Which Windows 8 PC should I buy?

coip

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Hi. I'm going to buy a new Windows 8 PC and I was wondering if you chaps had any recommendations. Of course, I'm looking for something with the best value (low price but good specs), aren't we all. I'd also prefer something super light and portable, but this isn't a must-have (i.e., I'm willing to give some of that up if it results in better speed, performance, and price).

I was thinking about the Surface Pro since I love my Surface RT, but I still feel like it's overpriced at $800. I was in the Microsoft store a few weeks back and saw a really sexy ultrabook (it was either Acer or Asus) that was ridiculously light (like a MacBook Air), but can't remember what it was called. I also saw that Acer Aspire V5-571PG-9814 Touchscreen Laptop and that looks really solid at $700 (8GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drive), but seemed a bit heavy. Any other recommendations?

Also, do you know what version of Windows 8 most of these computers come with? It doesn't seem to list it and I want to sure it is a version that can do remote desktop.
 

Abdul Rahman Noor

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The one you saw that "almost like a Macbook Air" was most likely the Asus Vivo book. They certainly look the part, and IMHO offer a great value (saw one with an i5 processor, 500GB HDD and 4/6GB RAM for around ?499 (sorry, no idea of USD prices).
The 15" model weighs around 2.1 kg which I think is quite acceptable for a decently priced ultrabook.

A lot of ultrabooks, as far as I've seen, run Windows 8 (not the Pro) version unless you're looking at a "business" targeted one (think Lenovo Yoga etc.)
 

coip

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I think it was the Acer Aspire S7-391-9492 Touchscreen Ultrabook, actually. That one is lighter and thinner than the Asus, but much more expensive. I wish the Surface Pro wasn't so expensive.
 

coip

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Another point to consider is whether or not to go with a PC with an optical drive. Most software can be digitally downloaded and installed, but is having the drive still better? That means no ultrabooks or tablets for my purchase here, and it also means a much heavier system. Hmm...

Related to that, is the Surface Pro the smallest and lightest PC available? It must be close.
 

budney

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You might want to ask yourself, Do I burn CDRs or DVDRs at all? Do I have a desktop with a optical drive? You can always get a external USB optical drive for a ultrabook too. Using either type of media is more of a preference then one is better than the other. Also it will come down to your personal preference with anything PC related, it will take many hours of reading and playing to find out what will fit your needs. :smile:
 

stephen_az

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As, of all people, a BestBuy sales person said in my presence recently, Surface Pro offers better performance in a more flexible form factor than almost every machine on their shelves. That includes the I7 laptops. It is a highly optimized device that gets every bit of performance out of the hardware. The Asus VivoBook would depend upon the model. The small form factor ultra light with the I3 is the slowest laptop I have touched outside of Atom devices, although the new Acer's with AMD A4 & A6 APUs are probably even slower. Asus' higher end models offer solid performance and generally above average battery life. Personally, I consider them to be better made than Acer products but they are also often more difficult to upgrade. FWIW, my general recommendation though, other than Surface Pro, would be to look at Lenovo's line up, excluding the Yoga products. Most of Lenovo's products are based upon conservative designs but are very high quality and offer solid performance. I would exclude the Yoga versions because Lenovo crippled them for some memory intensive applications by using single channel RAM.
 

anon5954042

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You should also look at how many physical music cd and PC games you have. I need one that had an optical drive and it doesn't add really any weight.
 

coip

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Yeah, good point about performance. I don't want to buy a new PC only to have it immediately blogged down by moderate usage. If the Surface Pro were $200 cheaper, I'd snatch it up today.
 

budney

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I was thinking of getting a Surface Pro, as my Asus was junked-out by Best Buy. But the 2GB of RAM turned me off quickly. My first PC never worked right, and I found out later it was from not having enough RAM. So I have always been a stickler for lots of RAM.
 

smoheath

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I was thinking of getting a Surface Pro, as my Asus was junked-out by Best Buy. But the 2GB of RAM turned me off quickly. My first PC never worked right, and I found out later it was from not having enough RAM. So I have always been a stickler for lots of RAM.

