Desktop Computing

Last week, I bought a HP Envy – desktop tower. This is my first desktop purchase after 8 years of using laptops.

My 2 laptops – HP & Lenovo are functional. I bought them in America years ago. The batteries on both the machines reached their end of life. I could not find spares for either models in India. The ones that I did buy were labelled “duplicate” – which meant generic and manufactured by other companies. Both batteries died after their short 3 month warranty period.

Running the notebooks without batteries seems to heat them up to the point that they would simply turn off.

This was 6 months ago.

I started looking to purchase a new laptop which would hold up for atleast 3 years. I was waiting for Intel to launch their Haswell series of processors. It has been 2 months since Intel launched their 4th gen processors. I haven’t seen any of the big PC brands launch decent models with these processors in India.

I have pretty much given up on laptops at this point. The laptop scene in India has not improved much in the past 5 years.

Dell, HP and Lenovo have no customization options available on their laptops. Most of their higher end laptops ship with 5200 rpm drives with no options to upgrade or even add a 7200 rpm or a SSD drive. The only models that were close to acceptable were the Dell Alienware series and Lenovo’s super expensive – ThinkPad Carbon.

The Dell Alienware machines are very bulky and there have been concerns with their battery performance.

The ThinkPads are way too expensive.

So after 2 months of research and not finding a single laptop which would satisfy my needs – a quad core processor / 8 GB of RAM (with expansion slots) / SSD drives. I gave in and bought a desktop from HP.

I have been using it for a little more than a week and I am really happy with this purchase. The machine is a i7 quad core / 8 GB RAM (with 2 empty slots) / 1 TB 7200 RPM drive and a 3 GB NVidia card.

The expansion options on this machine were what got my attention. I can bump up the RAM to 32 GB, there are 3 empty HDD slots. The hard drive is not an SSD, but 7200 rpm should suffice, for now. The GPU can support up to 3 displays.

There are more USB 3, USB 2, memory card slots than I would ever need. A Blue Ray DVD player, Beats audio support. The tower itself is very well built and nicely ventilated. The tower came with a wireless keyboard and mouse. I have used Microsoft Keyboard 4000 and MX 518 for a while now but I must say that the HP wireless keyboard and mouse work really well.

I have a early MacBook Pro – 2011 model. I would have bought newer iMac or a MacBook Pro laptop, but I need the machine to program in .NET. Performance wise, Windows 8 / VS 2013 in Boot Camp just does not cut it. Besides, I also wanted the ability to load up virtual machines with Debian / Ubuntu / Fedora and not have to worry about the rapid loss of battery power. Apple has a built in battery. What happens to the battery if you use Windows in Boot Camp & Linux VM on Apple hardware? If this causes the battery life to take a hit by even 20%, do you send the laptop to Apple to replace the batteries? How expensive is this?

It is nice to be able to buy a screamer of a desktop machine (which can be easily upgraded) for half the price of an equivalent laptop. No worries about battery performance, easy access to expansion slots. HP also threw in a 3 year onsite-all parts warranty!!.

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