My old Toshiba Satellite AMD Turion 64 X2 laptop is on it's last leg. I'm looking for suggestions for a second generation i5 laptop for under $500. Here's the kicker: I would really like USB 3.0, which seems to be a rarity on most mid/low price laptops. A 7200rpm hard drive would also be a big plus.
1. What is your budget?
$500 (willing to go slightly higher)
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15.6". 14" also considered.
3. What screen resolution do you want?
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
5. How much battery life do you need?
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)?
Very little gaming. The i5 integrated HD Graphics will suffice.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Ripping of DVD's, music recording via USB microphone.
8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
No preference. 7200rpm Hard Drive preferred
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Still shopping. Open to all websites.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Approximately 4+ years (same amount of time I've had my current Toshiba notebook).
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
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 have had good experience with my current Toshiba, but I'm open to other brands. The Asus laptops I've seen are nice. I like the specs on the Dell Inspiron 15's, but I really don't like the fact that the laptop must be disassembled to access the hard drive.
13. What country do you live in?
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I have no problem waiting for a sale. I realize the USB 3.0 and 7200rpm hard drive make this difficult to find.
As you suspected the Core i5/ USB 3.0 / 7200rpm HDD requirement is going to take a good sale price to get you want you want. Prices have been drifting down lately so it's not out of the question you'll find one soon.
The Dell Vostro looks promising, even though it has the i3. My original thinking was that the i5 would buy me another year or so before I upgrade in the future, but the i3 would likely work fine. The ram would be a cheap and easy upgrade.
The sub $500 i5 with my other options appears to be just beyond my price range. I might be able to pick up a refurbished Dell Inspiron 15r within my price range after their 20% off Outlet coupon, but I'm not keen on disassembling it in case of a hard drive problem.
If you want the i5 and are willing to hang for a bit I think you'll have a shot soon.
I'd keep an eye out on that Vostro 3350.
Another good option: HP ProBook 4530s 15 Notebook $480 i3-2310M, 4GB RAM, 7200rpm HDD. No USB 3.0.
You can find reviews on both here: Dell Vostro 3550 Review
For current sales I use LogicBuy and Dealigg to check for deals and coupons.