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I want to buy a new laptop that will be my only PC at home. They're almost all SSD drives these days. And those have limited memory. Is there any reason why I couldnt buy a Laptop with SSD, then replace that hard drive with a 1TB HDD? I know; everyone says SSD is faster, but somehow we all used to manage just fine with HDD.
Is it easy to put Windows 10 on to a new hard drive these days?
When I replaced my hard drive on my old laptop I had to use Windows 7 discs. But these days there's no external disc drive on most laptops...
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Let's say you want an SSD, even though you don't know it.  ;) They are not even muuuuuuch faster than a classic HDD, they are also silent, comsume less power (the laptop battery will benefit from this) and because they have no moving parts they are more fail safe.


And those have limited memory.
Nope, you can have SSD's up to 16TB (and maybe more). Ok, those are expensive as shit, but they are out there. Here in Germany SSD's with 1TB start with a price tag around 90€ (both classic SATA and M.2).

Is there any reason why I couldnt buy a Laptop with SSD, then replace that hard drive with a 1TB HDD?
No, theres no reason why you couldn't except maybe that some of the newer laptops come with a build in storage thats in M.2 form factor - and as far i know there's not a single hdd in this form factor because they need bigger sizes for their read/write-head to move. And there could be laptops out there with a unibody in which it is nearly impossible to change any hardware.

Is it easy to put Windows 10 on to a new hard drive these days?
Yes it's pretty easy. You can do this via USB, you can download your prefered version of Windows 10 from the Microsoft servers for free => CLICK. You just need an activation code => if you buy a laptop with preinstalled Windows the code must be somewhere on a sticker attached to the laptop case, otherwise there are cheap codes to buy on the intenets. An other option is to "clone" a preinstalled Windows to a newer or alternative drive and afterwards replace the drive. Macrium Reflect is a good tool for doing this, i used it a couple of times in the past few months without any trouble.


Edit: just one more thing - try to avoid HP. Lenovo is good, or Samsung. Or, if you're willing to spend a couple more bucks, Microsoft themselve.
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Great reply, thanks Pum, you've really jumped in there.


Nope, you can have SSD's up to 16TB (and maybe more). Ok, those are expensive as shit, but they are out there. Here in Germany SSD's with 1TB start with a price tag around 90€ (both classic SATA and M.2).
Someone else said this to me today and pointed me in the direction of a Sandisk SSD for laptops at £89 on Amazon. I didn't know! Why do they sell SSD laptops with such puny hard drive sizes then? I see a lot of 128 and 256 MB sizes. Whereas the HDD laptops used to be 500MB to 1TB...


...And there could be laptops out there with a unibody in which it is nearly impossible to change any hardware.

Oh I hope not! That would render the laptop useless once the hard drive dies.




Edit: just one more thing - try to avoid HP. Lenovo is good, or Samsung. Or, if you're willing to spend a couple more bucks, Microsoft themselve.

Really? My last laptop was an HP Pavillion entertainment notebook with built-in "Beats" speakers.
Ok Beats is a gimmick but overall I thought it was good. It had a built in warning system that alerted me when my first hard drive was going to die, and they had a great forum to help people out (talked me through installing the new hard drive).
What's wrong with HP?
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What's wrong with HP?
The last couple of things i had to deal with from HP were a pain in the ass. No laptops so you may have luck.
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Ha, I bought my first (and only so far) SSD last year and did a little bit of research before. So if you don't mind, let me add a couple of things to what Pum said above.

SSDs
SSDs are still comparatively more expensive with respect to their price per storage unit ratio, £ per MB (or more correctly, MiBiByte). The reason for this being the technology implemented has its challenges for higher capacities (it's flash cell based instead of magnetic fields) which makes manufacturing them a bit pricier.
That's why these days HDDs are still pretty handy for mass storage. A usual case scenario for desktop PCs is the simultaneous use of SSDs and HDDs where the former is deployed as the OS running device and the latter for mass storage purposes (the way I use mine).

As different as the technology behind SSDs is, its advantage is indeed its notable faster speeds compared to their physical siblings (and all the other advantages Pum listed above). Peak performance for regular ones is around 500 to 600 MB/s. There are differences in performance and quality, though, depending on make/ model. The latest generation of SSDs are called NVME SSDs that are even numerous times faster than that (and hotter:)).
I bought a Western Digital Blue 250GB for about €40 for my 11 year old and only PC and I can tell you, it's pretty noticeable even when it can't even utilize its full potential due to old SATA II ports on my machine.

