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Help finding a great $650 laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 23, 2008 7:18:24 PM

Hey all,

As always, when I'm stuck and need an excellent answer, I turn to you all. This time, I'm having trouble deciding on a laptop that has to handle numerous roles (hopefully).

What I'd like is a computer that is portable (so no desktop replacements, but I'm no feather weight so it can have some heft) and also can handle light multimedia (ie watching DVDs) and most taxing, have the ability to be used for some light gaming (I'm not interested in playing Crysis on my computer but hopefully a game like NWN2... maybe even HL2).

My price range, I understand, is definitely the limiting factor at 650 bucks. So far in my search I've found a refurbished Gateway http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3402781&body=MAIN#detailspecs but every time I think I've found the answer for myself, I come here and someone far more knowledgeable finds a deal for twice the computer and half the cost.

What I'd really like a Core 2 Duo and a lot of RAM. My biggest concern is about the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3100 because I have no idea how they preform with games. I know that a dedicated card will vastly out preform an integrated one but I don't have that sort of coin. I've also tried building custom computers on Dell etc but the cost of upgrading the memory to 2GB is steep and even if I installed my own, thats still another 100bucks.

Thank you all in advance for any advice or links you may supply.
January 25, 2008 4:15:41 AM

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?c=us...

Here goes a Dell Vostro $549 starting.

Stats:
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5270 (1.4GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic
14.1 inch Wide Screen XGA LCD Display
2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM
120GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
8X CD/DVD+RW Read and Burn CD and DVD
Intel® Integrated Graphics Media Accelerator X3100
Dell Exclusive MediaDirect™ Instant Play Software Application
Intel® PRO/Wireless 3945 802.11a/g Wi-Fi Mini Card
No Camera
Integrated High Definition Audio

If you upgrade the video card from the X3100 to the 8400M GS, you get a total price of $648
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January 25, 2008 11:50:56 AM

Hey everyone,

Thanks for getting back to my question. I've definitely come around to see the intellegence of ordering a custom made (ie Dell). I put together a Vostro the other night for 650 and it had everything that I need.

One final question for you all though: is a Core 2 Duo @ 1.4Ghz or a nVIDIA® GeForceTM 8400M GS with 128MB going to bottle neck games? I would assume that the video card would but wanted to ask. Thanks!
January 25, 2008 4:14:17 PM

The video card will be the one that bottle necks the games since these new games are becoming more video card dependent.
The CPU is just overall system performance.

Here goes the stats with a 8600M GT on a vostro 1500 (15.4")

Intel® Core%u2122 2 Duo T5270 (1.4GHz/800Mhz FSB/2MB cache)
Genuine Windows Vista® Home Basic
15.4 inch Wide Screen XGA LCD Display with TrueLife%u2122
2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz, 2 DIMM
120GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
8X CD/DVD+RW Read and Burn CD and DVD
256MB NVIDIA® GeForce%u2122 8600M GT
Dell Exclusive MediaDirect%u2122 Instant Play Software Application
Dell Wireless 1390 802.11g Wi-Fi Mini Card
No Webcam Option

Total price is $699.

The 8600M GT is a MUCH better card than 8400M GS when it comes to gaming.
One of the best performance/affordable class video cards out now for laptops.
Your choice.

Edit: Here goes a link on the video card levels for laptops.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=39568
!