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New laptop, what to do?

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#1
Hello everyone, i'm thinking about buying a new cheap laptop, but i'm currently undecided between taking microsoft's/intel's offer (i give them my old laptop, not sure they'll accept it, there's no list of eligible devices, and if i buy at least a 500€ laptop they give 200€ back to me, this offer expires on Nov 23rd) or, just wait for 300/400€ ryzen laptops. What do you say?

Not looking for something with good GPU, hence, CPU and RAM and possibly storage are more important here, since it won't be something i'll even try to game on.

Appreciate all the help!
 
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#2
Seem like a no brainer to me. You are looking for a "cheap" laptop (though sadly you failed to tell us the purpose). If you can get 200€ back, that seems like a deal you cannot beat.
 
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#3
Seem like a no brainer to me. You are looking for a "cheap" laptop (though sadly you failed to tell us the purpose). If you can get 200€ back, that seems like a deal you cannot beat.
Thanks for the answer.

Alright, well the purpose is basically surfing internet, using chat programs, watching movies...nothing heavy, but i want it to be decent, nothing slow-a$$. The thing i'm undecided on is that with probably less money (around 350€), i might be able to buy a pretty good laptop with ryzen, since by default ryzen is cheaper than intel's cpus, and maybe get something which is comparable to ~500€ laptop with intel cpu - this is in case my old one isn't eligible for that offer.

Basically, i either buy a 500€ laptop now (risking i get nothing back because maybe my old laptop is too old, or too wore out to accept) or i just wait a month or 2 and maybe get a 350/400€ ryzen laptop which will most likely have the same performance as the 500€ one with intel cpu, so i'll be spending the same money pretty much but won't risk anything, and i'd still have my old laptop.

I'm also not so sure about when ryzen laptop are supposed to show on the market, i read somewhere one already came out few days ago, but no news about other ones coming, so there's that too, i'm not really in a hurry tho, i just wanted to see if i could get one new for the holidays.
 
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#4
Going for the newest and greatest (Ryzen APU) on a budget is not going to work and is also unnecessary. The price will be inflated at launch and the product choice will be limited.

Grab an i3-based laptop without dedicated GPU, perhaps a Skylake from a little while back. Has all of the performance but will be reduced in price, allowing you to get more bang for your buck, which counts in this price range. Would recommend 1080p OR at 900p at the least on 15,6inch. 17 inch laptops are bulky, but for watching video may be a preference, in that case I'd recommend a 1080p.

Main things to focus on, and you may also want to adjust the budget to 450-500:
- TN / IPS panel: if you can get the IPS within budget, go for it. It'd even be worth dropping to 900p resolution for.
- Core i3 6xxx. Going lower will be a noticeable performance hit, in most cases.
- Build quality, especially the mounting of the panel to the chassis, the cooling/intake and outtake vents, and whether you can modify the drive bay for an SSD (or there is none at all)
- SSD or an SSHD will be hugely beneficial to responsiveness.
- 8GB RAM, preferably as dual SODIMM (many are single)
 
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#5
Going for the newest and greatest (Ryzen APU) on a budget is not going to work and is also unnecessary. The price will be inflated at launch and the product choice will be limited.

Grab an i3-based laptop without dedicated GPU, perhaps a Skylake from a little while back. Has all of the performance but will be reduced in price, allowing you to get more bang for your buck, which counts in this price range. Would recommend 1080p OR at 900p at the least on 15,6inch. 17 inch laptops are bulky, but for watching video may be a preference, in that case I'd recommend a 1080p.

Main things to focus on, and you may also want to adjust the budget to 450-500:
- TN / IPS panel: if you can get the IPS within budget, go for it. It'd even be worth dropping to 900p resolution for.
- Core i3 6xxx. Going lower will be a noticeable performance hit, in most cases.
- Build quality, especially the mounting of the panel to the chassis, the cooling/intake and outtake vents, and whether you can modify the drive bay for an SSD (or there is none at all)
- SSD or an SSHD will be hugely beneficial to responsiveness.
- 8GB RAM, preferably as dual SODIMM (many are single)
Thanks!
I actually already adjusted my budget, as i was more towards a 300€ budget initially, but then i realized how dreadful laptops are at that price. So i'll stay around 400€ don't care about IPS, a TN will do fine, and i guess 1080p laptops are a bit out of range at that price, so i guess a 1600x900 15.6" TN panel will be just fine for the price.

