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Author Topic: Buying a computer  (Read 7678 times)

Mimi

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Buying a computer
« on: July 18, 2007, 06:38:41 AM »
I'm not going to travel with a computer.  Besides the fact that mine is a desktop, I don't want to waste the space/weight with a laptop from the US.  Any advice?  I don't mind linux.

Nolefan

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2007, 09:11:08 AM »
I'm not going to travel with a computer.  Besides the fact that mine is a desktop, I don't want to waste the space/weight with a laptop from the US.  Any advice?  I don't mind linux.

they're much cheaper in the US... I'd recommend buying one from there instead of getting it here! software will be legit, warranty honored etc...
Buying it here, for the same ammount of money, will get you a lesser machine! less power, less RAM, Chinese pirated OS, etc...
If you don't mind linux, then it doesn't matter as far as the OS goes but still... and laptops are not really that heavy but they can be lifesavers around here.

Another issue with Linux (much like with macs) in China is that most It folks have no clue what to do with it when it comes to simple things such as setting up internet access
alors régressons fatalement, eternellement. Des débutants, avec la peur comme exutoire à l'ignorance et Alzheimer en prof d'histoire de nos enfances!
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limubai2000

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2007, 10:05:27 AM »
I swear by my Toshiba laptops, economical, decent amount of power, good features, and tough even to survive frequent travel.  I'm on my 2nd, my first I sold used to upgrade, I've never had a failure with either.

In my professional experience, stick with name brand, the big ones Dell, IBM (which are made by Lenovo now, who gee is HQ and manufactured in China) and Toshiba I've used in professional environments all seem to hold up really well and parts can be had easily.

I don't like HP/Compaq personally but others might.  I also despise Sony laptops for their extreme proprietary nature, others mileage may vary. 

As much as I love Linux these days (Ubuntu Linux anyone?) I'd stay away unless you are very familiar with making a box go.  Though I know Red Flag Linux is gaining popularity in China and Intel signed a deal to do their new lightweight "lap-board" style laptops using RedFlag w/mobile P4 solutions. 

And there is Mac if you have the cash, but for repairs that might pose a problem. I defer to Nolefan on that one since he's obviously the local Mac God!  azazazazaz
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Nolefan

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2007, 11:02:09 AM »
what he said about toshiba... always been reliable!
Dell is slipping away a bit quality wise and Sony.... that's another story!!

i personally would avoid HP, Gateway and Asus like the plague! Lenovos are pretty reliable with all the IBM DNA in them.
alors régressons fatalement, eternellement. Des débutants, avec la peur comme exutoire à l'ignorance et Alzheimer en prof d'histoire de nos enfances!
- Random food, music and geek tales from the 'Jing: http://beijingdaze.com

Eagle

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 01:38:58 PM »
I agree with Nolefan and buying a laptop at home.  I just bought a new laptop while visiting back in Canada, a Sony weighing significantly less than the HP laptop that I have retired (15.4 lbs rather than almost 8 lbs).  Neat features include a built in webcam and mic which cuts down the weight even more.  I spent several weeks in ChangZhou checking out laptops with a local buddy without much luck.  It was impossible to get an English Windows Vista operating system, even from the software pirates that haunt computer city.  Of course, I ended up spending significantly less for the laptop in Canada than in China.  As Noles said, "don't leave home without it."
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moon over parma

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 03:13:10 PM »
I vote for build your own on arrival. Take your HD and software with you.

I second the NO HP/Compaq. They're as bad as Mac products in terms of:  proprietary hardware crap (but without the cult of personality!  ahahahahah), low lifespan, supporting evil company who enjoys f'n the consumers, etc. I had two and both died after 1 year's use. I will say they had good Customer Service, but that's not really a consolation. Luckily one was provided by an employer at the time and the other I was able to get a replacement based on extended warranty and I sold it upon receiving it.

I am not a fan of laptops in general.

Build your own and you have latitude to make it better than what the average Joe wants (think: htpc). If one thing's not up to snuff you don't have to replace the whole package: just the part. Laptops lave heating issues, inability to really make a significant upgrade (outside of changing the HD) unless you want to f#$k the warranty, etc.almost all are proprietarily screwy, etc.

