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signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to JoelC707

Re: Laptop, who here has knowledge and experience?

Ok guys, rather than make a pitifully inadequate and unprofessional review in a new thread, let me talk about my first impressions here.

I am back on my desktop as I type this:

Well, first off, I like the keyboard, so I am relieved about that part, but the touchpad IS a problem. I was told by my therapist of all people that you have to only have one hand laying on the computer when using the pad, and indeed, that seems to be the case. Secondly, I can swipe and swipe and swipe, and it won't respond, and then, finally, it will, its intermittent. A definite bug!

Bluetooth works so far, that is a cool thing to have. At some point I'll have to get stuff FOR this.

Screen is ok, contrast is passable, and it is plenty bright. LED backlights, so hopefully it will stay good for 4 years.

Wireless, so far, is very good as far as signal strength, a LOT stronger than my addon cards on other systems.

The smaller screen is a PITA, but this system is already more bulky than I hoped, so...

One cheesy thing: Little plastic adhesive covers over screws on screen, one stuck to the plastic protector sheet and came off.

It's definitely a no frills but good power system. I'm trying to find out if the upclock works now.

Well, that's enough to say for now...
--
Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to signmeuptoo
Run CPU-Z and open up Disk Cleanup in Windows. This will peg one of the logical cores on the CPU, which is a best-case scenario for Turbo Boost. You should see the core speed reading go up to around 3.1 GHz.
--
KI6RIT


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to JoelC707
Ok guys, rather than make a pitifully inadequate and unprofessional review in a new thread, let me talk about my first impressions here.

I am back on my desktop as I type this:

Well, first off, I like the keyboard, so I am relieved about that part, but the touchpad IS a problem. I was told by my therapist of all people that you have to only have one hand laying on the computer when using the pad, and indeed, that seems to be the case. Secondly, I can swipe and swipe and swipe, and it won't respond, and then, finally, it will, its intermittent. A definite bug!

Bluetooth works so far, that is a cool thing to have. At some point I'll have to get stuff FOR this.

Screen is ok, contrast is passable, and it is plenty bright. LED backlights, so hopefully it will stay good for 4 years.

Wireless, so far, is very good as far as signal strength, a LOT stronger than my addon cards on other systems.

The smaller screen is a PITA, but this system is already more bulky than I hoped, so...

One cheesy thing: Little plastic adhesive covers over screws on screen, one stuck to the plastic protector sheet and came off.

It's definitely a no frills but good power system. I'm trying to find out if the upclock works now.

Well, that's enough to say for now...
--
Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
Have they not even emailed you a receipt yet? If they are on holiday then you may not get one until they come back. A bit frustrating for sure but you should at least get an emailed receipt. If they don't take their own receipt for service I'd complain LOUDLY all the way to the top until it got fixed. Also, how old was this forum post you read, chances are whatever issue that person had getting service has been fixed.

Regarding your previous post:

You're going to find negative reviews on everything. Some people just love to complain about every little thing. When reading reviews I do tend to hunt out the "bad" reviews but I also look at them objectively and take them with a grain of salt too. Did the person not know what they were doing and blamed it on the device they are reviewing? Those kind of reviews get tossed out in my mind.

The touchpad is an interesting one. My dad had a Toshiba laptop that my GF's daughter now has. I used it about 2 years ago and got tired of the mouse moving randomly while typing (my wrist would brush the touchpad). I turned it off using the button right above the touchpad..... it has yet to turn back on

Any kind of glossy screen or panels will show fingerprints. That's the price you pay for it to be shiny sadly. Some it doesn't bother, others can't stand it. You and I seem to be in the "doesn't bother us" camp lol.

Not sure what to say about the headphone/mic jack. You might be able to use a TRS style plug. Not sure how it would work with the two devices sharing a return path, but it may be a 4 space plug (not sure what those plugs are called but I recall seeing one before). Either way that would qualify as a "dongle" that I would prefer to not need in the first place. Especially if you need said dongle to just use the headphones only (if I can plug in headphones without the dongle and they work, I'd be OK with that).

