Budget laptop for a student.

Hi there folks,

I need a laptop for college soon. I'm looking at 2 options. One with an Intel Pentium B940 and the other with an AMD E-350. I'm already aware of another similar thread to this, but my approach is a little bit different.

I can't live without a little bit of gaming, so I would like to get the best out of my budget. Which of these 2 laptops has better gaming capabilities?

AMD E-350: Integrated Radeon 6310
Intel Pentium B940: Intel HD 2000

Note: I've seen on Notebookcheck.net that the Intel HD 2000 lies slightly above the Radeon 6310... however I'm not entirely sure about the real performance... after all its an Intel and not an AMD graphics solution... can someone please shed some light on this?

Also, I'm aware that the B940 is a faster processor than the AMD E-350 on paper... but in reality, working away on my laptop, doing all the usual stuff (MS Word, Facebook, YouTube etc) will there be any noticeable difference?

Another thing, I sometimes do Photoshop and video-editing on my current (and ancient) desktop, and at other times I have several open tabs. Would either laptops be able to handle this demand from me? Or should I look for something better, like a laptop with an i3 for example?

To end this off, which laptop should I expect to offer me better reliability in the long-term? After all, I will be a busy student and will have no time for problems and having to send the laptop for repairs.

Looking forward to your helpful replies. Thanks in advance everyone.
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  1. Hello Forde3654Eire;

    Don't forget you need a decent CPU to support the GPU.

    That AMD E-350 is just one step up from a 'Netbook CPU and you'll notice that when trying to game.
    E-350 is fine for web browsing and running a single application at a time.
    It will bog down quite a bit if you try and run MS Word and Powerpoint at the same time, for example, while the Pentium B940 will handle that type of thing with ease.
    Hands down the Pentium B940 is what you want for Photoshop and video-editing.
  2. In terms of reliability and longevity, there really isn't much difference among laptops/netbooks in the same price range.
  3. Thank you for your quick reply. Please take a look at this laptop and let me know what you think of it. Practically, it seems very well suited for a student. I'm not expecting any major gaming from it, but I would like to be able to play Direct X9 games and below (2000 - 2006) at medium to high settings.

  4. That's a good price on the A53E-XN1. Not long ago it was going for $429 @ NewEgg. It has the full suite of amenities that you expect these days. 4GB RAM, WiFi, webcam, a decent size HDD. That included 1yr Accidental Damage warranty is a nice bonus.

    There are some older games where you will be able to run on high settings (CS:S, Doom, HL2) but you should probably plan on low settings for many other games.
    The Intel HD 2000 graphics review @ Notebookcheck should give you an rough indication what you can expect.

    When you compare the Pentium B940 CPU with the AMD E-350 APU the Big List of Mobile Processors @ Notebookcheck shows the B940 ranked #121 and the E-350 ranked #315.
  5. Sounds good, I've been doing a bit more researching and found a similar model, except it has a Core i5 2410m and an Nvidia GT540 GPU with Optimus. It's $300 more where I am. Is the better CPU and GPU here really worth the money? Or is it simply not enough for good gaming?

    Correct me if I'm wrong here mate. I have the urge to go for the higher spec laptop, but I believe that laptops just don't cut it for gaming, mainly due to the underclocked CPUs and GPUs... and the small screens with standard resolution. Would the $300 be better invested later for building a budget gaming desktop? I could probably add another $200 by the time I decide to build one.
  6. As you're discovering it's expensive to get a gaming laptop.

    That GT 540M might be marketed as a GT 540 graphics card but compared to a desktop graphics card its more along the lines of Geforce GT 530, Radeon HD4670 or Radeon HD 5570 which are $40 range desktop cards/

    $500 would get you a decent gaming desktop.
  7. The laptop CPU, especially the i5-2410 is actually not terrible and pretty good for gaming.
    Core i5 2410 2.3Ghz you can see by the surround CPUs it's not too far off some better known budget gaming CPUs like the AMD Athlon II X4 635 and some Core i5 desktop CPUs.
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