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Purchase template: need new laptop for university


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#1 Zebrakatten

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 11:42 AM

Laptop or Desktop? Laptop

My budget for the new computer is: cheaper is better but depends on recommendations, absolute max is 1400$ / 1000£

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? University, writing, browsing, Facebook, light entertainment (some YouTube, small games, some movies)

What software do you intend on using on the computer? Microsoft office or similar. Vlc, light games. Basic stuff mostly

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? I do but I have a gaming laptop and a desktop for that so only browser games and light games (big fish games kind of games and such)

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it? I generally forget to close programs so have a lot open. I very often have many tabs open in my browser

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer? No. I have about 20-30gb of pictures and music in all and I have most storaged elsewhere

Will you be overclocking? No

Location for online shopping/shipment/prices? Denmark (generally quite a bit more expensive than USA and such)

How many monitors are you planning to use? Just the laptop

Do you need peripherals? OS? No

Any particular reason why you are upgrading?
My gaming laptop is far too heavy/big and can barely handle 2-2,5 hours of light use before needing recharging.

I need a very light computer that can keep battery for the entire day at university (at least 6 hours). It should either be useable all 5-6 years of university or cost no more than 700$ /500£ so I can buy a replacement later.
Please feel free to ask any questions if I have left out something.

Edited by Zebrakatten, 10 March 2016 - 11:43 AM.


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#2 ScathEnfys

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 05:56 PM

Have you considered a tablet? A tablet with a good removable keyboard should fit that template fairly nicely.


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#3 SEANIA

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Posted 10 March 2016 - 06:02 PM

Having any laptop that long would run the battery dead from age. So having a replaceable battery is a must.

Should point out when a laptop says "6 to 8 hours" what I really means is 3 to 4 hours, or 6 to 8 hours with minimum brightness and power conservation features active like not letting the CPU run over 25% clock speed.

 

What you described sounds like you want a laptop quad core Intel Atom with a removable battery. The newer ones actually have decent graphics to run basic games and decode 4k video for playback. They're supper power efficient and are the closest thing to lasting the full 6 hours out of any currently produced x86 full copy windows laptop. It's either that or get a 450$ laptop and carry around a spare battery to change out mid day. 

 

Is a full sized keyboard a requirement, or are you ok with having no number pad? Most laptops only come with a 1366x768 resolution. Is 1080p a requirement for desktop real estate? 


99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#4 Zebrakatten

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 07:22 AM

ScathEnfys: I'm currently using an iPad like that and that, at least, is not up to my requirements. Navigating on the screen and editing text and the like is simply too troublesome for me but I do not know much about other tablets so if you could recommend some that are better for these kind of things than my iPad then I'd be interested in looking into that. Thank you for your suggestion!

Seania: I've read that some newer (and expensive) computers like MacBook Air and asus zenbooks should have up to 12-15 hours of battery, would this not help them keep a decent amount of battery through the years or is those high numbers just advertising?
I dot not require a number pad and I'm not too picky with screens :) I'm using a fairly old screen with a somewhat low resolution on my main desktop and doing perfectly fine (1440x900 if I remember correctly)
Are there any specific brands I should be looking at or anything else besides quad core Intel atom?
Thank you for your help :)

#5 SEANIA

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 12:23 PM

Seania: I've read that some newer (and expensive) computers like MacBook Air and asus zenbooks should have up to 12-15 hours of battery, would this not help them keep a decent amount of battery through the years or is those high numbers just advertising?

 

100% advertising. Those are best case scenario numbers. Whatever they say. The realistic number is half that, but that's still what you need so that's good.

Whatever their power capacity or power efficiency, lithium laptop batteries take a leap at somewhere around the 3 or 4 year mark. Be lucky to get a quarter of the orignal rated battery life at that point. Built in batteries can be replaced, but you're going to have to pay someone quite a bit to do it. The fee would probably be 150$ or so compared to 50$ to just buy another battery for a laptop where they're easily swap able.

 

I dot not require a number pad and I'm not too picky with screens :) I'm using a fairly old screen with a somewhat low resolution on my main desktop and doing perfectly fine (1440x900 if I remember correctly)

 

Have two of those myself that I use to use and are now backups. Real nice resolution. 

 

 

Are there any specific brands I should be looking at 

 

ASUS or Lenovo. They have lower fail rates then Apple and good customer support.

 

You can get a Macbook if that's what you're into, but be aware you're going to have to pay 100$ for a copy of windows and pay for office to install on it since most universities will only support windows file types. However the universities that do this will also hand out free copies of windows and office to use if you ask them. If they decline, you can ask Microsoft and they'll more then likely give you a free copy of each for school. Microsoft has programs for giving away free copies to students.

 

 

 anything else besides quad core Intel atom?