Cpu, now this is something i'm interested in, i'll need to get the best cpu that money can buy, i think that if possible a 2C/4T is perfect.

Build quality, mmh, i really don't know where to look here, i've disassembled few lenovos recently, and they're pretty easy to tear down, but most of them had a some exterior part broken, like the screen hinges, or the bottom mounting panel. HPs are out of question, because they're not easy to tear down, i've risked breaking them multiple times, and they seem to have a decently high number of fail rate. Acer seems to be the one that has the highest price/quality ratio, or at least a very high one. Asus are pretty expensive and in many cases they're not even worth it. I don't know, give me some guidance on this.

SSD or SSHD are not that important for the moment, i might just replace the disk with an ssd, later in time or maybe get one now if i find a good deal.

Ram is probably the second most important thing for me, 4GB should suffice, but 8GB is definitely much better, if 4GB i'll need a free slot so that might i need more ram, i would just buy a module and install it right away, otherwise 8GB is perfect

About the OS, getting one without it should save me some money, i should be able to get a free W10 license where i work.
 
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#6
Any other suggestions guys?
 
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#7
So guys i'm very fought over getting the same laptop but either with i5 7200U or i3 6006U, but the "little" particular is that i'd probably buy an ssd from the beginning in case of the 6006U, on the contrary i won't get it (maybe at all) in case of the 7200U.
Basically because 7200U laptop 410€ while 6006U + ssd ~400€

No gaming on this laptop only common use, the 4GB of ram will be more than enough.

So what do you think?
 

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#8
the 4GB of ram will be more than enough.
Well, 4GB ram isn't much these days.... (especially when you like to have 10+ browser tabs open)
Just saying.
 
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#9
Well, 4GB ram isn't much these days.... (especially when you like to have 10+ browser tabs open)
Just saying.
Could be but the next step is 8, and there aren't many decent laptops with that amount of ram at those prices.
 
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#10
Windows 10 is very good at running in small memory footprints. My wife has a cheap Windows 10 tablet with 1gb (yes, ONE gigabyte) of ram. It's runs very respectably for a cheap web browsing machine, with the added benefit of being super portable. So my dissenting option: 4gb of ram is plenty for a general purpose machine. Just keep the chrome tabs in check and you'll be fine.

Another opinion: For a low end machine, the absolute most important thing to spend money on is a SSD. Upgrading even an old as dirt core 2 duo machine with a solid state drive makes it feel like a brand new computer for every day use. I've even put a SSD in a Pentium 4 machine with only 2 gb of ram, and it ran great. Perfectly respectable web browsing machine. Windows likes fast page file, and is far more capable running with a fast page file than gobs of ram. Maybe it's just my opinion, but in my experience... SSD is the single most important piece of equipment for a daily driver, general purpose browsing machine. If you've got a fast swap file, windows will handle the ram just fine.
 

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#11
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#12
Well, 4GB ram isn't much these days.... (especially when you like to have 10+ browser tabs open)
Not to mention Windows itself, and all your security apps as well. 4GB will work but it typically means the system will be spooling data back and forth to the Page File on the disk. With an SSD, you should be okay, but performance would take a hit with a hard drive.
Could be but the next step is 8, and there aren't many decent laptops with that amount of ram at those prices.
Shop some more. 8GB will cost more, but not a whole lot more. And note it most likely would cost you less now than it would should you decide to add RAM sometime down the road.

And yeah, Windows will run with less, but much depends on what you are willing to put up with too.
 
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#13
In either case I'd still wait on Raven Ridge laptops. HP Envy x360 should be in that price range (at least with R5 2500u onboard).
I have a feeling that the new wave of Ryzen laptops should be in stores by mid-December (before holidays).

If you still decide to go with Intel offerings, then there is a small nuance with all U-series CPUs: all of them are 2 cores/4 threads very close in specs, and there is no significant leap of performance in switching from i3 to i5 or even i7.
The only difference between i3 and i5 is TurboBoost (which in some cases is throttled by TDP cap), and the difference between i5 and i7 is an extra 1MB of cache (which will only give an advantage for certain types of workloads).
Pretty sure that 400euro is more than enough to get an i3u laptop with at least a small SSD and 8GB RAM.

P.S. #1: 6006u is a lower-end Skylake with weaker iGPU (weaker than i3-6100u). May have trouble with high-bitrate H264 and HEVC playback in 1080p.

P.S. #2: If you are planning on running Windows 10, you should definitely go with 8GB RAM. It uses your memory to cache lots of stuff(both programs and frequently used data), which actually works and does improve your user experience.
The more RAM you have, the more space prefetch/superfetch and other services have to speed up your workflow. You can get by with only 4GB (or 2GB w/ 32-bit version), but 8GB will make it really comfortable.
 

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#14
My laptop running Windows 10, Norton Security, Steam and 6 Chrome tabs:
As you can see it's already gobbling 3.5GB...
Capture.PNG
 
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#15
My laptop running Windows 10, Norton Security, Steam and 6 Chrome tabs:
As you can see it's already gobbling 3.5GB...
View attachment 94254
That's fair, but windows intelligently manages how much of that stuff gets prefetched. You've got six gigs, so windows knows it's safe to prefetch that much. If you had less ram, it would hold less in memory (and page file more, hence why I said SSD is more important for a low end machine.) My wife's tablet I mentioned above has only 1gb of ram, and it sits idle at about 380mb of used ram. But since it has solid state storage, it feels just as snappy as a higher end machine. Windows 10 is super good at managing ram usage.

EDIT: By contrast, my work machine I'm on now has 16 gigs. It sits idle at over 6 gigs in use.
 
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#16
EDIT: By contrast, my work machine I'm on now has 16 gigs. It sits idle at over 6 gigs in use.
16GB desktop uses 4.3 with only 2 tabs in Chrome, Steam and Kaspersky Free running in background. Feels smoother than my old Dell V131 with 8GB RAM(which used around 2.8GB idle before Creators Update)
 
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#17
Thank you guys all for the answers.

@Papahyooie
Yeah it's what i also noticed, at work in the latest days, i've been trying cheap laptops, some with 6006U CPUs, some with AMD apus (which ran pretty bad, for example while on the others the bottleneck was caused by the HDD, in this one the CPU was always at 95%+ while installing updates, while the HDD sat comfortable at 0-10% usage), and i've noted (although they were freshly formatted pcs), ram used was under 2GB with a few chrome tabs opened, and a few other programs too, so yeah, not that much of a headroom, but should be enough. Will happily get something with more ram if the range stays around 400€~ which i doubt.

@P4-630
Oh yeah i wasn't actually thinking about 4+2 modules, but yeah not that easy to find at that price range

@Bill_Bright
Alright then, thing is i initially planned to spend around 300/310€ for this, now i increased my budget by 100€, i don't think i'll be going further, since the use of this will be very limited and with light programs 95% of the time. I'll try and see what i manage to find tho

@silentbogo
Yeah, that's another thing i recently noticed, 7200U has basically a slightly higher clock and turbo, which is something, but not that much. You think i might have problems even while playback of 1080p videos, with a HD 520? Wow. Also yes, i'll most likely put Win 10 on it, no idea if home or pro, but i'm not sure it'll change much

Also, waiting for raven ridge was what i had in mind, but know knows when they're actually coming out?

@P4-630
I see, well norton is pretty heavy tho, i won't be running anything other than defender, which is enough nowadays. Example of thing i'll be running is chrome, with probably 5 tabs or so, with maybe streaming or videos, and some IRC client and few other programs, nothing special.

@silentbogo
Yeah you guys are probably right, i've always had the impression my desktop with 16GB of ram used way too much of it, like 4/5GB with some browser tab open and few other programs like discord, steam, etc, so that's why then!
 
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#18
You think i might have problems even while playback of 1080p videos, with a HD 520? Wow.
Even HD530 on desktop CPUs has some hiccups with high-bitrate H264 or HEVC; you get even more microstuttering with 10-bit content or 60Hz content. And in case of 6006u, it's a bit worse, since both CPU and GPU run at 10% lower clocks than it's nearest neighbor i3-6100u.
Though, for normal 1080p@23-30Hz 8-bit videos it's more than adequate.
 
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#19
Even HD530 on desktop CPUs has some hiccups with high-bitrate H264 or HEVC; you get even more microstuttering with 10-bit content or 60Hz content. And in case of 6006u, it's a bit worse, since both CPU and GPU run at 10% lower clocks than it's nearest neighbor i3-6100u.
Though, for normal 1080p@23-30Hz 8-bit videos it's more than adequate.
Understood. I'm now more confused than before actually :D