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College laptop

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June 29, 2011 3:12:40 AM

hi
let me introduce you to my dilemma. i'm on the market trying to buy a laptop(never own one before) here is what im looking for: school/movies/gaming. core i5/i7(so far i5) graphic card nvidia optimus or amd (if it turns off). HD>500GB. backlight keyboard. i really dont know the best screem size but 15-17 is my range & THE BEST RESOLUTION FOR MOVIES.. ram>4gb. please 5+ hours battery life. and W7. PRICE<900. THANKS

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a b D Laptop
June 29, 2011 4:17:55 AM

LOL! I'm sorry, with a Core i5/i7 with a decent dedicated graphics card, on a large monitor along with a backlit keyboard... you will not get 5 hours battery life... Unless you get a 12 Cell battery.

Here is something worth looking at:

http://www.frys.com/product/6449002?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN...
June 29, 2011 4:32:09 AM

^+1 to hpfreak. You can't have all that AND battery life.

If you go AMD Llano, you'll sacrifice CPU power for a better price tag with equal gaming performance and better battery life.

^-2 to hpfreak. You recommended an i7-740QM laptop. That is a BAD recommendation. It is last generation for the price of Sandy Bridge i7's. It has worse battery life.

OP, Only you can decide how much CPU power you need. But I'm pretty sure you want to be looking for an AMD Llano processor with a discrete card allowing hybrid crossfire on a 17" full HD screen. If you decide you don't care about battery life, then look for at HP's dv7t Quad 17" i7-2630QM laptops. Those are around $850 if you get them with a Radeon 6770M.

My wife just go the dv6t Quad from HP and the graphics is switchable between Intel HD and Radeon discrete to save battery life. It was only $21 to upgrade to the 9-cell battery too. It won't get 5 hours while gaming, but it'll get over 5 hours web surfing and doing MS Office.
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June 29, 2011 4:38:05 AM

Best resolution for movies V. Gaming Laptop

Resolution has a huge impact on gaming performance. While a full HD (1920x1080) screen is nice, it will half your gaming framerates when compared to a 1366x768 screen (720p) because your graphics has to render double the pixels.

So it comes down to:
1) Can you tell the difference between 720 and 1080 on a 15.6" or 17" screen (hookup to TV will be full HD, btw). And do you care?
2) Is 1366x768 good enough for normal usage?
3) Will you be playing high-end new computer games? If so, is 1366x768 good enough for you?
4) Would you be happy playing at a lower resolution (1366x768) on a full HD screen? Usually games look best at the native resolution of the screen, so my guess would be "no" on this one.

That's just some stuff to consider.

My wife got the i7 because Llano wasn't out yet and because she wanted it to still feel "snappy" and fun to use compared to my i7 desktop.
June 29, 2011 5:06:48 AM

Hpfreak, what's good about that laptop? It's not nearly as good as $800 HP dv6t Quads. That has a GT 540M. The HPs have 6670M's. Here, compare those two:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...

My HP laptop screams through Just Cause 2 on high (not max) settings.

OP, keep an eye on techbargains: http://www.techbargains.com/catsearch.cfm/0_3_0
They have the best laptop deals I've found. Slickdeals.net is good too, but they have a lot of people into "pretty" laptops instead of fast ones.

Also, remember you want a 7200rpm HDD, not 5400rpm. The power difference is 1 or 2 watts (~3% battery usage), but the performance difference is 30%.

The HPs don't have backlit keyboards, but they do have Blu-ray drives.
June 29, 2011 5:28:07 AM

17" HP $907 Inlcuding Shipping (free) in my cart on HP.com w/ Coupon Code NBP61449
I've summarized its components and added comments:

-Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
-i7-2630QM 2.0GHz/2.9 GHz Turbo (4 cores/8 HT)
-1GB GDDR5 Radeon HD 6770M Graphics [HDMI, VGA] (matches GT 555M, beats GT 550M)
-8GB DDR3 (2x4GB)
-640GB 7200RPM Hard Drive
-No Additional Office Software
-No additional security software (Just Install Avast! for free yourself, it's better anyways).
-9-Cell Lithium-Ion Battery (over-sized) - Up to 9.5 hours of battery life +++
-17.3" LED Display (1600 x 900) (compromise between 1366x768 and 1920x1080. It'll increase framerates compared to the full HD screen by 1.44)
-FREE Upgrade to Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
-HD Webcam w/ Mic and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
-Intel 802.11b/g/n WLAN with Wireless Display Support

