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Any Suggestions On a Laptop?

Discussion in 'Gaming and PC Discussion' started by Evan Tide, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Evan Tide

    Evan Tide Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    Just recently got into a private school for Game Design and Graphic Arts and they want me to purchase a laptop for class.

    The only minimum specs they've given are:

    15" Screen
    2.53 GHz core speed
    4GB RAM
    500GB HD


    Any suggestions on what I should be looking for to last me 3 years?

    My friend suggested this laptop to me and said I should buy the 3-year hardware warranty, ringing it up at $1900 after tax.

    Any better and/or cheaper options out there that should last at least three years?
     
  2. Taure

    Taure Magical Core Enthusiast ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Samsung and Asus are both good brands. I'd recommend the Asus Zenbook because it's awesome (only the bank being closed at weekends prevented me from impulse buying it today), but it's not really suited to your purposes.

    The Asus N series, however, would be right up your street.

    The Asus N53SM has an i7 (2nd generation), 8GB RAM, a GeForce630M, 750GB HDD, and Blu-Ray. All for $1050 on that website.

    Not quite as high spec as the one your friend linked, but better value for money, I think. And I trust the brand more.

    For even better value, I'd recommend the Samsung RF511. Intel i7 (2nd generation), 4GB RAM, GeForce 540M, 500GB HDD. For $700. Another one I almost bought today.

    Let's be honest: there's no such thing as future proofing. No matter how much money you spend today, whatever you buy today will be outclassed by a decent new computer in 3 years time. This is especially true of laptops, which are limited in upgradability and also, because of heat management issues, tend to age badly.

    With that in mind, it might be more sensible to buy something like the Samsung, and then buy another new laptop of the same class in a couple years. You're spending about the same amount of money as if you purchased a behemoth like the MSI you linked, but this way you keep up with the latest technology.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  3. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH Auror DLP Supporter

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  4. Mutt

    Mutt High Inquisitor DLP Supporter

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    I wouldn't go for a Dell. Dell makes shitty laptops.
     
  5. oephyx

    oephyx Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    Honestly, for laptops I highly recommend you get to look at them in person before buying. I've been looking for one with similar requirements to yours since Christmas, buying and returning two before finally settling on this one.

    notebookcheck.net does a very good job at testing laptops for things that actually matter (actual benchmarked performance, screen quality, heat and noise emission).

    My personal experience:
    -First one I got was a Samsung 7 series. Not as good as it looks on paper, and the screen is horrible (and mine had a defect so I returned it).
    -the N53 that Taure linked is the second one I got on Amazon. It's bulky, I disliked the keyboard, and although the specs are good, the hard drive is slow so it feels slow (and mine had a freezing issue so I returned it).
    -the VAIO SE25 I settled on is not perfect, but I like it, and most of all the screen is amazing.

    You need to figure out what you really want out of your laptop. For work, you might need it to be decently powerful, or have a screen with good color fidelity for graphic design (the minimum specs you posted don't tell you much; an i7 with lower clock speeds will give better performance than an i5 with 2.5 GHz). If that's the case, you could want an i7 and dedicated graphics.

    In terms of what you want for yourself, consider how much time you're going to spend on it... for me the screen is the most important thing, and the quality of the keyboard is important too. For everyday use (apart from gaming) the specs won't matter too much.

    Whatever you buy, don't spend too much money trying to get something future-proof. The money spent on extra performance for laptops over $1000 is not good value.

    Edit: The Dell KaiDASH linked is supposed to be pretty good. I don't like Dell, and I dislike the feel of that laptop and the glossy screen, but objectively it seems fine.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  6. Protocol

    Protocol Squib

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    If you're planning on gaming as well as use your laptop for classes I would look at a few Sager laptops. They keep a low profile but pack a lot of hardware for a price that's generally cheaper than a similar laptop from name brands like MSI.

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/sager-clevo/ (A laptop forum that you can ask around for advice)

    http://www.xoticpc.com/ (One of the US based Sager resellers)

    Edit: Sager laptops are best known for their ability to swap out components easily. Your warranty isn't affected when you open your laptop up.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  7. Churchey

    Churchey Supreme Mugwump

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    Whatever you get now, it will be great for a year, decent for the next year, and that piece of shit you can't run anything but LoL on the year after that. Like everyone said, no matter what you pay or how well you take care of it, laptops do NOT age well. I kept mine well-maintained and actually transported it very little. For the most part, it sat on my desk and only got moved a couple times a month because I got a free netbook from a bookstore giveaway that I took to classes with me. Even still, it lasted me 4 years and by the end it was actually overheating while playing LoL on low settings.

    If you plan on gaming, get a 17" screen. Anything smaller and you won't enjoy it. Anything larger and it becomes absurdly hard to buy appropriately sized cases, let alone actually lug around.

