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New laptop (which of these two configurations should I get?)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 5, 2011 10:41:44 AM

Hey.

I would like to ask some opinions on these two possible configurations for a Sony laptop I'm considering buying. The first configuration is $330.00 less expensive than the second one. Are the faster processor (i3-380M vs i5-480M) and more memory (2GB) worth the extra $180?

Also, does anyone know if the high capacity battery for Sony is one of those bulky ones that make it difficult to insert the laptop in sleeve or a backpack's pocket?

Thanks for any ideas!

P.S.: By the way, is Sony VAIO still a good laptop?

Sony
Model Number: VPCEB490X CTO
Configure to order

*** First configuration = $779.00 ***

Processor: Intel® Core™ i3-380M processor (2.53GHz)
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Color: Coconut White
Hard Drive: 500GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm)
Memory: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1066
Display: 15.5" Full HD VAIO Premium Display (1920x1080)
Graphics Card: ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650 GPU (1GB VRAM)
Optical Disc Drive: CD/DVD Player / Burner
Battery: Standard capacity battery

*** Second configuration = $1109.00 ***

Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-480M processor (2.66GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.93GHz [add $80.00]
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Color: Coconut White
Hard Drive: 640GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm) [add $30.00]
Memory: 6GB (4GBx1 + 2GBx1) DDR3-SDRAM-1066 [add $100.00]
Display: 15.5" Full HD VAIO Premium Display (1920x1080)
Graphics Card: ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650 GPU (1GB VRAM)
Optical Disc Drive: Blu-ray Disc™ Player [add $70.00]
Battery: High capacity battery [add $50.00]

More about : laptop configurations

May 5, 2011 11:27:45 AM

#2 if you can afford it ;) 
a b D Laptop
May 5, 2011 1:11:38 PM

I have to say that $100 for a 2Gb stick of RAM is expensive... (just to compare, 2Gb 1333mhz stick is about $45 on some vendors, considering yours is only 1066, $100 is steep)
The rest of the options (battery, blueray, hdd capacity) is up to your preference, if you can pay for it, get it.
Related resources
May 5, 2011 1:53:02 PM

Thanks for the responses so far.

You're right about the prices. I just saw a 8GB (4GBx2) 1333MHz Crucial kit for $93.00.

I think I will buy it with the standard configuration and add the 8GB afterwards.

I have three other questions. I had a bad experience with HP a couple of years ago so I'm still resistant to it, but is Sony still manufacturing quality laptops? If not, should I go with HP (again) or Samsung?

Second, I chose a 15.6" laptop because it has the perfect balance of portability and screen visibility. Will 1920x1080 help in squeezing the most out of that screen or won't it help at all? I know that 17" screen would be a natural choice for 1920x1080 but I had a 17" laptop before and I found it to be too cumbersome.

Finally is Core I5 480M considerably better than Core I3 380M?

Thanks again!
a c 572 D Laptop
May 5, 2011 3:06:55 PM

Hello TroubleStarter;

Is this going to be a gaming laptop?
Sony, like all the MFGRs, have budget and premium models. Most of the 'good reputation' comes from the premium laptops.

Do you need the BluRay drive in the 2nd choice? I don't believe the 2nd model is worth an extra $330 otherwise.

Core I5 480M in not considerably better than the I3 380M.
Intel Core i3-380M review 3DMark Vantage CPU score = 7262
Intel Core i5-480M review 3DMark Vantage CPU score = 7764

Sony Vaio VPC-EB4 X1E Notebook review Core i5-480M / Radeon HD 5650

For comparison: Dell XPS 15 $1050
Core i5-2410M Sandy Bridge CPU, 4GB RAM 500GB 7200rpm HDD 15.6" 1920x1080 LCD w/ GT 540M / Optimus graphics card
or $900 with GT 525M graphics card

Dell XPS 15 Notebook (i5-2410M & GT 540M) review
Dell XPS 15 L502x review: Now with Sandy Bridge
Intel Core i5-2410M review 3DMark Vantage CPU score = 9563
May 5, 2011 3:50:48 PM

Thanks for all the answers so far.

WR2, I'm considering it as my central machine: development (I'm a developer), gaming, web, everything.

You're probably right about premium lines getting the best components and that's exactly what I'm looking for. A quality motherboard, quality connectors, everything.

About 4 years ago I bought an expensive HP 17" Pavillion laptop and it presented a serious problem 2 years later (it wouldn't even boot up). It was still under warranty (almost at the end of it) so I shipped it for maintenance. I got it back "fixed" but 3 months (it seemed almost calculated), it broke again. Unfortunately, the extra warranty for repaired laptops was 90 days. Result: I ended up with an useless carcass (though I was able to sell it to one of those websites that buy old machines for $125.00). I don't want to go through that again in just two years, so that's why HP brings bad vibes to me.

