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HP Envy 14

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February 12, 2012 1:10:00 AM

I was looking to purchase a new computer and after much research and asking people on forums I finally decided on getting the HP Envy 14. I decided on it because it got solid reviews, I'm a student at UCSD so the portability is a big plus, and I found a great coupon online that knocked $444 dollars off the price.
The specs:
• 2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2670QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.1
• 1GB DDR3 Radeon(TM) HD 6630 switchable Graphics [HDMI, Mini Display Port]
• 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 System Memory (2 DIMM)
• 750GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
• 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
• 14.5" diagonal High Definition HP BrightView Infinity LED Display (1366x768)
• SuperMulti 8X DVD+/-R/RW with Double Layer Support
• Backlit Keyboard
$1035 total. Originally before coupons $1,479.

I do have a couple concerns. I've looked around on forums and a lot of people are really knocking the Envy for having a 1366x768 display. I am currently using a toshiba satlellite, as I wait for shipping to bring the Envy, with the same display and really do not see what everyone is complaining about as I have no problems with this display. Keeping in mind that I RARELY multitask on the same screen as I am the type of person that gives one topic his full attention, is the display really that bad? Also, i opted for the intel i7 and 8gb of ram because they were basically free upgrades with the coupon. Will the higher processor affect battery life significantly? Finally, I am looking to do some light gaming. Would these specs be able to run newer games on mid settings Thank you for reading.

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a c 406 D Laptop
February 12, 2012 2:39:39 AM

The HD 6630m is a decent mid level card according to NoteBookCheck.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-6630M.43963....

However, it is fairly weak for the price that you pay. My 14" Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 cost me around $760 after tax and tacking on a 2 year warranty extension. It comes with only a dual core i5-2410m, but it comes with a the faster nVidia GT 550m. While the HP Envy 14 does have a quad core CPU, I would expect my laptop to outperform your laptop in games. This is because most games are more GPU dependent than CPU dependent. In a game like Skyrim which is both CPU and GPU dependent, I would still expect my Y470 to outperform your Envy.

Having said the above, I would not recommend a Lenovo IdeaPad Y470 due to the that it has rather poor heat dissipation. The CPU's temp is typically 88C - 92C while playing games. The exception is GTA 4 which hit 99C and the CPU started to throttle down which caused huge lag. Unfortunately, I could not find any reviews of the Y470 before I bought it. There have been a few reviews that were published after I bought which confirmed the 88C - 92C temps while playing games, but strangely enough none of the reviewers were concerned about the high CPU temps because the laptop was stable and did not throttle down (I guess they didn't use GTA 4 in their test) while they were testing the Y470's gaming performance.

As for the 1366x768 resolution, I actually find it a bit limiting... For games, it's generally fine, but for productivity usage and some multi-tasking, I find it a bit limited because I would need to scroll around in some of the programs I use to access some buttons or options. Then again it is a 14" screen. I think squeezing a 1600x900 resolution LCD panel into a 14" screen would make it a bit uncomfortable for some people to use. I think 1600x900 on a larger 15.6" screen would be fine though.

Overall, it should be fine for some light gaming with a mix of low and medium graphic settings. If you had an option for a more powerful graphics card, I would have opted for than rather than getting a quad core CPU.

February 12, 2012 2:52:18 AM

Thank you for replying. The main things I was looking for in a laptop was portability and 3-4 year future proof. Seeing as I'm going to have to lug the laptop around class after class, the size and weight in comparison to the power really attracted me. I do agree after looking around that the graphics card is not the greatest, but I am mostly looking to play games such as SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3 and not high extensive games such as Battlefield since I also own a PS3. Do you think I should be fine with this laptop for the next 3 years for the uses I'm looking at it for?
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a c 406 D Laptop
February 12, 2012 3:07:04 AM
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Like I said, I think you can use a mix of low and medium settings in games for now, but 2 to 3 years from now I would guess you would need to set all graphic options to low. However, for general everyday usage, that laptop should be last you for many years.

Since you are a college student, I just want to caution you that it seems most laptop thefts occurs on campus / in college. I recommend you consider some laptop tracking software in case it happens to you. Lojack is an example and if you purchase the premium plan in the event your laptop cannot be recovered they will pay up $1,000 (with restrictions):

http://www.absolute.com/en/lojackforlaptops/home.aspx

Without such tracking software the only thing you can do is file a police report and hope for the best. If you are religious, then you can toss in praying as well.
February 12, 2012 3:22:22 AM

Thank you for your help. I was considering purchasing Lojack but since I do have house and car insurance with State Farm that covers stolen electronics and since I do not live on campus, I'm fairly confident the laptop will not leave my side. But I will purchase it if I take a workout class and have to leave my pack in the lockers. Again, thank you for your response/advice.
February 12, 2012 3:22:31 AM

Best answer selected by drcarranco.
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