I3M vs i5M - Trying to Find Laptop

Other then TurboBoost and the i5 being faster, is there any other difference between the i3M and i5M?

The reason why I am asking is because I am looking to get my friend a laptop. I'd like to spend about $700CAD - $900CAD. My friend is a 3rd year computer science student focusing on programming. I am looking for a laptop that:

+ Very good battery life
+ Surf the web, IM, Facebook, watch movies
+ Can deal with her university programming courses (she uses Cygwin alot)
+ 13" screen (14" is ok, but I think she would prefer a 13")
+ Laptop will last her 2 - 3 years

My friend is also planning to move to the States to continue her studies, then movie back to Canada afterwords. I am unsure if this will somehow effect the warranty for certain brands.

Can you guys suggest any laptops that would be good for my friend? I did some searching around, and these are the ones that I found:

Inspiron 14R - $699
i5 2410M 2.3GHz
500GB 7200RPM

Asus U33JC-A1 - $899
i3 370M 2.4GHz
500GB 5400RPM

Acer 8372T-7353 - $879
i5 560M 2.6GHz
500GB 5400RPM

Toshiba L635-OHY - $713
i3 380M 2.5GHz
10 answers Last reply
More about find laptop
  1. There should be no warranty issues moving south & north of the border.

    All of the laptops listed can easily handle all the tasks you listed. Performance would be roughly equal between the models listed.

    There are variations in the feature list like no DVD drive in the Asus U33JC and the faster 7200rpm HDD in the Dell.

    Asus has the more powerful Geforce 310 video card and Acer comes with Win7 Pro vs Home Premium for the rest.

    The Asus has a distinct edge in the overall 'style' with it's brushed aluminum and bamboo. And probably the overall 'fit and finsh' as well. It as a nice 2 year warranty plus 1 yr accidental damage warranty.
    Video review; Pt1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ_rGxZyeCQ
    Pt2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyKF61ekDPo&NR=1
  2. Acer 8372T-7353 Timeline - $879
    i5 560M 2.6GHz 4GB DDR3 500GB 5400RPM 13.3" Win7 Pro

    The most powerful CPU, perhaps the longest battery life, and a 'small business' model.
    The business class notebooks have a reputation for a bit better longevity and ruggedness.

    I couldn't find a review for that specific 7333 model of the Acer 8372T Timeline notebook
    but other reviews for differently equipped models (different CPU for example) are quite good overall.
    Acer 8372T Timeline reviews

    Overall review scores for the Asus U33 Series
  3. The Toshiba L635 and Dell Inspiron 14R fall into the 'average' segment of laptops with nothing to really set them apart from others in the same price range.
    Toshiba has a better reputation as a brand but that was built on different models than the budget 6xx series.
    The Dell Inspiron 14R has the most up-to-date hardware with the dual core Sandy Bridge i5 2410M CPU with it's Intel HD 3000 graphics.
    It's the 2nd most powerful notebook in the list (in spite of it's 2.3Ghz CPU speed). Dell has a reputation for having better LCD screens.

    Dell Inspiron 14 series - Dell Inspiron 14R refresh
    Toshiba Satellite L630/L635 Series
  4. So for doing Computer Science programming, an i3m won't be too slow or underpowered?

    I initially was thinking that an i3m would use much less power then an i5m, but after reading the article it seems that i5m uses just a bit more power then i3m.

    Also, under the Performance PC Mark Vantage benchmark test, it shows that the i5-520m has a huge gain in the Communication Suite area compared to lower class CPUs. What is a Communication Suite?

    My friend will also be watching lots of HD videos. Will an integrated graphic card be suitable for this?
  5. Integrated graphics is suitable for HD videos. A Geforce 310 video card is slightly better at video processing and light duty 3D gaming.

    Any Core i3/i5/i7 CPU will have plenty of power for general purpose PC tasks like programming or educational / home office work. The overall power usage/battery life is not heavily influenced by differences in the CPU power levels.

    PCMark Vantage Communications Suite measures the system's performance in various communication scenarios.
  6. Great sounds good.
    How can you tell if the i3m or i5m is using the Sandy Bridge? Is it cuz their series are four numbers (i3-2310m) whereas the first gen are three numbers (i3-370m)?
  7. Correct;
    The Sandy Bridge will have the 4 digit model number.
    Dual cores won't have the Q suffix on the end.
    i3-2310m, i5-2540M, i7-2620M
    i7-2630QM, i7-2720QM, i7-2820QM
  8. Can you guys recommend any Sandy Bridge (i3m or i5m) 13" laptops? The only one I can find around the $700 - $900 price range is the one from Dell.
  9. TOSHIBA Portege R835-P56 Core i5 2410M(2.30GHz) $900 a 'business class' notebook

    Still excellent values in the Core i-xxx notebooks.
    Lenovo IdeaPad Z360 Core i5-480M 2.66GHz
    ASUS U33JC-A1 Core i3-370M 2.4GHz $749

    There aren't many right now in that price range as the Sandy Bridge rollout and laptop refresh is still underway. Most of the SB are in the higher end notebooks leaving the lower end to 1st Gen Core i, some CULV C2Duos and some of the newer low power AMD CPUs.
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