Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Closed

$500 Laptop Advice (US/Canada)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
Share
December 21, 2010 1:57:39 PM

1. What is your budget?
$500 + or - $50 (will pay 600 if it's REALLY worth it.)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13.3 or 14 or 15.6 inch

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I am not really concerned about that. All new displays are just fine.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
A mobility solution. I have a powerful desktop at home. I won't game on the laptop at all.

5. How much battery life do you need?
2 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)?
No gaming on the laptop.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
1080p videos, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Browsing.


8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
320GB or more (250GB may be fine)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I can buy from stores or online both in the US or Canada.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
The more the better. I want something future proof for the relatively simple tasks it is going to handle.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD burner. Bluray is not needed.

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.
Brands I prefer: Toshiba, Gateway, Acer, Dell. I do so because I've had good experience with these brands through friends' and family's laptops.
Brands I don't like: HP because all HP laptops I used in the past 4 years have heating problems. You can't even rest your hand on it. Better off as a volcano.

13. What country do you live in?
I live in Canada, but I have a US shipping address too so I am flexible in that.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
My desktop is very powerful and it serves all my needs. I just want more mobility with the laptop to browse, watch videos, and take with me.
Something worth adding to the requirements is that I prefer a Core i3 CPU (IGP on chip) with 4GB of RAM.

Thank you very much for your help.
December 21, 2010 5:52:47 PM

Thank you for the tip WR2, but as I said in my first post, I do not want an HP laptop since they overheat a lot.
Related resources
Can't find your answer ? Ask !
a b D Laptop
December 21, 2010 9:23:45 PM

xsever said:
1. What is your budget?
$500 + or - $50 (will pay 600 if it's REALLY worth it.)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13.3 or 14 or 15.6 inch

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I am not really concerned about that. All new displays are just fine.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
A mobility solution. I have a powerful desktop at home. I won't game on the laptop at all.

5. How much battery life do you need?
2 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)?
No gaming on the laptop.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
1080p videos, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Browsing.


8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
320GB or more (250GB may be fine)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I can buy from stores or online both in the US or Canada.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
The more the better. I want something future proof for the relatively simple tasks it is going to handle.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD burner. Bluray is not needed.

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.
Brands I prefer: Toshiba, Gateway, Acer, Dell. I do so because I've had good experience with these brands through friends' and family's laptops.
Brands I don't like: HP because all HP laptops I used in the past 4 years have heating problems. You can't even rest your hand on it. Better off as a volcano.

13. What country do you live in?
I live in Canada, but I have a US shipping address too so I am flexible in that.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
My desktop is very powerful and it serves all my needs. I just want more mobility with the laptop to browse, watch videos, and take with me.
Something worth adding to the requirements is that I prefer a Core i3 CPU (IGP on chip) with 4GB of RAM.

Thank you very much for your help.


Hi there,

The Toshiba Satellite L645D-S4056 is a really great value. It has a 2.4 GHz Turion II Dual-Core Mobile Processor P540 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 500 GB of hard drive space. It even has ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4250 graphics. It doesn't have an i3 processor but if you step up your price to slightly above $600 it will open up a few more choices.

What do you think?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
December 21, 2010 9:45:49 PM

Thank you for replying Isabella.

The laptop you are suggesting is very powerful for $500 and Toshiba is a very good brand. The laptop is available at my local Best Buy and I saw it yesterday

However, I have been finding online some Core i3 laptops for $500 and I think the i3 will be more "future proof".

Any comments on Toshiba vs Acer and the effect of P540 vs i3 370M?
December 22, 2010 11:56:42 AM

i3 370M is much faster than P540.
Toshiba is much better than Acer.
Sandy Bridge is coming out 1/5/2011.
AM3+ will be out next year as well.
Intel prices should be coming down soon.


December 22, 2010 1:52:33 PM

Thanks for the tips evongugg.

Evidently, 370M is much better than the P540 and that's why I am waiting.

I am guessing once Sandy Bridge is out, the current i3s will drop in price. That should be around mid-January right?
December 22, 2010 2:26:54 PM

First the desktop products come out, then the mobile products come.
Expect a drop in desktop products first, then mobile products.
Hard to say exactly when.
If you believe in charts:

Laptop reliability survey: ASUS and Toshiba win, HP fails

http://www.engadget.com/2009/11/17/laptop-reliability-s...


December 22, 2010 2:34:34 PM

That's why I am leaning towards Toshiba and I'd rather get an abaqus calculator than buy an HP product.
a b D Laptop
December 22, 2010 7:00:24 PM

I think you're making a bit of a mistake because you're falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Brand doesn't matter and for what you want to do with it, neither does RAM or CPU. Here's my thread to explain:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/60098-35-general-lapt...
Now since you have a US shipping address, this is what I would recommend for what you want to do with it. To be honest, you could do what it is you want to do with far less but this is a great price:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Compaq+-+Presario+Laptop+/+...
Browsing the net and things like that are not going to have increasing hardware demands, in fact, the hardware demands of web use have not increased significantly since the days of Windows 95 and they won't increase significantly in the next 10 years either. Hardware has advanced far beyond the needs of simple tasks due to users who want gaming systems, high-end video encoding and machine virtualization. That's why little netbooks with Atoms and 1GB of RAM do the job just fine. It's the operating systems that have increased hardware requirements and thankfully, Windows 7 does not need the same hardware that Windows Vista (aka "Beelzebub's Operating System of the Damned) did. I think that for your purposes, getting anything more expensive than this is literally pissing your money down the toilet because for the simple tasks you require, futureproofing is not needed at all. If you must have 4GB of RAM, you can always add it later. :sol: 
December 22, 2010 7:20:40 PM

