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Windows 7: New Laptop - Opinions Needed


23 Jun 2011   #1
KSR

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
New Laptop - Opinions Needed

Well I got promised a job and I'm going to start working in about 2-3 weeks and save my money to buy a new laptop and I'd like some opinions on what I should be looking for in a laptop, for I don't know much about specs so maybe some of you can help:

  • I am hoping for a decently sized screen, maybe around 17 inches and I definitely want it to be Windows 7.
  • I am a high school student, going into 11th grade and I will be using this laptop for both school work as well as personal stuff. I will surely be buying a copy of Microsoft Office for this laptop once I get it (I can't get used to Works).
  • I want a processor that can have the capability of running most game emulators: GBA, DS, Dreamcast, N64 but I will not play any top-grade games like Crisis 2. I also want to be able to play Minecraft without crashing and needs to be snappy in menus. What type of processor should I be looking for?
  • Also, I've had a problem with viruses on this laptop and I'd like to buy a good protection for the new one. Would you recommend a specific name of Virus Protection that I would be able to find online or in a store like Office Depot?
  • I know I want about a 150GB harddrive, for storing photos, videos, music, and lots of documents.
Other programs I will be buying and running here (if that matters): Photoshop, iTunes, MS Office, Game Emulators, ooVoo, and MSN.

So, if you can give me any idea of a processor I should use for the above mentioned tasks? I want it to be able to run these without a problem. I also need a Virus Protection tips.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Jun 2011   #2

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

What is your absolute upper price limit for the laptop itself? I'm not including any other applications/programs that you are going to buy here, I just want a figure for the laptop itself.

In the meantime, have a look at this selection on Amazon. I have narrowed it down to Windows 7 and a screen size of 16 - 17.9 inches. Amazon.com: Electronics > Computers & Accessories > Laptops > Windows 7 > 16 to 17.9 Inches

As regards Virus Protection, many of us (myself included) use Avast!, which is easy to configure and use and, best of all, is totally free if you choose the Free Antivirus download here: avast! Free Antivirus - Download Software for Virus Protection
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Welcome KSR to the windows 7 forums.

1. It is a good idea to think thru like you have on what you want your new laptop to be able to do.
2. Money is the bottom line, if your budget can handle a couple of grand.
3. I recommend a i7 Intel processor with a minimum of 4 gigs of ram.
4. A good video card with a gig of video ram.
5. I have a toshiba with two hard disks, both SSD's which does make it fast. If the laptop has an option for two hard disks, then I would opt for that as hard disks are getting faster and cheaper for laptops with the prices on the SSD drives coming down each day. I would recommend more hard disk space than you talked about. If your budget supports it, I would recommend good sized SSD drives or at least a 7200rpm 500Gig or larger standard hard disk.
6. Windows 7 professional should be enough.
7. I have been very satisfied with the speed and reliability of Toshiba laptops for over 10 years.

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Jun 2011   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

If the laptop has a dvi port you can toss in a huge tv to go along with it later. Windows 7 x64 Home, 2G RAM, 320G HDD, 15" screen, Compaq, 347.00 at Walmart. Upgraded to 4G Ram, Windows 7 Ultimate x64, does everything I need at speed. MSOffice Home/Student Included, Upgraded to Office 2010 Home/Business. MIFI 2200 from Verizon to complete and can connect anywhere securely! Good luck on the school year and Job!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Your budget will play an important part in your searching for a good laptop.
Just my opinion about a 17" is the weight factor. Lugging around a heavy laptop will not be fun.
Check out Sam's Club, Costco and even Staples as there return policies are 30-90 days no re-stock fee.
I have purchased a Return to Stock(price was discounted) desktop and laptop from both Sams and Costco.

Many members use free MSE AV, Avast along with Windows Firewall for virus protection.
We also download the free MBAM and SAS which scan for spyware.
Congrats on getting a job!
THW
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

I don't disagree with any of the suggestions made so far. I would suggest if you are going to play games, get a dedicated graphics card. As far as AV. I use MSE and MBAM, but the best AV is for you to be careful about where you go and what you download. I also think you will need a bigger hard drive. Money is going to be the deciding factor. I agree with buying from somewhere that has a good return policy and if you take your time and shop around, you will eventually find a laptop that suits your needs at a price you can affoard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2011   #7

Windows 7 Profession 64-bit
 
 

I personally don't think there's such a thing as a good gaming notebook - despite what some notebook marketing weenies would have us believe. Notebooks by their very nature are powerful computers jammed into tiny, proprietary boxes. Gaming is about the most demanding task we can ask of our computers, yet notebooks are already notorious for heat related problems because notebook cases simply do not have the space to provide adequate fan support or air flow through the case. Plus they are nearly impossible for the normal user to keep them clean of heat trapping dust.

Therefore, I recommend a game console or gaming PC for gaming and your notebook for important stuff, like homework.

In any event, get a Notebook Cooling Pad w/ext. power supply. I prefer those with their own external power supplies so you donít put more strain on the notebook, causing it to generate even more heat.

I've been using MSE and Windows Firewall on all my systems since migrating to Windows 7 in Oct '09 with NO regrets. I also use MBAM for supplement scanning, but so far, it has found nothing.

I also like SAS, but worry it's recent buyout (Support.com Acquires SAS) will result in it being ruined - as has happened to so many good programs before it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2011   #8

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Sounds like a Fusion based laptop would be perfect for you. The APU's have very strong graphics capability, and very good battery life. Although AMD hasn't quite released the more performance oriented chips yet, most are only dual core with Radeon 6000 series Gpu's.

The Cpu side isn't as strong as Intel, but the overall compute power is superior because of the graphics solution. This combined with industry leading power consumption, well worth a look. You could start here:

The AMD Fusion
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2011   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

As Digerati says, there is no laptop that is good at playing games. But if you want a halfway decent setup with an i7 CPU and a 1GB GPU, you are looking at around $1000. An SSD would come on top.

Large screen is nice, but a 17" is heavy. So if you want to lug it around, that may be a showstopper. On the other hand there are some 17" that have 2 disk bays. That would be important if you consider an SSD.

Do yourself a favor and do not buy from Walmart (as one poster suggested). They get junk especially manufactured for them. Also stay away from E-Machines, Acer and Compac. The ones to recommend are Sony (super service), Toshiba (good quality) and to a certain extend Gateway (although they are part of Acer and since then their sevice went downhill. But their laptops are OK).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2011   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
As Digerati says, there is no laptop that is good at playing games. But if you want a halfway decent setup with an i7 CPU and a 1GB GPU, you are looking at around $1000. An SSD would come on top.

Large screen is nice, but a 17" is heavy. So if you want to lug it around, that may be a showstopper. On the other hand there are some 17" that have 2 disk bays. That would be important if you consider an SSD.

Do yourself a favor and do not buy from Walmart (as one poster suggested). They get junk especially manufactured for them. Also stay away from E-Machines, Acer and Compac. The ones to recommend are Sony (super service), Toshiba (good quality) and to a certain extend Gateway (although they are part of Acer and since then their sevice went downhill. But their laptops are OK).
What about Samsung? They seem to have a good reputation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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