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Author Topic: In the market for a new laptop for pharmacy school...  (Read 2342 times)
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PeteRock
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« on: July 16, 2012, 06:59:38 PM »

Up until this point I've been using one of my wife's company laptops for personal, academic, and professional use.  However, when I leave for pharmacy school next month I will require a personal laptop.  Right now we're determining how much we're able to afford which will obviously narrow the search down, but outside of price I'm unsure as to where to begin.

Requirements:

- The College of Pharmacy advises against Mac products because the entire curriculum is Windows centric, although those already owning a Mac computer are not required to purchase a Windows-based system.  Still, I'm not yet able to suffer the Mac cost of admission and would prefer to stick with PC.

- Will primarily be using the computer for academics, which will involve all Microsoft Office programs (Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and curious about OneNote).

- I am not a computer gamer, so I don't really have intentions of using the machine for anything outside of general use (email, forums, academics, perhaps DVDs).

- Hoping to limit weight and size for easy transport around campus.  15" is my maximum, but I was hoping to go a little smaller and lighter.  However, if there are affordable lightweight 15" laptops I'd certainly consider them.

- Would like to have a DVD/CD drive and burner.

- Processing strength to me might as well be random letters and numbers strung together.  Therefore I have no idea as to what to look for or what I hope to obtain.

Outside of those stipulations, I'm not looking for anything too groundbreaking or excessive.  I primarily need something to get me through four years of pharmacy school and perhaps a few years after while completing my residency. 

Suggestions on where to shop, what to look for, and how to know if I'm getting a quality deal?  Adding a printer to the mix would be nice, perhaps something capable of both B&W as well as color, and I'll still need to purchase Office software, so already the cost of admission is going up without even considering the computer itself.

I'm turning to the GT community to hopefully provide some direction. 
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2012, 07:13:05 PM »

Do you have a price range?
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PeteRock
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2012, 07:30:44 PM »

Quote from: gellar on July 16, 2012, 07:13:05 PM

Do you have a price range?

Will probably have something more concrete in mind tonight after my wife gets home from work, and we were also waiting on financial aid information which was just posted to my account today.  As a starting point, let's say I'd like to keep the price of admission for the laptop, printer, and software below $800, especially considering I plan to pick up a 40ish inch TV for my grad apartment as well, but I might be willing to exceed that estimate if gaming possibilities wouldn't take the price of admission too much higher and if I could expect better longevity given the 4+ years I'd like to make it without requiring a replacement.  But I'm realistically expecting to spend as much as $800 for just the laptop itself as that seems to be a consistent asking price for what I'm looking for.

I'm hoping to keep my TV and computing hardware combined amount below $1200 total, but the computer is obviously the more important purchase, and I can find an inexpensive TV once the laptop purchase is completed.  And as I have a few outstanding invoices I'm awaiting payment for private consulting work, I'll have a bit of disposable income easily exceeding my preferred price point in the next few days, just in case.

I understand you're quite a fan of the MacBook, and while I'm certainly intrigued, I'm apprehensive as UofA made it fairly clear that they function primarily in a PC-centric world.  From the computer purchasing information provided through my admission page:

Quote
- The College does not require a specific computer and we have a computer lab with computers for you to use, however a personal computer is good to have for flexibility to do homework or research from your home or other external site. If you are interested in purchasing a computer please check this link: CATS Bookstore. We have also had good results with HP products. It is not recommended that you purchase a Mac only because our ability to support them is limited, however if you already own a Mac there is certainly no need to replace it.

- The College faculty and staff use Microsoft Office products (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) as their office productivity software. It is your responsibility to be able to use files they give you, and provide them with files in a format they can use.

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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2012, 07:48:50 PM »

I'm a fan of the dell inspiron 14z.  

Really, since you aren't gaming, any modern laptop is going to serve your needs just fine.  So, it all comes down to how much you want to spend.

Are dells the best laptops ever?  No, but they are certainly good enough, and are on the cheaper side of things.

