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Advice for a budget laptop (most bang for my $$$)

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June 28, 2012 7:07:07 PM

Right, I'm currently saving money back to purchase a new laptop, I had a recent unexpected accident with my last one where my 15 year old cousin forgot about the laws of gravity and... well... Lets just say my old $300 Compaq is in a better place now....

Anyhow! I need a new rig, it has to be a laptop because I expect to be toting it back and forth between locations a bit, but I don't need anything lightwieght or thin.

I want function over form, so I don't wanna waste money on a power sipping 2oz paper thin ultrabook.

I would rather have some heft and bluk and still be functional.

My budget is at the most $800, I can't go a cent higher. But I would much rather be in the $500-$650 range.

I'm not looking to do a WHOLE lot with it to be honest, I will be using it for programming and school, so I will need a HDD big enough to hold everything.

I do multitask alot so I can't be bottlenecked by RAM. I'm not sure how things work with laptops (I know desktops well) so I'm not sure if 6-8g is enough or too much for that.

Aside from internet video streaming and multitasking web browsing and scripting programs, the most intense thing I will be doing would be raiding in WOW. Which I think I should set my standards for.

I figure if it can raid a 25 man then I can do everything else. I'm not looking for ultra graphics, but I would like to game at 1080p and not be looking at minecraft graphics, I am an addon whore as I'm a raid healer when I play so it will need to be able to keep up with all of this.

What do you think my options are? I'm not picky about brands soo much.

A couple optionals I would REALLY love but wouldn't require would be:

Backlit keyboard
chiclet style keyboard
webcam
Fingerprint scanner/facial recognition login (Keep the kids outa my work)

Things I will require:

Enough power to play wow, raiding 25 mans (med graphics are fine, but I would like 1080p for my addon realestate)

Enough hard drive space to hold all my music and scripting programs

Enough Ram to be able to run a few internet windows/tabs while still scripting

screen no smaller than 15.6

Let me know what you guys have for me as far as suggestions, and if my expectations are far above my budget please let me know so I can get a realistic grip on what to expect.

Thank you kindly for your time and effort!!!
June 28, 2012 7:18:31 PM

At least you aren't asking "need ultrabook to play bf3 on ultra settings with long battery life 14" screen, must be light and be under $500" I see that a lot, those people are just delusional :p 

I expect your needs to be feasible.

Edit: the hardest thing to find right now is a 1080p resolution, most are 1366x768.

http://www.logicbuy.com/deals/lenovo-ideapad-y480-14-in... for $799

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... lower specs but larger screen resolution for $730
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June 28, 2012 7:48:29 PM

Keep in mind that 17.3" 1600x900 displays (Acer V3) are just like 15.6" 1366x768 displays, in that they make things onscreen rather large, and more often than not have very poor image quality due to low contrast.

HP DV6z-7000 (A8-4500M, AMD Radeon 7730M, 15.6" 1920x1080 matte display) - $799 after coupon code 20DEALIGG ($750 if you get the A6 CPU)
- Saved configuration: http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/load_configu...
- Don't downgrade the display to 1366x768, unless the larger text is required for eyesight-related reasons. 15.6" 1366x768 displays make things onscreen large, and tend to have very poor image quality due to low contrast. The availability of the 1920x1080 display is part of my reasoning for recommending this computer.
- There are currently no benchmarks for the default AMD A6-4400M processor option. But since games are more GPU-bottlenecked than CPU-bottlenecked, downgrading the CPU for budget-related reasons might not have too significant of an impact on game performance, depending on what games you play. The A6, despite having fewer cores, has higher clocks, so it's probably better in non-multi-threaded cases. (EDIT: According to one website, its passmark score is very similar to that of the Core i3-2350M and a little behind the i5-2410M)

A backlit keyboard upgrade is available, but it's an additional cost on top of the price that's already pushing your budget.
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June 28, 2012 8:57:10 PM

Best answer selected by Refuge88.
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June 28, 2012 9:01:27 PM

Thank you very much both of you for your time.

I appreciated all the info on this, I do plan to follow your advice for the screen size, a 17' would require me to buy a new case anyhow.

I will be passing on the backlit keys as they are out of my budget. But the option is nice, if perhaps in the time it takes me to get the $$$ together I magically pull $25 outa by butt, I will consider it. But it really isn't any form of a requirement.

I will consider downgrading the CPU, the only thing that frightens me about doing such a thing is that it only has 1mb cache... I've never seen a cach that low before, don't you think that would severly hinder any form of multitasking?

I mean I don't think I would be putting more strain than a few tabs/windows of internet, a scripting program, and some music at any one time. But that still could add up quickly.
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