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Can't find the right laptop, portable, $600 budget.

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January 21, 2013 2:10:48 AM

I recently bought a laptop without thinking too hard (it was pretty okay) and while I love it, the a6-4455m really does not have the performance I am looking for for $600. I originally intended on spending much less, as I have a desktop and this laptop is simply for notetaking, but spending a touch more to get something that can run light games and allow me to actually use it (League of legends and the like, just stuff I can drag to friends houses to play with them, nothing too heavy) would be nice.

I currently have the samsung series 5 NP535U3C with an a6-4455m APU, assuming the 7500g would be powerful enough to run light games, and then it turns out the false dual core processor ended up being the bottleneck. And I still can't use it for that purpose. I love the form factor, however. But I'll be returning it later on this week.






1. What is your budget? $600ish (maybe $700 if it's really nice) for one that can run games, else about $400 for something for notetaking
2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? I'd prefer 13.3 or 14. 15 is also acceptable but not preferred. 11 and 17 are pretty much right out, but if it's got the power I'd consider it I suppose. I have to haul this thing around so anything above 14 is pushing it.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Doesn't matter to me. 1366x768 seems to be a common one and I like it.
4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
portable, I have a fantastic desktop PC at home waiting for love, I just need it on the go.

5. How much battery life do you need?
5 hours is sufficient. but really anything is fine. I could work with 2 hours if the price was right but I don't think laptops are sold in that catagory.

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)?
Yes, and low. 45-60 fps I don't care about the visual quality.
7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Note taking and multimedia viewing. also browsing.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
320-500gb is fine, SSD is not needed but hey it's not hated either.
9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Whatever is cheapest. Refurbished and used are also entirely acceptable so long as they aren't crapshoots.
10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
4+ years. It's going to be for notes, so I don't expect it to run 2013s games.
11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None
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.
I am unknowledgable with laptop brands. Samsung is pretty nice so far I suppose.
13. What country do you live in?
Canada
14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Price is the most important point here. Followed by power and size/weight. I will be walking 5 km with this 4 times a day so something light and small would really be appreciated. this thing is 3.5 lbs and 13.3 inches and I love it. The only issue is it runs like a piece of junk.
Edit: Must have win 7 or be able to run it. As interesting as Windows 8 looks I really don't want it.


Thanks a lot everyone! I hope I can get some help.
a c 462 D Laptop
January 21, 2013 3:33:46 AM

I think you are simply going to have to give up or lower your requirements for playing games given your limited budget. Looking for a small and light laptop that is capable of playing games is going to be a bit expensive. Small, light, powerful and inexpensive does not exist.

You need to either pony up and pay the price for what you are looking for like the following $1,200 13.3" SONY VAIO S Series SVS13127PXB weighing in at 3.8lbs....

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

.... Or simply give up on a small laptop with a dedicated graphics chip and simply go with AMD's Trinity APU or Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU and simply rely on the integrated graphics core.
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January 21, 2013 5:08:17 AM

I don't think my requirements for gaming are that high at all. I have no intention whatsoever of playing anything modern. Simply older games that aren't very taxing. Intel hd 4000 should do the job with no problem at all, or the A10 APU (not entirely sure about the A8, the A6 is deffinitely out, but that's on the processing end not the GPU end)

A dedicated graphics card in an ultralite is a bit much to ask, and honestly I'm not all that concerned with the form factor itself, so much as I am the size. I'd prefer it not be a 17 inch beast, simply because it'd be really hard to stuff that in my bag and carry it around.

So small(ish) and inexpensive are pretty much the only requirements. As far as power goes I'm not looking for something with a dedicated GPU or an i7.
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a c 462 D Laptop
January 21, 2013 2:37:41 PM

So what was actually bad about the A6-4455m APU? Not enough computational performance? No enough graphics performance? Both?

If the computation performance is not enough, then getting a laptop with an Intel CPU would be better. At the same clockspeed Intel CPUs are more powerful than AMD's APUs and CPUs. AMD CPUs are more powerful than AMD's APUs.

The A6-4455m is considered an ultra low voltage (ULV) APU from AMD. ULV APUs and CPUs from AMD/Intel have lower clockspeeds for both the CPU core and GPU core to conserve power. Therefore, they are a little less powerful than your average mobile APU/CPU. Intel's Ivy Bridge ULV CPUs will be more powerful than AMD's ULV APUs though.

From a graphics point of view the Radeon HD 7500G is likely less powerful than Intel's HD 4000 in a ULV Ivy Bridge CPU and definitely less powerful than the Intel HD 4000 graphic core "normal" Ivy Bridge CPU. AMD uses different graphic cores in their Trinity/Llano APU line up. More powerful APUs will have more powerful graphic cores with different model names (HD 7500G, HD 7620G, HD 7660G, etc.).

All Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs simply have the Intel HD 4000; period. However, they can have different clock rates and I think there is a total of around 6 different clock rates. Minor differences really, like 100MHz - 350MHz differences between the "type" of Intel HD 4000 you are getting. The lowest performing Intel HD 4000 is found in the "Y" series Ivy Bridge which are known as Extreme ULV (EULV) CPUs which can consume as little as 7w of power I think. They are not in your budget since it is a limited production run only. Intel's ULV Ivy Bridge has the next slowest Intel HD 4000 graphic core. Their mobile quad core i7 CPUs will have the fastest version of the HD 4000. The remaining dual core i3/i5/i7 mobile CPUs will have the "average" HD 4000 graphic core.

