Laptop buying advice

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by RedAlert Rescue, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,220
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +11
    Hi,

    I'm looking to buy a lap top somewhere in price between £300.00 & £800.00

    I can''t afford or have any real interest in a Mac - unless someone can persuade me otherwise and i'm not overly interested in a Sony as they seem over priced.

    At the moment i'm leaning towards a HP Pavillion DV6 or DV7 range Laptop.

    I'd like it to be able to do a bit of mild video editing (nothing HD just You tube vids or SD TV).

    So do I need to get an i5 Processor or i7 or would I be OK with a Pentium or i3.

    I was also wondering if I buy an i5 processor would it run Outlook express ? as I know it does not work on Window 7 as such - but I wondered if the stated ability to run Legacy programmes on an i5 processor makes any difference.

    What features have people found super handy to have or missed not having that I need to consider.

    Low end I'm thinking an modestly cheap PACKARD BELL one with Paintshop Pro Element 9 included and an OLD FASHIONED Pentium Processor (the one below the i3) and mid range something like a hp Dv6 i5 or if I could find a decent price an i7 HP DV7.

    Any tips or thoughts would be welcome or suggestions of other manufactures to research.

    I've got an Acer Aspire One Netbook I'm using at the mo and it's perfectly fine if a little slow at loading sometimes on websites but its not so bad as to make me not consider acer for a bigger PC laptop.

    I'm considering 15"-17" sizes good battery life is essential, i'd also prefer a number pad if possible.

    Feedback welcome.
     
  2. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Posts:
    2,338
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +3
    I would stay away from HP. I've owned three (a regular 15 inch laptop, a 13 inch converting tablet (this was far before the , and an hp mini netbook), and I really noticed the build quality has gotten worse and worse.

    My initial laptop was alright but had some issues with a few of the features (such as the volume buttons muting the speakers, the wireless card not working half the time, etc..). Plus, to this day, I cannot get the trackpad to work consistently and I have to restart the system a few times just to get it working right sometimes.

    The tablet that I bought came with a grinding harddrive that I replaced and has always had heat issues (which I believe were the main reason for it running quite slowly in comparison to my other computers (my aspire one netbook ran circles around it)). I opened it up to reseat the heatsink, and it was just a mess of thermal paste under there. It definitely didn't look professionally done, and to make things worse, the bearings on the fan began acting up as well, but you can't just replace the fan, you need an entirely new heatsink unit.

    The most recent hp that I bought (and likely my last) is the hp mini, which I actually bought because you could turn it into a macbook air really easily. Even that little device has had issues though. Random crashes and some apparent heat issues are present here as well. While I believe that some of it may have to do with the fact that I'm running osx on it, similar issues were present before I change it over, so I don't think osx is the culprit (at least not entirely).

    As for suggestions, I would actually say to go with a toshiba. I picked up a toshiba C650D for 300$ earlier this summer and have been very happy with it. It runs cool and doesn't seem to have any issues. It's got about a 6-7 hour battery life on mild use, runs a lot of productivity software like ms office, has a 15.6 inch screen, and (why I liked this particular model) has a number pad. The only thing you won't like is that the c650 model runs an amd chip that has an integrated gpu/cpu combo and as such won't be too powerful. The same style of laptop is available, however, in other configurations and has an i5 (l650) and i7 (l670) edition as well. Both are obviously a bit more expensive than 300$, but should fall within your range.

    The other option I would consider would also be an acer. I've had an acer netbook for a few years and have always been happy with it. The build quality has been pretty good and I haven't had any issues with it acting up. On the other hand, I would recommend staying away from Dell products. My parents have had a lot of battery and power issues with theirs, and the Dell duo convertable tablet I have acts up on me as well.
     
  3. Noizemaze

    Noizemaze Ken

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Posts:
    3,363
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +7
    I own an Asus Ultralight and have been extremely satisfied with performance and battery life. An Amazon search for Asus UL laptop should bring up all the various models.
     
  4. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Posts:
    2,338
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +3

    I've always considered an asus but have never pulled the trigger on one. I can say that their hardware is pretty reliable though, as for the most part the pc's that I build are mostly made up of asus parts
     
  5. Treadshot A1

    Treadshot A1 Or just 'A1' for short...

