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Help Choose a Laptop That Fits My Needs (Updated)

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August 13, 2013 1:08:26 AM

SPECIFICALLY LOOKING AT THE FOLLOWING MODELS:


Refurbisehd T430
i7-3520 (4M Cache, 2.9GHz w/ Turbo Boost to 3.60GHz)
1600x900 Resolution
720p HD Camera with Mic
UltraNav Keyboard (Backlit) w/ Fingerprint Reader
8 GB DDR3
500 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Bluetooth
9-cell battery
Full 1-year Lenovo warranty (until Aug 2014)
for $800

IdeaPad Y410P
i7-4700MQ (2.4GHz 1600MHz 6MB)
1600x900 Resolution
720p HD Camera with Mic
Premium JBL speakers
AccuType Keyboard (Backlit)
8 GB DDR3L
1 TB Hard Disk Drive, 5400 + 24GB SSD
Bluetooth
6-cell battery
$850

E431
i7-3632QM (6M Cache, 2.20 GHz)
Windows 8
14W HD Antiglare Display (768 matte I believe, but not specified)
8 GB DDR3L – 1600MHz (2 DIMM)
Fingerprint Reader
720p HD Camera with Microphone
500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Micro Hard Drive: 24 GB NGFF SSD
6 cell Li-Ion Battery 62WH – 75+
$805.56

^And I can get the same configuration but with no SSD and 1 TB Hard Disk Drive @ 5400rpm instead for $847.56
*(HOW DO THEY COMPARE?)*


Edit: Found this, and figure it would be good for me to post it...

What is your budget?
$1000

What country will you be buying this in?
U.S.A

What size notebook do you prefer?
14-inch screen

What brands do you like or dislike?
Like: ASUS, Lenovo
Dislike: Acer, HP, Mac

Would you consider a refurbished laptop?
Yes

What are the primary tasks you need this notebook for?
Web Surfing; Office and Productivity Software; Listening to, downloading, and uploading music (often all at the same time); Movie Streaming, Downloading, Uploading and Viewing; Live streaming with friends via Skype, etc.; Storing all my entertainment files (songs, video, etc...not interested in external hard drive, but will keep only very important files on flash drive).

What games will you be playing?
Solitare

Where will you be using this laptop?
Primarily docked at home, but will also take to school often (4-5 times per week); occasionally on airplanes.

How many hours of battery life do you need?
Around 4 hours would make me happy

Will you be buying online or in store?
online or in store

Which OS do you prefer?
Windows 7, but open to Windows 8

List the screen resolutions that interest you:
High Resolution (1600 x 900)

Do you prefer a glossy or matte screen?
Glossy or Matte is fine

Is the laptops design important to you?
Yes

Approximately what date will you be buying this laptop?
Around 18 August 2013

How long do you want this laptop to last?
3-5 years

How much storage capacity do you need?
Absolute minimum 500 GB

Are you interested in SSD for storage?
No

Do you want a built-in optical drive, what type?
I don't even know what this is

I am in the market for a new laptop, and wanted some input on what will fit my needs. I go to school full time and will transport this to/from class in a backpack.

As far as performance, I often have several things running at once - multiple Youtube videos playing/loading, internet browsing, downloading movies/music via programs like Frostwire, loading those files into my Itunes, all while talking to someone on Skype and doing my homework in Powerpoint or Word.

Because of this, I have been looking around at products with i7, at least 8 GB of memory and at least 500 GB of hard drive space. I'm not sure if any of those specs are overkill or not, but that of course is why I am asking here!

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!!!
August 13, 2013 1:35:13 AM

1. How much is your budget?
2. Do you need it desperately now or can you wait until the new Haswell laptops can be found easily on the market? about around Christmas.
3. Please decide if you want a gaming PC or a laptop and also will it be a gaming laptop or portable laptop.
PCs are definitely the way to got for pure performance but you can not carry it around. No laptop can beat a PC with the same price class and generation.

