Need 2 Kids' Laptops for X-Mas (Black Friday shopping)

dhamon

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I want to buy 2 laptops for my children, ages 10 and 8 (mainly so they will stay off of mine!). I am looking for a Black Friday deal so I can get my Christmas shopping out of the way now and I want help finding the best deal.

What I am looking for:
- 2 laptops (or tablets/netbooks if they meet the below requirements)
- Priced from $300-$500 each (but lowest price possible preferred)
- Mainly used for homework to do Word, Powerpoint, and Excel work
- Standalone number pad is necessary (or, alternatively, buy a separate keyboard)
- Most important- they must be able to run the PC version of Minecraft fairly smoothly :)
- Monitor size and resolution isn't a big deal, but would prefer a minimum of 15"
- They will not be traveling much with them but they do need to be able to put them away, so mobility is not a huge deal

Thanks for all the help!

Reply to BJSM:
I really don't have a preference. I should have clarified that I want a Windows 7 or 8 system, but I am not picky beyond that. It will be my kids' first system of their own and really doesn't need to be that powerful. The only real hanging point I have is that they like Minecraft and we play over my network a lot, so being able to run it is a must.
 

bjsm

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If you would have examples of laptops you want to buy it would be easier for us to recommend something good. There is so many laptops that can do that you have to narrow your post a bit. Looking forward to help you out.
 

dhamon

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BJSM- see updated post (tl;dr- i want Windows 7 or 8)

JackNaylorPE- Are you saying a laptop that can manage Minecraft for under $500 isn't in the cards?
 

bjsm

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Ok, here are the minecraft pc requirements.

Minimum Requirements:
CPU: Intel Pentium D or AMD Athlon 64 (K8) 2.6 GHz
RAM: 2GB
GPU (Integrated): Intel HD Graphics or AMD (formerly ATI) Radeon HD Graphics with OpenGL 2.1
GPU (Discrete): Nvidia GeForce 9600 GT or AMD Radeon HD 2400 with OpenGL 3.1
HDD: At least 200MB for Game Core and Other Files
Java 6 Release 45

Recommended Requirements:
CPU: Intel Core i3 or AMD Athlon II (K10) 2.8 GHz
RAM: 4GB
GPU: GeForce 2xx Series or AMD Radeon HD 5xxx Series (Excluding Integrated Chipsets) with OpenGL 3.3
HDD: 1GB
Latest release of Java 7 from java.com



*Did you consider a tablet? Play minecraft, plug in a keyboard, download the microsoft office apps. Just a suggestion. If you want a laptop that will run minecraft smoothly enough id have no choice to recommend one with a gpu.
 

dhamon

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I'd be fine with a tablet but I don't see that working as we need the PC version of minecraft not the tablet version (my freenas system runs a family server for Minecraft... not willing to give that up).

I am looking at some newegg Black-Friday deals now but not finding any with adequate graphics and/or processor power. Am I out-of-luck on staying below $500?
 

bjsm

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Ok i understand. im pretty sure you could run minecraft with an integrated gpu. This said, it would not be as smooth as with a "real" gpu. Let me take a look at the deals. Pardon my english.
 

jaguarskx

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There are plenty of laptops capable of playing Minecraft. A dedicated graphics card is not needed for such a game. The following 15.6" Dell laptop with a Core i3-4030u and the Intel HD 4400 for $400 will be able to play Minecraft. Best Buy has this same laptop for only $299, but it is now sold out online. It is still a decent, but you may or may not want to wait for Cyber Monday deals if something better comes along.


http://www.staples.com/Dell-Inspiron-Laptop-156-500GB-Hard-Drive-4GB-Memory-Intel-i3/product_1075790?cmArea=home_box1


The following Youtube video shows Minecraft being played on a Sony Duo 13. It is a more expensive laptop which has a faster Core i5-4200u CPU (max speed of 2.6GHz vs 1.9GHz for the Core i3) and it also has a 1920x1080 resolution screen vs a 1366x768 resolution. However, both laptops have the Intel HD 4400. The game runs pretty well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQjfTzpqG90
 

dhamon

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Awesome BJSM! I am adding this model to my cart and if nothing else comes up by tomorrow I am definitely ordering 2 of them. Thank you very much.
 

bjsm

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Happy to hear that :). Make sure to pick a "best answer" if you found this useful.


Good day
 

jaguarskx

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You are not providing the correct information.

The ASUS K200MA-DS01T has a Bay Trail-M N2830 CPU. The video you provided uses an Intel Celeron 1007U CPU. The distinction is very important. The Celeron 1007U is based on Intel's Ivy Bridge CPU for laptops, thus it's graphics core is the Intel HD Ivy Bridge generation graphics core. On the other hand the Bay Trail-M N2830 has the Intel HD Bay Trail generation graphics core and it is based on Intel's Atom CPUs which are generally meant for tablet and low budget laptops.

There is a pretty decent difference in performance between the Intel HD (Ivy Bridge) and Intel HD (Bay Trail). The Intel HD (Bay Trail) will provide lower performance compared to the video link you have provided. Therefore, the slightly more expensive ASUS X200CA-DB01T will provide better performance in Minecraft.

 

bjsm

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Yes you are right. But the second laptop i linked would also run minecraft. If you want to be 100% sure you have the same model as the one in the video, just buy the older version i linked which is still up for sale. Sorry about that.
 

jaguarskx

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The integrated Radeon HD 8450g in the A6-5350M APU is certainly more powerful than the Intel HD (Bay Trail) and Intel HD (Ivy Bridge) graphic cores. However, it is less powerful than the Intel HD 4000 found in the Ivy Bridge generation core i3/i5/i7 CPUs. The Dell laptop I pointed you to has a Haswell generation Core i3-4030u CPU with the Intel HD 4400. The Intel HD 4400 is 25% more powerful than the Intel HD 4000 which makes it more than 25% more powerful than the Radeon HD 8450g.

While the AMD A6-6530m does reach 2.9GHz vs. 1.9GHz for the Intel Core i3-4030u, Intel CPUs are by default more powerful than AMD APUs. It has to do with how AMD APUs and Intel CPUs are designed. The performance difference is roughly 35% which means a Intel CPU running at 1.9GHz is approximately the same as an AMD APU running at 2.5GHz / 2.6GHz which makes the performance difference a lot smaller.

When it comes to games, you want the most powerful graphics core you can afford in the event you allow your kids to play something other than Minecraft which requires a bit more graphics performance. If you are willing to spend $385 for the Lenovo laptop, then you might as well spend the extra $15 for the Dell laptop I recommended which also comes with a larger hard drive.
 

bjsm

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Looks like a good buy! Nice price as well. Read this:

http://www.tomsguide.com/answers/id-2269932/computer-specs.html


Heres a video to give you a little idea (i know its not minecraft but it plays bf4)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajY4VNPGkqU


I think that laptop for the price looks pretty good, Your kids will be very happy on xmas ;)
 
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