I've just recently joined Tom's Hardware, but this is far from my first time to come here. I've used the forums and news articles countless times over the past year. You all have helped me without ever knowing it! So, thanks for all of your insight!
I'm going to be going to college in the fall and am looking for a new laptop to carry around campus. I've got a beautiful desktop, so I'm definitely not looking for a 'do it all' laptop. I need it to have a faster processor and a graphics card that will run a few games. My concerns are with Minecraft on Very Far, some LoL and maybe Battlefield 3. Again, I've got a desktop that will run all of these with ease, but I would love to play at least Minecraft or something of that spec. requirement if I'm out.
I don't want to spend more than $1100 on the laptop itself.
Here is where it gets tricky: I really want the screen less than 14in. I can deal with a 14in, but less would be awesome. Again, I'm wanting something portable with some power and preferably more than 5hrs. of battery life.
As for Sandy Bridge vs. Westmere, I've read that Sandy Bridge is the way to go for a laptop hands down (lesser power consumption namely). Is this correct?
With graphics cards, I know I'll be looking at entry level cards, but I refuse to use Intel GPU's. If you can prove to me that the HD 3000 will do well, please do so with proof. I've yet to see one really compare with Nvidia or AMD/ATi.
I've gone through several companies and I this is what I'm using as guidelines and most likely what I'll go with if nothing else can be found.
At 14in, the $751.43 HP dm4t
Processor - Intel i5-480M Dual Core Processor
Graphics card - 1GB DDR3 ATI Mobility Radeon HD 6370 Switchable Graphics
Memory - 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
Hard drive - 500GB 5400RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
Primary battery High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard)
Display - 14.0" diagonal High-Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366 x 768)
Primary optical drive - SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
Networking - Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN with Wireless Display Support
Between the two, I love the price of the HP over Sony (lulz) but the size of the Vaio.. so lovely! Then there's the difference of the Processor (Sandy Bridge vs. Westmere) and Graphics (6470M 512MB VRAM and HD 6370 1GB DDR3). Are these big?
I'm completely open to other setups, etc. so long as they are no larger than the dm4t.
And to close, should I buy now or in August? I know now and then to be the best times to purchase a new laptop, so, what would you do?
Thanks for reading through all of this. I really do appreciate your help.
I'm looking at dedicated graphics, not integrated. Yes, Fusion does seem to slaughter Intel and its integrated graphics, but how does that compare to a dedicated graphics system? If one does, then I'll consider. Only trick will be if they come in less than a 14in screen size. I dropped by a local Sony store and messed around with a Vaio S series and much preferred the smaller form factor.