One thing you might have come across is the word TBW in connection with SSDs which could become a factor in your decision making process. In the past, SSDs came with a downside to them: Due to their flash cell based tech, they were more prone to fail over the course of their lifetime than traditional HDDs. The reason is flash cells can only be written and re-written a finite amount of times.
For modern SSDs this is practically a non-issue anymore due to their advanced technology. But flash cells are still flash cells that come with said limitations. That's why manufacturers these days advertise, in addition to their speed and capacity specs, an item called TBW which means 'terabytes written'. It tells you the amount of data that can be put through the storage device over the course of its life before the likelihood of potential write erros increases which then could cause your SSD to stop working properly.
To get an approximation of how long your SSD might serve you, you need to devide the TBW (in megabytes) by 365 and the amount of data per day you're expecting to be (re-) wrtiing to your SSD. For example, if you have one with 100 TBW (100,000 MB) and you expect to be roughly processing data to the extend of, say, 20 GB per day, your SSD could mathematically work for around 13 something years. Of course, your SSD might very well work beyond that (and most likely will). But given options to choose from within a selection of equal capacity SSDs, it would be better to get SSDs with larger TBWs just to lessen the risk of losing data. Samsung's EVO 860 series for instance states for its 250 GB model a value of 150 TBW which is one of the best I've seen so far (would equal 20 years of service in our above example).

Windows
Yes, changing your storage device, be it HDD or SSD, is no issue at all since they're not deemed crucial by Microsoft as identifiers of your machine. So, once you have activated your copy of Windows on your device, Windows knows it's yours (by creating a digital license) as long as you don't change crucial parts of your machine, e.g. your mainboard (which no one does with laptops anyways). Therefore, everytime you change your hard drive, Windows automatically activates your copy. When you change crucial parts, it's a bit trickier, also depending on where you live (e.g. USA vs. EU) because of different GTC.
One thing I've noticed with Win10 (due to involuntary re-installations of this damn OS) is that they want to force you into using an online account instead of a local one. In the past you had the opportunity to choose either but their latest version omitts that when connected to the internet and asks you to type in your Microsoft account instead. Since I had none, I tried to re-install it once again, this time without any internet connection, et voilá, I got straight to a local account (these assholes!!).
MS offers a tool called MediaCreationTool where you can download either an ISO file for a DVD or prepare a USB thumb drive to be used as an installation device. The latter will be your only option since optical devices are no longer built-in most of the time. USB is better anyways as it loads much much faster and you can update the thumb drive with newer versions anytime you like.

Laptop
Yeah, laptops. I don't like them that much. They're ok if you need to be mobil but they're also a pain in the ass. Especially the latest generation of consumer notebooks. Lots of them these days can't be really repaired or updated without troubles because almost everything is sealed. A while back, a friend of mine gave me his unused laptop and I simply wanted to remove the battery just to preserve it from being charged non-stop while working. I quickly realized that this wasn't possible because the battery was fully integrated. Nowadays, more and more the most you can do is change the storage device and RAM bars.

But what about you? What should YOUR laptop be capable of? What are you going to use it for? Just office work? Do you plan on watching movies and viewing pictures with it and hence need a good display? Price etc?


« Last Edit: Mar 11, 2021, 20:03 by Csar »  
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It's a smart idea to get one with a 128 or 256 GB SSD - your computer will run drastically faster with one - and use that simply for your OS and programs. Then for your data hording, use a 1-2TB external USB hard drive (if you're old school and don't mind having a HD plugged into your laptop) or use OneDrive or any myriad of cloud data services to store your extended files (if you have a steady internet connection and are okay not having access to some files when you do not have that connection).

The advantage to both is it's easier to transfer files between machines, and you have backups automatically. OneDrive will mean your data is always backed up and accessible anywhere you have internet, and you don't have to worry about making backups. A 1TB hard drive means your data isn't tied to your laptop or a user account and you can access your files offline - though having a second 1-2TB hard drive to backup the first one will be a good idea, in case the first one breaks or goes missing.
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But keep in mind: what you gain in convenience you might lose in privacy :) I know, it sounds paranoid but i don't trust those services, at least not as much as to send all my files to a cloud. I also know that they may be safe enough but you never know.
Whatever method you prefer, Whitenoise pointed to a very important issue imo: data redundancy. You probably know this already but if you have stuff that's really important to you, it's recommended to have at least two independet places of data storage like two mobile HDDs/SDDs or a cloud service (if you must). So if you have important family pictures, save them to two different HDDs so that you can restore them in case one of them fails.

Edit:

Things to consider and what I would generally look at in terms of specs are the following:
  • CPU (AMD Ryzen vs. Intel icore/ pentium etc)
  • RAM (16 vs. ..., speeds)
  • Connectivity: Type/No of USB ports 3.1, 3.2 (type c, for your phone), HDMI (to connect to external displays/ TVs),
  • WLAN type: ac (faster) or just n
  • Dedicated Graphics card vs. integrated (in the CPU)
  • Display panel: IPS (for better colors and viewing angles vs. TN (bit faster response rates, cheaper)
  • Display size (14", 15", 17"...)
  • Display resolution
  • Removable battery pack if there are still options available so that you can preserve its longlivety when used stationary
  • Battery life
« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2021, 10:37 by Csar »  
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So much great advice here guys!

