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Need Laptop Advice

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 6, 2011 6:37:49 PM

Hi, I am a student and need a laptop but want advice.

Currently I use a desktop I built 5+ years ago and it's a great computer. Current specs are at C2Q E6600 @ 3.2, 6GB ram, around 350gb of important data, HD4850 512mb, 22inch LCD and 17 inch dual screen, windows 7 ultimate.

Basically I need a computer that I can take other places and has GREAT battery life. Battery life is the most important factor. I'm kind of basing my hardware specs based on what I currently use for my desktop. During my everyday computer use I would say I use around 20% cpu and 60% as a peak. The ram usually is at minimum 2.5gb utilization and when I am doing research (Lots of tabs, multiple word docs and pdf files, itunes, email) or computer programing it will be around 4.2gb usage. Based off of that I need a cpu at least half the power of the C2Q E6600 @ 3.2, at least 4gb ram, and a pretty big hard drive.

My desktop has a HD4850 in it but honestly I hardly ever play games anymore. Mostly online browser games. But in the laptop I am not sure what to get as a graphics solution. In many laptops I have experienced, they cannot play HD youtube videos, are slow at browser games (usually I play poker), or cannot play DVD's in full screen or High def videos in full screen. I cannot have that and it needs to be flawless. I am not sure if integrated will be able to do all that flawlessly or if I would need a dedicated graphics solution that would seriously hurt battery life. Do the core i3's and i5's have enough graphics power to do those tasks? Also if I did want to play a current game on low is it possible?

Overall I need it to:
Run dual screens, it's own and the 22inch LCD
15.4 inch screen preferable, don't want a huge laptop
Play all video flawlessly
Play browser based games without lag
CD DVD burning capability
Long battery life
Decent CPU
Lot of ram
Lots of HD space

The two I am considering are

Acer TimelineX - up to 8hrs battery, i5 480M, no dedicated graphics, 640gb HD
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Acer Aspire - only up to 3hrs battery, i3 380M, Geforce 540m, 500gb HD (If I have to get this, I will need to find a 9 cell battery)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It all comes down to if the TimelineX integrated graphics will be enough. Or if someone here can post possibly a better laptop option. The only reason I chose Acer is because they seem to be a great value and have lots of good reviews on newegg.

More about : laptop advice

April 6, 2011 7:24:21 PM

8 hours is unheard of in a 15.4 inch. I think 4 hours would be super fantastic for that size laptop, but I don't know of any that can hit that. Not under normal use anyway..

It depends on usage, idle time can go more than 3 hours but who just stares at there lappy sitting idle? Multimedia usually takes the biggest hit to battery life, games are just as bad. Light internet and word processing are easiest.

With mobility there is a lot of give and take. With HTML and flash being supported by hardware acceleration, you might consider getting a dedicated graphics, or at least something better than the Intel HD graphics.

So if you are interested in more battery life, I suggest you look at some ultraportables or netbook type products. For me I like the 11" alienware m11x. Great battery life for a gaming PC. Some 14 inch PC's can have decent battery life, but they tend to be overpriced compared to smaller or larger laptops.

Or realize that your just not going to get superior battery life from a 15.4 inch and live with carrying around a power cable. The CPU people are squeezing more battery life out with each new processor that comes along, so I encourage you to read lots of reviews before settling.

Check reviews at www.pcworld.com. They reviews all kinds of laptops and have easy to find categories for each segment. Also be sure to check things like a lousy keybioard or terrible touchpad, these are just as important as the other features since this is how you'll be interfacing with the device.
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April 6, 2011 7:26:29 PM

You could wait for the Sandy bridge options. They have better cpu/graphics/battery life performance. Either way, Gaming would be pretty average though (you'l have to add a discrete card for them for improved performance) but for HD videos/movies/flash, they are quite good. Can't say if it can run HD content on two screens simultaneously.
From the above, I'd say the TimelineX is better. Go to their website & look for more options (like if you want one w/ a graphic card)
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April 6, 2011 8:21:39 PM

You might want to re-consider what you think is a portable laptop.

From what you have said, it seems you are looking for a laptop that will be easy to toss into your bag and move around to class/work/library/where ever. I would say you probably want something smaller than 15.6, i would reccomend 13.3 or smaller. You might even want to go to bestbuy just to pick up and get a sense for the size of 13.3 vs. 15.6 vs. netbooks.

take a look at this one:
Toshiba R835
there is an i3 model that is $750 at bestbuy right now or the i5 which is $930
http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/portege/R830/R8...
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April 7, 2011 5:51:49 PM

I have time yet. I would like to get a laptop now because it would currently help in school a lot, but I most likely will stick it out till the next fall semester since I would hardly ever use it during the summer months anyway.

I have a friend with I think an Acer Aspire similar to the model I listed but 17 inch (Not sure if correct size but it was pretty big, a lot bigger than I would want) and last years model, we used it to play music at a party off of youtube and it lasted around 2-3 hours. I would like similar to better battery life, hopefully the up to 8 hours of battery life on the timelinex.

I will be honest that I do not know physically how big a 15.6 vs another lcd size is. I will probably go shopping around soon at stores. My x has one of those atom notebooks, I'm not sure if its a 7 or a 10 inch but I know for a fact I couldn't live with that small of a laptop. The resolution is just to low and there's to much scrolling around to see stuff.

Another thing about that atom laptop is that many say they are really slow, but when I used it for some of the things I frequently would use a laptop for it seemed sufficiently fast -- making me think that maybe I don't need the cpu speed that I am currently looking for.

My budget is a flexible 600. If a laptop has all of the features I am looking for and excellent battery life I'll flex it to maybe 900 to get what I want.

Also remember that I will still have my full size desktop for at least another year to play games and do more complicated tasks, I'm not really concerned if that laptop could play games, but instead my concern is if it will be able to smoothly run its 720p LCD concurrently with the 1080p 22inch LCD while playing a HD video on one of the monitors.
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