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Purchase Template: Back to School opportunity for new system


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#1 bitesized1612

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Posted 01 August 2016 - 04:56 PM

Laptop or Desktop? Laptop with at least 8GB of RAM, 500GB-1TB HDD at 7200RPM, 1920x1080 screen, intel i5-i7 processor at least 2.3Ghz, newer dedicated graphics card. I've actually seen a couple of things that would suit me but I'm still not sure. I need some more suggestions to compare and make a decision.

My budget for the new computer is: $400 or less if I get something right this minute but I'm happy to save up for something about $600-700. I absolutely need something before 2017.

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? Web surfing, email, casual gaming, word processing, listening to music, app testing, playing with Linux on virtual machines, and watching movies ocassionally.

What software do you intend on using on the computer? Couple of memory heavy apps (Chrome, Spotify) and newer PC games that need higher graphics. I don't think I will need something like Photoshop until next year but I would like to have the resources available if I need it.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? Causal puzzle and hidden object games, the Lego games, simulation games, browser flash games, etc. I want to play something like Batman Arkham Asylum without a lot of lag but I should probably get a dedicated gaming PC for that later. Right now I want to be able to play Portal, which was I able to do on a much older laptop that's dead now.

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 tend to leave the computer on to download things like Linux isos or podcasts and so I can have music playing out in the air. Sometimes I'll have a lot of tabs open in Chrome or documents in my word processor open at once while playing music. So spikes of high activity but generally I'm just watching Youtube, checking email, reading or listening to audiobooks while doing other chores. 

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer? I have a 500GB external storage drive that I plan to upgrade to 1TB once I buy the laptop. 

Will you be overclocking? Unless it makes Simcity 4 run faster, nope.

Location for online shopping/shipment/prices? Amazon, eBay, NewEgg, Overstock, manufacturer websites (have a family member's employee discount if we buy from HP) if things are on sale.

How many monitors are you planning to use? I have a TV I can use as a monitor with an HDMI port and a bigger monitor that still uses VGA. I think I'm getting rid of the VGA monitor.

Do you need peripherals? OS? I still like having an optical drive but it's optional. I'm about 60/40 on whether to stick with Windows 7 or move on to 10-- I was mostly happy using Linux for the 2 years or my Windows computers were dead but it doesn't do everything for me quite yet. I have a lot of older files and programs I need to sort through to rescue some data but once that's done I can move on! A comfortable egronomic keyboard and touchpad to work with, not too heavy to carry around and durable beyond the standard warranty. I've had a bad lemon in the past that I had to rescue with Linux.

Any particular reason why you are upgrading? It's been a long time since I've had a new computer, like a decade ago parents bought me something for school without my input, and Microsoft's concerted effort to bump everyone on Windows 7/8/8.1 to 10 kind of blindsided me and some of the projects I've been trying to work on. There's a little bit of money to work with if we get some nice discounts so trying to grab something now before 2017.



Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) // HP EliteBook 8460p = 2.50GHz + 8GB RAM 

 

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Currently Testing: Linux Mint 17.3 XFCE on a Dell Inspiron 531 (2.1Ghz +3GB RAM)

Status: steady with some minor issues


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#2 SEANIA

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Posted 04 August 2016 - 05:49 PM

Laptop or Desktop? Laptop with at least 8GB of RAM, 500GB-1TB HDD at 7200RPM, 1920x1080 screen, intel i5-i7 processor at least 2.3Ghz, newer dedicated graphics card. I've actually seen a couple of things that would suit me but I'm still not sure. I need some more suggestions to compare and make a decision.

My budget for the new computer is: $400 or less if I get something right this minute but I'm happy to save up for something about $600-700. I absolutely need something before 2017.

 
I can speak from personal experience for this as all my school laptops, that I also wanted to game on, had a budget between 400$ USD and 499$ USD. 
All the dedicated graphics cards in a sub 600$ USD laptops are going to be worse then the integrated graphics of other similarly price laptops. 
 
My current laptop, that was 440$ new, uses a AMD R5 m240 dedicated card paired with a AMD A6-6310 "quad core". For a similar price, I could've gotten a laptop with a 5th generation dual core i5 that used its integrated graphics. 
Pay, very, very close attention to what you are about to read-
The i5, with its integrated graphics and all of two cores, would've performed much better then the dedicated GPU setup. "Why is that?" you may ask.
 
For the CPU: Anything that would've used the extra cores of the weak quad core, also would require a much more beefier GPU then anything in that much price range to run at bare minimum settings. Regular daily tasks, and more simplified games, also very heavily favor single thread performance- which i5's have tons more of over the quad core. Meaning that the things the GPU can handle, are able to run at near max settings since they aren't being bottlenecked by the CPU. 
 
For the GPU: The integrated graphics and dedicated GPUs in that price range have around the same raw power. So you may be thinking "but surely the dedicated card has much better driver support for games, and would cream the integrated graphics for that reason alone right?". That is not the case at all. Both AMD and Nvidia do very little to optimize for these extra low end GPUs. AMD doesn't even officially recognize the R5 m240 as a card that they make. To top that off, there are a lot of people who use weak integrated graphics to play games, and have developed their own fixes/third party support for getting them to play games smoother. 
 
Lets take a step back to screen resolution that I also highlighted. Laptops for less that 500$ USD do not come with 1080p screens. They all use 1366x768 resolution panels. There are one or two exceptions, but those laptops are both hard to find and have extremely weak everything else. With them you'd be buying them just for the screen. Well that or they're an Acer....and you avoid Acers. 
 

I'm happy to save up for something about $600-700

With that budget, it becomes possible to do what you described and you'll have some options.

 

Something like this- Lenovo IdeaPad 500 80NT00FTUS

or this- ASUS K501UX-NS51

are along the lines of what you could venture to find in that area. The ASUS one has a SSD along side a 1TB HDD, which is a huge incentive to get it, but the Lenovo has a physical DVD drive.


Edited by SEANIA, 04 August 2016 - 05:50 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. 


#3 bitesized1612

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Posted 08 August 2016 - 03:54 PM

Thanks for the advice! I'm considering maybe waiting on a laptop and going for a tablet? But I honestly don't know. It's been busy at my house so I haven't had too much time to think about it.



Windows 7 Professional SP1 (64-bit) // HP EliteBook 8460p = 2.50GHz + 8GB RAM 

 

AVAST! - Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox - LibreOffice - Rainmeter

 

Currently Testing: Linux Mint 17.3 XFCE on a Dell Inspiron 531 (2.1Ghz +3GB RAM)

Status: steady with some minor issues





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