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Please help me choose (PC, laptop, PS4) (Resolved)


Best Answer phillpower2 , 11 March 2015 - 12:17 PM

Apologies for the delay, not online at all yesterday   For the price the HP Pavilion 15-P142ND offers the best value for money, it will do everything you need now and in the future,... Go to the full post »


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#1
njay

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Hi all,

 

I've been thinking a lot about buying a new setup over the past 6 months. My current PC is decent, but it's going on 6 years, has a few problems (mostly related to a power supply which is too weak for some of the other hardware, thank you manufacturer). I think the hardware is getting a little too old to consider upgrading the system itself.

 

Problem is, the laptops that are in my price range (<€600) are generally don't seem overwhelmingly superior to my current setup. My partner really wants me to buy a laptop, rather than a new PC though, because my PC is a bit of a prominent feature on our desk, which makes working at the desk for people-who-are-not-me an unattractive proposal. 

 

I've had a laptop in the past, but it was rather heavy (think back to laptops in 2005) and it always just sat on my desk. I am planning on going back to school to do a master's degree after the summer or early next year, so I might want a laptop for that (although I got through my bachelor's degree just fine with school computers, paper and a pen).

 

So I'm willing to consider a laptop, but if I want to be able to play games, the price goes up real fast, and so does the weight. I'm not a huge gamer, but I certainly enjoy playing games and I really just don't want to stress out about my computer not being able to handle them, because I play games in order to get away from stress.

 

That's when I thought about buying a PS4. Everything that's made for a PS4 will run on it, so at least I won't have to worry about that aspect. I could buy a relatively simple, light-weight laptop to replace my PC. It can't be a glorified tablet, though, because I do some video editing, photo editing and graphics design. Nothing super intense, and certainly nothing my current computer can't handle, so it wouldn't have to be more powerful. Thing is, the PS4 is not cheap (around €400 with a game), and neither are the games (€60+ for new titles?!). Buying a PS4 and a light-weight laptop might be a bit of a dent in my budget, but at least I won't have to buy both at the same time.

 

Is there any way you could help me decide what's best?

 

Here are my current computers specs:

  • 4GB RAM, Pentium Dual Core E5300 @2.6 GHz

 

And here's an overview of the options and their pros (+) and cons (-)

Options:
 
1. Desktop computer
+ Good for both gaming and every day use
+ Large screen 
- Cannot be taken to school
- Takes up a lot of space on the desk
- Significant other disapproves
 
2. Mid~high range laptop
+ Runs games OK
+ Can be taken with you
- Somewhat bulky to transport
- High price 
- Not all that much of an upgrade compared to current system (or maybe I'm mistaken?)
 
3. Entry level laptop + PlayStation 4
+ Light weight
+ Meets both every-day laptop needs and casual gaming needs
+ Don't need to buy both at once (not as much of a financial hit)
- Upper end of the budget
- PS4 games are very expensive
- PS4 takes up extra space
 

 

Thank you in advance!!

- nj


Edited by njay, 08 March 2015 - 05:37 AM.

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#2
phillpower2

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Hello nj,

 

For me it would be a new desktop now and a new but basic notebook further down the line if you need one, a desktop computer is more versatile and will not cost as much to get you the hardware that can provide the performance you require for gaming, video editing, photo editing and graphics design etc, the notebook could be taken to studies and the HDD backed up to your desktop HDD/s as and when required.

 

An average notebook has limited performance and upgrade path which includes data capacity storage, many new ones do not have a DVD drive to reduce costs and this can be a problem for loading up software and in particular if you need to reinstall Windows.

 

A games console is exactly that, a games console, they are expensive as are the games as you have pointed out + apart from giving you a break from any future studies you may undertake a games console will not contribute to your Masters.

 

Let us know your overall budget and we will see what we can come up with.

 

BTW: A mid tower case will not take up as much room as a full tower but to give us an idea of the size of the present computer can you post some details for us, if a brand name post the model name and number etc.


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#3
njay

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Hey Phill,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

It's true that the PS4 won't contribute much in terms of productivity, but while your PC + simple laptop idea doesn't sound bad, I'm afraid it might be a little too costly. Plus it doesn't solve the space issue on the desk. It's not really the tower that's in the way, it's permanently having a large screen, speakers, a Wacom tablet, a mouse and a keyboard on there which makes it impossible for someone else (i.e. my partner) to sit down with books and papers and a laptop. It's kind of become my desk by default, because of that, which we're trying to solve.

 

My budget would ideally be €600, but I could stretch it up to €800 if really necessary, but I'll also be in the market for a new washing machine some time in the near future...

