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Laptop Recommendation Request - Basic or Full Blown?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 4, 2012 8:55:26 AM

Hi all,

I'd like to ask for your help in recommending a laptop please. I've used the list from the FAQ section to help make this painless :) 

1. What is your budget?

I'm looking at laptops priced up to £400, but don't expect to need to spend that much.

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

11"-15", ideally towards the latter.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Nothing awkward or ridiculous. Just decent.

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

Originally just portable, but see the end paragraphs.

5. How much battery life do you need?

I think 4-6 hours is reasonable.

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)?

No. However, I do want the most power for money.

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

Skype is the main one. I know this sounds silly in terms of what really pushes computers, but I will elaborate later.

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

250-500GB seems reasonable.

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

http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/HP_ProBook_4530s_1099521...

http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/Toshiba_Satellite_Pro_C6...

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

I have no intention to replace it.

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

Not necessary, but as DVD writer wouldn't hurt at all.

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 like Dell because they seem straightforward, but I know they don't always have the best rep. I don't have a high opinion of HP for their bloatware and poor reliability.

13. What country do you live in?

UK.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Here's probably the important part. I currently have a Dell netbook, a Celeron 1.6ghz processor. It's small and nicely designed, and was intended for use with small portable tasks and Skype. However, it hardly even runs Skype properly and the battery life is around two hours - I don't find this acceptable.

So I intend to replace the netbook at the lowest possible price. I was looking at this:

http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/HP_ProBook_4530s_1099521...

..for £330. I was going to sell the netbook for around £160 and then use a very old but working Compaq PC to get £150 trade in. The HP would only cost me around £20 this way. The HP is only a dual core Celeron but has good battery life and obviously won't cost me much.

However, I'm now thinking this might be a false economy. I only want to buy new - no reconditioned or second hand. But for the sake of the extra money, is it worth buying some extra grunt and going for something like this, even if I don't get to trade in an old PC for a reduction?

http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/Toshiba_Satellite_Pro_C6...

"Back in the day" I used to know the difference between processors based simply on their speed, but now there are i3, i5, i7's, dual core, quad core, budget processors, Sandy Bridge, first and second generations.. and I've no idea what this really represents anymore. My desktop is a 2.8ghz machine and I've always used that for all the grunt work, but if I am to spend the extra cash, maybe I should just buy a machine that can outstrip that as well as performing the tasks originally intended for the netbook.

One thing of additional note is that my house sometimes gets incredibly bad wifi interference from traffic outside - so strong wifi signal is a must.

I will of course still sell the netbook to help finance this regardless.

Would someone be kind enough to offer some advice? Please feel free to ask anything additional you may need to know, and thank you in advance.

schnide
a b D Laptop
January 4, 2012 2:02:19 PM

Hello,

well out of the two you linked, the toshiba is obviously a better laptop. However, I think the best performance for the money you will get with an i3 processor. It will feature the same graphics level, but will be much faster than the HP. 2 to 4 Gb of RAM should be enough for most of your tasks, and HDD space and other features are up to you.
Sorry, I cannot give you any specific links as I don't live in UK.

also, you mentioned you want strong wifi signal as a must. Umm, the strength of a signal depends on how far you are from the source and on the router itself. It has nothing to do with your laptop. If you say you get interference, depending on what kind of interference it is, you can adjusting your router wireless settings.

hope that helps
January 4, 2012 2:22:14 PM

Thanks for this, although I'm slightly confused - you're saying for the money of either, I'll get the best performance from an i3 machine? Isn't an i5 better?

And I would've thought that surely the quality of the wifi component might play a part, or that I should at least look for a b/g/n rather than a b/g etc. wifi card?
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a c 571 D Laptop
January 4, 2012 2:33:03 PM

schnide said:
"Back in the day" I used to know the difference between processors based simply on their speed, but now there are i3, i5, i7's, dual core, quad core, budget processors, Sandy Bridge, first and second generations......
.... My desktop is a 2.8ghz machine
You didn't help us out much saying you have a '2.8ghz machine'.
And you didn't mention the make/model of 'Netbook you're unhappy with.
a c 571 D Laptop
January 4, 2012 2:37:15 PM

schnide said:
One thing of additional note is that my house sometimes gets incredibly bad wifi interference from traffic outside - so strong wifi signal is a must.
The wifi component in the laptop can't improve the strength of the incoming signal or clean up interference from external sources. .
Having a good antenna and WiFi card is about the best you can on your part to get a good WiFi signal.
January 4, 2012 2:38:24 PM

WR2 said:
You didn't help us out much saying you have a '2.8ghz machine'.
And you didn't mention the make/model of 'Netbook you're unhappy with.


I'll translate that as "what's the model of the 2.8ghz desktop and netbook?" :)  I thought that'd be enough for people to know, but obviously looking back now it's not - my apologies.

The desktop is a Dell Dimension 5000 Pentium 4, and the netbook is a Dell Inspirion Mini 10.
January 4, 2012 2:41:17 PM



You've linked to the i5 processor version of the HP in the second link.. so I'm not quite sure how this'll help me when I'm looking for a comparative assessment between the B810 powered laptop and the more powerful i5 Toshiba in terms of value for money.
a c 571 D Laptop
January 4, 2012 2:50:36 PM

Dell Dimension 5000 review

Dell Inspiron Mini 10 (Pine Trail) Review Atom N450 single core CPU
Intel Atom N450 review

From the Big List of Mobile Processors (CPU Benchmarks)
Intel Celeron B810 is ranked #189
Intel Atom N450 is ranked #485
and for comparison a single core Intel Pentium 4 P4 3.0Ghz desktop CPU is ranked #428.

You can see while the Celeron B810 is only an entry level laptop CPU it's performance is a good deal better than your current desktop CPU.



a c 571 D Laptop
January 4, 2012 2:52:21 PM

Intel Core i5 2410M is ranked #46 in the laptop CPU benchmark comparison.
January 4, 2012 2:57:06 PM

WR2 said:
Intel Core i5 2410M is ranked #46 in the laptop CPU benchmark comparison.


Thank you for this - I'd actually limited the search to all four processors in question before seeing the post above, and can clearly see that the Core i5 kicks all three of the others far into the long grass.

I guess what this is really saying then is that I could easily replace both my desktop and netbook with the one laptop quite easily. I'd only have to consider whether I'd miss the upgradability (ie. ability to install a second DVD drive etc) of having a desktop, for the sake of being able to sell the desktop and monitor.

It's just what laptop to replace it with now that I have to consider in terms of value for money.
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