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Are either of these laptops solid choices for a student on a budget?

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Last response: in Systems
June 27, 2012 8:04:10 AM

Specs are on the provided pages – far neater than anything I could provide. Hopefully that isn’t too much trouble.


HP dm4-3050us

Most likely going into something related to computer programming (obviously new to it), possibly dual majoring with creative writing. I'd like to be able to play relatively recent games (Witcher, Dragon Age: Origins, Oblivion, Tropico 3 at best), but it's okay if I'm not. I also personally prefer smaller screens, so that's not much of an issue unless the size is notoriously bad for gaming – I’ve never played on a 13.3 inch screen before.

Beyond the simple "yes, -reason" and "no, -reason-" responses, I'm actually hoping for personal experiences or even reliable hearsay - particularly pertaining to the keyboard and battery life of each. Reliability (of brand?) and life-expectancy too, if possible.

Any and all opinions/experiences are greatly appreciated. :) 

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July 2, 2012 5:12:47 AM

Neither will do gaming any justice. They MIGHT be able to handle some of those games on lowest details... but that could be a stretch.

Gaming on a small laptop was easy enough for me. Others, of course, may say that gaming could be a strain or not the same.

Either way, having used a Asus laptop before, I totally recommend that one.

Edit: What is your exact budget, anyway? With that, we may be able to help you find a more suitable laptop. Aside from gaming, these laptops will do you well in day to day activities of school related tasks.
July 4, 2012 12:25:52 PM

Sorry, have been traveling. My connection is very poor and will remain as such for about a week.

My budget is ~750usd, including taxes and shipping.

A few changes: gaming is no longer a priority (I’ll just wait until I can afford a properly upgradeable tower for that), but a matte screen is. I’ve just visited my school and the computer science wing is a glass nightmare.

About the Asus… Battery and keyboard (solid, properly-placed full-sized keys with no flex, preferably not chiclet)are really important to me. It’s like Lenovo in the sense that most middle-class models have one without the other. I suppose I could get a wireless keyboard if I absolutely had to, but lugging it around a Floridian campus doesn’t sound particularly fun, even if I am planning on getting a wireless number pad.

How do these specs look? I’ll probably have to give a little (the graphics, naturally) if I miss the sale deadline, but I’m hoping to go this route if it’s deemed solid. It’s mostly the cpu I’m worried about. I’ve heard AMD is better for gaming than Intel, but is inferior in all other regards. If it’s not too much hassle to ask, how do I go about finding out what’s this A8’s Intel equivalent is?

Customized HP Pavilion dv6z-7000 at ~$850 (including taxes, s&h), $750 with Independence Day sale
- 15.6 inch HD Anti-glare LED-backlit display (1920x1080)
- 9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
- AMD Quad-Core A8-4500M (3.0GHz/2.1GHz, 4MB L2 Cache)
- 2GB AMD Radeon HD 7730M Graphics
- 6GB 1600MHz DDR3
- 640GB 5400rpm HDD
- 802.11b/g/n WLAN
- Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
- Other irrelevant features that I can't get rid of, despite having little value to me

other processor options:
- AMD Dual-Core A6-4400M (3.0GHz/2.6GHz, 1MB L2 Cache) -$50.00
- AMD Quad-Core A8-4500M (3.0GHz/2.1GHz, 4MB L2 Cache) - Included in price
- AMD Quad-Core A10-4600M Accelerated Processor (3.2GHz/2.3GHz, 4MB L2 Cache) +$50.00

other graphics cards (I'm seriously considering just choosing the first and cheapest option)
- AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7600 Series Discrete-Class Graphics -$75.00
- 1GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7670M Graphics -$25.00
- 2GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7730M Graphics - Included in price

other hard drive option that I'm considering:
- 750GB 7200RPM Hard Drive +$50.00

So… since I kind of babbled there (sorry), to summarize, I guess my priorities are as follows if the above laptop is unsuitable: battery > matte screen > keyboard, keyboard being last only because I can buy a wireless if need be.

Opinions/suggestions? Thank you!
July 4, 2012 8:18:48 PM

AMD is only better for gaming on the laptop side and ONLY because of AMD's APU, wherein they drop a graphic processor on the CPU itself and call it good. However, the 7730m is one step below a nVidia 640m. If you had an intel processor with a 640m, you'll be set. But unfortunately, we're hitting pricier waters at that point.

Now, you may not even notice a difference in processing power if you are just going to use the laptop for simple things, such as school work. And gaming will be *alright* at best, terrible at worst.

What I'm trying to say is, it should do you well for school, not so much for gaming.