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Looking for a good Laptop for school and other general uses

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August 6, 2010 7:23:09 PM

I am currently shopping for a laptop that will be good to take to school. I have been looking at this Acer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
as it seems to have a good combination of power and portability. I know it seems like a desktop replacement but the 7.5lbs isn't to much of an issue although anything lighter I certainly would not reject. :) 

One of my problems is other than the i3/i5/i7 Intels I'm really not all that familiar with some of the other cpu types like the intel T4500 and others and no nothing about the AMD's. I have heard some mention of ultra low voltage and low voltage but not sure what that means as far as performance. I also do prefer to have a DVD burner so that rather rules out the smaller netbooks for me.

Typically I run things like Microsoft Office, Open Office as well as any other applications needed for school. I would like to be able to install the Sims on it and run it but that can definately is a luxury and not a neccessity in a laptop purchase. I have been looking at the ones with 3D GPU's like the nVidia's and Radeons because they seem to be the ones with dedicated memory where as other types seem to share system memory which in my experience causes some noticable performance hits (please correct me if I'm wrong). Also, does a metal case for a laptop make a huge difference in cooling over a plastic case?

Any help you can provide is very much appreciated. Thank you :D 

_What is your budget?
750-1000

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Size doesn't matter, but would like a good very clear screen.

3_What screen resolution do you want?
Something where a movie would look very good on.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Something in between would be perfect, if portable means netbook.

5_How much battery life do you need?
3-5 hours.

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)?
The Sims
World of Warcraft
Medium settings, but gaming is a luxury, not a neccessity for a purchae in my mind.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Maybe some phot editing, movie watching on occasion.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
250+ would be nice.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Newegg.com

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-3 years at least.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD burner

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've heard good things about Acer and Asus, but certainly would like to hear the community's expertise on brands.

13_What country do you live in?
USA


14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Would like something that stays relatively cool and wouldn't have to worry about having on and plugged in for 5 or 6 hours at a time.

a b D Laptop
August 6, 2010 8:10:39 PM

wildkitten said:
I am currently shopping for a laptop that will be good to take to school. I have been looking at this Acer
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
as it seems to have a good combination of power and portability. I know it seems like a desktop replacement but the 7.5lbs isn't to much of an issue although anything lighter I certainly would not reject. :) 

One of my problems is other than the i3/i5/i7 Intels I'm really not all that familiar with some of the other cpu types like the intel T4500 and others and no nothing about the AMD's. I have heard some mention of ultra low voltage and low voltage but not sure what that means as far as performance. I also do prefer to have a DVD burner so that rather rules out the smaller netbooks for me.

Typically I run things like Microsoft Office, Open Office as well as any other applications needed for school. I would like to be able to install the Sims on it and run it but that can definately is a luxury and not a neccessity in a laptop purchase. I have been looking at the ones with 3D GPU's like the nVidia's and Radeons because they seem to be the ones with dedicated memory where as other types seem to share system memory which in my experience causes some noticable performance hits (please correct me if I'm wrong). Also, does a metal case for a laptop make a huge difference in cooling over a plastic case?

Any help you can provide is very much appreciated. Thank you :D 

_What is your budget?
750-1000

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Size doesn't matter, but would like a good very clear screen.

3_What screen resolution do you want?
Something where a movie would look very good on.

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Something in between would be perfect, if portable means netbook.

5_How much battery life do you need?
3-5 hours.

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)?
The Sims
World of Warcraft
Medium settings, but gaming is a luxury, not a neccessity for a purchae in my mind.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Maybe some phot editing, movie watching on occasion.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
250+ would be nice.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Newegg.com

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-3 years at least.

11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD burner

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've heard good things about Acer and Asus, but certainly would like to hear the community's expertise on brands.

13_What country do you live in?
USA


14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Would like something that stays relatively cool and wouldn't have to worry about having on and plugged in for 5 or 6 hours at a time.


Intel Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors is their line of processors that draws about half as much power (18W vs 35W) as their standard mobile processors, at the cost of much lower processing power. They're not available on that many laptops... AMD processors are generally more power hungry than their Intel counterparts, and there isn't actually an AMD equipped laptop that i know of that lasts as long as you want it to.

Actually, there's not many laptops that can stay unplugged for 5-6 hours at a time, and those that can are either expensive, uses previous generation's processors, or haven't quite been released in the US yet.

If price is flexible, you can look into the Sony Vaio Z series (they costs around $1800 to start though :S )
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-VPCZ122GX-VAIO-Notebook-PC/d...

