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Choosing A Laptop: Most Bang For My Buck?

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Mint Tea    0

Hey Peeps,

I'm searching for a laptop for legal work this fall. I'd primarily use it for document work but also for simple programming and design, basic XHTML and CSS work. I'd like it to handle movies, streaming, and skype well too. I like big screens (15.6'' and over) but also want something with at least 2.5 hours of battery life.

I have a sponsored budget of up to $1400 and want to get the most bang for my buck. No real preference on the brand. Something in the $1000 - 1400 price range would be great.

My Questions:

1) For my needs, which criteria should I weigh more heavily? That is, should I value the Processor Speed over whether it's a dual or quad core and should I care about the graphics card?

2) Do you know of any laptops in my price range which really stand out, really fit my needs?

I scoped it out and found these options among others:

1) Sony ? VAIO VPCF126FM/B Laptop $1350

Intel? Core? i7 Processor 1.73 up to 2.93 GHz

16.4" Display

6GB Memory, 640GB Hard Drive

NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M 1GB Card

2) HP ProBook 4720s - Core i5 430M 2.26 (? 2.53) GHz - 17.3" $1100

4 GB DDR3 SDRAM - 1333 MHz

500 GB - Serial ATA-300 - 7200 rpm

ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4350 512 MB

3) HP EliteBook 8540p - Core i5 520M 2.4 GHz - 15.6" $1250

2 GB DDR3 SDRAM - 1333 MHz

320 GB - Serial ATA-300 - 7200 rpm

NVIDIA NVS 5100M 1GB Card

Feel free to fill me in on your thoughts. Thank you for your time.

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TechFreak:)    5

I would certainly discourage you to buy a laptop from HP ProBook series. These laptops have some overheating problems, and I also wasn't happy with the quality of the LCD display.

Most of currently available laptops will be able to handle your work. If you need it mostly for document work, I would recommend bigger screen.

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amon91    41

You likely won't have to spend half of your budget. Pretty much any computer these days can do the stuff you want it to do, unless you want to consider a MacBook Pro? Seriously it's a great machine if you have the money, which you seem to.

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GeekTwo    0

I would certainly discourage you to buy a laptop from HP ProBook series. These laptops have some overheating problems, and I also wasn't happy with the quality of the LCD display.

Most of currently available laptops will be able to handle your work. If you need it mostly for document work, I would recommend bigger screen.

Avoid Dell while you're at it, they have bad heat problems, and a lot of the tracker-pads these days are really bad quality (using the same single piece of plastic where you rest your wrists, but sunken on to the tracker-pad, the insperon range is really really poor response, and horrible to the touch).

We got a 17" quad core dell laptop in work, and have to keep a small usb fan running at all times pointing at the air intake to stop it from overheating :/

Look up reviews, search forums (neowin being an awesome place to start)

I personally like Acer's latest stuff, it seems to be decent enough build quality for the price.

Let us know what you decide!

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Mint Tea    0

Thank you all for the replies.

I'll dig more into HP Probooks and Elitebooks in regards to overheating. Worth looking in to.

I'm leaning away from Macs for several reasons. Of the people I work with and those in the legal industry, most seem to use PCs. For my price range of 1000-1400, I've seen a lot of Macs with smaller hard drives compared to PCs, 5400 rpm drives as opposed to 7200 too.

My now ancient but trusty Dell Inspiron 6000 is about to hit the 5 year mark. 1 Hard drive replacement, but otherwise lasted me very well. I agree that it does overheat though and I could see the plastic wearing easily on a new one. I have used a fan which has presumably helped extend its life. I need to and will check out Acer tonight, thank you!

If you can think of any other laptops which would fit my needs, let me know!

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peacemf    59

There is a product recall on the Vaio F series.

They say a firmware update will fix it (how very apple), but i'd wait till the community finds out whats wrong......

last thing you want is to buy a dud, like i did with my Vaio FZ series, they will give you a 100 of whatever currency voucher for your troubles :blink:

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Argote    73

Consider the Dell Studio XPS16? I own the previous model (1640, new one is 1645) with the Core2Duo instead of Core i processors.

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primexx    372

if you want quality, get a ThinkPad. you can also look into Asus' offerings, they tend to have some top-notch laptops for a reasonable price. the trickiest thing would be the big screen + battery life combination, if you're going with a juice-sucking machine then you'll probably want to get the 9 or 12 cell battery upgrade (depending on what's offered), or even go with something that can take modular bay batteries.