Always dell coupons and deals floating around as well.

Dell outlet also gets some good deals, and different coupons offers also.  Currently have 25% off a bunch of laptop models.
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2012, 07:51:18 PM »

Quote from: gangeli on July 16, 2012, 07:48:50 PM

I'm a fan of the dell inspiron 14z.  

Really, since you aren't gaming, any modern laptop is going to serve your needs just fine.  So, it all comes down to how much you want to spend.

Are dells the best laptops ever?  No, but they are certainly good enough, and are on the cheaper side of things.

Always dell coupons and deals floating around as well.

Dell outlet also gets some good deals, and different coupons offers also.  Currently have 25% off a bunch of laptop models.

+1

Just a reminder that you should probably include extended warranty or replacement plan in your budget since shit happens. 
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2012, 07:55:28 PM »

Might take a look at the HP Elitebooks.  My new job sent me an 8560p, which is a business model.  The 8460p looks like a bit smaller model. It's about a third off through the website at the moment.
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2012, 07:57:48 PM »

I'll second Dell Outlet.

I'll also strongly suggest that you skip the Inspiron lines and get a Latitude instead. All metal chassis and significantly higher build quality. My wife uses an E6510 with a Core i5 and I use an E6400 with a Core 2 Duo. Hers was $560 from the Dell Business Outlet. Mine was $260 from Dell Financial Services. Right now you can get several E6400s (14" screen) for about $300.

As for Office, you should be able to get a reduced price copy from your school. You should look for your schools ELMS and see if you can get Office 2007 for free via DreamSpark.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2012, 08:00:07 PM by Calavera » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2012, 08:05:57 PM »

Personally, I'd ditch the idea of a built-in DVD drive / burner. Get an external instead- chances are, you aren't going to use it. USB keys are far more prevalent, and certainly easier to use / transport / re-use.
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2012, 09:07:41 PM »

So as far as a Mac goes, in your case I'd recommend against it.  First and foremost, the lowest end MBA is out of your budget.  You might have gotten away with a previous model, but those are probably all sold out by now.  The only argument against this is the resale value - a two year old MBA for example will still be worth 70% of it's purchase cost while a two year old laptop is effectively worthless.

As far as the Windows centric view, I wouldn't let that necessarily disuade you.  Unless there are specific fat client apps (probably not) and/or websites that require old MSFT frameworks (more likely, but still probably not), what they are saying is 'we don't have the expertise or budget to walk you through your laptop if its a Mac and you are an idiot.'  Worse comes to worse, you could always run Windows on the Mac, but you'd be sacrificing battery life in that case.

The struggle for me is that any laptop I'd seriously consider would have an SSD, so that prices out of the $800 range, I think.

Personally for me, I'd stay away from Dell or Toshiba (bad build quality) and lean towards Lenovo or HP.

Quote from: Purge on July 16, 2012, 08:05:57 PM

Personally, I'd ditch the idea of a built-in DVD drive / burner. Get an external instead- chances are, you aren't going to use it. USB keys are far more prevalent, and certainly easier to use / transport / re-use.

Absolutely.  Rotating media is at thing of the past.
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« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 04:16:57 PM »

All good advice and much appreciated.  I've actually been leaning toward HP as I like what I see in terms of dependability, features, look, portability, and cost, so it's good to hear that I'm not considering a laptop of questionable quality.

On a side note, is anyone familiar with the Acer brand?  They almost remind me of Hyundai, providing more features at a lower cost point, but I wonder about dependability as I am unfamiliar with the brand.

I also have a question on gaming.  While I'm not initially intending to devote my laptop to gaming, my brother in law has been playing a lot of SWTOR and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intrigued.  If I purchase a fully functional laptop (not a netbook), would I have to greatly exceed my ideal price point if I wanted to consider videogaming in the future?  Especially since there seems to be a completely untapped library out there I've never even considered.  Also, are game controllers for PCs as easy as plugging in a USB?  Are Xbox 360 controllers compatible?

