New Laptop was defective; trying to choose/find a replacement

PlayerDot

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Hello everyone,

I recently found a laptop I thought would be good enough for my needs, but it turns out the GPU was defective and I had to bring it back to the store. As they did not have a replacement, I am getting a refund, but I am still struggling to find a suitable replacement.
My main intention was to use it for school and translation away from home, while being able to use it for light gaming in case I get bored.

The one I had purchased was:
Acer Aspire E5-571G-53B1 - €629
Display/Resolution: 15.6''; up to 1900x1080.
CPU: i5-5200U
GPU: NVidia GF 840M
RAM: 8GB
500GB SSHD (/w 8GB SSD cache)

It seemed suitable and affordable enough, though I have to say the icons and menus appear so tiny at 1080p, it'd take some getting used to. A larger display and resolution are very helpful when I'm doing translation work, though.

The best I could come up with are:
Acer Aspire E5-573G-503P - €579
Display/Resolution: 15.6''; up to 1900x1080.
CPU: Intel i5-5200U
GPU: NVidia GF 940M 2gb
RAM: 4GB
500GB SSHD (/w 8GB SSD cache)

Acer Aspire E5-573G-76DM - €699
Display/Resolution: 15.6''; up to 1900x1080.
CPU: Intel i7-5500U
GPU: NVidia GF 940M 2gb
RAM: 8GB
1TB SSHD (/w 8GB SSD cache)

Acer Aspire E5-772G-5854 - €679
Display/Resolution: 17''; up to 1900x1080.
CPU: Intel i5-5200U
GPU: NVidia GF 940M 2gb
RAM: 8GB
1TB HDD

Can I hear some of your opinions or suggestions, maybe even alternatives in the same price range?
 

13thmonkey

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well you seem to know what you are talking about. So Any of those three will do, personally I think that 8GB of RAM will make a lot of difference (my 4GB laptop performs like a POS), as for storage, you'll not notice a lot of difference between a hybrid and a normal drive IMO. Find out the precise ram config of the cheapest one and figure out the cost of buying enough ram to bring it up to 8GB.
 

PlayerDot

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I was under the impression that it would run smoother or at least yield noticably better results than having the CPU doing all the work. Is that not the case?
 

13thmonkey

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The simple answer is no it is not the case, if you are not gaming. The CPU doesn't emulate a GPU, it has a built in GPU that is to all intents and purposes separate.

Putting anything up to a X40M into a machine is in my opinion a marketing gimmick, yes the X30M and the X40M my be a little 'faster' than the built in GPU in gaming terms, but not enough to make gaming truly feasible. I note that you do not mention gaming.

The slightly more nuanced answer is that yes more electrical power is consumed by the CPU, making it hotter, if the built in GPU is used. BUT in a laptop the external GPU also generates heat, and uses the same cooling solution, to effectively the heat is all generated at the same point.

I would never get a separate GPU now (6 years ago different story) in a laptop, unless I wanted it for gaming, then i'd get a 960M or similar, or a desktop. It'll run cooler, use less power overall, be lighter, have fewer driver issues, etc. with the built in.
 

PlayerDot

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I suppose you have a point. I think my main reasoning was that, according to Notebookchecker or whatever the site was, I saw much better framerates with a 840M, 920M or 940M than the games would have with Intel's 5500 HD:
Gnomoria
Risk of Rain
Torchlight II
Orcs Must Die! 2
Terraria
Factorio
Dota 2
Starcraft 2
Supreme Commander 2
Guild Wars 2

I have a gaming PC at home that I use for all newer and more demanding releases, so I am not trying to find a laptop to be able to do what it does because it would be impractical and very expensive. I would just appreciate it if I could at least play something more than a flash game when I am abroad for weeks or even months at a time. It's really boring and lonely when you are in a foreign land with little-to-no friends.
On the laptop I'm using now (Intel 1005M, Intel HD graphics, 17.3'' HD+, 4GB DDR3 Memory) I cannot even emulate a GBA game without lag.

Oh and another argument I have: Pretty much half of the laptops in German stores that are in the €500-800 price range come with pretty much the same specs, albeit without a dedicated GPU, without any difference in price whatsoever.
 

13thmonkey

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well then, if those are your requirements that's a different story, for those kinds of games perhaps it is enough, but at appropriate settings the HD gpu solutions ahave performed well. Not brilliantly but well enough. Perhaps an APU based solution then?
 

PlayerDot

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I don't know. I was under the impression (at least using the same website) that AMD's Notebook APUs and GPUs available to me with a similar kit and benchmark score tend to be less optimized for a lot of the games on this list, usually having 10 FPS less on medium settings than a 940M. Dota 2, for example, appears to be playable with the same framerate on ultra on the 940M as it would be on medium for the R7 M360.
 

13thmonkey

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well you seem to know what you are talking about. So Any of those three will do, personally I think that 8GB of RAM will make a lot of difference (my 4GB laptop performs like a POS), as for storage, you'll not notice a lot of difference between a hybrid and a normal drive IMO. Find out the precise ram config of the cheapest one and figure out the cost of buying enough ram to bring it up to 8GB.
 

PlayerDot

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Definitely agree with the 8GB RAM thing. The reason I listed the 4GB laptop is because I could technically get a 4GB RAM stick for €20-35, maybe even 8gb around 35~ish. Only one problem, though: they charge you €50-100 to work on your laptop here, (in Slovenia they do it for free or max €20), and I don't have any tools with me to be screwing around with unscrewing the laptop, so it might take a while before I can bring it to 8gb.
It doesn't void your warranty, however, which is nice.

As for the SSHD; the laptop, before the I realised the GPU was defective, was my first device with an SSHD and the first I installed W8.1 on, so I wouldn't be able to tell how much of a difference the SSHD makes in boot times and starting programs vs how much difference W8.1 makes. Judging by YouTube videos, it seems a nice compromise between an SSD and HDD, but I wouldn't pay that much extra for it when I can get a 120gb Samsung EVO SSD for €60-70.

Thank you for the feedback. So I guess it ultimately boils down to whether I want to pay €70 extra for a larger screen and keyboard with numpad.
 
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