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Good laptop for college?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 29, 2011 12:45:33 PM

I won't be going off to college until the fall and probably wont buy my laptop until the summer but I wanted to start looking early. I've been looking at a lot of laptops and my biggest concern is battery life. I was planning on getting a pc but macs seems to have really good battery life. I already have a netbook with win 7.

Also, are laptops from companies like sager any good? I would prefer getting or 14" or 15" laptop but the 15" mac pro is about $600 more.

More about : good laptop college

January 30, 2011 2:42:41 PM

1. What is your budget?
<$1500

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13-15"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Any

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Already have a netbook

5. How much battery life do you need?
The more the better. I would like something that will last longer than 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)?
Maybe some light gaming, WoW

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Mainly office stuff, music

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Anything over 200gb should be adequate. I was hoping buy a laptop with an ssd in it. Many manufacturers dont seem to give the option. I'm hoping that by summer they come down in price and are more common.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
As long possible. Something to last through four years of college

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
I won't need bluray. I think the majority of laptops today have combo drives.

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 originally was planning on getting pc but i've been looking at macs recently. Macs seem to get really good battery. They also don't seem to slow down as much over time like a windows laptop does. The current mac books only have core 2 duo processors which is a turn off but I feel that the the os and software is optimized to work on the older hardware.

Sony has some nice laptops. I hear they like are like the apple of pc laptops (nice but overpriced)

13. What country do you live in?
United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
-The laptop needs hinges that won't wear out. I don't want the screen getting all flimsy after a year or two.
-I am also avoiding laptops that have the touch pads to left side. I'm right handed and so is the majority world. I don't want to have to reach across my body to get to the touch pad. That is flawed designed and I don't want to support that. I know its petty but it bothers me.
-Needs back lit keys. Most regular laptops have them but my netbook doesn't and it can be very annoying.
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January 30, 2011 7:50:28 PM

dgriffs said:
1. What is your budget?
<$1500


14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
-The laptop needs hinges that won't wear out. I don't want the screen getting all flimsy after a year or two.
-I am also avoiding laptops that have the touch pads to left side. I'm right handed and so is the majority world. I don't want to have to reach across my body to get to the touch pad. That is flawed designed and I don't want to support that. I know its petty but it bothers me.
-Needs back lit keys. Most regular laptops have them but my netbook doesn't and it can be very annoying.


Try a used Dell Latitude D630 and slap a new hard drive in it if it is not a refurb ~400 plus a hard drive. They are darn near unkillable. A new Latitude can be had with a lighted keyboard. I've been using them for years and you can get lower spec models (core i3) with a 3 year on-site warranty for $1000. I get D600s and 610s all the time at my shop needing viruses removed or new hard drives. I own a D630 and won't part with it until Organic LED displays are standard laptops and SSDs are at 1tb and $100 in 5 years or so :) 
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a c 244 D Laptop
January 31, 2011 5:23:12 AM

HP Envy 14 is also good but too bad it doesn't have the radiance display anymore.
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a b D Laptop
January 31, 2011 6:33:36 AM

You may want to print or copy this to think about:

Ignore any dedicate graphics, I recommend the latest Intel CPU with integrate Graphics (i3).

HP seems to make pretty good laptops; I just bought my sister one. Any sale prices will affect.

17" are a lot bulkier than 15.6" for moving. If possible, I'd recommend a 23", 1920x1080 display for your room (see AUDIO comment at bottom)

My recommended ROOM setup:
1) laptop
2) monitor
3) desktop speakers (possibly M-Audio)
4) Logitech mouse with Mini USB adapter
5) optional: keyboard

Checklist:
1) HP 15.6" laptop or 17" (17" bulkier to move)
2) Windows 7 Premium
3) 2GB or 4GB (either is fine)
4) HDMI output
5) newer INTEL cpu (i3) with Intel 4500HD graphics
6) 16:9 screen (not 16:10; to CLONE to HDTV/16:9 monitor)
7) optional: bluray player (adds to price)

Monitor (can get later):
1) 16:9
2) 1920x1080
3) 23" (no higher)
4) HDMI if possible to get HDMI input AND audio output

Laptop EXAMPLE (Canada):
http://www.staples.ca/ENG/Catalog/cat_sku.asp?CatIds=69...

Monitor EXAMPLE:
Recommend HP or Samsung

*AUDIO:
It appears that HDMI monitors aren't that common yet. An option which should work fine is to use the laptop 3.5mm audio output, so to be clear:

Laptop->HDTV:
HDMI-> HDMI cable

Laptop->Monitor:
HDMI-> DVI cable, and
3.5mm-> 3.5mm M/M audio cable (to speakers)

Summary:
It's a bit confusing, but I'd start with getting an Asus or HP laptop and make sure it has i3/4500HD, HDMI output and a 16:9 screen. 15.6" vs 17" based on how much you'd be moving it. If 17", get a 1600:900 resolution. I think 15.6" are all 1366x768.

Cables at: www.cablesalescanada.com (canada) www.monoprice.com (USA)
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January 31, 2011 6:42:31 PM

One laptop comes to mind for what I think would work great for you! It is the HP Pavilion dv-6z for only $679. With the HP® Pavilion dv6z, you get the right balance of size, mobility, and performance. Put the power of the 15.6" high-definition Brightview display and latest AMD processors in your hands for a richer, more immersive multimedia experience—be it everyday computing or mobile gaming. And it definitely packs some punch with the 2.6 GHz AMD Phenom(TM) II Dual-Core Mobile Processor P650. I know you don't really care, BUT it also has Blu-Ray. It's always a nice added bonus! Here are some specs:

Screen
15.6" (1366x168) HD
Processor
2.6 GHz AMD Phenom(TM) II Dual-Core Mobile Processor P650 (2.6GHz, 2MB L2 Cache)
RAM
6 GB DDR3 1333 MHz
Storage
640 GB HDD 5400 RPM
Operating system
Windows 7 Home Premium
Optical drive
Blu-ray R, CD R/W, DVD R/W

What do you think? Good luck on your search!

Kevin
Windows Outreach Team
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February 3, 2011 8:17:43 AM

Just warning you that if you really want to play WoW on your laptop then you will *need* a dedicated graphics card. I got an integrated Intel GMA4500MHD on this laptop I'm writing from and I can assure you will not be happy at all (~30 fps outdoors, ~20 in 5-mans and don't even attempt to raid, and that's on lowest settings). However you definitely don't need state-of-the-art hardware, any ATI Mobility Radeon will be fine for WoW, at least on medium settings. Interestingly, the only "modern" game I found ran well with a GMA4500MHD was Battlefield 2. Perhaps that shader optimization stuff was srs bsns after all.

Ok here is a suggestion for you (I suggested a customization but you can change it at the link) :

Quote:
Link to the customization page (note you need to customize it!)
- 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080) (Pretty big screen, 1080p!, but for battery life purposes you can dumb it down to 1366x768 ~ 720p for $65 less)
- 1GB GDDR3 Nvidia GeForce GT 540M GPU with Optimus Technology / Embedded Intel HD Graphics (Handles WoW just fine up to medium, high may be a bit too much though, and you may have to drop the resolution a bit if you're playing in 1080p. The Embedded part means you can choose to disable the gaming graphics card and use the integrated Intel one if you don't want to game, it will save some battery life).
- 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2720QM Processor ( 6MB L3 Cache, 2.20GHz) (I upgraded because 2GHz is a bit low, and it's well within your budget anyway)
- Genuine MS Windows® 7 Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition ( 64-Bit Preloaded ) (Home Premium should be OK right?)
- 4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz - 2 X 2GB ** (4GB is enough for any practical purposes at the moment, but if you need more it's only a few more $$)
- For the hard drive you have a choice to make, either you stick to standard mechanical HDD's (up to 750GB for not that much money) or you can go crazy and go full SSD, but remember that is very expensive : 160GB Intel SATA2 Solid State Disk Drive [+$375.00]. Note that you can get at most 160GB for an SSD with this model, your call).
- 6X Blu-ray Reader/8X DVD±R/2.4X (Let's be future-proof and include a bluray reader just in case. If you really don't want Bluray, then 8X DVD±R/RW/4X I guess.)


Total : ~USD $1,219 with the mechanical HDD, or USD $1,514 with the SSD option and without Bluray, just a few bucks above your budget. If you drop the CPU upgrade and still choose SSD, then it drops to USD $1,354. And if you don't choose the SSD and drop the CPU upgrade, it's only USD $1,019 \o/

So that's a suggestion. Here are a few quick FYI's:
- SSD's are pretty expensive, although you get discounts if you buy bigger laptops sometimes, like if you take the bigger brother of the model I'm suggesting above, then you can get a 320GB SSD for cheaper. But it's still over your budget though.
- Battery life should not be an issue with the notebook I'm suggesting if you take care of it (like set up your power plans correctly, disable the graphics card when on battery and not needed, etc... standard maintenance)
- this model probably has backlit keys (didn't check) and it won't break apart, Sager is good quality.
- You can purchase an additional battery pack for this laptop for $95, you might want to consider this option. Your laptop will be heavier with two batteries though.

Btw WindowsTeamKevin, you might want to add the graphics card to your specifications when you suggest laptops, just a thought.
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February 3, 2011 8:33:55 AM

May I also suggest this one model :

Quote:
Link to the customization page
- 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Matte Finished Surface (1920 x 1080) (1080p)
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M GPU with 1.5GB GDDR5 Video Memory (This will handle WoW on highest settings without a hitch and will run most recent games decently)
- 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Processor ( 6MB L3 Cache, 2.00GHz)
- IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- Genuine MS Windows® 7 Home Premium 32/64-Bit Edition ( 64-Bit Preloaded )
- 640GB 5400rpm SATA 300 Hard Drive (no SSD)
- 8X DVD±R/RW/4X
- Additional Smart Li-ION Battery Pack (8 Cell)


Total : USD $1,484, just below your maximum budget.
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