The HD 4000 GPU is decent for most things. It's capable of blueray playback/HD decoding and can play most non-demanding games at decent frame rates. I would think Portal 2 is in that camp though I've never played it. It's still Source based right? If so I've played HL2 on worse hardware before with no issues.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
I have a question guys:

I call Lenovo, got an English speaking American to my surprise. I asked him with regards to warranty, why didn't they send me a receipt like Newegg does, and told him that I read a forum post where a guy tried to get service on a new item and they insisted on a paper receipt and wouldn't service for him. The person on the phone told me, insisted, the comptuer serial number is all I need to get service.

Please be patient with me, the last time I bought a factory build was in 1994 I think.

Also, he said the factory is on holiday for the week (I responded, "oh! Chinese New Year! he said Yes, and I said yeah, they need their time off just like everybody) but it looks like I won't get the computer until some days after March 1st. Is that normal? I have no experience with order lead times...
--
Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to signmeuptoo
There's a Dell with similar specs for 550, so that would have been 20 bucks more, just found it on a hot deals website.

REI had a clearance on a laptop backpack for 35 bucks, but in only 2 hours, sold out!

EDIT:

Reading some reviews and there ARE some complaints about this system, mostly the touchpad being intermittently unresponsive. Maybe a driver update could fix that? Some say it is fairly sturdy for its price, others say it is flimsy. Most of the negative reviews seem to come from people who's literacy is somewhat challenged, and if you aren't bright enough to speak intelligently, are you bright enough to compare computers? But I doth protest too much!

Judging by photos, I love the brown color, but some complain it is too glossy and fingerprints show up badly (a very minor issue for me, I could care less about appearances except I like that it is brown, it is DIFFERENT).

One reviewer says it runs cool, that's terrific if it is true.

I absolutely LOVE the 2 screw back panel removal design (only 2 screws to access the HD, OD, RAM, Wireless ALL), IMHO, that is a huge bonus.

Some say the battery can seem loose (only one or two say that though).

One drawback: The headphone jack is only ONE jack, not a mic and headphone as two separate jacks, I have no idea if you have to order a special jack from them or what. It's probably a 3 ring 1 tip jack I assume, so maybe there is an adapter for that?

One other unfortunate thing: I REALLY wish there were 4, not 3, USB ports (a second USB 2.0 would have been nice). However, with built in wireless and a SD card reader, that is a small enough issue to overlook since 3 is the common number on most cheaper units.

A question I have is how good is the Intel HD 4000 CPU integrated GPU graphics? Can I play games such as Portal 2?

I AM concerned a little about service and support, I get a distinct impression that Lenovo doesn't care as much about consumers as some other companies, because manufacturer comments are non existent over at newegg in complaint posts. It gets 3 eggs, but that's for only a few reviews and either it's because of the touchpad issues or because wireless stopped working. Sometimes such things are driver or user issues.

I do have a question: I have a bluetooth headphone (kinda crappy), it's a Motorola, will it work with this since this has bluetooth?

So nothing for $529 is gonna be perfect, and sure, maybe the Dell I saw for 30 dollars more might have been a safer bet, but I don't know, the last time I talked to a Dell tech, I got verbally abused, I was shocked. I was trying to fix a neighbor's computer and called Dell to ask to purchase restore disks and the guy who talked to me literally acted like I was a criminal and he said abusive stuff (I did nothing of the sort) and people in the room applauded, it was shocking. (The original owner was the guy's deceased father.) As I saw, I wasn't combative, didn't argue, merely inquired and out of the blue, the agent started speaking abusively, right after I gave him the serial number. So I don't know, but that left a bad taste in my mouth for Dell. I don't need to get abused by some India based support rep who takes a US like first name just to fake me out. I generally like people from around the world, but I don't like getting crapped on.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
Good choice IMO, I liked the Lenovo over the other one you linked to. I can't really say how long it should take. If it's a commonly built system maybe no more than a week, but if they have to build it then it could be 2-3 weeks for sure. That's something Lenovo should tell you, if not already then in a couple of days for sure (once the order has processed and hit the back end people).

Not really sure about any hidden warranties as I have never dealt with IBM/Lenovo before. I can tell you they do still seem to be held in the same regard as the original IBM so that should be a plus for sure. Lojack in theory should be something you can add at nearly any point in time. You may need to provide proof of purchase (to prove you're the owner of the laptop) so I'd keep the receipt for sure.

