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Need Help Buying New Laptop

#1 User is offline   RebelDroid 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 08:56 AM

I'm going to college to study digital media and i'm looking to buy a new laptop. Right now I'm thinking about buying and XPS 17 3D. I could get two laptops, one for doing class work on my major (video and image editing) and another for fun stuff like games (MMO) and personal use. I just figured it was easier to have it all in one laptop like the XPS 17. I need it to last four years and a long battery life is important, at least 4 or 5 hours. If anyone has suggestions they would greatly be appreciated.
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#2 User is offline   orlbuckeye 

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Posted 02 August 2011 - 09:18 AM

View PostRebelDroid, on 02 August 2011 - 08:56 AM, said:

I'm going to college to study digital media and i'm looking to buy a new laptop. Right now I'm thinking about buying and XPS 17 3D. I could get two laptops, one for doing class work on my major (video and image editing) and another for fun stuff like games (MMO) and personal use. I just figured it was easier to have it all in one laptop like the XPS 17. I need it to last four years and a long battery life is important, at least 4 or 5 hours. If anyone has suggestions they would greatly be appreciated.



Ok that XPS will be over or close to 2000.00 alone and it will becapable of playing lots of games and doing your video stuff. Because it's built for power and uses powerfull components it won't get the battery of a laptop that isn't as powerfull. So typically you either want power or battery life not both. Now the new generation processor are improving bettery life but there is still a relationshop between power and battery life. If you want to get 2 laptops maybe you should get a powerfull one to play games and do you video editing say an i7 processor and a mobile i3 with lots of battery life for fun other then the newest powerfull games.
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#3 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 08:33 AM

View PostRebelDroid, on 02 August 2011 - 08:56 AM, said:

I'm going to college to study digital media and i'm looking to buy a new laptop. Right now I'm thinking about buying and XPS 17 3D. I could get two laptops, one for doing class work on my major (video and image editing) and another for fun stuff like games (MMO) and personal use. I just figured it was easier to have it all in one laptop like the XPS 17. I need it to last four years and a long battery life is important, at least 4 or 5 hours. If anyone has suggestions they would greatly be appreciated.


Hi, Rebel, and welcome to the forums.

In your situation, I would seriously consider buying a good ultraportable with long battery life, and a desktop PC. The desktop gives you a bigger screen and much more power for the money. (Video editing and gaming both work better with plenty of power.)

And will so much going on in the cloud, using two computers is much easier than it's ever been. Use a web-based email client and calendar. And Dropbox to synchronize your important files between the computers.

Lincoln
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#4 User is offline   RebelDroid 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:11 AM

Thank you for the feedback :) Now im stuck again, so what are some good ultraportables or netbooks even that have a good battery life and could pack a punch. I did originally plan on getting a desktop and then something I could take around all day and still us it was a gaming computer and hook it up to my tv via HDMI.
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#5 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 09:53 AM

http://shop.lenovo.c...W520/index.html

Get it with the 1080P display and Quadro 2000 if you can. The 2000 is a very powerful video card with certified drivers for work use, and can still play any game on the market. The 1080p display is good for 95% of the RGB color gamut. Very useful for photos.
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#6 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 10:55 AM

What is your budget? That will have a LOT of an effect as to what people could recommend.

As noted, in laptops you generally pay a price in terms of portability and battery life if you want more power. This is not to say that you cannot find laptops that still have decent battery life but can still play games reasonably well. But, generally speaking, you likely can get a desktop for a lot less that will play games better than most laptops.

From my perspective, it really comes down to how "bleeding edge" do you want to be for playing your games.

If you want to be able to put your games on the highest settings and still get great frame rates, then you likely will be better getting a desktop that you put some money into and some sort of "utility" laptop or even maybe netbook...or if your budget allows a more powerful laptop that can play games OK, but not as good as what a good desktop might do.