Just picked up that Toshiba for $399.99 at futureshop.
December 22, 2010 7:22:37 PM

Avro Arrow said:
I think you're making a bit of a mistake because you're falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Brand doesn't matter and for what you want to do with it, neither does RAM or CPU. Here's my thread to explain:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/60098-35-general-lapt...
Now since you have a US shipping address, this is what I would recommend for what you want to do with it. To be honest, you could do what it is you want to do with far less but this is a great price:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Compaq+-+Presario+Laptop+/+...
Browsing the net and things like that are not going to have increasing hardware demands, in fact, the hardware demands of web use have not increased significantly since the days of Windows 95 and they won't increase significantly in the next 10 years either. Hardware has advanced far beyond the needs of simple tasks due to users who want gaming systems, high-end video encoding and machine virtualization. That's why little netbooks with Atoms and 1GB of RAM do the job just fine. It's the operating systems that have increased hardware requirements and thankfully, Windows 7 does not need the same hardware that Windows Vista (aka "Beelzebub's Operating System of the Damned) did. I think that for your purposes, getting anything more expensive than this is literally pissing your money down the toilet because for the simple tasks you require, futureproofing is not needed at all. If you must have 4GB of RAM, you can always add it later. :sol: 


In his requirments he will be using CS5, which is CPU and RAM intensive. About HP laptops overheating, any laptop can do that, just google "dell laptop overheating, hp laptop overheating, acer laptop overheating, macbook pro overheating" etc. Laptops are not meant to be used on soft surfaces like pillows and couches, they block airflow. Also newer laptops have become more efficent, producing less heat overall. I had my Dell laptop shutdown once because of overheating, the intake fan was accidently covered my the armrest in my couch. A friend of mine has a HP old HP laptop with a Pentium 4 inside (yes the desktop version), those produce an insane amount of heat and his never overheated on him.
December 22, 2010 8:06:24 PM

Thank you everyone for your contributions.

@Avro Arrow

I perfectly understand what you are saying given my level of knowledge in PCs and hardware. However, out of 5 friends' HP laptops I used, all 5 had heat problems while none of the Toshiba's or Gateway's I used overheated. I just want to stay away from HP.

As for hardware, I am certain that an i3 will last me longer than a V-series and given the small price difference, the i3 370M is a much better bang for the buck CPU. Also, 2GB of ram is not enough. I can tell from my desktop running 7, I do need the 4GB especially for Photoshop.

@bruce555

My local futureshop has it for 499. Can you please post the futureshop link so maybe I can get them to price match it?

@Snipergod87
I've seen enough HP laptops overheating that I can't even think about it. Let's just keep HP out of the question :) 

Best solution

a b D Laptop
December 22, 2010 9:29:25 PM
Share

xsever, I understand your position but I should tell you that I used to be a salesman at Tiger Direct. I saw literally thousands of laptops come and go and I got to see them REALLY up close and personal. I also got to learn about the marketing behind them. Have you ever heard of Quanta? If you haven't, google them. They are a Taiwan-based laptop and netbook company that lists all the major "manufacturers" as customers. Did you ever wonder why all netbooks for the longest time all had Intel Atom N450 CPUs, 1GB of RAM, the exact same screen and features? It's because they were all made in the same factory with the "brand-name" slapped on to them at the end. If you don't want HP, I understand and I also understand that you won't want Compaq either. I did a thread about buying laptops and I also outlined the dangers of budget-priced laptops with CPUs by Intel. That danger is the inclusion of Intel graphics, which I'm sure you are aware are about has good for graphics as Vista is for productivity. Try to find something with ATi or nVidia graphics, that's all I can say. To see more, here's my thread:
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/60098-35-general-lapt...
December 22, 2010 10:31:20 PM

Your thread is very informative. Thanks a lot.

As for "made in China" and speaking from experience while taking laptops apart to do some upgrades, I can easily say that the chassis HP uses for its laptops is the perfect recipe for overheating. The layout is horrible especially for the Hard Drive.

On the other hand, other manufacturers have a better layout resulting in no overheating. I am yet to stumble upon an overheating Toshiba and YES I do lift all laptops so that the airflow is increased.

As for graphics, I am leaning towards to i3 since it sips power compared to ATi or nVidia's chips. Again, the biggest GPU intensive thing I am going to do is 1080p or 720p and that is very occasionally.
December 23, 2010 6:16:04 PM

I just picked up a Toshiba L645-020 from Best Buy. It has a P340, 4GB of RAM, 640GB HD and ATI HD4250.

I have 14 days to return it for a full refund if I want, so I will thoroughly test it and then decide.

