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Help my OCD self pick a laptop PLEASE!!!

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 23, 2011 9:03:49 AM

1. What is your budget?

$1,800

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

15.6”

3. What screen resolution do you want?

1600 X 900

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

It’s not a desktop replacement so a portable I guess. I want to simply use a laptop while in bed.

5. How much battery life do you need?

As much battery life as I can get.

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)?

Casual games (Big Fish), old Doom games, and old Wolfenstein games.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

Internet access, lots of homework for my college accounting classes (typing). Listening to music (mostly via headphones). Random stuff.

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

500 GB HD 7200 RPM SATA III

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

I’m not.

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

At least 3 years.

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

I definitely need a dvd +-rw so that I can burn dvds or cds as well as play dvds. A bluray ROM would be icing on the cake.

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.

Brands I will NOT consider are: HP (company is getting out of PC market and it makes me too uncertain about reliability), Apple (simply don’t want), or Acer (I’ve heard horror stories about that company). Lenovo (just on an aesthetic level).

The only name brands left are Sony Dell, or Toshiba. Those are really the only I’m seriously considering.

I was looking at Dell Latitude, XPS, or Alienware.
The only sony series I can get with 15.6 LCD is C or H series.
I know nothing about Toshiba.

13. What country do you live in?

United States

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I care the most about the durability and longevity of the laptop. I don't want parts of the laptop falling off or flimsy construction. I've heard horror stories about every companies low end models. So, I want to make sure it isn’t a low end model. At the same time I like style as well. So, it’s hard to balance those out. I’ve been going back and forth forever with different companies and reading a billion different reviews and I’m just stuck (stupid OCD).

Here’s some specs that I want as well:

OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Memory (RAM): 6 GB DDR3 RAM 1333 mhz SDRAM
i5 Sandy Bridge processor (no idea what Ghz)
Must have backlit keyboard.

More about : ocd pick laptop

Best solution

a c 572 D Laptop
August 23, 2011 1:20:28 PM

majax said:
college accounting classes (typing).
I care the most about the durability and longevity of the laptop.
Must have backlit keyboard.
Accounting classes? I'm guessing you also want the keyboard to have a dedicated number pad?

Durability and longevity in a laptop means taking a very close look at the business class models first. And with requirements for a backlit keyboard and 1600x900 resolution I think the Dell Latitude E6520 is going to be a good match for you.
Dell Latitude E6520 configure to order includes standard 3yr business class warranty

Dell Latitude E6520 review
Dell Latitude E6520 review reviewed with Core i7 & 1920x1080 LCD upgrades

Options you probably want from Dell: 1600x900 anti-glare LCD upgrade, Backlit Keyboard, and possibly, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, Webcam and Bluetooth options.
I put the 500GB HDD upgrade as only a possibility because of it's excessive $110 upgrade cost. You'd be much better off staying with the 320GB 7200rpm option and getting yourself an external 500GB backup HDD for about $60.

Options you probably don't want: A CPU upgrade. That standard i5-2520M 2.50GHz is quire powerful already.
Dell wants $180 to upgrade from 2GB RAM to 6GB RAM. It's an easy upgrade you can do yourself for under $30 so I recommend you skip buying that upgrade from Dell.

The OS is Windows 7 Pro 64bit which shouldn't bother you.


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August 23, 2011 1:43:50 PM

Thanks for the recommendation and taking the time to type all of that out. This was a laptop I was looking at this evening. It certainly has a nice look to it and all the physical requirements. The problem is that some of the things I want put me over the amount I was willing to spend. Also, that orange line around the keyboard bugs me to no end. I know it's superficial but it's something that would drive me nuts.

As for the keyboard, I have a ton of papers and assignments that I'll need to type up. I've heard about chiclet keyboards but I don't know if one is more beneficial to my fat fingers that another one, lol. If eliminating the keypad will be beneficial then it's something I will look into.

What about the 9-cell battery upgrade? Is that something I should invest in no matter what laptop I end up choosing?

I watched a few videos on Youtube and I didn't realize installing memory was that easy, in some cases.
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a b D Laptop
August 23, 2011 3:37:10 PM

Reliability - Dell business class is a good choice, while the Dell consummer models are not. I normally go with Asus->Toshibia, last on was a samsung RF711-S01.