 

Making sure it comes with an SSD installed would be preferred. They use less power, are more resistant to being dropping, and are ok with being moved while turned on (not suppose to move mechanical drives while they're on). Also that is uses a real SSD. A lot of cheap laptops with a "SSD" just use cheap built in flash memory, and only 32GB of it at that. 

 

For CPU the "Core M" series from Intel is also made to be real power efficient. Intels new 6000 series of i3s/i5s/i7s are made very power efficient as well.

Example.

Intel Atom Z3755 uses 2 watts

Intel Core M-5Y10 uses 4.5 watts

Intel Core i7-6500U uses 7.5 watts

 

Compared to the average laptop CPU, like the Intel i5-3317U that uses 17 watts 

Even my power efficient AMD CPU the A6-6310, that I get "up to" 6 hours out of, still uses 12.19 watt.

Older or other common CPUs can use even more then those.

 

hmmm Windows 10 would be a plus since you're planning to keep it for 6 years.

 

 

To recap:

ASUS, Lenovo, or Apple with windows reinstall.

Intel quad core Atom, Core M, or Intel 6000 series CPU. 

Uses a 125GB+ SSD.

Windows 10

 

 

Hard finding laptops with more then 6 hours of rated battery life though. Manufactures think that if they use more power efficient parts that give them more then that, they can put a smaller battery in it to save them self money. Like this Lenovo, has all those things and uses half the wattage of my laptop. So should easily get 8-10 hours of use. Nope, cut down the battery to a rated 6 hours. Is a pet peeve of mine. 


99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#6 Zebrakatten

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 02:37 PM

Thank you so much! This really helps understand and it's very much appreciated! I will look into some of the brands you mention and keep in mind what you've written about copy's and so on :) I hadn't even though of considering the power use of something like the cpu.
Based on what you wrote I do start to doubt a bit. Would it be best to buy an expensive one now (to get battery and so on) and then save as much as possible to buy another expensive one later? Or would it be better to go cheap and do it more often?
If the vet best way is a replaceable battery, could you point me in the direction of some? I might be looking in the completely wrong areas but I haven't found any except Lenovo and I do like to have some options. If Lenovo is the only then I'll look at that :)

#7 SEANIA

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 03:37 PM

Based on what you wrote I do start to doubt a bit. Would it be best to buy an expensive one now (to get battery and so on) and then save as much as possible to buy another expensive one later? Or would it be better to go cheap and do it more often?

 

Only because it's a laptop, cheap and more often.

You could buy the best laptop ever, but you drop it down some stairs it's just a paper weight. Hell it's a laptop, a expensive piece of tech. You could forget it in class one day, come back for it, and some ones stolen it! If you're bringing your laptop everywhere, and moving it around all day, you have to look at it like you would a phone. Except phones are a lot more durable and cheaper to replace. It would be nice if accidents didn't happen so you could keep the same thing for a long time, but even the best of stuff can fail for no real reason. ASUS and Lenovo have the lowest fail rates, meaning they still fail.

 

Only trouble is finding that line where it's not so cheap it's not usable, but not so costly that you're throwing money away. That line tends to be between 400$ and 599$ for laptops. Even then though you have to be careful that you're not getting some of the marked up trash.

 

Oh and a word of advice.

Back up your data

Get a couple of USB flash drives and regularly copy off your important data to both of them. Then store them in a safe place when not in use.

 

Reminds me of the Google ChromeBook add from awhile back. Granted you can't use one of those for school because it's not windows, but really emphasizes the "anything can happen" aspect of owning a laptop though. Other selling point for them was that a cheap chrome book is 150$, up to 300$ for a really nice one. Another downside though is that you have to have a internet connection to use it. 

 

 

Wish the site supported embeding videos in posts XD oh wait it does it automatically.

 

I'm go browse some laptops, BRB.


Edited by SEANIA, 11 March 2016 - 03:54 PM.

99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#8 SEANIA

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 04:28 PM

OKAY 
This:

Lenovo G50 (80G0000VUS) 

Pretty spot on. It does use a Atom CPU. No SSD though. Has a small latch on the bottom to release the battery for on the go swapping.

lenovo-laptop-g50-side-detail-10.jpgSee the latch switches at the bottom right above the battery? Battery just slides off. Easy to use. Do it a lot with my own laptop. 

 

What's realllyyy making me PO'ed though is the increasingly small battery size. It's not like the parts are power hungry. I mean you can get a 2nd battery for it easily, but still. How come no one addresses the fact that people like 10 hour battery life until their 800+ dollar laptop series? 


Edited by SEANIA, 11 March 2016 - 04:30 PM.

99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#9 ScathEnfys

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 06:10 PM

"No SSD" is an issue that is easily rectified. SSD prices are getting cheaper by the month.
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#10 SEANIA

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:59 PM

"No SSD" is an issue that is easily rectified. SSD prices are getting cheaper by the month.