Finally, the TVs I've been looking at all mention VGA inputs for computers, making computer gaming that much more likely as I wouldn't be limited to playing on a 14" or smaller screen.  Do people take advantage of linking their computers to a TV, or is such a feather comparable to early adoption of 3D technology?
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« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 06:14:47 PM »

Make sure you get your student discount on the office software.  I'd recommend contacting the student store to see what deals they have on software.

Sign up for your free year of Amazon prime once you get your student email.

Consider getting the dvd/cd as an external to be kept at home. 

Spring for a large ssd, spinning hard drives eat batteries and take longer to boot.

Max out your RAM, or make sure you have an available memory slot to do so.

Make sure you have back up capability and do so!

I love my m11x for its portability and battery life.  Dell has discontinued them, but you might be able to find one and it has some power.

Get a good laptop backpack.

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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 06:58:51 PM »

I currently have my eye on the following:

HP Folio Ultrabook w/ 128GB solid state drive, 13.3" screen, and under 4 lbs

HP Envy Sleekbook w/ 15.6" screen, 500GB hard drive, 4.5 lbs

Acer Aspire w/ 15.6" screen, 5lbs, 500GB SATA hard drive

The Ultrabook is my first choice, followed by the Envy, and the Acer is my last choice.  We have a $150 gift card for WalMart, cutting the price of the Ultrabook considerably, and we have around $70 in gift cards to Staples to cut down on the Envy's price should we choose to buy through them.  

I've been leaning toward buying from WalMart to utilize the $150 gift card, allowing me to purchase a better laptop for the same preferred price.  The only problem is narrowing down the ideal choice.  But the Ultrabook is quite compelling, despite the storage capability being about 1/4 of non solid state drives.  Still, is solid state a better choice despite the limited storage?

EDIT:  Actually, I'm liking this Envy a little better due to its smaller size: HP Envy 14"
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 09:28:35 PM »

To maximize our savings, my wife pointed out that if we were to go with the HP Envy Sleekbook from Staples with the 15.6" screen and 500GB hard drive, we'd save a great deal and still be able to apply the $150 gift card at WalMart to the new TV I also plan to pick up for my graduate housing.  The HP Folio Ultrabook would be a good price with our WalMart gift card, but we'd wind up squandering the savings we could enjoy from Staples ($699 price minus $50 mail-in rebate, $100 prepaid Visa card for students, and a $70 gift card).  And I'd still "need" a TV.  Unfortunately Staples only offers a limited selection of SSD laptops, all being outside of our price range.

Unless anyone thinks the Sleekbook is a big mistake, it looks like that's what we plan to go with and then use the $150 gift card at WalMart for a 40-ish inch TV for my grad apartment.  That way we enjoy $200+ in laptop savings (considering the prepaid Visa card in that figure) at Staples and $150 in TV savings at WalMart, getting both a decent HDTV and a quality laptop together for under $900 (around $1000 with Office software).

Bad idea or frugal shopping sense? 
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« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 10:25:20 PM »

500 GB ssd drives can be found under $390 at both Amazon and newegg.  Think about going aftermarket there.

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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2012, 02:03:55 AM »

Quote from: PeteRock on July 17, 2012, 09:28:35 PM

To maximize our savings, my wife pointed out that if we were to go with the HP Envy Sleekbook from Staples with the 15.6" screen and 500GB hard drive, we'd save a great deal and still be able to apply the $150 gift card at WalMart to the new TV I also plan to pick up for my graduate housing.  The HP Folio Ultrabook would be a good price with our WalMart gift card, but we'd wind up squandering the savings we could enjoy from Staples ($699 price minus $50 mail-in rebate, $100 prepaid Visa card for students, and a $70 gift card).  And I'd still "need" a TV.  Unfortunately Staples only offers a limited selection of SSD laptops, all being outside of our price range.

