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Old 05-11-2010, 11:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default College Laptop Hunt

I'm having a heck of a time with my laptop hunt as I get ready to go to school, so I'd like the opinions of some other people. Here are my guidelines:

Kind:
-Only restriction with that is that I don't want a Mac. Don't debate on why - I just hate Macs. I also am trying to stray away from the custom laptops like Alienware. I'd rather just have a name brand like Dell/Sony/Hp and a type.

Price Range:
-Total buy should be around the $1500 range, but I'm willing to pay a bit more. We'll set the max at $2000.

Accessories:
-I'm an AP student right now and I'm going into Chemistry and Neuroscience with a Premed focus. That being said I'd like to geek up the classroom. I want to get an audio/video recorder accessory to go with my laptop to record the professor, and maybe even one of the digital notepads so I don't need to screw around with paper. I've not seen them for PCs but I've seen them for Macs (go figure (I'm still not getting a Mac)).
-The TV I'm bringing to school can double up as a monitor. It's one of those small plasma LCDs. What's the cable that lets you hook them up?
-A good wireless keyboard and mouse would be ideal to go along with the TV/monitor.
-I also wouldn't mind more than 2 USB ports...I have an external hard drive and would have the wireless mouse/keyboard already.

Hobbies:
-I religiously play World of Warcraft. If you're not familiar with the game, there are parts where you will be playing with 24 other people spamming 5 buttons every second. So I need decent graphics/processing speed, but not enough to make the price range ridiculous. The game isn't terribly CPU-eating, but I'd still need a decent laptop to play it without lag and frustration. I also don't want to have to play it on the lowest resolutions.
-Other than that I'll just be doing school work, watching movies, editing mp3s, basic internet stuff, etc. No editing, art, engineering, etc...so none of those special doodads.


Hope you guys can help. If you need more information request it. If you have a good place where I can build a custom laptop from a major company that would be cool. If you want to just build me a custom laptop and link it to me that would be uber-cool. But the least I'd like to come up with out of this is a brand name and what kind of that brand would most closely fit my needs.

Thanks a lot.
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Old 05-12-2010, 10:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

Welcome to TF!

I understand your dislike for Macs. Alienware will rob you of your money. So you are going in the right direction.

-There are microphones that connect to your sound card. Most webcams are pretty crappy, unless you get the expensive ones.
-Your laptop can be hooked up with nearly anything. It depends on what your TV has for a connection. HDMI is the best, followed by S-video and then VGA/DVI.
-Wireless keyboards and mice are easy to get.
-Most laptops these days (except for netbooks) have at least 4-6 USB ports.

-WoW is not a graphic intense game. But in any laptop, a mid-range card is a good thing.
-Simple work is simple. Any laptop can take that.

Custom laptops come at a price, because you get to choose, but the price ratio is way out of bounds.

As for brand names, considering your needs, I would reccomend ASUS or Toshiba

I assume you are in the USA? Take a look at Newegg.com They have many choices for laptops, and lets you break down what you want.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

Hi there,

One laptop you may want to check out is the Dell Studio XPS 16. It seems to meet most, if not all, of your specs. It has a fast 2.26 GHz Intelģ Core™ i5-430M processor, 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, and premium ATI graphics. It is $1199 so you should be able to add in all the other features you want and keep it within your goal price range. What do you think?

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Old 05-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

I don't trust Dell, but just as long you are happy.
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindoverMaster View Post
Welcome to TF!

I understand your dislike for Macs. Alienware will rob you of your money. So you are going in the right direction.

-There are microphones that connect to your sound card. Most webcams are pretty crappy, unless you get the expensive ones.
-Your laptop can be hooked up with nearly anything. It depends on what your TV has for a connection. HDMI is the best, followed by S-video and then VGA/DVI.
-Wireless keyboards and mice are easy to get.
-Most laptops these days (except for netbooks) have at least 4-6 USB ports.

