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Windows 7: Purchasing a New Laptop


29 Jun 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 
Purchasing a New Laptop

What are the main points to look for when puchasing a laptop in the price range up to about 700.It will be used in the main for e-mailing,surfing the internet and games.Is a SSD superior to a hard disk drive and if so are there any drawbacks with them.Also what processor would you recommend.Any advice and guidance would be appreciated..

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Jun 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by denwilliam View Post
What are the main points to look for when puchasing a laptop in the price range up to about 700.It will be used in the main for e-mailing,surfing the internet and games.Is a SSD superior to a hard disk drive and if so are there any drawbacks with them.Also what processor would you recommend.Any advice and guidance would be appreciated..
Obviously features and basic specifications would be a primary consideration, but I'd also give a lot of thought to build quality and support---what is going to happen if you have failure of some type within warranty?

SSDs are inferior only as regards price and capacity. They are noticeably faster than standard drives. If your laptop will hold only 1 hard drive, an SSD may not be large enough to hold all of your data--in which case go with a standard HDD.

At your budget, I'd guess you can get an Intel processor of some type. They are generally better performers in the mid and upper price ranges.

If you have a supplier picked out, maybe you can post a link to the web site.
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29 Jun 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Thank you for your reply which is helpful but is there any processor you would suggest?.
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29 Jun 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

See if you can get something in the i5 family from Intel in your budget.

Here are a bunch of them from a US source. Make note of the processor model numbers, such as 2430M, 2450M, etc and see what you can find from your chosen suppliers.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...el%20Core%20i5
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29 Jun 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Everything you want to do can be done with any laptop - except gaming. That is always a problem because you will need a high performance GPU which produces a lot of heat. And the heat problem is one of the main drawbacks in laptops because there is little room for adequate blowers and to evacuate the hot air.

Rather than focussing on the CPU, I would focus on the GPU in your case. An i5 CPU is a good compromise and plenty for most applications. It can even handle such tasks as video encoding pretty well. For the GPU you have to look what is being offered, but it should have at least 1GB of it's own RAM. The so called on-board video facilities will not do for gaming.

I have equipped all my systems (including my 4 laptops) with SSDs. I would never go back to spinning disks. But the best is to buy the SSD seperately and exchange it against the HDD. That recovered HDD you can use as an additional external storage with the help of a USB enclosure. They cost pennies.

Speaking of USB - you should have at least 1 USB3 port. That makes external disks a lot faster. An eSata port is even better. I once had a Sony laptop that had both. But that cost $1175 and may be far out of your budget range.

I would recommend a 120GB SSD and put some of the data on an external drive (e.g. the enclocure or large USB sticks). But if you plan for very large games, a 256GB model may be better. You are looking at $100 to $200 for those. Apart from the SSD performance aspect, you also get a lot less heat from an SSD than from a HDD.

Bottom line: buying a laptop is easy if it were not for the gaming. A desktop has a lot more options and can be equipped with a lot more powerful devices than a laptop which is limited an space and therefore very heat sensitive.
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29 Jun 2012   #6

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I would like to emphasize one of whs very good points. Gaming creates heat and laptops dissipate heat poorly.
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29 Jun 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

Thanks to all three for those comprehensive answers,certainly got something to chew on there.Those numbers for the processors,do they mean anything or are they just designation no.s,what I am trying to say is how do you compare the performance of one against another.Sorry if I seem obtuse but am not au fait with all the technical terms.
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29 Jun 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

The numbers on CPU models generally don't tell you a lot.

You can look up a benchmark score for most any CPU here:

PassMark Software - CPU Benchmark Charts

Most of the CPUs in your budget range would be in the "high end" or "high to midrange" charts.

For instance, the Intel 2450M is rated at 3583.

The charts give you a general idea of overall "horsepower" of various CPUs.

Differences of a few hundred points aren't likely to mean anything, but you'd probably notice a difference of, say, a thousand points in some circumstances.

Overall, you would probably be more impressed with a CPU that had a rating of 3000 in a laptop with an SSD than you would be with a CPU with a rating of 4000 in a laptop that had a standard hard drive. But I don't know if you can fit an SSD into your budget.

People game with laptops all the time---you just have to adjust your expectations to a lower level than on a desktop PC. Laptops just have gaming limitations due to their modest graphics and heat buildup.
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29 Jun 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
 
 

That is great,solves a mystery that has had me scratching my head.When I said games it is mainly playing chess against the computer and not those combat games the more energetic play Why I would prefer a SSD is because I tried a Crucial 128GB M4 in my laptop and was most impressed with the improved performance but failed to obtain full benefit due to my other laptop components.
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29 Jun 2012   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The Crucial M4 is a good choice. I have one myself and am very pleased. I left mine on Firmware level 0309 because some people reported problems with the newest level 000F.
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