Thank you everyone for your help.
a b D Laptop
December 27, 2010 6:01:39 PM

xsever said:
I just picked up a Toshiba L645-020 from Best Buy. It has a P340, 4GB of RAM, 640GB HD and ATI HD4250.

I have 14 days to return it for a full refund if I want, so I will thoroughly test it and then decide.

Thank you everyone for your help.


Hi there,

Glad to help! Let us know how you like the Toshiba!

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
December 27, 2010 7:46:37 PM

Hello All,

After testing the Toshiba for the past couple of days, I decided to return since the most I was able to get out of its battery was 2 hours of browsing and that is with ECO mode on (even more power saving that the Power Saver Mode) and the brightness all the way down. My second comment was that the audio quality is very very bad!

What I ended up doing is buying the following Acer online for $511 (taxes included).
It has a Core i3 370M, 4GB of Ram, and 640 GB HD, so I think it has a better bang for the buck ratio. I also bought it from Best Buy so they honor a 14-day full return policy.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/acer-acer-aspire-15...
December 27, 2010 8:18:51 PM

xsever said:
Hello All,

After testing the Toshiba for the past couple of days, I decided to return since the most I was able to get out of its battery was 2 hours of browsing and that is with ECO mode on (even more power saving that the Power Saver Mode) and the brightness all the way down. My second comment was that the audio quality is very very bad!

What I ended up doing is buying the following Acer online for $511 (taxes included).
It has a Core i3 370M, 4GB of Ram, and 640 GB HD, so I think it has a better bang for the buck ratio. I also bought it from Best Buy so they honor a 14-day full return policy.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/acer-acer-aspire-15...


Glad you tested out the first one, Typically the audio quality of laptops are pretty bad, they have very low wattage speakers so they dont kill the battery. Peopel often use headphones instead.
December 27, 2010 8:26:23 PM

You are correct but even with that the battery life for a 14" was unacceptable.

The 15.6" Acer I bought has the same battery capacity yet you can get 3~4 hours out of it vs the 2 hours from the 14" Toshiba.

What is wrong with Toshiba in that sense? That is really disappointing.
December 27, 2010 9:59:54 PM

The battery in the Toshiba was a smaller battery then. Also depends on usage too, i find some pages that use flash use hardware acceleration which puts my graphics card in 3d clocks, consuing more power than it needs. This is why I hate hardware accerarated flash.
December 27, 2010 10:16:54 PM

The Toshiba had a 48Wh battery while the Acer is advertised as 44Ah. I need to know the battery's voltage so that I can calculate the Wh rating for it.

As for hardware accelerated flash, you are right. It seems that disabling hardware accelerating while browsing on battery is the best thing to do in order to extend battery life.

Benchmarks also showed that Google Chrome is the best browser when it comes to energy consumption. I am using Chrome 10 and here are some benchmarks for the Toshiba L645D-020:

1. Activity: Browsing using Google Chrome 10
Battery life: 2 hours and 10 minutes

2. Activity: Browsing using Google Chrome 10 along with a couple of restarts for installation purposes
Battery life: 2 hours and 4 minutes

3. Activity: Watching a Top Gear episode with Xvid quality
Battery life: 1 hour and 51 minutes
January 2, 2011 9:54:41 AM

Best answer selected by xsever.
a c 248 D Laptop
April 2, 2013 10:53:52 AM

Kristen Nguyen said:
Hi
You can get one under your budget at COMMERCIAL SPAM REMOVED - "CedarPC Computer Wholesalers offers refurbished notebooks and desktop computers at excellent prices. Factory Refurbished laptops and refurbished computer netbooks at very cheap wholesale prices with warranty. Huge selection of Dell, Acer, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, IBM and other laptop computers. Cheap laptop and desktop computers at clearance prices, why pay retail, when you can get it for less."

xsever said:
1. What is your budget?
$500 + or - $50 (will pay 600 if it's REALLY worth it.)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13.3 or 14 or 15.6 inch

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I am not really concerned about that. All new displays are just fine.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
A mobility solution. I have a powerful desktop at home. I won't game on the laptop at all.

5. How much battery life do you need?
2 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)?
No gaming on the laptop.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
1080p videos, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop CS5, Browsing.


8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
320GB or more (250GB may be fine)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I can buy from stores or online both in the US or Canada.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
The more the better. I want something future proof for the relatively simple tasks it is going to handle.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD burner. Bluray is not needed.

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.
Brands I prefer: Toshiba, Gateway, Acer, Dell. I do so because I've had good experience with these brands through friends' and family's laptops.
Brands I don't like: HP because all HP laptops I used in the past 4 years have heating problems. You can't even rest your hand on it. Better off as a volcano.

13. What country do you live in?
I live in Canada, but I have a US shipping address too so I am flexible in that.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
My desktop is very powerful and it serves all my needs. I just want more mobility with the laptop to browse, watch videos, and take with me.
Something worth adding to the requirements is that I prefer a Core i3 CPU (IGP on chip) with 4GB of RAM.

Thank you very much for your help.




Hi :) 

You just replied to a 3 year old thread :( 

All the best Brett :) 
!