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Laptop Buying Advice! (Another thread!)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
April 15, 2010 10:40:45 AM

Hey all. I am trying to select a nice laptop/notebook for my mother to purchase. I had originally intended to giver her mine and buy a new one myself, but I'm thinking about getting a desktop instead now. Let's see... ah, the "Read Before Posting" sticky had some suggestions...

1_What is your budget?
I'd like to keep it around $800 if possible. More than $850 is too much, and closer to $700 is preferred.

2_What is the size of the notebook
13"-14" preferred, 15" might be acceptable.

3_What screen resolution do you want?

Doesn't really matter. Matte preferred but Glossy could work if the price was right.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable, but most of the laptops in that size range are anyway.

5_How much battery life do you need?
Preferably at least 2.5 hours on battery, hopefully closer to 4.

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)?
My mother isn't going to play games with it, but I want to get her something that will run all of her programs well. Also in case I end up borrowing it because mine goes down (again) I'd like to be able to play WoW and Starcraft II on LOW settings. Also I run some chemistry software (and mom runs some other stuff for teaching) that requires approximately the same graphics/memory requirements as those games, so it works out anyway.

Low settings are just fine with me, and to be honest I never even attempt to play on anything but LOW settings. I'm always more interested in the performance of what I'm doing (no lag, no stuttering, smooth flow, etc.) than I am how pretty something looks. So, to use a game for an example, it's good enough if I can do a 25man raid in WoW or run around in Dalaran without excessive lag or other issues on the LOWEST settings.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?
Other than mobile internet and maybe some bluetooth I think I covered this in the previous question.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
100GB+ would be fine.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Considering Thinkpad Edge, Thinkpad T-series, Dell Latitude series so far. I'm open to other suggestions.

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Forever and ever. Seriously I doubt they'll buy another one, so this one needs to hold up fairly well.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
CD/DVD Read/Write. Don't need blue-ray.

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.
Sort of covered this in question 9 by accident. I love Thinkpads. I have a Thinkpad t61p with a Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, 3 GB of RAM, and a Nvidia Quadro FX 570M graphics card. I've had it for 2 years and it's been the best computer that I have ever owned by far. It runs everything I've ever tried to run on it, and it runs it well. Plus it can multi-task quite well and never runs hot.

I have had bad luck in the past with Dell and Gateway, but I'm not really opposed to them either. Sony is supposedly good.

13_What country do you live in?

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Prefer to have Windows 7. Since it costs a ton of money to buy and install it I'd rather get a computer that comes with Windows 7 in order to keep the cost down.

Having a VERY good keyboard for typing is a must. Mom is a great typist and will be frustrated with a keyboard that doesn't cater to that. Her hands are fairly small so size probably isn't an issue, but nice keys are really important.

I'm not sure if I'll get much in the way of responses here, but I thought I'd ask around. I'm sort of hoping to find something with perhaps an i3 or i5 processor and a not-too-powerful discrete graphics card. I was hoping to find the Nvidia Neo that they're putting in netbooks now in a slightly larger rig, I think it's based on the Geforce 9300 or 9400M and should therefore meet the graphics reqs without asking for too much power.

I might be asking for too much.

Thanks in advance for any help, it's appreciated.

April 15, 2010 8:37:05 PM

Both excellent options that fit the requirements listed. The Gateway is in the larger end of the size range I wanted, but has excellent specs. The Sony seems to be a perfect fit almost.


Still hoping to get a few more comments or suggestions to round these out, but these two both look good. If nothing else I know which graphics options I can look for when I'm searching later on, assuming we don't get one of these.