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Old 10-11-2012, 04:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: New York
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Default Need help choosing a laptop for graduate school

Hi folks. My current laptop is an Acer Extansa 5220, which I got just over 4 years ago. I was quite happy with it until this summer, when it started to slow down, overheat, and just generally give me problems. I will be getting it checked to make sure that I will in fact need a new computer, but figured to see what was on the market now.

Country of purchase: USA

Budget range: Conservative: 300, Average: 400, Max: 500

Purpose (netbook, ultraportable, mainstream, gaming, desktop replacement, etc.): The primary use for it will be pretty mainstream. The biggest tax on the system will likely be ARC GIS.

Screen size preference: None

OS preference (Windows/ Mac/ Linux): Windows

Gaming requirements (example games and desired fps/settings): none

Performance requirements (video, CAD, etc.): I do some photo editing with Lightroom and very limited AutoCAD and ARC GIS work, which would likely be the 3 heaviest programs.

Method of computer support (office supplier, college bookstore, self support): generally self support.

Brand preferences and reasons (already owned accessories, familiarity, business compatibility): Not really

Any particular style that you like (examples are great): I am pretty blind when it comes to aesthetics and computers.

Which of the following qualities would you prefer? (Choose one, the other, or balanced)

Long battery life -vs- Low weight: Both are important, but if I really had to chose, I would pick low weight, but really, would prefer balance.

Build quality -vs- Low price: At this point, I have a very low cash flow, so price beats out quality for the time being. Plus, I had no problems with my "crappy" Extensa until almost 5 years down the line.

Low noise/heat -vs- High performance: Less balanced; toward high performance, but less heat and noise are nice too.

Would you pay a premium for something that has:

High resolution screen: Nice, but not necessary. The res on my Extensa is pretty good for me.

A great keyboard: No

A great touchpad/mouse buttons: I don't even know what that would be, so no.

Great audio: I have solid external speakers, so no.

List any features that are critical: (e.g. Optical drive, USB 3.0, SD card slot, ethernet port, HDMI port, bluetooth, VGA port, removable battery, glossy screen, matte screen, etc.): An SD card slot is necessary, as is the VGA port. An ethernet port and optical drive would be very nice and preferred but not an absolute necessity.

Thanks!
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