Unless anyone thinks the Sleekbook is a big mistake, it looks like that's what we plan to go with and then use the $150 gift card at WalMart for a 40-ish inch TV for my grad apartment.  That way we enjoy $200+ in laptop savings (considering the prepaid Visa card in that figure) at Staples and $150 in TV savings at WalMart, getting both a decent HDTV and a quality laptop together for under $900 (around $1000 with Office software).

Bad idea or frugal shopping sense? 

Tech.Woot (a new area of Woot) has Corsair SSDs on the cheap right now. And by "on the cheap" I mean $69 for a 120gb.

http://tech.woot.com/plus/corsair
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2012, 02:38:20 AM »

I would go with the ultrabook over the Envy. You are trading a super fast SSD drive for a SLOW 5400 rpm hard drive. As someone who owns a laptop with such a drive and uses one occasionally at work, they drive me crazy. I won't buy a new laptop until mine dies, but I know for sure I will never get one with a 5400 rpm drive again. This is one of my personal pet peeves.
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2012, 05:08:22 PM »

Quote from: JCC on July 18, 2012, 02:38:20 AM

I would go with the ultrabook over the Envy. You are trading a super fast SSD drive for a SLOW 5400 rpm hard drive. As someone who owns a laptop with such a drive and uses one occasionally at work, they drive me crazy. I won't buy a new laptop until mine dies, but I know for sure I will never get one with a 5400 rpm drive again. This is one of my personal pet peeves.

As a means of reference, I currently use my wife's company's Sony Vaio which is more than 7 years old.  It's heavy, runs hot, operates slowly, and feels like diesel smoke should be billowing out as exhaust.  Therefore given my current experience with a laptop, will the 5400 rpm drive at least run better than my current workhorse, or will I still inevitably be frustrated with what sounds to be an archaic technology?  To me, even my brother-in-law's budget Dell laptop looks like a substantial step up from what I currently use.  But, I've got a 4+ year commitment to graduate school (plus a likely residency in clinical oncology), so I want to make the right choice now and not regret my decision shortly following purchase.

I'm all for the new hotness, however my current position requires me to be reasonable in my purchase.  I'd love to get a $1200 ultrabook, a MacBook Pro, etc, but I'm quite limited by price and would still like to furnish my grad apartment with a TV.  However, if sacrificing the associated rebates with the Envy to make the right purchase may cause me to have to wait a bit on picking up a TV, or may force me to settle for a smaller TV (looking at 40-42" LGs or Vizios but could cope with something smaller and less expensive), I can live with that if an HP Ultrabook with 128SSD is my ideal choice given the parameters. 

After all, my effectiveness as a student far outweighs any desire to have a decent TV in my room.  And not having to upgrade or replace my laptop purchase in the next 4 years would be a nice benefit as well.  I want to get the most bang for my buck and wind up with something durable, easy-to-use, fast, light, thin, and adaptable to multiple applications (academics, video entertainment, perhaps games, etc). 

But, I also cannot afford an entry price above $800 (the HP Ultrabook lists at $699 and we have $150 off in gift cards).  It would be close to the same price as the Envy, and while the Envy seems to have a few more bells and whistles (additional USB ports, connections, speakers, etc), it sounds like the Ultrabook is the better overall machine for academic and professional functionality.  I just want to make sure that foregoing the rebates at Staples for the Envy and using our gift card at WalMart for the Ultrabook is the ideal choice, as right now I'm weighing the options based upon economics.

I'm not trying to be difficult.  I just know dangerously little about laptops (or computers in general for that matter, knowing how to use them to great effect, but not how to build, maintain, or modify them), and so I'm appreciating all input from the GT community. 

Quote from: Calavera on July 18, 2012, 02:03:55 AM

Tech.Woot (a new area of Woot) has Corsair SSDs on the cheap right now. And by "on the cheap" I mean $69 for a 120gb.

http://tech.woot.com/plus/corsair

As I know so little about computers, I want to buy something ready to go out of the box.  And I've read about issues with the Envy Sleekbook having problems recognizing SSDs installed after purchase.

