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How I buy laptops. Tell me what you think please!

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 27, 2012 4:57:15 PM

3 years 5 months and 8 days ago, i bought this computer

http://i.imgur.com/34imX.jpg

1, I played lots and lots of World of Warcraft on this computer, it is the only game I play, and it is not very GPU demanding.

2, it never broke down once, it is still in very good condition, the only bad thing is: the battery completely died a while ago, so it is not very convenient because it cannot run when not plugged in.

I think it was an alright investment, maybe I paid a tiny bit more than I should have, but it was a Dell from the official dell.ca, so I definitely didn't get "ripped off".

so almost 4 years later, i am now considering getting a new laptop, i am not getting a dell this time. so what i have been doing is i would search for "dedicated graphic" laptops on futureshop and bestbuy websites (the only two available in my area (Canada)), they are pretty much the same company now, even if you didn't know, you could have guessed if you look at the URL carefully:

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/category/laptops-macbook...

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/category/laptops-ultrabooks...

and then I look at the cheapest ones among those, i came across three good ones, i wrote down the 3DMark 11 score beside the graphic card.

$429

http://i.imgur.com/kw9ag.jpg

$549

http://i.imgur.com/X6K2Z.jpg

$569

http://i.imgur.com/17pGJ.jpg

i am still looking, i want something that's below $500, with a dedicated graphic card that is in class 2 on this website

http://www.notebookcheck.net/

so basically a graphic card that scores around 900 in 3DMark 11, do you think I will need to wait for long?

edit: thought i'd add these:


1. What is your budget? $500 Canadian.


2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 14~17. basically not something that would affect my decision.


3. What screen resolution do you want? not something that would affect my decision.


4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? portable


5. How much battery life do you need? not something that would affect my decision.


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)?


world of warcraft, low.
heroes of might and magic 6 if possible, low


7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?


not something that would affect my decision.


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


not something that would affect my decision.


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


http://www.newegg.ca
http://www.bestbuy.ca
http://www.futureshop.ca


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?


4~5 years.


11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?


not something that would affect my decision.


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.


not something that would affect my decision.


13. What country do you live in?


Canada


14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.


i want one with dedicated GPU, or you could try to convince me to try out Intel HD series.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_HD_Graphics

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August 27, 2012 5:03:38 PM

I think even integrated graphics will do good for WoW. At that price you can get something with medium specs and should be solid, if you keep your expectations reasonable.
August 27, 2012 5:12:17 PM

thanks for the reply!

as shown above,

http://i.imgur.com/34imX.jpg

my current laptop has Intel GMA X4500HD

the current most popular integrated graphics is probably the new Intel HD series, they are not really fundamentally better than my current laptop, are they?

i guess what i am trying to say is, i want to jump from an integrated graphic card to a medium level dedicated graphic card without spending over $500.
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August 27, 2012 7:08:58 PM

thought i'd add these:

1. What is your budget? $500 Canadian.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 14~17. basically not something that would affect my decision.

3. What screen resolution do you want? not something that would affect my decision.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? portable

5. How much battery life do you need? not something that would affect my decision.

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)?

world of warcraft, low.
heroes of might and magic 6 if possible, low

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?

not something that would affect my decision.

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

not something that would affect my decision.

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

http://www.newegg.ca
http://www.bestbuy.ca
http://www.futureshop.ca

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

4~5 years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

not something that would affect my decision.

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.

not something that would affect my decision.

13. What country do you live in?

Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

i want one with dedicated GPU, or you could try to convince me to try out Intel HD series.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_HD_Graphics
August 27, 2012 7:38:09 PM

The 3 laptops you noted all use AMD APUs which are processors containing CPU and GPU cores in them (much like Intel HD4000 graphics, but typically better). Two of them also have dedicated graphics paired with them, however one does not.

Looking at the specs of what you listed, I would go for the A10 config (http://i.imgur.com/X6K2Z.jpg), the Dedicated and integrated chips are pretty well balanced and 'should' be pretty powerful in a crossfire configuration. (However I don't know for sure if that would work, or work well).
If you have an opportunity to customize it, a 7200RPM HDD would be a good addition to the build, giving you shorter load times and less initial lag when you go between zones. Alternatively, you can just swap the included HDD with an 128/256GB SSD when your budget allows (which will make your computer extremely fast to boot and load areas).
August 27, 2012 7:55:05 PM

thanks for the reply. How long do you think I need to wait for something better and cheaper?

i want something priced like this

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E1683...

but a tier better (since that price was from December of 2011)

and i don't really want to buy from newegg, i somehow trust futureshop/bestbuy more.
August 27, 2012 7:56:41 PM

again, i just bought a samsung laptop that specs out to be just like the 429 one in your choices and it rocks games. your pick actually has better, slightly, graphics than mine. you will not be disappointed in that laptop
August 27, 2012 8:09:33 PM

humphreybot said:
again, i just bought a samsung laptop that specs out to be just like the 429 one in your choices and it rocks games. your pick actually has better, slightly, graphics than mine. you will not be disappointed in that laptop


thanks for the reply, what games do you typically play?
August 27, 2012 8:32:45 PM

I don't think anyone can tell you how long you'd need to wait to get something for 140$ less than it costs now. There maybe deals you can find, but it becomes a matter of how long you can wait and how hard you look.

