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Thread: Can a laptop be used like a desktop machine? (Especially storage-wise)

  1. #1
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    Can a laptop be used like a desktop machine? (Especially storage-wise)

    Good evening.

    I am a PC user who has always used desktop machines for his every-day tasks(Zero gaming, I use my desktop machine for web development, browsing, dvd burning and Photoshop stuff) but I'm now considering switching to a laptop with heat and storage my two main concerns.

    Right now I already own a laptop that is basically a photocopy of my desktop machine and speed-wise I would say they are identical so speed/performance is not an issue.

    But having said that, I would like to know if today's laptops(I purchased my Dell E6410 last year) are powerful/reliable/efficient/cool enough to be used for 8-10 hours daily with three out of four available USB slots in use (keyboard, mouse, below-mentioned external drive)?

    Speaking of storage, my main concern ahead of the migration, I currently use an internal 2TB drive in my desktop machine for non-important stuff and this is my main concern because I have no idea if an external drive would offer the same reliability as an internal one knowing that it will be on for at least 8-10 hours a day (by reliability I mean a drive that will last for at least a year).

    On a similar note, when turning off the laptop, do I have to "safely remove" the external drive first?

    Thanks a lot for your help.

  2. #2
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    A powerful laptop would suit your needs just fine. The introduction of sandy bridge has greatly increased performance per watt and in turn they run cooler. Using an external hard drive shouldn't be any different longevity wise as its just an internal drive placed into an enclosure. Of course no hdd's life can be guaranteed however. You won't need to safely eject it every time you shut down, windows will do that for you.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehawk View Post
    Good evening.

    I am a PC user who has always used desktop machines for his every-day tasks(Zero gaming, I use my desktop machine for web development, browsing, dvd burning and Photoshop stuff) but I'm now considering switching to a laptop with heat and storage my two main concerns.

    Right now I already own a laptop that is basically a photocopy of my desktop machine and speed-wise I would say they are identical so speed/performance is not an issue.

    But having said that, I would like to know if today's laptops(I purchased my Dell E6410 last year) are powerful/reliable/efficient/cool enough to be used for 8-10 hours daily with three out of four available USB slots in use (keyboard, mouse, below-mentioned external drive)?

    Speaking of storage, my main concern ahead of the migration, I currently use an internal 2TB drive in my desktop machine for non-important stuff and this is my main concern because I have no idea if an external drive would offer the same reliability as an internal one knowing that it will be on for at least 8-10 hours a day (by reliability I mean a drive that will last for at least a year).

    On a similar note, when turning off the laptop, do I have to "safely remove" the external drive first?

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    So your primary questions are battery life and hard drive reliablity?

    If so the answers are in order:

    1) Battery life depends on two primary factors: battery capacity and system power consumption. Which can be adjusted to fit your needs; for example you can buy an extra battery to double your runtime or use a lower power CPU that will extend your duration. Things such as a SSD instead of a spinning disc also can be beneficial.

    2) hard drive reliablity depends more on brand and luck than being internal or external. [Dropping a drive is damaging regardless of type] and as always I suggest a good backup and recovery policy if you care about your data. [aka recover from any storage from failing]
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by thehawk View Post
    Good evening.

    I am a PC user who has always used desktop machines for his every-day tasks(Zero gaming, I use my desktop machine for web development, browsing, dvd burning and Photoshop stuff) but I'm now considering switching to a laptop with heat and storage my two main concerns.

    Right now I already own a laptop that is basically a photocopy of my desktop machine and speed-wise I would say they are identical so speed/performance is not an issue.

    But having said that, I would like to know if today's laptops(I purchased my Dell E6410 last year) are powerful/reliable/efficient/cool enough to be used for 8-10 hours daily with three out of four available USB slots in use (keyboard, mouse, below-mentioned external drive)?

    Speaking of storage, my main concern ahead of the migration, I currently use an internal 2TB drive in my desktop machine for non-important stuff and this is my main concern because I have no idea if an external drive would offer the same reliability as an internal one knowing that it will be on for at least 8-10 hours a day (by reliability I mean a drive that will last for at least a year).

    On a similar note, when turning off the laptop, do I have to "safely remove" the external drive first?

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    So your primary questions are battery life and hard drive reliablity?

    If so the answers are in order:

    1) Battery life depends on two primary factors: battery capacity and system power consumption. Which can be adjusted to fit your needs; for example you can buy an extra battery to double your runtime or use a lower power CPU that will extend your duration. Things such as a SSD instead of a spinning disc also can be beneficial.

    2) hard drive reliablity depends more on brand and luck than being internal or external. [Dropping a drive is damaging regardless of type] and as always I suggest a good backup and recovery policy if you care about your data. [aka recover from any storage from failing]
    Fast computers breed slow, lazy programmers
    The price of reliability is the pursuit of the utmost simplicity. It is a price which the very rich find most hard to pay.
    http://www.lighterra.com/papers/modernmicroprocessors/
    Modern Ram, makes an old overclocker miss BH-5 and the fun it was

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by shoota View Post
    A powerful laptop would suit your needs just fine. The introduction of sandy bridge has greatly increased performance per watt and in turn they run cooler. Using an external hard drive shouldn't be any different longevity wise as its just an internal drive placed into an enclosure. Of course no hdd's life can be guaranteed however. You won't need to safely eject it every time you shut down, windows will do that for you.
    This. The only other thing that could decrease reliability of an external HDD compared to an internal one is that the external one could be dropped more easily. As long as you are careful I don't see a reason why it would be an issue.

    My set-up actually sounds pretty similar: My laptop run 100% load 24/7/365 on world community grid and has been doing so for 3.5 years now, it has a mouse, a printer and an external HDD always attached via usb. The HDD is also acting as a home server so is generally accessed most of the day. So I doubt reliability is much of a concern.


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  6. #6
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    All very kind with your answers.

    Are there any specific features I should look out for when purchasing an external drive? At the moment I own a WD Elements 2TB that powers itself via an adapter and a USB of course but of course I don't keep it on for 8-10 hours.

    On a similar note, can an external drive be partitioned just like an internal one?

    Also, I believe I should also purchase a laptop stand/cooler to keep the machine cool? Earlier I watched a review of the Zalman ZM-NC2000, would something like that suit my needs?

    Thanks a lot again for the replies.

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