About the RAM, 8GB should be enough for daily uses :) 

To choose a laptop, if you decide to got for laptop, you have to first think about:
1. Budget.
2. What are you planning to do with it. Games? Etc.
3. How big should the laptop be.
4. How light/heavy can the laptop be and how long should the battery last.
Note:
Weight, size and battery stamina has some collisions with performance. Plan well on what you want to do with it.
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August 13, 2013 1:45:01 AM

Now to your 2 laptops. Both are nice laptops.

Toshiba S55 can be considered as all rounder. It has no integrated GPU and 15,6" screen.
S55 is a lot weaker in games and if you need a video/photo editing machine compared to ASUS G75.
S55 is however lighter, smaller, a bit cheaper and should have better battery stamina.
15.6" size and the weight are still not that uncomfortable to carry around.

G75 is in a gaming laptop.
G75 is a lot stronger in games and video/photo editing due to its dedicated graphic, a lot heavier, a lot bigger, more expensive and should have less battery stamina.
You will really FEEL the 17.3" screen size and the laptops weight if you carry it all around with you.
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August 13, 2013 1:45:30 AM

guanyu210379 said:
1. How much is your budget?
2. Do you need it desperately now or can you wait until the new Haswell laptops can be found easily on the market? about around Christmas.
3. Please decide if you want a gaming PC or a laptop and also will it be a gaming laptop or portable laptop.
PCs are definitely the way to got for pure performance but you can not carry it around. No laptop can beat a PC with the same price class and generation.

About the RAM, 8GB should be enough for daily uses :) 

To choose a laptop, if you decide to got for laptop, you have to first think about:
1. Budget.
2. What are you planning to do with it. Games? Etc.
3. How big should the laptop be.
4. How light/heavy can the laptop be and how long should the battery last.
Note:
Weight, size and battery stamina has some collisions with performance. Plan well on what you want to do with it.


My budget is around $800 or so. The Toshiba I found was $700, and I found a few of the Asus either used or refurbished for $800, which I don't mind.

I need this immediately - I start school in less than two weeks and must have a laptop for class. I also work from Aug-March and need the computer for that as well.

Like I said in my original post - I don't "need" a gaming laptop specifically, but was told that they're "better" because they whole purpose is to run fast.

The computer MUST be a laptop though because I have to take it to school; however, I don't mind carrying around a 17" or whatever...as long as it fits in my backpack and can be durable, I'll be happy. Battery life isn't a huge deal because I only need it to handle 1 class at a time (2 hours maximum), which would entail typing up Word documents and browsing the internet.

My biggest concern like I mentioned before is when I really start to "use" the computer at home - internet browsing, loading/watching multiple live stream videos at a time, dowload music and videos, burning CDs and copying songs into my Itunes, etc.

P.S. - What does the Toshiba not having a GPU mean? Is that something specifically for gaming, or will it effect other operations as well?
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August 13, 2013 2:03:58 AM

The S55 does not have a dedicated GPU and only has the integrated GPU.
The integrated GPU is weak, sh*t weak especially for games and editing. If you use it for office, movies, youtube, etc. it is already enough.
The integrated GPU sucks less power than the dedicated ones. Theoretically you will get longer battery stamina.

The G75 has a dedicated graphic which is stronger but consumes more power but the laptop will switch to the integrated GPU if it is unplugged from the electricity (automatically by default). You should be able change the switching behavior with the cost of battery stamina.

If the size, price, weight and battery stamina is not a problem to you. I would suggest the G75.
It is more powerful :) 
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August 13, 2013 2:07:38 AM

guanyu210379 said:

If the size, price, weight and battery stamina is not a problem to you. I would suggest the G75.
It is more powerful :) 


Because you are a gamer yourself, or because you think that extra power is necessary for the multi-tasking that I plan on doing? (I am just sick of buffering and choppy videos, and waiting 27 minutes for Frostwire to shut down!)

P.S. - thanks for all the help thus far!
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August 13, 2013 2:33:57 AM

Buffering and choppy videos? like from youtube? The problem is usually on your internet connection.
Nothing to do with good laptops nowadays.

The multitasking is already covered by the i7 processor and 8GB RAM.
The upgrade 12GB RAM will not give you much difference for normal usages unless you are doing something special.
Multiple youtube videos are considered normal.