If the Ultrabook is my ideal choice, then I'll make it work (the challenge is explaining to my wife why the Ultrabook is a better choice than the Envy as she is only looking at this in terms of finances, and rightly so, as she's currently our primary provider).  But I want to make the right choice, in terms of price as well as longevity, functionality, and overall use.
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2012, 06:01:24 PM »

Truth be told, I was perfectly happy with my old MBP with a standard HDD (not sure if it was 5400 or 7200 RPM) until the minute I got my current MBP with a SSD.  Now, no computer can ever have moving media ever again.  EVER.

I don't think you'd miss is too terribly badly because you don't know what the experience is like.  Just don't touch anyone else's Macbook Air and you should be fine.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2012, 06:31:07 PM »

The one thing you should do your legwork on is looking at the GPU if you are at all considering gaming.

You can get laptops that expand RAM and swap HDD later - but having HDMI out (so sound and video go to the TV) should be important.

If you care about high capacity at the dorm only, I'd suggest a USB3.0 external HDD for that kind of thing - and just disconnect it when you go out, and go with a sub 200GB SSD instead to save money.

Even a 128GB drive should be enough for your main storage.
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 07:26:26 PM »

Quote from: Purge on July 18, 2012, 06:31:07 PM

The one thing you should do your legwork on is looking at the GPU if you are at all considering gaming.

How do I know if a particular GPU is sufficient?  The HP Ultrabook has an "Intel Core i3-2367M" processor and the Envy has a "Next Gen AMD A6-4455M Accelerated 2.1GHz 1MB L2 Cache Processor".  It might as well be in another language.   icon_confused


Quote
You can get laptops that expand RAM and swap HDD later - but having HDMI out (so sound and video go to the TV) should be important.

Both options I'm looking at have HDMI-out.

Quote
If you care about high capacity at the dorm only, I'd suggest a USB3.0 external HDD for that kind of thing - and just disconnect it when you go out, and go with a sub 200GB SSD instead to save money.

Even a 128GB drive should be enough for your main storage.

For my purposes I'm having trouble seeing how I could use all 128GB of the SSD let alone 500GB of the HD in the Envy.
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 09:05:23 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on July 18, 2012, 05:08:22 PM

As a means of reference, I currently use my wife's company's Sony Vaio which is more than 7 years old.  It's heavy, runs hot, operates slowly, and feels like diesel smoke should be billowing out as exhaust.  Therefore given my current experience with a laptop, will the 5400 rpm drive at least run better than my current workhorse, or will I still inevitably be frustrated with what sounds to be an archaic technology?  To me, even my brother-in-law's budget Dell laptop looks like a substantial step up from what I currently use.  But, I've got a 4+ year commitment to graduate school (plus a likely residency in clinical oncology), so I want to make the right choice now and not regret my decision shortly following purchase.

I'm all for the new hotness, however my current position requires me to be reasonable in my purchase.  I'd love to get a $1200 ultrabook, a MacBook Pro, etc, but I'm quite limited by price and would still like to furnish my grad apartment with a TV.  However, if sacrificing the associated rebates with the Envy to make the right purchase may cause me to have to wait a bit on picking up a TV, or may force me to settle for a smaller TV (looking at 40-42" LGs or Vizios but could cope with something smaller and less expensive), I can live with that if an HP Ultrabook with 128SSD is my ideal choice given the parameters. 

Your 7 year old Vaio almost certainly has a 5400 rpm hard drive in it. I was pushing the Ultrabook over the other 2 choices since they both have 5400 rpm drives. You certainly don't have to buy an ultrabook to avoid the slower 5400 rpm drives. I'm just suggesting you avoid laptops with a 5400 rpm drive. This can be done by buying laptops with a 7200 rpm drive.

For example:
HP ProBook 6465b has a normal desktop speed 7200 rpm hard drive, and can be had for $618 ordered from Staples.

Of course, an ultrabook with a SSD drive will be even faster.

At the price you are spending, I wouldn't expect great performance for gaming.