Check out sinosplice.com for specs on getting your own computer set up in China. I don't have a link to a specific post, but there are a few on that site (it's a blog, just go to the "Life" section).


If you are hellbent and end up going for a laptop before your trip - there's a laptop manufacturer called Durabook that make hardcore laptops with technical assembly designed for hardcore traveling/use:

http://www.durabook.com/


One other note about going Mac in China: good luck finding shops. Reading some Mac blogger's blogs lead me to believe (though I'm still a little skeptical since the cult of Mac has a history of sidestepping reality and practicality) shops are creeping into China but not in every corner (kind of like America). Additionally, in China - customer service appears like it's not even close to being comparable (though some DVD pirates have better exchange policies than legit shops from what I've observed).

Are you in contact with any waiguoren at your future employer? Maybe they can tell you of their experiences in the area specific to your impending journey. Folks in Beijing and Shanghai have it easy (diversity of shops; even Mac shops, etc.) but maybe not in other provinces.

One last consideration: if you end up going to Hong Kong - you can score reputable laptop computers there for cheap. That's only really an option if you know you'll be heading there during your stay.

Good luck with your decision.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 05:32:26 PM by moon over parma »
Oh, dry up. <from Raoul>

moon over parma

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 03:51:36 PM »
Here are some sites that give ideas on pricing for various comp stuff in China, for you to get a gage on what to expect, Mimi:

http://detail.zol.com.cn/price_search.php?subcatid=27

http://product.it168.com/files/0101search.shtml


This is for the pre-assembled stuff. Finding a computer major in one of your English classes to assist you navigating markets in your future area of employment is another option, should you want to build your own (which is now easier than riding a bike!).

It's probably best to bring your OS with you.


Onto the apple after the orange:

Here's a piece by an expat MAC user in China. Note some of their issues (and note the cult of MAC-holes talking about "morons" and whatnot because Chinese sites, etc. won't cater to their 5% of the world's market Air Jordan comps) in China:

http://www.danwei.org/trends_and_buzz/sod_the_iphone_i_want_a_mac_br.php

« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 04:00:46 PM by moon over parma »
Oh, dry up. <from Raoul>

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 05:20:50 PM »
Yep.
I built to suit at a local shop. I got expert computer advice from dear and knowledgable friends whom I will not name lest they get flooded. They filled me in on what was cool these days, and what all this stuff will cost.

Another dear and knowledgable friend (ditto) translated the list of components into Chinese. I took THAT list to shops and got some quotes.

As a result, I got a SWEET desktop system with a full boat of all-English software at a price that I'm led to believe is competitive enough. The sound system is so good that I've retired my old tower-speaker stereo. And I've gotten a full year of cheerful, helpful, FREE in-home support and service.

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Nolefan

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2007, 06:36:59 PM »
OK!

zol.com.cn is only relevant in Beijing and that does not give you a good idea of current prices! most of the components there are smuggled from HK and yo only get support if you're in the area!
 Also, most people are not chinese savy enough to use it or build their own PC.. unfortunately! It will definitely work for you MOP but not your average person!
keep in mind that outside the big cities, competition is non-existent and there is nothing to drive prices down! there are whole streets of shops selling the same items at various prices regardless of the competition's or the market rates! most ofit has to do with the fact that locals will believe what salesmen tell them! In the west, especially USAnia, market economy forces prices down substantially. Without even trying, you will get the better prices at shops like best buy or compUSA.. even LAcomputers. If you can shop online, you will get even better deals and save on taxes!


A better reference is www.dell.com.cn as far as prices go because they actually have an English website and sell machines at the same price all over the mainland with proper service agreements/support.

As far as Apple computers go, unless you're in Beijing, shanghai, nanjing, guangzhou, shenzhen, harbin, Chengdu where they have Apple certified repair shops, you will be stuck shipping our machine to Beijing for repair is anything goes wrong with it.
Beijing has no less than 15 certified Apple dealers/repair centers on top of the one operated by the company itself. Their customer service reps speak English and are pretty darn helpful (I had to have a few things fixed on an old laptop ). Also, Apple gear is sooooooo bloody overpriced over here! It was cheaper for me to fly to HK last month and get my new laptop there than to buy it in Beijing.

