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mexigrl

Jun 26, 2003, 4:15 PM

Post #1 of 18 (3802 views)

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Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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Hi,

First off, I am so in the dark about the computer age so please bear with me! I am looking online (EBAY etc) for a slightly used laptop computer that I will be able to bring to Mexico with me. Could someone with more knowledge than I (perhaps...anyone :) give me some stats on what I would need? What would a good, fairly fast, laptop computer consist of? Also, what about the modem, will I need a certain speed (or lack of speed) to use it in Mexico? I am getting bogged down in the world of RAM, KB, Hard drive....etc!

Please save me!

Mexigrl



johanson / Moderator


Jun 26, 2003, 5:16 PM

Post #2 of 18 (3788 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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I spent quite a few minutes typing, deleting, retyping and deleting. And I still don't know what to write. It would make our, the members of this forum, job easier if we know what you were going to do with this computer, just email, or more complicated applications like digital photography etc

What I can tell you is that PC Pitstop suggests that for an absolute minimum one needs at least a 10 GB hard drive, 128 MB RAM and a 400 MHz processor. Your actual needs may be different, depending on what you will be doing with your computer.


Telephone modem. "56K" And the better the quality the better. But that could be the topic of a 3 page dissertation.

HELP ME GUYS, you too ET


Esteban

Jun 26, 2003, 5:26 PM

Post #3 of 18 (3784 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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How much money do you have to spend? That will determine what you can get. I'd forgo the used computer and get a new one. The prices are low enough it's worth the money to get one that shouldn't have old problems.


mexigrl

Jun 26, 2003, 5:46 PM

Post #4 of 18 (3782 views)

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Re: [johanson] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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I was searching on Half.com and I saw the following computer:

Gateway 2550

Processor Type: Pentium II Processor Speed: 366MHz Hard Drive Capacity: 4.2 GB RAM: 64MB

These were returned from leasing, are in good condition, and are selling for just under $300.00. I also understand that they can be upgraded. There were others available also. This would seem to be much less than buying a new one from what I have been able to find.

My main use will be for internet, email, word docs, and perhaps photos.

Thanks!

Mexigrl


pedrito naco

Jun 26, 2003, 5:50 PM

Post #5 of 18 (3776 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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getting a used one is a good idea if it's over 6 months old.

it's my understanding that if it isn't, you will have to pay duty on it .




common sense is not common-voltaire

















Rolly


Jun 26, 2003, 5:55 PM

Post #6 of 18 (3770 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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If you are going to do much with photos, 64M RAM won't cut it. You'll need to upgrade the RAM to at least 256M, maybe 128M. I have 512, but I'm in the power user class. For $300, why not? Your local computer guru can add more RAM for you if you find you need it for your photo work. If you are using it only for WP and internet, you can live with 64M.



Pedro -- Laptops are always duty free -- old or new, it doesn't matter.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jun 26, 2003, 5:57 PM)


bournemouth

Jun 26, 2003, 6:49 PM

Post #7 of 18 (3759 views)

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Re: [pedrito naco] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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No duty on laptops - you can bring in one laptop with no problems.


mexigrl

Jun 26, 2003, 6:53 PM

Post #8 of 18 (3758 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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Thanks for the info - always can count on you :) I will look around and see if I can find a laptop that already has specifications closer to what you said for a similar price (if such a thing exists). It seems that the $300 price is really low so I might go for that.

As far as being duty free, that only applies if I bring it in with me right? I would love to buy one and ship it down to my boyfriend in DF but was told on this board that you can't send used computers of any type to Mexico.

Muchas Gracias!

Mexigrl


pedrito naco

Jun 26, 2003, 6:59 PM

Post #9 of 18 (3755 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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sorry rolly my brain is fried from all of the info i got on this topic-most of it from you-thanks again.

but here's another question-my puter is slowing down and i suspect its because of all the crap thats on it-i purge the offline files once in a while with my tools but how do ya clean the sucker out except for the stough i want to keep-it's my understanding that everything i've accessed is still here way down in the bowls of this infernal machine.

HELP!




common sense is not common-voltaire

















jerezano

Jun 26, 2003, 7:18 PM

Post #10 of 18 (3753 views)

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Re: [pedrito naco] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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Hello,

You can bring a lap top computer into México without duty. New or used makes no difference. You cannot bring a used desktop into Mexico at all. You can bring a new desktop into Mexico but you must pay duty on it.

So says the Ley de Aduanera. Of course, who knows what will happen at the check point!

