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$500ish laptop suggestions

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April 13, 2012 12:55:33 AM

So, for robotics we are replacing our insanely old dell latitudes(D500s i think) with new laptops. Apparently I have been given the task of finding laptops suitable enough. I am looking for laptops that will last for a long time 3+ years, and offer the best bang for the buck.
Also, would it be worthwhile to wait for ivy bridge laptops? I am aware that they give a much better battery life and a somewhat better HD4000 graphics, but considering that we are not concerned with either of those, are there any other reasons?


1. What is your budget?
$500ish per laptop if we get 4, 650ish if we get 3.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13-15 inchers.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
I prefer higher resolutions, but considering the budget restraints and the fact that we have an almost infinite amount of monitors lying around...

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
No preference.

5. How much battery life do you need?
more than 30 minutes... Battery isn't really a concern.

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)?
Yes, we'd love to play crysis or battlefield 3 at maxed out settings. :D 
All jokes aside, apart from the occasional mindsweeper game, no. However,the laptop should be able to play back a HD youtube video at a decent framerate.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Coding, web browsing, MS office, youtube vids, maybe process images from the camera at around 20 frames/sec(resolution is 640*480 i think).

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

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
none.

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

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
would prefer a DVD drive, but if its sacrificing the drive for a better CPU or screen, i would go for the additional processing power. apart from installing from a DVD, the drive is not really used. We can just copy the DVD onto a flash drive.

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.
Brands not to buy:
Apple - overpriced, not a big fan of mac OS X, oh, and it won't fit into the budget :D 

I would like to buy from a brand that offers decent costumer support in case something goes wrong. Of course we are perfectly capable of fixing any software problems, but if its a hardware issue, we'll have to ask for help.
13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Not much, should be windows 7, needs wireless. Also, keep in mind, that the laptop needs to last a long time. I would prefer an i5 over an i3, but due to the budget constraints, this probably isn't possible.
a c 572 D Laptop
April 13, 2012 1:01:30 AM

Hello berrykerry789;

Do you need 4 identical models? I'm thinking 1 model with 1600x900 resolution
and 3 at the standard 1366x768 resolution.
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April 13, 2012 1:07:11 AM

no, we do not need 4 identical models. that should be fine.
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 13, 2012 1:16:42 AM

A couple good options in 14":

HP ProBook 4430s $500
Core i3-2330M 2.20GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ HD 3000 Graphics
Anti-glare matte screen, USB 3.0

Dell Vostro 3450 $500
Core i3-2350M 2.3GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 320GB 7200rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ HD 3000 Graphics
Anti-glare matte screen, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 3.0

Those are business class notebooks and have a slight edge in ruggedness and reliability over consumer class notebooks.
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 13, 2012 1:20:22 AM

There have been Core i5 notebooks on sale at the $500 price point.
I just didn't find any just now though.

IvyBridge is being announced and the first models shipped on or about 29 April.
But the dual core, less expensive CPUs will probably follow the top end parts and arrive, maybe in June?
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 13, 2012 4:08:54 AM

I haven't really been able to find a 15" or less 1600x900 resolution screen notebook and been able to fit 3 extra 1366x768 models into the $2000 budget goal.

Would one laptop being 17" and 1600x900 be OK?
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 13, 2012 4:20:16 AM

TOSHIBA Satellite L775 $500
Core i3 2330M 2.20GHz 4GB RAM 640GB HDD 17.3" 1600x900LCD w/ Intel HD Graphics
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April 13, 2012 4:59:16 PM

You should consider buying Refurbished or Outlet notebooks from the actual company.
I recommend Lenovo outlets.

Lenovo is cheap and you can find what you want by going to

http://outlet.lenovo.com/laptops.html

Btw, refurbish and outlets don''t neccessarily mean they aren't good. Do some research.. ^.^
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April 15, 2012 12:20:24 AM

17" is way too big.

I could get laptops from outlet/refurbish stores, but I've had some bad experiences with them :p 

I think I've decided to wait on http://www.logicbuy.com/ to come up with a good deal.

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April 15, 2012 12:34:09 AM

nice. thanks. I'm keep an eye on both and wait for the right laptop to show up
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 15, 2012 12:38:31 AM

Will you qualify for student buying discounts?
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April 15, 2012 2:21:52 AM

hmmm... good question. I do know that our school has this "thing" with Dell, that is they get their computers and stuff from Dell at a discounted price. But apparently when we looked at the prices that they would charge us for a few laptops, it ended up 200-300 dollars more than what it would have cost if we had not bought through the school.
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a c 572 D Laptop
April 15, 2012 4:26:55 AM

I knew the Dell University and HP Academy deals might not be the best. They like to bundle software and services (MS Office, extended warranty, etc). But it's good to check to make sure the deals aren't what you need - like an extended warranty.
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