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Author Topic: what do i need to look for when buing a new laptop?  (Read 1215 times)
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ATB
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« on: February 07, 2011, 04:47:29 PM »

It has been almost 10 years since I've built my own desktop and 6 since I last bought a laptop.  I've no idea what the current specs are, what type of memory there is how big an hd I should get for what price etc,

Can anyone recommend a good primer or a basic laptop (not for gaming but id like to be able to play comapny of heroes on it  icon_wink)
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 05:10:38 PM »

Do you care about portability or is this mainly going to be used around the house?
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Screen size
  • Battery life
Price range?
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ATB
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 05:20:47 PM »

Ideally it'd have good portability...we have dells with huge screens and they're quite unwieldy.

Just need a typical laptop for typical family usage and to play some older games.  Mostly the former...
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Daehawk
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 08:06:23 PM »

http://www.gamingtrend.com/forums/index.php?topic=43297.0
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2011, 08:15:21 PM »

Price range?
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rittchard
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2011, 09:04:40 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 07, 2011, 05:20:47 PM

Ideally it'd have good portability...we have dells with huge screens and they're quite unwieldy.

Just need a typical laptop for typical family usage and to play some older games.  Mostly the former...

"Good portability" is kind of too relative a term.  Some people might define that as they intend to take it with them everywhere (to work and back, etc) every day, but others might only mean to move them around once in a while from one room in the house to the other.   Sounds like you are in the latter category.

What I found (this was last year) was once you put size/weight heavily into the equation, your choices reduce dramatically (unless you were willing to go really small with a netbook).  So looking in the 3-4 pound range generally puts you in the 13" screen regime, and there weren't a lot of good choices that didn't get very pricey very quickly (this seems to be the "ultraportable" market where you start to face the Macbook Air and its competitors).

If you are OK with a 15" screen and maybe 5-6 pounds, your options completely open up and I think you'll easily be able to find something acceptable in a good price range.
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ATB
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« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 03:08:26 AM »

I don't belong to costco. crybaby

15 inch screen sounds about right.

As for price range sub 1k would be ideal.

Anyone know about Vision Computers?  I hear them adverted on the radio.
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rittchard
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« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 09:52:07 PM »

For under $1k, you have plenty of good options.

The latest Macbook is a very solid choice for $999:

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/shop_mac/family/macbook?mco=MTM3NjU3MDM

If you aren't into Macs at all, I'd check out Amazon and look at all the choices under $1k.  You can get plenty of good names like Lenovo, Asus, Sony, HP, etc. - I'd personally go for something with an Intel i3, i5 or even better i7.

This Sony has Blu-Ray but only Intel graphics:

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-VPC-EA47FX-14-Inch-Widescreen-Entertainment/dp/B004GKM3C8/ref=sr_1_11?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1297201417&sr=1-11

This HP has solid ATI 5650 graphics for gaming:

http://www.amazon.com/HP-14-1110nr-14-5-Inch-Relic-Laptop/dp/B00400OSP4/ref=sr_1_9?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1297201596&sr=1-9

Asus generally gets you the most bang for your buck from a processor standpoint (i7, 425M graphics):

http://www.amazon.com/N53JQ-XV1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Entertainment-Aluminum/dp/B00492C6T8/ref=sr_1_22?m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1297201658&sr=1-22

This site has a good comparison of different mobile graphics card performance:

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html
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rittchard
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« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 10:00:44 PM »

Oh yeah, forgot to mention.  A more unconventional choice (which I personally own) is this low-end Alienware:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Alienware+-+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B2+Duo+Processor+/+11.6%22+Display+/+4GB+Memory+/+250GB+Hard+Drive+-+Cosmic+Black/9732759.p?id=1218162977578&skuId=9732759&st=m11x&cp=1&lp=1

It's $799, but weighs less than 4 pounds with an 11.6" screen.  There's NO optical drive so in that sense it is more like a Macbook Air or even a netbook.  The processor is a lower end dual core, but they make up for it with GT335M graphics.  It's definitely not for most people, but it's a solid choice for portable PC gaming at a reasonable price considering the size/weight.
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Vinda-Lou
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« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 11:55:13 PM »

