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Which laptop to choose?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by timelord726, Jul 9, 2005.

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  1. timelord726

    timelord726 Thread Starter

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    Hello everybody! This is my first post here and I'm looking for some advice. I'm a student looking for a laptop. I need it to be cheap, i.e. $800 or less, but also have a good feature set. Reasonably fast, with some memory (may upgrade later) is a must. I also need (or really really want) a good video card as I'm planning on running games on it (newer games, but I don't care if I have to lower the settings ridiculously to get it to run at a reasonable speed).

    I'm currently looking at two laptops for sale at CompUSA. Could someone tell me which of these they would recommend? (Unfortunately I can't post links to CompUSA's site for specs, but I have provided the product codes so you can try and find them yourself! I would appreciate the effort!)

    Acer Aspire AS3502WLCi - CompUSA Product Code: 319907
    Toshiba Satellite A85-S107 - CompUSA Product Code: 328883

    I'm leaning heavily towards the Toshiba because of the ATI Radeon graphics card it has. But looking more closely, the Acer is an all-around better system and for $100 cheaper! It's really the graphics card that's making me think twice. Is there any way to upgrade the graphics card in the Acer? Or should I just go with the Toshiba and upgrade the memory and deal with the other features it may or may not have?

    Or does someone else have an idea as to another laptop I may be able to get with a similar price range and feature set?

    I really appreciate all the help, guys! Thanks much!
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Pretty much the video card you get in the laptop is the one you will be stuck with for the life of the laptop. While some laptops do allow the video card to be upgrade, generally those that have an ATI or Nvidia chip with its own memory(not shared), its not really done much as its hard and expensive to do so.

    I would not recommend an Acer. Toshiba's I would recommend. You may also want to look into a company called Averatec, they make decent laptops at decent prices.

    You're also asking a lot. $800 for a laptop that you want to use for gaming. I don't think you'll find something acceptable for gaming in that range. Your Toshiba is a very basic laptop, only 256Mb of RAM and a 1.4Ghz Celeron M processor. I'd be thinking more along the lines of 512MB of RAM, a Centrino 1.73Ghz processor, and a maybe a Radeon 9600 mobility with 128MB of dedicated RAM to get good gameplay for modern games.
     
  3. prunejuice

    prunejuice

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    Why do people game on laptops?


    ...shakes head....walks away....
     
  4. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Indeed, many laptops are tortured to death by gamers.
     
  5. inuyasha320

    inuyasha320

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    my dell inspron 8600 laptop overheated while playing battlefield 1942

    when it comes to gaming, don't go dell

    i don't really use it anymore, i gave it to my brother.


    the cpu on the toshiba will hold you back when it comes to games.

    the video card is also not too good.

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1161234&Tab=0&NoMapp=0

    my teacher brought a refurbished laptop and has had it for over 5 years, brings it to school all the time no problem
     
  6. inuyasha320

    inuyasha320

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    ATI Mobility RADEON 9000 wont run any new games.

    better to get something faster then see if the video card can be upgraded

    the radeon 9000 will be kinda like a geforce 2 just slower because it is made to be protable
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    The Radeon 9000 would be better. The IGP320M is based on the even older Radeon 7000/VE chip and always uses system RAM whereas most if not all Radeon 9000 chips have dedicated memory.
     
  8. timelord726

    timelord726 Thread Starter

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    Thank you all for the responses, I appreciate you taking the time. Unfortunately $800 is really my price limit and even that is REALLY pushing it. Like I said, I'll take what I can get, and I'm not using the laptop exclusively for gaming. But a nice way to kill time on it would be great. Anyway, I will look into what people have posted and attempt to make a decision. Thanks again!

    Feel free to continue writing in if you have any more suggestions, questions, comments, or anything at all.
     
  9. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I use an Averatec laptop, you can get a pretty decent one with 512mb memory, and a DVD writer for around $800 if you shop the deals.
     
  10. timelord726

    timelord726 Thread Starter

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    Right now I'm looking at a refurbished Gateway on Tiger Direct. I've heard really bad things about even the simplest of games on Averatec's laptops. What are some good sites to look at for laptop deals?
     
  11. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    I wouldn't buy a refurbished laptop on a bet, and I SURE wouldn't buy one from Tiger Direct! :rolleyes:
     
  12. timelord726

    timelord726 Thread Starter

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    Don't worry, for me "looking at" hardly means I'm going to buy it. But what's wrong with Tiger Direct? I've heard nothing but the most fantastic praise about their site.
     
  13. DoubleHelix

    DoubleHelix Banned

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    TigerDirect has a pretty good rating here:
    http://www.resellerratings.com/seller1983.html

    I don't see anything wrong with refurbished computers as long as the reduction in price makes it worthwhile, and the product still includes a good/full warranty. Dell, for example, has a great selection of refurbed units in its outlet, and they all come with the same warranty as new computers.
     
  14. timelord726

    timelord726 Thread Starter

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    Well, I finally settled on an off-lease IBM for only $500 on Tiger Direct. Not the best computer in the world, surely, but it will work for me and leave me money for other things. I thank you all for your input!
     
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