Solved! New laptop buyer: give me advice, please

Apr 27, 2020
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Hello everyone, I'm new and somewhat ignorant about laptop/tech matters. I'm buying a new laptop (Windows operating system). I need someone to tell me the minimum power, storage, and speed needs to suit my usage.

I don't play any games, and I don't load any heavy, complex software programs on my laptop. All I need to be able to do is:

  1. have maximum speed & power to surf the Internet, including keeping multiple tabs open at once.
  2. be able to keep Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom open all day long, without my system freezing or slowing down.
  3. be able to download & use something like Tor Browser, without my system freezing of slowing down.
That's all, really. I've got to dump my current, aging laptop because it can't manage these tasks (described above) without freezing or slowing down.

Right now, I"m using a 2015 Toshiba Satellite C-55B. The processor is an Intel(R) Pentium(R) CPU N3530 @ 2.16 GHz . The RAM is 4.00. The system type is 64 bit operating system, x64 bit processor. Again: this laptop is inadequate for what I want it to do.

I'll pay up to $600 or so for a new laptop that enables me to surf the net, and use WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom without any freezing or stalling.

Can someone please give me a recommendation, with focus on RAM, processor, and system type? Thanks in advance!
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
But how can I tell the difference between the "very lowest" and something better? Surely the answer to that question concerns processor efficiency, number of cores, threading, etc.

I don't want to slap down cash for a laptop only to discover that it's too slow by a second or two when using Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp.
Price is one way, new laptops under $500 will be on the lower end of CPU and other specs or will have compromises such as a cheaper lower resolution screen, smaller drive, less RAM. In the $300-400 range things can get slower than you expect them to be, CPUs have less cores, less ram, build quality starts to suffer, things are harder to swap like RAM upgrades, drives used are slower.

$700-800 you will be getting nicer screens, more storage, more RAM, $1,000 you are looking at things with even nicer screens and fancier materials and build quality. Another is to just look up the CPU and specs and compare them to others. There are CPU reviews out there, hierarchy lists that put the CPUs in general tiers. If anyone tells you that you need to look at the ghz speed the CPU runs at without looking at many other factors does not really know much about CPUs.

The old Pentium 4s ran at a higher speed than a lot of modern CPUs but they are much slower. You can only compare CPUs in the same class not just by speed. So say you have an i5 6600 and you are comparing it to an i5 6600K then the CPU speed is a valid thing. If you are looking an at i5-6600 and i5-2500 then you can't just look at the speeds.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Normally for basic use I would just upgrade the RAM to 8, swap in a solid state drive and do a clean Windows setup, but your system had a bit of a low end CPU that should be replaced if you want peppier response.

This system is a good price, as long as you are not installing large programs or keeping large files locally on the system since it only has a 128 GB drive https://www.staples.com/lenovo-ideapad-s340-15api-81nc-15-6-notebook-amd-ryzen-5-3500u-8gb-memory-128gb-ssd-windows-10-81nc00bgus/product_24435079?cid=PS:GooglePLAs:24435079&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=24435079&KPID=24435079&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7qn1BRDqARIsAKMbHDbZfulctp5xE7wL-3xVnFoZDko6DjK2QObMlqJGnTKkUEp4vpRfRF4aAqEeEALw_wcB
 
May 13, 2020
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Normally for basic use I would just upgrade the RAM to 8, swap in a solid state drive and do a clean Windows setup, but your system had a bit of a low end CPU that should be replaced if you want peppier response.

This system is a good price, as long as you are not installing large programs or keeping large files locally on the system since it only has a 128 GB drive https://www.staples.com/lenovo-ideapad-s340-15api-81nc-15-6-notebook-amd-ryzen-5-3500u-8gb-memory-128gb-ssd-windows-10-81nc00bgus/product_24435079?cid=PS:GooglePLAs:24435079&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=24435079&KPID=24435079&gclid=Cj0KCQjw7qn1BRDqARIsAKMbHDbZfulctp5xE7wL-3xVnFoZDko6DjK2QObMlqJGnTKkUEp4vpRfRF4aAqEeEALw_wcB
Thanks for the advice. However, I've been told by other techies that, for my usage only (Skype & Zoom, WhatsApp), my GHz power should be only "slightly less" than 3.0. I notice that your recommended machine has a starting GHz of 2.10, and reaches higher (GHZ 3.7) only because of a boost.

Should I be concerned here? I've heard that clock speed makes all the difference in being able to use Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom in a fluid and efficient manner.

Thanks in advance for your feedback...it's much appreciated.
 