    I had an HP HDX for 4 years that I only recently replaced with a gaming rig I set up myself. It had an 18.4 inch screen which was amazing for use, but no-one carried shit for it. Took me months to find a decent laptop bag for it, and it didn't fit in the designated laptop compartment so I ended up keeping it in the larger pocket that lacked the nice padding and what not.
     
  8. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH Auror DLP Supporter

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    if you have to actually take it to classes and move it around regularly, don't get larger than 15 inches, even if you want to play games and things.
     
  9. Wildfeather

    Wildfeather The Nidokaiser ~ Prestige ~

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    I have a 19" screen and transport and space isn't really an issue for me. Admittedly, I bought a briefcase that fits it with two more pockets for the accessories, but I never have an issue, even in standard desks for colleges.

    On topic: Your college mandates you have a laptop? Well, private school....
     
  10. Oz

    Oz For Zombie. Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Eh? Some courses you just straight up need a laptop. Computer science, and I'd imagine a lot of design courses, spring to mind.
     
  11. Wildfeather

    Wildfeather The Nidokaiser ~ Prestige ~

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    Most computer or design courses that I've seen offered (mostly at technical schools) also tend to take place on school machines. All of the CADD and graphic design programs at my college are also done on school computers.
     
  12. Otters

    Otters Seventh Year ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Apple.

    You'll seriously regret going other than Apple if it's like the closest course at my uni; graphical arts and design. All the software which is used is designed for and often only available on macbook hipster products.

    Check this if you can, so you don't get caught out with none or, worse, on you didn't need to buy. Hopefully your course differs enough to not be applecentric, but I've seen two many people suffer for not having one to not say anything. School machines are always there, but unreliable in function and availability at the worst times, so it's best not to rely on them.
     
  13. oephyx

    oephyx Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    15" is the sweet spot in terms the bulk/screen size comcompromis. And figure out if it they encourage windows or apple.
     
  14. Demons In The Night

    Demons In The Night Chief Warlock

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    My nursing program requires us to have a laptop actually, but only about 50% of my class has one or brings theirs, and it seems like they don't enforce it at all. I always bring mine to class...much easier than taking notes by hand. If I attempted to take the volume of notes that I do on my laptop by hand, I'd end up with a repetitive stress injury within a year lol.

    also, I picked up a nice HP laptop for a great price on black friday 2 years ago, and it has served me faithfully ever since (totally worth the camp out). No problems with it at all.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  15. Churchey

    Churchey Supreme Mugwump

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    Yea HP is great. My harddrive crapped out in mine around the end of year 2 and they had great customer service and replaced it for me pretty quickly.
     
  16. Evan Tide

    Evan Tide Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    They mandate windows 7.
     
  17. oephyx

    oephyx Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    My HP had horrible overheating issues, but they're supposed to be a lot better about that now. You might want to have a look at the Envy 15, or something cheaper.

    Do you know what budget you're aiming?
     
  18. Evan Tide

    Evan Tide Chief Warlock DLP Supporter

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    I asked some coworkers at Fry's and they told me this one:

    http://www.frys.com/product/7088601?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    Was the best deal for my money. I liked how the keyboard felt, the screen seemed pretty good, and it seemed pretty light when I was lifting it.

    I'm confused by that notebookcheck website. Who are the people giving out the ratings for their laptops?

    My budget is probably going to be limited to $1600 max, though it could change depending on how much money the school gives me for the laptop.
     
  19. oephyx

    oephyx Headmaster DLP Supporter

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    The Asus is a great in that price range, but the laptops you're linking are gaming options. They're not "light" by any stretch of the imagination, they're twice as thick and heavy as an "ordinary" 15". If you're not planning on gaming it's overkill, and if you're going to bring it to class it's probably too heavy and bulky.

    I think notebookcheck is a German website, at least originally, some of their reviews are translated from German. I suppose their editors write the articles and give the ratings. This is from their information page:

    • Serious, journalistic, well-founded and above all independent reporting
    • Our technicians scrutinize up-to-date computer systems with the help of measurement equipment and their experience of many years. As a result our reviews are very detailed.
    • Our test division sticks to the principle that our laptop reviews should stick out from the masses through providing as competent and detailed technical information as possible, illustrated with professional pictures.
    • The experienced user, IT professionals, and enthusiasts will find specific technical descriptions, analyzes, guides, comparisons, and technical backgrounds of components used in laptops. Our standard information even includes comparisons of graphics cards and processors.
     
  20. KaiDASH

    KaiDASH Auror DLP Supporter

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    I'm personally fond of the notebookreview forums, which tend to have huge threads for any notebook worth getting. Yes, it's user reviews rather than 'professional' reviews, but who cares?

    http://forum.notebookreview.com/
     
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