Need help choosing a laptop

I'm in the market for a new/used/refurbished laptop, and I need some help choosing one.

1. What is your budget?
$200 - $400, preferably closer to $200 but I can spend closer to $400 if it makes a huge difference.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
14" - 16".

3. What screen resolution do you want?
No less than 1366x768.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Low weight preferred but not required. Not replacing my desktop.

5. How much battery life do you need?
I don't really care.

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 - mostly old games (1985 or so through early 2000s) but it would be nice if I could play some newer games as well on medium to high settings.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Web development - Gimp, Visual Studio.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
200GB minimum. Can go lower if solid state :)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Amazon, eBay, Newegg, Craigslist.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
CD reader a must, writer bonus. DVD reader bonus. No DVD writer or Bluray necessary.

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.
No. I actually get angry when I hear "touch screen," so probably none of those but I suppose I could live with it.

13. What country do you live in?

I found a few on Craigslist that looked pretty decent, but I'm a little out of touch on CPUs. Which one of these is best?

Also, does memory speed matter these days? Is there a noticeable difference between 800 and 1300Mhz?
19 answers Last reply
More about choosing laptop
  1. All of those are extremely out of date and weak. Trust me, you don't want any of them. The i3 may not be terrible, but its probably an older i3 and just nott a good option. You don't need much much in terms of graphics power since most modern laptops will have integrated graphics strong enough for you, but not these. Let me look on Newegg for you.

    Oh and no memory speed doesn't matter too much. DDR3 is better, but after you get to that its pretty much all the same.
  2. If you can do it, get this

    Its best performance for the price after rebate and everything.
  3. IInuyasha74 said:
    If you can do it, get this

    Its best performance for the price after rebate and everything.

    Thanks, I'll check it out.

    If I can get a Core i7 Q7400 1.7Ghz (used, max budget) would it be worth it hand over fist?
  4. If you can get an i7 4700Q (I'm assuming thats the number, the other way around doesn't work for Intel naming conventions) for under $400 then yes that would be an excellent buy. I'd be worried its broken being sold that cheap.
  5. IInuyasha74 said:
    If you can get an i7 4700Q (I'm assuming thats the number, the other way around doesn't work for Intel naming conventions) for under $400 then yes that would be an excellent buy. I'd be worried its broken being sold that cheap.

    What if it's *gasp* a Sony Vaio? I've heard some bad things about them.
  6. No no no Sony Vaio is a really high end top notch brand. lol where you seeing that deal at? If it works thats a damned good bargin.
  7. IInuyasha74 said:
    No no no Sony Vaio is a really high end top notch brand. lol where you seeing that deal at? If it works thats a damned good bargin.

    Craigslist. Where else?

    There's lots of i5's in the range I'm looking for too:

    Maybe some people just want to get rid of their stuff?
  8. you might just live in a good city lol. I am in a fairly rural area so this kind of thing never pops up at good prices.

    Out of that list the i5-2410M is best in performance, the i5-2557M is better battery life and relatively good performance. The Vaio sounds better still, but either of these don't sound like bad choices.
  9. IInuyasha74 said:

    Are any of the ones I found at Walmart any good? (More or less in order of price.)

    • AMD E-300
    • Intel B960
    • AMD E2-1800 I already asked about this one
    • AMD A4-1250
    • Intel i3-3227u
    • Intel Celeron 1005M
    • AMD A6-5200

    Or how about these offerings from Newegg?

    • Intel Celeron 847
    • AMD E1-2100
    • AMD A4-1200
    • Intel Celeron 1007U I already asked about this one
    • Intel Baytrail-M N2815
    • Intel Pentium 2020M

    That's the end of my range.


    IInuyasha74 said:
    No no no Sony Vaio is a really high end top notch brand. lol where you seeing that deal at? If it works thats a damned good bargin.

    Here is what dude said when I asked him why it was so cheap:


    We have two very similar Sony Vaio for sale. We are selling because we bought two Apple Airbook. We are not resellers, we just want to recover some money.

    The features of both are very similar the only difference is in the processor one of them is i7 CPU Q720 1.6 GHZ and the other is i7 CPU Q740 1.73 GHZ.

    For us they are the same, so the price is $450 and the last price for each one is $420.

    Here is the Q 720, and here is the Q 740.
  10. Okay, from Walmart the i3 is probably not bad, and from Newegg the Baytrail-M and the Pentium aren't bad. Its hard to say which is best out of them though. The i3 is an ultra low voltage model but it can complete 4 tasks at once. The Baytrail-M is like the newer version of the Atom processors which are super ultra low voltage but there are 4 of them so they can also do 4 tasks at once. Then the Pentium is just regular voltage and 2 tasks at once.