Which of these manufacturers uses quality components? Sony, Dell, Samsung, others? Not Alienware please. Not interested in paying Mac prices for a PC.

Talking about Sony again, the previous configurations I listed were E Series. I got another for a C Series for $1009.99 (I imagine this must be the premium line). Any opinions on this one?

VPCCB190X CTO (VAIO® C Series)

Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2410M processor (2.30GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Color: Lightning White
Display: 15.5" Full HD VAIO Premium Display (1920x1080)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon™ HD 6630M (1GB VRAM) hybrid graphics with Intel® Wireless Display technology
Hard Drive: 500GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm)
Memory: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1333
Optical Disc Drive: CD/DVD Player / Burner
Battery: High capacity battery

Thanks again!
a c 572 D Laptop
May 5, 2011 4:49:29 PM

troublestarter said:
Which of these manufacturers uses quality components? Sony, Dell, Samsung, others?
I don't know of any mainstream MFGRs that don't use quality components. It's in the nature of low cost laptops that they cost less for a reason.
You can't lump a whole range of models into a single group and say 'Sony' is best. You want to look at individual models since that's what you buy.
Best & Worst Laptop Brands 2011 as seen by http://www.laptopmag.com

The C series is the entertainment notebook like. Probably a step up from the E series budget line.
Not much out yet in the way of reviews on that model: Sony Vaio VPC-CB1 5FG a close cousin of the CTO 90X model,

i5-2410M & Radeon HD 6630M is a major upgrade over the i5-480/HD 5650. I believe the HD 6630M is 'switchable', it can be turned off automatcially to increase battery life if not needed. It's comparable with Nvidia Optimus cards do also that automatically.







May 6, 2011 7:56:31 AM

Thanks again for all the answers.

WR2, your suggestion for Dell XPS 15 is great, I'm considering it now. Also I checked the C Series and it is the Signature Collection from Sony. I have come to 2 configurations now, one for Sony and one for Dell.

The matter now is quality. I can get more from Dell for around the same price but I'm concerned about Dell's quality. They used to be known for having bad hardware. Sony, on the other side, is known for good products, but maybe some of the fame is just hype. After my bad experience with HP, I'm just a little too careful about paying for some machine. Though people upgrade every two, three years, I don't want to see my equipment "expire" exactly 24 months after purchase.

VPCCB190X CTO (VAIO® C Series) = $1,079.99

Processor: Intel® Core™ i5-2410M processor (2.30GHz) with Turbo Boost up to 2.90GHz
Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Color: Lightning White
Display: 15.5" Full HD VAIO Premium Display (1920x1080)
Graphics Card: AMD Radeon™ HD 6630M (1GB VRAM) hybrid graphics with Intel® Wireless Display technology
Hard Drive: 500GB Hard Disk Drive (5400rpm)
Memory: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3-SDRAM-1333
Optical Disc Drive: Blu-ray Disc™ Player
Battery: High capacity battery
Service: 1 Year

Dell XPS 15 = $1,177.98

Operating System: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Processor: 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
Memory: 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard - English
LCD: 15.6 FHD B+RGLED TL (1920x1080) and Skype-Certified 2.0MP HD Webcam
Video Card: NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB graphics with Optimus
Hard Drive: 750GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Color: Elemental Silver Aluminum
Integrated Network Adapter: Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
Optical Drive: Tray Load Blu-ray Disc BD-Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD)
Sound: JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3
Wireless: Intel® Centrino® Wireless-N 1000
McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 24-Months
Battery: 90 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Service: 2 Year Basic Service Plan

Thanks again!

P.S.: Maybe we should have two static threads: one for people announcing the machines they bought and another about hardware problems people have with their laptops. That would give everyone an idea about what people are choosing and the reliability of the equipment (though it wouldn't be via scientific method).
a b D Laptop
May 6, 2011 12:24:35 PM

Well, from my personal experience with Dell's xps ( I bought mine in 2006, so things might have changed some after that). The hardware is of good quality. I wasn't too pleased with the case finish and how it performed, but that was a minor issue (the paint on palm rest rubbed off too quickly). The only thing besides that I've had a problem with after 3 years was a keyboard key had stopped working. Dell was kind enough to replace it in a timely manner and at my house, so I didn't have to ship the laptop somewhere. So, my conclusion was that their hardware is fine. My laptop is still running to this day, 5 years later and I can still get very good performance out of it.
May 9, 2011 3:26:05 PM

Thanks for all the answers so far.

