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Laptop choice for roughly $800

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 6, 2010 8:17:49 PM

I have about 800 dollars and need to get a laptop. I plan to use it mostly for music production (sibelius, pro tools, reason, etc) but would also like to be able to game on it. I've narrowed it down to a few choices.

Acer AS5740G-6395 ($799)
i5 2.4ghz
4 gb ram
ATI 5650 mobility
320 gb HD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Samsung NP-R580 (says $949 there but really $829)
i5 2.26ghz
4 gb ram
Nvidia 310m
500 gb HD
http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/office/mobile-comput...

Sony Vaio VPC-EB series ($850)
i5 2.4ghz
4 gb ram
ati 5470 mobility
320 gb HD
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/SYCT...

what I'm most concerned with is reliability and customer service with these brands. I've heard Acer is pretty so-so on both, and that while Sony is suppose to have some of the best most reliable laptops out there, when it comes to customer service and repairs under warranty Sony refuses to do any of it without charging you tons. Samsung is still relatively new so who knows.

I've also heard Toshiba is excellent but couldn't find out with competitive specs and pricing in this range.

Any help would be much appreciated.
a c 244 D Laptop
May 6, 2010 8:56:15 PM

The first one blows away the others in terms of gaming because 5650M is miles ahead faster than 310M/5470M
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a b D Laptop
May 6, 2010 8:58:52 PM

Hi there,

These all look like good choices for what you will be using the laptop for. I found a Toshiba with similar specs, but it costs a bit more ($949). The Toshiba Satellite A505-ST5608 is a good choice because it's not that heavy considering the great graphics and specs (and it also has good battery life).

I hope this helps!

Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
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May 6, 2010 9:48:29 PM

unfortunately 949 is a little too far out of my range.

I agree that the Acer definetley has the best specs of those 3. I just tried out the Samsung at a best buy and was not a fan of the look and feel. How reliable is acer and hows their customer service?
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a c 244 D Laptop
May 7, 2010 7:41:57 AM

Acer is a good brand,their build quality may be lower than some manufactures but they are good.
And since i am not in US,i don't know about the customer service,
Here is a review of the Acer model(it has slightly different specs but the chassis is the same)
http://www.anandtech.com/show/3631/acer-aspire-as5740g-...
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a b D Laptop
May 7, 2010 8:15:59 PM

Just a couple of Comments.

(1) the Games you want to play. Games gome in to floavors - GPU bound and CPU dependent. If your games manly rely on cpu then that decreases GPU requirement. If game is dependent on GPU then your price goes up for dedicated GPU.

(2) Look toward the future. Make sure your Laptop supports dual HDDs. The HDD is the biggest bottleneck and an SSD would greatly improve porformance. BUT SSDs offer low storage space and expensive. . With a second HDD bay you can add a smaller SSD, say 64 -> 128 Gigs for the Operating system and programs and with the 2nd Bay keep your HDD for storage.

(3) I would assume you plan on keeping the laptop for 3/4 years. If the model you get does not have Blu-ray I would look at how hard it is to replace dvd drive with a Blu-ray player/ DVD writer. (currently they cost about $100 - IF you shop arround.

(4) Tosibia was reated as having the fewest problems. (with I could find the link).

(5) Depending on usage, Look to see if you can get an Extended battery and the cost. This only important if you plan on running on battery power for more than a couple of hours.

PS I bought a low end Toshibia for a dollar two ninty-eight (really $550 on sale, added a blu-ray/DVD writer and a SSD - Love it) - BUT I don't game.
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