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Cheap but reliable EVERYDAY laptop?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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December 3, 2011 2:56:33 PM

About the most CPU-intensive thing I do is occasionally watch HD video, which my Atom netbook fails miserably at and my dual-core Centrino laptop is 50/50 on...zero gaming, but a some multi-tasking like having 12-15 tabs of Chrome open while on Skype and with Windows or Excel and maybe music playing in the background. Web surfing, Office suites, movies and music, very occasional simple photo editing (Irfanview, Picasa, etc.)---very light CPU demands, but I do want the snappiest performance possible within those parameters.

Budget: $300-500.

Prefer Asus or Toshiba, since these two brands seem to be the most reliable from what I've read.

So, prices seem to vary by CPU, in ascending order:

AMD C-50/60 (these start around $300)
Pentium Core 2 Duo
AMD E-350/450
Pentium B940/950
Intel i3
AMD A6
AMD A8
Intel i5 (Best Buy has an Asus i5 for $450)

My question: which of the above would be the best bang for the buck given my non-intensive needs, beyond which the law of diminishing returns would begin to kick in? I'm not even considering an i7 of course, lol.
a b D Laptop
December 3, 2011 3:33:36 PM

Just get an i3 + 4GB RAM. It would be just more than enough for your requirements.
If you wan it below $400, then a A6/A8 or Pentium B940/950 will do.

You wouldn't find much difference between an i3 and i5 for your use. i5 only has 400 Mhz more clock speed and a turbo boost option which in my opinion wont help you immensely in loading 100 tabs in chrome. Thus it is not the best bang for 'your' buck.

p.s - I am talking here about the 2nd generation core i products.


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December 10, 2011 9:15:23 AM

Thanks. How much of a difference for my use would you expect between the following:

i3 vs. B950 vs. E-450?

What I see at Best Buy's website is $380 vs. $330 vs. $300, respectively.
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a b D Laptop
December 10, 2011 2:09:49 PM

The AMD E-450 is almost half powerful as the B950. But the difference between B950 and i3 is rather small. i3 having 4 threads and B950 having only 2, which will make the i3 multi task better.

So basically if you are picky about the price, the B950 would be good choice. But the i3 will be the most future proof, incase you want to open 20 tabs instead of 12 today :D 


http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmar...
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a c 433 D Laptop
December 11, 2011 7:18:24 AM

perfectblue said:
i3 having 4 threads and B950 having only 2, which will make the i3 multi task better.



The i3 is still a dual core CPU. The two extra threads can only be used if the program has been designed to take advantage of Hyper Threading. However, the Core i3 / B950 architecture is superior to the AMD E-450. The E-450's architecture performance is inferior to the Llano APU architecture which is inferior to Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture.

All things being equal; meaning same # of cores and same clockspeed; Llano APUs are about 25% slower than Sandy Bridge, the E-450 would be around 30% - 33% slower than Sandy Bridge.
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December 11, 2011 3:35:10 PM

jaguarskx said:
All things being equal; meaning same # of cores and same clockspeed; Llano APUs are about 25% slower than Sandy Bridge, the E-450 would be around 30% - 33% slower than Sandy Bridge.


I'm assuming those numbers are based on benchmark scores, but I have read that benchmark scores often do not translate into any significant or noticeable differences for light users like myself who aren't gamers, don't video edit, etc.---for example, an i7 might open Firefox or Word in 2 seconds while an i3 might take 5 seconds, that kind of thing. True?
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a c 433 D Laptop
December 12, 2011 6:48:46 AM

I would go for a laptop with a B950 CPU. They are not very expensive. A friend of mine just bought a 15.6" Lenovo with the B950 from Bestbuy on Sunday. I think she paid around $365 after tax.

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December 16, 2011 3:23:02 PM

I think the difference between i3 and B950 will be minimal. Better to spend the price difference on a (faster) SDD.
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