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Best Toshiba Satellite for $500

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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May 21, 2012 4:35:51 AM

Hello, I'm looking at getting a new Toshiba Satellite laptop and I've got it down to these 3 which are all sold at $499.99:

Amazon: http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/P740/...
About the same as the Best Buy model but with a smaller HD. Dual-core Intel i3-2350M with Mobile Intel HD Graphics(3000)

Best Buy: http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/P740/...
Smaller display than the Staples but has the better CPU. Dual-core Intel i3-2350M with Mobile Intel HD Graphics(3000)

Staples: http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/satellite/L770/...
Bigger display, has Blu-ray, but a smaller HD (640 GB vs 750 GB). Quad-core AMD Quad-Core A6-3420M with AMD Radeon™ HD 6520G

I'm leaning towards the Staples model with the larger display and better graphics. Am I correct in thinking this way sacrificing hard drive space for a bigger screen and Blu-ray or am I over-looking the CPU difference? I'd rather do my homework before I do something wrong.

Somethings from the FAQ

1. What is your budget?
$500

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Doesn't matter

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Doesn't matter

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Just a laptop, type doesn't really matter

5. How much battery life do you need?
Doesn't matter

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)?
I don't play much in terms of newer games just some old console emulators

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Watch HD video on a HDTV(46' Vizio), some editing in Gimp, browse with Firefox, & basic office stuff.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Over 500 GB.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
At least for 3-5 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Don't need BR but I like to get the most bang for my buck and not have use my PS3 for everything Blu-ray

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.
Toshiba seems to be one of the few to have stuff at this capacity at this price.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

More about : toshiba satellite 500

a b D Laptop
May 21, 2012 5:47:51 AM

Hey wildthing202,
It would seem at first glance that the Staples laptop is your best bet- specwise. But if you actually look at the performance, Intel's Core i3 performs better than the AMD A6-3420m.
It really is up to you. You're not doing anything CPU Intensive in the things you listed above. Intel does have a better reputation than AMD's in my opinion, but considering that you want to watch videos, if I were in your positon. I would go with the Staples model simply because it had a larger screen and the appeal in some of the specs lined up with what you wanted to do, and I think it is more comfortable on my eyes not to squint at a screen when I'm watching a movie to see detail. ;) 

Hope this helps,
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May 21, 2012 8:45:39 AM

hpfreak said:
Hey wildthing202,
It would seem at first glance that the Staples laptop is your best bet- specwise. But if you actually look at the performance, Intel's Core i3 performs better than the AMD A6-3420m.
It really is up to you. You're not doing anything CPU Intensive in the things you listed above. Intel does have a better reputation than AMD's in my opinion, but considering that you want to watch videos, if I were in your positon. I would go with the Staples model simply because it had a larger screen and the appeal in some of the specs lined up with what you wanted to do, and I think it is more comfortable on my eyes not to squint at a screen when I'm watching a movie to see detail. ;) 

Hope this helps,


I forgot to mention that I do watch most things on my HDTV(46' Vizio) through a VGA/RGB cable though I will probably get a HDMI cable since all 3 have a port for it. Does that make a difference?

Note - I added it to the top.
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a b D Laptop
May 21, 2012 6:19:11 PM

It makes a difference depending on your standpoint. If you find yourself traveling, and if you prefer a larger screen. Then go for the Staples laptop, a portable home theater :D  . But even if you have it hooked up to the TV all the time, the extra Graphics juice will help ;) 

Really, If I were in your shoes. I'd go with the staples, mainly.. because of the bigger screen, and since you're not doing anything intensive (such as rending HD video, or programming) AMD's weaker CPU won't affect you that much at all compared to having the Core i3.
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May 21, 2012 6:31:54 PM

wildthing202 said:
I forgot to mention that I do watch most things on my HDTV(46' Vizio) through a VGA/RGB cable though I will probably get a HDMI cable since all 3 have a port for it. Does that make a difference?

Note - I added it to the top.


You shouldn't see much performance difference as far as using the HDMI out goes, between the three models.

I would personally suggest one of the Core-i3 models, depending on your wants/needs. An AMD Radeon HD 6520G will only have slightly better performance then just using Intel HD 3000 Graphics, and if you don't play many games, you won't really need a discrete graphics card anyway.

If you aren't planning to use the Blu-Ray, then it almost makes no sense to go with the one you found at Staples. It does have a bigger screen, if you want that, but bottom line, an i3-2350M performs roughly 25%-30% better than an A6-3420M.

You may not use any programs where you need the increased processing power, but, down the line, I'd say you're better off having a 25%-30% better CPU than a ~5% better GPU. But it's really up to you. I'd say the CPU is the major difference though. Would you prefer a larger screen, Blu-Ray capabilities, and a discrete (slightly better) GPU. Or would you prefer a smaller screen, no Blu-ray capabilities, but a better CPU?

Personally, if you only plan to watch movies when hooked up to your TV, the screen size shouldn't be a big deal anyway, so the 14" vs 17.3" isn't a big deal. And you say you aren't planning to use a Blu-ray drive, so again, not a big deal. So there's really nothing to pull you towards the laptop you found at Staples.

So then it narrows it down to either the one you found at Amazon, or at Best Buy. They are both almost 100% identical, unless I missed something, except for the HDD. So it's an obvious choice to go with the one that has a 750GB HDD over the one with the 640GB HDD. Of course you can narrow those two down with other things as well. Such as, do you prefer Best Buy or Amazon? Is one of them more expensive after adding taxes/shipping? Those kinds of things. But if you hold no preference towards either company, and they both amount to about the same price after taxes/shipping, then I'd just go with the 750GB.

Now, with all that being said. If you don't need the laptop immediately, you may be able to find a better deal next weekend (Memorial Day Weekend), and get "better bang for your buck", as you said you like to do. This is of course up to you, if you can hold off on buying, and considering there's any good laptop deals on Memorial Day Weekend.
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May 21, 2012 6:37:51 PM

As a note, you'll need to grab an HDMI cable because I believe Bluray will not play over VGA, it has to be transmitted over an encrypted wire I believe...

Get an HDMI cable through newegg or something though, don't pay over 15-20$ for one, most physical stores charge outrageous prices for cables, because people are willing to pay the premium to get them right away.

Also, if you are going off to college or something, check with the school to see if they have any partnerships with laptop manufacturers, as you can save a good amount of money (or upgrade your laptop) this way.
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