View Full Version : JET -> Money -> Laptop opinion

December 22nd, 2011, 13:23
To begin, I am sorry if this is in the wrong place. I believed this to be both applicable in the Lounge and relevant to JET.

The scenario:
I will be selling many things prior to leaving to Japan, among these is my desktop computer; however, I do coding, game development, video processing and other intensive applications on my desktop. I will need a computer prior to/upon arriving in Japan.

The current situation:
I am considering purchasing a production custom-built laptop to handle these tasks prior to departure, but I am comparing the tradeoffs between cost of parts and portability. Edit: Also, I am assuming I will be able to use the laptop for standard Office tasks while waiting between periods and grading tests.

Your opinion/experience:
Currently, I am in favor of the laptop option; however, if I were to return to the US after my contract, is it inexpensive to ship a full desktop (monitors and all)? Alternatively, would it be more in my interest to purchase the laptop beforehand for its international and domestic portability or do you think the computing power of a desktop would outweigh the disadvantage of weight and potential for additional shipping costs?

Thanks for your time,

December 22nd, 2011, 15:59
I am also interested in this topic as well, considering I do heavy graphic design and web/mobile app development and weighing the options of a desktop or just sticking with a laptop.

December 22nd, 2011, 16:16
Sounds to me like you've already thought about this enough to answer it yourself.

If you feel that mobility is more important than performance, get a laptop. Otherwise, get a desktop.

December 22nd, 2011, 17:32
I'll likely be giving away my current gaming desktop (it's dated) and building a new one over there. I'll have my ipad for portability and a solid gaming rig set up at home.

When I leave Japan, depending on costs I might leave the computer there, or bring it home... possible even just bringing the tower home and leaving the peripherals.

I'd rather the power of a desktop. I've never had any luck with using laptops for more than word processing.

December 22nd, 2011, 20:16
Why not both? Get a cheap(as in very) laptop for schoolwork / whatever other portable tasks you might be wanting to do and a desktop for the stuff that actually needs the grunt. You'll end up paying less than if you went with a high end laptop and be pretty close to having all the perks, especially if you have a bit of a play round with ssh/rdp so that you can reach your main computer from the laptop(obviously some drawbacks).

Depending on how long you're in japan for(and as a high end user) you'll probably be very tempted to get a new computer by the time you leave anyway so just pop out the hard drives and take them and the laptop with you and rebuild your next gen rig at home plug in your old hdd for all that data and you're set.

Just a quick note on windows (if you use it) you should be aware you need the ultimate version of win7 for the ability to install aditional language packs. You don't need ultimate to use/add additional keyboards (i.e. IME keyboard for japanese text entry) and you can use applocale(applocal?) to run most programs that have language compatibility issues which probably means ultimates not worth the extra cost but is something to keep in mind.

December 24th, 2011, 11:40
So, is the costs of shipping a desktop to Japan worth it? Or am I just better off rebuilding my desktop in Japan?

December 24th, 2011, 14:54
I just finished a new desktop build literally right before I was upgraded so I was taking it with me fore sure. It cost me about ~$200-250 to ship the parts over via EMS. I just bought a new case and monitors from amazon/second hand stores here. So, in all about $500-600 versus $1300 to rebuild. It was worth it to me.

I can't stand laptops, and even if I did get one for school there's teachers spying over my shoulder every second so there's no point. I just use the crappy PC they provide me with and surf wikipedia and grammar guides all day since pretty much every other website is blocked. Anyway, ask yourself: do you really need a powerful super-laptop at school where you'll probably be in a classroom several/all periods a day? Would its portability (which seems to be the only major pro you listed here) really benefit you at home? Outside of home? How much free time do you think you're gonna have? My build is for graphics, painting, and some video editing. I've had zero time to do that since I've gotten here.

December 24th, 2011, 15:02
I believe the final verdict for me is to buy a desktop and ship them over.

The high-end laptop (http://www.heypasteit.com/clip/05LL) (paste-bin type link) I built would cost $2400.
Full link: http://www.heypasteit.com/clip/05LL

Quick Edit: Realized that newegg takes up to 24 hours to make a wishlist public (sorry if it isn't available when you read this)
A desktop with better parts (http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=18104172) (newegg wishlist) would only cost $1400.
Full link: http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=18104172 (https://secure.newegg.com/WishList/MySavedWishDetail.aspx?ID=18104172)

I am willing to spend a couple hundred of the $1000 I saved over the laptop for the extra grunt in my system. You can easily compare the stats yourself from the links, and I resign myself to the fact that it will most likely only be used after work.

