Please help me choose a laptop (still confused after learning more)

Kt-six

Estimable
Dec 4, 2014
1
0
4,510
0
I have learned a lot reading through posts here, and I think I know what would work for me...

However, I still feel like I really need some guidance to avoid making a terrible mistake of some sort.

I have never owned a laptop.

What I think "should" work for me:
i5 cpu, because it will have hd 4xxx graphics
4gb+ ram
screen size 14" or 15"

Budget
less than $600 USD, cheaper is better
Above this, I find it really hard to justify not buying a cheap, older laptop for basic browsing and spending the difference on a newer desktop

Intended use:
programming, general web/office apps and media streaming
a couple really old games.
prefer this to be my only computer

Games
I only play a few very old games. The only new game I would like to try is Skyrim, and I see from this page (http://www.uesp.net/wiki/Skyrim:System_Requirements) that I can run that on an Intel HD 3000, so I assume anything better than that will be fine.

Etc
HDD size isn't very important, I have external storage
DVD drive would be nice if possible
I'd like to keep this as long as reasonable for what I'm willing to spend
Whatever mainstream screen resolutions are, I'm sure they're fine or no-one would buy them in the first place and they wouldn't be mainstream
Battery life doesn't matter much


This is where I get confused:
1. Which laptop should I look at for these reqs for the best deal? They all seem the same, black squares with chiclet keyboards. I really don't want to buy more than I need. I need serious help here understanding what is the best value!

2. Which brand(s) are lousy or good?

3. Have I overlooked some AMD-equivalent configuration that is better value-per-dollar and will still do what the above can do?

4. What about refurbished laptops with limited warranties? I see old Dell Latitudes with i5 cpus in the Dell outlet. I have used one before and I like the keyboard and pointer stick on it. Are these good buys? Should I buy one without seeing it with a 30 day warranty? Will they do what I want? What about refurbished vs new in general?

5. If I want a non-chiclet keyboard, are Latitudes and Thinkpads my only options? Do the "pointer stick" things come on other laptops besides these? Is it possible to get used to a chiclet type keyboard if I am a touch typist or will I just end up hating it forever? This is not hugely important if I can get used to it.

6. I see i5s sometimes with low speeds, like 1.7Ghz. My computer now is 10 years old and has a 2Ghz CPU. What's going on here? Do I need to care about clock speed?


I would really appreciate any help the community can give!
 

iceblitzed

Estimable
May 12, 2014
694
0
5,960
138
for thinkpad you would have to get a t420 or t520 to avoid Chiclet keyboards (they seem to come on 99% of computers nowadays the newer thinkpads have Chiclet keyboards).

thinkpad are good in general although the t420 and t520 have intel hd 3000. intel hd 4000 is supposed to 2x better but you wouldn't notice the difference streaming media or playing old games.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=arrow-direct-store&_armrs=1&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.Xlenovo+thinkpad+t420&_nkw=lenovo+thinkpad+t420&_sacat=0

Try ebay and try to get a t420 for 250$ you could also add an 120gb ssd for 70$

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-250GB-2-5-Inch-Internal-MZ-7TE250BW/dp/B00E3W1726/ref=dp_ob_title_ce
 

iceblitzed

Estimable
May 12, 2014
694
0
5,960
138
for thinkpad you would have to get a t420 or t520 to avoid Chiclet keyboards (they seem to come on 99% of computers nowadays the newer thinkpads have Chiclet keyboards).

thinkpad are good in general although the t420 and t520 have intel hd 3000. intel hd 4000 is supposed to 2x better but you wouldn't notice the difference streaming media or playing old games.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_odkw=&_ssn=arrow-direct-store&_armrs=1&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2046732.m570.l1313.TR6.TRC1.A0.H0.Xlenovo+thinkpad+t420&_nkw=lenovo+thinkpad+t420&_sacat=0

Try ebay and try to get a t420 for 250$ you could also add an 120gb ssd for 70$

http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-250GB-2-5-Inch-Internal-MZ-7TE250BW/dp/B00E3W1726/ref=dp_ob_title_ce
 
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