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Help picking a new laptop

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June 1, 2010 6:18:17 AM

Hey everyone. I'm looking to get a new laptop for light games and school and need a little help. I've been researching for a couple weeks and I think I have a few choices but I'm not sure yet about laptop technology. In any case, let me answer these questions...

1_What is your budget?
$700

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15.6 - 16"

3_What screen resolution do you want?
whatever, nothing ...........

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Mainly a desktop replacement. My desktop is outdated so I'm looking to upgrade at least a little. My goal is something a little better than my desktop, mainly to run The Sims 3 without lag/choppiness. But at the same time, I want something as light as possible. If I wanted a heavy behemoth to just sit on a desk, I'd probably just get another desktop.

My desktop has an AMD 64 3000 processor and it used to have a Radeon 9800 Pro. When that burned out, I replaced it with a Radeon HD 3650. Desktop has 1 gig ram, 120 gig hdd.

5_How much battery life do you need?
Nothing completely crappy. But the longer the better. In other words, not a top priority.

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)?
SimCity 4, Unreal 2004, The Sims 3... high settings. My main concern is The Sims 3. My desktop barely has the minimum requirements so the game runs, but it often gets choppy when not zoomed far in. I'd like it to just run smooth and fast the entire time.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
music, movies, youtube... my desktop has an Audigy 2ZS 5.1 soundcard. I think I've read that the on board sound in modern laptops produces about the same sound quality. Is that true?

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
More than 120 gigs. Seems like everything is at least 320 which is plenty. Not a top priority.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Any well known company/site

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-5 years. I'll probably keep it 5 years no matter what I end up getting.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Just a dvd rom/writer

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 care more about a laptop with great user reviews rather than the company.

13_What country do you live in?
US

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Here are some laptops I've found so far:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
 P4118:CL161747#ReviewHeader" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.staples.com/Acer-AS5741-6073-15.6-Laptop/pro...
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+Satellite+Laptop+...

My main problem is that I just don't know enough about laptop technology to know what performs better: a laptop with an ok processor & ok graphics card (ex. AMD Turion II & Radeon HD 4750) or one with a great processor and integrated graphics (ex. Intel i3 or i5 & Intel HD graphics).

If combo 2 performs better, then I think I'd go with the staples laptop since that seems to be a steal price. If combo 1 performs better, I'd probably go with one of the newegg laptops. If both combos perform the same, then I'd go processor heavy so I could have a lighter laptop with better battery life.

Thanks in advance for the help, I know this is a lot to read.

More about : picking laptop

a c 244 D Laptop
June 1, 2010 7:25:00 AM

Hello and welcome to the forums :) 
Although Core2Duo CPUs are out of production,this laptop is a great choice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has a GTX 260M which performs better significantly better than a 4570M and 5650M(the cards which you can find in laptops within the same price range)
a b D Laptop
June 1, 2010 4:08:57 PM

terminat0r1 said:
Hey everyone. I'm looking to get a new laptop for light games and school and need a little help. I've been researching for a couple weeks and I think I have a few choices but I'm not sure yet about laptop technology. In any case, let me answer these questions...

1_What is your budget?
$700

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15.6 - 16"

3_What screen resolution do you want?
whatever, nothing crappy

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Mainly a desktop replacement. My desktop is outdated so I'm looking to upgrade at least a little. My goal is something a little better than my desktop, mainly to run The Sims 3 without lag/choppiness. But at the same time, I want something as light as possible. If I wanted a heavy behemoth to just sit on a desk, I'd probably just get another desktop.

My desktop has an AMD 64 3000 processor and it used to have a Radeon 9800 Pro. When that burned out, I replaced it with a Radeon HD 3650. Desktop has 1 gig ram, 120 gig hdd.

5_How much battery life do you need?
Nothing completely crappy. But the longer the better. In other words, not a top priority.

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)?
SimCity 4, Unreal 2004, The Sims 3... high settings. My main concern is The Sims 3. My desktop barely has the minimum requirements so the game runs, but it often gets choppy when not zoomed far in. I'd like it to just run smooth and fast the entire time.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
music, movies, youtube... my desktop has an Audigy 2ZS 5.1 soundcard. I think I've read that the on board sound in modern laptops produces about the same sound quality. Is that true?

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
More than 120 gigs. Seems like everything is at least 320 which is plenty. Not a top priority.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Any well known company/site

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-5 years. I'll probably keep it 5 years no matter what I end up getting.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Just a dvd rom/writer

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 care more about a laptop with great user reviews rather than the company.

