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Help Buying a Laptop for College; CPU's, HDD speeds, batteries?


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#1
kwasi

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So I'm getting a laptop for college, and I have no idea what I need! Basically which brands are good? And what hardware specs should I look for? Or if you know of any specific deals you like feel free to post them.

Just to give you a little insight on the desktop I currently use, here's some basic specs:
Pentium 4 3.4 GHz
2.50 GB RAM (Two 1 GB's and two 256 MB dual channeled)
74.5 GB Hard Drive

Basically I'm used to garbage compared to what most of you are probably have. So I'd be happy with any upgrade, I just want something that won't break and potentially be useful if I'm ever required to use any big software while at college.


Thanks in advance,

Michael

Edited by kwasi, 26 May 2012 - 10:17 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Please provide your maximum budget for us to work with.
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#3
kwasi

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At this point I don't have a definite budget, I don't know the market well and I need one that meets my needs.

Just an upgrade from what I already have (which gives me no problems) that can meet the requirements of modern tasks. I will not be playing the latest big game in my spare time.
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#4
phillpower2

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Strong points to look for when choosing your notebook are 1: a fast processor. 2: a HDD with plenty of storage space, preferably a 7200rpm type. 3: 8GB of Ram to get the best out of W7 64-bit. 4: a mid range video chip. 5: a screen larger than 15" that will allow for multi tasking.

Hard to know what to suggest without knowing your budget but here are 2 to consider http://www.tigerdire...9664&CatId=4939
http://www.tigerdire...4415&CatId=4939

Alternatives http://www.newegg.co...N82E16834230265
http://www.newegg.co...N82E16834215259
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#5
kwasi

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Thanks, well I've been doing some research and I'm thinking around $600.

What do you think about this one? http://www.bestbuy.c...1&skuId=4815065 It comes with office which is something I think I'd need. And I know I cant get a student discounted office for $99 so if the computer was around $500 that'd be fine. What I don't know is the AMD A8 processor that's in that one good enough? How does it compare to i3 and i5 being 1.6 GHz?

Or anything other suggestions now with that price range?

Edited by kwasi, 24 May 2012 - 05:28 PM.

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#6
phillpower2

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Not a bad choice IMO but I have added a couple of points for you;

Special Offers:
• AntiVirus & Office Included:See How They are giving you nothing that you cannot obtain for free yourself.
•Free Year of Antivirus: Find Out How Same as above.
• $20 Off In-Home Network Setup: See How Not sure what this covers exactly or indeed if you want or need it.
• 1-Year Antivirus for $19.99: See How Why pay for what you can get for free (see the link to Admins tutorial below)
• Free $20 Gift Card: Find Out How What strings are attached?
• $20 Off Microsoft Office 2010: See How Cannot be used alongside a student discount.
• Free 8x8 Photo Book: Find Out How What type of photo book and do you need one?
• $100 Off 1 Year of Tech Support: See How GTG provides this service for free.
•Free Shipping Common practice and of no use if your picking it up in store.

The notebook alone is a good choice of spec so just ignore the gimmicks and bloatware, one thing that I would do is upgrade the ram to 8GB in the future.

The best I could find http://www.tigerdire...8953&CatId=7000
Free AV software tutorial http://www.geekstogo...yware-software/
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#7
kwasi

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Yeah I'm really not looking too far into those gimmicks, I'm only interested in the computer and Microsoft office that they include with it. So is that a good price for that machine? And again, what about the AMD processor?
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#8
phillpower2

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Yeah I'm really not looking too far into those gimmicks, I'm only interested in the computer and Microsoft office that they include with it. So is that a good price for that machine? And again, what about the AMD processor?

• AntiVirus & Office Included this is misleading you as it does not say that it is Microsoft Office and it may actually be a free software such as openoffice http://www.filehippo...oad_openoffice/ the other point to note is that further down the list it actually states • $20 Off Microsoft Office 2010
You will get Microsoft Office 10 for less with a student discount.

Yes it is a good price and spec.

You will not get a definitive answer between AMD or Intel as they both make very good CPUs and for the main it is a matter of personal preference but the faster the CPU, the more cores it has and the lower the power consumption the better the CPU is, keep in mind that you do not need an 8 core CPU for every day use.
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#9
kwasi

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Well they have a deal running right now where their list of "microsoft premium laptops" (which this one falls under) comes with whatever antivirus, but also more importantly microsoft office 2010.

As for the processor, I was looking more for a real-world translation of what to expect from it. I have read that the AMD A8 has much better integrated graphics when compared to intel's i3's and i5's, but I noticed that the core's run at much slower speeds. I believe this one has 4 cores @ 1.6 GHz, while i3's have 2 cores @ ~2.5 GHz and i5's have 4 cores @ ~2.5 GHz. Do all of these exceed my basic computer functions as well as word processing, listening to music, watching videos, and some lower-end games? Do you have any personal experience with this CPU?

Also, do you know anything about what to expect as battery life? I've been reading about 6 cell and 9 cell batteries and the manufacturer's claims seem to be off when compared to reviews.
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#10
phillpower2

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Well they have a deal running right now where their list of "microsoft premium laptops" (which this one falls under) comes with whatever antivirus, but also more importantly microsoft office 2010.
From your link;

Software package included
With Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash Player and more. Microsoft Office Starter 2010 also included (product key card required for activation; sold separately).


As for the processor, I was looking more for a real-world translation of what to expect from it. I have read that the AMD A8 has much better integrated graphics when compared to intel's i3's and i5's, but I noticed that the core's run at much slower speeds. I believe this one has 4 cores @ 1.6 GHz, while i3's have 2 cores @ ~2.5 GHz and i5's have 4 cores @ ~2.5 GHz. Do all of these exceed my basic computer functions as well as word processing, listening to music, watching videos, and some lower-end games? Do you have any personal experience with this CPU?
I have no personal knowledge of every CPU so I use benchmark sites such as http://www.cpubenchm...h_end_cpus.html
The average notebook is not intended as a gaming machine and the higher end ones that are such as Alienware will cost upwards of $1000.
For everyday use you will not need any more than a fast dual core or quad core and both are capable of running many games on medium settings and the i5 would be a good choice for your intended use.

Also, do you know anything about what to expect as battery life? I've been reading about 6 cell and 9 cell batteries and the manufacturer's claims seem to be off when compared to reviews.
9 cell batteries are better as they hold more charge and how long they will last will depend on what the notebook is used for and how often that the battery is recharged.


The highest A8 CPU is placed 138th on the list http://www.cpubenchm...AMD A8-3870 APU
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#11
kwasi

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Well actually: "When you add any of the Microsoft Premium Collection laptops below to your cart, the Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 product key card and a 1-year subscription of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus 2012 will automatically be added as well, for no additional charge. Plus free shipping."

But thanks for all the helpful info, I should be able to make a decision now.
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#12
phillpower2

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You are welcome :thumbsup:
Good luck and let us know which one you choose and how it performs.
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