I just grabbed my first Mac - the Macbook Air 11.6 with 128gb drive and 4gb ram.  The small screen is not even noticeable after your first impression with it.  My desktop PC monitor is about a 20 inch wide-screen - which is all I've used for the last three years, and the transition to the smaller screen was not as bad as I thought.  I love my new MBA!  (I don't love the unwieldy Safari bookmarks and how you have to manually exit each program besides clicking on the red dot.)
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ATB
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« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM »

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear
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Nonnahob
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« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2011, 04:06:51 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear

Nonnahob says no. There.
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« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2011, 05:29:28 PM »

if going windows lappy I'd look for one with nvidia or ati graphics and not intel integrated. of course the newer/more demanding game you want to play the more your going to have to pay for the laptop. should be able to google or youtube the vid card to see what kind of performance/games you could expect to play with it.
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wonderpug
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hmm...


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« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2011, 05:58:32 PM »

Quote from: ATB on February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear

For what it's worth, my Air is my first Apple ever and I now want to convert all the computers in my house to Mac.  If I still gamed much on my PC it'd be a different story, but since 99% of my gaming is now on consoles it's a non-issue. 
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rittchard
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« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2011, 07:15:15 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on February 09, 2011, 05:58:32 PM

Quote from: ATB on February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear

For what it's worth, my Air is my first Apple ever and I now want to convert all the computers in my house to Mac.  If I still gamed much on my PC it'd be a different story, but since 99% of my gaming is now on consoles it's a non-issue.  

Macbooks have traditionally been applauded for being just great all around, high quality laptops that are easy to use and powerful enough for most tasks.  The multi-touch trackpad is fantastic and the new model sports 10 hours of battery life with weight under 5 pounds (4.7).  The biggest complaint is usually the pricing, but even that Apple has improved on, with an entry level now at $999.  Their weakness is typically the graphics card, but even the base model now has Geforce 320M graphics which can get you pretty far these days.  Unless your concern is hardcore gaming with the absolute best framerates, you can get a lot of gaming out of mobile graphics processors these days.

The one thing I also like to remind people of is that using Bootcamp for dual booting (or something like Parallels to run Windows within the Mac environment), you don't have to sacrifice anything on the PC side of things.  In fact, I think many people like to run their Macbooks exclusively in Windows 7.  So really you can have the best of both worlds.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2011, 07:18:09 PM by rittchard » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2011, 10:22:24 PM »

Quote from: rittchard on February 09, 2011, 07:15:15 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on February 09, 2011, 05:58:32 PM

Quote from: ATB on February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear

For what it's worth, my Air is my first Apple ever and I now want to convert all the computers in my house to Mac.  If I still gamed much on my PC it'd be a different story, but since 99% of my gaming is now on consoles it's a non-issue. 

Macbooks have traditionally been applauded for being just great all around, high quality laptops that are easy to use and powerful enough for most tasks.  The multi-touch trackpad is fantastic and the new model sports 10 hours of battery life with weight under 5 pounds (4.7).  The biggest complaint is usually the pricing, but even that Apple has improved on, with an entry level now at $999.  Their weakness is typically the graphics card, but even the base model now has Geforce 320M graphics which can get you pretty far these days.  Unless your concern is hardcore gaming with the absolute best framerates, you can get a lot of gaming out of mobile graphics processors these days.

The one thing I also like to remind people of is that using Bootcamp for dual booting (or something like Parallels to run Windows within the Mac environment), you don't have to sacrifice anything on the PC side of things.  In fact, I think many people like to run their Macbooks exclusively in Windows 7.  So really you can have the best of both worlds.

That's exactly the reason I'd recommend against it - while you CAN boot to Windows 7 it's quite a lot more work than just having a Mac laptop.  Realistically if you have more of an interest in games than you do running a vastly superior OS, then you should get a Windows machine.  If you're willing to deal with a slight bit of work, then yes the Macbooks (in just a build quality perspective alone) are leaps and bounds above most Windows based laptops these days.