I'll mirror by saying there is no reason NOT to buy SSD at this point. Additionally, utilizing external drives for long term storage, backup, and even daily use is the way to go. At this point I only use my main laptop for essentials and "clipboard" type temporary or "working" storage. And realistically, I bet most of the commenters here have a backup to the backup. I do (and it looks like they do, too).

I'm somewhere in-between Whitenoise and Csar for storage. Cloud is easy, but I also prefer managing my own data protection with dual drives. The again, we all use gmail, right? There is a level of trust we need to accept with modern technology.

To compliment Csar's checklist, this is relatively recent article with a bit more detail regarding specs. It elaborates on what's being discussed without the technobabble typically associated with building a computer.

https://www.laptopmag.com/articles/laptop-buying-guide

« Last Edit: Mar 10, 2021, 16:38 by satur8 »  


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But what about you? What should YOUR laptop be capable of? What are you going to use it for? Just office work? Do you plan on watching movies and viewing pictures with it and hence need a good display? Price etc?

Some excel/word stuff
Some web surfing (i always end up with about ten tabs open at once)
Some  movie streaming
Some storage of MP3s/WAVs (gotta put those Chemical DJ sets somewhere, regardless of how generous I was about a recent xmas one!).
I'm not a gamer.
Price around £400


It's a smart idea to get one with a 128 or 256 GB SSD - your computer will run drastically faster with one - and use that simply for your OS and programs. Then for your data hording, use a 1-2TB external USB hard drive (if you're old school and don't mind having a HD plugged into your laptop) or use OneDrive or any myriad of cloud data services to store your extended files (if you have a steady internet connection and are okay not having access to some files when you do not have that connection)...
So the message I'm getting here is: dont fear the smaller SSD drive size, use additional external storage.

Adverts have started popping up in my phone feed for things like this Samsung thing. I assume it's external but I'm not entirely sure. I do already own a 1TB Toshiba HDD external drive for backing up my old laptop...



Edit:

Things to consider and what I would generally look at in terms of specs are the following:
  • CPU (AMD Ryzen vs. Intel icore/ pentium etc)
  • RAM (16 vs. ..., speeds)
  • Connectivity: Type/No of USB ports 3.1, 3.2 (type c, for your phone), HDMI (to connect to external displays/ TVs),
  • WLAN type: ac (faster) or just n
  • Dedicated Graphics card vs. integrated (in the CPU)
  • Display panel: IPS (for better colors and viewing angles vs. TN (bit faster response rates, cheaper)
  • Display size (14", 15", 17"...)
  • Display resolution
  • Removable battery pack if there are still options available so that you can preserve its longlivety when used stationary
  • Battery life
Is there a big difference between Ryzen and Pentium?
15" seems to be the ideal size - full size keyboard but not too big like those 17" ones...

So much stuff seems to be out of stock at the moment, but I don't really want to have to order from a factory/website and wait 28 days...

I don't know if this website can be read outside the  UK but at the moment these are grabbing me (at least unless someone says NO!):

hp pavillion athlon (but out of stock, grr)

HP AMD Ryzen (in stock!!)

Dell Inspiron i3 £100 more than i want to pay though.

HP AMD Ryzen again but with 256 memory this time. And £100 more than i want to pay.

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Where you will really see SSDs shine is when you boot up your computer and running programs.

No joke, my laptop from 2015 still fully boots up in 3-5 seconds. It's got 32gb RAM and has both 256gb SSD and 2x 1TB SATA HDs.

But I am also looking for a new laptop. Mine is still running just fine, but the new I9 or, even better, Ryzen processors are smoking.

There are plenty of laptops with 1TB SSDs in them if you look. You could try mid range gaming laptops. They usually have decent SSD storage size.


There's been a big issue with graphic cards out of stock. The pandemic + annoying crypto users buying them all up to mine.


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Adverts have started popping up in my phone feed for things like this Samsung thing. I assume it's external but I'm not entirely sure. I do already own a 1TB Toshiba HDD external drive for backing up my old laptop...
This is one the M.2 SSD's. It's not directly an external drive but there are cases you can put this in so you can use it like an USB-stick. But i would't recommend this for you. It's good for internal use, except that your adverts pick up the slowest version of this SSD. Don't get me wrong, it's still fast and compared to your current laptop hdd this will feel like light years. But the standard 980 is slow, the faster version is the 980 EVO and the "warp speed"-like will be the 980 PRO. Samsung is good to go with when it comes to SSD's - i use them here, although the one i've installed Windows on is a Western Digital Black.

