Advice on choosing a laptop? - Techist - Tech Forum

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Old 04-11-2012, 06:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Advice on choosing a laptop?

Okay! Situation is thus: I have a rather old HP that has sustained some extensive heat damage and now flickers uncontrollably and starts powering down after around twenty minutes of use regardless of whether or not it is plugged in. I'm taking this as a not-so-subtle hint to search the market for a new laptop.

My old HP is very large and cumbersome but had admirable speakers and a fairly stand-up processor. The hard drive was only a 340 GB one, but I never had any problems, since I used the computer mostly for surfacing the internet and the occasional graphic design project.

But since I'm going to be paying for this one out of my own pocket, whereas the last one was a hand-me-down from a relative, I'm going to be a little more choosy this time, and I'm hoping you more tech-savvy forumgoers can point me in the right direction.

What I'll be using it for:
  • Photoshop CS5 and other graphic design programs, so digital art. I'll be using my USB-connected Wacom Bamboo Fun for this, but there shouldn't be any issues there.
  • Watching TV programs on Netflix or via DVD.
  • Gaming- Specifically Zoo Tycoon 2 (Old, I know) and Sims 3, but even better if it could handle Mass Effect up to the third installment and even Skyrim. I won't be playing any online multiplayers or anything of that sort- I game only casually, but I do like my small array of games to run fast and look good.
  • Writing, note-taking, and other college nonsense.
  • Possibly some animation, 2D or 3D.

What I think I need:
  • 6 GB RAM, wouldn't mind 8 GB for sure
  • At a least 500 GB hard drive, more if possible
  • A fairly large laptop, so 15 inches or more
  • An i5 or quad-core processor or higher.

The one thing I'm truly ignorant about is which graphics cards are best for my purposes, but I don't know a lot about processors either: I've picked up some information on the internet over the past few days, but I'm still woefully behind. Feel free to correct me on any/all "necessary" specs aside from size. xD

Other Stuff:
  • I've been skulking 'round the Asus brand because of their reliable reputation and, well, awesome designs.
  • I did find a nice Asus, 8 gb memory and 750 hard drive, for around $600, but it was only the one floor model and unfortunately was sold before I could get my hands on it.
  • I'm not very picky about speakers, and can get external ones of necessary.

I'm looking for something in the $500-$700 price range, refurbished or new.

I'd really appreciate any and all advice you can give me, so please fire away! ^u^

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Old 04-11-2012, 11:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on choosing a laptop?

You won't be playing the latest games at ultimate with that budget. But with a good dedicated card, you should get at least up to medium.

This one looks nice: - lenovo IdeaPad Z570 (1024DMU) Notebook Intel Core i5 2450M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 1333 500GB HDD 5400rpm DVD±R/RW NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M

Being on sale, too.

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Old 04-12-2012, 01:08 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Advice on choosing a laptop?

Thank you for answering! Yeah, I know, my budget's quite restricting. If I can't find what I want I may raise it.

Could you offer me some feedback on this? - Open Box: ASUS Bamboo Series U43JC-X1 Refurbished Notebook Intel Core i5 450M(2.40GHz) 14" 4GB Memory DDR3 1066 500GB HDD 5400rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce 310M + Intel HD
It's out of stock right now, and I know it's smaller/less RAM-filled than I indicated, but it seems like a good buy from the reviews I've read. I'm not sure about the graphics card, though.
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