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Slow Laptops


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#1 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 10:18 PM

There are two neighborhood ladies I help out with IT problems - you already know about Lillian. The other one is Shari - my wife's friend.
Both of these ladies are clueless about computers. They never go on the road with their machines - both of them sit in their living rooms and read email and Facebook posts. So why in the world when it came time to get a new machine did they choose laptops?
Shari has a Dell and Lillian an HP laptop. They are both quad core AMD APUs (graphics on the processor die.) I have worked on both of them and they are S-L-O-W. Slow to boot, slow to launch anything slow to install any new software.
Both of the ladies have bad eyes and they end up squinting at a 15 inch screen when they could be looking at a 24 inch Monitor.
I've been trying to figure out why these machines are such underperformers compared to my own desktops - which are fast and responsive. I can think of a few reasons:
  • A laptop CPU is quite wimpy and underpowered compared to a desktop CPU - you can't compare an i5M to an i5.
  • Laptop drives are slow compared to desktop drives.
  • Laptops generally have less RAM installed.
  • Laptop graphics aren't as good as running a discrete video card such as I have in my desktops.
I can think of a couple of other reasons too that aren't hardware related.
  • Both of these ladies run CPU sucking security - Shari has McAfee and Lillian Norton - Lillian's machine is particularly bad as her Norton suite scans every download before you can install anything.
  • I think they both have a lot of crapware running that came with the machine. I never uninstalled this stuff because who knows what they want and need.
  • They never clean up their machines even though I have given them both cCleaner.
I have a laptop myself but it isn't my primary machine - not even close. However these ladies seem to think that a cool new laptop is a step up from an old grimy desktop. Not so. Both of them would have been far better off with a small form factor desktop, a big wireless keyboard and 24 inch monitor. But they didn't ask me.

Edited by raymac46, 03 February 2017 - 10:28 PM.

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#2 OFFLINE   goretsky

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 01:06 AM

Hello,

In most office supply, electronics and big-box stores, it seems the computer section is more devoted to laptops than desktops.  They are probably slightly higher in profit margin, too, especially for aftermarket services like repair.

Are you planning on getting rid of any unneeded software, upgrading the RAM and SSDs or anything like that for them in the future?

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#3 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 09:08 AM

Not at this point, no. I did clean up their machines with cCleaner. I doubt that either lady would know anything about SSDs and would want to put any money into one. I might check on the RAM issue.
One of these ladies - Lillian - is famous for installing more crapware than anyone I've ever met. So if I take something off, two more apps would be there by the time I get back to take another look. Of course she has all the Bing toolbars and Search Protect malware that gets installed along with her "free" software.
On the bright side, my next door neighbor did take my advice and replaced an old laptop with a new small form factor desktop. She's happy with the result.
I have a similar AMD based laptop but I got rid of all non-essential stuff and I use ESET, not Norton. I don't do a lot of multitasking and I don't have multiple tabs open on my browser. My laptop is no speed demon, but it is usable.
It probably makes more sense for a big box store to sell a laptop because a desktop will last longer, can be upgraded, and obviously the customer won't be back soon for another unit.

Edited by raymac46, 04 February 2017 - 09:11 AM.

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#4 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 11:34 AM

My husband uses the netbook I passed down to him more than his desktop computer. Yes, the netbook is extremely slow (low CPU) compared to the desktop. He can watch tv and use the netbook at the same time. Perhaps these women do the same thing. He has the thing on from dawn to dusk looking up things he sees on tv (people, movies) and he can print wirelessly to my printer if there is something he wants to save from an email.

Their next laptop could be a chromebook. Less storage and since they really only do internet and email, they don't need to install Office Suites.

Edited by zlim, 04 February 2017 - 11:35 AM.

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#5 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 03:49 PM

My mother also wanted a laptop the last 2 times I bought her hardware. I'm not sure why, maybe because all her friends had laptops? Her current Lenovo runs no crapware, win7 and LibreOffice and FF so it's as speedy as it needs to be for her use. She also runs a limited user account, so can't install anything herself which cuts down on a lot of issues in itself.
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#6 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:11 PM

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He can watch tv and use the netbook at the same time.
Yes I can see that use for a portable unit. I use a tablet to do that myself. However the two ladies in question just use a laptop the same way they used a desktop in past years. They are getting inferior performance and a shorter product lifespan. It's their money though.
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#7 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:13 PM

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My mother also wanted a laptop the last 2 times I bought her hardware.
And is she taking advantage of the laptop form factor? Lillian has her laptop on a computer desk with an external mouse and desktop keyboard hooked up to it.
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#8 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 07:20 PM

