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Advice for buying a new laptop (UPDATED)

2

Comments

  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    My mistake then. When I hear people talk about building a PC, I usually think of that as meaning parting it out as well as assembling.

    the_spyder
  • wubblewubble Member Posts: 3,156
    It's a moot point anyway as he said he wanted a laptop.

    jackjackjoluv
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017

    Are you being deliberately obtuse? I - you, anyone - can give him the list of components to buy. What I said is BUILDING the computer couldn't be simpler.

    Agreed that one of us is being obtuse. It is NOT as simple as plug and play; not by a LONG chalk. The application of connectivity gel when placing a CPU alone makes it almost infinitely more complex than legos.

    I will admit that motherboards today will usually make the seating of the various components idiot proof. That is in no way the same as saying that it is EASY.

    Simply not being able to seat the memory the wrong way does not make it a simple process. It just makes it so you can't seat it wrong. It in no way prevents you from pushing to hard and breaking it it while trying to mount it. Nothing says that you will know which component is not seated properly when your computer won't boot up. Nothing helps you understanding when your computer overheats, that it is caused by the connectivity gel not being properly or smoothly applied or because you improperly mounted your heat sync or because there is a short on the motherboard or because your GPU isn't powered up enough or because one of the memory sims is bad or half a dozen other things.

    Then there's the Bios. For a novice, flashing the Bios can be a tricky thing. Even configuring it properly can lead to performance issues and other problems. Getting the computer to recognize your improperly (or incompletely) formatted drives can be tricky.

    Sure, if everything goes smoothly and nothing bad happens, it is click and play. My experience is that even with someone who knows what they are doing, it can still often take several tries. Not so with legos.

    Providing advice to a computer novice and saying "Putting it together is easy" is not only wrong and miss-leading it is quite dangerous. Once you have done it 5 or 6 times, it might seem easy to someone like you or me. For someone who has never done it before it is anything but easy.

    But this is needlessly off topic. As the OP hasn't chimed in lately hopefully they have what they need and are off looking at their options.

    iKrivetko
  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,426

    This is the cheapest decent one I could find with a quick search

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834314807

    EDIT: newest i5, GT840M, full HD, 8 GB RAM

    Thanks for this recommendation.

    Would this meet the requirements for a game like Pillars? Here they are, for comparison:

    The laptop:
    Intel Core i5 5200U (2.20GHz)
    8GB Memory 1TB HDD
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 840M
    1920 x 1080
    Windows 8.1

    Pillars:
    Minimum
    Processor: Intel Core i3-2100T @ 2.50 GHz / AMD Phenom II X3 B73, Memory: 4GB RAM, Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4850 or NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT, HDD: 14GB free space, OS: Windows Vista 64-bit or newer
    Recommended
    Processor: Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.10 GHz / AMD Phenom II X6 1100T, Memory: 8GB RAM, Graphics: Radeon HD 7700 or NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570, HDD: 14GB free space, OS: Windows Vista 64-bit or newer

    How important is GHz? I notice that Pillars supposedly requires at least "2.50 GHz," but most laptops that I come across (at least, the ones that approach my price range) have less than that.


    Also, would this laptop meet the requirements for Pillars?

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834231337

    Intel Core i5 3337U (1.80GHz)
    4GB Memory 500GB HDD
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    1366 x 768
    Windows 8 Pro 64-Bit
    DL DVD+/-RW/CD-RW


    Or would any of the Dell Inspiron laptops meet the requirements?

    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-15-3551-laptop/pd?ref=PD_Family
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-15-3543-laptop/pd?ref=PD_Family
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-17-5749-laptop/pd?ref=PD_Family
    http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-15-5548-laptop/pd?ref=PD_Family


    Thanks again to everyone here who has contributed.

    JuliusBorisov
  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,426
    Southpaw said:

    Hi Shar,

    The thing is - a good laptop that you'll be able to play some current/recent games and will hold it's own for a while is usually not really going to be below 500$. If I were you, bellow 1000$ is more like it.