Yeah, but then the user has to learn how to copy over the OS and swap the drives. Not everyone can, or is willing to, mess around with that.


99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#11 Zebrakatten

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:39 PM

Is a pentium and an atom cup the same? It seems to me the one you linked is listed as having an Intel pentium. I can't seem to find the exact model you linked in Denmark but I have found some similar ones. It seems to be a bit big. I just got a tour of my future university today and most of the lecture halls have teeny tiny desks so I wonder if a 15" can fit there. Other than that though it seems really nice and about the price-range/a bit cheaper than the yoga (only Lenovo I've really heard about) so well within my budget :D is a new battery expensive? And how long is it possible to buy compatible batteries? (I assume they improve/update them regularly until the point where they're no longer compatible with older machines?)

I do believe I could figure out how to copy the OS but I'd prefer not to fiddle too much around with the components in a laptop. I do it in my desktop and that's small and tight enough for me.

Thank you so much for all your help and suggestions so far! It really helps me a lot, there is quite a lot I hadn't even thought about.

#12 SEANIA

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Posted 12 March 2016 - 05:03 AM

Is a pentium and an atom cup the same?

 

Intel has weird naming schemes I wish the handled better. That Pentium is a Atom CPU.

Intel generically uses the Pentium and Celeron branding to refer to CPUs they've cut down in some way for the low end. It can be really confusing because they'll take a i3, that uses entirely different CPU architecture from an Atom, the Atom CPU, that has entirely different CPU architecture form an i3, and brand the lower end versions of both Pentium and Celeron with a vague model number after it.

 

That Pentium, in this case, is a Atom CPU. It's special over its Atom variant in that it's actually faster. Normally, consumer CPUs are tested for high clock speed stability. The Atom is the exact opposite as it's tested for low clock speed, low voltage, low wattage, stability as it's meant for higher end tablets and netbooks. The ones that failed testing, are instead clocked up higher and used in laptops. The power difference isn't a whole lot. The newer Atoms will generally pull 2watts, and the Pentium variants pull up to 7.5. Can still set the clock speed to that of an Atom in windows power management and it'll probably use closer to 4 watts

 

 I can't seem to find the exact model you linked in Denmark

 

I feel really stupid for not having had the foresight to ask buyer country. Don't know why they don't make buying country standard in the purchase template.

Manufacturers tend to sell slightly different models in each region. You probably can't find it because they don't ship that model there. Prices can wildly vary to.

 

It seems to be a bit big. I just got a tour of my future university today and most of the lecture halls have teeny tiny desks so I wonder if a 15" can fit there

 

Then a Netbook might better fit your needs. Actually I don't know why I didn't think of it before. *face palm* They're generally around 10 inches, up to 12, and are made from the ground up to be as power efficient/long lasting as possible. Also are very cheap since they tend to use tablet hardware to run windows.

I got one back in 2010 for school. When the average battery life was 3 hours for a laptop, and I averaged 6 hours off of it... in 2010. Used a first gen Atom CPU....the nostalgia <3 Couldn't even play 720p videos, but it lasted forever.

Here's one of Lenovo's

noowww trying to find it for Denmark

*tries his best*

Think that's it. Denmark seems to mark up their electronics a lot. 529$ in Denmark VS 225$ in the US. Looked around a bit to on other sites in the region and that's the cheapest I could find. Others were around 650$. Ebay might be worth looking into if you're comfortable with that and want to save some money.


Edited by SEANIA, 12 March 2016 - 05:04 AM.

99% of the time, I edit for type-o's and grammar. I'll note it if that's not the case. 

I write near essays for most my responses, and then try to condense as best I can to the introduction of one. Less is more. Let me know if I post to much. 

I do a lot of spacing for readability. Let me know if that makes my posts seem to big. 


#13 Zebrakatten

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 04:17 PM

Please don't be too hard on yourself! I should have thought of mentioning where I'm from so it's just as much on me. Electronics in general are very expensive in Denmark, same with books and clothes and so on.
I would look into eBay if it weren't for the keyboard problems. A Danish keyboard is quite different, we have three extra letters for example.
Is a notebook big enough to write large assignments comfortably? I haven't owned a notebook before but I imagine it could get a bit cramped? Though, I do have small hands and am pretty small overall so it might not be a problem for me XD

#14 ScathEnfys

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 06:14 PM

Notebook PCs have a decent amount of keyboard real estate. Netbooks tend to be where things start to get a bit cramped, though you could always keep a full size keyboard in your dorm and use that for writing assignments...


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#15 Zebrakatten

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 02:10 AM

Okay then there should be no worry. I will definitely include notebooks in my search! Thank you :)




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