You likely won't have to spend half of your budget. Pretty much any computer these days can do the stuff you want it to do, unless you want to consider a MacBook Pro? Seriously it's a great machine if you have the money, which you seem to.

he said most bang for the buck.

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Kralik    3

Out of these three I think the first one is the sweetest deal.. but I don't trust Sony for laptops for some reason blush.gif

I'd get Toshiba or Dell.. try Alienware

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deletedxyz    34

Best bang for the buck is the Gateway FX laptop and the Asus gaming laptops found in Best Buy. Nothing can beat it. All of them can play games and handle processor upgrades if you care to future proof it. You can even mod the laptops to add a 1920x1200 LCD. Check out my specs in my signature for more information on my Gateway laptop.

Do not buy an HP, Dell or Sony. Go for a Gateway, Asus or Lenovo. They all are offered for great prices in Best Buy, Tiger Direct and Newegg.

Edit: Just now found out that the Gateway P-7815u sells for around $800. 4GB DDR3 Ram, 2.5+Ghz Core 2 Duo, Nvidia 9800m GTS 1 GB Ram. The newer edition (7908u) has a GTX 260m, which is slightly more powerful and sports new decals. I believe Gateway will be putting out a new refresh with a quad core processor in the coming months that will sell for less than $1300.

You should get around 2.5-3 hours of battery life with the FX. If you mod your processor (by upgrading to a Core 2 Extreme processor), it will halve. You can also undervolt the CPU and increase the GPU clock settings for even more performance. It also has a dedicated member forum with information about mods, troubleshooting issues and others.

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farmeunit    452

Asus or Lenovo are the two I would recommend. You can a lot of laptop for under $1400.

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c3ntury    133

I personally like Acer's latest stuff, it seems to be decent enough build quality for the price.

Acer's problems with the build quality of there products hasn't improved what I have seen.

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deletedxyz    34

Acer's problems with the build quality of there products hasn't improved what I have seen.

Yes, they have. (Gateway is owned by Acer).

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Mint Tea    0

Thank you for the replies, I appreciate it. I am now leaning towards an HP, Asus, or $1300 Gateway if I can find one.

My 3 questions:

-Does Gateway sell only directly through retailers?

-Why not an HP Elitebook: Why do some people see a Lenovo Thinkpad T510 as better than an HP?

- Any suggestions on good HPs or good Asus laptops?

My Responses

peacemf:

Heard about the Vaio recall this past Monday. I?m in the same boat: a bit too risky to get a new one now, despite the great specs.

Argote

1: Dell The Dell Studio XPS16 seems solid for $700 but I want a better one. The Dell M4500 at $1240 seems like a gas guzzler: I can get more for the same money.

Kralik:

2: Toshiba

If I can find one in my range with a significant amount of positive reviews, I will consider it. Ideas are welcome.

3: Alienware is more of a gaming computer for me, solid, impressive, but perhaps out of my league? The Mx15 is real nice: smooth, professional. With an i5 processor, 320GB drive, 1GB card, and 4GB memory upgrade I clocked it at $1630.. a bit overbudget.

I?ll consider Alienware more strongly in 3 years.

Masked Forever

4: Gateway I like Gateways, the NV7901 looks great. In February I was set to buy one, the NV7915u, until my budget doubled to $1400. The highest priced gateway I saw was $1100 ? I can squeeze out more features.

Does Gateway sell only directly through retailers? I didn?t see a ?build your own computer? page, maybe I missed it. I don?t want to scavange 5 websites to find a match for my needs, whether it?s a Gateway, Acer, or Asus.

primexx, farmeunit:

5: Lenovo The Lenovo Thinkpad T510 series is a strong option. Not really a brand I was considering, but they have a lot of good options.

ThinkPad T510 4314 ? $1380

Core i5 540M 2.53 GHz up to 3.03 ?

15.6" screen

4GB DDR3 Ram 1066MHz

500GB Serial 500 GB - Serial ATA-300 - 7200 rpm

NVIDIA NVS 3100M 512 MB

Why not an HP Elitebook: Why do some people see a Lenovo Thinkpad T510 as better than an HP?

6: Asus An Asus G73JH-RBBX05 and Asus G51 JX-X1 at $1200 have better specs than the above Lenovo, albeit with i7 1.6Ghz drives. Asus has a lot of great options too ? but I wish I could directly build my computer on their corporate site. Buying through outside distributers is painful to research.

Any suggestions on good HPs or good Asus laptops?

Thank you all for your input!

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