My suggestion is just to look for a laptop with an Intel Core i3 or i5 CPU with the "M" designation. "U" refers to ULV. If you want more graphics performance than Intel can provide then look at AMD's A10-4600m (Radeon HD 7660g; fastest integrated graphics), or perhaps the A8-4500m (Radeon HD 7640g).
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January 21, 2013 3:27:46 PM

jaguarskx said:
So what was actually bad about the A6-4455m APU? Not enough computational performance? No enough graphics performance? Both?

If the computation performance is not enough, then getting a laptop with an Intel CPU would be better. At the same clockspeed Intel CPUs are more powerful than AMD's APUs and CPUs. AMD CPUs are more powerful than AMD's APUs.

The A6-4455m is considered an ultra low voltage (ULV) APU from AMD. ULV APUs and CPUs from AMD/Intel have lower clockspeeds for both the CPU core and GPU core to conserve power. Therefore, they are a little less powerful than your average mobile APU/CPU. Intel's Ivy Bridge ULV CPUs will be more powerful than AMD's ULV APUs though.

From a graphics point of view the Radeon HD 7500G is likely less powerful than Intel's HD 4000 in a ULV Ivy Bridge CPU and definitely less powerful than the Intel HD 4000 graphic core "normal" Ivy Bridge CPU. AMD uses different graphic cores in their Trinity/Llano APU line up. More powerful APUs will have more powerful graphic cores with different model names (HD 7500G, HD 7620G, HD 7660G, etc.).

All Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs simply have the Intel HD 4000; period. However, they can have different clock rates and I think there is a total of around 6 different clock rates. Minor differences really, like 100MHz - 350MHz differences between the "type" of Intel HD 4000 you are getting. The lowest performing Intel HD 4000 is found in the "Y" series Ivy Bridge which are known as Extreme ULV (EULV) CPUs which can consume as little as 7w of power I think. They are not in your budget since it is a limited production run only. Intel's ULV Ivy Bridge has the next slowest Intel HD 4000 graphic core. Their mobile quad core i7 CPUs will have the fastest version of the HD 4000. The remaining dual core i3/i5/i7 mobile CPUs will have the "average" HD 4000 graphic core.

My suggestion is just to look for a laptop with an Intel Core i3 or i5 CPU with the "M" designation. "U" refers to ULV. If you want more graphics performance than Intel can provide then look at AMD's A10-4600m (Radeon HD 7660g; fastest integrated graphics), or perhaps the A8-4500m (Radeon HD 7640g).

I learned a bit of this while I was looking around last night, I actually had no idea that ULV meant anything besides the fact that it was intended for laptops. Nor did I realize the 7500g would actually perform worse than intel HD 4000.

After looking around I started realizing that all smaller form factor laptops use ULV processors for the most part, and the price point typically just isn't what I'm looking for mostly due to SSD.

So I'm looking mostly into a10-4600m cpus http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... and i5 3210m cpus http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

As for what was wrong with the a6? honestly it's the CPU. It seems like for something that's clocked at 2.1 ghz it chugs along happily slower than that.

Thanks for all your info. I did learn a lot about laptops from that post, I'm honestly completely unaware of what goes into a notebook, seeing as I've always used a desktop.


So my last question would mostly be aside from the ones I've posted, which I'm looking into as we speak (trying to juggle this between doing homework and working right now, so I don't have all that much time to look up models unfortunately) are there any decent A10-4600m or i5 3210m laptops, refurbished most likely, around the 600 price point?

Also, I'm wondering what would clock better? the A10 has a better onboard GPU and a quad core processor (true quad core? Or AMD 'quad core') and the i5 3210m is a dual core with hyperthreading, but intel cpus routinely outperform their AMD counterparts at equivilant specs for various reasons.

I think intel HD 4000 would be sufficient, and I typically swear by intel when I have the money to spend, but really at this point it's whatever gets the most gaming performance per dollar at this range. I'm relatively sure either will do fine for note taking and any other usage I have for it in class.


Thanks again.
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a c 462 D Laptop
January 21, 2013 5:21:30 PM

Based on your needs you should try to look for a laptop with the A8-4500m or A10-4600m While the CPU core is a bit weaker than what Intel has to offer, it is more than enough for taking notes.

Because games are mostly GPU dependent, it is generally better to get a higher performing GPU core rather than a higher performing CPU core. Of course if the CPU is so damn slow that it bottlenecks the GPU, then that is a different story. You will get better gaming performance with the AMD APUs I've mentioned vs. any of the Intel Ivy Bridge CPUs if you are relying on the integrated GPU.

Even though benchmarks have shown that Skyrim runs better with a faster CPU, having a more powerful GPU would provide better performance. Therefore, if where to play Skyrim with the A8-4500m vs the Intel i5-3210m, the A8 would provide you with a bit better performance.
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January 21, 2013 7:17:07 PM

Best answer selected by fireonimusha.
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January 21, 2013 7:17:31 PM

That's basically what I'll be doing. Do you have any suggestions for specifics? A10 is my current range.
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January 26, 2013 5:38:58 PM

amd trinitys can be overclocked with amd overdrive/pscheck/msi afterburner. to get that little extra for gaming.
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