Need a Laptop for College

Laptops, PDAs, Cell Phones, and all other tech that you carry with you.

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Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sun Jun 20, 2010 6:56 pm

I've been absent lately from the forums but still try and read up as much as I can. College is going to be getting started in August, but would like to get the laptop as soon as possible, in case there is anything wrong, etc. I'm not looking to replace my desktop for gaming but would like a something other than Intel graphics. I would like to keep it around $500-$700. If there is something though amazing that is more, then I might be interested. I have been looking at a few Dells but that's as far as I have searched. I know very little about laptops and their ways of naming CPU/GPUs. Any help in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:02 pm

notebookcheck.net for gpu's. For 500-700 dollars you could get a decent machine, but the recommendations will entirely depend on what you want from your laptop. How much does battery life matter? How much do you care about weight and size matter? I've used from under 3.8 pounds to 8 pound notebooks. I didn't have any problem carrying a 5 pound laptop everyday (including books and other stuff). I wouldn't go much bigger than that though. Like I don't think I'd like to carry my xps 16 to school everyday (if I went back).
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:15 pm

Why do you want a non-Intel GPU for things besides gaming?
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:13 pm

If you want to keep your budget at $500-700, forget non-Intel Graphics. If you are NOT gaming on this notebook (e.g. Far Cry 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare etc.), then I personally recommend a Lenovo Thinkpad L or an SL series. Yes, it's a real Thinkpad.

Thinkpad SL Series: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=393651299AA2442B937039C5DECF1DBF

Thinkpad L series: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/web/LenovoPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=E40C202EFB1E4EB181C7D2D08172A68C


If you want AMD or nVidia graphics meant for games, you will spend at least $900 on a notebook, probably closer to $1200 or so. HP might be more helpful here. http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can_series.do?storeName=computer_store&category=notebooks&a1=Category&v1=High+performance&series_name=dv7tse_series&jumpid=in_R329_prodexp/hhoslp/psg/notebooks/High_performance/dv7tse_series
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:52 pm

You may want to give some refurbed laptops a look if you want to save money. Dell and Lenovo's Outlet stores are good places to look. Tigerdirect also has some nice deals on refurb models, like this one:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications ... =WEM2314FB

AMD graphics and a Blu-ray drive for a nice price (the resolution sucks though).
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Mon Jun 21, 2010 10:50 pm

Just saw this deal. At 400$ its not bad. It has radeon 4250 graphics. I'm not really sure what the cpu is like but at that price its pretty good. I can totally understand wanting anything over intel purely even for compatibility with games whether or not you game too much with it.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:54 am

ApockofFork wrote:Just saw this deal. At 400$ its not bad. It has radeon 4250 graphics. I'm not really sure what the cpu is like but at that price its pretty good. I can totally understand wanting anything over intel purely even for compatibility with games whether or not you game too much with it.


Link, please.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:07 am

riviera74 wrote:
ApockofFork wrote:Just saw this deal. At 400$ its not bad. It has radeon 4250 graphics. I'm not really sure what the cpu is like but at that price its pretty good. I can totally understand wanting anything over intel purely even for compatibility with games whether or not you game too much with it.


Link, please.

See 2 posts above yours.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 11:23 am

Captain Ned wrote:
riviera74 wrote:
ApockofFork wrote:Just saw this deal. At 400$ its not bad. It has radeon 4250 graphics. I'm not really sure what the cpu is like but at that price its pretty good. I can totally understand wanting anything over intel purely even for compatibility with games whether or not you game too much with it.


Link, please.

See 2 posts above yours.



Sorry. My bad. Thank you.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:33 pm

SNM wrote:Why do you want a non-Intel GPU for things besides gaming?

ATI/Nvidia would seem to be able to offer better support and possibly performance and more driver updates. I've used Intel GMA and just wasnt impressed with software or the hardware.

riviera74 wrote:If you want to keep your budget at $500-700, forget non-Intel Graphics.

I've found some with maily ATI but some Nvidia GPUs. They were also maily Dell (I can get $50 off any Dell, so it helps)
http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndon08&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19 Is the one I'm considering.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115794
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220735


Battery life isn't too important with me as I won't have that many classes. Weight for me really isn't a factor. I realize I won't get a high end laptop so I should be fine weight wise.
What about build quality though? Are the Lenova's and HPs linked far better build qaulity? Thanks for the help guys.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:08 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:
SNM wrote:Why do you want a non-Intel GPU for things besides gaming?

ATI/Nvidia would seem to be able to offer better support and possibly performance and more driver updates. I've used Intel GMA and just wasnt impressed with software or the hardware.

