Buying a Budget School Laptop

turbotortoise

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Jul 10, 2012
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Hi guys!

I'm looking for some help selecting a laptop for school. I would like to spend less than $500; honestly less than or around $400 ideally. I like to have things like soundcloud and youtube open whilst reading and writing so the only real requirement is the laptop to handle a little bit of media multitasking, a large screen is also a bonus but negligible.

Thanks for your time!
 

iceblitzed

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May 12, 2014
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-K55A-HI5014L-15-6-500-GB-I5-3210m-2-5-GHz-4-GB-Notebook-DVDRW-Windows-8-/301212307667?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item4621a710d3.

390ish$.

I would recommend switching the hard drive with a solid state drive for faster load times. they cost like 75$ for 128gb. crucial mx100 128gb is a good ssd.
 

iceblitzed

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May 12, 2014
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-K55A-HI5014L-15-6-500-GB-I5-3210m-2-5-GHz-4-GB-Notebook-DVDRW-Windows-8-/301212307667?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item4621a710d3.

390ish$.

I would recommend switching the hard drive with a solid state drive for faster load times. they cost like 75$ for 128gb. crucial mx100 128gb is a good ssd.
 

daveeede

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Jan 8, 2014
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Acer offers decent performance but beware of the build quality of their E1 series. It's not great. Also this model doesn't have a built in optical drive. You can always buy an external one though if you miss it.

Overall the model you linked is not a bad choice considering your budget :)

 

daveeede

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Keep in mind that the second one does not have any operating system included. So you'll need to think to add about 100$ to that price for Windows. Other than that it is a decent deal.
 

chubbygamer1983

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Jun 14, 2013
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I would honestly persuade you to go for a chromebook. Probably the best $150-$250 your spend.

http://www.toshiba.com/us/computers/laptops/chromebook

Solid State Drive.
11 to 15 inch screen.
4 to 10 hour battery life.
Ultra Low Voltage CPU.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100022091&IsNodeId=1&Description=chromebook&name=Chromebooks&Order=PRICE&Pagesize=20&isdeptsrh=1

I recommend all students to get a cheap chromebook for carrying to classes and then get a desktop + tv which they can use in their accommodation. It is the most cost effective way to do your work and also play games.

You also have more chance of damaging your laptop out and about. If you have a accident with a expensive machine your going to have to either pay high insurance premiums or your simply not going to have a pc to use.

Make the right choice early :D

Oh and its worth noting if you put Linux onto a Chromebook your never have to buy expensive programs again like MS Office or Photoshop. Libre Office + GIMP/Inkscape do a great job.
 

turbotortoise

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Jul 10, 2012
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The chromebook is an intriguing answer, but i'm... anxious about that and really bought into the windows architecture, as well as needing windows for programs like ArcGIS. You do bring up an important point regarding durability. I don't really lug my laptop around to class, I'm still old and take pen and paper notes; so, looking around at refurbs again, I'm really leaning towards a lenovo. I couldn't find any refurbs, they were all used on ebay.ca-- and if I bought one from a US vendor, any savings are axed by import, shipping and taxes.

How are the T410 and 510?
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834317176&cm_re=refurbished_lenovo-_-34-317-176-_-Product
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834317376&cm_re=refurbished_lenovo-_-34-317-376-_-Product

Also, this is a strange price bracket. Is the extra $150 some odd giving me a noticeable performance increase over say an i3? Especially given what I want to do with the machine?
 

daveeede

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Jan 8, 2014
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Spending an extra 150$ might buy you something that will last a bit longer but generally speaking if your needs are basic, either of those two lenovos can fit the bill. The second one is probably what I would go for. I have used refurbished lenovos and I must say they perform reliably.

There is a performance difference between the i3 and i5 but i don't think it's worth the 150$ price difference in your case.
 

iceblitzed

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May 12, 2014
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those laptops for $400 are a bad deal imo. for example you can get a t420 for @280 here. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lenovo-ThinkPad-T420-i5-2-5GHz-4gb-320gb-WIN-7-60-DAY-WRTY-GRADE-A-/251604272241?pt=Laptops_Nov05&hash=item3a94c88471
 

turbotortoise

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Jul 10, 2012
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Oh certainly, in comparison; however, I should of been more clear-- I'm living in Canada and and if I bought one from a US vendor, any savings are axed by import, shipping and taxes; if they ship internationally at all, and call me fussy, but I don't really want a directly used PC.

I'm wondering if http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834317733 would be sufficient for me. If I don't have to spend over 300, then great.
 

chubbygamer1983

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Jun 14, 2013
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Check this out.

Bran new 17.3 inch HP laptop I3 for $330 at Best Buy.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion-17-3-laptop-intel-core-i3-4gb-memory-750gb-hard-drive-anodized-silver/6069109.p?id=1219184621686&skuId=6069109&st=categoryid$pcmcat247400050000&cp=1&lp=12

17.3 inch I3 3rd Gen Ivy Bridge, 4GB Ram, 750GB hard drive, DVD-RW, HDMI, USB3, DTS+ sound.

The ram is easy to get at on these models so you can upgrade it to 8GB. This model probably came out 2 years ago.

Intel HD 4000 notebook graphics can run games like World of Tanks, World of Warcraft, Leauge of Legends, Starcraft 2 etc.
But on low settings.

I strongly advise you to get this if you want a desktop replacement.
3rd Gen Ivy Bridge I3's are decent and don't overheat as much as Haswell's.
It has DTS sound. I've sampled this sound system and it makes all your tunes sound very sharp and good. Better than Altec Lansing.

Its a cheap deal. You would pay about $850 for this in the UK.
 

turbotortoise

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Jul 10, 2012
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Ughhhh, that is a great looking machine too; however, as per bestbuy's FAQ
"We do not ship to anywhere else outside the US, except as noted above."
 

chubbygamer1983

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Jun 14, 2013
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What are your import costs?
Can you bring a Laptop into Canada from the US as duty free?
How far do you live from the border?
Can you use a redirect service to allow you to shop in the US?
 

turbotortoise

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Jul 10, 2012
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Since posting it's gone up to 399. The landed cost shipped would be in or around $490. I'm about 3 1/2 hours from the border and a tank'a gas is about 50$. I know you can pickup parcels and import yourself. I'm not aware of any service that could do that for me.
 

chubbygamer1983

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Jun 14, 2013
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Seems like the right way to go about things. My advise is wait until Dell or HP have a sale on. Find a coupon that has 5-10% off and use a cashback website. You can usually get about 30% off the price if your clever.

As for importing a product from the US to Canada there should be lots of services. Your just have to google for them. It should be cheaper to do that than travelling all the way to the border.

Once you find a service your just pay your tariffs onto of their delivery cost.
 
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