Thanks everyone for your opinion!

December 25th, 2011, 02:16
My current system (I'm a gamer so I need good parts) is a bit dated, and applying for JET is one of the reasons I'm not updating it right now. I plan on taking my laptops and my external HDDs when I go to Japan and then a month or two once I have some nice spending cash, build a medium-high end rig. I figure if I get stuck in the deepest inaka place, as long as I have high speed internet, I can stay amused with online games. Alternately, I might just save up even more and just get one of those obscenely priced (and spec'd) laptops and use that. Still weighing the possibilities.

On the plus side, my gaming rig also helps heat my apartment here in Florida on really cold days. Just crank up a nice 3d game and you can feel the room getting slightly warmer :)

December 25th, 2011, 02:23
I had these thoughts before coming to Japan, but I had a decent computer I was happy with before so wanted to keep it.

I simply dismantled it, anti-static and bubble-wrapped it, stuck in my clothes and it arrived here fine. The case, PSU and Monitor I bit the bullet and got again in Japan. Considering your hobbies, I assume you're capable of dismantling your computer fine.

Only part I kept in my hand luggage was the hard drives, due to their fickle nature.

December 25th, 2011, 03:24
Very true MJN, my system is a bit older (2 1/2 years) so it is due to be rebuilt. not sure if I'm going to be giving the old one to a friend for his kids to play on after removing data, yanking the hdd and then giving to him(after helping him reinstall an OS on it) or whatever.

December 25th, 2011, 10:20
I took my desktop to Japan with me. Removed all the bits and put them in my hand liggage then got a new case, monitor,etc... over here.Dunno what i will do for going home, it will be about time for a new one then anyway...
Posted via Mobile Device

December 25th, 2011, 11:45
Also, I'm thinking about getting a hard-shell case to ensure no "accidents" happen to my new investment during transit. Anyone happen to know of any other company besides casesbypelican?

December 27th, 2011, 12:45
When i shipped mine over it cost me about 120 dollars, granted this was through my fathers work so their was a discount.

December 27th, 2011, 14:05
Was their really?

December 28th, 2011, 01:07
they're was indeed.

January 4th, 2012, 01:59
I won't bother to read this whole thread (possible mistake) but if you're good enough with PCs, ditch your case, and use a prepaid USPS box to mail yourself all your important parts (HD, Mobo, vid cards, etc). It'll be about $45 to do, take about a week to arrive. Then buy a new case in any local PC shop and reconstruct it.

Laptops will always disappoint for intensive tasks, ALWAYS.

January 8th, 2012, 21:14
I built a desktop before coming over here last summer. I just put the case, with all the parts assembled inside of it, in the box it came in and brought it as one of my two checked bags. My case is an Antec Twelve Hundred just for reference.

I took the base off my monitor so it was flat and put it in the middle of my suitcase. Clothes on top, clothes on the bottom. Everything arrived and worked perfectly fine.

Save yourself some money and ship your winter clothes to yourself. Coats and sweaters weigh and cost relatively little to ship compared to shipping your computer.

January 10th, 2012, 13:58
Leave the monitor at home or sell it. Buy a new one here, or buy a really nice TV here. As for the desktop, bring the parts, leave the chassis. You can order chassis through amazon or rakuten easily enough. Getting it out, not so much of a problem as getting it in.

Also remember that IF you get on JET, you will eventually have someone replace you (unless you're a colossal screw up) and they might buy it off you so you can recover some costs when you go home.

I do recommend the carry on luggage approach though. I vaguely remember being one piece of carry on short which could've been my PC.

January 16th, 2012, 03:30
I've got a G51J-A1 laptop that I used to use in Cambodia for gaming. It's in good shape, but now that I'm settled down I don't need it anymore. It's a damn solid laptop and I got it new at the end of 2009 for around $1,600. If anyone wants it, send me a message, as I'll sell it for a fraction of that.

Newegg.com - ASUS G Series G51J-A1 NoteBook Intel Core i7 720QM(1.60GHz) 15.6" 4GB Memory 640GB HDD 7200rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260M (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220605)

January 21st, 2012, 05:20
I wanted to point out that many contracting organizations don't allow JETs to use personal computers in the office. I had a laptop that I took with me instead of trying to pack my desktop, and I wasn't allowed to use it at my schools. Some of them provided me with a computer, but that was a crapshoot. That said, I'm glad I didn't have to pay to ship PC parts, and while I did, of course, pack too much, I didn't have any room in my luggage to squirrel them away.