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Posts:
    7,593
    Trophy Points:
    212
    Likes:
    +66
    Go Asus, it works and i'm doing all my designing on one so you know it can handle a lot of stuff if you configure it right.

    I'd say by now i5 should be the standard (or equivalent other brand). There's no way i'd go back to i3 or Pentium, might as well get a Macbook Air if i wanted to strip myself of processing power and waste money in one go, at least with an Air it'd look good.

    For some mild video editing, all you need is about 4GB of DDR3 ram (I'm running 8, but then again i'm almost always on 3D design programs which crash any computer below 8GB), an i5 processor (I think mine was 2.x GHz, according to the sign) and a decent graphics card. Go for something with either ATI Radeon, or a Nvidia (i think GeForce? Not sure where they are now, i use ATI) graphics card.

    Oh, and make sure to get a wireless mouse if you haven't already. I don't care what mouse a laptop comes with, they all suck.
     
  6. TFXProtector

    TFXProtector Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Posts:
    8,542
    News Credits:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Likes:
    +1,272
    Works out to $473.31 USD to $1,262.16 USD. Had to convert it to better understand. Now that I do, on with the show....

    Macs are PCs, no matter how much someone says otherwise. Save money, buy a Windows based PC. Sony is overpriced and not always the best quality.

    HPs products have served me well. My family, too. The only negative is the battery life. The build quality isn't the best and HP batteries die (as in needing replaced) rather quickly. My girlfriend's first HP needed it's battery replaced in a month after opening the box. Her Compaq's currently operating fine and it's a year old.

    Must it be Intel? AMD has great offerings as well. Plus it keeps the cost low.

    If it must be Intel, you'd need an i5 at least, for it to be reliable video editing. The i3 is a good performer, but the i5 is faster and more solid and priced as such. Pentium...reliable and trustworthy, but just that. Not exactly fast and just dual core. You might be able to get a quad core laptop for the price range you're working with. Those cores do come in handy with editing.

    No. Legacy programs usually don't care what processor is operating. It's usually a hiccup in the operating system itself that's causing the problem. Windows Live Mail is free and downloadable and replaces Outlook Express. Works with both Hotmail and your ISP accounts.

    Bluetooth is great for data transfers with cellphones and smartphones, if you have one. If you have a HDTV, you'll want HDMI output for the best picture quality. VGA is fine, but crossing over to digital, you'll notice a difference.
    Bluetooth can be added with a dongle, or built in at the factory. More expensive if they install it though. If I can think of anything else, I'll let you know.

    We used to have Packard Bell here, in the States, and it was junk. We had so many problems with ours, it almost made us run from computing altogether. I shudder when I think of how craptastic those PCs were. I can't say that the current PB is junk, but it would certainly make me cautious.

    If I had a choice between Packard Bell and Hewlett Packard, I'd go HP hands down.

    The only reason the Acer AOne is so slow is because it's a Netbook, and it's most likely running Windows 7. Netbooks have small dual core processors, integrated graphics of the cheapest kind (and usually without HD decoding), and at best 2 gigs of RAM, but usually only one. If it was running XP, it would be quite a bit faster. Acer was notorious for being junk, but since they merged with Gateway and eMachines, their quality has picked up quite a bit. Their desktops should be rather powerful if you pick the right one. Don't let the AOne fool you.

    Most laptops have full sized keyboards now, so a number pad shouldn't be too difficult to get.

    in 15-17", battery life is going to be medium to low, because they're expecting you to use it as an entertainment or desktop replacement unit. There are tweaks you can do to squeeze out as much battery life as possible. (I'll list those in a moment)

    The brands I recommend:

    Asus (rock solid, but you'll pay for it.)
    Acer (getting better, just don't pay Asus prices for it.)
    Compaq/HP (Reliable, not the greatest battery life.)
    Lenovo (Bought from IBM. Old fashioned and reliable.)
    Toshiba (Sturdy, excellent support, and usually pretty fast.)

    I don't recommend:

    Dell (screens die out, battery problems, built in obsolescence is their intent. One of their techs admitted it. )

    eMachines (Acer owns them now, but Acer got all of the good parts, eMachines is the bottom rung of their ladder.)

    Gateway (Acer owns them as well, same as above with eMachines, but slightly better quality. Bigger price tag too.)

    Sony (Overpriced. Plain and simple. You're paying for the name, pretty much nothing else.)