13_What country do you live in?
US

14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Here are some laptops I've found so far:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
 P4118:CL161747#ReviewHeader" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.staples.com/Acer-AS5741-6073-15.6-Laptop/pro...
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Toshiba+-+Satellite+Laptop+...

My main problem is that I just don't know enough about laptop technology to know what performs better: a laptop with an ok processor & ok graphics card (ex. AMD Turion II & Radeon HD 4750) or one with a great processor and integrated graphics (ex. Intel i3 or i5 & Intel HD graphics).

If combo 2 performs better, then I think I'd go with the staples laptop since that seems to be a steal price. If combo 1 performs better, I'd probably go with one of the newegg laptops. If both combos perform the same, then I'd go processor heavy so I could have a lighter laptop with better battery life.

Thanks in advance for the help, I know this is a lot to read.


Hi there,

Another laptop you might want to consider is the Sony Vaio E series. It is a great all-around laptop and you can also customize it to get better graphics, which will guarantee a better gaming experience for Sims 3.

What do you think about the Sony?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
Related resources
June 1, 2010 6:58:14 PM

Maziar said:
Hello and welcome to the forums :) 
Although Core2Duo CPUs are out of production,this laptop is a great choice
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has a GTX 260M which performs better significantly better than a 4570M and 5650M(the cards which you can find in laptops within the same price range)


Well, I'll definitely consider it. I don't like the short battery life and how heavy it is, but since it basically is a desktop replacement, I'll definitely take it into consideration. Thank you!
June 1, 2010 7:01:00 PM

IsabellaWinTeam said:
Hi there,

Another laptop you might want to consider is the Sony Vaio E series. It is a great all-around laptop and you can also customize it to get better graphics, which will guarantee a better gaming experience for Sims 3.

What do you think about the Sony?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team


Just looked at it, and it didn't overly impress me. $750 for something where its unclear how the battery is and how heavy it is.
a b D Laptop
June 1, 2010 7:37:09 PM

Hi there,

The Sony is just under 6 lbs and has about a 3.5 hr battery life (depending on how you use it), which is comparable to the other laptops you suggested. However, the MSI is the lightest option.

If you want longer battery life, the best option is to add a battery (which will increase the weight of the laptop).

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
June 1, 2010 8:22:01 PM

IsabellaWinTeam said:
Hi there,

The Sony is just under 6 lbs and has about a 3.5 hr battery life (depending on how you use it), which is comparable to the other laptops you suggested. However, the MSI is the lightest option.

If you want longer battery life, the best option is to add a battery (which will increase the weight of the laptop).

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team


Is this the case even when the graphics card is included?
June 2, 2010 5:08:58 AM

So would everyone agree the consensus is that it's better to get a laptop with an ok/decent processor and graphics card rather than one with a great processor and integrated graphics?

If you take my example from earlier.... something like AMD Turion & Radeon 4750 vs. Intel i3 & Intel graphics, how much better is the former than the latter? 2x? 3x? Just a little better?
a c 244 D Laptop
June 2, 2010 8:32:21 AM

It depends on your task.
Getting a Turion with 4750 won't give you a good gaming performance because Turion isn't a very fast CPU compared to current i3/i5 CPUs,and 4570M is a low-end card for gaming.
Also getting an Intel i3 with an Intel card won't give you a good gaming performance either,because Intel 4500MHD is even slower than a 4570M.
I would strongly recommend you to take a look @ the ASUS G72 that i posted,although it has a C2D CPU but its got the GTX 260M which is the fastest VGA that you can afford in your budget
a b D Laptop
June 2, 2010 5:49:47 PM

terminat0r1 said:
Is this the case even when the graphics card is included?


Hi there,

If you will be doing a lot of gaming on your laptop as a result of having the graphics card, you will likely experience shorter battery life. Gaming laptops in general do not have the longest lasting batteries.

Is battery life at the top of your list of priorities?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team

June 2, 2010 6:40:14 PM

Maziar said:
It depends on your task.
Getting a Turion with 4750 won't give you a good gaming performance because Turion isn't a very fast CPU compared to current i3/i5 CPUs,and 4570M is a low-end card for gaming.
Also getting an Intel i3 with an Intel card won't give you a good gaming performance either,because Intel 4500MHD is even slower than a 4570M.
I would strongly recommend you to take a look @ the ASUS G72 that i posted,although it has a C2D CPU but its got the GTX 260M which is the fastest VGA that you can afford in your budget


I see. Well, again I'll definitely take your suggested laptop into consideration. But let me ask my question differently... as new games come out, which is more likely to be able to handle them? A graphics card-heavy laptop, or a processor-heavy laptop?

Again, I have no intention of playing new games on this laptop. I'm just trying to figure out what has the best value long term, a top graphics card or a top processor.