Intel integrated will properly decode any HD video you care to toss at it. If you do want to do some gaming, go ahead and say so, but otherwise Intel will satisfy your needs, and let you have more battery life while you're at it.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:31 pm

Have you come to a decision? I know I'm a bit late to the thread, but I've got a couple comments.

1) You'll have time to futz around with it when you get to school. Considering how amazing some back to school deals are, I'd say it behooves you to wait on it. You'll get more computer for your money.

2) You can get nice graphics in a cheaper laptop. Mine was $825 after all the options I chose, and it has decent gaming silicon (Radeon HD 4570) with a nice screen and HDD...

As far as naming:

CPUs: Core i3/i5/i7 are not drastically different silicon. For what each one actually is, check these lists: i3 / i5 /i7. To get an idea of relative performance, check out a benchmark list like this one.

GPUs: Again with the Wikipedia lists: One for Geforces, one for Radeons. Note that in the mobile world rebranding is done egregiously by both sides. My HD 4570 is a rebranded chip and is the exact same as the successor HD 5470 except for a die shrunk, for example. For relative performance,my google-fu is failing to find a comparo chart though I recall one existing, This is about the best you'll find. Perhaps just google "GTX 260M vs Mobility Radeon HD 4870" or something of the sort with any two you have in mind, and dig up one of the millions of forum posts that answer for any competing pair of cards.
If you do want Optimus, (send in the trolls), you're stuck with nVidia. Take a look at the idle power of a non-optimus solution with either ATi or nVidia and see if it's satisfactory (my laptop is good for almost six hours if the proc is underclocked, and it has discrete graphics).

Best of luck! Sorry for the whole not noticing the post for a whole week bit there...
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:20 am

If you have not come to a decision yet, I would like to add another option if you are willing to go a little out of your budget. Microcenter is selling the 13.3" MacBook Pro for $999.99 before taxes:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_produ ... id=0314210

It has a 7 hour battery life and a GeForce 9400M. Since Valve has been porting its games to Mac OS X, many of the games you own through Valve could probably be installed on it. Its main downsides are its unorthodox touchpad and its integrated battery, but if you are willing to adapt, it should be usable.

You probably could get a copy of Microsoft Office for Mac OS X from your university for free, but if you cannot, you can always install WINE on it to be able to run the Windows version of Microsoft Office without any virtualization:

http://wiki.winehq.org/MacOSX

You also would have the option of running Windows on it via Bootcamp.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:01 pm

My apologies for the late response. I still haven't purchased a laptop and am still looking. Saw the HP on homepage and thought about that. Had some car problems so any money saved is good. I came across this new Acer. I realize it is pretty tiny, however I will have my desktop there for typing papers and more formal work. I'm curious about that AMD CPU though? New release I'm guessing. As for a Mac, I'll just say they really aren't my thing but thanks you for taking the time and looking. Thanks for the help guys.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Sat Jul 24, 2010 9:19 pm

So I've managed to pick myself up an Acer Aspire 1551. I believe that they are relatively new to the market so there wasn't many reviews. Specs are:
AMD NeoX2 K625 (1.5Ghz)-Decent dual core. Not to sure on its architecture. Will find more specs later on.
ATI 4225-Good for light gaming, flash playing. So far been very solid. From what I can tell it runs cool.
4GB DDR3
320GB HD(5400)
6 cell Battery
Wireless b/g/n
11.6in Sceen with native resolution of 1366x768. Not the largest but seemed to be leaning towards something more thin for college. Wanted a full size keyboard though so this was perfect.
There is no disc drive however, so will limit compatibility in some areas.
Overall I am pleased so far. Good specs, inexpensive ($550), thin/light. Here are some photos of the little thing. Will post more/better photos tomorrow.
Image
Image
If anyone has any specific benchmarks they would like run I'd be more than welcome. Thanks to everyone who helped me out.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Tue Jul 27, 2010 6:52 pm

How upgradeable is the Acer- does it have one or two RAM slots? I suppose a free mini-PCIe slot is too much to ask for.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:55 pm

FuturePastNow wrote:How upgradeable is the Acer- does it have one or two RAM slots? I suppose a free mini-PCIe slot is too much to ask for.

It has two ram slots but both are used in a 2x2GB DDR3 configuration. Not sure yet on the PCIe slot yet.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:36 pm

Thanks. I was mostly thinking of buying the cheaper model with only 2GB of RAM, and hopefully it'll have a free slot for a cheap upgrade.
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Re: Need a Laptop for College

Postposted on Mon Aug 02, 2010 2:09 pm

How long does the battery last when web surfing? Have you tried (non-modern) 3D gaming?
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