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Need Help Choosing Between Two Laptops

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 12, 2010 1:01:18 AM

Budget: $700

Size: 15 inch

Resolution: Don't Care

Battery Life: Don't Care

Games: Yes (any settings just no lag), Batman Arkham Asylum 1 and 2 (2011), Burnout Paradise, Need For Speed: World, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit (Upcoming 2010), Prince of Persia (2008), Split/Second, Star Wars: Force Unleashed 2 (Upcoming 2010), Test Drive Unlimited 2

Other Tasks: Internet and Word, Powerpoint, etc

Storage: Don't Care

Usage: Want to keep as long as possible

I found one Acer laptop from Micro Center for $700
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...

But then I found another Acer laptop on Newegg for $770 with a bigger HDD and better CPU
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Which one of these would you guys recommend? I was leaning towards the Acer from Newegg seeing as how it was only $70 more.

More about : choosing laptops

Best solution

July 12, 2010 6:49:23 AM

I personally went for the Acer Aspire AS5745G-5844 because of my budget:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/61204-35-best-noteboo...
(Even $700 was kinda pushing it, but I preferred a more future-proof option since the value would carry in the long run. The total in the end was $780 with all additional expenses included (not including shipping since I picked it up locally).

I wrote a little about my hands on experience here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/61176-35-portable-pow...

The AS5745G-5844 is an outstanding notebook, and from what I gather, the AS5745G-3690 is pretty much identical to the 5844 but with a better i5 450M CPU with Turbo Boost up to 2.66 GHz, along with an additional 180 GBs of hard drive space.

So if you can indeed afford the extra $70, you should definitely get the 3690. If I could have I certainly would, but as I said, I was really hitting my maximum budget.


However, someone also mentioned the Aspire AS5551G-4591, which has a weaker CPU (Turion II X2 P520) than both the 5844 and the 3690 but a substantially stronger GPU (ATI HD 5650) than the GT 330M in the 5844 and 3690.
See benchmark comparisons:
GT 330M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-330M.224...
HD 5650: http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-565...

There are some key differences which are important depending on what is your primary purpose for the notebook:

- The HD 5650 has much better gaming performance than the GT 330M.
- It also supports DirectX 11, which the GT 330M does not (only DX 10.1).
- The HD 5650 also has the ability to transport lossless 8-channel Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio over the HDMI port.

On the other hand:

- The GT 330M has much better driver support for DXVA hardware acceleration of H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 ASP content, whereas ATI's Catalyst drivers (even beyond v10.4) have been known for issues with DXVA compatibility, making the GT 330M better for HD multimedia playback.
- The GT 330M also has CUDA support, which is great for applications that support GPU-accelerated video encoding, etc.
- The GT 330M also supports hybrid-GPU profiles which save large amounts of energy by turning off the discrete GPU when it is not needed, enhancing portability and efficiency.

But also keep in mind that the 4591, at $679.99, is cheaper than the 5844 and especially the 3690, and with DirectX 11 it is the best option for gamers at this price range.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
However, this is not to say that the GT 330M does not offer decent gaming performance, so in the end it depends on whether or not you work with more CPU-intensive applications or more GPU-intensive applications like gaming.
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July 12, 2010 9:11:18 PM

gerand said:
I personally went for the Acer Aspire AS5745G-5844 because of my budget:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/61204-35-best-noteboo...
(Even $700 was kinda pushing it, but I preferred a more future-proof option since the value would carry in the long run. The total in the end was $780 with all additional expenses included (not including shipping since I picked it up locally).

I wrote a little about my hands on experience here:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/61176-35-portable-pow...

The AS5745G-5844 is an outstanding notebook, and from what I gather, the AS5745G-3690 is pretty much identical to the 5844 but with a better i5 450M CPU with Turbo Boost up to 2.66 GHz, along with an additional 180 GBs of hard drive space.

So if you can indeed afford the extra $70, you should definitely get the 3690. If I could have I certainly would, but as I said, I was really hitting my maximum budget.


However, someone also mentioned the Aspire AS5551G-4591, which has a weaker CPU (Turion II X2 P520) than both the 5844 and the 3690 but a substantially stronger GPU (ATI HD 5650) than the GT 330M in the 5844 and 3690.
See benchmark comparisons:
GT 330M: http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-330M.224...
HD 5650: http://www.notebookcheck.net/ATI-Mobility-Radeon-HD-565...

There are some key differences which are important depending on what is your primary purpose for the notebook:

- The HD 5650 has much better gaming performance than the GT 330M.
- It also supports DirectX 11, which the GT 330M does not (only DX 10.1).
- The HD 5650 also has the ability to transport lossless 8-channel Dolby True HD or DTS Master Audio over the HDMI port.

On the other hand:

- The GT 330M has much better driver support for DXVA hardware acceleration of H.264, VC-1, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4 ASP content, whereas ATI's Catalyst drivers (even beyond v10.4) have been known for issues with DXVA compatibility, making the GT 330M better for HD multimedia playback.
- The GT 330M also has CUDA support, which is great for applications that support GPU-accelerated video encoding, etc.
- The GT 330M also supports hybrid-GPU profiles which save large amounts of energy by turning off the discrete GPU when it is not needed, enhancing portability and efficiency. As far as I know, AMD does not offer such a feature.

But also keep in mind that the 4591, at $679.99, is cheaper than the 5844 and especially the 3690, and with DirectX 11 it is the best option for gamers at this price range.
http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml...
However, this is not to say that the GT 330M does not offer decent gaming performance, so in the end it depends on whether or not you work with more CPU-intensive applications or more GPU-intensive applications like gaming.

Well I really think i'll be using more GPU-intensive programs (other programs will just be the internet) so the 4591 sounds very appealing but will the P520 hurt my computer/gaming performance in any way as opposed to the i3 or i5? I will be using this laptop for school in two years so will the 2 hour and 40 minute battery life on the 4591 be a problem? Also what are some CPU-intensive programs?
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July 13, 2010 10:54:13 AM

A weaker CPU will not significantly affect gaming performance in most cases since most of the games today rely primarily on the GPU and much less on the CPU.
The 2 hr 40 min battery life will definitely be a problem if you plan on bringing it with you to school. (Unless you don't mind the constant hassle of finding an outlet to plug it in.)
CPU intensive applications often involve photo/movie editing as well as video encoding/conversion (essentially the entire line of Adobe products). Multitasking in general will also stress the CPU, like editing a video while simultaneously encoding another in the background, etc.
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July 13, 2010 1:23:53 PM

gerand said:
A weaker CPU will not significantly affect gaming performance in most cases since most of the games today rely primarily on the GPU and much less on the CPU.
The 2 hr 40 min battery life will definitely be a problem if you plan on bringing it with you to school. (Unless you don't mind the constant hassle of finding an outlet to plug it in.)
CPU intensive applications often involve photo/movie editing as well as video encoding/conversion (essentially the entire line of Adobe products). Multitasking in general will also stress the CPU, like editing a video while simultaneously encoding another in the background, etc.

Wow is it really that hard to find an outlet? I thought they might have outlets at the desk or something like that.
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July 13, 2010 9:42:24 PM

Best answer selected by Network24.
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