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Help me choose a laptop please

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September 5, 2012 8:31:09 AM

Hello,
This is gonna be my first laptop ever and I need it to be powerful enough for casual gaming, a lot of word processing and photoshop works and also some video decoding.
Unfortunately, here in Iran it's really hard to find a decent laptop with a logical price due to the difference between currencies. Any way I've done my research and now am stuck between these 4:

MSI CX 61:
i5 3210m - GT 640m (2 GB DDR3) - 4 GB DDR3 - 750 GB (~ $805) w/ i7 3610qm (~ $950)

Dell 15r 5520:
i7 3612qm - ATI 7670m (1 GB DDR3) - 8 GB DDR3 - 1 TB (~ $855)

HP DV6:
i5 2450m - ATI 7690 XT (2GB DDR5) - 4 GB DDR3 - 640 GB (~ $755)

Lenovo E530:
i5 3210m - GT 630m (2GB DDR3) - 6 GB DDR3 - 500 GB (~ $750)

Acer V3:
i7 3610qm - GT 640m (2GB DDR3) - 8 GB DDR3 - 750 GB (~ $900)

The resolution for all of the above is 1366x768 (all 15.6"). I do translation works mainly, so my heaviest multitasking will usually consist of 4-5 dictionaries (some of them really resource consuming) + word, excel (office 2010 in general) - As for gaming I can live with medium (if not high) details for 2012 titles.

Edit: added the amount of VRAM.
Edit 2: added Acer V3. I'm CONFUSED!

Thanks in advance.

More about : choose laptop

September 5, 2012 10:44:06 AM

The Dell 15r would be the best for video encoding and photoshop.
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September 5, 2012 12:20:24 PM

jay_nar2012 said:
The Dell 15r would be the best for video encoding and photoshop.


Thanks for the answer. Would you please tell me one more thing. Is it because of the RAM or simply the CPU? I've been told to avoid buying an i7 laptop unless I have some serious processing to do and aside from gaming, even my video encoding tasks are limited to converting cellphone and camera Full HD mp4 clips into DVD and AVI. I need to make sure before buying the i7, because it means much more heat and less battery power and that's not what I want if there is no considerable difference between this and an i5.
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September 5, 2012 1:10:56 PM


RAMs will make a big difference.

Your biggest performance hit actually comes from the standard 5400-rpm laptop HDD.

Replacing it with an SSD is golden.

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September 5, 2012 1:52:50 PM

Wisecracker said:
RAMs will make a big difference.

Your biggest performance hit actually comes from the standard 5400-rpm laptop HDD.

Replacing it with an SSD is golden.



wow, didn't know SSD makes such a huge difference. So 4 gig RAM isn't enough for my purposes? Should I buy the Dell, or one of the i5s with SSD? A 120 GB Intel SATA III SSD is what I can afford if I buy the MSI (the one with the better GPU I assume).
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September 5, 2012 2:08:35 PM

Not getting an nVidia GFX card will mean no CUDA availability in video work.

http://www.movavi.com/videoconverter/performance.html

I'd also want more than 1366x768

MSI is the only one in the bunch that actually makes a laptop. The others are all made by ODM's. I'd suggest building something to your own specifications:

$ 843 (before discounts)
http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6165.html

15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 with Optimus® Technology
i5-3210M Processor
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
500GB Seagate Momentus XT 7200RPM 500GB (Hybrid SSD / HD)
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
Internal 802.11 B+G+N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module
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September 5, 2012 2:21:26 PM

If I were picking from the 4 laptops above based on specs for your planned usage I would go with the HP DV6. I am not the biggest fan of HP, even though I have a DV7, but that video card with DDR5 is going to be the best overall with modern games. For the resolution of that screen the amount of VRAM isn't a big factor. If you go with the HP I suggest buying more memory so you have 6 or 8 GB. Apparently the 640m and 7670m are the more powerful card of the 4. You can check that here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...
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September 5, 2012 2:27:18 PM


talltm said:
wow, didn't know SSD makes such a huge difference. So 4 gig RAM isn't enough for my purposes? Should I buy the Dell, or one of the i5s with SSD? A 120 GB Intel SATA III SSD is what I can afford if I buy the MSI (the one with the better GPU I assume).


4GB with an SSD should be fine -- 2x4GB would be great but is not really required.

With large I/O demand in multi-tasking, constantly hitting the page file on a 5400-rpm HDD can be a show-stopper for performance. With the page file on an SSD, accessing virtual memory is much quicker.