I think I will not get a Sony after all. It is tough to justify such a difference in prices between the same configuration.

I have come to find another option: Sager NP5160. I have to admit that I had never heard about it. How does it compare against Dell XPS15? Does anyone have one? I read stellar reviews about the XPS 15's B+RGLED display but I don't know much about the NP5160.

The Sager configuration doesn't include OS (it is ok, I have a copy of Windows 7 already) and the XPS has less 6GB RAM. Sager has a 3yr warranty while Dell has a 2 year warranty.

This is what I'm considering:

*** XPS 15 ($1,144.99) ***

Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Processor 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
Memory 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
Keyboard Backlit Keyboard - English
LCD 15.6 FHD B+RGLED TL (1920x1080) and Skype-Certified 2.0MP HD Webcam
Video Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB graphics with Optimus
Hard Drive 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Color Elemental Silver Aluminum
Integrated Network Adapter Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
Adobe Reader Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
CD ROM/DVD ROM Tray Load Blu-ray Disc BD-Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD) with Roxio Creater 2011
Sound JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3
Wireless Intel© Centrino© Advanced-N 6230 & Bluetooth 3.0
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed) McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 15-Months
Battery 90 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Service 2 Year Basic Service Plan
Datasafe Online DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year

*** Sager NP5160 / Clevo W150HN ($1,084.00)

- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Glare Type Screen
- Standard Dead Pixel Policy
- - 2nd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM, 2.0-2.8GHz, (32nm, 6MB L3 cache)
- - IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU
- nVidia GT 540M 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR3 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology
- ~ 8,192MB DDR3 1333MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)- Special
- Standard Finish
- ~ 6X Blue-Ray Read/8X DVDRW Super Multi Combo Drive
- ~ 500GB 7200RPM (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- Intel® Advanced-N 6230 - 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless LAN Module + Bluetooth
- Built in 2.0 Megapixel Camera
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- No Operating System Standard - Drivers & Utility Software Only
- 3 Year Labor 1 Year Parts, Lifetime Sager Toll Free Tech Support

Thanks again!

Best solution

a c 572 D Laptop
May 10, 2011 1:20:57 AM
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The Sager warranty is 1yr parts 3 years labor. XPS has 2yr parts and labor.
Dell has the superior LCD screen and JBL speakers. Sager has a premium TN panel.
Sager has the more powerful GT 540M graphics card, XPS the GT 525M.
I think Dell has the styling 'edge' over the Sager. Sager has no bloatware.
The 6GB vs 8GB RAM difference can be discounted - it won't make a difference.

See if you can get any of these Dell coupons to work for the XPS 15
http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/dell-xps-15/26283.aspx
May 17, 2011 1:25:01 AM

Best answer selected by TroubleStarter.
May 17, 2011 1:42:00 AM

I bit the bullet and bought an XPS 15 last Wednesday.

*** XPS 15 (Configuration) ***

Operating System Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English
Processor 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM processor 2.00 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 2.90 GHz
Memory 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
Keyboard Backlit Keyboard - English
LCD 15.6 FHD B+RGLED TL (1920x1080) and Skype-Certified 2.0MP HD Webcam
Video Card NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 525M 1GB graphics with Optimus
Hard Drive 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
Integrated Network Adapter Integrated 10/100/1000 Network Card
CD ROM/DVD ROM Tray Load Blu-ray Disc BD-Combo (Reads BD and Writes to DVD/CD) with Roxio Creater 2011
Sound JBL 2.1 Speakers with Waves Maxx Audio 3
Wireless Intel© Centrino© Advanced-N 6230 & Bluetooth 3.0
Office Productivity Software (Pre-Installed) Microsoft® Office Starter: reduced-functionality Word & Excel w/ ads. No PowerPoint or Outlook
Anti-Virus/Security Suite (Pre-installed) McAfee Security Center with VirusScan, Firewall, Spyware Removal, 15-Months
Battery 90 WHr 9-cell Lithium Ion Primary Battery
Service 2 Year Basic Service Plan
Datasafe Online DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year

I used the coupons in the page WR2 linked and I also used another promotion (http://dell.cashstar.com/gift-card/buy/?ref=dellm050520...). I bought a $300 Dell gift car and got another $50 extra card. I used both to pay for the laptop. Unfortunately you can only use three payment methods and each gift card count as one, so I used my credit card as the third method. In total: $1,064.99 plus taxes.

Thanks everyone for all the assistance!
a c 244 D Laptop
May 17, 2011 9:14:31 AM

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