Can't really help you on the case, but are you looking for a briefcase/shoulder carry style or a backpack style? That might help others recommend something to you.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
Ok guys, I didn't want the deal to slip through my hands, I ordered the Lenovo mentioned in my above post. i5 3rd gen, 8 G RAM, 6 cell battery, 2 USB 3.0, Win8 (is this a plus, hmm...), 1 TB HD, LED backlight, Brown color (something different), decent keyboard...

For the money, I haven't seen too much that offered more. It looks like I won't get it for a week or two or three, how long does it usually take?

I read in a review that there is a hidden additional year warranty but I don't understand how that works, 2 years sure would be nice.

I didn't get lojack, can I ad it later? How good does that work?

I went to staples today and their best deals were 599 and didn't come close to what this has, at 529. Still had to pay tax, but I'm ok with that, I believe in taxes.

This is the first time in 18 years I've purchased a factory built system. Lenovo, back when IBM, was a great brand, and it seems Lenovo still has a reasonably good reputation, right?

Now I have to look at notebook bags, where can I get a good deal on one that will protect from rain and bangs, that a pauper can afford?

Hope I made a good choice!
--
Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to kingdome74
While there are 7200 RPM 750's and 1TB drives in 2.5", keep in mind laptop drives used to be 4200 RPM and 5400 was the "performance" model. Granted the performance difference between 4200 and 5400 probably wasn't that great. 5400 and 7200 is a little better though.

Honestly the CPU is always going to be waiting on a mechanical HDD, even a bank of 15K SAS drives in an array. I'd venture that a CPU is always going to be waiting on an SSD too. A RAM drive would be the best way of course.

I don't think you're wrong technically as it's obviously not the best pairing and a 7200 would be better but the 5400 is likely better for heat and battery life so they probably "reserve" the 7200s for higher performance laptops where those two issues can be better addressed.


kingdome74
Let's Go Orange
Premium
join:2002-03-27
Syracuse, NY
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to signmeuptoo
Something that bugs me and I need to know if I'm right - matching an i5 of any speed is lost on a computer with a 5400RPM HDD? Won't the CPU always be underutilized by the hard drive?
--
#9 still and we beat up on St John's yesterday. Southerland came back after missing 6 games and had a decent game in the 2nd half. Next on 2/13 is UConn.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to norwegian
Yeah, cash is king. I can't even begin to tell you how many totally awesome deals I missed by a mere WEEK simply because I didn't have the money. And I don't know if it's better or worse this way but I usually didn't find out about the missed deal until AFTER I had the money available. Probably better because if I knew about the sale I probably would have found a way to get it at the expense of something else LOL.


norwegian
Premium
join:2005-02-15
Outback
reply to signmeuptoo
said by signmeuptoo:

.........that looks like a good deal.

The timing of the cash versus sales specials will be critical to any approach for that dollar. Biggest bang for buck will not happen because of $500, it will come from you looking around and getting the "for a day or a week deal" to the one you buy.

I think you will find an i5 somewhere, just look when your holding the cash, timing of a sale could really make a difference.
--
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke


JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
I'm not too sure about the slow clock speed of the CPU, it may not be noticeable and it does burst from 1.7 to 2.6. My main concern is the small 4 cell battery in it. That doesn't bode well for good battery life. The slow CPU may help with that but then again it may not make much difference either.

Aside from those issues it looks good. I see a few on Newegg in your price range with 6-cell batteries (and others with 4-cell, nothing bigger than 6 yet) so I would personally look at the battery specs. Unfortunately the one I was going to recommend to you had reviews mentioning unstable construction (comments like OK around the house but wouldn't want to take it with you daily make me hesitant to recommend it given your stated school use).

Edit: The Lenovo you linked looks much better. Better CPU and 6-cell battery.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to signmeuptoo
Ok guys, this is more than I planned on spending, but it seems like a pretty phat deal. I might have my money tomorrow, what do you all think of this unit:

»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34216426

EDIT: Lenovo deal for 529:

»shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/cont···allery-g


beerbum
Premium
join:2000-05-06
Reading, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to signmeuptoo
heh.. when it comes to weight.. I have some classes where each book weighs as much if not more than my laptop..

fortunately I have access to e-versions online which I downloaded to the laptop, so now all I need to carry is the laptop, some pens/pencils and a paper notebook

When I was shopping for the laptop, the biggest sticking point was do I get a 15" or a 17" screen.. I'm glad I went with the larger screen.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to beerbum
17" screen might not be too good to lug around classes, but yeah, that looks like a good deal.


beerbum
Premium
join:2000-05-06
Reading, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to signmeuptoo
said by signmeuptoo:

I am still awaiting my tax refund. I expect to spend between 500 and 650 on a laptop, preferably less than 550. I see a number of deals on sites like newegg, but many models have no review or the reviews are bad. I'm worried I will do something bone headed and end up with a lemon.