If your budget is more limited and don't need to play games on the highest setting, then just a laptop like what waldojim suggested might work. He had spent a lot of time and effort finding a laptop that would work for high with decent power, but still decent battery life. While it likely can't do as well as good desktop for playing games, it should do fairly well. And since I believe his was delivered this weekend, he likely can give you a good feel for how well it works.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that while a good computer should be able to last a number of years, over time it will start to have more troubles with newer games. This could be an argument for getting a desktop and a (less powerful) laptop...since a desktop is generally more upgradable.
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#7 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:14 AM

View Postsmax013, on 03 August 2011 - 10:55 AM, said:

What is your budget? That will have a LOT of an effect as to what people could recommend.

As noted, in laptops you generally pay a price in terms of portability and battery life if you want more power. This is not to say that you cannot find laptops that still have decent battery life but can still play games reasonably well. But, generally speaking, you likely can get a desktop for a lot less that will play games better than most laptops.

From my perspective, it really comes down to how "bleeding edge" do you want to be for playing your games.

If you want to be able to put your games on the highest settings and still get great frame rates, then you likely will be better getting a desktop that you put some money into and some sort of "utility" laptop or even maybe netbook...or if your budget allows a more powerful laptop that can play games OK, but not as good as what a good desktop might do.

If your budget is more limited and don't need to play games on the highest setting, then just a laptop like what waldojim suggested might work. He had spent a lot of time and effort finding a laptop that would work for high with decent power, but still decent battery life. While it likely can't do as well as good desktop for playing games, it should do fairly well. And since I believe his was delivered this weekend, he likely can give you a good feel for how well it works.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that while a good computer should be able to last a number of years, over time it will start to have more troubles with newer games. This could be an argument for getting a desktop and a (less powerful) laptop...since a desktop is generally more upgradable.


UPS lost the laptop. Waiting on a trace, then they pay Lenovo to replace it. Then I wait another 2 weeks for a new one to get shipped. As the damn thing was scanned out (physically) to go on a truck, I am betting on stolen. I hope that bastard gets fired for it too.
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#8 User is offline   RebelDroid 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 11:33 AM

Well budget is about 1400$ or 1300$. These are all helpful pointers. What specs should I pay extra attention to? I'm really thinking about going with a desktop and laptop.
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#9 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 12:57 PM

View Postwaldojim, on 03 August 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

UPS lost the laptop. Waiting on a trace, then they pay Lenovo to replace it. Then I wait another 2 weeks for a new one to get shipped. As the damn thing was scanned out (physically) to go on a truck, I am betting on stolen. I hope that bastard gets fired for it too.


Dude! You are just having the worst luck with trying to get a new laptop.

Maybe it is the universe sending you a signal that you should have gone with the Mac after all! ;)
Good riddance PCWorld.
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#10 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 01:07 PM

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Well budget is about 1400$ or 1300$. These are all helpful pointers. What specs should I pay extra attention to? I'm really thinking about going with a desktop and laptop.


With a budget of that amount, doing both a desktop that plays games really well and a laptop that can still do reasonably well with games becomes tougher. I am not saying it is not possible, but it will likely be a function of how you might define "reasonably well" in terms of gaming performance.

You can likely get a desktop for around $900 to $1000 that does very well with games, but that will leave you with $400 to $500 for the laptop. I am guessing that in that range, you are likely going to be a little hard pressed to find a laptop that will do "reasonably well" with games...at least how I define "reasonably well". So, more than likely with this route you are going to do most, if not all, of your gaming with the desktop and save the laptop for more "normal" stuff.

With that budget, if you really want some portable gaming, then you likely will want to just do a laptop and look at something along the lines of what waldojim suggested. There will be lots of options in the price range with decent power and decent battery life. They ain't gonna be a "gaming monster" like you could get for that kind of money with a desktop, but they will do pretty well with games as long as you don't need the highest settings on the newest games. If you want to maintain rather good battery life, then you will likely want to look for one that has both integrated graphics and a dedicated graphics card...and can automatically switch between the two depending on whether you are doing graphically intensive things or not. More and more laptops are going this route as it save battery life when you doing things like browsing and word processing, etc.
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#11 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 01:22 PM

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Well budget is about 1400$ or 1300$. These are all helpful pointers. What specs should I pay extra attention to? I'm really thinking about going with a desktop and laptop.

