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Best laptop for student (linux, word processing, web browsing, online movies, no gaming)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 25, 2013 4:44:31 AM

Hi there,

Last three days I've been struggling with wikis, forum threads, vendor's technical sheets, performance charts and hierarchies, online shops...

My head is about to blow up. I think need your help.


1. Budget: under 500$, as low as possible.

2. Size: around 15.6''

3. Screen resolution: for 720p is enough, 1080p would be cool whole system is still relatively fast and under budget.

4. Portable or desktop replacement laptop?: desktop most of the time, but it will travel from time to time.

5. Battery life: battery autonomy is not importand (but handy), it's more important a long-term life (how many years before having to replace the battery).

6. Games: not really but, if anything, it won't be resource demanding.

7. Other tasks: common scenario nowadays is Ubuntu 12.04, a pair of OpenOffice windows (calc plus word), web browser with 10-15 tabs open (some rather resource-demanding), playing offline or online mp3 music, and some youtube in the breaks.

8. Hard Drive capacity: 250 GB would be enough, more won't harm (there will be two main partitions, one for Win7 and one for Ubuntu). A system with an smaller SSD (64 GB?) could be considered (to use with an external 2.5'' HD for data).

9. Sites to buy from: some online shops in Spain (euros), so don't bother to suggest any shop (thank you anyways).

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?:
- As much as possible! Five years would be nice.

11. Optical drive: no specific needs, but a CD/DVD reader would be handy.

12. Brands:
- ASUS has always treated me fine (desktop and laptop).
- Dell laptop has backstabbed me twice (never again).
- I'm sick of seeing Acer screen hinges failing in less than a year, if they are still that bad I will avoid them.
- HP and Packard Bell: no experience, some recommendations.
- Lenovo: I'm a bit wary of this kind of cheap producers.

13. My country: Spain.

14. Some additional information:
- Multitasking is important, but any single application won't be CPU demanding.
- Cooling is important. This is the hot part of Spain and air conditioned is not an option. Models with known cooling problems (like extra-thin laptops) are forbidden.
- Graphics are important only for smooth youtube and online movie playing (720p is enough, 1080p preferred if under budget).
- Intel chips with Intel GMA should be avoided since there are no drivers for Linux (so 3D and bad video playing).
- I've got the idea (wrong?) that a CPU+GPU on chip would be cheapear, cooler and less power demanding than its equivalent CPU (GPU-less) + mobo with integrated graphics, so I guess an AMD APU should be the processor of my future laptop, but I'm unsure.




Thank you very much in advance, for any advice, insight or recommendation.

September 25, 2013 6:28:22 AM

Hi again,

Here I have some candidates:

* HP Pavilion 15-E022SS A4-5150M/4GB/1TB/HD8350/15.6":
- AMD Dual-Core A4-5150M (2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 1 MB L2) with integrated AMD Radeon HD 8350G (it says "up to 2.1 GB", what's that?).
- LED Screen 15.6'' (1366x768).
- HD 1 TB 5400 rpm SATA.
- Comes with Win8 64 (meh).
- 2.35 kg (5.2 pounds).
- DVD±R/RW.
- Battery 6 cells.
- Price: 431 € (around US 580 $)

* HP Pavilion G6-2355SS A4-4300M/6GB/500GB/HD 7670M/15.6"
- AMD Dual-Core A4-4300M (2 cores, 2.5 GHz, 1 MB L2) with integrated HD 7420G.
- RAM 4+2 DDR3 SODIMM (I guess the "+2" are for the GPU).
- LED Screen 15.6'' (1366x768).
- HD 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA.
- Comes with Win8 64 (meh).
- 2.48 kg (5.45 pounds).
- DVD±R/RW.
- Battery 6 cells.
- Price: 395 € (around US 535 $)

Differences between first one and second one are in the HD (not important) and on the APU: first one seems to have faster CPU and GPU but first one seems to lack the 2 GB of dedicated DDR3 for the GPU. So, in the end, I don't know which one has better performance for my purposes.

A third one, mostly a downgraded version of the first one:

* HP Pavilion 15-E023SS AMD A4-5150M/4GB/500GB/HD8350/15.6"
- AMD Dual-Core A4-5150M (2 cores, 2.7 GHz, 1 MB L2) with integrated AMD Radeon HD 8350G (it says "up to 2.1 GB", what's that?).
- LED Screen 15.6'' (1366x768).
- HD 500 GB 5400 rpm SATA.
- Comes with Win8 64 (meh).
- 2.35 kg (5.2 pounds).
- DVD±R/RW.
- Battery 6 cells.
- Price: 388 € (around US 525 $)
- It's red.


Checking my needs, would you recommend me any of those models? Or any other else?


Thank you.




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