Should I buy a new laptop or just upgrade Windows?

Episode 876 (19:25)

Mike from New Jersey

Mike has an older laptop running an AMD 2.0 ghz Semperon chip and 4 gigs of RAM, which he downgraded from Vista to Windows XP. He thinks it's time for an upgrade. Leo doesn't think his processor is that bad, and he could easily upgrade that machine to Windows 7. In fact, Windows XP is slower than Windows 7, so he'd probably see performance improvements with that alone. Mike still wants to get a new laptop though, and is wondering whether or not to get one now or wait for the Intel Ivybridge processors. He's looking at getting a laptop with an Intel i5, wants to get it at Costco because of the warranty, and wants to keep it under $1,000.

First of all, Leo points out that most of the current Intel i3, i5, and i7 processors are built on the Sandybridge architecture. Mike mentioned Ivybridge which is the newer architecture, which has some nice new features built into it, such as USB 3. The Ivybridge mobile parts won't be out until next month, and the ones out now run hotter. Secondly, Leo advises Mike not to go to Costco for the latest and greatest model, as they seem to carry older models.

Lenovo just released some very nice Ivybridge this week, and Leo would recommend looking into those. The Thinkpad T-series are fantastic with backlit keyboards and HD displays. They also have "battery slices" that Mike could buy if he wanted longer battery life.

Leo was specifically answering Mike's question, and wants to add a few things for everyone listening:

  • Mike's Semperon computer is not obsolete.
  • Upgrading to Windows 7 and installing a new hard drive, perhaps an SSD (Solid State Drive), would speed that computer up dramatically.

  • Costco is not a bad place to go.
  • There's nothing wrong with going to Costco, they just might not have the latest models. Also, the cost savings would be negligible and there isn't a compelling reason to go to Costco to buy a computer. Do some shopping around online.

  • Leo doesn't only recommend the Lenovo T-Series.
  • Leo likes Lenovo, but he also likes Dell. He would also look at the UltraBooks if you want something very light and don't need a CD/DVD drive.

  • Most importantly: If you can wait, wait.
  • The mobile version of the Intel Ivybridge processors will be out next month, and Windows 8 will be available in October. Leo thinks there will be a lot of new hardware for that.