Laptop advice (+FAQ) $400-$600, mild games, movies, take on trips, school


Apr 11, 2013
Hello Everyone,
Finally getting a laptop after lots of research and not pulling the trigger. I have a base laptop to work off of Acer Aspire V3-551-8469, Flip-flopping on trying to get more performance for a little more money, or a lot less money getting a return/refurb.
1. What is your budget? $400 to $600

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15.6”

3. What screen resolution do you want? Standard rez for 15.6” and this price point.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? I have a dedicated desktop that I built. AMD 1100t, 12 Gb, ATI 6850

5. How much battery life do you need? 4-6 standard

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop?
Yes, I like indie games. Gotta work with Kerbal Space Program, or steam type games, portal, Halo. I know GTA4/L.A. Noire would be a stretch at high rez for this price, I’m realistic.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
It will be for school papers, surfing, movies played on it, and connected to a TV. Maybe some photo touchup, nothing serious. I use drafting programs, like Google Sketchup and will be learning AutoDesk, but that is what my PC is for. I can accept lag for these programs, just not crashes.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? 500 Gb

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Officemax for Acer, Lenovo for refurb, CowBoom for a returned Asus

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? 4 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? DVD burner, DL a plus

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Asus for the bang for the buck and reliability, same for Lenovo, just sleeker looking, maybe better build quality?

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Primarily, it’s to be used to watch movies on the TV-(my pc is too far away), to use in school for simple tasks, gaming my indie games while away from home, to take on road trips to: email, surf, photo storage, watch home security cameras, watch movies.

I keep wanting to get this new Acer, (you can upgrade ram to 16Gb!) but trolling around for better deals on maybe a scratch and dent, or refurb/return keep me from making a decision. I've bought refurb in the past, but this seems higher stakes to me.

Thank you all very much, I greatly appreciate it!
I will follow up this post [solved] when it is, and what laptop I went with.



Apr 11, 2013
After much deliberation, mostly graphic card research, I ended up getting:

Acer Aspire V3-551-8469
Sale from officemax- $389.99 x 0.95(cash back rewards:)) x 1.056 (tax) =$391.24


AMD A-Series A8-4500M(1.90GHz) - PassMark score - 2716

4GB Memory - upgradable to 16GB
500GB HDD-

DVD Super Multi burns DL+-

AMD Radeon HD 7640G - plays modern games at medium settings

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