-WoW is not a graphic intense game. But in any laptop, a mid-range card is a good thing.
-Simple work is simple. Any laptop can take that.


Custom laptops come at a price, because you get to choose, but the price ratio is way out of bounds.

As for brand names, considering your needs, I would reccomend ASUS or Toshiba

I assume you are in the USA? Take a look at Newegg.com They have many choices for laptops, and lets you break down what you want.
Newegg is an awesome site, so thanks a lot! Great selection with all my needs.

I'm between the ASUS G Series G73JH-X1 NoteBook Intel Core i7 720QM(1.60GHz) 17.3" 8GB Memory 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD Super Multi ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870 at $1500 and TOSHIBA Qosmio X505-Q870 NoteBook Intel Core i7 720QM(1.60GHz) 18.4" 4GB Memory DDR3 1066 500GB HDD 7200rpm BD Combo NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M at 1400. I like both the stats, the 8 GB of ram on the Asus sounds pretty awesome. I'm leaning more toward the Asus with a little room to get extra accessories. I'm also a noob so I'm not going to try to overclock anything.

Tell me what you think of both. Ripoff or pretty good for my fit?
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Old 05-12-2010, 03:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

As a college student I highly recommend getting a much smaller laptop, preferably something that has good battery life. Carrying around a 17"+ laptop will get very old very fast and you will get tired of trying to hunt down outlets to plug it in.

Since you have a really good budget to work with you could get a ultra portable laptop like a ASUS UL20 or Alienware M11x (I know it's a Alienware but this model is actually really good) as well as a pretty high end gaming desktop to go with it. This a approach would give you the best of both worlds as far as performance and mobility as well as the redundancy of having two systems to use in the event something happens to one of them.
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Old 05-12-2010, 04:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

@Album - I would go with either. Yes, the ASUS would be better with 8GB RAM, but over 4GB of ram isn't really beneficial unless you do intensive video editing. The Toshiba has a little more powerful graphics and bigger screen, but I would think that would weigh a ton.

@Puddle. I have to disgree with you. For what he needs, a long battery life would benefit him, but most laptops last ~5 hours on low power. Depending on the batter cells. I know some will have longer battery life, but you pay the price. Alienware is Alienware, they are not worth it at any level.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:01 PM   #8 (permalink)
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@Puddle. I have to disgree with you. For what he needs, a long battery life would benefit him, but most laptops last ~5 hours on low power. Depending on the batter cells. I know some will have longer battery life, but you pay the price. Alienware is Alienware, they are not worth it at any level.
Asus advertises the UL20 has having 7.5 hours of battery life and Dell's site claims the M11x's battery lasts 8.5 hours. Besides battery life was just one part of the issue with the gaming laptops mentioned earlier, they are still large and heavy while not offering all that great of performance when compared to a desktop costing half as much.

Basically my point is that laptops that are decent at gaming usually suck at being laptops. I know several people who ended up buying netbooks because their gaming laptops were useless when it came to mobility.

I am far from an Alienware fan and have been very critical of their laptops in the past but I have to give credit where credit is due. The M11x is the only 11.6" laptop that offers a competent gpu (Geforce GT 335M 1gb) while maintaining excellent battery life and a $800 price tag.
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:15 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: College Laptop Hunt

My ASUS Eee 1500HA was said to last I think 7.5 hours. I have seen no more than 5.5 hours.

I used to carry around a Dell Vostro 1500. That think was heavy. Just deal with the weight, go hiking with it.

I used to stay away from Acer, but lately they have been doing well. Wouldn't that GFX card underperform under the Atom CPU? My ASUS is light as well as productive. I often watch movies on it, streaming from my server.
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Old 05-12-2010, 06:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Wouldn't that GFX card underperform under the Atom CPU? .
If you are referring to the M11x it has a overclockable Pentium SU4100 Dual Core processor that is pretty balanced with the GT 335M.
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