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Thinking about a Netbook.

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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February 24, 2013 10:39:58 PM

Hey all.

I was thinking about replacing my 15.6" Acer Aspire for a smaller netbook for programming and going back to college. I do a lot of my work in bed and the current laptop burns the hell out of my legs. It's also heavy.

For my new machine, the only applications I plan on using are Visual Studio for web development, Photoshop for light image editing, and Microsoft Office (or Open Office). Ideally, I'd like a small laptop with a near full size keyboard, enough RAM and a fast enough processor to handle my needs, a battery that'll last me several hours of coding or image editing, and at least 1366x768 resolution.

About two years ago I bought my wife an 11.6" HP dm1z or something like that. She loves it. I like it... I just want something better than that.

Any suggestions on brands or models?

More about : thinking netbook

a b D Laptop
February 24, 2013 10:49:55 PM

Would an ~13" laptop be small enough? We might find a decent netbook, but probably not. We'll almost definitely be able to find a decent ~13" laptop.
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a b D Laptop
February 24, 2013 10:53:52 PM

Grab something small, even perhaps a second copy of her model. (I have an older version of it, and love it.)

Then buy a solid state drive and put that in - install windows from a flash drive, using the key provided with the netbook.

It will cut down heat drastically, and will feel just as fast as a consumer-grade desktop.

EDIT: It's also not a hard thing to do at all - it only takes four screws.
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February 24, 2013 11:20:24 PM

netbooks have never been able to fill tech needs, go with a small laptop or tablet or wait a little while for intel's release of haswell-based ultrabooks

P.S. a convertible ultrabook is a good solution if you're getting a windows 8 pc
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February 24, 2013 11:21:18 PM

blazorthon said:
Would an ~13" laptop be small enough? We might find a decent netbook, but probably not. We'll almost definitely be able to find a decent ~13" laptop.

I'm open to something a bit larger than an 11.6" laptop, but I wouldn't go much larger. If there is a great 13" laptop then I'd certainly give it a look.

Heat generation is a big concern of mine, but I need something meaty enough for my needs. I like the idea of the SSD, but will that really make a significant dent in heat generation? I thought laptop heat was mostly from the processor.
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a b D Laptop
February 24, 2013 11:24:27 PM

Hard drives can be fairly big power hogs for laptops. The processor is usually more power-hungry, but a hard drive can consume a significant fraction of the laptop processor's power consumption too. Getting a low power SSD (Samsung's 830 series is best for this) would definitely help with power consumption and heat generation.

Getting a laptop with a decent but not extreme CPU, screen, and if separate from the CPU, graphics card should do the trick, especially with a low power SSD in the mix.

I'll take a look and see what I can find for the laptop.
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February 24, 2013 11:26:07 PM

eturnal said:
I like the idea of the SSD, but will that really make a significant dent in heat generation? I thought laptop heat was mostly from the processor.


laptop heat has often been from the processor, but SSD vs HDD does make a significant difference in performance and heat generation. SSD is much better
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February 24, 2013 11:26:19 PM

- double post -
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February 24, 2013 11:26:30 PM

- double post -
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a b D Laptop
February 24, 2013 11:57:32 PM

Do you have a specific budget and/pr any preferences such as OS preferences?
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February 25, 2013 12:15:50 AM

blazorthon said:
Do you have a specific budget and/pr any preferences such as OS preferences?

The budget is pretty flexible, but I'd rather spend less than more. Kinda one of those "most bang for the buck" situations. If I tell my wife, "Hey, I'm going to spend a grand on a netbook" then I'm likely to get the no-go. Awhile back she approved the purchase of a $500 netbook during some black friday deals, but I decided against it since I didn't have a real need. Closer to $500 would be best, but if I had to float higher, then I'm sure I can make that happen.

I haven't played with Windows 8, but I've been told it's *** for multi-tasking. I'd be open to using it, but for familiarity, I'd probably like to use Windows 7.
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Best solution

a b D Laptop
February 25, 2013 12:19:18 AM

I've been using Windows 8 with no trouble for multi-tasking. It simply doesn't do it great when it comes to the Metro apps, but I never use those and I don't think that you would either ;)  They kinda seem mostly irrelevant. If you must have Windows 7, then I'm sure that I can find something, but I'd actually recommend 8 over 7. There are some things that get significant performance boosts (such as web browsing according to Tom's tests) and the lower resource usage is a nice touch. If you want familiarity, then you can install Classic Shell and tweak the UI a little (it's a free program that can make Windows 8 look like 7 and much, much, much more with it's many settings).

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

I found this surprisingly nice 11.6" for about $530. What do you think of it?
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February 25, 2013 12:32:37 AM

Ha ha. That's the one my wife gave me the go ahead on. Amazon.com has it listed for $500 - I figured there would be something better since we're several months down the road. Do you think it's pretty much the best for the price point? How much better could I get, and for how much more in price?

Earlier you mentioned the 13" laptops... are they likely to be significantly better or are they comparable to the laptop you just linked?
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a b D Laptop
February 25, 2013 12:34:55 AM

eturnal said:
Ha ha. That's the one my wife gave me the go ahead on. Amazon.com has it listed for $500 - I figured there would be something better since we're several months down the road. Do you think it's pretty much the best for the price point? How much better could I get, and for how much more in price?

Earlier you mentioned the 13" laptops... are they likely to be significantly better or are they comparable to the laptop you just linked?


I can find some that are somewhat better, but I haven't seen anything significantly different like I thought that I would. It seems that I've underestimated the impact that Ivy bridge had on the 11.6" form factor.

Would you like me to take another look for something better, or would you prefer to stick with that one?
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February 25, 2013 12:36:21 AM

Are you sure you are comfortable using it for EXTENDED periods of time (like coding) I used a netbook for a while, but now that I bought a 14 I will never go back. I find 13-14 to be in the sweet spot of usability and screen size.

my2cent
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February 25, 2013 1:12:56 AM

That's a fair point. I've never sat down and used my wife's netbook for extended periods of time, so I have no idea how the comfort factor is. I assumed it would be the same for comfort since the keyboard would be near 100% the size, but perhaps I'm missing another aspect?

@blazorthon - If you know of any solid 13" laptops around the same price, I'd certainly be interested in them. Supermuncher has me curious about the comfort now...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Productcompare.aspx?Submi...

That's pretty much what I'm thinking. Doesn't look like there's a whole lot in the 13" range, but I did find a slightly larger Dell with the same specifications as the Acer 11" machines. I've always been hesitant about Dell, but if you guys could vouch for them as quality machines, then I'd probably be willing to go that route.

So confused.
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a b D Laptop
February 25, 2013 2:03:09 AM

The Dell should be fine, but I admit that I have read of some WiFi connection issues, so I can't make a guarantee on it...
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February 25, 2013 2:14:50 AM

my bro has a thin business-class 14" acer timeline x. I have a thick 15" lenovo y580.
While the screen size does make a difference, it seems that the thickness is just as important or more for comfort. Look at screen bezel, too.
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a b D Laptop
February 25, 2013 2:21:41 AM

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=P...

From these two links, I was able to get a few contenders that I deemed worthy ;) 

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

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

These are the best choices that I see in Newegg's database. I'll keep looking around other places for some other options.

Also, from Acer's website, there's this:
http://us.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/model-datasheet/NX....
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a b D Laptop
February 25, 2013 3:03:20 AM
March 3, 2013 11:39:47 PM

Best answer selected by eturnal.
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a c 249 D Laptop
March 3, 2013 11:51:49 PM

This topic has been closed by Brett928S2
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