    Anyway - those Inspirons you have linked almost all use an internal Intel graphic card = not good for gaming anything above BG2EE.

    A bit of very easy rules-of-thumb for you, to explain what you are looking at, when looking at specs (because you want to play PoE)

    Procesor / CPU : anything with an "i5" or "i7" in it
    RAM : 8GB Period. 4GB isn't going to cut it nowadays. 16GB is better, but 8 is enough.
    VGA / Graphics Card : anything with "nVidia", "GeForce" or a code that starts with G (like GTX 860) "AMD Radeon" is a second option. Stay away from anything that says "Intel" in this row.
    Screen : anything that says "1920 x 1080" or higher numbers. Stay away from numbers smaller than 1080. Plus - if you see "Touch" in there - it's going to be more expensive.

    Those Inspirons aren't really good I'd say. But I worked for Dell as a tech support person many years ago so my opinion is very biased. Don't mind me.
    If I may offer an alternative, try to check Lenovo's "Y40" (bit smaller) or "Y50" (standard size) notebooks. I hear they are good.

    Many thanks for this breakdown - it's very helpful.

    From what research I've done, the laptop that Finneous suggested appears to be the lowest-costing one that satisfies this criteria.

    But how important is GHz, and what should I be looking for with that?

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisov
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,265
    @SharGuidesMyHand Yeah, that's why I suggested it. Of course the situation changes in time, but if you're buying now it doesn't seem like a bad buy. I do agree @Southpaw Acer isn't a premium brand, but that's kind of the point here...

    SouthpawSharGuidesMyHandTJ_Hooker
  • dunbardunbar Member Posts: 1,370
    @SharGuidesMyHand. Thanks for those "rules-of-thumb". I too am computer illiterate and looking to change my computer (albeit from a laptop to desktop) and had been following this this thread with befuddled interest until I came to your comment. Suddenly the huge price variations make sense and I have a much better idea of what to look for.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    @dunbar - well, if in doubt, try asking on the forums :)

  • skinnydragonskinnydragon Member Posts: 110
    Ok going to give my points of view. I actually find PC upgrading a lot easier than Lego but that's probably just the way my mind works. I also agree it's more expensive and scarier to do.

    With regard to cheap computers your worst enemy may be peripherals and unnecessary software. Every peripheral (printer, mouse, graphics card, network card, tv card etc.) will load drivers which take up system resources. The same is true of a lot of software windows comes wth a lot of useless baggage that slows computers down. Skype runs in the background eating resources etc
    It's a good idea to disable the run on startup option for any software you aren't going to run every time and to make sure you exit you're software rather than just closing the window it's running in. Also try not to multi task if you're running a game if the word processor is still running that's memory and processor the game can't usr

  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 968

    Once you have done it 5 or 6 times, it might seem easy to someone like you or me. For someone who has never done it before it is anything but easy.

    I managed to get it right on my first try. "When all else fails, read the manual." These days though I prefer to take it into a shop and have them do it. It is a hassle and you can find some store that will do it for just a small price. With my most recent upgrade, they did it for free as I had spent quite a bit of money on the parts. Before that it cost me all of $50.

  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 968


    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Avoid anything with an Intel graphics chip, they are the worst ones out there. Get either an AMD/ATI or a Nvidia/GeForce.

    jackjackSharGuidesMyHand
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,743
    edited April 2015
    Personally I think if you are looking for a hardcore gaming rig then a desktop is the way to go.

    It also I guess would depend on if you are just looking to use the device for gaming or want portability as well.

    Musigny
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    Belanos said:

    Once you have done it 5 or 6 times, it might seem easy to someone like you or me. For someone who has never done it before it is anything but easy.

