PDA

View Full Version : Laptop purchasing advice



GorCh
08-02-2010, 10:06 PM
Hi all,

Helping a friend to but a low cost laptop currently. Ideally she would like to spend about $1000, but would max out at $1200. She is just starting her masters study, and so needs it for using office, internet/email and watching the occasional dvd/ video.

We are looking at a couple of different builds of the Dell Inspiron 15. Basically the less she spends, the more she has for cases/ office etc, which is an advantage as a student as I'm sure you'll appreciate.

My technical knowledge has maxed out at comparing the specific processors and graphics solutions, so I have two questions.

1) The CPU option is between the Intel T4300 and T6600. From looking at http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=37253,37255, the main only difference I can see is in L2 cache. Should this be a deal breaker?

2) The graphics options are between The intel GMA X4500HD and ati HD4330. Has anyone had experience with the integrated chip. Is it up to handling Windows 7 aero and DVD playback. I have seen some discrepancies between intels claims and peoples opinions.

Thanks for the help in advance.

-GorCh

Renmoo
09-02-2010, 02:48 AM
Hi all,

Helping a friend to but a low cost laptop currently. Ideally she would like to spend about $1000, but would max out at $1200. She is just starting her masters study, and so needs it for using office, internet/email and watching the occasional dvd/ video.

I'm assuming we are talking about regular laptops here rather than netbooks (probably is).



We are looking at a couple of different builds of the Dell Inspiron 15. Basically the less she spends, the more she has for cases/ office etc, which is an advantage as a student as I'm sure you'll appreciate.

Which University is she from? If she is from a MSDN-subscribed University and if she is doing a computer science related postgraduate programme, then she is entitled to download and use certain Microsoft software for free.

As for office suites, Microsoft is offering a massive discount on the "Ultimate" package. Check it out here: http://www.microsoft.com/student/discounts/theultimatesteal-nz/default.aspx



My technical knowledge has maxed out at comparing the specific processors and graphics solutions, so I have two questions.

1) The CPU option is between the Intel T4300 and T6600. From looking at http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=37253,37255, the main only difference I can see is in L2 cache. Should this be a deal breaker?

2) The graphics options are between The intel GMA X4500HD and ati HD4330. Has anyone had experience with the integrated chip. Is it up to handling Windows 7 aero and DVD playback. I have seen some discrepancies between intels claims and peoples opinions.

Thanks for the help in advance.

-GorCh
I am only knowledgeable enough to answer the second question. The integrated chip should be able to run the Aero effect smoothly on Windows 7

Cheers :)

gary67
09-02-2010, 05:42 AM
I would slip into a shop and have a quick play with some notebooks to see how well they run aero, note the specs then go shopping. And yes don't forget the office ultimate for students at $80

pctek
09-02-2010, 06:57 AM
I recommend you stick with looking at ASUS or Toshiba models only.

Chilling_Silence
09-02-2010, 07:53 AM
Yeah I'm with pctek, get a nice Toshiba.

To be honest the C2D will be going to waste, a nice Celeron will suffice, and it'll cost only HALF as much.
Yes the integrated Intel stuff does Aero, wifes laptop gets a 3.4 with her GM45 Express. Handles DVD's and HD video playback without a worry (Only tested 720p but still).

Anyway, look at this: http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?item=NBKTOS9400
Much better value-for-money, the new L500 series, has a full-sized Keyboard + Numpad, and the price difference means you could almost get yourself two for the price of one of the Dells you're looking at. That, or as you say it'll leave more for other things like a carry case, uni book, or a mouse like this:
http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?item=MSELOG1171

Hope this helps


Chill.

Chilling_Silence
09-02-2010, 07:53 AM
Yeah I'm with pctek, get a nice Toshiba.

To be honest the C2D will be going to waste, a nice Celeron will suffice, and it'll cost only HALF as much.
Yes the integrated Intel stuff does Aero, wifes laptop gets a 3.4 with her GM45 Express. Handles DVD's and HD video playback without a worry (Only tested 720p but still).

Anyway, look at this: http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?item=NBKTOS9400
Much better value-for-money, the new L500 series, has a full-sized Keyboard + Numpad, and the price difference means you could almost get yourself two for the price of one of the Dells you're looking at. That, or as you say it'll leave more for other things like a carry case, uni book, or a mouse like this:
http://pbtech.co.nz/index.php?item=MSELOG1171

Hope this helps


Chill.

utopian201
09-02-2010, 08:45 AM
If she isn't going to play games, you could consider a macbook (!)...
Its a bit out of the budget, but I'm sure it will be worth it when you find you don't need to fix it and get things working for your friend all the time*

*having said that, my friend got a vista laptop, i changed her default user account to a limited one and she hasn't had any problems either... so i guess it is just as reliable as a mac...

GorCh
09-02-2010, 09:10 AM
Ok thanks for the tips everyone and the links Chill. So do you reckon that 2GB ram is sufficient for day to day use? Given say Outlook and an A/V running at a minimum?

pkm
09-02-2010, 10:22 AM
Ok thanks for the tips everyone and the links Chill. So do you reckon that 2GB ram is sufficient for day to day use? Given say Outlook and an A/V running at a minimum?

I have 600mhz/256mb with thunderbird, pidgin, irc , firefox, gpodder, bittorrent and open office running on ubuntu.

So that sounds about right for windows7

Agent_24
09-02-2010, 11:38 AM
I have 600mhz/256mb with thunderbird, pidgin, irc , firefox, gpodder, bittorrent and open office running on ubuntu.

So that sounds about right for windows7

Windows 7 won't even install on 256MB RAM, without hacking the setup, and even then it will run really badly.

SolMiester
09-02-2010, 11:58 AM
Dell had some awesome deals for students about 3 weeks ago, laptop, case, extra 19" monitor, MS office student and a printer...think it was like $1300!!

Renmoo
09-02-2010, 02:24 PM
Ok thanks for the tips everyone and the links Chill. So do you reckon that 2GB ram is sufficient for day to day use? Given say Outlook and an A/V running at a minimum?
Yup.

Chilling_Silence
09-02-2010, 03:21 PM
Yeah, what Jamuz said ... ;)

GorCh
09-02-2010, 07:46 PM
Thanks for the help everyone. Will recommend that Toshiba laptop. Was going to ask a question about the dvd drive but downloaded the manual and saw that it definitely had dvd writing capacity.

Cheers

Chilling_Silence
10-02-2010, 05:38 AM
Yup, can write to + discs, - discs, and dual-layer too. I just bought one of those yesterday for the 2nd customer this week. They all love it! Just remove the built-in Office '07 crap, Toshiba junk like Bulletin Board, Wildtangent games, then throw in a copy of Security Essentials and Chrome and they're set! :)

You'll optionally want a blank DVD, as there's a desktop icon that allows you to make "Restore Discs", in case things go belly up you can restore your PC from them.

Probably off to get another two of them today, one for another customer and one for my brother and his wife ... selling like hotcakes they are!!!

GorCh
10-02-2010, 09:25 AM
Oh that's great. Thanks for the pointer. Just for my own edification, have people had bad experiences with Dell? Or is it just had a lot of better experiences elsewhere?

Chilling_Silence
10-02-2010, 07:09 PM
Pretty much. I know a few people who've bought Dells. All failed, but at least their tech support is good and fast.

Agent_24
10-02-2010, 07:19 PM
I know I wouldn't buy a Dell for myself. I think that says enough... :lol: