1. What is your budget? I'd like to stay around $800-$900, but could go as high as $1,000, possibly more if necessary.
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? I'm thinking in the 15" to 16" range, but it's not extremely important to me.
3. What screen resolution do you want? No preference, other than as high as possible. If I can get a more durable machine (i.e. higher performance) by sacrificing the resolution, I'll take the performance.
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? It's somewhat of a desktop replacement, as it will largely be stationary. That said, I don't want it to be a massively heavy beast that's practically impossible to move around.
5. How much battery life do you need? I'd like decent life, but it's not extremely important, as it'll be plugged in a lot. I would like the battery to outlast the laptop, so longevity is more important to me than operating time.
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)? I play some games, mostly cheap/older Steam titles, like Torchlight, Braid and some others. I'd like those to run at the higher settings. If it's possible, I'd like it to run StarCraft 2 and Diablo 3 at least competently, so at low or medium details.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing, watching movies, Etc.) Watching movies, music, other basic tasks. Multitasking is a must.
8. How much storage do you need? Not a whole lot, as it's not going to be my main system in terms of storage. I'd like at least 500 GB, but could settle for a lot less space. I'll put 80-120 GB as the absolute minimum (if you can even get that right now).
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I don't really have any preference. I've looked some at models on Newegg, TigerDirect, and even Best Buy and directly from manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, Sony, Asus and Acer. Whoever can give me the best deal will get my business. I do get decent discounts from Dell, HP and Best Buy, so if the prices and selections are similar (within $50-100 on an $800-$1,000 order) between those three stores and somewhere else, I'd prefer them.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? A long, long time. Essentially, I'll use it until it literally stops working. To give you an idea, my current one (a $700-800 Dell) is pushing 6 or 7 years old, and it has been struggling to run multiple windows of basic programs or even open some programs (Firefox, IE) without a long wait. Really, it's only good for browsing with Chrome, and only if I'm not using more than a few tabs. It hasn't had a functioning battery for nearly two years, and it's internal wireless card has been dead for almost a year. If the new one lasts 5-6 years before crapping out like that, I'll be very satisfied. I don't really care if it can't play games past what's currently released (or soon will be), as long as it'll be functional later in its life.
11. What kind of optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Blu-ray ROM/Writer, etc. ? Whatever is standard. I don't really need a burner, as my main computer has one. BR is completely unnecessary.
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. As long as the brand has a good reputation and good customer service, they'll be fine with me. I'd prefer one from a brand that doesn't load you up with pre-loaded software. I really don't want to spend the first day I have with a new laptop uninstalling all their "Company Recommended Applications and Programs".
13. What country do you live in? US.
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. A Sandy Bridge CPU is an absolute must. If that means sacrificing a discrete GPU, that's fine with me. Gaming isn't a huge priority for this machine, just a nice added bonus. Must include Windows 7 Home 64-bit, either pre-installed or in the total final price. I'd prefer not to pay an insane amount for shipping. I'm in no rush to buy, so if it's better to hold off and wait for a better deal, I can do that.
Dell XPS 15 deals I had a $1075 option going before any discounts in the config section.
You might squeeze a Core i7-2630QM & 1080 / GT 540M configured model into your budget range with that discount you can get.
Core i7-2630QM, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD. 15.6" 1366x768 w/ GT 540M
(upgrade to 1920x1080 is $150 @ Dell)
It seems to me that the Lenovo is a much better deal, though when I configure it, the final price is $870. A similar Sager comes to $950 (no 1080, 8 GB of RAM). The differences between the two is that the Lenovo has a 750 GB HDD and the Sager has a 3-year warranty. Not sure if that's worth the $80. I do know that my Dell discount typically won't stack with coupon codes, and it's generally not a better deal.
If it were my choice I'd take the 1080 screen instead of the 8GB RAM upgrade.
It seems those LogicBuy deals are always shifting around (to say nothing about the deals expiring on short notice). Handy site to try and find a deal though.
Fair enough. I was just trying to get a fair comparison between the two brands. My only concern about the Sager is that the GT 540M seems to be a little less powerful than the HD 6570M, so I don't know if the step up in terms of display is worth it if the GPU can't handle it. I may consider the Sager simply because you get the Windows disk and the longer warranty.
EDIT: Did some research on Sager as a company. How concerned should I be that the Better Business Bureau gave them an "F" rating?
Not too terribly much.
That BBB rating applies to Sager's direct sales operation and doesn't reflect the reseller's ratings like XoticPC, VoodooPC, Alienware, etc.
I saw the BBB page and it's not a lot of complaints in number, but apparently rated serious on the BBB standards.
It also looks like the BBB things thinks Sager belongs in an "industry known for its fraudulent business practices" & "their advertising is grossly misleading".
So it looks like I don't really have to worry about the bad rating. That's good to know. I'm starting to lean heavily towards Sager. The 1080 resolution upgrade looks pretty appealing.
The last thing that's holding me back from pulling the trigger is the news that AMD has released quad core Llano APUs to OEMs. I know it will be a few months until they're actually available to buyers, but it's not like I have to buy immediately, so a waiting a few weeks/months to get the best value doesn't bother me. I know a lot of the information available at the moment is pretty much all smoke and mirrors, but AMD's demonstrations of what Llano can do was pretty impressive. Even if the performance isn't as high as suggested, surely it'll have some effect on the current prices. Should I wait for the new chips or at least see what the previews say?
EDIT: Did some searching during lunch and found CyberPower's X7-7500. Configured with 8 GB of RAM and 500 GB 7200 RPM drive (already includes a 1080 display, i7 and GT 540), the total comes to ~$975 (with the "no rush" 5% off option). Is there any reason why that's not a good deal? I know CyberPower typically isn't a good choice for a desktop, but are their laptops the same way?