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Based on what I need, which laptop should I buy? Help!


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Showing 1-11 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 10, 2012 7:43:40 AM PST
D. L. Wise says:
I've looked at so many options my head is spinning. I'm not tech savvy so a lot of the specs go over my head. Can someone give me hand?

I'm an author so I use my computer for writing, also for internet, e-mail, and entertainment. I use Skype but I don't necessarily want a webcam. I'm not a gamer so I don't need a powerhouse laptop but I do want something that's fast. Slow loading pages drive me insane.

I'd also like something with a large storage capacity. 1 TB would be super, but I'd accept something smaller like 750 or so. I'd like to be able to take some of my anime videos with me when I travel and I have a sizeable e-library I'd like to download as well. Of course I want a dvd drive of some kind - with write capacity would be best - though I'll mostly be using it to watch dvd's.

Portability is not a huge issue as I don't travel that much so I don't mind if it's not something ultra light in weight. I'd like something with at least a 15 inch screen and I'd even go for a 17".

The laptop doesn't necessarily have to have Word installed, which is what I use for my writing. I have a version of Word I can install myself.

It has to be compatible with a wireless n-type router. My pc, which is set up in an office separate from our house where the router is, is using a D-Link wireless Rangebooster n adapter and I'd like to have the laptop be compatible with the same router. I was looking at an HP model and one of the reviewers said it wasn't compatible with n even though it claimed to be so. Also I've read that HP's have overheating issues so I'm not real anxious to go with an HP.

I've actually preordered this Samsung model: Samsung Series 7 NP700Z5A-S0AUS 15.6-Inch Laptop (Silver),

Samsung Series 7 NP700Z5A-S0AUS 15.6-Inch Laptop (Silver)

I ordered it based on a review a CNET, but I'm wondering if this is more than I need?

I will say upfront that I want something good and efficient that will hopefully last a while, something up to date, at least somewhat stylish (yes, I'm as easily swayed by cosmetics as the next person) and not cheap, as in "I'm buying this to make do because I can't afford anything better," or something cheap that's on the verge of being a dinosaur.

I'm willing to pay that $1250 price but if there's something out there that would be just as suitable for me at a lower price I wouldn't turn my nose up at it.

So, with all that in mind, any suggestions?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 8:29:47 AM PST
WolfPup says:
<<<D. L. Wise says:
I'm an author so I use my computer for writing, also for internet, e-mail, and entertainment. I use Skype but I don't necessarily want a webcam. I'm not a gamer so I don't need a powerhouse laptop but I do want something that's fast. Slow loading pages drive me insane.

I'd also like something with a large storage capacity. 1 TB would be super, but I'd accept something smaller like 750 or so. I'd like to be able to take some of my anime videos with me when I travel and I have a sizeable e-library I'd like to download as well. Of course I want a dvd drive of some kind - with write capacity would be best - though I'll mostly be using it to watch dvd's.>>>

The DVD drive's easy-virtually everything will include a DVD drive that writes DVDs too (although it seems like a lot of notebook drives are poorly made, but oh well). The hard drive is a bit tougher. Basically 750GB is the practical limit in a single drive bay notebook. I think there is a 1TB notebook drive, but it's a slow 5400RPM drive.

Ideally in a single drive bay system you'd want this:
Seagate Momentus XT 750 GB 7200RPM SATA 6Gb/s 32 MB Cache 2.5 Inch Solid State Hybrid Drive ST750LX003

As it's large, and the fastest mechanical drive around...but practically that means you'd probably have to buy it yourself and swap drives. But at any rate, you'd at least want a 7200RPM drive, which limits you to 750GB except in many 17" notebooks with two drive bays.

<<<It has to be compatible with a wireless n-type router. My pc, which is set up in an office separate from our house where the router is, is using a D-Link wireless Rangebooster n adapter and I'd like to have the laptop be compatible with the same router. I was looking at an HP model and one of the reviewers said it wasn't compatible with n even though it claimed to be so. Also I've read that HP's have overheating issues so I'm not real anxious to go with an HP.>>>

HP used to be less reliable than some brands, but in recent years in Consumer Reports they've been good, just bunched around with Apple and the like. Virtually anything should support N, but there are different implementations of N with different numbers of antennas and the like. If it's really important to have as fast wifi transfer speeds as possible, then you may have to go to a system that lets you explicitly configure it with a three antenna setup, or else use an external adapter. For myself personally...well, I hardly ever use wifi on a PC, but the cheaper wifi solutions are fine for me since they're still faster than a typical internet connection anyway.

