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Considering a new laptop.

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a b D Laptop
January 28, 2010 12:26:04 PM

I am considering buying a laptop to replace my aging Dell E1505. Timing and budget will both depend on when I sell my backup PC and/or when I get my extortion refund and how much it is. I have tried to estimate my budget, but I hope to have wiggle room in it.

1_What is your budget? $600-$800, the less the better. I've seen a few in the $500-$600 range that might do, but I'd rather pay a little more if it significantly adds to longevity and/or battery life.

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? Not too important; 14"-15." I don't want an unwieldy 17" beast.

3_What screen resolution do you want? With my budget, 1440x900 is probably out of reach, but as close to that as I can reasonably get.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? I'm more interested in portability. This machine will be a backup, and doesn't have to have awesome performance, but a single-core CPU won't cut it.

5_How much battery life do you need? Prefer 4+ hours, and definitely not less than 3. This is what has made laptop shopping difficult; I've not found it easy to correlate battery life with GPU or other features.

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)? I want to be able to play games like Guild Wars, Sacred 2, and Dragon Age: Origins on medium or better settings; but I am willing to accept lowered graphics settings to get higher FPS. My current laptop has a X1300 in it, which cannot handle Dragon Age, and requires lowest settings to get a barely sufferable Guild Wars experience. I will also play Diablo II, III (when it's out) and casual games on it, typically on long flights (hence the battery life requirement); those have much lesser requirements for graphics muscle.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.) - As a backup, it needs to be able to handle standard productivity apps, surfing, email, etc. I don't think I've never watched a movie on my e1505, but I have viewed a lot of vacation photos on it.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need? I'm likely to replace whatever it has with a SSD, so this is a place to be cheap. A mere 60GB-80GB would be enough, but it should be SATA so I can put in the SSD.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them. I mostly buy from Newegg, but would consider any reasonably reliable US source. Best Buy, Staples, Office Depot, are all potential deal sources.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop? Years. I think I've had the Dell for 7 years, and am only now thinking of replacing it. I just replaced its battery for the third time in December.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? I want to be able to write CDs, but only need to read DVDs. An external drive would be acceptable, especially if it makes a second battery slot available.

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'm a little leery of MSI in general, but don't have any strong preferences concerning laptops. AMD vs. Intel does not matter to me.

13_What country do you live in? USA; near Knoxville, Tennessee.

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed. Laptop should have at least 802.11g, preferably draft N. I want at least 2GB of RAM, preferably 4GB. I'd prefer Windows7, but would take XP over Vista due to known compatibility issues. I'll usually use a mouse, so I'd like the touchpad to de-activate when a mouse is detected. Should have at least 2 USB ports. A SD slot would be nice, but I've got a USB dongle.

Thanks, Maziar, for the comprehensive list of questions. I hope my answers to them are as complete.


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a b D Laptop
January 28, 2010 4:43:18 PM

Based on your requests, I have found the Dell Studio 15 to suit your tastes. If you have any questions, please state below. However, I have one concern: why spend $800 when you expect your laptop to last you for years? I would reccomend at least a 1000 dollar price, and with that I would highly recommend the VAIO SR or a lenovo y460 (released in March)

If you want a REALLY, REALLY long lasting laptop, buy a Macbook.

I apologize for the inconvenience, but 800 dollars will not last you years of flawless use. I have good experience with a couple of Dells I own.
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a b D Laptop
January 28, 2010 8:04:15 PM

I take care of my equipment, which is why I expect it to last. Seems to me the e1505 was in the $800 range, and it is a little over 7 years old now iirc. It is still in excellent condition, it just can't run newer games even on lowest settings.

The Studio 15 uses an Intel Graphics Media Decelerator, which is not acceptable, as it would probably be worse than what I already have.
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a b D Laptop
January 29, 2010 6:23:44 AM

Hmm...I recommend waiting until March for the new Lenovo y560. For about 850 you get a slick, slim laptop that has a 5 hour battery life and can play the latest games (Yes, the LATEST games) at well over 30 frames per second.

If you need a laptop now, I would recommend the Lenovo y450. For this you would need to shell out $999 for a laptop that is portable, has a decent battery life, and has quite a good GPU for it'S size.

And I meant the Dell Studio 15 with the ATI Radeonb 4530, not with the Intel Chipset. Have fun with whatever you choose!

Once again, if you can afford it, 1000 dollars is the base amount you should look for.

I hope I help!
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January 29, 2010 3:36:00 PM

My only word of advice is that whatever you buy, get an extended warranty even if the upfront cost wants to make you vomit, it's a lot worse to hear on the 13th month of ownership that you need a repair which will cost about the same as the net cost of your laptop. I would stay away from Dell, regardless of cost or specs, Dell is still a Dell and that's about as low on the quality control as it gets - and customer support will be a nightmare (I know first hand and my issue wasn't even a big one). Good luck!
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a b D Laptop
January 29, 2010 4:52:19 PM

That is extremely wrong. I have the following dells:

-dell inspiron 1525
-dell studio 1545
-dell vostro 1700
- dell dimension 8100

Bad quality? I beg to differ. And I own a couple more laptops, and honestly there is nothing bad quality about them for the price.

I also own a Fujitsu lifebook and a sony vaio cw and a macbook white unibody. So with the above statements, i assure you dell is not bad quality. Customer support isn't repulsive either. :D 
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a b D Laptop
February 4, 2010 11:40:21 PM

Best answer selected by jtt283.
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