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Which laptop to buy for college bound son

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 12, 2010 11:47:05 AM

My son is off to college this August and I want to get him a laptop. I'm considering two HP laptops at the moment and I'd like to get your feedback. One is a quad core, albeit only 1.6GHz, which I think is overkill, but the other is i5 2.4GHz dual. Both are configured identically except for the CPU and graphics card, and are practically the same price.

Thanks,
Phil


HPDV6T Quad
* Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-720QM Quad Core processor (1.6GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.8 GHz
* 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
* 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
* 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 320M - For i7 Processors
* Intel Wireless-N Card with Bluetooth
* 15.6" diagonal High Definition LED HP Brightview Widescreen Display (1366x768)
* Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
* High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard)
* HP Keyboard
* No Modem
* LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
* Webcam + Microphone
* No TV Tuner w/remote control
$1171 at Costco

HPDV6T
* Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-520M Dual Core processor (2.40GHz, 3MB L2 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz
* 4GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
* 500GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
* 512MB NVIDIA GeForce G 105M
* Wireless-G Card with Bluetooth
* 15.6" diagonal High Definition LED HP Brightview Widescreen Display (1366x768)
* Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
* Microsoft(R) Works 9.0
* High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (standard)
* Espresso Black
* HP Keyboard
* No Modem
* LightScribe SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-RW with Double Layer Support
* Webcam + Microphone
* No TV Tuner w/remote control
$1129 at Costco

May 12, 2010 1:04:45 PM

I would definitely recommend the first one. The graphics card is much better, and it barely costs more.
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May 12, 2010 1:16:45 PM

Definitely a better graphics card, but won't 't the quad core also run hotter and won't it run down the battery faster?
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May 12, 2010 1:20:39 PM

Yes, like the previous poster said. The first deal is of better value, however do ask your son if he needs to run power demanding application like photoshop and etc. If yes, I would encourage the first computer. Do note that i7 uses up the battery much faster then the i5 pocessor. Cheers :) 
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May 12, 2010 1:58:28 PM

At the moment he has no need for photoshop and other demanding apps; who knows what tomorrow may bring. Thanks.

Any comments on a blu ray player? Will this screen display blu ray well enough?
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May 12, 2010 2:10:23 PM

Well... I believe the screen would be good enough for individual viewing, Or you might want to just use it as a blu ray player and use a hdmi port and show it to your big screen television. :) 
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May 12, 2010 2:22:52 PM

I'm just thinking ahead. It'd be nice if the laptop took care of my son's computing needs for the next 4 years, so maybe I shouldn't lock him out of being able to play blu ray discs? On the other hand, will he really need it? We purchased a blu ray player for our home last Fall to go with our new plasma tv and we still don't own any blu ray discs! :-)
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May 12, 2010 2:33:06 PM

Well... Err-Hem... We normally view "digital format" on the computer. And for me, I rarely uses disc.
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May 12, 2010 6:58:29 PM

Any opinions on Sager laptops? This is for $1223. Seems like a great deal?

15.6" Full HD LED Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)
ATI MOBILITY RADEON HD 5650 Graphics with 1GB GDDR3 Memory
Intel® Core™ i5-540M Processor ( 32nm, 3MB L3 Cache, 2.53GHz) [$50.00]
Thermal Compound Stock Standard Thermal Compound
MS Windows® 7 Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition
4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz - 2 X 2GB
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
Intel Wi-Fi Link 5100AGN - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
Internal Bluetooth V2.1 Module
Smart Li-ION Battery Pack (6 Cells)
Fingerprint Reader
Warranty Sager 2 Year Limited Parts and Labor Warranty [$79.00]
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May 12, 2010 11:24:39 PM

Just one more comparison if anyone is still listening...

Dell Studio 15 with ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 4570, 512MB or
HPDV6T with NVIDIA GeForce G 105M 512MB

all else is the same.

Thanks
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May 13, 2010 9:41:03 AM

Welcome to the forum. Is your son going to be using the computer for gaming? If so, what games? I wouldn't put a Blu-Ray drive as a make or break feature. My vote goes for the first build with the i5. It will get much better battery life. I doubt he will be doing many tasks that could tax four cores heavily on it. And if he is not gaming, he will not need the extra graphics power from the i7 system.

Edit: typo
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May 13, 2010 10:03:50 AM

Thank you. He's not into gaming. I'm going to pass on the blu ray and also on the quad core. Now it's between the Studio 15 and the HPDV6t Dual Core. See my previous post. I've heard that he ATI 4570 is better than the Nvidia 105M, so that pushes me towards the Dell. However, I've also heard the Dell Studio's have a tinny sound. I don't know much about the sound quality of the HP.
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May 13, 2010 10:08:03 AM

There isn't really any need for upgraded graphics, if he's not gaming. From my personal experience, I have found HP laptops to have louder, cleaner sound quality than my Dell XPS. I would get the HP.
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May 13, 2010 10:11:25 AM

And thoughts on reliability between the two?
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May 13, 2010 10:20:44 AM

Hard to say... I think they would be about on the same level.
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May 13, 2010 10:53:45 AM

Two other things to look at is the screens on the laptops, the HP has a glossy screen like my sons DV6T, which I find annoying. It is okay in a dark room, but the reflections in a well lit room cut the contrast on the screen. The HP DV6T has a chromed touch pad with gets greasy. There was an article on computer reliabiltiy and HP was not at the top see http://www.tomshardware.com/news/most-least-reliable-no... and judge for yourself.
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May 13, 2010 11:01:26 AM

Ermm... Not that I am biased or anything, but I'll strongly encourage you to get the Sager laptop. Cheers :) 
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May 13, 2010 11:55:03 AM

The Sager options look good, here's one w/o an op. sys. and an i7 2.66GHz dual that beats any of the above for $1233.

Sager NP7652 (Built on Clevo W765CUH)
- 15.6” HD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1366x768) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- Intel® Core™ i7-620M, 2.66-3.33GHz, (4MB L3 cache)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- ATI HD4570 512MB PCI-Express GDDR2
- 4,096MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)
- Standard Finish
- Combo 8x8x6x4x Dual Layer DVD +/-R/RW 5x DVD-RAM 24x CD-R/RW Drive w/Software
- 500GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- Internal 7-in-1 Card Reader (MS/MS Pro/MS Duo/MS Pro Duo/SD/Mini-SD/MMC/RS)
- Internal Bluetooth + EDR
- Intel® Advanced-N 6200 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Smart Li-ion Battery (6-Cell)
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No External Keyboard or Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Operating System Standard - Drivers & Utility Software Only
- Sager 3 Year Parts & Labor Warranty, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Support

Too many options...
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May 13, 2010 8:21:52 PM

The Sager Np7652 graphic card is weaker than HD5650 though.
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May 17, 2010 10:15:51 PM

Thanks to everyone who replied.
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!