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Solved: Buying a new laptop

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by pntbllrspdr, Apr 19, 2010.

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  1. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    I'm buying a new laptop for college and I need some help. I have a $1000 budget and I want to get the best machine possible. I'm not really sure where to start. I'd like to just build my own on Dell.com, but if you have any different suggestions I'd like to hear them. As I come across other questions I'll ask them on here :) Thanks. P.S. If this thread is in the wrong section just move it
     
  2. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Look at ThinkPads for stronger body, no bloat-ware. Gaming ability... pretty much low-end... but with core i5 systems there are some usability, if that matters.

    A T510 (15") with a core i5 starts at $940. The screen is NON-glossy... better for outside. It has a crash-cage so its stronger than most notebooks.

    Working with a client to get a T510 now... $1030, 3GB RAM, 250GB HD, Win7, WiMAX, upgraded Wifi, cam.

    Here you go: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...791A03AF24034A0011B825513BCED&tabname=Gallery

    The SL series doesn't have the crash-cage structure... just plastic (like typical Dell, HP, etc)... glossy screen. They start out at $650 with Core2 CPUs. The look nice and modern, but are nowhere near as tough as the other ThinkPads. IE: they dropped a T400s out of a truck (5 ft drop), something that would damage an SL or most others. Check out the tech specs and such.

    If you want a gaming system... then you'll need to choose something else.
     
  3. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    I just found out my budget is $1200 :D And I think I want to go with Dell, because that's what my family has been using for the past 6 years and we've all been really happy with all their products. Hopefully this link will work showing you the one I've built online: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=dndotw2&c=us&l=en&s=dhs&cs=19&kc=studio-1747

    Any comments about anything there? I'm not really familiar with the i-processors, so a little overview would be great :)

    Edit: Well the link didn't work, so I guess I'll have to post the specs individually.. which I will do in the next post
     
  4. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    PROCESSOR: NEW 2010 Intel® Core™ i5-430M 2.26GHz (2.53GHz Turbo Mode, 3M cache)

    OPERATING SYSTEM: Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English


    MOBILE CONNECTIVITY: No Internal Mobile Broadband (that's only if I wanted to pay for Verizon wireless internet service or something right?)

    HARD DRIVE: 500GB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

    MEMORY: 6GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz

    WIRELESS CARDS: Dell 1501 Wireless-N

    BATTERY OPTIONS: 85 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (9 cell)

    KEYBOARD: Back-lit Keyboard

    HD DISPLAY: 17.3” High Definition+ (900p) Bright LED Display with TrueLife™ and Camera/Facial Recognition SW

    OPTICAL DRIVE: 8X Slot Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)

    BLUETOOTH: Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Internal (2.1)

    VIDEO CARD: ATI Mobility Radeon™ HD 5650, 1GB with TV Tuner
     
  5. TheShooter93

    TheShooter93 Malware Specialist

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    Sounds like a very nice laptop, though I cringed when I saw your choice for a 64-bit OS. While they do allow for more RAM and things like that, there can be a lot of conflicts with software and such while on a 64-bit OS. Especially considering the fact that you're using it for college, you might want to do some research on the topic of 32-bit vs 64-bit.

    But other than that, that sounds like a great laptop that I wish I could own! =D
     
  6. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Those are their consumer notebooks... so the question is this... want something for $600~700 that work... are games important? Or something rugged.

    For gaming and big screen... that Dell should work out, it has the powerful ATI 5670 video card. I'd go with a 2~4GB of RAM with 32bit Win7... for now.

    If you want something tougher, ridged, strong hinges... those bottom end Dells won't handle it.

    Also keep in mind that 17" notebooks get VERY heavy very quickly. Even typical 15" 6lb. notebooks are considered heavy next to a slim 3~4lb 14" model. Yes 17" are more desktop replacements... but if you're going from class to class, it'll get old really quick. Even I wanted a 17"... glad I don't. Takes up too much space on tables... and sometimes I prop my 15" thinkpad on my legs while watching TV.

    Check out the Inspirons, these have stronger bodies: http://www.dell.com/us/en/business/....aspx?refid=laptop_latitude_e5500&s=bsd&cs=04

    Precision is the best they have: http://www.dell.com/us/en/business/...refid=workstation_precision_m4400&s=bsd&cs=04
    $1090 -15", oddly enough - Dell is behind on cutting edge. These are all Core2s. The Precisions are pretty much clones of ThinkPads... but look a bit sharper. Matte (non glossy) screen maybe included with some models... don't know about the liquid protection.

    Either one may work for you... depending on your needs. Portable gaming, get the 17"... doing a lot of transportation... get the Higher end dells or a ThinkPad.
     
  7. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    I just looked into it a little bit. I think I'll probably go with 64 (because that's the only option for that laptop :p) and it seems as though most popular programs and software have already upgraded to 64, and it will allow me to make use of my 6GB of RAM.

    I'm also not really concerned with ruggedness, I'm very careful with my electronics.
     
  8. Compiler

    Compiler

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    The ruggedness is about longevity. Most people are careful about their electronics... but you're going to be in a dorm, in classes in cafes? Whats to prevent someone else from damaging your note book by accident?

    I setup/select notebooks for clients based on their use. In one company, we have various models from $600 ~ $2000. The 13" was almost $2000, its a top end model but very light and compact. The $600 unit is in the conference room and used for general office people in and out of office.

