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Buying a new laptop, need some suggestions...

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 13, 2011 7:10:01 PM

1. What is your budget? Would like to stay between $400-550 or below.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? Size is not all that much of a concern, around a 12 inch screen would be perfect. I do not need a huge screen is what I am saying.

3. What screen resolution do you want? Standard resolution. Not too concerned with extremely high resolution.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Already have a self-built desktop that I game on and do most of my work. I am a graduate student and do a lot of writing.

5. How much battery life do you need? Normal amount. I don't intend on using it away from outlets often.

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)? Will not be a gaming machine.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.) Internet and some media is a must. It will mostly be used for word processing though.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 250-320 GB would be enough.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Have checked out all of the regulars like Newegg and TigerDirect, but would not mind buying from a brick-and-mortar either.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? I am looking to replace an old laptop I have had for eight years, so if I could manage half of that, about 3-5 years I would be happy.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Not a necessity.

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 currently own an HP, but I am not particularly picky about brands...whatever works well.

13. What country do you live in? United States.


This laptop will mainly be used as my main computer for research trips. I spend a lot of time in archives and need a portable laptop for word processing, Internet browsing and some media. I am a graduate student without a lot of disposable income, and I desperately need a replacement for my 8 year-old HP laptop which is now excruciatingly slow. Thanks in advance.
January 13, 2011 7:40:30 PM

Hey hopfrog -

Based on your specs, I think the Toshiba Satellite C650 would work well for you -- it also fits your price range, which is fairly low (might be your biggest hurdle).

It's small and portable for when you're on the go. It has 15.6" (1366x768) screen, 2.3 GHz AMD V Series Processor v140, 3 GB DDR3, and 250 GB HDD 5400 RPM. This should really be more than enough for all that you want to be doing especially since you won't be gaming or storing huge databases or anything like that.

You should check it out.

Best,
Kevin
MSFT Windows Outreach Team

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January 13, 2011 11:35:33 PM

Buying a laptop is always a big issue these days as they are almost all made in China; Which would be perfectly alright if they weren't made in the CHEAP and NASTY part of China. No offence intended to the Chinese as it is the fault of the foreign laptop companies ... and Foxconn!

I preferr the ASUS laptops personally as ASUS make the majority of the laptops in Taiwan where their motherboards are made and they actually seem to care about build quality. That being said it is still very easy to find a bad one!!

Of the ASUS ones I would choose either the B43 series or B53 series from their buisness range.
- http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=xr3fAhGfwN9OtXzx- B43J
- http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=xr3fAhGfwN9OtXzx - B53J

As a rule, always go for the buisness class notebooks because they offer better build quality and reliability. You can find these as they run windows 7 professional for the OS. My ASUS notebook is a "Home" eddition and you can tell that it is not designed to be moved around a lot with the finish peeling off in certain areas and the plastic flexing badly. The buisness notebooks do cost more but they are built better.

Another posibility especially if you are doing a lot of CPU work with the video editing etc is a gaming notebook. While I cannot be sure about the build quality of these a lot more emphasis is put on the cooling of the notebook which could be cruicial if you are video editing. Something like an ASUS G53Jw would fit perfectly and allow. Then again a quick check of Newegg reviews suggests that there are overheating issues!
- http://usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=eV4F8vu0VnKGp0nw - G53Jw

If you don't wish to buy an ASUS, get a SONY VAIO as they are made by ASUS ;) 

As for the other brands - HP are low quality, as are Acer, as are Toshibas, As are Dells (overheating issues), as are the SONYs which aren't made by ASUS.


Hope this helps.

Luke
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January 14, 2011 2:17:03 PM

I have looked at the Toshiba models and they look to be good options, but is the C650 or C655 better? I think the issue with the Asus is whether I want to commit to a Netbook or not. I have not had a lot of hands-on time with them and I just want to make sure that I get the best work experience for my money.
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a c 571 D Laptop
January 14, 2011 9:09:45 PM

You'll need to look through a few reviews, and hopefully get a chance to go hands on for a visual and test run on the model you want.

Besides the link above you can find other online reviews. Just know that the models/features can be different but you can get a sense of how the series performs through the reviews. Also keep in mind the reviews are often quite subjective.

Toshiba Satellite C650-16N
Toshiba Satellite C650/655 series

ukee1593 is right about business class laptops having an edge in build quality in ruggedness. Not many options in your size range though.
If you're willing to think about a 13" subnotebook take a look at the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13" sub notebook
Review Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 13 Subnotebook

In terms of CPU power we've been talking about stuff on the low end. Just keep that in mind. Eamples:
Passmark CPU scores:
AMD V140 @ 1.50GHz 2.2Ghz = 686
Intel Atom N550 @ 1.50GHz = 560
AMD Athlon Neo L325 @ 1.50GHz = 813
Intel Core i3 350M @ 2.27GHz = 2055

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January 14, 2011 11:04:50 PM

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

It's $500, right within your budget and you get 4GB DDR3 and a triple core CPU (which will help "future proof" it). Also has a 500GB HDD.

Or you could go with something like this: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It has an Intel i3 which is a multi-thread CPU, but only has 2GB of RAM (upgradeable to 8GB though). Both machines are within your budget and both would meet your needs. I'd steer clear of those netbooks and any small form factor notebook that has one of those underpowered "energy efficient" CPUs. Their performance is less than steller and planning on them to be up to snuff for your computing needs 2 or 3 years down the road wouldn't be a sure thing. My wife had a netbook with an Intel Atom CPU and it was painfully slow.
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