Grad student on a budget having a hard time resolving desired features with low


I am a graduate student and am in a position to buy a new laptop. However, my budget is limited to $500 or less by my department. I really like the features on the Lenovo G470 (432826U) which is on sale right now for 550...but my budget is hard set unfortunately. I am not sure whether I should favor a lesser processor with a graphics card or shoot for a better i5 processor. I have read decent reviews around the HD3000 setup.

1. What is your budget? <$500

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? I would like something relatively portable, ideally 14" and less than 5lb.

3. What screen resolution do you want? whatever works

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? probably some where in the middle...I take my laptop home everyday but do science research which involves somewhat heavy processing

5. How much battery life do you need? the more the better for when I am working away from my desk, but generally I can have it plugged in.

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)? Not important

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) I do a lot of data processing, including photo/video editing and running some research specialized programs that are somewhat system intensive

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? again, the more the better but this is an area I can sacrifice.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? Hopefully at least 3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? DVD writer is good for hard copy data backups

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. I am pretty open to suggestions. I am also considering refurbished just to get more features for the money, however the concept scares me especially with limited warranties.

13. What country do you live in? United states

Thank you in advance for your help!
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More about grad student budget hard time resolving desired features
  1. look at a fusion laptop/net top,,, will give you bang 4 buck and nice graphic power for your budget
  2. So something like this would be my best bet? I only wish it were a bit smaller/lighter...
  3. there is quite a bit to choose from for under $500,, your link didn't work for me,, but what i normally tell people is to go to the store and look at it in person, if the screen is good and the build quality is good, it tends to mean overall it is a well built laptop,, if the specs will do what you need, get it.

    a pc can have the outside stuff upgraded later, a laptop can't, so you need to like the whole package, which can realistically only be done in the store.

    if you need more processing power, go with intel,, but if you want it to play games as well, you'll want an AMD fusion,, you won't get more graphical power unless you go to a high end laptop.
  4. I was looking at the Asus K53TA - BBR6 that retails at Best Buy for 450. It seems to get some mixed reviews based on build quality...some love it, some have had a lot of problems. I would prefer to have something reliable since it will be my work computer so that is concerning.

    Would the i3 processor be an upgrade over the AMD A6-3400M in that computer? Thanks.
  5. the i3 is faster processor with a lesser GPU,, the A6 is slower processor, faster GPU,, unless you need CPU for alot of processing,, the A6 is a better choice for consumer, better playback of media and better gaming capabilities,,, you should not feel any kind of sluggishness from the A6 as the CPU is still quite potent,, just not as potent as the i3,,,
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