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Laptop for media consumption and light gaming

Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:10 am

So the letter telling me my tax return is on its way has arrived. That means it's time to start looking at laptops. I don't need anything fancy. If it can stream Netflix and YouTube without problems I'll be happy. It would be nice to be able to play things like LoL and Dark Souls with my friends when I'm away from home, but I definitely don't expect to run Crysis 3 on high. I will be a CCNA soon so of course I will be running things like PT, but none of that is very taxing on a system. An RJ45 port would be desirable but it's not a requirement. There are USB adapters for just about everything now. Resolution isn't THAT important to me. It would be nice to have something a little higher than the typical 1360x768, but I can live with it. I would like to keep the screen size around 14" or 15".

I would like to spend as little as possible while still getting a solid system that I'll be happy with. I don't WANT to spend more than $600 but if there is a compromise which isn't worth making then I'll suck it up and spend a little more. I would definitely be willing to get a barebones kit and build it myself if it will get me a better deal.

Thanks in advance for the help!
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Re: Laptop for media consumption and light gaming

Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:47 am

For a new budget notebook with 3xxx-series Core i3 cpu, discrete graphics, and DVD, look for the new Lenovo Z400 or Z500 models with Nvidia 645M discrete graphics, or the HP Envy 4 with AMD 7670M graphics. Cheaper and with similar CPUs but Intel HD4000 graphics, see the Lenovo IdeaPad S400 or the HP Pavilion G6t-2000. Or the bigger 17in Dell Inspiron 17-3721 with a 1600x900 screen.

For a "budget" Windows 8 touchscreen ultrabook, try the Asus Vivobook S400C with Intel i3 32xx cpu and Intel HD4000 graphics but see if you can live with the battery life.
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Re: Laptop for media consumption and light gaming

Sun Apr 07, 2013 2:09 pm

One word of advice- before you buy anything, go to your local Best Buy, Microcenter, Fry's, whatever and play with different laptops around your price range.

Things like overall construction quality, keyboard layout, keyboard quality, trackpad quality, all make a big difference and vary wildly!

Heck, the Toshiba I'm using has a pretty good keyboard and trackpad, though the screen is the worst I own (and I have a collection of cheap desktop TNs that supplement my 30" IPS). Funny thing is, even with using IPS and SPVA screens at work and at home, the crappy TN on my laptop and its 1366x768 resolution don't bother me much. It's just big enough to be comfortable, and viewing angles are easy to work around.

Otherwise, try and figure out how to get an SSD into your price range, even if it means buying it separately. You really only need 128GB for regular use and a half-dozen games, and if you buy it separately, you can throw the included spinner into a USB3 enclosure, which is perfect for media storage and many older/lower requirement games.
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Re: Laptop for media consumption and light gaming

Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:06 pm

Have you taken a look at any of the reviews of models you might be interested in at Notebookcheck, or possibly even Notebook Review?
Aside from going into a store, you might get a better idea if you want that model or not before looking at it.
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