If the processor/graphics card required is flexible, you can look into the Asus UL80VT (14" screen) or UL30VT (13" screen) series. They use the last generation's processor (the ultra low voltage Core 2 Duos), and use last generation's graphics cards (Geforce 210m), but can last 12 or so hours on a charge.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.amazon.com/UL30Vt-A1-13-3-Inch-Silver-Laptop...

If time is flexible, you can try to wait for the revision of those Asus laptops in the UL80JT or the UL30JT, both with the new generation of processors and graphics chips, but i'm not sure when those would come out, tbh.

If you're willing to drop the battery life to 4-5 hours, you can have a few more options:
The Alienware M11x - R2 is about $1000, has a high res 11" screen, and can last around 4 or so hours on a charge.
http://www.alienware.com/Landings/m11x.aspx

The Acer AS4820TG is $800 or $900, and can last around 5 hours of web browsing and some video watching.
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Aspire-TimelineX-AS4820TG-56...
August 6, 2010 11:46:46 PM

sidewinderx2 said:
Intel Ultra Low Voltage (ULV) processors is their line of processors that draws about half as much power (18W vs 35W) as their standard mobile processors, at the cost of much lower processing power. They're not available on that many laptops... AMD processors are generally more power hungry than their Intel counterparts, and there isn't actually an AMD equipped laptop that i know of that lasts as long as you want it to.

Actually, there's not many laptops that can stay unplugged for 5-6 hours at a time, and those that can are either expensive, uses previous generation's processors, or haven't quite been released in the US yet.

If price is flexible, you can look into the Sony Vaio Z series (they costs around $1800 to start though :S )
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-VPCZ122GX-VAIO-Notebook-PC/d...

If the processor/graphics card required is flexible, you can look into the Asus UL80VT (14" screen) or UL30VT (13" screen) series. They use the last generation's processor (the ultra low voltage Core 2 Duos), and use last generation's graphics cards (Geforce 210m), but can last 12 or so hours on a charge.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.amazon.com/UL30Vt-A1-13-3-Inch-Silver-Laptop...

If time is flexible, you can try to wait for the revision of those Asus laptops in the UL80JT or the UL30JT, both with the new generation of processors and graphics chips, but i'm not sure when those would come out, tbh.

If you're willing to drop the battery life to 4-5 hours, you can have a few more options:
The Alienware M11x - R2 is about $1000, has a high res 11" screen, and can last around 4 or so hours on a charge.
http://www.alienware.com/Landings/m11x.aspx

The Acer AS4820TG is $800 or $900, and can last around 5 hours of web browsing and some video watching.
http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Aspire-TimelineX-AS4820TG-56...

No, just looking for something that can run off batteries about 3-4 hours, maybe 5. The 5-6 hours referred to me running it continously while plugged in to the wall and was concerned about if a good laptop would overheat if ran that long.

Now the lower processing power of the lower voltage CPU's, do they make a big noticeable difference in the amount of time to do things on the computer?
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a b D Laptop
August 9, 2010 1:13:03 PM
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wildkitten said:
No, just looking for something that can run off batteries about 3-4 hours, maybe 5. The 5-6 hours referred to me running it continously while plugged in to the wall and was concerned about if a good laptop would overheat if ran that long.

Now the lower processing power of the lower voltage CPU's, do they make a big noticeable difference in the amount of time to do things on the computer?


If you are not planning on doing anything too computationally intensive such as lots of video editing or playing new, graphics intensive games, you should have no problems with heat as long as you keep the ambient temperature reasonable.

Although the Ultra Low Voltage CPUs are roughly half as powerful as the standard mobile CPUs, it should not make that big a difference in performance in the things that you listed you want to do, so you should be fine if you decide to pick a laptop with one of the ULV processors, such as that Alienware M11x. However, the problem is that there are not that many laptops that uses the ULV processors, so besides the Alienware one, I'm not sure what other laptop uses it.

If you really don't foresee the need for any more processing power through your ownership of the laptop, I'd suggest the Asus UL80VT or the UL30VT, as it has great battery life, and should see you through your needs just fine. You can get them for about $700 or so from Amazon.

If you really don't care about graphics at all, but would like a Core i3 processor, you can try the Toshiba Satellite m645. http://www.jr.com/toshiba/pe/TOS_M645S4045/ It only has the integrated graphics card, but it should run Sims 3 and WoW on medium. It's also only $700.
There's also a version of the m645 with a much better dedicated graphics card, but it costs about $1000 :/ 
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If you don't mind paying more than $700, I would still suggest the Acer AS4820TG, which has the standard Core i5 or Core i3 processors (not the ULV version), and a good dedicated graphics card (Radeon 5650 HD). It is at least $800, however. (800 for the i3, 900 for the i5 version).
August 16, 2010 10:48:04 AM

Best answer selected by wildkitten.
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