    As promised, tweaks to lengthen the battery life:

    1.) Create a second account on your PC with administrator rights, this is the one you'll use for when you're on battery.

    2.) Turn off all of the visual effects and go with the Classic Windows look. (This does help with battery life.)

    3.) Turn screen resolution down to 1024x768 or 800x600. (1024 is recommended, because most webpages are formatted for it. You want to be below HD resolutions, they chew up battery life.)

    4.) Turn screen brightness all the way down. (It'll still be rather bright, but without draining the battery as fast.)

    5.) Turn the Windows power setting to Power Saver. (It'll slow down the processor, which will slow down the cooling system, which will ease up on the battery drain.)

    The original account on your PC, the one you'll use to setup the computer, can be run when you're plugged in and need full power. You can leave the effects on as well and use HD resolutions. You don't have to create a secondary account, but it's just easier than resetting all of these tweaks constantly.
     
  7. BigPhill

    BigPhill Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2003
    Posts:
    3,465
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    Likes:
    +129
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    Twitter:
    Google+:
    YouTube:
    I'm an ex-HP engineer, and wheras HP laptops work well at first, when they go wrong, they REALLY go wrong.

    Although parts for them are generally easily sourced, they're normally very expensive.
     
  8. yodafett

    yodafett Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Posts:
    1,445
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +0
    Facebook:
    Twitter:
    Google+:
    Toshiba has a VERY high customer satisfaction base, although they're a little pricier (but nowhere near Sony or Mac) and a little harder to find on display.
     
  9. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,220
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +11
    Thanks for the replys.

    I went and looked up some Toshiba's but was only able to find them reconditioned with worried me a bit as there was so many of them it suggest a lot of them were being returned.

    I'm looking at the ACER & ASUS ones now.

    {edit}

    All the Asus seem to have reasonable specs for £500.00 but the battery life is pants at only 3 hours. oh and a lot of them are mad colours.
     
  10. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,220
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +11
    Ok Leaning towards an Acer 5750G at the mo.

    Acer 5750G Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB, 750GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct

    If the Dedicated (NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 540M with 1GB DDR Dedicated Memory) is worth the extra £50.00 ?

    or there's this one no extra graphics card and a bit less memory :
    Acer 5742 Laptop (Intel Core i5, 4GB, 640GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct

    Acer 5750G Laptop (Intel Core i5, 6GB, 750GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct
    Less memory but with a graphics card and 750gb harddrive

    There';s also Acer Ethos 5951G that's like £900.00 though but it's a bitching machine.
    Acer Ethos 5951G Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB, 750GB, 15.6" Display) Black & Silver - Tesco.Direct
    2nd generation i5 and a 1GB nVidia GeForce GT540M with nVidia Optimus technology

    though how that varies from the previously listed GT540M I don't know is it just a fancier description ?

    Or there's this no thrills 5742 version for 449.99 ; Acer 5742 Laptop (Intel Core i5, 4GB, 640GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct

    Not sure how the model general look or functions differ between an 5742 & a 5740 though. only has 4gb of ram though

    I'm half wondering if I shouldn't buy anything at all and just wait for Windows 8 to come out to save me having to buy it.

    Incidentally I hope 8gb of ram is enough for windows 8.

    I can get this has the graphics card and 750 Hard drive but only 6GB of memory :
    Acer 5750G Laptop (Intel Core i5, 6GB, 750GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct

    500gb Hard drive no graphics card and 50.00 cheaper :
    Acer 5750 Laptop (Intel Core i5, 8GB, 500GB, 15.6" Display) Black - Tesco.Direct

    Unfortunately there does not seem to be the combination ideal for me is 500gb Hard drive 8gb of memory and a graphics card at tesco or most other places at that sort of £600.00 price - and you instead have to add 50.00 and get he extra 250gb of had space.. which I don't really need.

    as I use external drives for large storage.

    Unless anyone has some more shops to suggest I need to have some opinions of the relative merits.

    if anyone has any opinions on spending the money on 6gb memory and a graphics card or 8gb of memory and not a graphics card.
     