Quote


4270CTO ThinkPad W520 - 1 Yr Depot Topseller Warranty


Processor

Intel Core i7-2620M Processor (2.70GHz, 4MB L3)

Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64

Operating system language Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 US English

Display type 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display, Mobile Broadband Ready

System graphics NVIDIA Quadro 1000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory

Total memory 6 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)

Keyboard Keyboard US English

Pointing device UltraNav with TrackPoint & touchpad

Camera 720p Camera

Storage subsystem Internal RAID - Not Enabled

Hard drive 500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm

Optical device DVD recordable multiburner

System expansion slots Express Card Slot & 4 in 1 Card Reader

Battery 9 cell Li-Ion Battery - 55++

Power cord Country Pack North America with Line cord & 170W AC adapter

Bluetooth Bluetooth 3.0

Integrated WiFi wireless LAN adapters ThinkPad b/g/n

Integrated mobile broadband Integrated Mobile Broadband - Upgradable

Language pack Language Pack US English

That was $1400 shipped. Yes it will game, not the best, but will do everything a GT540m will do. For the record, that makes this machine as powerful as the Alienware M11X, at the same weight, with a 10x better display.
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#12 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 04:48 PM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 03 August 2011 - 08:33 AM, said:

In your situation, I would seriously consider buying a good ultraportable with long battery life, and a desktop PC. The desktop gives you a bigger screen and much more power for the money. (Video editing and gaming both work better with plenty of power.)

And will so much going on in the cloud, using two computers is much easier than it's ever been. Use a web-based email client and calendar. And Dropbox to synchronize your important files between the computers.

Lincoln


That's the way I do things. I have a $450 Thinkpad x120e (got it a few months ago) for mobile stuff and a $800 or so i5 desktop (that was 1.5 years ago though). The laptop does stuff like web surfing, playing video and music, and word docs and the desktop does photo managing, virtualization, and video editing. Granted, the laptop can only play some games at very low settings (low detail; 1024x600), but it was cheap and it does all I need to do on the go.

To sync, I have hotmail email with the Windows Live Mail client (all sync'd to the cloud) and I use Windows Live Mesh for my files (just my docs, up to 5GB). Gmail can also be set up on multiple machines with IMAP; also sync to the cloud. SOOO much eaiser than ol' POP3. I move my music manually though because I have too much for live mesh.
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#13 User is offline   LincolnSpector 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:10 AM

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 09:11 AM, said:

Thank you for the feedback :) Now im stuck again, so what are some good ultraportables or netbooks even that have a good battery life and could pack a punch. I did originally plan on getting a desktop and then something I could take around all day and still us it was a gaming computer and hook it up to my tv via HDMI.


I have a Lenovo X220 utlraportable and I love it. It's powerful enough for all of my uses (I'm not a gamer and only occasionally edit video) and lasts about 6 hours on a charge. It's not as light as a netbook, but it's close.

Lincoln
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#14 User is offline   compnovo 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:57 AM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 04 August 2011 - 08:10 AM, said:

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 09:11 AM, said:

Thank you for the feedback :) Now im stuck again, so what are some good ultraportables or netbooks even that have a good battery life and could pack a punch. I did originally plan on getting a desktop and then something I could take around all day and still us it was a gaming computer and hook it up to my tv via HDMI.


I have a Lenovo X220 utlraportable and I love it. It's powerful enough for all of my uses (I'm not a gamer and only occasionally edit video) and lasts about 6 hours on a charge. It's not as light as a netbook, but it's close.

