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Upgrade or Buy New???

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Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
November 10, 2010 1:24:47 AM

Hello, I have had a Dell XPS M1210 for just under 2 years and my sister gave it to me after she had it for a year or two.
It is still in very good condition and the only thing is the battery is completely dead and has to be plugged into the wall
to even work.

I am in School for a Double Major in Computer Engineering and Computer Science and minoring in writing/english.
So I am doing a lot of writing and computer related things everyday!

I am getting somewhere in the the $1000 range maybe 1250-1500. But I am picking based on 1000$.

I really think the HP tm2t is incredible, especially if I upgraded it to two 4gb memory sticks and maybe a SSD. The reason I want it is for its touch screen "tablet", which would be used from my CS4 to general design. Not to mention all the other great things that come along when using a tablet (ereader, portability and overall cool)

My second pick is the Mac Top Pro, 13" Core 2 Duo 2.4 w/4gb and 250gb HD. I like to make music in my spare time which would be good to have, but overall I don't think it would be good enough for what I want to do. Even though I have just built my own desktop that can do anything I want, I would also want to be able to do a lot of stuff on the go and at school!

3rd would be just upgrading my current Dell XPS m1210. I would get a new battery, get windows 7 64bit, and 2x2gb memory, which would run me about 400 out the door. Which would leave me money to upgrade my desktop like 2nd 23" screen, blu ray and 2nd 5770.

So this is what I have been thinking about, and ususally when I put my ideas on toms I get a better perspective of things, so please tell me what you think. I plan on buying sometime around christmas time right before Spring Semester!

PS. if you know of something cool for the price that also works!

More about : upgrade buy

a b D Laptop
November 10, 2010 2:19:08 AM

Well, I guess it all depends on how you use a laptop. If you like to do whatever you want on the go, it may be worth the money to upgrade. However, I'm not anti-Apple, but I think that you'd get the most bang for your buck by going with a PC based laptop, especially in terms of hardware. I'd personally stay away from HP, especially the convertible tablets. I had one, a tx model, which died within a year (not to mention the 2 previous laptops I had were HP branded and died within a year as well).

On the otherhand, if you feel that adding to your desktop would be the best way to go and your current laptop is tolerable, especially with the upgrades, just go that route.

What kind of specifics are you looking for in a laptop?
November 10, 2010 3:01:46 AM

There is more competition in the Windows-based notebook realm due to it being open to many manufacturers, rather than Apple's sole OS / Desktop / Notebook / iPod / iPhone corporation. Given that however, their computers are plenty fast, but do note, they come out with updates and upgrades to their system almost yearly, putting your brand new system in the past just a year after you bought it.

Saying that, I'd advise you to do what I did throughout college. Craigslist it. I've gotten the majority of my notebooks for ~$100 cash and they have all worked out great for me. Patience and being quick on the trigger gets you the best deals.

My current notebook is a AMD Turion 64 running Win7 64-bit with 3GB of RAM. Ran me exactly $100. And it's been great for the time being.

Take a look at Black Friday deals coming up in a few weeks as well.
Related resources
November 10, 2010 7:03:17 AM

good stuff..
Well, the HP tm2t's have had a lot of bad reviews as far as being sluggish, and the mac pro isn't worth it unless your going to drop at least 1500 and then you could get a sick windows based laptop.

My Dell M1210 is really nice, it sports a Intel Core Duo T7200 an integrated graphics. Then it has 2gb's of memory and a low HD like 80gb.
Their has been an epidemic of Dell M1210 batteries dieing young(1-2 years), mine is dead but I have been running it off straight plugged for over a year. Its a very light and comfortable to walk with. It does get hot so I have a double fan + 4x USB platform it sits on.
If I were to do a "FULLY LOADED" upgrade:
Get a new battery
Windows 7 home 64
2x2gb kit
80+ ssd

There isn't anything else I could upgrade, I don't know if the CPU is replaceable but its socket is probably to old anyways.

If I were to buy a brand new one I would want something like this:
~A fast or decent CPU
~A graphics card (just not integrated)
~12"-15" (10-11 isn't really that big, but depends on the guts)
~Weight doesn' really matter
~A 6.5 hour battery is about right (must be <4hr)*power settings always allow a little extra
~I really like the newer mouse pads that do more than just moving the arrow around(like pinch and stuff)
~Win 7 Home+
~HD has to be at least 80gb+, or cheap enough to get a 80gb SSD
~I really don't care if it comes with 2gb DDR3, cuz I would just get a 8gb kit for 100$
~Screen should be decent, I am afraid of them cheaper brands coming with good guts but shitoy screen and buttons

So I have compiled a list of programs I use and play with. Then some more info on what purpose a laptop would serve me:

Steam Account 15+ games, CS4, MS Visual Studio 2010, Blitz,(and other video game making software)
Reason 4(music), AutoCad, Jasc Paint Shop Pro 9, Ableton Live, Adobe Editions, and other assorted.