The extra graphic power will come in handy in the future if you have games or video/photo editing or some CAD works, etc. The laptop can simply do more with a dedicated graphic.
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August 13, 2013 2:40:29 AM

guanyu210379 said:
Buffering and choppy videos? like from youtube? The problem is usually on your internet connection.
Nothing to do with good laptops nowadays.


...As well as programs such as Frostwire taking FOREVER to startup and shut down; CDs taking FOREVER to burn into Itunes; etc.
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August 13, 2013 6:09:45 AM

CD to/from iTunes? iTunes? the Apple's jail facility.....uhmm... pardon...I mean Apple's cloud?
Frostwire? You mean during p2p file up+downloading?
Those are again internet connection issue.



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August 13, 2013 9:20:38 AM

guanyu210379 said:
CD to/from iTunes? iTunes? the Apple's jail facility.....uhmm... pardon...I mean Apple's cloud?
Frostwire? You mean during p2p file up+downloading?
Those are again internet connection issue.





Not just during downloading through Frostwire, but actually loading the program and shutting it down. When I hit the "X" in the top-right corner of the screen, I get a Frostwire box that says "Please wait while Frostwire shuts down" and it stays there for several, several minutes. I didn't think this had to do with internet connection because it didn't involve doing anything with the internet (or so I thought...?)


Any other member suggestions on a laptop to look for?
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August 13, 2013 9:41:59 PM

During shutdown, p2p up-/download programs are checking if you have anything active and if yes they will try to download the last several packages and go to a safe state.
The last few packages are depending on the internet speed.
Waiting for it to go into safe state depends on also to HDD speed and the speed of your antivirus to check the packages for viruses.
The speed of your laptop does not fully depend on the hardware, if you have stupid antiviral programs like Norton or McAffee, those will slow down your rig no matter how strong your rig is.
If your Windows installation is old and already more than 2 years...well..Windows is also a lot slower and will go slower along with time.
Moreover, I do not use Frostwire and use MicroTorrent instead, perhaps Frostwire has performance issue, who knows.

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August 14, 2013 12:40:48 AM

How does the smaller Asus G55 compare in this? I saw one today at Best Buy and liked it alot...
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August 14, 2013 12:52:03 AM

G55 is also good. G55 and G75 have the same processor, same RAM, etc.
However,

The G55 monitor is smaller than G75. G55 is also lighter than G75)
Bigger monitor means more comfort during watching movies and playing games but less comfort during carrying around.
Here, it depends on how you would like the laptop bigger or smaller, G55 is more portable.

The GPU of G55 is also less powerful, but since you do not really play games, G55 is already OK.

The difference in HDD capacity, well, I tend to ignore it.
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August 14, 2013 1:51:16 AM

guanyu210379 said:


The difference in HDD capacity, well, I tend to ignore it.


Why is that? This is the one main difference I noticed - 1 TB vs 500 GB
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August 14, 2013 3:04:51 AM

And this may be another "dumb question," but do these computers usually come with Microsoft Office installed? Because I need that for school...
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August 14, 2013 6:04:28 AM

The G55? Yup! It should come with pre-installed Windows8 :) 

edit:
About the HDD, I usually do not really care if it is 500GB or 1TB. For laptops, HDD is not really important for me.
I do not have to carry all of my data in the laptop. I took only what I need from my NAS to the laptop, if I want to travel.
And, you can easily upgrade the HDD if you need more capacity.
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August 14, 2013 9:02:53 AM

guanyu210379 said:
The G55? Yup! It should come with pre-installed Windows8 :) 



...But Windows 8 doesn't include Microsoft Office (right?).
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August 14, 2013 9:50:35 AM

ktrainhurricane said:

...But Windows 8 doesn't include Microsoft Office (right?).


Nope, unfortunately not.
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August 14, 2013 9:29:07 PM

RecycledElectron said:
You say You broke Your last 2 laptops. Before buying another laptop, either get a good manufacturers warranty on it, or have the money on hand to replace it. I do mean a manufacturers warranty, not a store or aftermarket warranty. A manufacturer will have a much better chance of swapping Your hard disk into another, almost idenitcal laptop, and keeping all Your stuff. A store will give You a box with a different brand of laptop in it,and tell You it's Your problem to get the stuff off Your hard disk.