Frankly, if you drop the 'dedicated graphics' requirement, you can probably get a new laptop with a proper warranty and modern components. As you can see here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Trinity-in-Review-AMD-A10-...
AMDs integrated graphics are quite formidable against a dedicated GPU, with the A10-4600M posting a solid 30FPS on High in WoW (that's no dedicated GPU, it's just the one mounted on the APU). There's no sense paying extra for a dedicated GPU when you aren't asking for a whole lot.

I would try to stick to the Trinity lineup, and get the A10-4600M if you can, it's going to benefit you in the long run, and judging by the 550$ model you got with dedicated graphics, shouldn't be too much more expensive than the lower APU models.
August 27, 2012 11:05:19 PM

wow, i didn't know that integrated GPUs are this powerful now!

is the trinity series the most advanced integrated GPU at the moment?
August 27, 2012 11:14:40 PM

also, is it true that high end integrated GPU is much better and cheaper than medium-low end dedicated GPU?
August 27, 2012 11:15:59 PM

right now on my laptop i play skyrim, witcher, left for dead 2, diablo 3 and torchlight....oh and fritz 12. my cpu is an a6 3420 with a hd 6420m gpu. the gpu has as many stream processors as my old hd 4650 desktop card and plays game even better than it did
August 28, 2012 12:11:36 PM

AMD has a big leg up on Intel for integrated graphics because they also make discrete graphics cards; and Trinity APUs (denotes the CPU and GPU sharing the same processor die, usually AMDs A series) are the new line of AMDs, and have only been released in the last few months I believe.

It's also worth noting that having your GPU easily replaceable is a very big advantage, as laptops used for gaming have a tendency to overheat the GPUs, melt their solder joints and die completely. Typically a discrete GPU is soldered to the motherboard, so that means at least 300$ expense for repair, where an APU would be replaceable for ~100$.
August 28, 2012 1:00:56 PM

djscribbles said:
AMD has a big leg up on Intel for integrated graphics because they also make discrete graphics cards; and Trinity APUs (denotes the CPU and GPU sharing the same processor die, usually AMDs A series) are the new line of AMDs, and have only been released in the last few months I believe.

It's also worth noting that having your GPU easily replaceable is a very big advantage, as laptops used for gaming have a tendency to overheat the GPUs, melt their solder joints and die completely. Typically a discrete GPU is soldered to the motherboard, so that means at least 300$ expense for repair, where an APU would be replaceable for ~100$.


thanks!!!

i always look for cheap laptops, i'd rather get a new one instead of spending hundreds of dollars to fix one :lol: 
August 28, 2012 9:06:30 PM

humphreybot said:
http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/NOTEBOOK/GRAPHICS/AMD-RA... if you look there you will be able to compare what the gpus do. i would go for hd 6500 or higher, you want at least 400 stream processors


i don't understand "stream processors"...

what benchmark should I use for evaluating a GPU, dedicated or not, if i only care about gaming performance and durability? are integrated ones in general more durable?
August 29, 2012 3:13:13 AM

Stream processors is a bit like the number of cores in a CPU (except in a gpu, they all get used), steam processor count * clock speed gives you an extremely rough idea of the cards number crunching power. It's usefulness is rather limited to just comparing similar products typically (different AMD architectures will use them more/less efficiently, nVidia has a different measure entirely, and there are lots of other factors to consider)

Talking completely out of my _ _ _ here, but I would expect them to be less susceptible to overheating (they are in the CPU, they share a single good cooling system, and don't have solder joints that can crack).
August 29, 2012 1:39:46 PM

djscribbles said:
Stream processors is a bit like the number of cores in a CPU (except in a gpu, they all get used), steam processor count * clock speed gives you an extremely rough idea of the cards number crunching power. It's usefulness is rather limited to just comparing similar products typically (different AMD architectures will use them more/less efficiently, nVidia has a different measure entirely, and there are lots of other factors to consider)


thanks

djscribbles said:
Talking completely out of my _ _ _ here, but I would expect them to be less susceptible to overheating (they are in the CPU, they share a single good cooling system, and don't have solder joints that can crack).


yea that's what i assumed too, high five!
September 4, 2012 8:26:56 PM

For curiosity sake, what were the laptops you listed above?

Looking around, I wasn't able to find an A10 based laptop for 550$ anywhere.
!