    For the Vaio that makes more sense then. That means they are the oldest i7s and not the newest. There is a big jump in performance from them to the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Gen core processors so best not to get the Vaio.

    To try and bring this together in performance, here is how the processors should be ranked in performance. The ones you should consider at least.

    Single-threaded performance:
    Pentium 2020M

    Multi-threaded Performance:
    Pentium 2020M

    Battery Consumption: (Comes least power, down to consumes most power)
    Pentium 2020M

    Graphics: (Assuming no dedicated GPU)
    Pentium 2020M
  11. Thanks man that's really helpful. Is best first in each list?
  12. Yes
  13. Ok well at this point I'm leaning towards the i3 at Walmart, unless I find something really great on Craigslist. I'm always a little nervous about buying used electronics, so even though I might be able to get a little more horsepower from an individual I'll feel much better knowing I can take it back to the store if something goes wrong.

    One more possibly final question: I refined my search a bit. Can you tell me if any of these would be much better than the i3? I already asked about the Baytrail (which is not very impressive considering graphics performance) and E1-2100 but they are also showing in my price range:

    • AMD E2-2000
    • Intel 2127U
    • AMD E1-2500

    The AMDs are pretty tempting since they all seem to have dedicated graphics memory. My only concern with that is heat/noise. I used to have a Dell Inspiron that burned my leg :(
  14. The ones from AMD with the E before them are like their version of the Atom Baytrail with better graphics. Its relatively similar performance but the graphics is a bit better. Still the i3 is best for you here. You will be impressed with the performance of the Intel HD 4000 graphics in the i3 if you are playing games odler than 2010. I am an old school gamer myself. Anything from Jade Empire, Monkey Island, Bioshock, Fallout, The 7th Guest, Warcraft (Any), or anything from around the same dates will run pretty excellent.

    Also don't worry about heat, that has gone down a lot now for both sides. Noise too.
  15. Hmmmmm one of these just showed up on Craigslist. I think that's the same processor as the Vaio you said I should pass up tho.
  16. yes it is. Or similar one.

    The reason you don't want that is because its a 1st Gen Intel Core architecture. Its built on a 45nm fabrication, so compared to the 32nm 2nd Gen and the 22nm 3rd Gen it consumes a lot more power and is considerably hotter. Also cutting battery life way down.

    For me this would be enough alone, but also there was a huge boost in performance between the 1st Gen and 2nd Gen Intel Core architecture. The 1st Gen competed with AMD's Phenom chips, the 2nd Gen were so advanced that they were often a 50% improvement in performance usually over the 1st Gen. This is part of why AMD's CPUs today aren't as good to buy. It also didn't help that AMD did the stupidest thing they ever could of done and built a CPU with the same design ideas as the Pentium 4. As an old Techy I am sure you remember those. They literally used the same design concepts and the results are what you would expect out of a modern day Pentium 4. Terrible.

    Anyways rant over, but because the huge jump in performance, decrease in heat creation, and decrease in power consumption you don't want a 1st Gen i7 anymore. Maybe if its like $200 or less I could see it, but thats just to get a super cheap system.
  17. IInuyasha74 said:
    Insert invaluable information here

    Alright, I'm going to buy tonight so this is probably the last time I'll ask. I found a couple good deals at another local store, so now it's between those and the one from Walmart:

    • Dell Inspiron i3 3227U 1.9Ghz $300
    • ASUS i3 3217U 1.8Ghz $330 $30 more for less power? nah
    • Lenovo G510 i5 4200U 1.6Ghz $400

    I expect the best decision would be to spring a little more for the i5 for longevity's sake, but the idea of saving $100 is pretty tempting. Is there enough of a difference between the 3227U and 4200U to be worth it?
  18. Sorry for delays. I am a college student and its midterm week.

    Anyways I am not completely sure which is best honestly. The i5 will have better performance, cause it can do turbo boost which I don't know how far it will boost, but I am sure it will get at least to 1.9Ghz and then it has a 5% because of being newer architecture.

    Haswell, codename for that architecture, should have a much lower power usage also though, as well as faster more powerful graphics. Here are some pages for you to read through.



    After seeing the performance boost of the i5, it will greatly outperform the i3-3227U actually, also the Intel HD 4000 graphcis are compared to the Intel HD 4400 graphics on that link above and give significant advantages. You are probably best to save the extra $100 up and go for the i5 system.
  19. Awesome. Thanks for the advice.
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