    I managed to get it right on my first try. "When all else fails, read the manual." These days though I prefer to take it into a shop and have them do it. It is a hassle and you can find some store that will do it for just a small price. With my most recent upgrade, they did it for free as I had spent quite a bit of money on the parts. Before that it cost me all of $50.

    Agreed it can be done. And it can be done "The first time" you try such an endeavor. However, to say that it is 'EASY as putting together legos. Easier, in fact" is quite a stretch.

    My first outing, I did fine. It took me the better part of a weekend just to get it to fire up, but I ended up with a kick-ass system. My second outing was easier. On my third outing, I ended up with $400 worth of plastic and scrap because of something stupid.

    @SharGuidesMyHand - Personally, I'd avoid anything that Acer makes. My Ex-wife had 2 of them (she bought the second one against my wishes) and both of them were complete dudds. And their tech support such as it is was no help at all. She ultimately had to mail the entire computer in and they sent it back 4 weeks later. It still had problems.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    I agree with @the_spyder on Acer being a bit lower build quality - which is what I've pointed out too. However, I used to have an Acer long time ago and while it wasn't a stellar machine, it did not break on me not even once. However, for any other brand that's better known by their quality (ie Lenovo in my experience), you'd have to pay more. That machine is quite good for gaming, compared to the money you shell out.

    the_spyder
  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 968

    However, to say that it is 'EASY as putting together legos. Easier, in fact" is quite a stretch.

    Agreed. Which is why I now prefer to deal with some shop in order to put my rigs together for me. While the actual connections are pretty much idiot proof, the process itself is a hassle. And you can be prepared to spend a few hours or more at it.

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    I've built all of my systems for the past 10 years (except my current laptop). After the 3rd try, I always purchased my motherboard and CPU pre-assembled. Frying a MOBO and CPU was a VERY expensive lesson.

  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,426
    edited April 2015
    Since several people in this thread have suggested Lenovo, I did a bit more digging and came up with this product:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834318640

    The specs:

    Intel Core i7 4510U (2.00GHz)
    8GB Memory 1TB HDD
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 820M
    1920 x 1080 Full HD
    Windows 8.1 64-Bit

    The Core processor is a bit different than the Acer that Finneous had recommended (i7 as opposed to i5, and 2.00 GHz instead of 2.20), but the remainder appears to be the same. They're currently the exact same price, although the Acer also offers a free upgrade to Windows 10 once that is released.

    What do people here think of the Lenovo? Will it run PoE (even though PoE supposedly requires 2.50 GHz), and should I take it instead of the Acer?

  • wubblewubble Member Posts: 3,156
    My intel celeron in my laptop has 2.16 GHz and it runs fine, I would think your i7 would far outperform that.

    the_spyder
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    I'd rather choose that Lenovo you found, than Acer. (for the price).
    Also - the CPU should be fine. There's other things more important, than GHz (mainly the architecture, internal caches etc... like @wubble says - i7 will be enough)

    the_spyder
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    edited April 2015

    Since several people in this thread have suggested Lenovo, I did a bit more digging and came up with this product:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834318640

    The specs:

    Intel Core i7 4510U (2.00GHz)
    8GB Memory 1TB HDD
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 820M
    1920 x 1080 Full HD
    Windows 8.1 64-Bit

    The Core processor is a bit different than the Acer that Finneous had recommended (i7 as opposed to i5, and 2.00 GHz instead of 2.20), but the remainder appears to be the same. They're currently the exact same price, although the Acer also offers a free upgrade to Windows 10 once that is released.

    What do people here think of the Lenovo? Will it run PoE (even though PoE supposedly requires 2.50 GHz), and should I take it instead of the Acer?

    As others have mentioned, there's more to a processor than just GHz, either laptop's processor will be fine. But the graphics card in the Acer (GT 840m) is significantly more powerful than the processor in the one in the Lenovo (GT 820M). As in 2 to 3 times more powerful (theoretically, just based on raw processing power). Also, the price comparison is somewhat apples to oranges, as the Lenovo is refurbished whereas the Acer is not. Regarding the free upgrade to Windows 10, that is available to all Windows 7/8 users (for the first year after Windows 10 launch), directly from Microsoft, and is not tied to Acer in any way.