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September 5, 2012 3:35:49 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Not getting an nVidia GFX card will mean no CUDA availability in video work.

http://www.movavi.com/videoconverter/performance.html

I'd also want more than 1366x768

MSI is the only one in the bunch that actually makes a laptop. The others are all made by ODM's. I'd suggest building something to your own specifications:

$ 843 (before discounts)
http://www.lpc-digital.com/sager-np6165.html

15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display
NVIDIA® GeForce™ GT 650M 1GB GDDR5 with Optimus® Technology
i5-3210M Processor
8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB
500GB Seagate Momentus XT 7200RPM 500GB (Hybrid SSD / HD)
8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
Internal 802.11 B+G+N Wireless LAN + Bluetooth Combo Module


Well, the specs are awesome for that price but there's a huge pathetic problem: due to sanctions I can't pay for anything online and it sucks. Glad to know that i5 3210M is enough.

Jim_L9 said:
If I were picking from the 4 laptops above based on specs for your planned usage I would go with the HP DV6. I am not the biggest fan of HP, even though I have a DV7, but that video card with DDR5 is going to be the best overall with modern games. For the resolution of that screen the amount of VRAM isn't a big factor. If you go with the HP I suggest buying more memory so you have 6 or 8 GB. Apparently the 640m and 7670m are the more powerful card of the 4. You can check that here: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benc...


Well benchmarks favor 7690 XT performance-wise. It seems GT 640M handles games better. Still no answer which one is better. Your answer helped me clear my mind about the CPU though. I think i5 is enough for me and that's a relief. Is it true that DV6 series have overheating problems?

Wisecracker said:
4GB with an SSD should be fine -- 2x4GB would be great but is not really required.

With large I/O demand in multi-tasking, constantly hitting the page file on a 5400-rpm HDD can be a show-stopper for performance. With the page file on an SSD, accessing virtual memory is much quicker.


Honestly, I have no idea if these models are upgradeable at all. This may sound foolish, but is it possible to have 2 HDDs on a laptop? or do I have to choose between a SSD and the regular HDD?
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September 5, 2012 4:01:14 PM

Quote:
The 7690M XT is very close to the GT 640M in gaming performance. I wouldn't add 200$ for it.
However, I don't know what are the full specs of these laptops.
Does this Dell comes with FullHD screen - should be a major factor in your decision.

I'm from Israel by the way



Really? Then I guess it's a big + for the HP. Well as I mentioned, they all have 15.6" (1366X768) screens and 6 cell batteries. USB 3.0 is also available on all models. The MSI CX 61 comes with an Ivy Bridge i5 + 640M for $50 more than the HP DV6. It's kinda %55 to %45 in favor of the HP I guess.

Well friendship knows no boundaries. Right now you're helping me make a decision and that's what really matters. Thanks dude!

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September 5, 2012 7:23:37 PM

Quote:
oh, didn't see the MSI is 950$ with an I7..
The difference between gen2 I5 and gen3 I5 is negligible for gaming purposes if you have dedicated GPUs like these.

The thing with FullHD screens is that the manufacturers use higher quality screen than the 768p ones - viewing angles, contrast and brightness, color coverage...



I asked from the MSI representative here and they said CX 61 is only available with 768p screen. The best Full HD for my budget would be Asus N53SM which is an i7 2670QM with a GT 630M and 6GB RAM 2GB DDR3. Its price is around $900 and the only thing keeping me from buying it is the GPU.

The reason I'm a bit biased towards MSI is that they actually have an official retailer here with viable guarantee and their prices are the same all over the country.
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September 5, 2012 7:47:16 PM

Quote:
Maybe you've answered and I didn't see - can someone send a laptop to you from the US? what will be the TAX?


Sure, it depends on the quantity. As long as it's one unit it would be tax free and will be considered as a gift.

Quote:
mistake!


Dude the moment I saw alienware at the end of the link my heart nearly stopped beating! :D 

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September 5, 2012 10:18:31 PM

Quote:
you actually don't have to pay nothing?
Then I think it might be worth it.
For the prices you've listed, you can get faster laptops with good FullHD screen

However, no warranty probably (although it's only 1 year anyway)


Yep absolutely nothing. The problem though, is that there's no way to pay the person back. No easy way at least.
I'll see what I can do and I'll be back with the news. Thank you for your time :) 
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September 6, 2012 1:56:32 AM

talltm said:
...

Honestly, I have no idea if these models are upgradeable at all. This may sound foolish, but is it possible to have 2 HDDs on a laptop? or do I have to choose between a SSD and the regular HDD?


I purchase an external USB enclosure and place the original laptop HDD in it for storage -- with USB3, I/O is actually quite good. Vantec external enclosures are really inexpensive in the States.