Your response and suggested laptop seem to suggest a top graphics card yields the best value. Is this correct?
June 2, 2010 6:42:40 PM

IsabellaWinTeam said:
Hi there,

If you will be doing a lot of gaming on your laptop as a result of having the graphics card, you will likely experience shorter battery life. Gaming laptops in general do not have the longest lasting batteries.

Is battery life at the top of your list of priorities?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team


It's not a top priority, but I don't want a laptop with the worst battery life. In other words, if I find two laptops that are basically identical, I may decide based on weight or battery life.
a b D Laptop
June 2, 2010 7:44:51 PM

terminat0r1 said:
It's not a top priority, but I don't want a laptop with the worst battery life. In other words, if I find two laptops that are basically identical, I may decide based on weight or battery life.


Hi there,

It seems as though all the laptops you linked to have similar battery life. The best way to get the most accurate read on battery life is to read product reviews by customers who have actually owned the laptops. The Acer AS5741-6073 that you linked to claims to have up to 4 hours.

I hope this helps!

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
June 2, 2010 7:49:57 PM

IsabellaWinTeam said:
Hi there,

It seems as though all the laptops you linked to have similar battery life. The best way to get the most accurate read on battery life is to read product reviews by customers who have actually owned the laptops. The Acer AS5741-6073 that you linked to claims to have up to 4 hours.

I hope this helps!

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team

Oh yeah, definitely. I like that one because of the price, but I first need to figure out if I have to get a graphics card.. that model doesn't come with one
a b D Laptop
June 2, 2010 10:36:19 PM

terminat0r1 said:
Oh yeah, definitely. I like that one because of the price, but I first need to figure out if I have to get a graphics card.. that model doesn't come with one


That model is also one of the lighter ones. If you are able to find an affordable graphics card for your gaming I think it will suit your needs well!

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
June 3, 2010 1:03:51 AM

terminat0r1 said:
I see. Well, again I'll definitely take your suggested laptop into consideration. But let me ask my question differently... as new games come out, which is more likely to be able to handle them? A graphics card-heavy laptop, or a processor-heavy laptop?

Again, I have no intention of playing new games on this laptop. I'm just trying to figure out what has the best value long term, a top graphics card or a top processor.

Your response and suggested laptop seem to suggest a top graphics card yields the best value. Is this correct?


If playing games, even old ones, will add to the amount of time you will keep your laptop, then a laptop with a better graphics card will probably be a better choice. I'd vote for stronger processor if you were going to use it for work or school and watching movies. Once gaming is put in the mix and especially if future gaming is a goal, then the discrete graphics is definitely the deciding factor.

looking at the laptop maz recommended, that's what I would buy if i were in your shoes. That proc would be fine for office/school work, and the video will probably play fairly new games for another year or two. not a bad deal for $684
June 3, 2010 4:05:38 AM

bliq said:
If playing games, even old ones, will add to the amount of time you will keep your laptop, then a laptop with a better graphics card will probably be a better choice. I'd vote for stronger processor if you were going to use it for work or school and watching movies. Once gaming is put in the mix and especially if future gaming is a goal, then the discrete graphics is definitely the deciding factor.

looking at the laptop maz recommended, that's what I would buy if i were in your shoes. That proc would be fine for office/school work, and the video will probably play fairly new games for another year or two. not a bad deal for $684


Gahhhh. I'm so torn. I really want the graphics card, but I probably won't do much future gaming to justify the higher expense. In other words, I'm just not sure if it's worth it.

Let me ask you this.

Look at the staples.com laptop I linked to... it's an Acer, $600, Intel Core i5, 15.6", 4GB, 500GB, Intel HD Graphics, 5.7lbs, 6-cell lithium ion
How do you think this machine would handle The Sims 3? I'm assuming that since my desktop can handle it (AMD 64 3000, 1 gig ram, Radeon HD 3650), then a laptop like this should be able to handle it MUCH better. Is that true?
Anonymous
a b D Laptop
October 24, 2010 3:08:36 PM

I'm thinking of buying a Sony VAIO with the specs below:

-Intel® Core™ i3-370M processor (2.40GHz)
-Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit (OS)
-320GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm0)
-4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1066 (memory/RAM)
-15.5" Full HD VAIO Premium Display (1920x1080)
-ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650 GPU (1GB VRAM)

I was wondering if this was enough to play The Sims 3 on high (including ambitions). I was also wondering if the 4GB RAM was necessary or could I play on high with a 2GB (2GBx1) DDR3-SDRAM-1066 ? Oh, and if the i3 processor was good enough to run on high with the graphics card.


Thanks in advance.

!