Notebook/Netbook vs teardown/upgrade

Hi guys-

Back after a bit of a break from these forums. After building two computers for myself and my parents, as well as replacing a few things in my daughter's, my wife's laptop situation is getting a bit testy. Nevermind the fact that she has Trend Micro virus software (which slowed my own laptop down painfully a few years ago), as well as some other stuff to let her IT guy log in remotely to fix problems with software, but it's a 5-6 yr old Dell (1500-series), that I bumped up to the max of 2GB of RAM late last year. The thing still runs slow.

I was initially interested when Google announced their Chromebook a month or two ago (pretty much instant-on/off, not too many bells and whistels, and most of the work my wife does is or could become web-based), but not sure how we would deal with no ethernet port.

So I'm back to poking around for suggestions recommendations as to whether I should build a new desktop and get her a netbook (but she does do a majority of work away from home - real estate) for mobility. Or, whether it's feasible to tear apart her Dell and replace the componets.

So untill she gives me a go-ahead with anything, I thought I'd find out what you'd recommend in a new laptop:

1. What is your budget? Would like to stay under $800, which is about half of what she bought her's for.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? BIG point of contention - she probably wants a little larger screen, but is tired of carrying around a 8lb latop. I'm going to think about this differently though - 14" or 15" with the ability to connect to a desktop monitor.

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1400x1050 is probably fine

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Yes. This may, or may not, be her only computer.

5. How much battery life do you need? Nothing extraordinary - most places she goes she has access to a wall receptacle.

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)? No games.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Mostly office productivity, and lots of web-based applications, but also dealing with a TON of photos, so some edititing.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 600GB+

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Newegg, not too hot on TigerDirect these days, Micro Center - have a Micro Center retail store nearby.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? 5 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Basic DVD ROM/Writer, nothing fancy.

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. Have only had Dell Laptops. I personally have gone to their Dell Outlet for mine.

13. What country do you live in? USA

Hope thats enough to get a few ideas going.

Thanks, in advance!
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More about notebook netbook teardown upgrade
  1. Hello elvisruns;

    The bad news is that I can't recommend you spend anything to try and upgrade that half-decade old Dell. It's due an honorable retirement to emergency backup status IMO.

    The good news is that for an $800 budget you can get a nice business laptop that can pretty much do everything you want.

    We'll target the 14" 1600x900 resolution business class laptops starting with Dell's Latitude E6420:
    Dell Latitude E6420 14-in "Sandy Bridge" Business Laptop Core i5 $679 configured with 1600x900 screen $754
    Core i5-2410 2GB RAM, 250GB 5400rpm HDD, 14" 1600x900 matte screen w/ Intel HD 3000 graphics.
    Dell recommends upgrade the HDD to a 7200rpm drive and RAM to 4GB. As you're no doubt aware you can do those same upgrades yourself and not pay Dell the premium price they want.

    Dell Latitude E6420 Review not an identical configuration but the chassis and features should be an accurate representation.
  2. 14" Thinkpad Edge 420s $749
    Core i5-2410M, 6GB RAM, 320GB 7200rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ HD 3000 graphics (not a matte screen and this model does not offer 1600x900 resolution).
    Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E420s Review

    14" Thinkpad T420s $800
    Core i3-2310M, 4GB RAM, 320GB 7200rpm HDD, 14" 1600x900 matte screen w/ HD 3000 graphics.
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