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Help choose a mid-range laptop

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 30, 2011 6:58:51 AM

Heyo everyone.
I will be going for a 4-month internship in August and won't be able to take my desktop with me (why the hell did I have to get a full tower? sigh...) and the only other computer I have is my tiny Eee netbook (I think it's the 1005 model) which is great for taking to class but not so much for anything else.
So I'm entertaining the though of getting yet another computer, mostly used for basic browsing/email/movies but I might put a Linux partition on it for some computation and might run a Virtual Machine or two...


1. What is your budget?
Not really an issue but definitely under 1500

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I'll be watching movies/shows on it so probably 15" or so, I fear that the 17" will be too heavy.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Higher is better, would love a 19** x **** (I *love* high quality screens)

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable-ish, I used to lug around a huge 17" desktop replacement beast so it doesn't have to be under 3lbs =)

5. How much battery life do you need?
Not a huge issue but 4-5 hours would be nice (It will most likely spend all day sitting on my desk at home with occasional train trips)

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)?
Nothing high end for sure, if it can run an MMO - great, if not - no problem (if Secret World happens to come out in the next 4 months I'd try to play it...)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
I might be putting a Linux partition on it for some programming/computation but nothing most modern laptops can't handle (so really I just need a decent amount of RAM)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I have a ton of externals so not an issue. Not a fan of SSD.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Newegg is my site of choice but I'll buy anywhere a good deal can be found as long as the place is reputable.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Until it breaks.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Basic.

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.
No macs. Seriously.
I go by build quality and particular model reviews more than just brand name but from what I saw HP, Lenovo and Asus seem to be good.


13. What country do you live in?
Canada but will be in the US as well so either side is fine with me.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
- Not afraid to open a laptop up for upgrades so if it's cheaper to buy smth and put in more RAM (for example), I'm OK with that.
- There seems to be a sale on the Lenovo website, might be worth considering

Cheers.
a b D Laptop
July 30, 2011 8:50:40 AM

Although Lenovo's having a sale, their nice laptops with the Geforc 55x graphics cards has relatively crappy battery life, along with no high-res screen. If battery life is important to you, you can take a look at Acer's new TimelineX series (maybe the 4830TG or 3830TG... both should be available in Canada, but the 4830TG is not yet available in the US the last time i checked), but that doesn't have a high res screen either :( . You can try for a Alienware M14x or M11x, depending what you can stand in terms for screen size. The M14x does have a high res screen, and has ok battery life, while the M11x has a lower res screen (but on a smaller screen as well), but better battery life.

You can also try to customize a Dell XPS 15, which you can get a high res screen on. Try customizing one and see if what you get is worth the price they're quoting :) 

One thing to keep in mind: When my room mate was laptop hunting last year, he specifically looked for one with a Nvidia graphics card, because he was going to install Linux on it (Arch linux), and apparently the driver support was better for the Nvidia cards. Im not sure if this situation has changed for the AMD cards in the last year, but if you're planning on installing linux, it's at least something to think about.
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a c 572 D Laptop
July 30, 2011 12:02:28 PM

If you're interested in looking at higher resolution above the standard 1366x768 you'll be looking at some 14" models available with 1600x900 resolution and 15" models with 1920x1080.
Dell XPS 15 with a wide range of configurations & prices from $644 to $1200.
Options from a Core i5 2410 / 1366x768 LCD & GT 5252M graphics to Core i7-2630QM / 1920x1080 LCD & GT 540M graphics.
Reviews: Notebookcheck - LaptopMag - XPS 15 L502X Review video review

Also a Z model (thinner and lighter) but with fewer config options and a higher base price:
Dell XPS 15z Core i5 Ultra-Slim Laptop - Dell XPS 15z Notebook review
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