<<<I've actually preordered this Samsung model: Samsung Series 7 NP700Z5A-S0AUS 15.6-Inch Laptop (Silver)>>>

Seems like it's kind of overpriced. You can get a better GPU than that in cheaper systems, and you can't update the drivers well on a system with an Intel CPU and AMD GPU anyway. And the hard drive is probably 5400RPM...you'd probably want to grab that second gen 750GB Seagate Momentus XT to replace it, or at least get some normal 7200RPM drive.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 8:34:07 AM PST
WolfPup says:
I forgot to mention, if you want Blu Ray like I do, that's a bit harder. Probably easiest to get it in a system you configure from a manufacturer, like HP, Dell, or Sony, as unfortunately there are still a lot of prebuilt systems that lack it.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 8:46:05 PM PST
Dark Ariel7 says:
Gentlemen i believe i have found the solution.
the HP dv6-6c50us
HP dv6-6c50us (15.6-Inch Screen) Laptop
From all the reviews of brands as whole hp comes in at the top 3.
this hp has 750 GB hard drive, 6gb ram, Intel i5 up to 3.1ghz, Blu-ray drive (read only), 6 hour battery life and is wireless n compatible.
in short it is fast stylish and moder, came out 2012.
as for the extra hard drive mentioned most people agree that unless you game or design you don't really need the extra boot to 7200.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 10:08:02 PM PST
WolfPup says:
Hard drive speed doesn't really have anything to do with games. It mostly helps with loading programs and intial OS load. There's a huge difference between 5400RPM drives and 7200, and between 7200 and the Momentus XT hybrid drive and/or a quality SSD.

With price difference between them miniscule, there's no particularly good reason to go with a 5400RPM drive, unless you absolutely positively have to have the largest notebook drive available, as 7200RPM drives typically lag one or two sizes behind 5400RPM drives.

A 5400RPM drive will of course get the job done fine for the basics, save for waiting a bit longer, but the price difference is just so close that they're really only ever used on low end systems.

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 6:11:31 AM PST
R. Helene says:
is there a laptop with 7200 RPM and a dedicated graphics card for less than 800 dollars? I still havent found one.. and it needs to be an i5.
any ideas?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 6:49:31 AM PST
WolfPup says:
That should be pretty easy. I'm sure you can easily configure that from HP or Dell.

What do you want it for though? For a lot of uses, in that price range AMD's A series CPUs would be much better.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 7:04:17 AM PST
R. Helene says:
why would it be better?
I use it a lot so i want a fast processor. 2nd gen i5,num.keypad, min 500GB HDD 7200rpm and dedicated graphics, these are the main specs I want. and less than 800 dollars. didnt see anything on Dell with these specs.
Found a HP Probook but HDD is 320 GB...

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 7:11:24 AM PST
WolfPup says:
What do you want it for though? I'd guess an HP Pavillion would be your best shot. If you do anything much with the GPU, you'll want one with an A series CPU from AMD though, as you'll be able to update the drivers without strange issues, while the Intel CPU + AMD GPU setup can be finicky on Sandy Bridge.

Posted on Feb 21, 2012 8:04:18 AM PST
R. Helene says:
sorry im not so technologically inclined lol, saw an HP probook with my specs but the HDD is only 320GB. i use it for watching, downloading, casual games, office etc..
But I still want the best value for the money :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2012 8:15:35 AM PST
WolfPup says:
Okay, you know honestly I think AMD's fastest A8 CPU even without a dedicated GPU would probably be fine from the sound of it (it's got an integrated GPU, but it's a good 10x faster than like Intel's garbage integrated video).

Personally I'd say check Techbargains for coupons for like HP or whatever, and I think HP's DV6z or DV6t would fit you pretty well, and could easily come in under $800.

Starting in April we should start seeing systems with both AMD and Intel's newer CPUs in them, so you can get even more for your money probably starting in April through June as systems get updated, but still a DV6z (or t if you really want to stick with Intel) should be just fine for everything you said. If you got with an A series CPU though I'd bump it up to the fastest available, as it's only like $70 or something to go from like a 1.5GHz A6 to a 2GHz A8, which IMO is well worth the extra money! My concern with Intel right now is just that people are having a lot more driver issues-difficulty getting AMD or Nvidia's (as the case may be) drivers installed on systems with Intel CPUs. I guess Dell's XPS line would probably work okay for you too though.
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Discussion in:  Laptop forum
Participants:  4
Total posts:  11
Initial post:  Feb 10, 2012
Latest post:  Feb 21, 2012

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