Need help selecting the right laptop!

aejulian

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Nov 7, 2011
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Hello Guys, my name is Alex and I am currently a freshman electrical engineering undergraduate student in desperate need for a new laptop. The current laptop I own is an old 17” HP which is much too large for me to consider hauling around campus all day. I have been researching laptops for last few weeks and have been frustrated in my attempts to weed through the multitude of options out there and trying to determine what laptop is right for me. Just a note: I was considering the Dell XPS 14z/15z but I was deterred by Dell’s poor quality control, build, and customer support reported by other buyers. I truly appreciate any help you guys can give me in finding a laptop that will satisfy my needs as a student/ casual gamer/ musician (primarily the first two)
1. What is your budget? $1000$1250 (though I would be willing to spend a little more if need be)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 14” or 15”

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920 x 1080 would be preferred, but I could settle on one that was in the 1600 x 900 or if necessary 1366 x 768

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Definitely more on the portable side

5. How much battery life do you need? Anywhere from 4 hours and up will work for me (there are a litter of outlets on campus)

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?
Yes I would like to dabble in some casual gaming here and there. Portal ½ (medium settings), Team Fortress 2 (medium settings), and also I enjoy playing the campaigns of the FPS’ out there (low/medium settings)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) As an electrical engineer I will be using the program MATLAB r2011a frequently in the upcoming years. Also, I wouldn’t mind if it could handle audio editing (not at all going to make or break my decision)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? Greater than 500GB HDD works for me (im thinking 750GB @7200rpm is a nice place for me to land? But I am not well versed in how this might impact the performance)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. Mainstream sites, Bestbuy.com (for employee discount  ), newegg.com, amazon.com, direct from manufacturer (basically searching for the best deal like everyone else out there)

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? At least the next 3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? Bluray would be cool to have, but the standard DVD drive is just fine.

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. In the past I’ve used HP’s but I would like to switch to a different brand. Unless what I’ve been reading is false I would also like to stay away from Dell. Up for anything except Mac’s!

13. What country do you live in? USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Once again I really appreciate any help you guys can give me in finding the right laptop! I would like to buy the laptop in the next few weeks.
Thanks again,
~Alex
 

dork_police

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Jul 25, 2011
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Hey there,

Okay dug a bit through bestbuy.com and I found a couple of really nice laptops, all 1920x1080 screens, i7 sandy bridge, 750GB (one has a 640GB), 8GB ram (upgradable to 16) and all of them have a dedicated gfx, however the MSI is the one that has switchable graphics so your notebook will have a longer battery life (honestly not sure if the others have - atleast their specs dont suggest so)...

Sony Laptop: 1 200,00 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+VAIO+F+Series+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i7+Processor+/+16.4%26%2334%3B+Display+-+Black/3519969.p?id=1218408946235&skuId=3519969
Dell Laptop: 1 149,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+XPS+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i7+Processor+/+15.6%22+Display+/+8GB+Memory+/+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Silver/2817255.p?id=1218353393327&skuId=2817255
MSI Laptop: 1 083,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/MSI+-+GE620DX-278US+15.6%22+LED+Notebook+-+Intel+Core+i7+i7-2630QM+2+GHz+-+Gray/3820771.p?id=1218434736557&skuId=3820771
Asus Laptop: 1 122,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+G53SW-A1+15.6%22+LED+Notebook+-+Intel+Core+i7+i7-2630QM+2+GHz+-+Black/3775992.p?id=1218431602122&skuId=3775992

All of these products are really quality products... I would go for the Asus notebook (always wanted an Asus notebook; one thing that is in favour of the Asus notebook is that it has a 8-cell battery) but they all have a battery life of 4+ hours... And gpu performance does not shift more than 3+- on the Toms gaming gpu hirachy...

Now it really is up to you, seeing as they are all roughly the same price, the only question you should ask is what make do you prefer, then pick that one...

Hope I helped
 

aejulian

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Nov 7, 2011
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I actually have considered the hp envy 14 before, i wouldnt mind continuing with hp but how does it do in terms of ventilation and heat and such?
 

dork_police

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Jul 25, 2011
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Hey there,

Okay dug a bit through bestbuy.com and I found a couple of really nice laptops, all 1920x1080 screens, i7 sandy bridge, 750GB (one has a 640GB), 8GB ram (upgradable to 16) and all of them have a dedicated gfx, however the MSI is the one that has switchable graphics so your notebook will have a longer battery life (honestly not sure if the others have - atleast their specs dont suggest so)...

Sony Laptop: 1 200,00 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+VAIO+F+Series+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i7+Processor+/+16.4%26%2334%3B+Display+-+Black/3519969.p?id=1218408946235&skuId=3519969
Dell Laptop: 1 149,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell+-+XPS+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i7+Processor+/+15.6%22+Display+/+8GB+Memory+/+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Silver/2817255.p?id=1218353393327&skuId=2817255
MSI Laptop: 1 083,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/MSI+-+GE620DX-278US+15.6%22+LED+Notebook+-+Intel+Core+i7+i7-2630QM+2+GHz+-+Gray/3820771.p?id=1218434736557&skuId=3820771
Asus Laptop: 1 122,99 $
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+G53SW-A1+15.6%22+LED+Notebook+-+Intel+Core+i7+i7-2630QM+2+GHz+-+Black/3775992.p?id=1218431602122&skuId=3775992

All of these products are really quality products... I would go for the Asus notebook (always wanted an Asus notebook; one thing that is in favour of the Asus notebook is that it has a 8-cell battery) but they all have a battery life of 4+ hours... And gpu performance does not shift more than 3+- on the Toms gaming gpu hirachy...

Now it really is up to you, seeing as they are all roughly the same price, the only question you should ask is what make do you prefer, then pick that one...

Hope I helped
 

aejulian

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Nov 7, 2011
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Alright, so I am really liking that MSI GE620DX-278US from bestbuy as well as the HP envy 14 from the ones suggested so far. You guys have been excellent so far, but if any of you have other suggestions i would still be willing to hear your ideas. Btw, do any of you know if their is a review on the MSI from any of like the laptop magazine websites or other trusted review sites?
Thanks again, appreciate all the help!
 

aejulian

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Nov 7, 2011
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What is your guys' opinion on the HP pavillion dv6t quad edition?
specs i set up with it are as follows
:2nd gen intel core i7-2670qm
:2GB Radeon(TM) HD 6770M GDDR5 Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
:8GB DDR3 ram
:750GB 7200 rpm hardrive
:1920 x 1080

thanks again for the continued help, i really appreciate it!

update:

I finally decided to go with the HP pavillion dv6tqe mentioned above. Thanks for all the help!
 
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