OT--slightly anyway, what gives with used laptops

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For shooting photos out of my own shop, I'm slowly running up on a need for a method of viewing the shots more fully at the scene.
So I started checking used laptop prices, and keep running into a sort of price settling at $700 ($699 plus shipping) to $800 ($799 plus shipping). Checking these out, I find 6, 8, 10 or 12 gig hard drives, Pentium IIIs, max of 128 megs of RAM, few details on USB, lots of CD readers and DVD readers, screens in the 12" range.
Just for kicks, I thought I'd check the Dell site, since I've gotten good value from my desktop Dell. Here we go: several of their 1150 models, with Pentium IV, quarter to a half gig of RAM, 20 or 30 or 40 gig hard drive, 14+" screen, CDRW, bunch of other handy stuff, plus XP loaded. Prices start at about $825.
Do these smaller outfits have rocks in their heads or are they out there hoping to catch the ever unwary? Add 25 bucks to their prices and get a hard drive that is 4-5 times as large, double or triple the RAM, a faster CPU and a burner, plus other features and they expect to sell stuff.
Amazing.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in

by virtue (<grin> of their size gets a good price on their screens (and they are good screens). You have to watch out for all the crap that gets loaded onto Dell computers at the factory, though. IMO, it is not a bad idea to wipe the drive and start from scratch (YMMV).
Why do you want a laptop anyway? If you get a small desktop, it is almost as mobile for an occasional trip in your car, and MUCH cheaper for the features.
--
Best regards
Han
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The small Size of a laptop is why I use one in my shop... I can store it in a small dust free drawer when not in use...
To use it all I need to do is remove it from the drawer and place it on my workbench, drill press table, tablesaw top or where ever I wish... Battery live is good for a few hours but grabbing the power cord and plugging it in is sure not a big deal... with a wireless connection the laptop is just so much more convient for shop use then a desktop...
Just works much better for me...
Bob Griffiths
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Han asks:

You're kidding, right? I go to a spot to shoot photos and set up a desktop computer to review them there? In some cases, I'll be shooting where no power is available except for what I cart along. A laptop is ideal for that. Even the smallest desktop I've ever had is a PITA to set up and tear down comparatively speaking.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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O

what may work for you is a PDA. you can view pics on it and keep it in your pocket. the only hard part is matching it to the camera memory. what memory does the camera use?
--
Knight-Toolworks & Custom Planes
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Steve Knight asks:

Compact flash. That really shouldn't be a hard match. I'll have to check. You're the second one listing PDAs. I'll see if I can locate one that might be suitable for viewing and storage.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme says...

Charlie,
I'd vote against the PDA, primarily because the size of the screen isn't that much bigger than your camera's LCD display.
A good laptop will afford you lots of download capabilities, not to mention the ability to edit as needed.
Besides - a high end PDA puts you at $450-500 anyway...
Rick
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Rich Chamberlain responds:

Yeah, I agree. I did a quick check after Steve's post, and discovered there doesn't seem to be much there, really, that would be helpful. I don't NEED to do on-screen editing on-site, but it would be nice if possible; a 20 gig hard drive is probably bottom end for a couple day's shooting, what with other things that are going to be on there, and USB is essential...I've got an extra 120 gig hard drive that uses USB 2. I can dump most of what's on that and stay out for a month!
Too, the laptop is handy when I'm out of the office but need to meet deadlines on articles, something I've avoided to date.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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    Greetings and Salutations...
On 07 Sep 2004 17:13:53 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

    Or (and I hate mentioning this because I just don't need more Ebay competition for them) a tablet computer. I happen to like the ones by Fujitsu quite a bit. and...on Ebay...you can get them for $250 to $350 for PLENTY of machine to do what you want to do.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme says...

anymore, but at least a couple of years ago you could buy a case with the (small) CRT and build your own. I don't know about battery-powered, but with a converter you could plug it in to your car/truck lighter.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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Larry Blanchard asks:

Sounds familiar. My first computer was a 'portable' Kaypro 1, but that little thing weighed something like 22 pounds. I did cart it along a couple times, which may be why I wear a 36" sleeve these days.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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On 07 Sep 2004 17:15:18 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) calmly ranted:

<g> My dad wrote his (one, not 45 like you) book on a Kaypro II. They were definitely not "laptop" models.
.-. Better Living Through Denial --- http://www.diversify.com Wondrous Website Design
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Larry Jaques wrote:

    j4
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Charlie could populate it with standard boards and save some money. Since he was talking about driving I wasn't too concerned about the weight.
But I looked around on the web and even the company that I knew used to have them (I bought my tower from them) doesn't make them anymore. All the "lunchboxes" now open up to a larger screen and cost more than a portable :-(.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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One 36" sleeve, and one 33" one, right? (like lugging a Speed Graphic :)
As for what's going on with lap-top pricing, The _biggest_ expense factor is the low-power-consumption component selection. And it's pretty much a fixed _amount_ increment over the 'regular power' components. So, the price hit on the higher capacity stuff is _relatively_ smaller. Add in the 'quantity buying' power of the big boys, and it's not surprising that they can market much more impressive specs for 'very little' more money than the little guys.
Many people _still_ prefer the little guys, because they have a better idea of what they're getting (component suppliers don't change from week-to-week, depending on who has the better price _today_), and can, many times, specify the precise make/model, etc. of the components they want.
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You can buy small form factor PC's these days. They're about the size of a loaf of bread. Load them up with whatever components you want, and you have an ultra quiet high-powered portable system. Customers have put them into their boats, RV's, etc.
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mp responds:

Yeah, well...I really, really don't want to get into building computers again. I built something like 5. That's enough.
Charlie Self "I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents." Sir Winston Churchill
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I don't know if these meet your needs, but they're half built. Pop in a hard drive, ram, (and on some a CPU) and you're good to go.
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Bah. those are the *BIG* ones. <grin>
I can get a complete 'system on a board' that bolts to the side of a 3-1/2" hard-drive. Same form-factor. needs only a power-supply to drive the motherboard and the disk.
If you don't need the big hard-disk, something the size of a pack of playing cards is 'no problem'. :)
Of course, you do have to have keyboard, monitor, and probably mouse.
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Larry Blanchard wrote:

Whaddaya _mean_ "nobody sells them anymore"? <http://store.jinco4me.com/luboxco.html
If you DAGS "lunchbox computer case" you'll find a lot more. Trouble is they're specialized equipment and thus quite pricey. You can get a damned good laptop for the price of the case alone.

--
--John
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