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Help finding the *right* laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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July 30, 2012 9:09:33 PM

Hello tomshardware community,

I am a 3rd year college student looking to replace the laptop I bought when I first entered school. My first laptop was a powerful HP, but the 17" screen proved to be a pain when traveling to classes.

Heres the C&P from the sticky...

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1. What is your budget?
-Around 500 dollars (maybe up to 650? I'm saving up money to buy this)


2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
-Looking for around 14", portability is important to me.


3. What screen resolution do you want?
-1366 x 768 is fine (or whatever 14" screens usually run)


4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
-not sure how to answer this one with out creating ambiguity


5. How much battery life do you need?
3+ hours, the more the merrier for sure


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'd like to do some casual gaming. Med-low settings on games like WoW, LoL, possibly BF3 or Skyrim if I can squeeze it out. The maximum graphics are not my concern, but rather having decent-good fps (like 30-35+). I do like running gaming console emulators.


7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Embedded systems programming (probably not going to be an issue)


8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
at least 320 gb


9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Big/popular/easy sites like newegg or amazon


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
hoping to make it another 2 or 3 years


11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
none required, but a bluray would definitely be a bonus!


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.
preferred: ASUS, ACER (good experiences)
not preferred: Toshiba, Apple (bad experiences with tosh, dont want to pay money I cant afford for a mac)



13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
pretty much covered it


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TL;DR
I'm looking for the best sub $650(US) gaming notebook with a 14" screen. Prefer ASUS

More about : finding laptop

a c 572 D Laptop
July 30, 2012 9:33:45 PM

An Asus 14" $600 laptop: Asus P43E-XH51
Core i5 2430M 2.40GHz CPU, 4GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ Intel HD 3000 Graphics.
It meets all your requirements - except for all your gaming goals.

lenovo IdeaPad U400 14" Notebook $580
Core i5 2450M 2.50GHz CPU, 6GB RAM, 500GB 5400rpm HDD 14 1366x768 LCD w/ Radeon HD 6470M graphics card.
Still not going to meet your BF3/Skyrim goal.
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a c 572 D Laptop
July 30, 2012 9:49:25 PM

I know Toshiba is not one of your preferred options but they have a 14" model worth comparing to other options:
Satellite L840D 14" notebook ~$430 (plus tax & shipping)
AMD A8-4500M 1.9Ghz APU, 4GB DDR3 1600MHz RAM, 500GB 5400rpm HDD, 14" 1366x768 LCD w/ Radeon HD 7520G IGP.
Still a bit light in GPU power for BF3/Skyrim but the price is closer to your low end budget goal.
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July 30, 2012 9:58:06 PM

I suggest http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... its a little bigger than what you were looking for its 15.6 but I could not find anything in those brands, at 14 in that I would suggest for moderate to light gaming.

Every things has intel integrated graphics I dont really like, but that is my opinion, but seem to be able to play WOW at medium settings ok. I really suggest you go for the AMD A series APU, that have radeons built into them, you'll have to go to the 15.6 size to get one but I think that gaming performance will be better.

But http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... is an asus computer with An I5 and is made by asus. I'd suggest avoiding any of the core I3

here is search results
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...
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July 31, 2012 4:15:29 AM

Thank you for the replies!

If I cannot run the more demanding games, that's fine. I've been looking around for some time and pretty much closed in on two or three options I had found. These one's aren't 14" screens but I just can't find any 14"ers that fit what I want while staying inside my budget.

The first one, Lenovo's Z575, has tons of good reviews on newegg
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

The second one, an acer, seems to have better specs
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I guess the better question would be to ask if I will see a noticeable performance increase by choosing the acer over the lenovo. Will I be able to run some of the more demanding games on lower settings?

I checked both of the graphics solutions on notebook check:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-6650M.43962....
http://www.notebookcheck.net/NVIDIA-GeForce-GT-630M.637...

and it seems like the 630M slightly outperforms the 6650M. What I'm wondering... because the Lenovo (with the 6650M) has one of AMD's APUs, the GPU will run in crossfire with the 6650M correct? So is it likely that the APU+6650M will outperform the 630M?

I also wanted to consider the processing benchmarks:
http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-A-Series-A6-3420M-Note...
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-Core-i5-2450M-Notebo...

The i5 clearly takes the cake here.

Now the real question is, where will my performance throttle be when playing games on the mid-low settings? Which laptop should I expect better performance from, and if its the more expensive one.. is it worth it? Are there better options?




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Edit: Had to fix links to laptops
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July 31, 2012 5:14:34 AM

Well it looks like you posted the same link for both laptops if one has a gt630 the other with AMD's APU will out perform the nvidia gt 630. According to AMD's website these 2 GPUS will crossfire. So it should out perform the 630 gt by a fair amount.

Since most gaming is limited by your video card, the additional graphics performance will suit you best in gaming more so than the I5's additional cpu computing power. The I5 will suit you best for things like video editing, music editing, calculating things. Personally I'd reccomend the AMD set up as it delivers more graphics solutions
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