Desktops are really nice because they are cheaper to build/maintain/upgrade but for your regular user that needs email, word processing, photo storage and music... most bottom of the mill laptops will do
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 07:02:43 PM by Nolefan »
alors régressons fatalement, eternellement. Des débutants, avec la peur comme exutoire à l'ignorance et Alzheimer en prof d'histoire de nos enfances!
- Random food, music and geek tales from the 'Jing: http://beijingdaze.com

moon over parma

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 07:44:05 PM »
Nolefan, I think you have yourself a business op with the parts and fair pricing 'round China thing  (nudge nudge - similar to the book link you once provided ifyouknowwhatimean): if you ever wanted to pursue that.

There is also now an Apple store in Dalian, from what I understand.

I didn't know Zol were Beijing-centric or the other details. It was just the first Mainland computer shop that turned up in Google. bibibibibi I tried Sun-far and 3C (Taiwanese but with shops in parts of China as well) but came up empty handed.
Oh, dry up. <from Raoul>

Nolefan

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2007, 03:36:53 AM »
yeah.. zol stands for ZhongGuanCun On Line and it's basically the website for the one and only Zhongguancun market in Beijing where they sell all the smuggled electronics from HK and other parts of the world! every shop just about is represented there.
to be honest, I haven't walked in there yet but by all accounts, it a massive clusterf%$k of shops and stalls spread out over like 3 building!
I end up just ordering from them by phone because it's so much cheaper to have them deliver stuff than for me to spend 2 hours on the metro or taxi to get there!

@Missi,

have you considered just taking the HD off of the desktop you have at home and putting it in an external case? That way, at least, you would be able to bring along some of your music that could be hard to find even online. It's a pretty easy procedure depending on  the kind of desktop you have. I'm sure either MOP or myself kind guide you through it.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2007, 03:58:27 AM by Nolefan »
alors régressons fatalement, eternellement. Des débutants, avec la peur comme exutoire à l'ignorance et Alzheimer en prof d'histoire de nos enfances!
- Random food, music and geek tales from the 'Jing: http://beijingdaze.com

old34

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2007, 04:17:03 AM »
Wot Nole said about the hard drive enclosure. I recently bought one here primarily because my (Compaq) laptop has a combo drive CD RW/DVD R and I started having trouble playing DVDs 2 weeks after the warranty expired (Go HP!). I pulled the DVD RW out of my no longer used desktop.

But I can also use it for the desktop hard drive, too. Takes about 30 seconds to swap out. I got the enclosure (I think that's what they call it) here for all of 150 RMB.

There are different models - some for hard drives only and some for hard drives and DVD drives. The HDD only ones are 3.5" and the the HDD/DVD ones are 5.25". They connect through a USB 2.0 and Windows XP recognizes them as a new drive when you plug 'em in.


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Mimi

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2007, 05:05:31 AM »

If you don't mind linux, then it doesn't matter as far as the OS goes but still... and laptops are not really that heavy but they can be lifesavers around here.

Another issue with Linux (much like with macs) in China is that most It folks have no clue what to do with it when it comes to simple things such as setting up internet access

I thought the most chinese computers had a linux OS.  I kind of posted this blindly, and obviously need to do a LOT of research.  But I don't think I'll buy one here... I'll have an office with a computer and internet access, which will be enough for awhile.

Raoul F. Duke

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2007, 06:20:17 AM »
Maybe not as long as you might think.
I'm sure there's exceptions, but most office computers in China, especially in schools, are unimaginably slow. Old technology, running on horrendously overloaded networks that are firewalled half to death. I'd go nuts having to rely on an office computer for very long.

Most Chinese computers had a LINUX  OS? mmmmmmmmmm Can't imagine how anyone could ever get such an impression. Windows is very much king here, and as others have indicated you're probably best served in China using a computer with this Mark of the Beast upon it.
"Vicodin and dumplings...it's a great combination!" (Anthony Bourdain, in Harbin)

"Here in China we aren't just teaching...
we're building the corrupt, incompetent, baijiu-swilling buttheads of tomorrow!" (Raoul F. Duke)

Mimi

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Re: Buying a computer
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2007, 06:36:01 AM »
Most Chinese computers had a LINUX  OS? mmmmmmmmmm Can't imagine how anyone could ever get such an impression.

Word of mouth can suck.  Thank goodness for this site.