Lincoln

Hi RebelDroid,
I don't know what your timeline is but if you can wait a while for the laptop AMD has just released the new Llano APU that looks like it's going to be a great processor for portables. Here's a PC World article:
http://www.pcworld.c...a_big_deal.html
Just a thought...
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#15 User is offline   cyberknight 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 09:26 AM

View PostRebelDroid, on 02 August 2011 - 08:56 AM, said:

I'm going to college to study digital media and i'm looking to buy a new laptop. Right now I'm thinking about buying and XPS 17 3D. I could get two laptops, one for doing class work on my major (video and image editing) and another for fun stuff like games (MMO) and personal use. I just figured it was easier to have it all in one laptop like the XPS 17. I need it to last four years and a long battery life is important, at least 4 or 5 hours. If anyone has suggestions they would greatly be appreciated.

Basically there are 3 options, u buy 2 laptops or desktop plus laptop or one powerful gaming laptop. In this matter your budget will dictate the most. And seeing that, 2 laptops is out of question!
So u could get a good gaming desktop for $1k that would easily do video/image editing as well. But u would require around $700 more for some decent laptop.
Also i see that your class work involves image/video editing. Now if u need to do this task on the move then there is no other option but to get a single powerful laptop, 'cause such tasks are always demanding. Also are u sure u need 3D? Anyways power & battery life don't go together, but 8cell(or more) battery should give u significant time. It will add to the weight as well!
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#16 User is offline   LiveBrianD 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 12:25 PM

View PostLincolnSpector, on 04 August 2011 - 08:10 AM, said:

<br />

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 09:11 AM, said:

<br />Thank you for the feedback <img src='http://forums.pcworld.com/public/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' /> Now im stuck again, so what are some good ultraportables or netbooks even that have a good battery life and could pack a punch. I did originally plan on getting a desktop and then something I could take around all day and still us it was a gaming computer and hook it up to my tv via HDMI.

I have a Lenovo X220 utlraportable and I love it. It's powerful enough for all of my uses (I'm not a gamer and only occasionally edit video) and lasts about 6 hours on a charge. It's not as light as a netbook, but it's close.
Lincoln
T

That costs $800+ right? I think that might be too much for his budget, particularly if he's also getting a desktop. On the other hand, it also depends on how much power he wants - I don't care about power much with my thinkpad x120e, but I guess you care a bit more since you have the x120e's more powerful relative, the x220.

This post has been edited by LiveBrianD: 04 August 2011 - 12:26 PM

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#17 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 02:00 PM

If you are willing to chance it (I won't again, the customer service is horrid), the Sony SB is another option. i7 + 6630 = FAST. @ 3 1/2 pounds or so, it is also fairly light.

Costs a pretty penny though.
"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" -- Isaac Asimov

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#18 User is offline   cyberknight 

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 07:52 AM

View Postorlbuckeye, on 02 August 2011 - 09:18 AM, said:

Ok that XPS will be over or close to 2000.00 alone and it will becapable of playing lots of games and doing your video stuff. Because it's built for power and uses powerfull components it won't get the battery of a laptop that isn't as powerfull. So typically you either want power or battery life not both.

XPS 17 has some nice specs which should satisfy all needs & it will be well under $2k. The battery is a 9 cell one, should have a decent life despite the quad core & a high end gpu.

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Well budget is about 1400$ or 1300$. These are all helpful pointers. What specs should I pay extra attention to? I'm really thinking about going with a desktop and laptop.

With that budget its best to go for a gaming laptop alone. It will easily handle the editing works as well. For your needs, the primary concern should be gpu & then processor. Here are the various configs of XPS 17. I would suggest going with the $1300 one(not the 3D).
XPS 17

This is what the config should state
2nd gen i7-2630QM 2Ghz(Quad core)
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
17.3" Full HD(1920x1080p) with 2MP webcam
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM(dual channel)
1000GB Hard disk (7200rpm)
Nvidia GT555M 3GB video memory
Blu-Ray Combo Drive
9-cell battery(90Whr)

