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General College Laptop Help

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 1, 2010 3:05:02 PM

Hey, I'll be going to college in a month and it's time to pick a laptop! I'm not a newb when it comes to computers, but I'm not exactly an expert either. I'll need a laptop that can allow me to run multiple programs at once smoothly, get all my college work done, run High Quality movies from time to time, and last my college education (at least 4 years). I'd like to have all the essentials and some nice features like 3+ USB ports and some bells and whistles like that.

I'd really appreciate it if I could be pointed in the right direction. Thanks!



1. What is your budget?
Under $1000, closer to 800 would be nice.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

At least 15''

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Not sure, higher quality, able to watch HD movies and look crisp

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Not a desktop replacement, but somewhere in between a portable and replacement. I'll be in college so portability is more important IMO.

5. How much battery life do you need?
I won't be gaming..so at least 4-5 hours would be nice.

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)?

I don't play games, but I want a faster computer so I assume one of the faster processors.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
General internet use, college work, watching High Quality Movies, listening to music, etc.

8. How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?

It seems 250-500 is the average for general use, so around there.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I see a lot of people using Newegg, but anything reputable is fine with me.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
At least the next 4 years of college.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD ROM/Writer. Blu ray would be very nice.

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 have an HP desktop and it's nice. I prefer a brand that will last and has a good reputation. Again, I'm not the computer whiz.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'm not sure if Windows 7 is the way to go, but I hear good feedback on it. I want to be able to run mutliple programs smoothly and not have to worry about things slowing down considerably. Pretty much the most efficient college/home computer for under $1000.

More about : general college laptop

August 1, 2010 3:45:19 PM

You might check out the outlet store on Dell's website (no affiliation). http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfb/notebooks/latit_usage_per...

These will be more than adequate for watching dvds and downloaded movies, using internet applications, writing, etc. If you want to be able to watch blu-ray discs you may have to look beyond these laptops, though. All of the processors will be fast enough that you should hardly notice the difference between them. But, the single most overlooked factor is hard drive speed. Always opt for 7200 rpm over 5400 rpm, and maybe even consider a solid state drive (although they are expensive and only store 64 to 128 gigabytes). Hard drive speed is the limiting factor in boot-up speed, and the time with which every application loads.

Good luck! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
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August 1, 2010 4:49:09 PM

Geat27 said:
You might check out the outlet store on Dell's website (no affiliation). http://www.dell.com/us/en/dfb/notebooks/latit_usage_per...

These will be more than adequate for watching dvds and downloaded movies, using internet applications, writing, etc. If you want to be able to watch blu-ray discs you may have to look beyond these laptops, though. All of the processors will be fast enough that you should hardly notice the difference between them. But, the single most overlooked factor is hard drive speed. Always opt for 7200 rpm over 5400 rpm, and maybe even consider a solid state drive (although they are expensive and only store 64 to 128 gigabytes). Hard drive speed is the limiting factor in boot-up speed, and the time with which every application loads.

Good luck! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Hey, thanks! I've been looking at a lot of user/critic reviews because I think that's the best way to know how I'll like it in the long run. Doing that, I've come up with these as the best user reviewed:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/samsung-np-r580-jsb1us/...;contentBody#reviewPage1

http://www.amazon.com/UL80Vt--14-Inch-Light-Laptop-Silv...

http://www.amazon.com/UL80Vt-A1-14-Inch-Light-Laptop-Ba...

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/gateway-nv7915u/4505-31...


The thing is, that most of these are 5400rpm and not 7200, and some are 14inches (which I think may be more suitable for a college laptop now). Does that rpm really make THAT much of a difference just for the general use? Most people have been rating the 5400rpm laptops very highly and I'm not sure if 128gb will be enough for 4 years of college.

Another Question...is 4GB RAM enough? or should I opt for more than that? Appreciate all of the help!
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August 1, 2010 7:21:38 PM

First, 4gb of ram is enough.


Second, a lot of great computers have 5400 rpm hard drives. It's certainly not going to seem unusually slow or anything like that. The effect of hard drive speed shows up most when you're booting up the machine, and when you're loading programs. Most of the time, you're not doing either of those things. So life will be good.
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August 6, 2010 5:54:49 PM

Okay, so After a lot of researching and messing around with some laptops at bestbuy I've narrowed it down to these. They are right in my price range, have good reviews, and seem to have some pretty good specs for the value compared to other computers in the price range.

I'd like to buy off from bestbuy because I get a good payment deal with my mother's card

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/hp-pavilion-dm4-1065dx/...

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/samsung-q430-11/4505-31...;txt

and this one only has an i3 processor compared to the i5 430M on the others, but seems to have some good reviews all across the web

http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/toshiba-portege-r705-p2...

Any input on these choices would be awesome.
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a b D Laptop
August 6, 2010 8:26:46 PM

The Toshiba looks really good, especially since it's light (lighter by 2 lbs compared to the HP and the Samsung!!) and it has pretty good battery life. The performance difference between the i3 and the i5 will probably be unnoticeable by you, so that should not be a problem. If you're not going to play any games, the integrated graphics card will work perfectly fine for movie watching and such... In fact, you can probably play Sims 3 on medium graphics quality on it if you wanted to.

Really, if you're going to be carrying that laptop around at all, then your shoulder/back is going to love you for having a laptop that's 2lbs lighter.
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August 9, 2010 1:14:44 AM

I won't be carrying it around that much..so besides the weight is there any other reason that'd be a deciding factor? Or should I play around with all 3 tomorrow and just see which "feels" the best.
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a b D Laptop
August 9, 2010 1:25:14 PM

Whitefiberz said:
I won't be carrying it around that much..so besides the weight is there any other reason that'd be a deciding factor? Or should I play around with all 3 tomorrow and just see which "feels" the best.


If you don't think weight is an issue, then i guess you can just look to see which one you like the best, since they're all fairly comparable. According to your "Want List", there's nothing on there that would tax your computer to a degree which will cause the CPU to become a bottleneck, so the i3 processor should not be a big deciding factor for you.
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