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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 09:37:08 PM »

Pete, the chips you are looking at is the CPU, not GPU (Graphical Processing Unit).

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gaming-graphics-card-review,3107-7.html

I don't tend to like the Intel chips, but I've not had a ton of experience with their video chips for quite some time.

Here's a walmart one :

http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Black-14-Pavilion-Special-Beats-Edition-dm4-3099se-Laptop-PC-with-Intel-Core-i5-2450M-Processor-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium-with-Windows-8-Pro-Upgr/19714378

I like that it's got a 6 cell battery (last longer) and a backlit keyboard.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 09:43:09 PM by Purge » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 09:48:01 PM »

Actually, go with this one instead:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Black-14-DM4-3170SE-Beats-Edition-Laptop-PC-with-Intel-Core-i5-3210M-Processor-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium/21002776

Intel HD 4000, which according to the link above, is significantly better than the 3k.
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2012, 09:53:41 PM »

One of the many reasons I've never gotten into computer gaming.  Odds are the 360 will remain my gaming platform (if I even have time) and my laptop will be used for Office, web surfing, email, etc.  Ultimately it's looking like I want something thin, light, and able to run Office applications relatively efficiently with occasional web browsing, video, email, etc.  If it takes this much effort just to find a system capable of gaming, then odds are I'm even less likely to try to figure out how to set it up for gaming if I even select the correct machine.

Quote from: Purge on July 18, 2012, 09:48:01 PM

Actually, go with this one instead:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/HP-Black-14-DM4-3170SE-Beats-Edition-Laptop-PC-with-Intel-Core-i5-3210M-Processor-and-Windows-7-Home-Premium/21002776

Intel HD 4000, which according to the link above, is significantly better than the 3k.

I had looked at that model, but it's getting outside of my preferred price range. 
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2012, 09:56:20 PM »

Even better:

http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?invtid=VPC-SA23GX-BLK&cat=NBB

13.3" screen, but it comes with a 6630M Discrete GPU. Also, already comes with the SSD.
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JCC
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« Reply #25 on: July 19, 2012, 12:51:11 AM »

One other thing Pete, since money is tight, don't waste any money on Office. Just download Open Office for free.
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« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2012, 06:31:53 AM »

Quote from: JCC on July 19, 2012, 12:51:11 AM

One other thing Pete, since money is tight, don't waste any money on Office. Just download Open Office for free.

or LibreOffice. i prefer it to Microsoft Office myself. there's also Google Docs Drive.
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« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2012, 09:00:25 AM »

Your school might have DreamSpark Premium, which includes Office 2007, for free. You really should look and see if your email address will let you access it. I know you're in the College of Pharmacy, but you might not have a college restriction...
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« Reply #28 on: July 19, 2012, 07:52:24 PM »

Did you check out today's Woot:  http://www.woot.com/offers/samsung-15-6-quad-core-laptop?  It looks pretty good at a nice price, but perhaps the experts will chime in.  We liked the last Samsung laptop we had.  There were only two negatives, the sensitive touchpad could be awkward when typing and the battery was not easily replaceable.  It looks like they've redesigned the trackpad since then.

I also had many people mention Sager notebooks when I was shopping.  They have a pretty good range.  Good luck.
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« Reply #29 on: July 19, 2012, 11:59:53 PM »

Techbargains usually has really good deals, as well as any coupon codes (including stackable ones), usually from Dell.  At least take a look around.
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« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2012, 04:56:06 PM »

Quote from: Calavera on July 19, 2012, 09:00:25 AM

Your school might have DreamSpark Premium, which includes Office 2007, for free. You really should look and see if your email address will let you access it. I know you're in the College of Pharmacy, but you might not have a college restriction...

