Advice needed for a new laptop

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

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Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:08 am

I would like to replace my older heavy dell vostro for a laptop that is as lightweight as possible, yet reliable and of good quality. I have no experience with brands other than dell for laptops.

It has to have windows, and I would like it to be able to run minecraft as the only game, it will be used mainly as a way to bridge the gap between my iPads and my win7 desktop files. I'll be converting old PowerPoint files for the iPad, creating new PowerPoint files for use on the iPad, but again it has to be windows based because I have a win based home and work computer and I want everything to speak to each other.

I'm not setting a price, I just want to see what you fine people recommend with these requirements in mind.

So, what's out there in the world these days besides dell?
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:58 am

Ultrabooks:
Samsung Series 9
Asus UX31A
Acer Aspire S7

Macs:
MacBook Air with Bootcamp Windows installed

Normal Laptops:
Lenovo X230 / X230T

These are all small, thin, light, and expensive.

For your needs.. these are all overkill... however you want to aim for a non-ultrabook version with similar parts i.e. go for 900p as a minimum (1080p preferred) on the screen resolution, make sure there's an SSD or at least a hybrid HDD in there, 4GB of DDR3 should be a given and then either the AMD APU platform or the Intel Ivybridge with the HD4000 onboard will both easily run minecraft. I'd personally go the route of an AMD APU for your requirements... but most of the lappies I've mentioned above are all rocking intel i5's or better.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:47 am

I got a Asus UX32VD a month ago. Absolutely love it! What sold me on it was the 1080p IPS screen. I upgraded the ram to 10gb and swap the HDD with SSD in there with a full clean install of windows 8. At stock, the 4gb ram and HDD was just not cutting it. However, with the ram and SSD upgrade, it was still cheaper than other ultrabooks out there.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:57 am

Thanks for the suggestions, yogibear. I looked at the Asus and Lenono because I know those brands and you're right, they are expensive. I wouldn't mind so much spending the money, but not for such a small screen. Does lightweight have to equal extremely small screen? My Dell has a 15 inch screen and weighs 7 pounds. A 15 inch screen is fine, but I think if I go too much smaller it will feel like I am on my Ipad. And that 7 pounds has gotten too heavy for me: I want something lightweight.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:03 am

Vandy, I'm hoping to not have to swap any parts out. I do that on my desktop pc, and I would like to avoid having to do that with a new laptop purchase if I can.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 8:59 am

linda wrote:Thanks for the suggestions, yogibear. I looked at the Asus and Lenono because I know those brands and you're right, they are expensive. I wouldn't mind so much spending the money, but not for such a small screen. Does lightweight have to equal extremely small screen? My Dell has a 15 inch screen and weighs 7 pounds. A 15 inch screen is fine, but I think if I go too much smaller it will feel like I am on my Ipad. And that 7 pounds has gotten too heavy for me: I want something lightweight.

Typical cheap 15" notebooks nowadays tend to run closer to 5 pounds. If the same size and somewhat lighter weight are preferable, those same brands have some pretty inexpensive regular notebooks. My wife has a Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 and loves it. It's been replaced by updated internals as the Z580, so I would have no qualms recommending that model. $450 should be a more palatable price point as well.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 9:26 am

vandy wrote:I got a Asus UX32VD a month ago. Absolutely love it! What sold me on it was the 1080p IPS screen. I upgraded the ram to 10gb and swap the HDD with SSD.
I got the Asus UX32VD last summer. I agree that the 13.3" 1080P IPS display is gorgeous. My previous laptop had a disappointing TN panel.

The GeForce GT620M GPU isn't a powerhouse, but it plays most games acceptably at 1920x1080 with some of the bells and whistles turned down. It plays Guild Wars 2 well enough.

The UX32VD worked fine with the stock 4 GiB of memory, but I agree with you that it was worth the cost of an 8 GiB SODIMM, a Torx T5 screwdriver and less than 15 minutes to upgrade to 10 GiB. I'm still using the original hard-drive until 0.5 TB SSD prices drop a bit lower.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:16 am

Is this the one you mean? There are others on sites like New Egg with different specs...

this one at Overstock
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:26 am

Why are we not talking about a T430 or T430s from the outlet? You can get a REALLY decent laptop for not very much. Heck, you could even get a new one from the regular lenovo site for a good price with an awesome keyboard, a good 1600x900 IPS screen, Intel Wi-fi, and lenovo durability.

edit: This search includes T420,420s,520,520s,430,430s, but all the same stuff above applies. Find the specs you want out of this and pull the trigger.

http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... criteria=1
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 2:16 pm