Not to be that annoying guy but the surface pro comes with 4GB of ram.
 

coip

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Not to be that annoying guy but the surface pro comes with 4GB of ram.

I was going to say it surely must come with more RAM than the Surface RT because whenever I play around with a Surface Pro in Best Buy I'm blown away by how lightning quick it is (I know the processor is much much better too, but I think the Surface Pro is speedier than almost all the other laptops and ultrabooks I tried out.
 

coip

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You might want to ask yourself, Do I burn CDRs or DVDRs at all? Do I have a desktop with a optical drive? You can always get a external USB optical drive for a ultrabook too. Using either type of media is more of a preference then one is better than the other. Also it will come down to your personal preference with anything PC related, it will take many hours of reading and playing to find out what will fit your needs. :smile:

I honestly never burn anything and probably only insert a DVD into my current laptop a few times per year. The big concern I had was reinstalling the operating system (using a reinstallation disk) in case of hard drive failure. How do you do that on an ultrabook? via the external optical drive like you said (attached by USB)?
 

budney

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I honestly never burn anything and probably only insert a DVD into my current laptop a few times per year. The big concern I had was reinstalling the operating system (using a reinstallation disk) in case of hard drive failure. How do you do that on an ultrabook? via the external optical drive like you said (attached by USB)?

You can use USB to do to it, but you will need to get at least a 32GB USB drive. The Windows recovery will ask if you want to copy the recovery partition to the drive,or the laptop may come with a like program from the laptop manufacturer.
 

coip

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Thanks. Any other insights into ultrabooks vs. laptops vs. all-in-ones? Particularly some specific model recommendations? I'm going shopping tomorrow 😶
 

coip

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. FWIW, my general recommendation though, other than Surface Pro, would be to look at Lenovo's line up, excluding the Yoga products. Most of Lenovo's products are based upon conservative designs but are very high quality and offer solid performance. I would exclude the Yoga versions because Lenovo crippled them for some memory intensive applications by using single channel RAM.

I know you said you'd stay clear of the Lenovo Yoga, but I went to the Microsoft Store today and I'm leaning towards it. It had a nice design and seemed to perform well. How big of an issue is this RAM thing? I don't know a lot about RAM. So, for instance, the 4GB of RAM in the Lenovo Yoga is not as good as the 4GB of RAM in the Surface Pro? What about the version of the Yoga with 8GB of RAM? Does that solve the problem or is that just mean I'm paying more for higher specs that aren't very good?

The other ultrabook that caught my eye is the new Sony Vaio. They had an 13" with 4th generation Intel and weighed like 2.3lbs, and an 11" that only weighed 1.9lbs. It was ridiculously light, and I almost went for it, but the Yoga's ability to snap into a tablet is very enticing to me even though I already have a Surface RT, which I love, I thought the 13" Yoga would be a nice complement to that and could serve as my work laptop--but you're making me think the Yoga cannot quite cut it, even the i7 with 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM. Hmm...

Related to that, I noticed they've been out for awhile. Would new versions be coming soon? I could wait a month or maybe two if a newer version comes and fixes the problems you speak of (as long as it still comes in clementine orange, of course).

Edited: It seems that the 13" version launched last November and the 11" version launched in June, and both use the now outdated 3rd-gen Intel processors. I think I'll wait a month or two to get one with 4th-gen Haswell in them
 
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gedzum

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I was also deciding between the Lenovo Yoga 13 and Sony Vaio Pro 13. I decided to go with the Vaio because I liked the screen quality better and higher res. I preferred the keyboard and the design as well. Being thinner and lighter were extras since I'd be bringing it to university.

Only knock I really have against it is the fan can sometimes ramp up quite a bit depending on what you are doing. Also the corners are quite pointy/sharp so might be something to look out for. All in all, I'm really happy with it.
 

coip

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I'm so glad I didn't buy the Lenova Yoga 13 over the past weekend like I had planned: they announced today the upcoming Yoga 2 Pro and it looks fantastic. I'll be getting one on launch day.
 

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