Later into my study's, I will be working with more AutoCad products, Oracle, and will use a lot of sql, c++, and other programming programs. I don't know exactly what the UofU uses, I am still in SLCC.

~I use the laptop to read digital comics from why tablet sounded so good)

~When at home I like to take my laptop upstairs to have my Mom proof read stuff, so the more
handable it is, the better.

~ Since I do play games a lot, I really would like to play BF2:BD2, MoH and every steam game from CS to HL to Portal.

~I really want to spend a lot more time at school studying so the more power it can handle while
using it the better, but plugs are some times hard to find in the best spots (couchs, Dens and such)

~Pretty much I (try) to use my laptop as my desktop at home and away, I use them side by side and usually share everything, so having power enuff to hang with my: (965,5770,UD5,HX650,16004gb,1tb6gb/s,212+) or try to.

I know this was a bunch of info and probably is really specific, I just wanted to paint a picture of me and what I would do with a laptop.

Real Quick I found this bad boy at newegg. I love Asus parts and they are really trustworthy and realiable. I just don't know how they do at making full laptops???

This thing is totally loaded, only thing is its 16" but comes with everything and then some.

November 10, 2010 7:30:14 AM

Well I have been looking more into these Asus Laptops, and for 1000$ these are very incredible deals!
The N61jq's are the ones I have been mainly looking at.
The link is to the $950, for 1,089$ they have all the same guts but 2 year warranty and a solid black finish on the keyboard area.

What do you think of the Asus laptops, Asus>HP/MAC/Tablet
November 10, 2010 1:11:33 PM

I'd buy a new one, ASUS N61 Series N61JQ-XV1 NoteBook
a b D Laptop
November 12, 2010 1:00:10 AM

Asus makes a reliable laptop, at least in my opinion. So you should be alright for at least a few years with one.
November 12, 2010 7:55:06 AM

Well my Dell is complete crap. I maintain it very well, so it might seem to run good, but if I remember correctly,
I only have 1gb DDR, Intel Core T7200(which I am pretty sure is only 1 core, or two tops) and a 80gb HD(which is full).
Not to mention the problems that I have had in the past with the Wi-Fi on it. Plus the battery epidemic with these little battery destroyers.
Overall this laptop is in really good condition and I figured for 400+ dollars to a complete make over on it would be worthless, especially since for pretty much the same price I could buy some new and better for that kind of money.

Anyways, so I besides for that particular laptop, I can't find any "well" balanced(the Asus N61 is sort or)
I am looking through newegg, bestbuy, HP/Dell/whereever, for a laptop that is a power house but
isn't completely power driven.
So for an i7 obviously any laptop with one is going to only have no more than 3 hours battery time. But if I could get a good
deal like on that Asus N61 series, I wouldn't mind buying a couple extra batterys.

So besides for that particular model, I am really interested in the Asus's. I wanted to find something with an i5 450,520 or 540m+, or i7 anything. They all seem to have very very low battery time, and since the reason I hate my current one, is cause it only lasts 3 minutes if not plugged in.

I honestly would like to get a cheaper laptop that has a high i5 or high i3 370m+, that has a good 4+ hours on straight battery, that only has 2gb and low HD, so I could just buy my own. I just wish I was able to build a laptop like I did a desktop.

Anyways thanks for the info so far. Newegg no longer has the 950$ n61 only the 1100 and 1200$ model. So I need to start looking else where just in case.
a b D Laptop
November 12, 2010 2:39:46 PM

Might take a look at the toshiba line, Not as good as Asus in terms if Reliability, but better than other major players.
Notebook reliability
PCMag #1 Asus, #2 Toshiba
3yr malfunction rate [...] -reliable/
Asus lowest, Toshiba 2nd, Dell 5th place

Another thing to look at is the availability of the 2nd HDD bay (some have it but DO NOT put the connector on it - so usless). Reason If you go with a Small SSD a 2nd bay comes in handy for a 2nd HDD for storage. although with USB3 and esata not a big deal.

If buying one with a DVD drive and you think you may want to go with Blu-ray Rom then make sure you can swap out the drive. This is generally cheaper than buying one with a Blu-ray Rom/DVD writer installed.

Both my laptops (Toshibia) came with 2 gigs ram, 1st thing I did was to upgrade to 4 (Your probably going to get one with w/4 Gigs - just make sure max = 8. The 2nd thing I did was to replace the DVD drive in both of them for a blu-ray rom/dvd writer. The one laptop used a pata interface and drive was $100. 2nd laptop was sata and in the states everyone wanted $200 -RIPOFF, bought it from a place in taiwan for $100 ( they airmailed it at no extra cost and had it within a week. 3rd I swapped out the HDDs in both for a SSD - I went with a 120 Gig SSD as neither laptop supported a 2nd HDD Had the Bay and pinout on MB, but NO connector.
November 12, 2010 10:23:10 PM

Hey so can you give some links to some good laptops. I know what your talking about, I would definitely want to have dual HD slots so I could install a SSD.
I also know that to get BD you have to spend hella, so I will probably do what you did. I have ordered a battery and charger right from Taipai or somewhere in the pastr, and it worked out, but the sites are usually sketchy but if you research right then its no prob.