I paid $1310 at Newegg for mine when it was introduced. Does the version that you linked have the nice 1920x1080 IPS display or the lesser non-IPS 1366x768 display? The good news is that Best Buy stocks that model, so you can audition it before you buy.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 19, 2013 11:59 pm

DancinJack wrote:Why are we not talking about a T430 or T430s from the outlet? You can get a REALLY decent laptop for not very much. Heck, you could even get a new one from the regular lenovo site for a good price with an awesome keyboard, a good 1600x900 IPS screen, Intel Wi-fi, and lenovo durability.

edit: This search includes T420,420s,520,520s,430,430s, but all the same stuff above applies. Find the specs you want out of this and pull the trigger.

http://outlet.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/co ... criteria=1


Could you narrow the field? The nice screen sounds appealing, i5 is enough for me, just think about weight. I agree, Lenovo is durable, but if its heavy i don't want it. I'm a small older lady who lugs around too much stuff as it is. I would be able to be very careful with a flimsier asus.

And I admit, the more I read, the more my budget grows. I don't like buying a computer to just meet my needs, I like it to go beyond a bit and excite me.

Edit: I think the ultra is the way to go for me. Weight is important.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Fri Jan 25, 2013 9:47 pm

Just ordered the Same one
as vandy and Jae. The backlit keyboard, dedicated graphics, ips screen and processor sold me. Also win7: I don't want win 8 just yet with the touch screen.
I get it tomorrow, yay!

Could you point me at the 2 upgrades? Ram looks easy but the hard drive might not be. What is the big deal with ssd vs hdd? The ssd is so much smaller. I know it's faster, and quiet, but will I miss the space?

Thanks for always being helpful!
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:30 am

The Zenbook UX32VD comes with one removable 2 GiB SODIMM + 2 GiB of DDR3 memory permanently installed. To upgrade the memory to a total of 10 GiB, you'll need:
$44 8 GiB PC3-12800 204-pin SODIMM Crucial CT3340957 (DDR3-1600, CAS 11, 1.35 V) laptop memory
$5 or $13 Torx T5 screwdriver

The Zenbook UX32VD comes with a 0.500 TB 5400 rpm hard-drive split into OS and data partitions. A permanently-installed 24 GB SSD provides caching. I'm still using the original storage arrangement because I'm waiting for prices on 0.5 TB SSDs to drop to a reasonable level. If you're looking for an SSD today, this deal was on TR's front page:
$200 0.256 TB Samsung 840 Pro

The ultrabook is easy to carry around in its nylon pouch. I stick it, the charger and a small Logitech VX nano mouse in my camera bag or suitcase when I'm traveling. When I was using mine for work on a business trip, I left the charger and mouse in the hotel room and just used the battery and touchpad (no gaming on the job). You could fit the accessories in a large pocket if you wanted. With the screen backlight turned down from the original setting and aggressive power management enabled, the battery lasts through several hours of use. It automatically switches between this mode and full-tilt operation when it senses that the charger has been plugged in.

My Guild Wars 2 graphics options are set to:
Resolution: Full Screen 1920x1080, refresh rate: default, frame limiter: 30 fps, interface size: Larger, full-screen gamma: 1.00, animation: Low, anti-aliasing: None, environment: Low, LOD distance: Low, reflections: None, textures: low, render sampling: Native, shadows: Low, shaders: Low, post-processing: Low.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:14 pm

Ok Thanks! I'll get the ram upgrade and hold off a bit on the hard drive too.
On a side note, how do you get the backlit keyboard to work? I pressed the Fn button and the buttons along the top that I believe makes it work, but it didn't. Is there a trick to it? Sorry about all the questions!
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 26, 2013 2:20 pm

Holding down fn and tapping F4 increases the keyboard backlighting. Pressing fn+F3 decreases it.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:51 pm

Not to rub salt in the wound, but a new Thinkpad 430s with a 1600x900 screen starts from $854 with a Quadro NV5200M (Kepler) graphics card and weighs 3.9 lbs. It also has a mSATA slot so you can add a SSD as your main boot drive and keep the existing HDD for bulk storage.

The only bad thing I can say about thinkpads is that they are so rugged and last so long that it's hard to find excuses to replace them even years down the road - I'm still rocking my 4+ year-old X300. Fortunately, my wife needed a new computer, so I was able to get her a new X230T and install win8 and a SSD in it.

Anyway, I'm sure you'll enjoy the ASUS, especially the higher resolution IPS display vs the lower res TN screen on the 430s, but thinkpads are actually a very attractively-priced alternative to mainstream consumer laptops, and their build quality is superior to most consumer laptops.

