Time to replace my laptop, and I'm cheap

occupant

Distinguished
Sep 27, 2009
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1. What is your budget? $250-$350, maybe $400.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? I've been using a bulky 17.3" Acer for awhile now, I'm ready to go back down to 15.6" or 15.4"

3. What screen resolution do you want? at least 1366x768 and I'm used to playing games at 1280x720

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Doesn't matter, when I use a laptop it's on a hotel room desk so it's plugged in all the time and I think I've pulled my laptop out once in the car just to get an address out of an old contacts file.

5. How much battery life do you need? Doesn't matter, again, use it in a hotel room.

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)? GTA IV, GTA V, and minimum settings and 1280x720 is fine. I have seen the laptops I'm looking at run this with 18+FPS and that's fine by me. I don't care how badly it runs it, just that it runs it. Intel HD 4000 or better is fine if it's a Core series processor. AMD not so sure, those APUs are all over the map as far as what works and what doesn't, but an A6-7310 (R4 video) would be about the slowest one that I've seen work. The A8-7410 is more comfortable with GTA V.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Lots of forum posting, Facebook, Facebook games, watching videos and movies on Netflix/Amazon

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? Currently using 142GB including programs and OS. So anything 240GB or larger would be fine and I intend to swap in a 240GB or larger SSD almost immediately. Probably a 480GB because those are approaching the sub-$100 price point.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I've looked at refurbs on NewEgg, Tiger, Amazon, and Walmart websites. I've looked at new from the same plus Best Buy, Staples, Officemax/Office Depot, Micro Center, and HH Gregg.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? I've had my Acer for four years, had the last Acer for three years before that, they've both been great and I don't generally play NEW games or use new programs so future proofing isn't as important.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? I honestly don't need one at all. I'd more than likely remove it and use the bay to house an SSD and eventually remove the spin drive as well.

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. Acer has always been good to me and there's probably ten in the family at the moment ranging from Chromebooks to my old Extensa 5230 to the V3-771G I'm typing this on now. My wife has an E-Series Dell Latitude E6410 she couldn't kill if she tried.

13. What country do you live in? USA, Ohio

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. I would PREFER to purchase new, with the following specs:

8GB RAM or at least EASILY upgraded from 4GB (at which point I might go higher especially if only one slot)
don't care about HDD size because I'll put an SSD in it
Windows 10 preferred, will consider 7, really don't want 8
15.6" screen and OK down to 14", wouldn't like anything smaller and don't want anything in the 17" class
I don't care for an optical drive but it might make a cozy place for the SSD and I can always resell it
Core i3-5010U or higher
Core i5-4200U or higher
Core i7-4500U or higher
AMD A8-7410 or higher

I'll consider older generation processors if there is a discrete graphics card. Any Core i3/i5/i7 3rd gen would be fine and even some of the 2nd gen i5/i7 and 1st gen Core i7. I'd like about 2800 to be the floor on Passmark. For the video card, my GT640M 2GB runs it fine. So anything that or better. 545M, 640M, 740M, 830M, 930MX, et cetera. AMD probably a 6750M would be the low end.

The laptops I've been looking at in my price range generally have one of the following CPUs:

i3-6100U with Intel Graphics 520
i3-7100U with Intel Graphics 620
i5-6200U with Intel Graphics 520
i7-4600U with Intel HD Graphics 4400
AMD A8-7410 with Radeon R5 Graphics
AMD A6-7310 with Radeon R4 Graphics

all of which are acceptable to me...

Right now the following laptops are at the top of my list for the listed reasons

Newest gen CPU, full HD display, and it's an Acer
Acer E5-575-33BM, Core i3-7100U, Intel HD620, 4GB/1TB, 1920x1080 15.6", DVDRW, @Amazon, $349
https://www.amazon.com/Acer-E5-575-33BM-15-6-Inch-Processor-Generation/dp/B01K1IO3QW

Has Touchscreen (which I've never tried, not sure I'd like it) but at least is FHD and is an Acer
Acer M5-583P-6423, Core i5-4200U, Intel HD4400, 6GB/500GB, 1920x1080 15.6" touchscreen, @Amazon, $299
https://www.amazon.com/Acer-M5-583P-6423-Touchscreen-Notebook-Processor/dp/B01KDLL8HO

Have used this model in person, liked the keyboard and overall feel, open box only $257.99 and several local to me
Lenovo Ideapad 110, Core i3-6100U, Intel HD520, 4GB/1TB, 1366x768 15.6", DVDRW, @ BestBuy, $280
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-110-15isk-15-6-laptop-intel-core-i3-4gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-black/5496140.p?skuId=5496140

Metal Case E6xxx Dell, not a great video card but it does have one
Dell Latitude E6430, Core i5-3320M, Intel HD 3000, nVidia NVS 5200M, 8GB/320GB, DVDRW, refurb @ Amazon, $299
https://www.amazon.com/Dell-E6430-14-1-Inch-Professional-Refurbished/dp/B01KQ3355W

Cheap and Cheerful
HP 15-AF113CL, AMD A8-7410 APU, Radeon R5, 6GB/1TB, DVDRW, @ Amazon, $269
https://www.amazon.com/HP-15-af113cl-15-6-LED-Notebook/dp/B017S01MQA

I think these have a backlit keyboard, at least a $352 one at Best Buy does, similar spec but 320GB HDD and i5-4300U
Lenovo Thinkpad T440, Core i7-4600U, Intel HD4400, 8GB/128GB SSD, no optical drive, refurb @ NewEgg, $341
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834332452
 

lakimens

Honorable
Jul 20, 2013
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He did say he wants a new laptop.
But, it's the best deal right now.
You get an i5, 1TB HDD and Iris 6100(equal to 940M).
You can't find a laptop with even one of these three for $400.
It's not new, but it's certified refurbished.

EDIT: I read through your post, but I didn't read the laptops you linked, I see now that you linked some refurbrished ones.
 

GreyCatz

Admirable
If "cheap" is the key word for this mission (both you personally and the machine), then the $280 Lenovo 110 seems perfect. I've used these machines myself in professional settings, and they do feel quite cheap - especially the lid and palmrest area.

If you're an Acer person at heart, the $350 Acer Aspire from Amazon is likely to offer the best value - technically and emotionally.

And finally, if you're OK with refurbished devices, the $341 ThinkPad T440s from NewEgg is a very attractive alternative and offers a vastly superior quality feel compared to the Ideapad 110 above. The specs aren't too impressive but they should cope with your stated requirements. Note however that ThinkPads enjoy a reputation for ruggedness and solidity and users tend to treat them accordingly (personal experience). Any refurbished ThinkPad is therefore likely to show some visual traits of 'mileage'.

My recommendation is to go with the $350 Acer. It's new and you're comfortable with the brand.
 
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