A Choice Between Two Laptops...

Brian Kozik

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May 28, 2013
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I'm about to become a computer science student and I need my own laptop within 6 weeks. My budget is $450, and I want a laptop that is fast, upgradable, and has a good keyboard. I will mainly be using it for development, light gaming, and web browsing/watching movies. On my current desktop, I'm using about 6-8 gigs of RAM, so if it isn't at 8, I'll upgrade it myself. I might also add an SSD later next year. I want it to last 3-4 years as well. I don't have time to wait for Haswell to come out, and I don't see how I would use a touch screen for productivity, so any laptop with those features isn't in consideration.

Screen size: 15.6
Resolution: 720p
Thickness: under 1.5''
Weight: Under 6 lbs.
RAM: upgradable up to 16 GB
CPU: at least 2.0 ghz
GPU: ??
Battery: at least 3.5 hrs
Brands: acer, asus, lenovo
Where to buy: bestbuy, amazon

Given all of these requirements, I've found 2 laptops: Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 and the Lenovo G580... the links are: http://www.amazon.com/Acer-Aspire-V3-551-8469-15-6-Inch-Midnight/dp/B009A8L0IE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370030093&sr=8-1&keywords=Acer+Aspire+V3-551-8458 for the acer and http://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-15-6-Inch-Laptop-Brown-Metal/dp/B00ATANTR2/ref=sr_1_3?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1370370820&sr=1-3&keywords=thinkpad for the lenovo.

These seem like very similar laptops, but the lenovo has a i5-3230 at 2.6 ghz with Intel HD 4000 graphics and the acer has an AMD A8-4500m at 1.9 ghz with HD 7640G graphics. The acer is also about 30-50 dollars cheaper, allowing for a RAM upgrade of + 8 GB immediately.
Which of these laptops should I choose? Are there any laptops that I've missed? Thanks!
 

RetiredChief

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Feb 22, 2007
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Some general comments Based on budget $50:
1) Vast majority only support upto 8 gigs (ie 2 x 4). However currently 8 gigs ram is considered the sweet spot

2) Battery time 3.5 Hrs - can find as manuf stated - BUT very few achieve that in real life. Use 50->75% of manuf claim as approx run time on battery - Just buy a 2nd battery.

3) Web browsing and playing a DVD will not be a problem on any of the newer Laptops. NOTE: for Bluray can buy a usb blu-ray drive, what I did was swap out the DVD-RW drive in two of my Toshibia laptops for a BD-Rom/DVD-rw drive.

4) "light gaming"is a relative term. The amd would have more gaming horse power. What you need to do is check for the games you want to play, and the settings.
Ref HD4000 gaming: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html
Ref 7640G: http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7640G.69836.0.html
In the above links if you scrowl down, on the left you sill see a large number of games and expected FPS based on settings.
For Games that are CPU intensive, the i5 would be better, for GPU bound games the 7640 is slightly better. (Both are a class 3

5) Cpu horse power the i5 much better.
... If looking at the FPS for games and the i5's HD4000 meets your requirement - that would be a better choice.

6) Brands: Acer had the POOREST rating interms of reliabilty/least user problems, HOWEVER i've heard their quality has improved. HP Consummer models rated slightly higher, Corperate models quite good but expensive.
Lenovo, Probably good, not sure inse thy are basically a dell unit and Dell is like HP - corporate models very good and expensive, Consumer models no so good.
My prefered brands (NOT in order) are Asus, Toshibia and Samsung.

For source I prefer newegg, Have bought from Tigerdirect.

ADDED: Check to see if you live close to a microcenter and/or a Frys - Both are better than Bestbuy, And You can check OUT the one you would like to buy.
 

RetiredChief

Distinguished
Feb 22, 2007
465
0
19,010
80
Some general comments Based on budget $50:
1) Vast majority only support upto 8 gigs (ie 2 x 4). However currently 8 gigs ram is considered the sweet spot

2) Battery time 3.5 Hrs - can find as manuf stated - BUT very few achieve that in real life. Use 50->75% of manuf claim as approx run time on battery - Just buy a 2nd battery.

3) Web browsing and playing a DVD will not be a problem on any of the newer Laptops. NOTE: for Bluray can buy a usb blu-ray drive, what I did was swap out the DVD-RW drive in two of my Toshibia laptops for a BD-Rom/DVD-rw drive.

4) "light gaming"is a relative term. The amd would have more gaming horse power. What you need to do is check for the games you want to play, and the settings.
Ref HD4000 gaming: http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-4000.69168.0.html
Ref 7640G: http://www.notebookcheck.net/AMD-Radeon-HD-7640G.69836.0.html
In the above links if you scrowl down, on the left you sill see a large number of games and expected FPS based on settings.
For Games that are CPU intensive, the i5 would be better, for GPU bound games the 7640 is slightly better. (Both are a class 3

5) Cpu horse power the i5 much better.
... If looking at the FPS for games and the i5's HD4000 meets your requirement - that would be a better choice.

6) Brands: Acer had the POOREST rating interms of reliabilty/least user problems, HOWEVER i've heard their quality has improved. HP Consummer models rated slightly higher, Corperate models quite good but expensive.
Lenovo, Probably good, not sure inse thy are basically a dell unit and Dell is like HP - corporate models very good and expensive, Consumer models no so good.
My prefered brands (NOT in order) are Asus, Toshibia and Samsung.

For source I prefer newegg, Have bought from Tigerdirect.

ADDED: Check to see if you live close to a microcenter and/or a Frys - Both are better than Bestbuy, And You can check OUT the one you would like to buy.
 


The i5 is more efficient in just about every regard. An A10 vs an i5 would be more of an apples to apples comparison, but even then, the only thing the A10 APUs trump the i5 in is the integrated GPU. The Lenovo with the i5 will perform much more efficiently than the Acer, for said reasons.

RetiredChief has your bases covered, it seems. :)
 
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