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Which would you choose? I've narrowed it down (finally)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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September 22, 2012 12:59:11 AM

Hi all! I've spent weeks researching for a new laptop, which will be used for Internet, word processing and gaming WoW and SWTOR on medium settings.

I would appreciate your thoughts/experiences on the final two I've narrowed down. Which would be better for the above purposes? My primary quandary is whether a 640gb hdd is better than a 96gb ssd with a 500gb hdd external.

Here are the finalists:

Laptop 1:

Intel dual-core i5-2430m 2.4ghz with 3.0ghz boost
6gb RAM
640GB hdd
15.6" 1366x768 HD widescreen
Nvidia GE Force GTM 540M 1GB dedicated switchable
5400rpm

Laptop 2:

Intel dual-core i5-2450m 2.5ghz
6gb RAM (4GB plus 2GB memory stick)
500gb hdd AND 96gb SSD (SSD is installed, hdd is external now)
14" screen (not sure of resolution)
Nvidia GE Force GTM 540M 1GB dedicated switchable
5400 rpm

Thanks again for your time! I'm purchasing one of these tomorrow so I am down to the wire now.
September 22, 2012 1:27:04 AM

Well it's not quite as black and white. Build quality is a major factor that I would consider over raw stats. Also I'd keep in mind that 15 inches can be a hassle to lug around. I much prefer 14inches but that is totally your choice. I'd also assume that the 15 inch will have a full numpad, whilste most 14inchers don't.

As for the HDD question again it depends. Is it usb3 or thunderbolt? Esata? If it's just usb2 I'd probably pass on it. If you want a balance of both you can always consider getting a hybrid drive instead and just get the most basic cheap harddrive you can order it with and replace it yourself (I've done this several times).
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September 22, 2012 1:33:26 AM

Thanks for your reply Supermuncher. I'm sorry, I should have specified -- both models are from a brand I trust and have had great experience with. I didn't want to list the brand here so it wouldn't factor into responses.

As far as the HDD -- it is a USB3.0 hdd.
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September 22, 2012 1:33:51 AM

Hi, I'd get the first one simply for the larger screen. You didn't list any prices and they are too close in specs. The differences being one has a larger screen and the other has a SSD. You can always upgrade your SSD and it's getting a lot cheaper now. No way you are going to upgrade your screen size later without buying another laptop.
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September 22, 2012 1:39:50 AM

That is an excellent point Tinmann! SSD's are becoming more affordable and I can always add it in later.

My mind's been so bogged down in specs and prices and models (I can't BELIEVE how much knowledge is out there on computers) that I'm missing points like this, which is why I posted here.

Much obliged.
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September 22, 2012 1:55:18 AM

I like SSDs more than HDDs :) 

However, I think that the question should be what is better for you. The CPUs are fairly similar, the memory is fairly similar, the screens seem similar enough, the graphics seem similar enough, and the hard drives aren't too far off, excluding the SSD.

As was said above, buying the larger screen model and getting an SSD for it is probably the best way to go. I'd recommend a Samsung 830 in a laptop. I recommend Vertex 4 for desktops, but the 830s use less power and seem to have better laptop compatibility and that offsets the minor performance loss IMO.
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