My main reason for suggesting this is the GT555M gpu. Its top class & given the 17.3" FHD(1080p) display, the 3GB graphic memory should come handy.
Lookin 4 trouble
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Laptop: Sony VAIO
i5-480M 2.67GHz (2.93GHz with Turbo Boost)
ATI mobility Radeon HD 5650, 1GB
4GB(2x2GB)RAM, DDR3 1066Mhz
500GB HDD (5400rpm)
15.5" LCD display
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
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#19 User is offline   waldojim 

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:11 PM

View Postcyberknight, on 06 August 2011 - 07:52 AM, said:

View Postorlbuckeye, on 02 August 2011 - 09:18 AM, said:

Ok that XPS will be over or close to 2000.00 alone and it will becapable of playing lots of games and doing your video stuff. Because it's built for power and uses powerfull components it won't get the battery of a laptop that isn't as powerfull. So typically you either want power or battery life not both.

XPS 17 has some nice specs which should satisfy all needs & it will be well under $2k. The battery is a 9 cell one, should have a decent life despite the quad core & a high end gpu.

View PostRebelDroid, on 03 August 2011 - 11:33 AM, said:

Well budget is about 1400$ or 1300$. These are all helpful pointers. What specs should I pay extra attention to? I'm really thinking about going with a desktop and laptop.

With that budget its best to go for a gaming laptop alone. It will easily handle the editing works as well. For your needs, the primary concern should be gpu & then processor. Here are the various configs of XPS 17. I would suggest going with the $1300 one(not the 3D).
XPS 17

This is what the config should state
2nd gen i7-2630QM 2Ghz(Quad core)
Win7 Home Premium 64-bit
17.3" Full HD(1920x1080p) with 2MP webcam
8GB DDR3 1333Mhz RAM(dual channel)
1000GB Hard disk (7200rpm)
Nvidia GT555M 3GB video memory
Blu-Ray Combo Drive
9-cell battery(90Whr)

My main reason for suggesting this is the GT555M gpu. Its top class & given the 17.3" FHD(1080p) display, the 3GB graphic memory should come handy.


There is absolutely zero performance difference (at 1080P) between the 1.5GB and 3GB cards. That is because the memory bus is neither wide enough for it, nor is the ram ddr5. The bandwidth isn't there.
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Posted 06 August 2011 - 12:54 PM

View Postwaldojim, on 03 August 2011 - 11:14 AM, said:

View Postsmax013, on 03 August 2011 - 10:55 AM, said:

What is your budget? That will have a LOT of an effect as to what people could recommend.

As noted, in laptops you generally pay a price in terms of portability and battery life if you want more power. This is not to say that you cannot find laptops that still have decent battery life but can still play games reasonably well. But, generally speaking, you likely can get a desktop for a lot less that will play games better than most laptops.

From my perspective, it really comes down to how "bleeding edge" do you want to be for playing your games.

If you want to be able to put your games on the highest settings and still get great frame rates, then you likely will be better getting a desktop that you put some money into and some sort of "utility" laptop or even maybe netbook...or if your budget allows a more powerful laptop that can play games OK, but not as good as what a good desktop might do.

If your budget is more limited and don't need to play games on the highest setting, then just a laptop like what waldojim suggested might work. He had spent a lot of time and effort finding a laptop that would work for high with decent power, but still decent battery life. While it likely can't do as well as good desktop for playing games, it should do fairly well. And since I believe his was delivered this weekend, he likely can give you a good feel for how well it works.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that while a good computer should be able to last a number of years, over time it will start to have more troubles with newer games. This could be an argument for getting a desktop and a (less powerful) laptop...since a desktop is generally more upgradable.


UPS lost the laptop. Waiting on a trace, then they pay Lenovo to replace it. Then I wait another 2 weeks for a new one to get shipped. As the damn thing was scanned out (physically) to go on a truck, I am betting on stolen. I hope that bastard gets fired for it too.


Probably. It would almost have to be done AFTER it was scanned and put on the truck. The security in the terminal is too tight to try and get it out from there ( my sister worked at UPS here ). In other words, you can't just pick up something and walk out the door with it. My guess it was the driver.
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