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

Laptop, who here has knowledge and experience?

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.

Looking here:

»www.newegg.com/Product/ProductLi···3&Page=2

The 500 to 600 dollar models, what do you favor?
--
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.


george357
Premium
join:2009-09-18
Weaverville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit
Personally I don't plan on buying anything but Acer for the foreseeable future. I bought my first one in 2005 and used until 2010 at which time I upgraded to the one I have now. The original purchase was a 1.6ghz Turion Acer Aspire 5000 series with 1GB Ram and Windows XP, the only thing I have done to this was upgrade to 2GB ram in that entire time. That laptop ran BIONC 24/7 365 until about three months ago when I gave it to my sister-in-law. She uses it daily with no issues whatsoever.

The one I have now is another Aspire, this one is a 7000 series with an AMD 2.1ghz N950 Phenom quad-core, that came stock with 4GB ram I think. I have since upgraded this one to a 128GB SSD and 12GB ram (out of want not necessity). This computer has ran BIONC since day one 24/7 365 in addition to doing video conversion, HTPC duty and all around use. Neither have any issues whatsoever. My next one will likely be an Aspire of current model with an Intel I7 if I get another laptop at all.

I realize this is all anecdotal but it is my experience. I helped a friend pick out a different 7000 series Aspire with an I5 and he has had no issues that I know either.

If I were buying one for myself from your link there it would be this one:
»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34215662

--
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Cancer Cures Are Just A Crunch Away


Scilicet
Spaced Out
Premium
join:2005-04-11
Aurora, CO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Vonage
reply to signmeuptoo
said by signmeuptoo:

I am thinking a Dell or Asus are best choice.

If it is a choice between Dell or ASUS, go with the ASUS. Just my opinion.


PeteC2
Got Mouse?
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-20
Bristol, CT
kudos:6
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to signmeuptoo
Well, I know that this is not the first time I've posted something similar to this but for what it is worth here goes:

Buy the notebook with the best combination of features that you are looking for, at the best price. Period.

There is no qualitative difference in notebook "brand names" and has not been for some time now.

They are all built in China, many of the top name brands at the very same facility.

To say that a Lenovo, Acer, HP, Sony, ASUS, Toshiba is a "better" brand than another simply flies in the face of the facts.

They all use either an Intel or AMD CPU. Hard drives, SSDs, ram, LCD screens, mainboards, batteries, et al come form the same handful of manufacturers. About the only exception is that some brands may support mainboard firmware updates better than others.

The only point of difference is price. A higher end Acer is better than a lower tier Lenovo...or Dell, and of course, the reverse is equally true.

Product support is universally sketchy...check any of the notebook user forums.

The one difference that I do think is relevant is the actual "feel" of the unit. I would never recommend buying any model without getting your hands on it, and seeing if it feels right to you. Go to a local B&M such as Staples or Best Buy, and at least check it out, even if you then buy one on-line.

Singmeuptoo, at your price range, an i3 is of course most common, though you may get a good buy on an i5 equipped lappie. Personally, the Intel i3 is more than enough cpu for most purposes, and if it came between an i3 model with more features than a comparably priced i5 notebook, then I'd probably go with the i3 model.
--
Deeds, not words


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to signmeuptoo
How about this one?

»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34216383

Add $80 for 2 year warranty for $630 total.

You want at least an i5.

It has Intel HD4000 which are is good for graphics.

Not sure how long battery would last in that unit, it's 45-watt hour.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
That one seems ok. Unfortunately, I probably don't have the luxury of going around test driving models, as I have no wheels. There are a couple places maybe.

I can imagine two issues that would make me unhappy: The feel of the keyboard making typing unpleasant, and something I experienced once: The touchpad, where when I typed, the cursor kept jumping as I was wresting my palm. Drove me crazy, but it wasn't my laptop.
--
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
reply to J E F F
How about this one: »www.staples.com/Lenovo-Ideapad-Z···t_984631

In any event, I don't have my refund yet...


george357
Premium
join:2009-09-18
Weaverville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter
said by signmeuptoo:

How about this one: »www.staples.com/Lenovo-Ideapad-Z···t_984631

In any event, I don't have my refund yet...

If I was not bias toward Acer, I would have no problem with this computer. Looks to me like a good setup for the money. If I understand my previous research Lenovo is a respectable brand if that means anything.
--
malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Cancer Cures Are Just A Crunch Away


J E F F
Whatta Ya Think About Dat?
Premium
join:2004-04-01
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Rogers Portable ..
reply to signmeuptoo
I have no issues with that computer.

I got the ex (she paid) a Lenovo, and it's been dropped, spilt water on, treated like crap, still working. Solid machines too. I got her unit from Canada Computers, but that means nothing to you.

Again, if you can afford it, extended warranty if not expensive.
--
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough. - Albert Einstein

n_w95482
Premium
join:2005-08-03
Ukiah, CA
reply to signmeuptoo
The main difference between the mobile i3 and i5 is the i5 has Turbo Boost. The i3 tops out at whatever its rated speed is, whereas the i5 will cut power to unused cores and raise the speed of the remaining ones. With the current crop of chips, the boost provided is quite a lot depending on the workload. Having said that, the i3 is no slouch.
--
KI6RIT


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
Oh! So that's it! Thanks for that!


kingdome74
Let's Go Orange
Premium
join:2002-03-27
Syracuse, NY
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
reply to signmeuptoo
This is a bit more but when someone asks about laptops I always chime in a vote for MSI laptops. Part for part you can't find a better computer for the prices. And their customer service is excellent.

»www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a···34152378

Biggest drawback is Win 8.

I own a couple of Asus laptop's too and they've been rock solid for the money. I also have 3 Acer's and no problems at all with them either.
--
#9 beat Notre Dame handily and we play St John's on Sunday.


signmeuptoo
Bless you Howie
Premium
join:2001-11-22
NanoParticle
kudos:5
Oh I can't that that. My limit is 550. My refund is not enough for that. After sales tax, 550 is about 600, and there is shipping. I could maybe do 560, but my limit is pretty tight.


kingdome74
Let's Go Orange
Premium
join:2002-03-27
Syracuse, NY
kudos:5
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS
I was thinking maybe if down the line you should contemplate another laptop just to keep MSI in mind. They make some really nice stuff. Like I said I have some lower end laptops from Asus and Acer and they run just fine. I do prefer Intel over AMD at this particular point. The i3 and i5's are very quick.

How I go about buying a laptop is I make a list of what I want then start researching the different options (CPU, Hard drive, etc), then head to newegg and start checking off my list. Whichever brand has the most check marks at my budget price wins. The last thing I look at is maker unless it's someone I've never heard of then I have to do some extra research.

Good luck!
--
#9 beat Notre Dame handily and we play St John's on Sunday.


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

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


george357
Premium
join:2009-09-18
Weaverville, NC
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter
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


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

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.


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 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.


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

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.

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.

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


Rifleman
Premium
join:2004-02-09
p1a
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.


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!


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.


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