I am currently the proud and mostly satisfied owner of a Dell Inspirion 1501. It has an AMD 2.0ghz Dual Core processor, 1gb of ram, and whatever built-in graphics card came with it. I have owned it for five years and while I am happy with it, it is unable to run some of the stuff I would like to run and my business needs a laptop so it will inherit my old one, once I buy a new one.
I am looking to spend in the range of $800 - $1000.
I customized a laptop from HP with the following specs:
HP Pavilion dv6t-7000 Quad Edition Entertainment Notebook PC
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
3rd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-3610QM Processor (2.3 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache)
NVIDIA(R) GeForce(R) GT 650M Graphics with 1GB GDDR5 memory [HDMI, VGA]
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
1TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
NO mSSD Hard Drive Acceleration Cache
The most intensive programs I run are emulators (PS2, PSP, etc.) which my current laptop with its built-in graphics card has no hope of running. I may get into some computer games as well, but right now it is mostly emulators. I would like my next computer to last another 5 years or more, so if I need to spend a little extra I will.
My main questions with this setup are:
1. Will the processor be enough? I can have it upgraded to the i7-3720QM at 2.6GHz for an additional $175.
2. Is that a good graphics card/will 1gb of VRam be enough or should I get two?
3. Is that enough Ram? This is probably the smallest concern since that can easily be upgraded on a laptop versus the other two not so much.
4. Are HPs reliable? A college roommate had one and liked it, but I've heard some folks that haven't had the best luck. If you don't think HP is the best choice, please provide me a link or point me in the right direction of a comparable laptop as I'm not partial to any one brand (although I refuse to buy a gateway after working on my fiance's, what a nightmare that was trying to put XP on a machine that came with Vista, Damn SATA drives ) I don't care about the size of the hard drive, since I currently have an 80gb and have only had a space issue once.
Thanks in advance for the help as I am positively overwhelmed by the number of options.
You seem rather happy with your current Dell Inspiron... Why not just going for dell again? I would recommend at looking into the Dell Inspiron 17r SE. My roommate recently picked this laptop up, and I gotta say I was pretty impressed. It has a nice screen, solid keyboard, and runs fast. It has the specs to last you several years and meet your school/work/gaming needs. Definitely check it out. Also, there are usually good deals. I.e., my roommate got $200 off.
junky's tips are good but as far as general advice:
CPU is generally plain math, the 2.6Ghz CPU over the 2.3Ghz cpu is straight 2.6/2.3=13% faster---if you have a task that requires a lot of CPU (rendering). If you are not using a lot of CPU, you do not need it. It will not make you type your essay 13% faster or your youtubes load 13% faster.
So, assuming you DO have a need for this, then based on price, if this makes the computer more than 13% more expensive you are getting ripped off.
In tech, you get increasing returns before decreasing returns. So getting a 1000gb hdd costs less per gb than a 500gb hdd and so on. However, as you get to the high end, then you get diminishing returns, and the next doubling costs more than 200%. But maybe you are maybe willing to pay the price if you have th eneed.
RAM: HP and others charge way too much for RAM upgrades. This is a relatively easy DIY . So even if you did need more you shouldn't pay HP. Get the computer first then examine your usage.
Should you need extra RAM, you will save money DIY, even if you take into account the complete loss of throwing out the older memory(or ebay).
If you are looking for reliability, look at lenovo thinkpads line.