 

I didn't know about the lack of DVD compatibility on many new laptops. That's pretty surprising. Do they just not have a CD drive at all? Definitely something to take into consideration, although I must admit that, if I'm not playing any games on the laptop, I won't be needing a CD drive very often. 


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#4
phillpower2

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Hi nj,

 

Update taken on board so a change of tack, a mid range notebook with at least an i5 processor, 8GB of Ram, a decent graphics solution, DVD burner, 17" screen and preferably a video port that is compatible with your TV, HDMI for example, this will push your budget, an example of the kind of spec here let us know which country you will be making the purchase so we can take a look online for the least expensive good spec notebook.

 

Edit to add;

 

Smaller screen, very good spec and in between your min and max budget is the Lenovo here


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#5
njay

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Hi Phill,

 

Thanks again! Funny that you suggested the HP Pavilion, my partner got a slightly cheaper 15 inch model earlier this year, and I've been looking at the same product range as well. I seem to have a hard time finding the exact same specs (especially on the Lenovo -- they seem to have 15 billion variations) from a supplier in the Netherlands. I live in Belgium but being Dutch, I refuse to use the stupid Belgian/French keyboard layout ;-)

 

So, your choice seems to be a mid-range, medium spec laptop? That was my first choice as well, for the longest time. But they're neither terribly portable, so a bit of a strain on the shoulders (I'd be taking public transport or my bicycle to school, rather than my car, given the inner city location), nor do they have the greatest graphics cards (usually on board graphics). Am I wrong to assume that I won't really be able to play newer games on medium settings?

 

This is why, over the past few days, I've been thinking about getting a lower spec laptop and a PS4. Sure, I'd end up closer to €750 in total, but I want to avoid having a computer that's perhaps unnecessarily powerful for the type of graphic design, photo and (basic) video editing that I do (my current set-up does it all with ease), while still being too weak to get much enjoyment out of the gaming experience. 

 

Like I said before, I'm not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy playing, and I haven't been able to for a while due to my current computer crashing due to a weak power supply, so I don't want to invest in another disappointing experience, but of course I don't expect to get a high-end gaming rig that can play all the latest games with my budget either. 


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#6
phillpower2

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Hi nj,

 

You have a catch 22 situation unfortunately as for the sort of portability that you would like only something such as a netbook would do, these will have nowhere near the spec required for gaming or your planned video editing etc, very few if any have a DVD drive either and this has caused many people grief when they have had problems with Windows and needed to either do a repair or fresh installation.

 

If you do decide on a lower spec notebook and a PS4 for gaming be sure that the notebook has at least 8GB of Ram as that is still the most cost effective all round improvement that you can make when upgrading, it will be more than adequate for your light video editing usage + 8GB of Ram is widely accepted as the sweet spot for a 64-bit OS such as Windows.

 

FWIW, I found a Lenovo Z50-75 in the Netherlands here while your English is exemplary my Dutch is sadly lacking :(  I was able to make sure that all required specs were present.

 

If you happen across a less expensive notebook post a link and we can take a look for you, it will be after work tomorrow now though as I have an early start in the morning.


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#7
njay

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I like the Z50-75 you posted, but I think I'd rather spend a few bucks more on better graphics if I do go down that route. Here's (yet another) version of the Z50-70 on Lenovo's website that's €699 with a dedicated graphics card (left column): http://shop.lenovo.c...o/z-series/z50/

 

Would it be worth the extra money, you think?

 

Similarly, there's this slightly cheaper HP Pavilion (I went for 15 inch, for portability) which looks pretty similar in terms of specs (click 'technische details' for more info): http://store.hp.com/...pt=ABH&sel=PCNB

 

Only problem is that it looks identical to my partner's laptop :D  -- [edit: nevermind, it only has 4GB RAM]


Edited by njay, 09 March 2015 - 04:26 AM.

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#8
phillpower2

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Your choice of Lenovo but only due to the 500GB HDD spec at my link as opposed to the 1TB at yours  :)

 

Mine also had a dedicated video chip but yours had a larger HDD  :thumbsup:


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#9
njay

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I just went to the store and saw this one, it's a little cheaper (€70) but it seems comparable to the last Lenovo I posted, except that this one runs on an AMD A10. It also has more RAM than the Lenovo. I've read it's not as good as the i5, but as AMD makes its own graphics card, do they maybe work together better? Or would it be better to stick with the i5?

 

[Edit: I could have sworn I'd included a link to the actual thing, but I guess not. Here we go: http://www.mediamark...html?langId=-11 ]


Edited by njay, 09 March 2015 - 04:12 PM.

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#10
njay

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Sorry, can't edit my previous post on the phone interface.

