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Deciding on a laptop and is the i7 worth the extra scratch

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 2, 2009 2:57:40 AM

I'm deciding on which laptop will replace the HP Pavilion that arbitrarily broke a while ago, and I need some help.

Currently I'm debating between the Lenovo ThinkPad Y550 and the Dell Studio 17.

Both have the Intel Core i7 720QM. I want to know:
  • Does the Core i7 really have enough of an advantage over the Core 2 Duo to justify the steeper price, or would it make more sense to buy a comparable system with a Duo instead?
  • The GPU in each is different. The Lenovo has a 1GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 240M and the Dell a 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650. Which is better?
  • Does anyone have a preference for Lenovo or Dell in terms of the quality of their products?

    If the i7 isn't worth the extra cash, I'll find a cheaper system with the Duo.

    I noticed a laptop FAQ that people here seem to like answered, so here it is:
    1_What is your budget?
    About $500-$1000

    2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
    Physical size? One is abut 17", the other about 15".

    3_What screen resolution do you want?
    I do not care.

    4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
    Portable.

    5_How much battery life do you need?
    Longer than the 45 minutes I got with my HP Pavilion.

    6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
    Possible some Civilization IV, but nothing other than that.

    7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
    Photo/Video/audio editing, graphic illustration (PS/Illustrator/Painter), coding (Python/R/etc.), watching movies, listening to music.

    8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
    Very little, I don't understand why people are tossing terabytes around for PCs these days.

    9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
    Dell.com, Tigerdirect.com

    10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
    A few years, but we all know that's unlikely to happen.

    11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
    CD/DVD RW

    12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
    Lenovo, Dell, Asus. HP is an absolutely unacceptable choice, the last laptop I got from them ended up having a poorly made motherboard off of which a resistor fell. Note that I handled this thing very gingerly and delicately. I also find the sheer number of bloated, useless, memory-hogging programs they bog their systems down with unbearable. I've often been told to avoid Acer and MSI.

    13_What country do you live in?
    USA

    14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
    See above.
    a b D Laptop
    December 3, 2009 1:41:39 AM

    If you want the laptop to be "future proof" for a few years, I'd go with the i7. In regard to the GPUs, I'd say that they are pretty similar. I believe the below mentioned site has mobile gpu performance numbers as well. Personally, I'd go with the Dell, as in my experience they have been rather reliable.

    Here are some performance numbers on laptop CPU's to give you a better idea:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmar...
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    December 3, 2009 2:44:20 AM

    buwish said:
    If you want the laptop to be "future proof" for a few years, I'd go with the i7. In regard to the GPUs, I'd say that they are pretty similar. I believe the below mentioned site has mobile gpu performance numbers as well. Personally, I'd go with the Dell, as in my experience they have been rather reliable.

    Here are some performance numbers on laptop CPU's to give you a better idea:

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmar...

    That's the impression I got, I was leaning towards the i7 for the purposes of future-proofing. Glad to know I made a good choice.

    Thank you very much for that site. It's been very helpful.
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    February 10, 2010 8:10:31 AM


    I noticed a laptop FAQ that people here seem to like answered, so here it is:

    1_What is your budget?
    About $300

    2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
    Physical size? 17" or 15" - under 6 lbs.

    3_What screen resolution do you want?
    Current Apple laptop comparable -- 1024 x800??

    4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
    Portable.

    5_How much battery life do you need?
    5 - 7 hrs -- real world not just speced

    6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)? No -- only individual Solitaire & Spider Solitaire; occassionally Scrabble and 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe and Chess.

    7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
    Photo/Video/audio editing, graphic illustration (PS/Illustrator/Painter), coding (Python/R/etc.), watching movies, listening to music; s/w dev & testing -- via separate partition and external drive

    8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
    160GB is fine. I'm keen to keep heat issues to bare minimum and optimize life and operation of laptop.

    9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
    eBay.com (used or refurb); Gateway.com, Dell.com, Tigerdirect.com

    10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
    A few years, but we all know that's unlikely to happen. Hard to match 10 yr life on my Ti Apple PB 500 MHz which is still going strong though slow.

    11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Depends on price point. If burner is within $50 upgrade I'll get the most features if the form factor is the only format i.e. Bluray vs. its competitor. CD/DVD RW ROM is fine also.

    12_Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
    Apple is my first choice (stable OS), but looks like this time around I'm going the PC route. Currently co-user of a Gateway MT6840 w Intel Core Duo T2450 w/ 2.00 GB, 1GB RAM, 32-bit OS running Vista Home Premium. It's a sweet machine -- even the OS is pretty good and Win 7 is better.

    I'd be happy to duplicate the Gateway machine or w/a comparable Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony. My only problem is that none of these machines have FireWire in Apple's form ... Sony does on some models, but it's another plug.

    13_What country do you live in?
    USA

    14_Please tell us any additional information if needed. Any help toward a $300 Apple laptop with at least 2.00GHz CPU Duo and Firewire would be nice too, but even Apple has cut back on Firewire. It's faster for data transfer and more reliable for my uses with external HDs, thumbs and SDs/SIM cards esp over WiFi.
    See above.
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