EDIT: Turns out the N13 quadro in the 430s is Kepler-based, so is identical to the 620M in the ASUS. Neither GPU is a gaming powerhouse (or any other sort of powerhouse, for that matter).
Last edited by Voldenuit on Sat Jan 26, 2013 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sat Jan 26, 2013 5:31 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:$44 8 GiB PC3-12800 204-pin SODIMM Crucial CT3340957 (DDR3-1600, CAS 11, 1.35 V) laptop memory
$5 or $13 Torx T5 screwdriver


+1 that crucial memory is the one I have too. Make sure you get the same one as I tried a GSkill stick that runs in 1.5v results in the laptop running in single channel and at 1333mhz.

Aside from the ram and SSD upgrades I've done to mine, I also repasted the cpu/gpu heatsink with Prolimatech PK-1. I saw a few degrees drop in temp under load but idle stay about the same.

Here is another option for screwdrivers http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGQ1G6/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00
Definitely get a set as the other bits will come in handy.

JustAnEngineer wrote: A permanently-installed 24 GB SSD provides caching. I'm still using the original storage arrangement because I'm waiting for prices on 0.5 TB SSDs to drop to a reasonable level.


I put in a Crucial M4 512gb 7mm one in mine. All the samsung ones are 7mm in height. If anyone here with a UX32VD decide to go non-samsung, make sure to get the 7mm thick variety.

I ended up doing a full clean install of windows 8 on UX32VD and used the 24gb iSSD for Dropbox, Skydrive.

JustAnEngineer wrote:The ultrabook is easy to carry around in its nylon pouch.


I love the nylon pouch! Its functional and looks great. Better than any aftermarket case.

JustAnEngineer wrote:I paid $1310 at Newegg for mine when it was introduced.


I got min at B&H for $1100. They still have it and its selling for $1200.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/891134-REG/ASUS_ux32vd_dh71_i7_3517U_4GB_DDR3_500GB_HDD.html

JustAnEngineer wrote:The GeForce GT620M GPU isn't a powerhouse


Very true. I still find it better than the IGP. The GT620M works well with photoshop and doing light 3D modeling is no problem.
LOL you can overclock the GPU if you like.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/asus-reviews-owners-lounges/680787-asus-ux32vd-owners-lounge.html
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:42 pm

Im liking the laptop very well, now that i got the backlite working. I like computering in the dark, i have a lighted keyboard on my desktop too. I don't remember the details now, but I did look at the Lenovos and ruled them out because of the keyboard and the weight. When you're as ancient as I am, every ounce counts. Seriously I m not so old but have arthritis and weight does add to it. I found myself just not bothering to use the laptop because of the weight. I wanted to be sure this one was the lightest I could get and still be pretty nice. I think that is what I got. But the Lenovos were really nice looking.

The ram will help a lot im sure, i notice a lag in videos playing. I hope that's ram anyway. are the torx screwdrivers for opening the case? those are some pretty small screws. Vandy thats for some more ideas to help me spend some money! lol

jae, once i get my ram installed i promise to try it out in gw2. sorry i havent been around, but my school kids have me playing minecraft again!
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:29 am

linda wrote:The ram will help a lot im sure, i notice a lag in videos playing.


what player are you using? i use media player classic HC with LAV filters and MadVR. Playback is butter smooth with 1080p MKV files.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:16 am

[quote="linda"I did look at the Lenovos and ruled them out because of the keyboard and the weight.[/quote]

The lenovo is only ~0.6 lbs heavier, and the backlit keyboard is a standard feature on the T430s model I linked. Lenovo still has the best keyboard in the business, too. I understand that when weight is a priority, every ounce counts, so I can understand why you went with the ASUS, and the US32VD certainly has a higher quality screen than the lenovo. I don't think you made a bad choice with your decision, but I still think the T430s is a serious contender for anyone looking for a quality laptop.
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Re: Advice needed for a new laptop

Postposted on Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:49 pm

vandy wrote:
linda wrote:The ram will help a lot im sure, i notice a lag in videos playing.


what player are you using? i use media player classic HC with LAV filters and MadVR. Playback is butter smooth with 1080p MKV files.


I just used Windows Media Player. The videos I played were videos I ripped from dvds awhile ago. Maybe they were always laggy but I never noticed before because I was viewing them on an old laptop. Or maybe Windows was downloading its zillion updates in the background and I didn't notice :-) I'll be playing with my new toy tonight: if I have any questions about the Playback I'll be sure to post!
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