Buying a computer system/Mac/Pc laptops/Ipads/desktops

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QUESTION: Hello- read your PC vs MAc...and now I'm wondering since my children are all on MACS in school- will tehy b somehow "handicapped" coming home to HP/Dell/etc?

When I need a new desktop- why would I NOT just get laptop (pro/cons)
lastly...

what laptops offer DVD players that are "light" & portible/ THANKS

ANSWER: No, there shouldn't be any problem for your children using Windows systems at home (and the majority of workplace/enterprise environments use Windows as well), contrasted to OS X (Apple) in school. There may be some minor quirks over the years with interfacing with software from school, but as the school has chosen to adopt a relatively uncommon platform (Apple represents less than a third of overall computers), they should be able to accommodate the majority of their students using a Windows platform.

Regarding why to not buy a laptop - generally if you don't need the mobility, I'm not a fan of a laptop. They're not generally designed to be repaired, upgraded, etc and have a higher general failure rate and lower overall life cycle (because if anything breaks, the entire computer is more or less done in; sure, there are shops that will charge you a few hundred bucks to replace things like the keyboard, monitor, etc - but usually it's more money than the computer is worth). Desktop systems are modular in a standardized way, and you can replace and upgrade hardware as needed over the years. They can also generally be recovered from "basic" failures (e.g. the keyboard getting worn out doesn't mean a >$100 repair bill, it means a ~$10 purchase).

Generally the only advantage to a laptop is the mobility consideration, if you need to take the system around the town/world with you, it's advantageous. However in a lot of scenarios, I see customers buying laptops and planting them on a desk (and tying them down to a ton of external peripherals to marginally attempt to emulate what a desktop can do); it just isn't a wise financial choice in my experience, as it generally costs more than buying a comparable desktop and setting it up properly. Right tool for the job, and all that.

And I apologize but I don't fully understand your last question - do you mean you want to use a laptop as a portable DVD player, or do you mean you need DVD playback software for your computer?

-bob


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thanks! as for my last question- was thinking of buying a laptop to play DVD movies on for kids- since we travel a lot & already own TONS of dvds...suggestions? lightweight one pref

Answer
While that would be a reasonable idea, if the entire goal is just to play DVD movies, I'd suggest a portable DVD player instead. Less financial loss if it becomes damaged or lost, and it will be a more compact machine. You can usually get them for under $100, like this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Sylvania-SDVD7027-7-Inch-Portable-Player/dp/B003BWAKJA/ref

Or this one:
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-DVP-FX750-7-Inch-Portable-Player/dp/B003CHMCXG/ref=sr

-bob

Buying a computer system

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Bobbert

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I have nearly two decades of experience in IT, computer repair, and related fields and will attempt to provide the most solid, brand-agnostic advice when it comes time to purchase a new computer, or upgrade an existing machine. I can answer anything from the seemingly basic to the downright complicated - and will do my best to provide this information in a clear and concise manner.

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I have been an enthusiast of PC's for many years, and can answer questions about the purchase/use of a new computer or the purchase, installation, and use of upgrades for existing computers. There probably isn't a whole lot related to the home computer that I haven't seen over the years.

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15+ years of experience

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