IIRC, some people here didn't like Acer laptops, is that still true?

What about Lenovo these days?

I am thinking a Dell or Asus are best choice. I hope to buy new so I can get a full warranty.

I need decent battery life as I will use it for schooling (computer science, either app dev or IT, or both).

How are i3 based units? Are they slow? Do I need to stick to an i5?

Also, build quality, some are flimsy, I want to avoid that.

I am open to getting an ultrabook and buying a stand alone optical drive.

I want a +/- 15" monitor (14 or 15.5 is fine, and I am open to smaller, too, for the right deal).

Newegg has a number of under 600 dollar laptops, but most lack reviews and/or have poor reviews. How do I protect myself from a bad unit?

I think I want Win8, even though I don't like Metro, because the system may have to serve me well for 2 to 4 years, or more.

This is what I went with. My laptop I bought to use for school.

»us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops···5-S7308/

I got it on sale for $429 back in November. I eventually added more memory and replaced the hard drive with a SSD.

Unless you plan to play games all the time or doing massive video or graphics rendering, the i3 will do just fine.

I know it is fun and popular to hate on Best Buy - but they do occasionally have decent prices every now and then. For example you are looking to save money?

»www.bestbuy.com/site/TOSHIBA+COM···=7917075

Core i3 2.5GHz, 4GB ram, 500GB HD, 17.3" screen.. $399

If the ram isn't enough, 8GB sticks go for around $40..

I spent a couple weeks traveling about from store to store trying out pretty much every laptop I could find.. I kept coming back to the Toshiba.. Decent price, decent performance and they did not feel cheap, they felt to be the sturdier build of all the brands I tried.


Veloslave
Geek For God
Premium
join:2003-07-11
Martinez, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
·PHONE POWER
reply to signmeuptoo
Personally... I like Dell.

At work (large K-12) we buy mostly Dell and the Latitude's are just a super solid great performing laptop. Not super pretty or sexy... but something you like to pull out because it never fails you.

I run every app you can think of on a 5520, Win 7 64 w/4Gb. The main problem I find that a lot of people make with Dell's is not installing the NSS or DSS software or the rest of the drivers in the proper order according to Dell. May sound silly... but this is a LOT of imaging experience speaking.

Support is good but I might be spoiled by being a large K-12 account.

--
Mom was right.... I NEED fiber!


Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a
reply to n_w95482
I had an older MSI GT780DX and it was an amazing laptop. The sound was very loud---to the point people in other rooms told me to turn it down. Gaming and running BOINC flat out never stressed the cooling past 75 degrees.
The GT and GE 70,60 models are lots of machine for the money. I had to sell mine as I needed cash and am sorry I did.
I thought I saw that laptop configured with the Ivy bridge I7 3630? listed on Newegg for 50 dollars more.

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to Rifleman
Here's some info and testing on that laptop. Definitely an interesting model.
--
KI6RIT

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
My previous desktop had 4 gigs as well, current has 8. I'd consider 4 to be the ideal minimum for Windows 7 (2GB bare minimum), and I'd assume Windows 8 to be the same way. Fortunately most have at least 4 with 6 or 8 in quite a few as well so RAM isn't really an issue then.

One of the laptops I came across used a dongle for ethernet/VGA (both ports in one dongle too it looked like). That's one thing that would turn me off from a laptop. Sure, you're probably going to be on WiFi 99% of the time but I still plug in when I have large file transfers I want to do and dongles just piss me off (and are one more things to lose or get broken).

As for USB, you can always use a hub if you have a need for more devices (I'd suggest a powered hub if you have a lot of devices). But I understand wanting more onboard ports too. If you have 4 devices you use, and the laptop only has 3, you could carry a hub with you or just find a laptop with 4 ports and not have to carry anything else. Though if you have more than 4 devices to use at the same time (possible but doubtful) then you're gonna need a hub anyway so finding one with one extra port isn't that big of a deal then.