The issue is in cloning the original HDD to the SSD. There is software available for this, but I cheat :D  by switching out the HDD with the SSD, and simply reinstalling a fresh OS without the OEM bloatware.

You may validate the OS using the OEM key. Not sure if this option is available to you where you live, but your local computer shop may advise you if this is a problem.

Be sure to download appropriate drivers for the fresh install. Needless to say, with an SSD, any laptop is quite 'snappy' in booting, launching apps and multi-tasking.



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September 6, 2012 6:15:03 AM

Wisecracker said:
I purchase an external USB enclosure and place the original laptop HDD in it for storage -- with USB3, I/O is actually quite good. Vantec external enclosures are really inexpensive in the States.

The issue is in cloning the original HDD to the SSD. There is software available for this, but I cheat :D  by switching out the HDD with the SSD, and simply reinstalling a fresh OS without the OEM bloatware.

You may validate the OS using the OEM key. Not sure if this option is available to you where you live, but your local computer shop may advise you if this is a problem.

Be sure to download appropriate drivers for the fresh install. Needless to say, with an SSD, any laptop is quite 'snappy' in booting, launching apps and multi-tasking.


well now that I know there are ways to keep both, it's easier for me to decide. I'm currently lookin for a hybrid SSD. If it doesn't work I'll be back for more info on how to do things you mentioned without messing things up on my laptop. By the way I decided to buy either the MSI i7 or the Dell i7 mentioned above.

About validating, you'll be surprised knowing what is being done over here to Windows. To decrease the costs, many computer shops use this trick actually and you can find lots of laptops from different brands using the same validation code, only because this way they'll save money on the OS. It's not the case with MSI though, since they are the official reseller.


Thanks everyone for your kind answers. I'll be updating the thread soon as I get my hands on the laptop.
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September 6, 2012 6:35:42 AM

Have you looked to see which distributor sells clevo laptops in your area they seem as decent as the well known laptops and are more geared towards gamers.
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September 6, 2012 8:40:41 AM

coldtortilla said:
Have you looked to see which distributor sells clevo laptops in your area they seem as decent as the well known laptops and are more geared towards gamers.


There's only one model I could find and these are the specs

clevo p151em1
i7 3610 QM
Mobile Intel HM77 Express Chipset Mainboard
500GB 5400RPM SATA300 Hard Drive
NVIDIA GTX 670M 1.5GB PCIe Video
the only problem is the pricing though :D  at about ~ $2700 it's not an option at all. I'm lookin' for a more mainstream i7 or even i5 with a decent GPU, as I have listed the best available choices here.

ashytoclassy said:
I recommend something that I saw on a blog http://newtech-modern.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/razer-blad...


Brilliant, but again not suitable for my modest $1000 budget. One of the laptops listed above with GT 640M or the 7690 XT is what I can afford for everyday use and some gaming (I'm not gonna need more than that I guess)

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September 6, 2012 3:01:02 PM


If they are available to you, an AMD Trinity Quad lappie should be quite competitive with the i5 3210m & i5 2450m -- especially in dual-graphics Radeon HD 7660G + HD 7670M (may be referenced as *HD7775G2* - not sure about the numbering but *G2* indicates dual graphics).

The 4/8 i7 3610qm is the clear CPU winner, but I doubt you need all that parallel threading.

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September 7, 2012 11:06:24 AM

Wisecracker said:
If they are available to you, an AMD Trinity Quad lappie should be quite competitive with the i5 3210m & i5 2450m -- especially in dual-graphics Radeon HD 7660G + HD 7670M (may be referenced as *HD7775G2* - not sure about the numbering but *G2* indicates dual graphics).

The 4/8 i7 3610qm is the clear CPU winner, but I doubt you need all that parallel threading.


Well, the market here is flooded with Intel. Most AMD laptops have nothing to offer but a lower price. The only serious deal I could find was the Asus K53TA with AMD Fusion APU A6-3400M Quad Core 2.3 GHz which i doubt even can compete with an Intel i3. Any way, I decided to buy the CX 61 and will be replacing the original HDD with a SSD as you suggested. I don't think I'm gonna need an i7 in the near future. Thanks again :) 
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September 7, 2012 11:08:28 AM

Best answer selected by talltm.
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September 7, 2012 11:15:48 AM

Thanks to this wonderful forum i made up my mind.


MSI CX 61:
i5 3210m - GT 640m (2 GB DDR3) - 4 GB DDR3 - 750 GB (I'll be adding another 4GB RAM + 128 GB Intel SSD)


i7 is just too much processing power for me.
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