Seems like the Lenovo you posted also has an AMD chip but a better one than the HP from my latest post. The 500 GB as opposed to the 1TB HDD is not a problem for me, I don't necessarily need more than 500 GB
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#11
terry1966

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use this site to compare the performance of the graphics and cpu options your looking at :- http://www.notebookc...Tech.123.0.html,

 

personally i think so far the best option has been this :- http://store.hp.com/...pt=ABH&sel=PCNB

 

graphics

 

Performance

According to our benchmarks, the GeForce 840M is about 30 percent faster than the old GT 740M and just slightly behind a GeForce GT 750M (DDR3 version). Many games of 2013/2014 can be played fluently in WXGA resolution (1366 x 768) and medium or high detail settings. However, very demanding games such as Crysis 3 or Battlefield 4 will require lower resolutions and/or details.

http://www.notebookc...M.105681.0.html

 

cpu

 

Performance

Thanks to its improved architecture, the Core i5-5200U ends up 5 - 15 percent faster than the slightly lower clocked Core i5-4200U and matches the Core i5-4300U (both Haswell). Thus, the CPU has sufficient power for office and multimedia purposes as well as more demanding applications and multitasking.

http://www.notebookc...r.127831.0.html

 

4gb of ram is good enough in my opinion and is also one of the easiest things to upgrade/add more if needed at a later date too, so is not a reason to be put off buying a system in my opinion.

 

:popcorn:


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#12
phillpower2

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✓  Best Answer

Apologies for the delay, not online at all yesterday  :(

 

For the price the HP Pavilion 15-P142ND offers the best value for money, it will do everything you need now and in the future, no need for any costly upgrades means the price that you pay now is all that you need to pay.

 

One + that the i5 has over the AMD A10 is the maximum speed of the compatible Ram which is 1600MHz as opposed to the AMD maximum of 1333MHz, no big concern for you as the AMD is quad as opposed to dual core which evens the score.

 

In addition to the HP and CPU information above, the A10 CPU does have integrated video capability but the HP at your latest link also has the DX12 standard Radeon R7 M260.

 

Intel® Core™ i5-5200U

 

AMD Quad-Core A10-Series APU for Notebooks

 

RADEON R7 M260


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#13
njay

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use this site to compare the performance of the graphics and cpu options your looking at :- http://www.notebookc...Tech.123.0.html,

 

personally i think so far the best option has been this :- http://store.hp.com/...pt=ABH&sel=PCNB

 

 

4gb of ram is good enough in my opinion and is also one of the easiest things to upgrade/add more if needed at a later date too, so is not a reason to be put off buying a system in my opinion.

 

:popcorn:

 

Thanks for your reply. It does seem to be a good system, but at €699 plus, say, €50 to get it up to 8GB stretches the budget a little further than I would like. I initially set out to stay around €500, so spending €750 is really pushing it. I expect my washing machine to break down some time this year and we'd also like to Greece in September :D

 

I've indeed been relying heavily on notebookcheck.net; definitely a site to recommend to anyone looking at computers, because they didn't make life easy when it comes to choosing motherboards and video cards... Or any components, really. Unless it's your job/hobby to stay on top of new developments.

 

Apologies for the delay, not online at all yesterday  :(

 

For the price the HP Pavilion 15-P142ND offers the best value for money, it will do everything you need now and in the future, no need for any costly upgrades means the price that you pay now is all that you need to pay.

 

One + that the i5 has over the AMD A10 is the maximum speed of the compatible Ram which is 1600MHz as opposed to the AMD maximum of 1333MHz, no big concern for you as the AMD is quad as opposed to dual core which evens the score.

 

In addition to the HP and CPU information above, the A10 CPU does have integrated video capability but the HP at your latest link also has the DX12 standard Radeon R7 M260.

 

Intel® Core™ i5-5200U

 

AMD Quad-Core A10-Series APU for Notebooks

 

RADEON R7 M260

 

No need to apologize, you've been really helpful and I've been putting off making a decision for about 6 months; it's not like I need to get it tomorrow.

 

My partner's HP Pavilion runs on AMD as well and it seems to perform well enough for what he demands of the machine. This one's higher spec, so it should keep me happy for a little while. I think I might get it. If you or anyone reading this thread happens to run into anything that might interest me in the near future, don't hesitate to let me know. It'll probably be a few weeks before I actually make the purchase. 


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#14
phillpower2

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With your update in mind may I suggest that the week before you plan making the purchase you see what you can find online yourself, post any link/s here and we will take a look then see if we can find any better but less expensive alternatives for you, tech deals are changing daily so keep a regular check on any trusted traders that you prefer.


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#15
njay

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Will do  :thumbsup:


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