Will this laptop be good enough for my needs?

iamredbean

Estimable
Feb 9, 2015
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Hi everyone.

I am looking for a new laptop. I will be using it for multitab web browsing, microsoft office, video and music streaming.

I found a laptop that is within my budget but I am not sure if it is good enough for my needs because it only has an intel pentium processor. Other than that, I think everything should be fine but comments are welcome.

Please understand that I am on a really tight budget and I will buy this laptop if you guys think that it will be able to do the aforementioned task seamlessly and reliably. If it wont, then I would have to find some more money and delay my purchase. So, will it be up for it?

HP 15
Intel Pentium N3530 (2.16GHz, 2M L2 Cache)
Windows 8.1 (64bit)
4GB 1600 DDR3L
500GB 5400RPM HDD
Intel HD Graphics




 

bliq

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Jun 29, 2006
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if that's your use case, AND you can use google docs instead of microsoft office, the best solution is probably a chromebook. Windows on low powered laptops is not the best experience in terms of responsiveness. Although it does still provide the best flexibility. since it's still full windows.

as for your choice, it should have no problem dealing with your use cases. It'll just be less responsive (longer boot time, most likely slower app load time. etc).

chromebooks also only cost about $200.
 

Pretty much any laptop can do those things, including a 5 year old used laptop. The most demanding thing on your list is video streaming, but that's usually offloaded to dedicated hardware on the GPU now. The lower-end CPUs (despite the Pentium name, the N3530 is a Bay Trail CPU - i.e. an Atom processor) used to have problems with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. Those decode the video in the CPU via flash or silverlight. But from what I can find online, the N3530 seems to be up to the task. However, since it's an Atom-based CPU, it's going to be about the same speed as the high-end Chromebooks as suggested above.

If you can afford it, the Lenovo G50 linked above is a much faster computer. I've never liked the screens on the G50, but I haven't seen the screen on the HP 15 you've listed so it may be just as bad. Either way, the biggest speed upgrade would be to replace the mechanical HDD with a SSD, not CPU or RAM.
 

iamredbean

Estimable
Feb 9, 2015
4
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4,510
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I'm not planning to use it for long because I am in my last semester and I'd probably buy a new one once I graduate and land a job. I guess I'd be fine with longer boot time and slower app loads for the short term. As of your recommendation, I have no experience with chromebooks so I'd rather stay with windows.

So, just for confirmation, this system should be adequate for my use right?

 

iamredbean

Estimable
Feb 9, 2015
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I am in a really dire situation financially and couldn't afford more than $300 so no G50 for me. Is chromebook the best choice? How about HP stream?
 
If your budget is only $300 and you're only going to use it for one semester, I'd look for a used laptop rather than new. Just be sure to pick up a 32GB flash drive and backup all your data to it daily or weekly. Newegg is dumping a bunch of refurb Core 2 Duo laptops for $150 (about the same speed as the HP15 you've listed, but only half the RAM).
http://flash.newegg.com/Campaign/4335?icid=WP_6_02062015"

You can try Craigslist, though I suspect a lot of those laptops are stolen. I use the completed listings option on eBay to figure out a good price for a used laptop.

Another way to think of this is to get a laptop you can re-purpose into something else when you land a job and get a better laptop. That way the money you spend on it now isn't going to waste after you graduate. In that case, a new Chromebook or the laptop you've picked out may be a better choice than used. You could plug them into a not-Smart TV and use it as a HTPC (assuming they have HDMI out, which the Core 2 Duo refurbs probably don't have, and I'm not sure they're even capable of 1080p streamed video).
 

bliq

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Do a little research on what you can and cant do with a chromebook. As much as I love them, there are certain things you still cant do with them and I don't want you to spend what little money you have and suddenly realize there's something you need to use it for and it can't do it. But from the list you provided, the Chromebook is a good choice.
 

PlushyG

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Apr 23, 2013
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I'd just like to add on that with a basic computer like a Chromebook or Ultrabook, you probably will lag a lot if you try to stream music or video while clicking between multiple tabs. If you have a smartphone or iPod, you could download your favorite music to them and use them to listen instead. There are a lot of apps out there for radio stations too... just something to think about if you want to save processing power, lag less, and generally be less frustrated.

If the video streaming you'll be doing involves something like tutorials from youtube, you could install a browser plugin like Video-helper to download the video, and then you could transfer the video over to your smartphone or iPod. Again, just trying to save you on processing power and frustration.
 

bliq

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Actually an acer c720 chrome book with a Haswell 2955 will have problem at all with video. Even a c710 like the ones I have don't have trouble with video either.
 
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