on it for these special methods.
3. Make a new image backup and keep that. Then you can always get back to the upgraded system.
Thanks Richard!

I am relieved that it makes sense to upgrade my existing laptop. For one thing, it is working great. For another, I don't want the hassle of selecting and purchasing a new laptop on such a short time frame and then dealing with migrating everything over to the new machine.

My laptop does have 32GB of RAM. It came with 16GB, but I upgraded it shortly after I received it. If I recall, I installed that myself. Later, I purchased a 500 GB solid state drive (about 2 years ago) and someone installed that for me. So, my hard drive is only a couple of years old.

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


I did find the Windows 7 license key under the battery. So, at least I have that if it should be necessary during the upgrade process.

I will follow your links to upgrade. However, I will wait until early January as I have too many things to get done on my computer and I can't afford to have any downtime until then with the machine.

I may ask for your help again if I run into issues. I greatly appreciate it! I sometimes hire a computer consultant that I know...but he has been very difficult lately...not very responsive. And, I am running out of time if I want to upgrade before support ends for Windows 7.

Glenn
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
Glenn,

Over the last couple of years there have been problems on Windows 10 Laptops with nVidia cards and Integrated Graphics. These problems remain unresolved and for my part I would try to find a laptop which did NOT have the Integrated (Intel) Graphics.

This is what a BOTTOM of the range laptop should look like. https://www.chillblast.com/chillbla...ml?category_id=508#product-details-tab-tab871

You can tailor the spec to your wishes.

I am not sure if Chillblast have a base in the USA but if they do I recommend them from personal experience.

DG
Thanks Dave...it looks like I do have a nVidia card. I guess I will try to upgrade to Windows 10 and see what happens. Otherwise, I am just trashing this otherwise good laptop. However, if the experience will be better with a new laptop, I am perfectly willing to purchase one. I would rather be able to take my time migrating my software over from the old machine, though. And, I have some software that I will probably lose in the process. For example, how would I be able to use my Photoshop CS5 (working perfectly well for me). I have the original installation disk, but there have been countless updates since 2012. Does Adobe still have those out there for me to access? I have plugins such as the Nik collection...not the current version. That "free" version is no longer out there. And so forth...

Glenn
 
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Messages
2,698
Location
London
Thanks Dave...it looks like I do have a nVidia card. I guess I will try to upgrade to Windows 10 and see what happens. Otherwise, I am just trashing this otherwise good laptop. However, if the experience will be better with a new laptop, I am perfectly willing to purchase one. I would rather be able to take my time migrating my software over from the old machine, though. And, I have some software that I will probably lose in the process. For example, how would I be able to use my Photoshop CS5 (working perfectly well for me). I have the original installation disk, but there have been countless updates since 2012. Does Adobe still have those out there for me to access? I have plugins such as the Nik collection...not the current version. That "free" version is no longer out there. And so forth...

Glenn
Don't worry yet about conflicts between Nvidia and Intel's graphics cards.
My HP ZWorkstation had problems for a year until a firmware upgrade solved it.
What I did to avoid major issues before the firmware was released was disable one or the other in Device Management.
It meant that I could only run 1 external monitor instead of 2 but solved all other issues.
 
Joined
Apr 30, 2005
Messages
3,748
Location
Massachusetts
Real Name
David
Until last month I had a Dell Precision 5520 through work that I liked very much for a few reasons.
  1. Infinity Edge screen - nice bright screen, minimum added size.
  2. Several discrete graphic card options.
  3. And the biggest IMHO - Option for an NVMe AND additional 2.5 drive.
You have to make sure you select the 3-cell 56Wh Lithium Ion battery and not the 6-cell 97 Whr Lithium Ion battery to have room for the second drive. And I would get and add my own 2.5 SSD instead of the 2.5 HDDs they offer (true be told I'd also get the base 256 NVMe and upgrade that for less than they want for the 512 NVMe as well).

There are a few Lenovo option that also can have a second drive as I recall, but I liked the screen on the Dell better.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
Messages
24,397
Location
Orland Park, Illinois
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #19
Until last month I had a Dell Precision 5520 through work that I liked very much for a few reasons.
  1. Infinity Edge screen - nice bright screen, minimum added size.
  2. Several discrete graphic card options.
  3. And the biggest IMHO - Option for an NVMe AND additional 2.5 drive.
You have to make sure you select the 3-cell 56Wh Lithium Ion battery and not the 6-cell 97 Whr Lithium Ion battery to have room for the second drive. And I would get and add my own 2.5 SSD instead of the 2.5 HDDs they offer (true be told I'd also get the base 256 NVMe and upgrade that for less than they want for the 512 NVMe as well).

There are a few Lenovo option that also can have a second drive as I recall, but I liked the screen on the Dell better.
I should point out that I very rarely use the screen on the laptop. 99% of the time (and 100% of the time that I am editing photos), I am using an external monitor. I also don't use the battery very often. It is almost always connected to a power supply. The main reason that I like the laptop over a desktop is that I do a lot of travel and I like to bring my main computer along with me.

Glenn
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2005-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom