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College Laptop Needed

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by Exile_Chavez, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    Well I am unsure if this is the right thread for this, but its the only one that I can find that could be semi-applicable. So the thread title says it all, I am after a new laptop. I plan to haul myself off to college this fall seeking a masters in computer engineering and although I will be bringing my behemoth with me, it doesn't move very well. So I am getting a laptop.

    I have already been doing research into this myself, but need some help because Google has been failing me in terms of hardware comparisons.

    What I am after is a laptop that will meet the following criteria:

    1. Under 1200 dollars, I plan to go with me parents 50/50 on this laptop so being the poor future college student I am, don't have to much money.

    2. At the very least a dual-core, the only reason I would accept a dual-core is because it would have to be an i5 with a higher than normal clock speed. Tri-cores and quads preferred, even an i7 if we can find one

    3. No less than 4gb of RAM, being a computer engineer major, I will need it

    4. The previous leads to this, must have at least a 64-bit Windows Operating System, I don't care which one, just windows, and 64-bit

    5. No less than 320gb of storage space, 500gb+ preferred, if it is possible for a SSD+HDD for <1200 fantastic. 5400RPM is looked down upon extremely, but doable, 7200RPM highly preferred.

    6. Dedicated graphics card, I would like to play some kind of game between classes if I have the time, so I will need one of these. This is the part that has been giving me the most trouble with googling stats and average fpses. A couple I may have on there would be, Team Fortress 2 and Heroes of Newerth(google it you'll find it if you don't know what it is), maybe Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. Running these at least med-high graphics would be preferred, medium if it comes down to it.

    7. I can care less about microsoft office because I plan to install Open Office anyways as soon as I get it. Same with security software, I have it covered.

    8. The most battery life with the most power would be best, I don't know how long it will be between accesses to the charger, so the longer the better.

    9. I would prefer to avoid chiclet keyboards, I don't like the way they type so a standard laptop keyboard would be good, but chiclets are doable

    10. Black laptop preferred

    Based off my research I have discovered 2 laptops that meet those being:

    1. Dell XPS 17 laptop with:

    2 core i5, nvidia gt g550m, 640gb 7200rpm, 4gb of RAM, ~4.5 hours of battery life, it goes for around 900-1000(900 if you remove the support service, and if you find something on dell do so and put it towards something else). Not a fan of the silver, but it would do.

    2. MSI FX700-056US

    2 core i5, nvidia gt 440m, 640gb 5400RPM( D: ), 6gb of RAM, unknown amount of battery life. Goes for 880ish on newegg. Nice color and design

    Well this is what I have going, help in any form is greatly appreciated and links are really nice to :D thanks for all help in advance
     
  2. kurosagi01

    kurosagi01

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    Exile_Chavez says thanks.
  3. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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    If you're playing TF2, you definitely want a good CPU. I got horrid frame rates (even with multi-core rendering enabled) with my laptop's default 1.7GHz AMD P940 quad core CPU. I purchased a very cheap AMD X920 2.3GHz quad-core and that really made a difference, but FPS still drops down to mid-20s on maps like koth_viaduct, cp_coldfront, etc. on heavily populated servers.

    I'd vouch for a fast i5, an i7 or even a new Sandy Bridge CPU. GPU-wise, TF2 will max out an HD 5650 @ 1366*768 with VSYNC and a little AA. There are some really nice 17 inch notebooks on Newegg in the $1099-1199 that have 5850/5870 (Bascially a desktop 5770/5750 with 500MHz core) graphics and an i7. However, they probably suck battery-wise. I like my Toshiba A665D because it is 5.8lbs, a nice size, has switchable graphics between the 4250 IGP/HD 5650 and you can get a 12-cell battery.
     
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  4. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    How did I miss this? lol that seems to be quite perfect for my situation, battery life would be about 1.5 hours which isn't the best but is workable. I will look more into it, any more anyone can find would be great also :D
     
  5. Kreij

    Kreij Senior Monkey Moderator Staff Member

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    @Exile, you can also make a WTB thread in the BST section to see if someone has something that would work for you.
    I got a fine laptop for a friend at an excellent price that way. :toast:
     
    Exile_Chavez says thanks.
  6. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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  7. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    This does sound like a good idea, although I am after a new laptop since I will be using it for around 6 years and hopefully it will last. I also would rather avoid purchasing from a user, but thanks for the suggestion :)

    Very nice selection, towards the higher end of the price range, but all very nice. I have bookmarked a couple I will be taking a look into. Thanks for the help :D

    How does it switch between the 2 cards? I know it has the variable memory, but between the 2? It also says it only comes with a 6 cell battery.
     
  8. Fourstaff

    Fourstaff Moderator Staff Member

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    +1 for the GX660, my friend has the R variant (with i7 and 5870), and from my experience its a solidly built laptop.
     
    Exile_Chavez says thanks.
  9. Jstn7477

    Jstn7477

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    It's some sort of software routing of the video signal. The 4250 stays enabled all the time and if the 5650 is enabled it takes the video output from that and routes it to the connectors. I disabled the 4250 while using the 5650 once and my screen went blank until next bootup. All the switching is done via ATI PowerXpress in CCC.

    Just about all the models come with 6-cell standard, but if you're willing to fork out $130 you can get the 12-cell from Toshiba Direct.

    It's a very midrange, versatile laptop IMO. If you game on it heavily, though, you may want the beefy ones I suggested. The i7 720QM 1.6GHz still beats my 2.3GHz X920 by quite a bit and it can overclock one of it's cores up to 2.8GHz for single-threaded Source games (although Multicore Rendering is usually better by a lot).
     
    Exile_Chavez says thanks.
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  10. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    I have found this one: Acer Aspire AS5750G-9639 Notebook Intel Core i7 26..., which seems to be pretty good, not dedicated gaming, but can game if needed. My parents won't let me get a high price one capable of playing games D: so I have to downgrade price to less than $900 now. Anyone know one for that price that out plays this one? Preferably with a 7200RPM hdd instead of the 5400 with this one, I could fork out 70 more dollars and sell the existing hdd for a 500gb WD Scorpio Black though...
     
  11. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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  12. gpost3

    gpost3 New Member

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    For college, I would advise don't get 17 inch and also avoid 15 inch. I had a 15 inch and I found it too bulky. Take a look at used deal on ebay for a Thinkpad X61. You can upgrade the memory to 4 GB. It also comes with a Intel Core ULV dual core processor which will give you ample amount of power for school and great battery life. You should also be able to do generous media playback. In the long run, it will be a lot more solid system than any of those plasticy MSIs, Dells or Asus if you want to take my word for it.
     
  13. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    Way to change the post lol

    It seems a bit weak for computer engineering, even though it is above the recommended specs from the college. Not sure if I could handle something that would run that speed, also quite expensive
     
  14. gpost3

    gpost3 New Member

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    Ah I see, well if you plan to do CAD then you will need a decent graphic chip. Depending on how "heavy" your CAD will be but I don't think "computer engineers" do a lot of CAD. Mechanic engineers do that more so ... so I am not sure why you are after a dedicated graphic chip - it will only make your laptop more bulky. That thinkpad x61 also comes in tablet edition if you are interested in that.
     
  15. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    If you check my system specs(which I need to update, scratch that according to CPU-Z they are still the same :() I have a built gaming rig that I am using right now :D but I am after some slight gaming on the go, not enough that people want to take the laptop but enough that it will run it.

    Computer Engineers may not necessarily do CAD, but it depends on the specialization they are after; which in my case is hardware, in which case from what I have researched into the degree is used before actually trying to build 40nm architecture to save money from failing. Depends on what position you hold however in the job business, so I am prepping for the worst
     
  16. gpost3

    gpost3 New Member

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    I understand what you are getting at. But unless your area of specialization requires ample amount of graphic power - that won't be necessary. You will spend most of your time studying harvard processor architecture, signal processing and digital circuits. So unless your area of specialization becomes "image processing" or if you take a lot of courses in that area, I feel the dedicated chip will serve you no purpose as far as schooling is concerned. But...

    hehe. Hey ultimately the choice is yours. I am just trying to save you some weight and get you the right system that is suitable for your needs. What games you plan to do on the go? If counter strike is your goal - then the thinkpad x61 will do it. But if you want to run crysis, then ofcourse it won't.
     
  17. Exile_Chavez

    Exile_Chavez New Member

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    The ones I would be playing would probably be Team Fortress 2, Modern Warfare 2, Minecraft, that would be about it. I should be bringing my big rig around thanksgiving break down with me so I'll do all my gaming on that, but in the mean time lol. Also, weight isn't an issue, I've been carrying around 20 pound messenger bag for the last year and a half between school campus and work its no biggy.
     
  18. gpost3

    gpost3 New Member

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    Modern warfare 2 needs quite a bit of graphic power so ya go with what you think sounds reasonable since weight upto 20 pounds isn't an issue for you as you said.

    I do know that you get a beautiful IPS panel with the thinkpad - from what I have seen the Asus tend to use glossy cheaper TN panels. Not a big deal unless you need wide viewing angles.

    Another "not so cheap option" would be Lenovo Thinkpad T520 which I believe you might be able to get for $1200 if you look around on ebay and other places. You get 15 inch screen, an i5 and nvidia quattro.
     
  19. Fourstaff

    Fourstaff Moderator Staff Member

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    Just get the GX660 and be happy. Lenovos are good, but they do not satisfy your need, which is gaming and work for the cheaps. Also, 16inch laptops are not that heavy, you just need to get used to them. Lastly, you want your processor to be as fast as you can get them, otherwise Matlab and AutoCAD will hate you.
     

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