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I work at a big-box retailer, and we've recently cut the prices of an Acer S3 Ultrabook. We got a bunch of them for Black Friday this past year, and we've sold very little of them. They had been originally $628 and then cut to $395 a few months back, and have been cut again to $278. The laptop has a 1.6 GHz Core i3 (Sandy Bridge), 4 GB RAM (soldered to the motherboard, apparently), a 320 GB HDD, and a 13.3" 1366x768 LED screen, powered by Intel HD 3000 graphics. I also believe it has two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI output.

 

My current laptop is an old Dell from 2008. I used it all the time in school, but ever since I graduated, I rarely ever use my laptop; I really have no need for it, because I'm always in front my desktop, but it when I do use my laptop, it seems really sluggish compared to my desktop (specs for both are in my signature). Would a 1.6 GHz i3 Sandy Bridge be faster than a 2008-era 1.6 GHz Core 2 Duo just because it's a newer architecture? I'd assume the Intel HD 3000 graphics on the S3 is better at light gaming than the GMA 950 on my old laptop?

 

A few concerns that I have about the S3 are the fact that the RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so I'd be stuck with 4 GB, and that there's no ethernet port. How good are USB to ethernet dongles? As for what I'd be doing with the laptop, it's not anything too strenuous; probably some really light occasional gaming, web browsing, streaming video, maybe Photoshop, and running some virtual machines. For the times that I actually need to use a laptop, would it be worth dropping the $278 for this? Thanks.

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Posted

Looks like the memory can upgrade to 6GB or 8GB from some sites I am reading... I'd say it might be an OK system for the price.. if it was anymore I'd say no with the low res.

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I'd prolly skip that one even though it's a good buy for basic users. compared to your 2008 Dell it would still be an update depending on your full set of uses.

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Looks like the memory can upgrade to 6GB or 8GB from some sites I am reading... I'd say it might be an OK system for the price.. if it was anymore I'd say no with the low res.

Just curious, where did you read that? I can't seem to find any information that mentions upgradability. As far as the resolution, I agree that 1366x768 is a bit low, but like I mentioned, I probably won't be using it that much, especially for things that would require higher resolutions, save for maybe an occasional quick Photoshop session or something like that.

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Posted

$278? That's a good price for an upgrade to your existing laptop. You could wait for more Haswell based laptops to come out/back to school sales for a laptop with maybe slightly better specs.

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The more research I've done, the more I'm thinking this is a pretty good deal. I can't even find any similarly-specced Ultrabooks for even close to this price. I also still haven't found any more definite information about the RAM upgradability, however.

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The Acer has pretty horrible reviews, so it's probably not be worth wasting money on it:

http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/acer-aspire-s3.aspx#

 

They make pretty bottom-of-the-barrel PCs, but then again so does Dell.

 

For around $300, you could probably find a much better used laptop or ultrabook on Craigslist or Ebay.

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Posted

I have an s3. its a nice and light machine. for sub $300 its an excellent deal.

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I ended up getting the Ultrabook today. So far, it's great. I really like the design. The touchpad took a while to get used to, but once I disabled the Windows 8 swipe and multitouch gestures, it usable. It appears to have two separate hard drives, a ~20 GB SSD and then a 300 GB spinning drive. Not exactly sure how Acer has them setup, but I want to blow out the crapware-laden Acer Windows 8 install and put a clean version of Windows 8 on the laptop. There are seven partitions on the drive. Not sure if I want to just start deleting partitions and formatting drives yet.

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