  11. jnguyen

    jnguyen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Posts:
    933
    News Credits:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    117
    Likes:
    +7
    I would definitely listen to everyone else and not get HP. I have purchase 5 in the past and all the harddrive dies after awhile. Also the fan on the laptop break so easy. You will also have a hardtime trying to reach them. It sucks you're not into mac cause I'm trying to sell my macbook pro for 820 shipped. Personally I don't like mac software but the great thing about it is mac can install windows on it. I use windows 7 on my macbook.

    What are your plans for the laptop? do you play games or anything?
     
  12. Noizemaze

    Noizemaze Ken

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Posts:
    3,363
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +7
    If you're waiting for Windows 8, you'll be waiting until 2013. Also, you shouldn't need more than 4GB RAM in a laptop. You might check the .com version of Amazon if you're going to .co.uk

    For example,
    Amazon.com: ASUS U30SD-XA1 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Laptop (Black): Computers & Accessories

    That is similar to what I'm currently using. I like the UL series because it has both integrated and discreet graphics cards. You can use the nVidia for high performance applications and switch to the integrated for power savings.
     
  13. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,220
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +11
    I like keep an electronic device to until the tech forces me to change so I'm usually in the habit of buying slightly above the current mid-standard so 4gb of memory might be fine at the moment but is that going to remain true by 2013 ?

    I'll want to keep this one for a while maybe until solid state memory comes in. I don't own a desktop as such I've got a Netbook, and a Touchscreen all inOne PC this is to replace a laptop i've had since 2003 so anything I want to buy I want it to be usable well past 2013-2015.

    Any one know if the graphics card I mention is worth the extra money ? I find they seem to improve video performance as well as Games functionality.

    I do play the odd PC game but I like old school 90's Games so cutting edge is not essential as such what with the number of PC exclusive action or FPS games being much smaller now.

    But perhaps the one I mentioned would play something like Chrome, Cryostasis or Hellforces OK ?

    I don't need it to be mega portable as it will be used at home a lot and I have my 'Baby' Acer One for carting about. My ACER Touch screen is my "Daddy" Pc and Now i'm looking for the mommy so to speak.

    I sort of realised I already had two ACERS and had no issues with them so I thought a 3rd one wouldn't hurt

    Thanks for the warning about HP & Packard Bell - I knew DELLs were risky already and SONY's seemed to be bad value for money to me. I was originally attracted to the HP as it had a nice metal lid.

    I'm not against APPLES as such I'm just scared off by their customer service and Price. ins omeways they actually suit my needs quite well but they are something bought more to show off really and I'm not buying it for that and thought MAC's are excellent for Editing stuff I don't do so much of it that it's worth the extra benifits especially as i've barely used a Mac for many years now.
     
  14. Noizemaze

    Noizemaze Ken

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Posts:
    3,363
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +7
    Unless you're running some serious graphics or video editing suites, I doubt you'll have a problem with 4GB of RAM on a laptop. Discreet graphics cards (ATI, nVidia) are going to kill your battery life, but will give you better performance. However, many laptops still don't run a peak performance unless they are plugged in to the AC adapter. The primary reason I like the Asus UL line is that I can switch between graphics cards.
     
  15. Mumps

    Mumps <b><font color=blue>I voted for Super_Megatron and

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Posts:
    3,271
    Trophy Points:
    201
    Likes:
    +1
    My only advice is to get an ASUS.
     
  16. RedAlert Rescue

    RedAlert Rescue Banned

    Joined:
    May 12, 2003
    Posts:
    13,220
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    236
    Likes:
    +11
    Waht is the battery and Hard Drive reliability like on ASUS - if HP ones kill their batteries and the Hard Drives pack up what about Asus - It's a brand I know nothing about - but isn't it one of those rebranded ones if so what company is it the same as component wise ?
     
  17. Noizemaze

    Noizemaze Ken

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Posts:
    3,363
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    172
    Likes:
    +7
    Asus isn't a rebrand, they are a generally reliable computer hardware manufacturer. I tend to always buy Asus motherboards.
     
  18. Sokar

    Sokar Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2005
    Posts:
    2,338
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    202
    Likes:
    +3
    This.

    I've been using Asus motherboards for every computer I've built. In fact, the most recent pc I built has an asus motherboard, asus brand graphics card, asus wireless adapter, and an asus 3d monitor.

    Like anything else, check out online reviews of any particular item you are considering of course (from cnet for example), but generally you can trust an asus product in most cases.
     

Share This Page