    The questions:
    Are playing games on the notebook important? yes = get the 17"
    Are you going to take this notebook from class to class every day? = Look at a stronger model
    Or, is it going to sit in a dorm room for 90% of the time? Yes = 17" will do

    The difference of 15" > 17" is about 2~3lbs. The keyboard and LCD screens are bigger and heavier, it needs more battery power for the bigger screen - all this means is more plastic and structure to hold the weight which... adds more weight.

    The stronger notebooks means the hinges are tougher, last longer. The body doesn't flex... cheaper notebooks flex which means it bends the motherboard and the body weakens. MacBookPros and ThinkPads don't flex. Are you going to use it outside? Typically, a 15" notebook of today have a 4~5hr battery life (mine is 2 grrrr).

    A month or so back, a guy had spilled tea onto his 2~3 month old notebook. Notebook = dead. $800 gone.
    Thinkpads have channels through the body to handle most spills, it wouldn't have hurt the computer other than keys that may need to be cleaned. I don't know if Dell does something similar on their top end models.

    Good luck
     
  9. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    Yeah I know what you mean, it's a pretty tough choice. I'm a guy that really really likes power and speed lol. My desktop is about 6 years old, so I kinda planned on basically using my laptop as my new desktop. To be honest I don't know if I'll be taking it to college much (I'm living at home 2 miles away). My sister rarely does. She's had her Dell laptop for about 4 years now and it's still in great shape. Games aren't the most important thing to me in the world, but I'll be using this laptop for a very long time and I know I'll want to do something semi graphics intensive in its lifetime.

    I'll keep looking into it, but I think my parents want me to get a Dell, and they're the ones paying for it :)
     
  10. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Ah... brand loyalty... we all have it. Some more than others.

    For what its worth, here is an Idea Pad (check out the gallery) its pretty sharp looking, its a 15" for $950 with even better gaming graphics: http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/...-category-id=536DDAD2272C43B4B4EFE41A7A5D7192

    Nothing special about Dell nowadays... depending on what you get, it could be a good deal... but the pricing goes up quickly with options. If gaming is not needed - get the higher end model. Also, notebooks don't exactly replace desktops. I have 2 notebooks in my home, but its my desktop that gets the most use.

    For $1000, you can have a desktop with a 26" screen for 1920x1200 res. Watching videos would be better than a notebook. Get a good upgraded video card like an ATI 5600 series and up. Get at least an i5 or AMD x4 9xx CPU.
     
  11. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    Another question :) Which processor is better? NEW 2010 Intel® Core™ i7-720QM Quad Core Processor 1.6GHz (2.8GHz Turbo Mode, 6MB Cache) OR NEW 2010 Intel® Core™ i5-430M 2.26GHz (2.53GHz Turbo Mode, 3M cache)? I'm assuming the i7 is better simply because it's higher, but I don't really know lol. Assuming it is, would it better better for me to go with the i7 and 4GB of RAM, or go with the i5 and 6GB of RAM?

    Edit: Another question. Will I be able to upgrade my RAM on a laptop? I know with my desktop I just open up the case and stick some in, but laptop innards aren't very accessible.
     
  12. pntbllrspdr

    pntbllrspdr Thread Starter

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    ^^^ Last question :)
     
  13. Rich-M

    Rich-M

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    I'm with you Compiler, there is nothing Dell makes in a laptop that is even on the same plane as Lenovo.
    Ask any tech. This year alone I have replaced 5 laptop motherboards out right after 1 year warranty was up and of course they won't replace them if it's 30 seconds after warranty.
     
  14. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Refer to the stats on the Dell site on what you can upgrade (how many memory slots). Such info is easy on ThinkPads as their upper end models have 4 memory slots.

    Which CPU? Dunno... that depends on your needs. But likely the i5 dual core would be better for everyday use.

    If you're not gaming or doing serious 3D work, you're not going to notice the difference between 2GB ~ 6GB.
     
  15. Compiler

    Compiler

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    Lenovo's tech and phone support is far better than Dell. I do wish Lenovo wouldn't bother with the $350~450 notebooks... They are just as plain and cheap as Compaq, Acer and basic Dells you see in WalMart. The Idea Pads are sharp looking. But the top-end Dells are quite good. the Dell M4500 do very much a ThinkPad design : http://www.dell.com/us/en/business/...500/pd.aspx?refid=precision-m4500&s=bsd&cs=04

    But on the "Features" page, they say nothing about the contstuction or ruggedness of the design. From what I understand - its like Dell took the Apple MacPro metal body with ThinkPad looks & keyboard and made it their own.

    Rich-M. I configured Dell M4500 and ThinkPad W510 to almost exact stats.

    15.6 Screen AntiGlare 1600x900 / i7-720Qm / 4GB / 320-HD / Quadro880M / Win7-Pro32
    Bluetooth, Camera / FingerPrint reader / DVD-RW / Centrino U-N-6300.
    Notes:
    Dell max out to 4GB, no 64bit option
    ThinkPad has 4GB, but 2 spare memory slots - max out = 16GB.

    Dell Precision M4500 = $1957.00
    ThinkPad W510 = $1734.00

    Dell does have a back-lit keyboard option, which is something ThinkPad really really could use.
     
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