To be honest, my whole plan here was to spend a decent amount of money now and buy a quality laptop, and not having to worry about it breaking.

The first laptop I had was an Acer with a screen that rotated 180* and folded down, and could then be written on like a notepad. I have seen these styles elsewhere, but this one I had was SEVERAL (10 or so) years ago, when I believe they first started coming out...which I assume means it wasn't build with as good of quality because they weren't really time-tested yet and couldn't be approved.

The second and most recent laptop that broke was a $300 HP that I got on a "back-to-school" deal running through Walmart. Nothing on this one physically broke; I opened the lid one day and the screen had the horizontal colored lines running through it. This lead me to believe it was a pinched/broken video cable, but the folks at ubreakifix said that didn't solve the problem...although I am not too sure of my satisfaction with them, nor the amount I trust what they told me.

I "baby" all my things - laptops included. I have a very expensive, sturdy laptop bag that I always use when carrying it around. I am super gentle and always take caution when using it. I believe my last two broke just because they were cheap...and I am trying to save myself from having to go through all of that again.
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August 15, 2013 12:19:46 AM

Cheap laptops last usually not very long but there is no guarantee that the more expensive laptops can really last longer too.
If you are unlucky, you get a defective item.
This is where the customer support comes into play.
Here in Germany (where I live), ASUS is very reliable for such stuffs.
My best experience regarding customer support is however from Lenovo Thinkpad series, excellent international customer support including warranty.
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August 15, 2013 9:14:33 AM

Also looking into the Lenovo IdeaPad Y580. I read that the ThinkPads are great computers, and have a very strong inner chassis which I value...but how are the IdeaPads? This one has everything I like - 8 GB memory, 1 TB hard disk drive, i7 and best of all Windows 7 (read too many negative things about Windows 8)
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August 15, 2013 12:09:48 PM

Ideapad Y580, one of my colleagues in the office already got one, it is also good...but...Unfortunately, the special international warranty and all...well..as far as I know, they are only valid for the Thinkpads, not for the Ideapad.

About Win8, do not worry too much, you will get used to it. I have been using Win8 since 8 months.

Do not worry much about ASUS too, I have currently S56CM since about 5 months. I have not a single problem with it.
My 5 years old Lenovo T400 (used mainly by my brother) is still alive and kicking, my 4 years old Toshiba Satellite L550 (used mainly by my sister) is also still active.
I sold last Christmas (2012) my sh*t heavy HP Elitebook 8560w since it was too heavy for me and I do not really need that kind of performance anyway from a portable system. The Elitebook showed also not a single sign of problems.
Perhaps, I was just lucky that all of them are not causing a single problem until now.

Note:
I am planning to ditch my S56CM and go for Sony Vaio Duo 13 perhaps next year. This one is extremely sexy.
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August 15, 2013 2:09:11 PM

Thanks for all your help so far guanyu


Any others want to input on Asus G55 vs. Lenovo Y580 vs. Toshiba S55?
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August 16, 2013 10:47:43 PM

Updated my first post with the "questionnaire" I found on several other threads!

I also went shopping around today and played with the Asus G46vw and the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge and T430. The T430 was really nice, but the most expensive of the group. One of the stores I went to said they had a single Alienware M14x left and it was priced at $850 for in-store purchase only. I didn't have enough time for him to go get it and take it out of the box for me, but I am going back tomorrow.

I can get the Lenovo through a "Corporate Perks" program at a discounted price, around $900. Because it would be coming straight from Lenovo, I get the 1-year warranty.

The Alienware, according to what I researched online, is heavily discounted at the store that was offering it for $850. Because this is brand new, I get the 1-year warranty.

The Asus seems hard to find at discounted prices (because it's too new maybe?). Therefore, the only ones I found in my price range were refurbished, and consequently would only provide a 90-day warranty.