Concur with I5-24xx CPU, SB IGP (HD3000) should be OK for the games you mention. If not you will need to pick one with a Dedicated GPU. I know that the SB laptops with a 540M Nvidia will allow the System to operate using the IGP (Lower power consumption) for 2 D applications and only switch to the Dedicated CPU when 3D is required.

Memory: $30 a little low, plan on upto 60->70 bucks. Most laptops ship with the smaller ram and fill both slots so you will have to replace both sticks as apposed to just adding one. My RF711 was an exception, shipped with a single 4 gig module so just need to add a 2nd one for 8 gigs.

Battery: I always buy a 2nd battery, preferably a large Amp/hour rating, however some laptops do NOT have the larger capacity batteries availble. So if a deal breaker do a google search for replacement battery to see if a larger capacity battery is availble before buying.

Reason I went with the Samsung 711-S01.
Cost. Got from Newegg on sale $750 (Overpriced at retail of approx $950.
HDD. Had two HDD bays. Came with a 500 gig HDD, But I wanted the SSD for a Boot/program drive. So Bought a corsair M4 sata III SSD and replaced the HDD. Moved the HDD over to 2nd bay for storage.
OD. Came with a Blu-ray. (My other two laptops I swapped the DVD-RW drive out for a Blu-ray drive ($100 for replacement drive)
LCD panel, 17.3 inch - RF511-s01 is the 15" version (But weigh is about the same as most 15.6 in Laptops). Panel is the TN, so not as good as the more expensive panels. Fine for Indoors, but forget outdoor usage.
Memory: Minior point, Came with a single stick of 4 gig ram. 2 Slots so I just need to buy a single 4 gig stick. Did not really need 8 gigs in my laptop. But with a single stick the memory will run in single channel mode vs daul channel mode.
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a c 572 D Laptop
August 23, 2011 5:39:06 PM

majax said:
The problem is that some of the things I want put me over the amount I was willing to spend.
Don't go over your budget. Has it altered from the $1800 you mentioned?

Configured as I suggested above it was under your budget.

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a c 572 D Laptop
August 23, 2011 6:09:01 PM

majax said:
What about the 9-cell battery upgrade? Is that something I should invest in no matter what laptop I end up choosing?
A standard six cell battery have some like 44-48 Wh rating. The standard 60Wh delivered 6+hrs of WiFi surfing, 8hrs in note-taking mode.
The Latitude keyboard is superior to most. The only line with a better keyboard is one you've already ruled out.
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August 23, 2011 6:14:00 PM

assuming your budget of $1800 hasn't changed, I'd go with the Samsung 711-S02,
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...,
since its only $70 more to get a quad core versus a dual core in the Samsung 711-S01.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You don't want to regret lowballing the CPU later, as there wont be anything you can do about it.

Throw in a RAM upgrade ( most likely 1066 or 1333, but do a Crucial system scan with laptop in hand before making a purchase )
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

and grab a decent SSD for an OS drive.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

even after RAM upgrade and the larger SSD added, final cost is around $1400

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a b D Laptop
August 23, 2011 8:00:26 PM

Diff between s01 and s02 is realy like about a $170 diff, as the So1 comes with a blu-ray drive and that would cost about $100 to upgrade. based on my cost to upgrade a toshibia, did not look upgrading say the s02. the Face plate is not standard so you would also have to look at being able to swap a the faceplate. So tradeoff is I5 w/blu-ray vs I7 w/dvd-rw. Note RF711-S03 cost.

Also the I5 @ $950, I would not recommend as over priced. Bought mine for $750 and since then Newegg had it on sale for around $650->$700 - Forgot which, But for $740 + Cost of ram + $200 for SSD is a great buy.
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August 23, 2011 10:53:48 PM

Sounds like you have a lot of good advice already, but your requirements could be met easily by a 600-1000$ laptop, depending on what brand you want to go with. 1800$ for what you are doing is extremely overkill (I don't think you were implying you need to spend all your money, nor was anyone advocating it. Just sayin)

Also, if you are serious about not playing graphically intensive games, avoid getting a discrete GPU as it's not going to bring anything to your system (except added cost and less battery life in some instances), except additional lap-heating capabilities.
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September 3, 2011 4:10:42 AM

Best answer selected by majax.
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