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New Laptop: too many choices

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 3, 2009 5:59:29 AM

I am graduating from University in a few days and I have to give my university provided thinkpad R400 back. This will leave me with no computer so I guess it is time to buy a new one. The problem is I'm not really sure what to buy. I was wondering if anyone here could give me some advice. I would like windows 7 and at least 4 gigs of RAM. The computer will mainly be used for work (Geographic Information Systems or GIS) and web browsing. maybe a little gaming but nothing major. (Most likely just some occasional counterstrike source)

Here goes:
1_What is your budget?
$770-$800

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
about 15 inch

3_What screen resolution do you want?
As large as possible for work (GIS)

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement (I think)

5_How much battery life do you need?
Not really that important I can work at a desk.

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)?
Not really, but kinda looking for dedicated graphics (for rendering large raster images in GIS).

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Mainly GIS stuff for work, word processing, movie watching(HDMI out if possible), some excel, photoshop, vector graphics editing.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
I have an external drive for backing up important things so I think 250-320 is alright.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.
I get an alumni discount if i purchas a another Lenovo ( I was thinking about a Y550 ideapad)

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
A few years once I move into a larger place I think im going to buy a new desktop anyway.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD writer is fine

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.
I thought my thinkpad was alright for being a low end machine I have also seen a few Asus machines that sound alright(UL30Vt-X1). I have been warned to steer clear of HP products due to substandard parts but I don't know if there is any truth to that.

13_What country do you live in?
USA

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December 3, 2009 8:36:23 AM

I've just got this one myself last month and it is great:

HP Pavilion dm3-1020EA

Cheap, good performance and excellent user reviews :) 

Cheers,
Terenze
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December 3, 2009 8:38:12 AM

I've just got this one myself last month and it is great:

http://www.my-electricals-online.com/PC-and-Laptops/HP%...(Windows-7-Home-Premium,-AMD-Athlon-Neo-X2-Processor-L335,-4-GB-RAM,-320GB-SATA-HDD,-Ethernet,-Bluetooth,-6-Cell-Battery-up-to-6-Hours-Life)/B002P8M9TA/
Cheap, good performance and excellent user reviews :) 

Cheers,
Terenze
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a c 244 D Laptop
December 3, 2009 8:49:54 AM

Those you choose are good but their CPU is weaker than the Studio 15/Sager 2098 and for your works you benefit from a good CPU
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December 3, 2009 2:47:58 PM

@Maziar, the sager starts outside of the budget range, a

I think in your budget range you'd be way better served by a desktop for your stated use (GIS, I'm assuming ESRI products). Its really hard to fit that category into that budget on a laptop (or a desktop).

IDeally if you could up your budget some you could go with this:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
Otherwise this looks fairly good:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Anyhow steer clear of anything using Intel GMA for graphics and try for the most memory/CPU you can. You'd be best served looking at a higher end laptop but thats barred by your price range, so as I previously mentioned you should consider getting a desktop (better bang for the buck as far as performance).
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December 3, 2009 6:06:24 PM

Wow, thanks for all of the input everyone. Some real lookers here. guess I've got some shopping to do.
I already have a desktop machine to work on, at the office, so may laptop doesn't have to be too powerful (or expensive). it will mainly be for finishing things up that I don't get done in the office or taking on the road with me . After doing all my GIS work for the last 4 years on a thinkpad w/ a t5870 processor or less , 1 GB of RAM, and integrated graphics. all of the machines listed will be a huge step up. Thanks again for the advice I'll post again when I make a decision.
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December 3, 2009 6:22:18 PM

cl3 said:
Wow, thanks for all of the input everyone. Some real lookers here. guess I've got some shopping to do.
I already have a desktop machine to work on, at the office, so may laptop doesn't have to be too powerful (or expensive). it will mainly be for finishing things up that I don't get done in the office or taking on the road with me . After doing all my GIS work for the last 4 years on a thinkpad w/ a t5870 processor or less , 1 GB of RAM, and integrated graphics. all of the machines listed will be a huge step up. Thanks again for the advice I'll post again when I make a decision.


My suggestion would be to shop around yourself. I mean, it's good to have other people's input that's for sure, but From my experience, to be honest, you know exactly what you need, just go out and find a laptop you like. They only thing I would say is stay away from HP and Compaq, Gateway and such generic brands. They have been known to have a lot of problems. Dell, Sony, and Toshiba are basically the top reliable brands that I can think of right off the bat. Asus is mediocre from what I've read on it. IBM's are above average but when they break it's hard to find parts for them and somewhat a hassle from reviews. I've never had one, but from my experience with laptops, the reviews tend to be somewhat accurate overall.

Lastly, there's nothing like picking out what you want yourself when it comes to a laptop. So, my best advice, go directly to the website of laptops and start configuring until you find something you like.

Edit: The real physical reliable type of laptops is dell and toshiba. Sure they tend to have a "cheaper" look to it, but at the same time, they do have more of a reliable sturdy build and look to them that I noticed. You don't have to worry about setting them down lightly like a vaio or IBM cause your scared it's going to break. Keep that in mind also.
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December 9, 2009 4:08:52 AM

Here is what I ended up buying:
Lenovo Ideapad y550

Intel Core 2 Duo Processor P8700 (2.53GHz 1066MHz 3MBL2)
Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
nVidia Geforce GT 240M graphic card with 1GB memory
15.6 HD WLED Glossy, 1366*768 with 1.3M integrated Camera
4 GB PC3-8500 DDR3 SDRAM 1066MHz SODIMM Memory (4 Dimms)
250GB Hard Disk Drive, 5400rpm
Broadcom Integrated Gigabit Ethernet (802.11G)

it was just a hair under $800 before tax, So I think I did alright. I still plan on building a desktop, once I move out of my shoebox size apartment, but this should hold me over until then. The only qualm I have with it is the sluggish 5400 RPM HD, if anyone knows of a cheap reliable upgrade I'd love to hear about it.
Thanks again everyone.

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