May 13, 2020
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Also, is this machine (that you suggested for me) equipped with a minimum of 8 RAM? I've been advised to settle for nothing less than 8 RAM. That Lenovo ads state that this laptop carries "8 GB" memory.er

On the whole, I like your recommendation. I was on the verge of paying $1100 for a gaming laptop that featured abilities I absolutely do not need. If this Lenovo (that you recommend) can suit my limited purposes for a purchase price of less than $600, that's a big win for me.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Thanks for the advice. However, I've been told by other techies that, for my usage only (Skype & Zoom, WhatsApp), my GHz power should be only "slightly less" than 3.0. I notice that your recommended machine has a starting GHz of 2.10, and reaches higher (GHZ 3.7) only because of a boost.

Should I be concerned here? I've heard that clock speed makes all the difference in being able to use Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom in a fluid and efficient manner.

Thanks in advance for your feedback...it's much appreciated.
You can't just go by the speed the CPU runs on, there are many factors past just that one number. There will be no issues with any modern system past the very lowest with running your programs. There are no issues with having 8GB of RAM in a system it will run things fine.
 
Apr 27, 2020
3
0
10
0
any modern system past the very lowest
But how can I tell the difference between the "very lowest" and something better? Surely the answer to that question concerns processor efficiency, number of cores, threading, etc.

I don't want to slap down cash for a laptop only to discover that it's too slow by a second or two when using Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
But how can I tell the difference between the "very lowest" and something better? Surely the answer to that question concerns processor efficiency, number of cores, threading, etc.

I don't want to slap down cash for a laptop only to discover that it's too slow by a second or two when using Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp.
Price is one way, new laptops under $500 will be on the lower end of CPU and other specs or will have compromises such as a cheaper lower resolution screen, smaller drive, less RAM. In the $300-400 range things can get slower than you expect them to be, CPUs have less cores, less ram, build quality starts to suffer, things are harder to swap like RAM upgrades, drives used are slower.

$700-800 you will be getting nicer screens, more storage, more RAM, $1,000 you are looking at things with even nicer screens and fancier materials and build quality. Another is to just look up the CPU and specs and compare them to others. There are CPU reviews out there, hierarchy lists that put the CPUs in general tiers. If anyone tells you that you need to look at the ghz speed the CPU runs at without looking at many other factors does not really know much about CPUs.

The old Pentium 4s ran at a higher speed than a lot of modern CPUs but they are much slower. You can only compare CPUs in the same class not just by speed. So say you have an i5 6600 and you are comparing it to an i5 6600K then the CPU speed is a valid thing. If you are looking an at i5-6600 and i5-2500 then you can't just look at the speeds.
 
May 13, 2020
4
0
10
0
How about you tell me this: if I want the best, basic laptop that will give me the fastest Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp performance for $800 or so, EXACTLY WHAT processor should I be looking at?

Thanks in advance.

Simple truth is, I don't have the tech savvy to be comparing & analyzing all this stuff on the Intenet.

Worse yet, I can't trust the salesmen at my local tech stores, because - as we all know - they are con men who are trained to do switch and bait sells on naive customers.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
How about you tell me this: if I want the best, basic laptop that will give me the fastest Skype, Zoom, and WhatsApp performance for $800 or so, EXACTLY WHAT processor should I be looking at?

Thanks in advance.

Simple truth is, I don't have the tech savvy to be comparing & analyzing all this stuff on the Intenet.

Worse yet, I can't trust the salesmen at my local tech stores, because - as we all know - they are con men who are trained to do switch and bait sells on naive customers.
Fastest CPU in about an $800 system would be i5-1035G1 or a Ryzen 5 3550H. Issue is models tend to sell out fast now due to everyone buying laptops for home use with work.

This is a new model, good brand, sleek https://www.bestbuy.com/site/msi-modern-14-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-512gb-ssd-gray-with-blue-diamond-cut/6408062.p?skuId=6408062&ref=212&loc=1&ref=212&loc=1&gclid=CjwKCAjw2a32BRBXEiwAUcugiPifV-EiY8HauUFDJK_3RJ5FtlfioQIyKMQ7sxQmHjcxxnQqAq9NYhoCINoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

One with a tablet mode https://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-yoga-c740-2-in-1-14-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i5-8gb-memory-256gb-solid-state-drive-mica/6367805.p?skuId=6367805&ref=212&loc=1&ref=212&loc=1&ds_rl=1260576&gclid=CjwKCAjw2a32BRBXEiwAUcugiHI3dSm5MgVwBwmy0BLSUrbiDDqK0pIukhuFQn6MnYQVgN_Csn72NBoC490QAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds
 
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