Adios. Jerezano.


johanson / Moderator


Jun 26, 2003, 7:43 PM

Post #11 of 18 (3747 views)

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Re: [pedrito naco] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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  • There could be any number of reasons why "puter" appears to be going slower.

    When is the last time you defraged your hard drive?

    On XP you find it by going to programs. accessories, systems tools, disk defragmenter. Click on analyze and the software will tell you whether to defrag or not.

    Or an even simpler solution would be for you to go to www.pcpitstop.com (assuming you have a PC and not a Mac) and let them analyze all kinds of factors for you and make recommendations.

    Good luck. And in answer to another post you made, I will only be in and out of BC for a week and then I'm off to Guatemala and Honduras, mostly on pleasure but also to look at a Fixed Wi Fi (wireless) setup in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

    Welcome back Pedro. Now if only Donald would show up again.



(This post was edited by johanson on Jun 26, 2003, 9:25 PM)


ET

Jun 26, 2003, 10:01 PM

Post #12 of 18 (3735 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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Quote
"mexigrl" writes:
....These were returned from leasing, are in good condition, and are selling for just under $300.00....


Laptops in general lead a hard life being bumped and thumped around to a far greater extent than desktop equipment or servers. This would particularly be the case with leased equipment, where there's no pride of ownership or anybody trying to preserve the service life and investment in their baby. Particularly considering how long ago P-II 366 MHz machines were the cutting edge of technology give some thought to how much of an impact there will be if the machine goes casters up a week, a month, or six months from now.


Quote
My main use will be for internet, email, word docs, and perhaps photos.


Digital image manipulation is processor and memory intensive, particularly when you're working with the output from any of the recent generations of multi-megapixel cameras. Problems will be exacerbated by limited memory and the slow hard drives used in laptops. Think hard about how much time and how seriously you'll be manipulating photos. If it's more than occasional use, I'd be considering moving up on the equipment ladder.


Frank Burton

Jun 28, 2003, 11:05 PM

Post #13 of 18 (3705 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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"You cannot bring a used desktop into Mexico at all."

===========================================================

I asked the Mexican Consulate employee in the States who was handling my FM3 application about bringing a "used desktop computer, for personal use only." She checked with the boss, he okayed it, I listed it on my Menaje de Casa, the Customs Broker at the border said, "if it's on the Menaje, no problem," and it was no problem.

Moral: Even though there is an official policy, exceptions are made.


Frank Burton

Jun 28, 2003, 11:17 PM

Post #14 of 18 (3701 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Computer gurus...updating RAM in Laptops

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"You'll need to upgrade the RAM to at least 256M, maybe 128M."

===============================================================

Hi, Rolly,

I'm not a techie (left the computer field as such w-a-a-a-y back in the olden days in 1979), but here's an experience I had in trying to upgrade a laptop several years ago: Was told that the memory was proprietary and no longer available, so my only option was to buy a new machine. . . . I think I read somewhere that most (all?) of the recent laptops use standardized memory, which therefore can be upgraded.

Comments, any of you who are up-to-date on this?


Rolly


Jun 29, 2003, 6:23 AM

Post #15 of 18 (3695 views)

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Re: [Frank Burton] Computer gurus...updating RAM in Laptops

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Hi Frank,

In the beginning laptops were often proprietary on the inside, although an after market developed for some of the more popular brands. I have, at one time or another, owned three different ones and found some memory and drives could be upgraded with after market parts and some were hard-wired and not upgradeable. I had a Toshiba 5600 (top of the line in its day -- weighed a ton) that had a 100MB drive that could be upgraded with a propietary 200MB at some god-awful price. A little digging at Fry's turned up a nice 500MB that would fit for much less money.

I have not been looking at laptops recently, but it is my understanding from techie friends that most of today’s crop are pretty open.

Also, used computers have always been allowed into Mexico on a menaje. You didn't get a special deal.

Rolly Pirate


(This post was edited by Rolly on Jun 29, 2003, 6:29 AM)


ET

Jun 29, 2003, 12:21 PM

Post #16 of 18 (3673 views)

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Re: [Frank Burton] Computer gurus...updating RAM in Laptops

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Quote
Frank Burton writes:
. . . I think I read somewhere that most (all?) of the recent laptops use standardized memory, which therefore can be upgraded....

