Author Topic: Buying a laptop  (Read 846 times)

Buying a laptop
« on: July 28, 2014, 10:41:44 PM »
Sheesh, this ain't easy. I'm in the market for a new laptop now, with a budget of around £700/800. My current one is three years old (a Samsung RF511) and it's served me very well indeed for frequent use every day. But it's showing signs of wearing out a bit, so I'm looking around.

There are a couple of new brands on the scene since last I looked (Lenovo, Asus) and I've no idea if they're any good or not. Most laptop reviews seem to be around 3/4 stars and there doesn't appear to be any obvious go-to machine right now.

I use my laptop for work (remote VPN connection), watching videos (yeah, yeah), image and audio editing and browsing. I don't video edit and I don't game (although I'm open to both).

Any recommendations?

I've found a Dell machine  - the Inspiron 15 7000 which is going for £699 until the end of the month. It doesn't have any optical drive, but I never use that anyway so I won't miss it. The processor looks powerful, 16GB of memory and a full HD screen.

Know of anything better currently?

Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2014, 04:37:15 AM »
That one looks pretty good, but why pay extra for a graphics card if you're not a gamer?

The latest chips by AMD and Intel both have great on-chip graphics and a separate, additional graphics card will generate extra fan noise, heat, and eat your battery faster.

You're in the right ball park going with the latest gen Intel processor: AMD used to have a reputation for kicking Intel's behind with regards to on-chip graphics power, while Intel would have the best computational power for running software. This has changed somewhat and the latest Intel's are still ahead in computing power, whilst having on-chip graphics more than capable of playing HD video and basic gaming.

If the 1TB hybrid hard drive in it is a Seagate Momentus XT then they are superb drives. They were slagged off for having a lot of manufacturing failures when they came out a few years ago but I've had two of them (a 250Gb and a 750Gb) and from personal experience they were great.

I'm not sure if I'd choose a Dell though. I used to rate Asus laptops for looks, durability and build quality but remember throwing a perfectly good (two week old!) one in a bin in the street when I found out PC World had sold me an Asus that was only capable of single-channel memory. This was in my drinking days when smashing a brand new laptop was preferable to selling it, as someone reasonable would have done.

Anyway, DO get one with either a hybrid (or full SSD) drive, consider a latest gen i5 instead of i7 to save money (because a top-end i5 is still a beast of a chip) and ditch the added graphics card are my suggestions. And I wouldn't give a shit about it not having a DVD drive, either.

HappyTree

  • Diz <3
Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2014, 05:28:43 AM »
I have a laptop you can have for free. I found it in a bin one night a few years ago... etc.

Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 11:16:07 AM »
I bought a laptop about a week ago. I had shut a spoon in the old one sometime last year and the screen was broken. 1TB hard drive, 8GB ram, £299. You could probably buy two, and have enough left over for chips.

imitationleather

  • "The French... are famous... for their kissing"
    • http://last.fm/user/ImiLeathr
Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 04:22:35 PM »
I have a Lenovo I got for free from the disability team at university (even though I am obviously not disabled haha - I got it because I was depressed). It's shit. Really poor build quality. I have an Asus as well and it's a lot better.

Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2014, 05:09:12 PM »
I have a Lenovo I got for free from the disability team at university (even though I am obviously not disabled haha - I got it because I was depressed).

They give out laptops for depression now? Shit, when I was depressed at university I got a couple of counselling sessions and then charged for the full course for dropping out.

imitationleather

  • "The French... are famous... for their kissing"
    • http://last.fm/user/ImiLeathr
Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2014, 05:21:51 PM »
You clearly don't talk the same game like I do.

Re: Buying a laptop
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 08:16:52 PM »
That one looks pretty good, but why pay extra for a graphics card if you're not a gamer?

Oh, because I'd quite like to have the opportunity to get into it.

I've now joined Dell's apparently rule-less 'VIP' club and have scored an additional 10% off. I understand that Intel's new Broadwell chip will probably make an appearance in the coming months but that it's essentially the same as Haswell, just with a bit better efficiency and a bit lower power. The on-board graphics are apparently much better but if you have an onboard dedicated card, who cares?

I've got my eye on this hulking monster now. I can bring the cost down to £719, and for that, get the following:

  • 44cm (17.3") LED Backlit Touch Display with Truelife and FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
  • 4th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-4510U Processor (4M Cache, up to 3.0 GHz)
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 750M 2GB DDR5
  • 16GB Dual Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (8GBx2)
  • 1TB 5400 rpm SATA Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache
  • Intel® Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 2x2 AGN + Bluetooth 4.0

The reviews are mixed, but most poorer feedback seems to relate to an earlier model without an HD screen, lower memory and other issues fixed by a more recent bios update.

The only flaws I can see are: slow-ass hard drive (although it is hybrid, and easy to insert an SSD), no ac wireless function, borderline dated chip/graphic card, annoying reflective screen glare.

For £719, I reckon this is a good deal.

Hmm?