To be fair if I were to rank perceived performance I would say:
Desktop with Linux >> Desktop with Windows 10 > Laptop with Windows 10.
Linux screams, Desktop Windows 10 is snappy enough, Laptop does the job.
All of these are better than I see with the two older ladies' laptops but they will never run Linux or have an SSD in their machine. I think I could make their systems run better with some de-crapifying though in my view they'd be better off with a desktop.
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#9 OFFLINE   ebrke

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 02:53 PM

View Postraymac46, on 04 February 2017 - 07:13 PM, said:

Quote

My mother also wanted a laptop the last 2 times I bought her hardware.
And is she taking advantage of the laptop form factor? Lillian has her laptop on a computer desk with an external mouse and desktop keyboard hooked up to it.
Well we are to a degree. She can't get to the lower level where her desk is very often anymore, so I brought the laptop upstairs and use an ethernet bridge (powerline) to connect her to the router on lower level. It's certainly easier to move than a desktop. I've skipped a lot of the newer hardware options because my lifestyle doesn't require them and I can't really afford something I don't need. I understand what you're saying about laptops, though. For some years I've taken over her older laptops and replaced win with linux for additional years of use, but I'd think about a desktop for myself if I had to buy hardware. My ancient Dell Optiplex 260 still staggers along with openSuSE but I don't fire it up too often. I'm using one of her old laptops from 2009 now with OpenSuSE and xfce--I had to have the HD replaced several years ago, but it's still running well *knock wood*.
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#10 OFFLINE   zlim

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 04:39 PM

We have our 3 netbooks on boards my husband cut to my specifications. He also built 2 computer stands for the netbooks. The netbooks sit on the board on top of the computer stands.

The netbooks board Has room for a USB mouse and pad to the right. I wasn't sure he'd get used to a small mobile mouse and a laptop keyboard but he has. He pulls the board onto his lap while sitting in his recliner. He needs to keep it plugged in because the battery no longer holds a charge. (I will get a new battery when we drive to a local place called the Battery Warehouse).

I carry my netbook on the board to the kitchen table when I want to watch tv and surf.

When Win 7 is no longer supported, I'll probably take the oldest and install linux on it. If I put an icon for the browser on the netbook's desktop and load his bookmarks on it, he probably won't notice he isn't using Win 7.
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#11 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 06:20 PM

Looks to me that the people here with laptops are using them in a mobile manner. I use my laptop on the kitchen table to check out stuff in the early morning but after that if I want to do anything it's on a desktop.
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#12 OFFLINE   Dr. J

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 07:36 AM

I'm definitely a laptop person, since I often work on the go at uni or the local library, or at science student conferences out of the country (which pop up about once a year). I get muddled up when I keep work separated on different machines, so if I did go down the desktop route it would simply become a media centre, but I'm perfectly happy plugging the laptop into the TV for that so I can't seem to justify spending the money.

EDIT:
Back on the topic of speed however, I find the third gen i3M processor does a decent job. Along with 4 Gigs of DDR3 RAM I have no problem with lot's of tabs in Chromium while LibreOffice and other stuff is also running, and I can play some heavy enough games.

The boot time isn't great though (About 25 sec. plus another 20 ish to log in to Xfce with compiz), but I'll jot that down to the ageing spinny doohickey (HDD), that's had windows 7 (and 10 for a very brief test run) and more Linux distros than I can count barge through it in the 5 years since I got the machine.

Edited by Dr. J, 06 February 2017 - 07:46 AM.

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#13 OFFLINE   raymac46

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:59 AM

It's a matter of horses for courses. I have a laptop and an old netbook for travel and use in the house away from the desk. They are by nature slower and with a smaller screen. I accept that.
What I don't understand is someone like Lillian who has a tablet for remote use, uses her laptop like a desktop - and complains that it is slow. You know that from the outset and no amount of tweaking and cleaning can make a difference.
I was not consulted when these ladies bought their machines so I don't feel guilty about improper advice - but I think that the salespeople in Staples and Best Buy aren't really doing what's right for the customer if they don't probe a bit about how something will be used.
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#14 OFFLINE   Dr. J

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 10:01 AM

Salespeople very rarely have anything other than profit in mind. About two years ago my mum went computer shopping without a chaperone and came back with a rather pricey looking high-spec Acer, complete with Radeon graphics card. It's still chugging away reliably with windows 8.1, but I'm sure a lower spec machine (like my own) wouldn't be any worse. They do still sell the older Lenovo B-series, now with Win 10.
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