With the exception of a few specialty machines such as ultra-portables and super-PDAs, almost all of the laptop manufacturers have settled on using standardized components such as memory modules and hard drives. Unfortunately this doesn't mean that you can breeze into your local computer store or hit your favorite web vendor and order up laptop replacement or expansion parts.
- There are multiple standard "form factors" (standardized physical dimensions) for memory and drives. As an example the current standard "2.5-inch" form-factor hard drives come in three different heights, 9.5, 12.7, and 19 mm. Naturally a taller drive won't always fit into the place of a lower profile unit, but you can't always substitute a thinner drive for fat one because of the loss of surface contact needed for heat transfer.
- Within the same form-factor there's different types (registered and unregistered) and speeds (PC-100, PC-133, DDR-2100, DDR-2700, etc.) of memory. Physical damage to the computer from gross mismatch of memory types (say 5 v. 3.3 v 2.7 volt) is prevented by the use of indexing notches to prevent the wrong type of memory from being fully shoved into a socket but this doesn't prevent eagerly awaited delivery of an upgrade part from turning out to be a total bust.
- There are differences in the way manufacturers construct the RAM modules of the same type and speed. Although it's becoming less common as speeds increase and performance margins tighten, manufacturers of lower cost modules sometimes construct their modules by using higher numbers of lower capacity memory chips. In power-budget and heat sensitive applications such as laptops, this can create problems. Similarly bigger and/or faster hard drives have different power consumption and heat generation profiles which can reduce battery life, strain power supplies, and/or create overheating problems.

What this translates to is not that you can't upgrade recent vintage laptops, but rather that you have to either learn more about the laptop than you might have wanted to, reading the manual and manufacturers specifications in close detail, or that you have to have a knowledgeable service technician or parts vendor. This can be particularly problematic if (a) the equipment is vintage and/or (b) the equipment is being taken out of its original country of sales, which is what it sounds like the original poster is considering.


ET

Jun 29, 2003, 12:23 PM

Post #17 of 18 (3672 views)

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Re: [Frank Burton] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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Frank Burton writes:
I asked the Mexican Consulate employee in the States who was handling my FM3 application about bringing a "used desktop computer, for personal use only." She checked with the boss, he okayed it, I listed it on my Menaje de Casa, the Customs Broker at the border said, "if it's on the Menaje, no problem," and it was no problem.

Moral: Even though there is an official policy, exceptions are made.

Rather than any special treatment, this is simply the case of a different policy and an official exception to the across-the-board prohibition on used "desktop" (i.e. any non-portable) computer. Used desktop computers can be brought into Mexico, (a) as part of your household possessions which are being imported into Mexico on the one-time Menaje de Casa customs exemption, and (b) for specific research projects at the completion of which the computer has to be exported from the country. As with any smuggling activity there are also people who through luck or cunning also bring used desktop equipment into the country and escape detection, quite possibly because of the random, rather than 100% inspection policy the Aduana uses for persons and vehicles entering into Mexico. The risk here is naturally that if you are caught you have to do something with the equipment such as leave it by the roadside - it's not a case of paying very high duties or penalties, it's simply that it's a prohibited item.

In an earlier posting to another forum, the original poster was asking about shipping a used desktop computer into Mexico, which is definitely a non-starter.


jrice

Jun 29, 2003, 9:17 PM

Post #18 of 18 (3652 views)

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Re: [mexigrl] Computer gurus...please save me from myself!

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You've gotten a lot of good advice, so mine may be superfluous.

The computer you mentioned should be fine for e-mail and a few other tasks, and at $300 you can't get too badly burned, though you really need at least 128 megabytes of RAM (random access memory) these days. You can order another 64 or 128 megabytes from a place like www.simpletech.com or www.promo.crucial.com. Any computer shop should be able to fix you up pretty cheaply and quickly.

One advantage of bringing a computer in from the U.S. is that you'll get a U.S. keyboard (that can be a disadvantage, of course, if you plan to do much writing in Spanish). Youl be able to do a little light photo work (particularly if you upgrade the RAM).

And laptops, even more than desktops, tend to be a tad more expensive here.

That said ...

If you are going to be living down here for awhile, you might consider getting a somewhat better machine. You can get a new Dell with a 14-inch screen, a 2 gigahertz processor (almost 6x what you are looking at) a 20 gigabyte hard drive (more than 4x what you are getting), 128 megabytes of ram (and faster ram), a CD-ROM drive (you need one) and a legal version of Windows and word perfect -- with a guarantee -- for $900. Other companies may be even cheaper. You might even be able to get U.S.-rate financing on some of them.

On the other hand, there something to be said for paying $300 every few years for an old machine on the edge of obsolescence.

If you are looking for a desktop, some companies here are selling new boxes for as little as $250, though you'd have to get a monitor and, most likely, software -- at least if you want legal software. There is always Linux (which is basically free) of course (this is written with Linux on an old 350 mhz machine), but I wouldn't recommend that if you're just getting started.



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