    To me it seems that the Lenovo is sacrificing graphics capabilites for extra CPU power that you don't need. Based purely on the specs, I would still go with the Acer.

    Edit: Something to note is that the Acer doesn't have an optical drive (e.g. DVD drive). I can count the number of times I've used my laptop's DVD drive on one hand, but for some it might be important. That being said, it's always possible to buy an external drive if you end up needing one sometime down the road.

    Post edited by TJ_Hooker on
    SouthpawSharGuidesMyHand
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    I agree with @TJ_Hooker , that Lenovo is refurbished. But a quick look at Lenovo's webpage says you can get a completely new one for ~ 630$ or it's smaller cousin (14 inch screen) for ~500$.
    But in that case, I'd rather go for their much more powerful brother http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/lenovo/y-series/y40-80/

    Choices...choices. Just stick to the rules I wrote above and you'll be good. Any of the mentioned computers would be good.
    And one tip - find a store, find the model you like and play with it for a while, to see whether you like the design, it's feel. It tends to be very important in the long run...

    SharGuidesMyHand
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,265
    @Southpaw The important thing to notice is the 820M GPU, which is insufficient.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    edited April 2015
    You want the cheapest/affordable laptop being able to play games and then we're discussing which GPU is a bit better than the other? I don't really think that's the right conversation here.

    Important piece of information - "no Intel graphics"
    Less important - "buy the best graphic card card you can afford ... 840 is better than 820."

    wubblethe_spyder
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    Truth be told... talks about CPUs (processors) and their speed in GHz is kind of archaic now.

    Yes, it used to be important...when the processors were described by a number that ended with 86. And with Pentiums and Celerons. But since the dawn of dual- and multi-core architectures, the speed is secondary, if not tertiary. What is more important, is the internal cache, capability of multi-threading and the internal load-balancing of the CPU cores. And - of course - whether the system can actually utilise all this power.
    Intel made it easy. i3 is not bad, i5 is better and i7 is best.
    Just pick the highest number you can afford.

    wubble
  • wubblewubble Member Posts: 3,156
    And actual quad core is better than pretending to be quad core.

    Musigny
  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 968

    ...although the Acer also offers a free upgrade to Windows 10 once that is released.

    Everybody gets a free update to Windows 10 when it's released. Don't fall for that stupid marketing trick, Microsoft is offering it free to any users of either Window 7 or Windows 8/8.1.

    SharGuidesMyHand
  • SharGuidesMyHandSharGuidesMyHand Member Posts: 2,426
    TJ_Hooker said:



    But the graphics card in the Acer (GT 840m) is significantly more powerful than the processor in the one in the Lenovo (GT 820M). As in 2 to 3 times more powerful (theoretically, just based on raw processing power).

    Thanks for pointing this out - I had (mis)read those numbers and hadn't noticed that they were different.
    TJ_Hooker said:

    Also, the price comparison is somewhat apples to oranges, as the Lenovo is refurbished whereas the Acer is not.

    Is it considered a good or bad thing that something has been refurbished?
    TJ_Hooker said:

    Regarding the free upgrade to Windows 10, that is available to all Windows 7/8 users (for the first year after Windows 10 launch), directly from Microsoft, and is not tied to Acer in any way.

    Thanks for this as well.
    TJ_Hooker said:

    Edit: Something to note is that the Acer doesn't have an optical drive (e.g. DVD drive). I can count the number of times I've used my laptop's DVD drive on one hand, but for some it might be important. That being said, it's always possible to buy an external drive if you end up needing one sometime down the road.

    Thanks for pointing this out too - I don't use DVDs in my laptop much either, but I would still like to have the option for the rare occasions that I do.

    TJ_Hooker
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