So I have been steering away from Toshibas cause my friend owed me money and he gave me his TOsh, and it sucked big time. I ended up disecting it to learn how how laptops are put together. lol

But this was 5 years ago so I guess a lot has changedf in the laptop game.

So if you could steer me towards ones you'd buy and what not, then I could work from there.

November 13, 2010 5:00:18 AM

Well I think I have found the perfect laptop!

It don't know about its 2nd hd bay or what not, but it has everything I wanted in a laptop excluding any dedicated vid card.

Its the Toshiba Stellite L655-S5117
I found it on Best Buy and it only costs 449$ american. So for the price its perfect. The battery life seems good, they got double power batteries on the toshiba website unlike asus's website I couldn't find any accessorys for sell.

If there is another laptop that fits the criteria and at a good price I would re consider. The more money I save the more I have to spend on my Desktop which is my Mamba Jamba.

This is the Specs I am looking for:

i3 370m-i5 540/450's. Or any cpu with a ranking at least 2000 on even the Phenom X4 P series

Any dedicated video card that is at least is in Class 3 at

2-4gb's memory-I would upgrade later anyways

12-15" screen

Battery Life must be at least 4+ hours preferably 5

HD can be anything over 100gb's

Dvd drive is cool

I prefer 5.5< weight, but 6 to 7 pounds is not that heavy

Then price should be around 500$ w/out maybe one or two of these features above. I rather not pay more, so I can spend more money getting a 2nd 23" monitor, 2nd 5770, power protector, fan controller and other things I didn't get with my latest build.

November 13, 2010 7:36:52 PM

Well the 500$ was just a minimum I guess. I just wanted some very well rounded that has good parts where it counts.

Here is something more practical of list which covers what I need:

This should be around the 1000$ish like no more than $1100 after tax/shipping

The i5 520 is the minimum cpu that I want

The 5450 and 330m are minimum gpus or any dedicated card

Their should be the dual HD bays and upgradeable all around if its possible

I like backlit keys that aren't finger print collectors (like smearing and what not)

HD space, DVD, and memory are a big deal because a dvd rom is ok, 100gb is ok and 2gb is ok(I would get a 8gb kit later)

screen size doesn't really matter

Mainly i5, dedicated gpu, GREAT battery life and dual bays and other cool laptop features like the bays!

The rest of the guts can be upgraded but the actual laptop with its keys, lcd, and bays and inputs can't so they need to be top notch!

November 13, 2010 7:43:24 PM

I forgot to add this, I am comparing my new laptop from my current one which runs very well its just dying:

Intel Core 2(not duo) T7200 2 ghz

Intel integrated chip

12" screen from bottom left to top right

basic keys no back lite and not multi touch mouse pad

2gb DDR

80 gb HD sata

dvd burner

Vista 32 bit Home

and its battery dies in one year and brand new it could hold >4 hours tops

and its like 5 pounds

So this is not hard to beat, so mainly good functionality as far the keyboard, screen and internals go is key to my new one.

November 14, 2010 5:04:12 AM

So the more I research the more I find it hard to get something for a decent price.
It seems to get a i5 turbo charged with a basic video card you need to spend around 1000$

I think since I have been comparing my new laptop to the best laptops, instead of comparing them to my current one.
Because honestly the $470 toshiba i3 370 packs a very strong punch for the price.

To make sure I don't over do it, I want to make sure i remember what my major needs are.

#1- reason-Battery Life 5+ hours
#2-Portable, to take to school w/out having to plug in
#3-Multi-touch mouse pad, nice keyboard and decent screen and if available back lit keys
#4-Something I wouldn't be ashamed of to take to school ;) 
#5-It needs to be better than than the stock school computers, lol.(obviously my dell is)

I am sorry for all the lists and specs, I just don't think a 700-1000$ laptop is what I really need.

Right now I spend about 85-90% of my time on my desktop, and use my laptop for certain programs, but mainly
I use it at my desk where my desktop is.

So th idea is to get something that will get my online class taking a$$ to the math lab and writing center, instead
of doing all my work on the desktop.
So this is where a decent strong cpu and gpu would make it better.

Anyways scratch my super duper laptop I said i wanted.
I would like help finding laptops that are 400$-700$,
#1 has super good battery
#2 decent strength
#3 and cover the above #1-5!

Thanks for the help so far, the laptops you showed me are nice, so I got them in my Future Great Laptops(just in case I happen to get 1000$+ for the laptop) but Amazon is not somewhere I usually buy from, but bestbuy and newegg are my #1 trusted and tiger/comp/city are ok, but toshiba,dell, are good.
I actually found some good buys at the toshiba build site!