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Laptop for $500

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 2, 2012 2:10:45 PM

Hi, I'm searching for a new laptop for my girlfriend. I've done a pretty good job finding ones for me and other members of my family in the past but I wanted to ask the experts on this one.



1. What is your budget?
She doesn't want to spend over $500 but she would probably go a little bit over if it was a significantly better choice.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Not huge, not small so anywhere from the 15 in to the less common 16.4 in range.

3. What screen resolution do you want? Doesn't matter much as long as it fits the needs seen below

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Portable, she will be carrying it to work every day. But desktop replacement in that it will be her only computer at home.

5. How much battery life do you need? Doesn't matter as she will have access to outlets throughout the day.

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)? Counterstrike Source or Global Offensive on High, MAYBE some call of duty on med-high. She rarely games but every once in a while will get on.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) She does a lot of Photo editing with photoshop and uses a camera a lot as a photographer. Her current laptop is really crap so she probably won't mind waiting for a big render but everything in the program should otherwise run pretty smoothly.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 320+. She won't be filling it with movies or anything. I know that's on the low side and you will probably only find 500 or higher anyways.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I would buy from any trusted sites that either I or you guys can vouch for. Tigerdirect, Newegg, Amazon, Walmart, Bestbuy, or any department/ home office stores.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? About 3+ years would be great.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? Doesn't really matter.

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. Anything but Apple due to the limit of funds. Dell, Acer, Asus, HP, Lenovo, etc... All good.

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. A backlit keyboard is a plus but not a dealbreaker. I believe the two lenovos I am looking at have this feature. Here is a list of computers that I personally have been viewing. I always go through some extra shopping to find the best prices on them afterwards.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

Thanks for reading and potentially helping me make my girlfriend very happy :) 

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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2012 5:37:21 PM

Take her down to a Best Buy / Frys / Microcenter, whatever you got and have her touchy feel them. I notice (this is not a biased or invalid generalization) that most ladies care more about aesthetics than what's in it. Have her find one that is appealing to her, or 2 or 3, then start doing some research on those models at places like here or notebookreview and the such...
August 2, 2012 8:23:16 PM

She isn't really one to care about the looks. She just wants to know that she is getting a good deal for her money.
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August 2, 2012 8:48:52 PM

Out of the ones you had listed I would go for the lenovo IdeaPad Z575. lenovo's are pretty solid machines, in my experience. Not sure about Acers, never used or dealt with one.

If she wants to game occasionally, definitely look at the AMD llano-based laptops for this price range. My wife has am Hp laptop (can't remember the model off hand) that we got from Walmart for like $498 (17" laptop). It plays the Source games pretty good. You can't go high on everything but it still looks very good and plays great.

An Intel based laptop would be best but the integrated graphics are not as good as the AMD integrated graphics in games. But for $500 you are not going to find a NEW Intel + discrete GPU laptop. Used maybe, but not new.
August 2, 2012 9:15:43 PM

I do prefer the intel processor but realize that a dedicated card is more crucial. I love my 17" screen, especially for photo editing but will have to see what she thinks.

You really think an i3 is better than an a6 or a8?

I was originally trying to stay away from an i3 but might just broaden my scopes now.
!