Apparently students actually get to download the current version of Office for free:

Quote
NOTE: A student license for this product is covered under the Microsoft® Campus Agreement (MCA) that enables UA students to download one copy of the current version of Microsoft Office (for a PC or Mac) for FREE.

 thumbsup

Right now I've been pining over the HP DM4-3170, but at $850 it's a bit steep.  Am I really going to use it for gaming and media?  Or will my 360 continue to be my primary gaming machine?  Plus, if I were to go with the DM4 I'd have to give up on a TV for a while. 

We're back to looking at the HP Envy 6-1010us 15.6" Sleekbook.  With the current sale and rebates we'll wind up paying $450 out of pocket.  It'll handle my academic computing just fine, it's thin and portable for classes, and it runs at 2.1GHz with an AMD Radeon HD 7500G Discrete-Class graphics card, so it looks like it'll run "reasonable" games, perhaps at lower settings (according to the Staples tech).     

That will also allow us to use our $150 gift card at WalMart for a Samsung 40" LCD TV, cutting its price to $300.  An SSD isn't in the cards right now, I'm currently not a PC gamer which negates any need for a monster gaming machine, and in all honesty, when will I even have time once the semester begins?  I can always add an external DVD drive in the future, and I get Office free through the university. 

I've got two more weeks before I move to Tucson and starting on the 13th the curriculum starts in full force, so I'm running out of time to sit back and wait for sales, making the Envy Sleekbook pretty enticing given its price and functionality.
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« Reply #31 on: July 22, 2012, 05:00:38 AM »

I just bought a laptop for school that can do everything you listed.

It was a $200 Dell laptop from 2007.

Not saying you should go that route, just saying that can be an option.
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2012, 05:14:39 PM »

Pull the trigger on the envy, it does what you need and you'll have the tv that way as well. That's what I'd do anyway.
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« Reply #33 on: July 22, 2012, 05:25:30 PM »

Quote from: Nonnahob on July 22, 2012, 05:14:39 PM

Pull the trigger on the envy, it does what you need and you'll have the tv that way as well. That's what I'd do anyway.

That's what I wound up doing.  The Envy has nice build quality (other laptops I checked out felt like they were built out of legos and scotch tape), it runs fairly fast (way faster than the old company Vaio), the screen is even more vibrant than expected, I get Office Professional for free through the University, and like you said, I also get the TV as well.  For my needs this was the ideal path.   thumbsup
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« Reply #34 on: July 22, 2012, 09:16:22 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on July 22, 2012, 05:25:30 PM

That's what I wound up doing.  The Envy has nice build quality (other laptops I checked out felt like they were built out of legos and scotch tape), it runs fairly fast (way faster than the old company Vaio), the screen is even more vibrant than expected, I get Office Professional for free through the University, and like you said, I also get the TV as well.  For my needs this was the ideal path.   thumbsup

Glad you're experience is good so far! Have you tried any gaming on it yet?
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« Reply #35 on: July 22, 2012, 10:40:38 PM »

Quote from: JCC on July 22, 2012, 09:16:22 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on July 22, 2012, 05:25:30 PM

That's what I wound up doing.  The Envy has nice build quality (other laptops I checked out felt like they were built out of legos and scotch tape), it runs fairly fast (way faster than the old company Vaio), the screen is even more vibrant than expected, I get Office Professional for free through the University, and like you said, I also get the TV as well.  For my needs this was the ideal path.   thumbsup

Glad you're experience is good so far! Have you tried any gaming on it yet?

Not yet.  Been doing more "maintenance" than anything else so far (installing Office, backing up software and operating system, etc).  I might give gaming a try later, but so far I like the keyboard, the Beats audio components sound pretty good for a laptop, and considering I went with the Envy due to pricing as well as functionality, I'm not unhappy with my purchase.  I'll wind up picking up what I want once I finish pharmacy school, but in terms of cost it's a nice rig. 

I've also been focusing on my Xbox 360 backlog while on the mend from surgery, so the laptop has primarily been used for forums, email, and submitting online forms for the upcoming semester.  If gaming doesn't work out, I'm okay with that.  The Envy at least does what I need it to do quite well while still having a few bonus bells and whistles. 
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