If you have zero interest in games and aren't bound by a low end price point, then really you should not be owning a Windows laptop and you should buy a Macbook.

Personally, I'll never buy a Windows based laptop ever again.
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Jumangi
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« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2011, 11:46:10 PM »

The HP ENVY line is known as being a good Macbook Pro alternative for Windows. Pricer than others but they have the same nice aluminum body and quality components.
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« Reply #17 on: February 10, 2011, 09:47:00 PM »

Quote from: Jumangi on February 09, 2011, 11:46:10 PM

The HP ENVY line is known as being a good Macbook Pro alternative for Windows. Pricer than others but they have the same nice aluminum body and quality components.

Oddly enough, I just replaced my dead laptop with exactly this - an HP Envy 14 (with the 'smaller' resolution screen). So far, I absolutely love it.
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rittchard
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« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2011, 10:25:42 PM »

Quote from: gellar on February 09, 2011, 10:22:24 PM

Quote from: rittchard on February 09, 2011, 07:15:15 PM

Quote from: wonderpug on February 09, 2011, 05:58:32 PM

Quote from: ATB on February 09, 2011, 03:30:42 PM

Making the jump to apple...?  Hmmm.  Is there a primer somewhere that would tell my why or why not to do such a thing? tear

For what it's worth, my Air is my first Apple ever and I now want to convert all the computers in my house to Mac.  If I still gamed much on my PC it'd be a different story, but since 99% of my gaming is now on consoles it's a non-issue. 

Macbooks have traditionally been applauded for being just great all around, high quality laptops that are easy to use and powerful enough for most tasks.  The multi-touch trackpad is fantastic and the new model sports 10 hours of battery life with weight under 5 pounds (4.7).  The biggest complaint is usually the pricing, but even that Apple has improved on, with an entry level now at $999.  Their weakness is typically the graphics card, but even the base model now has Geforce 320M graphics which can get you pretty far these days.  Unless your concern is hardcore gaming with the absolute best framerates, you can get a lot of gaming out of mobile graphics processors these days.

The one thing I also like to remind people of is that using Bootcamp for dual booting (or something like Parallels to run Windows within the Mac environment), you don't have to sacrifice anything on the PC side of things.  In fact, I think many people like to run their Macbooks exclusively in Windows 7.  So really you can have the best of both worlds.

That's exactly the reason I'd recommend against it - while you CAN boot to Windows 7 it's quite a lot more work than just having a Mac laptop. 

I'm not sure what exactly you consider being "a lot more work" - most of us here have done a clean install of an OS a couple times.  Personally I've installed Win XP and 7 on Macs many many times and it's been pretty much flawless every single time.  If you can stick a DVD in a drive and follow directions it's pretty much brainless (or nowadays install from a USB stick for even faster/easier installation).  OK you might have to install a few drivers here and there too but that's nothing different from any Windows install. 

Maybe you are saying that *any* extra work is not worth the effort, but I'd have to disagree.  Having a full Win 7 (and access to ALL the PC games and software I want) ON TOP of an awesome Mac OS is like icing on the cake.  Not to mention each new release of Parallels gets better and better so you can run a lot of software without ever leaving the Mac environment.  And on the MBA (with the newer SSD tech), Win 7 seems to run smoother/faster than it does on my other laptops and computers, particularly when restoring from sleep.  I guess YMMV.
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gellar
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« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2011, 12:49:27 AM »

I'm not saying it's not worth the effort, but it's definitely not trivial effort.

In my case, I haven't bothered installing Windows on my Mac because I don't have any need to play any game on my laptop.  In a gamer's use case, it seems to me that paying the small Mac premium (it still exists) in order to buy a laptop that you need to install another OS on that you'd be booting into most of the time AND you aren't even fully aware of the benefits of OSX... just get a nice Windows laptop.  The HP Envy as noted above is still a bit cheaper than a Macbook, has Windows as it's default OS, and if you're a Windows user you won't even know what you're missing with OSX.  There's no point in buying a Mac if that's the type of user you are.

And I say all of this as an AAPL shareholder.
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