PLEASE SHARE YOUR OPINIONS!
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August 17, 2013 7:10:53 PM

byogamingpc said:
Oh, sorry I read that you wanted the E531. The only difference would be the screen size. You could get this E431 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CXVMQ9M/ref=as_li_q... as a great option.


Re-edited the first post (I did in fact put E531 by mistake).

Care to share why you think this is the best fit for me?
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August 17, 2013 8:48:50 PM

byogamingpc said:
ktrainhurricane said:
byogamingpc said:
Oh, sorry I read that you wanted the E531. The only difference would be the screen size. You could get this E431 http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CXVMQ9M/ref=as_li_q... as a great option.


Re-edited the first post (I did in fact put E531 by mistake).

Care to share why you think this is the best fit for me?


Sure, Lenovo is a great brand, according to what you want the laptop for the specs are perfect, the battery life should be quite good, and without a discrete GPU I'd always go with an i7 at least which this has. :) 


Why would you go with at least an i7? I spoke to sales associate at the local TigerDirect today and he was telling me that I don't need the i7, and furthermore that the dual core i5 available with the Lenovo is actually faster than the dual core i7 that is available...

And is there any specific reason you suggest the E430 over the T430? Isn't the T-Series supposed to be more of their "flagship" line, while the E-Series is more of a low-end ThinkPad?
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August 19, 2013 8:39:14 PM

Well I "knew" I had narrowed my choice down to the two ThinkPads, but I stopped into a different TigerDirect today to see if they had anything different than the one near my house which I had been going to, and I found the Asus Q400A. Here are the specs on it:

Asus Q400A
i7-3632QM (6M Cache, 2.2GHz w/ Turbo Boost to 3.2GHz)
768p Screen Resolution
720p HD Camera with Mic
Backlit Keyboard
8 GB DDR3
750 GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
$600

This seems to beat the ThinkPads in every category basically. Obviously the T430 is available with a 900p screen, and they both offer superior build quality, but this one has a bigger hard drive and a quad-core processor and is cheaper. I'm now confused more than ever!!
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Best solution

August 20, 2013 12:29:40 AM

I would pick the Thinkpad without hesitation.
Lenovo Thinkpads has excellent international customer support (warranty).

My T400 monitor was broken once after about 3 years of usage (about 2 weeks before warranty should end) in Indonesia and it was bought in Germany. The warranty process was fast, unbelieveable easy, and it cost no extra cent. I even received a free extra 1 year warranty after the repair.
That is what I called customer service!
My Thinkpad is now already almost 6 years old and is never broken again.

The downside of all Thinkpads is that they are more expensive compared to other laptops with the same specs.
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August 21, 2013 7:46:08 PM

UPDATED AGAIN!

I guess I will go ahead and be difficult again, and throw the IdeaPad Y410P into the mix (the more research I do, the more options I discover!). It seems to have all the features I want (quad-core i7 processor, HD+ screen, 1 TB hard disk drive + 24 GB cache), and is in the same ballpark price as the other two...I can get this for $850 brand new.

Seems like I would just be sacrificing the "ThinkPad quality" for everything else...worth it?
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August 22, 2013 8:14:22 PM

I think I am going to go with the ThinkPad Edge E431, because it seems to literally be a "happy medium" between the T-Series ThinkPad and the IdeaPad Y410P.

Any last-minute thoughts, opinions, or suggestions before I pull the trigger?
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August 25, 2013 1:02:26 AM

Just placed my order for a T430 through the Lenovo Outlet. I was lucky enough that they had one with everything I was specifically looking for, and then some - i7, 8GB memory, 500GB hard drive with 16GB cache, 1600x900 screen - and it ended up costing only $800, which was even little less than I was about to spend on the E431.

This ended up being the same price as the refurbished T430 I had previously found online, but the one I ordered through Lenovo Outlet had the Cache drive, which the other didn't. I am now just worried on the arrival date since I need this for school (read a few negative reviews about Lenovo taking forever to deliver the computer), but I am sure the patience will pay off in the end...I know I would have regretted going with any other option than this one.

Thanks to everyone for all the help!!!
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