Is there a big difference between Ryzen and Pentium?
Can't speak for the mobile sector of these, but on desktop pc's you get a lot more bang for your buck from AMD Ryzen at the moment.

Some excel/word stuff
Some web surfing (i always end up with about ten tabs open at once)
Some  movie streaming
Some storage of MP3s/WAVs
I'm not a gamer.
[...]
HP AMD Ryzen (in stock!!)
This seems to fit if you use external storage too. Otherwise i would recommend to buy a larger SSD. Oh, and 4GB of RAM can be tricky, even for Office use. Both SSD and RAM are upgradeable => CLICK
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Some excel/word stuff
Some web surfing (i always end up with about ten tabs open at once)
Some  movie streaming
Some storage of MP3s/WAVs (gotta put those Chemical DJ sets somewhere, regardless of how generous I was about a recent xmas one!).
I'm not a gamer.
Price around £400
So, just like me. Please take my advice with a grain of salt since I can't speak from experience and only from interest (as I'm too shopping for upgrade options to replace my 11 year old lady).

Is there a big difference between Ryzen and Pentium?
Like Neorev and Pumisher hinted, AMD's Ryzen series has been getting some good reviews for their great price-performance ratio especially in the multi-tasking department. Seems like that's exactly what you're looking for: lots of open tabs, apps  etc. should get handled well by one of those.
Given your needs and price point, you may be interested in this Dell Inspiron 15 3000
https://www.dell.com/en-uk/shop/laptops/inspiron-15-3000/spd/inspiron-15-3505-laptop/cn30511

You "only" pay £80 more and would get a theoretically better Ryzen model than the ones in your links. Even though this one has a lower base clock at 2.1 GHz, it is a quad core and can handle 8 threads simultaneously whereas your links only offer dual cores with only 4 threads (less multi tasks). It's also got a whopping 512 GB NVMe SSD (the faster type; although it's hard to tell how good its performance is due to the lack of detailed information on their website) and 8 GB of RAM. There are 3 USB ports, two 3.0 and one 2.0 (no type C though, just in case you've got a cellphone that got one and you'd like to connect it).

It also comes with a full version of Windows 10(!!). I say this because I noticed that in the majority of your links Windows is offered only as an S version. I just read that this means a more stripped version of Win that allows only Microsoft store based apps to be installed. It's touted as being safer and faster and blah but of course you're then limited to those MS certified apps. According to this MS article you can switch to regular mode if you're willing to pay a premium.
It may not be an issue for you since everything available in the MS store might suffice your needs.


So the message I'm getting here is: dont fear the smaller SSD drive size, use additional external storage.
Exactly right. If you don't mind using a portable HHD for your mass data (music and stuff), then there should be no reason for fear at all.
Another, more advanced option would be to connect an HDD with your router as a media server (or NAS) and stream your media over your home network. That way you wouldn't need to physically connect any drive any longer and would be able to use any PC you like that has WiFi (of course you still could stream via LAN cable, but that would be beside the point I guess).
« Last Edit: Mar 11, 2021, 16:46 by Csar »  
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Windows is offered only as an S version. I just read that this means a more stripped version of Win that allows only Microsoft store based apps to be installed.
You can upgrade to the normal version of Windows for free. It's just click in the settings.
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You're right, I misread.

https://support.microsoft.com/de-de/windows/wechseln-aus-dem-s-modus-in-windows-10-4f56d9be-99ec-6983-119f-031bfb28a307

So why bother with an S-mode anyway? What's the purpose? And why can't I go back to that mode once switched to regular?

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S-mode was initially "invented" for low end tablets and laptops - so you can only run apps from the app store because they are mostly not so hungry (at least back in the days). Once you unlock the full version of Windows there is simply no need to go back - why should you? App store is still available + you can run everything else.
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... you may be interested in this Dell Inspiron 15 3000
https://www.dell.com/en-uk/shop/laptops/inspiron-15-3000/spd/inspiron-15-3505-laptop/cn30511

You "only" pay £80 more and would get a theoretically better Ryzen model than the ones in your links. Even though this one has a lower base clock at 2.1 GHz, it is a quad core and can handle 8 threads simultaneously whereas your links only offer dual cores with only 4 threads (less multi tasks). It's also got a whopping 512 GB NVMe SSD (the faster type; although it's hard to tell how good its performance is due to the lack of detailed information on their website) and 8 GB of RAM. There are 3 USB ports, two 3.0 and one 2.0 (no type C though, just in case you've got a cellphone that got one and you'd like to connect it).

That looks pretty good.
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