You will have to wait until July 8 (10 days) for it to ship it says, but mine shipped a week early.
June 29, 2011 5:38:54 PM

thanks all of you guys these all some great recommendations. screen resolution i guess i would go for full HD. battery life i guess i can manage a big battery. im a big strong guy so weight is not a problem for me :) 
a b D Laptop
June 29, 2011 5:43:48 PM

Yeah, you want the best of the best, weight doesn't matter... but your budget doesn't work...
June 29, 2011 10:26:14 PM

Also, to upgrade from 1600x900 to full HD for that HP dv7t Quad above, it'll cost you $150. Maybe there's some other options out there. Keep an eye on tech bargains if you can really see the difference between 1080P and 900P. Not all Blu-rays are even 1080p--movies almost always are, but most TV shows are 720p.

I'd go with 1600x900 because the screen resolution is big enough to work with, but smaller so gaming graphics are better than on 1920x1080. That, and it'll save you $100, no matter where you go.

EDIT: Since you're a student and can get Windows 7 on the cheap, these Sager laptops that don't come with Windows (by default, can be added) are good deals w/ full HD screens. They don't have oversized high capacity batteries though.
$882: 17.3" i5-2410M w/ GT 555M (just edges out a 6770 in performance) http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5175-clevo-w170hr-p-3000...
$843: 15.6" i5-2410M w/ GT 555M http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5165-clevo-w150hr-p-3063...
$765: 15.6" i5-2410M w/ GT 540M (loses by a solid margin to the 6770/GT555M) http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np5160-clevo-w150hn-p-2999...
Sager has some other gaming laptops, but I can't recommend them because they're either overpriced or out of your price range.
June 30, 2011 3:29:10 AM

first off id high recommend not even looking at a 17 inch laptop. they are to big for college and most book bags will not be big enough to fit them. also if you go to the hp i wouldnt expect 9.5 hours. that figure comes from the lowest end cpu that is used for that model which would be an i3 series of cpus for the dv7t series. 5 hours is not out of the question for a low res screen. i can get 5 from a gt540m and a 2630qm.

look at sager they have a lot of options
June 30, 2011 4:02:25 AM

For college, I will agree with cbrunnem. Do not get a 17" laptop. It will be a pain to bring with you to class. If you really want a bigger display use a monitor when at home/in your dorm. I recently got an Asus K53 with a 2630qm, 6GB Ram, 640GB HDD, GT 540M, and 1366x768 15.6" screen. I love it. It can run many games at medium-high settings at the native resolution, including Bad Company 2. When not gaming, the battery life is around 5 hours. It cost me $800. But the HP laptops are also great right now. They offer good performance for the price. I prefer a different brand though, so I went with Asus.
June 30, 2011 4:35:30 AM

I'd get a 17" laptop and I wouldn't bring it to class--just friends houses/dorm rooms for LAN parties. What do you need a laptop for in class? Hands work better for notes because you can draw pictures. Of course, with the price you have to pay to get a 17", I'd save my money and get a 15.6", so...nevermind.
June 30, 2011 5:23:29 AM

it definitely depends on your major as to if you need to bring it to class. if your a poly sci major then you wouldnt need to prolly but and engineering or other type of technical then prolly. me being in Engr mine never leaves my backpack unless im in class or back to my house. if i had a 17 inch that would equal death.
June 30, 2011 7:03:35 AM

I was engineering. I just graduated two years ago (to make sure you know that people owned laptops when I was in school). A laptop was not necessary at all. And I can say for a fact that bringing laptops didn't correlate to higher grades. Of course, we had plenty of computer labs right down the hall from classrooms. If you don't have access to computers on campus, then you might need it.

I personally don't mind carrying a 10lb laptop around all day. But some people do. So you've got to ask yourself whether you mind carrying lots of stuff. Then again, we're only talking the increase from 5.6lbs for a 15.6" to 6.8lbs for a 17" or something like that. My wife didn't want a 17". I would.

In high school, I didn't use a locker, I just carried everything on my back between classes---the same way I go to Europe.
June 30, 2011 3:58:52 PM

They didn't let us do that in high school lol. I wish they did. Us guys couldn't even have those small backpacks with the strings for straps, only some teachers were ok with it. Meanwhile girls get to have these huge purses and are allowed to do that...Anyways, back on topic, it does depend on where you are going and what your major is, along with personal preference for size and weight. I'm going to a technical college for IT/Networking, so I know I will need a laptop. But it all depends.
June 30, 2011 4:36:19 PM

for my major i would be leaning more to business and computer information. thabks again everytime i read i leanr new things lol. love this website BTW that website to find deal is incredible. GRACIAS!
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