An SSD + HDD setup would be good. An SSD would be better for battery life honestly. I'd spring for an SSD over extra RAM if you had to choose between them. Speaking of battery life, you may need to look for more detailed (manufacturer) specs but for good battery life, a 9-cell battery is usually the go-to choice. A 6-cell would be "standard" for me and I would not go lower.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

1 recommendation

reply to Rifleman
I came across that one too. It's more than I want to spend but it sure is nice. I too was a little apprehensive about the CPU but that GPU sure is sexy looking

MSI is a good one for sure and would be good to do games and other GPU intensive tasks on. I do have a desktop that I do that on though. My laptop is more for general computing when I'm not near my desktop (in the living room, laying in bed, etc). Thing is, my current laptop is capable for my current needs, but it is a bit long in the tooth. Of course if I HAD a laptop I could game from I might use it for that but I don't NEED something like that. I'm torn basically lol.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to JoelC707
I am currently living with 4 gigs on my desktop, so even 6 gigs will be cool, though 8 is better, and plenty. Hard drive anything more than 320 is good, I saw one system for 550 that had an SSD *and* an HD, I would have jumped on that I guess.

The one I posted as 4 total USB, 4 is definitely better than the usual 3.

I need enough battery for class time, a couple classes in a day. So I figure 4 hours is good, 5 or 6 is great.
--
Join Teams Helix and Discovery. Rest in Peace, Leonard David Smith, my best friend, you are missed badly! Rest in peace, Pop, glad our last years were good. Please pray for Colin, he has ependymoma, a brain cancer, donate to a children's Hospital.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to george357
Thanks! That's one I've come back to more than once. Good to see someone else recommend it, makes me feel better coming back to it lol.


Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a
reply to JoelC707
For 1100 this MSI is a great sounding machine. Fast GPU-----the only drawback to me is the CPU
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34152372

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
Since you want battery life, here's a listing of high battery life laptops (it's a little old, Aug 2012): »blog.laptopmag.com/all-day-stron···otebooks

How much on-battery run time are you looking for anyway? 8+ hours? More, less? Since you can get an i5 within your price range I wouldn't look for an i3 or an AMD, personally. The rest of your requirements look good (15ish inch screen, intel CPU). How much RAM and drive space are you looking for? For me I have a file server so individual drive capacity is largely irrelevant.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to george357
Feel free to advise him, I don't consider it hijacking in as much as the information might help me as well.


george357
Premium
join:2009-09-18
Weaverville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to JoelC707
JoelC707 just as an aside I am not sure how signmeuptoo or the mods will feel about hijacking the thread (sorta) but here is what I personally would get with your stated budget of $1000.

»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34314005

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
reply to signmeuptoo
I'm in the same boat you are but I've got a bit more to spend (I'd like to go no higher than $1000). I was going to post a similar question but figure the answers will be the same for me lol.

My current laptop is an Acer Aspire 5315-2326 and I've had good luck with Acers and bad luck with HPs. Every HP/Compaq I've had myself or know from friends have had several problems. Yeah I know it's anecdotal evidence but I personally steer away from HP/Compaq. Beyond that I have no issues with any other brands.

Here's what's on my criteria so far:
i5/i7 or AMD APU (prefer i5/i7)
1920x1080 resolution

Those two items alone start out my list from Newegg at $650 which puts it out of your budget. Most of that is because of the resolution I picked. I'd prefer the higher resolution but even the 1366x768 would be comparable to the 1280x800 my current laptop has.

With Windows 8, you'll really appreciate a touchscreen. You can find ones with a touch screen within your price range but just keep in mind, you get what you pay for so the touchscreen won't be the best of the bunch. Personally I'd probably reinstall Windows 7 if I didn't have a touch screen though I've yet to actually try Windows 8 myself so /shrug.

Criteria I'd like to see but not required:
Blu-ray (I have a slim USB Blu-ray drive so this isn't really required and means I don't even need an optical drive for that matter)
Touchscreen
8GB RAM (minimum 4/6 GB)
Quad core (dual core would be minimum)
17" screen (15ish minimum)
Dedicated GPU (still debating this one, HD4000 graphics are pretty good usually for WoW which is the most intensive thing I would do on it and would be better for battery life)
SSD (I could easily replace this myself later on too)


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
reply to kingdome74
what things are on your list. What things do you suggest for MY list? Thanks!