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Researching Laptops for School

Last response: in Mobile Computing
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May 20, 2008 12:20:55 AM

Hey, I'm looking to purchase a laptop for college within the next few months, and I'm researching what would be the best buy, so I thought getting different opinions would be a good idea. I'll explain what I am looking for then list the laptops that I am currently interested in.

  • Concerning the price range: I don't want to spend more than 1,000 ($)bucks. I'm looking in the ~800$ range, but I am lenient either way.
  • I want the laptop to serve its purpose - for school. So decent battery life is a must, what good would it be if it did not work?
  • Seeing as how I will be carrying it around school, it will probably take a few hits here and there, so a good warranty or sturdy laptop would be good.
  • Concerning screen dimensions: I don't really mind, but I assume the 15" will be the way to go for this. Also, I don't really need HD for this.
  • Concerning weight: I don't really mind carrying it around, but the lighter the better I guess.
  • I'm leaning towards the Intel Core 2 Duo processors, but if one can convince me otherwise, then that would be alright too.
  • I'm not a heavy gamer obsessed with graphics, but I do like to bust out the Counter-Strike or Warcraft every now and then. So it will need to be able to handle some light gaming (I don't mind turning down the visual effects).
  • I will put music and pictures and such on this, so I say a minimum of 120 gigs with a DVD R/RW drive as well.
  • Also, I will be taking advantage of the wireless internet, so it must have some easy to use wireless functionality.
  • I'm not really interested with loading it up with a bunch of software, so a lot of pre-requisite stuff isn't a requirement for me.

    Now, I have mainly just looked into Dell's laptops, and have found the Inspiron 1525 (http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspnnb_1525?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&~oid=us~en~29~inspnnb_1525_anav2~~)
    to suit my needs, however I have heard some not good things about Dell's laptops.

    Please, any suggestions or comments will be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
    May 24, 2008 5:49:02 PM

    I have the dell 1720 and it is a well built laptop... I've had mine for over half a year and it's held up well so far.
    June 1, 2008 3:23:08 AM

    If you want to have any sort of gaming capability, even light, you will need more then the Intel Integrated Graphics.

    You could look at the XPS line.

    For example: XPS 1530

    Processor: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T8300 (2.4GHz/800Mhz FSB, 3MB Cache)

    RAM: 3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz (2 Dimms)

    HDD:160GB 5400rpm SATA Hard Drive

    Graphics Card: 256MB NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600M GT

    Wireless: Dell Wireless 1395 802.11g Mini Card

    --------------------------------------

    Price: $1,059.20

    Coupon Code: 5MX6XKWXMV2L02 to save 20% off $1,299.00+ Dell XPS 1530.

    A little above your price limit but a good deal for the components. You could also look on Newegg for a good deal. Just a thought.
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    June 1, 2008 10:33:51 PM

    XPS 1530 has a base price of $999, and even with a student discount you might still be over $1000 with those specs.
    June 12, 2008 2:21:36 PM

    when i heard the words student and laptop i instantly thought of the HP 6720s they have a really nice deal on them at the minute, in the uk there 450pound with 100pound cashback(total 350pound). In the us that probably translates to $600, not to bad for a core2, 2GB RAM, large HDD, 15.5 widescreen and vista.

    From Experience HP machines are very sturdy and last a long time even when you give them a bit of a beating.
    a b D Laptop
    June 17, 2008 5:14:03 PM

    I also second the HP dv6700 series. You can outfit them nicely for light gaming with about $1k.

    You really won't use the 2.4GHz on the XPS machine there. You can cut it down to 1.8-2.0 to save some cash.
    a b D Laptop
    June 17, 2008 5:24:44 PM

    Here's the layout on one:

    OS: Vista home premium x64

    CPU: Pentium dual-core 1.86GHz or a T5750 @ 2.0GHz for +$75

    Display: 15" 1280x800

    RAM: 3GB DDR2

    GPU: 256MB 8400GS

    Wireless A/B/G

    HDD: 250GB 5400rpm

    Extended 6 cell battery

    $877.99

    Add the $75 processor, if you want it, and it becomes...
    $952.99

    Add a recovery CD just in case and it becomes...
    $971.99


    No, it's not as strong as the XPS in performance, but IMO it's more tailored to your needs.
    a b D Laptop
    July 3, 2008 5:28:46 AM

    The day I see an Apple computer for under $1000 will be the end of the world.
    July 4, 2008 9:25:00 AM

    I also had the same specification back then. I bought 14" laptop for battery lifetime and less weight(and still pretty heavy), a low ati card for light gaming, dual pro of course and cost me $900.
    You can customized any brand to meet your requirement in their web. Btw I saw apple at only $600 in the mall a year ago, old version i guess.
    a b D Laptop
    July 5, 2008 4:35:44 AM

    Rephrase, i suppose i should-

    The day I see a new Apple computer under $1000 will be the end of the world.
    September 18, 2008 9:43:18 AM

    well, i have a dell vostro 1400 that i bought last year to start college, and it has served me well; despite what enginerd says, the intel integrated (x3100) functions just fine for CS:S, and for any games that are a couple years old; you certainly wont be playing crysis but it works great for mmos, strategy and older fps. I paid 800 a year ago and have a 1.8ghz core2, 2g ram, vista, integrated wireless, 120g hd. I went with the 9 cell battery which sticks out a little from the back but adds a good couple hours of battery life. I am extremely pleased with this notebook; it is reasonably light and very compact (14 inch screen may be small for some but it works great for me) and has served me well. If you are concerned about battery life, i would stay away from a discrete graphics card and stick to the integrated, it is also cheaper that way.
    !