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Please help with buying laptop!

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 3, 2012 6:45:25 PM

I'm looking at 2 identical builds, but I'm back and forth between two different things, so hopefully I can get some advice. I'll be using this for internet browsing, watching movies (downloaded and streaming), listening to music, email, Office, etc. No gaming and no video editing.

Relevant specs:

i5-3210
750 HDD/7200 RPM
1920x1080 resolution matte screen
Standard dvd drive

For the same price I can either do 8 GB RAM and the intel 4000 graphics or 6 GB RAM and the Nvidia GeForce GT 630M. Based on how I'd be using it, would there be a benefit to one pair versus the other? I'm at the top of my budget, so it's one or the other. The other option would be going with the 1366x768 display and then I could do both, but I think the higher resolution monitor would be better, wouldn't it?

Thanks!

More about : buying laptop

a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:03:05 PM

The GT 630M is faster than i3 HD 4000, but I don't know if you'd rather have a somewhat stronger graphics card or an extra 2GB of RAM. I'd go for the graphics because 6GB is plenty, but if you're not gaming nor doing anything else graphically intense, it shouldn't really matter.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:13:18 PM

I'd say go with the 630m just because ram can be replaced while the gpu can't. I'd bring up battery life but the 630m should have the ability to be disabled making them the same. Either way both are high enough spec for your uses.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:16:07 PM

SSD, definitely SSD for your purposes. It doesn't even need to be a large one. Newegg is selling a 128GB Samsung 830 for $99.99 right now and that's the price to go for and the right SSD for a laptop (extremely low power consumption despite high performance).

However, if you care about 1080p video a lot, then having a 1080p screen makes sense.
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September 3, 2012 7:17:41 PM

Yeah, I'm sure I'm just splitting hairs at this point. Is the upgraded display worth an extra $150 for what I'm doing, or am I better off putting that $ into something else (either now or towards an SSD in the future)?
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September 3, 2012 7:18:23 PM

k1114 said:
I'd say go with the 630m just because ram can be replaced while the gpu can't. I'd bring up battery life but the 630m should have the ability to be disabled making them the same. Either way both are high enough spec for your uses.


That's why I had been leaning towards the upgraded card. What battery life impact will that have? I'm looking at an HP dv6t, and if the gpu would have a significant impact on the battery, it might not be worth it for me.

Thanks!
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:19:51 PM

If you're watching 1080p movies, definitely.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:20:44 PM

jazztalker said:
I'm looking at saying as close to $800 for the ceiling as possible right now.


You can do better for $700-800.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:21:01 PM

How about giving a budget and see if we can find a better deal?
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September 3, 2012 7:22:54 PM

k1114 said:
How about giving a budget and see if we can find a better deal?


I'm looking at saying as close to $800 for the ceiling as possible right now.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:23:00 PM

I don't think that the GT 630M would change battery life much. It's not much more than an HD 4000 in performance and probably not high in power consumption either. There's also the fact that Optimus should keep it from wasting power except when gaming or something similar intense. It might just be wasted hardware if you don't do anything to use it.
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September 3, 2012 7:25:41 PM

blazorthon said:
SSD, definitely SSD for your purposes. It doesn't even need to be a large one. Newegg is selling a 128GB Samsung 830 for $99.99 right now and that's the price to go for and the right SSD for a laptop (extremely low power consumption despite high performance).

However, if you care about 1080p video a lot, then having a 1080p screen makes sense.


Is that about the "minimum" size to consider for an ssd? I know I can always use other storage means for music/movies.
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September 3, 2012 7:26:12 PM

blazorthon said:
You can do better for $700-800.


I'm definitely open to suggestions. I'm not too brand loyal - I was originally considering an Asus or Toshiba, but the few Asus I've ever used had a few wonky issues and HP seemed to have better battery life than the Toshiba. I have an HP right now that I've had for about 5 years or so and it runs about as well as it did on day 1.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:27:27 PM

I think that 90GB is about the minimum worth considering for a general-purpose capacity, but some people say that 120GB/128GB is the minimum for a general-purpose capacity.
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September 3, 2012 7:29:59 PM

blazorthon said:
I think that 90GB is about the minimum worth considering for a general-purpose capacity, but some people say that 120GB/128GB is the minimum for a general-purpose capacity.


Cool, thanks - that's good to know.
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:38:51 PM

http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np3260.html

With the RAM specs changed to 2x4GB (1600MHz) and the storage drive changed to the 500GB hybrid drive, this is a great ~$800 laptop with an i5-3210M, GT 630M, and other advantages.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/cto.do#

This HP laptop can go for a quad-core AMD DPU instead with similar graphics performance and a focus on highly threaded rather than single/dual threaded performance. Choose the A8 APU option, the 1080p display, the 9 cell battery, and it's another great option at a somewhat lower price of $730. If 1080p isn't important, then you can drop the 1080p display on this AMD laptop and save a whole $150 by going with the cheaper, lower resolution display (still more than enough for 720p video because the display is 1366x768).

Those are the first two laptops that I've found and consider great at the right price.
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September 3, 2012 7:51:34 PM

Which HP is in that second link?
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 7:54:37 PM

HP Pavilion dv6z-7000 Entertainment Notebook PC

It says this near the top of the link. It's one of the newer models with Trinity APUs instead of Llano APUs.
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September 3, 2012 7:57:14 PM

Ok, thanks. When I click on the link it just says the system is not available, but I can play around with it knowing the model - thanks!
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a b D Laptop
September 3, 2012 8:03:25 PM

Oh sorry, I forgot that HP has a screwy URL system. Giving you that link to it doesn't let you see it.
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September 4, 2012 2:46:11 AM

Yeah, that's the model (the Intel version) I was considering. I'm thinking i might hold off for awhile, for what I'd use it for I'm not sure $800 is money well spent. Originally I was going to get an Asus at best buy for a little under $500 (until the sales guy suggested it might be made with lesser quality components), and suddenly my imagination ran away with my credit card.

Here's the Asus if anyone has an opinion. I'd buy more ram, but thought this might be a decent alternative otherwise.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+15.6%26%2334%3B+Lapt...
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a b D Laptop
September 4, 2012 3:18:49 AM

Asus usually uses very high quality hardware. Looking at that computer, I don't think that it's made of poor components, but I admit that I'm not absolutely sure. That BestBuy guy probably just wanted to get you to spend more money.
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September 4, 2012 4:07:42 AM

Those thoughts definitely crossed my mind, especially your last point.
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September 5, 2012 6:27:40 PM

Another question popped up - if I go with the 1920x 1080, would the intel 4000 be enough for GPU, or would I almost have to go with something dedicated?
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a b D Laptop
September 5, 2012 6:50:34 PM

The HD 4000 is plenty so long as you're not gaming on it or relying on other high-end GPGPU-accelerated tasks.
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September 5, 2012 7:46:52 PM

Nope, just watching Netflix, YouTube, movies in HD, etc. Thanks!
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a b D Laptop
September 5, 2012 8:14:44 PM

Glad to help.
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!