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Old 12-22-2009, 09:14 AM
 
14 posts, read 43,040 times
Reputation: 14

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Hello. I am looking for a new laptop, and have a pretty tight budget. Everytime I go to Best Buy i am told I have to buy this or that computer as the lower priced one will be too slow. Being none too savvy regarding memory and processing speed, I am hoping someone can give advice so I can get a decent machine and not get ripped off.

Basically we will be using internet, email, uploading and dealing with photos, and music for an ipod. I would also like to be able to watch movies or a football game on the nfl channel online once in a while.

Can someone help me understand what the minimum requirements that will handle my needs are? I really would appreciate it! Exact numbers will be most helpful. This way I can just write it down, take it to the store with me, and be armed when an aggressive salesman tells me I cannot get anythign decent for under $600. (( would like to spend under 500 or 400, ideally.)

Thanks in advance!

norwalklowtechie
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:24 AM
 
7,376 posts, read 13,033,992 times
Reputation: 6974
Dont buy from stores like best buy. Buy from online stores, much better value. Try newegg.com or tigerdirect You get more for your money that way. They also have user reviews for the products listed so you can read pros/cons

As far as specs for your laptop, you are better off asking in science/computer forums
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Old 12-22-2009, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
27,403 posts, read 43,325,089 times
Reputation: 8258
This question would be better to ask on the Computer forum. I will move it there. JayCT, Moderator
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Old 12-22-2009, 10:20 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 6,942,084 times
Reputation: 1526
Look for refurbished laptops on the manufacturers' sites.
This is a nice deal from Sony for $560.
Sony Outlet & Refurbished Products
And this is a really nice refurbed Lenovo (IBM) for $450.
Lenovo Outlet - Lenovo 3000 G530 Refurbished (http://outlet.lenovo.com/laptops/ca4446xf3.html - broken link)
Lots of RAM and a DVD writer.
Check Tigerdirect and Newegg.com as well as geeks.com
I'm a firm believer in buying refurbished electronics. I've never had a problem with it.
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Old 12-22-2009, 11:24 AM
 
1,097 posts, read 3,619,464 times
Reputation: 646
The only thing you really need any computing power for are watching video and editing photos. And unless you're doing intensive editing you probably don't need much for that. If you're doing a lot of photo or video editing I think you'd already have an idea of the power you'd need, so I'm assuming you're not doing much more than the occasional crop or quick color adjustment. For that, you don't need a lot of power.

Just watching movies shouldn't require too much from your computer, either, although good video display is something that you can spend some money on if you want. I think just about any laptop is going to suit your needs, so in my opinion you should look more at features than at specifications. Pick one with a good sized screen, preferably with an anti-glare coating. Make sure you have a comfortable keyboard and plenty of well-positioned usb ports. Your laptop should have a dvd/rw drive, of course, if you want to burn dvds. Other than that, I don't think you have much to worry about.

My laptop does everything you mentioned just fine, and it would be obsolete today, with its sub-2 gigahertz centrino duo processor, measly 80 gig hard drive, and only 2 gigs of ram. Ram is cheap, huge external hard drives are cheap, and even a low-end processor is going to do everything you ask of your computer. What's not cheap or are impossible to replace are the display, the keyboard, and the general layout and configuration of the machine. I agree that a refurb is often a better deal, but I wouldn't buy used otherwise, since components like batteries do wear out.
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Old 12-22-2009, 01:23 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,600,178 times
Reputation: 37296
Newegg discounts $400-500

Newegg.com - PCs & Laptops,Laptops, Notebooks & Netbooks,Laptops / Notebooks,Discount Item,$400 - $500

$500-750

Newegg.com - PCs & Laptops,Laptops, Notebooks & Netbooks,Laptops / Notebooks,Discount Item,$500 - $750

The problem with trying to give out specifics for buying a computer is the wide range of options available. The best advice I can give is to look through those you can afford and try to narrow it down.

Items to look for:

The most RAM (of course) and as fast as possible.

Operating system: What are you comfortable with/want

Hard drive capacity: Unless you are planning on storing a lot of photos or music anything 100GB or larger should suffice

Graphics: A bit of a tough one. Depends on your use as much as anything. I recommend reading through some of the reviews on Newegg to get a feel for what buyers are happy with

Front Side Bus (FSB): This is important. The higher the number the better. If you are looking at two laptops with the same specs except for this one and the price is close buy the one with the higher number. I would not buy a laptop with anything less than 800MHz FSB.

CPU cache (CPU L2 cache): No less than 1MB and I prefer at least 2MB

Internet: If you can find one with 10/100/1000 connection it's preferred. 10/100 is more common.

Wireless: 802.11b/g/Draft-N is preferred. The older standard is 802.11b/g

CPU speed: At least 2.0GHz. A slower CPU is acceptable, but you will probably become impatient with it fairly quick.

CPU: A dual core (duo core) is a good idea if there is one in your price range.

I am thinking of buying this laptop since mine seems to be failing. Keep in mind I don't travel much with one so the size and weight (this actually weighs less than my current HP) are not a concern. It is more than the price range you specified, but I'm using it as an example, not a recommendation. The only thing I don't care that much for is the 512MB dedicated graphics memory. I'd prefer 1GB. On the plus side it will draw from unused system RAM so I can up that to the 8GB max and have plenty available.

http://www.amazon.com/Pavilion-DV7-3...1348252&sr=1-1

Specs:

http://www.shopping.hp.com/product/rts_notebook/rts_notebook//3/storefronts/VM237UA%2523ABA (broken link)

Hope some of this helps. Buying computers gets more complicated every day!

Last edited by Tek_Freek; 12-22-2009 at 01:47 PM..
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Old 12-22-2009, 02:13 PM
 
Location: southwest TN
8,260 posts, read 15,225,818 times
Reputation: 15141
The hard drive on my husband's computer finally died - 2 days ago. TigerDirect.com has a sale on a dual-core for $399 with Windows 7. Can't beat the price and it's got everything you need. You supply the monitor.

You are a salesman's dream. You are looking for the minimum computer when you should be looking for the best value. Right now that's in the dualcores as there are now quad cores.

This is not the first computer we've bought from TigerDirect - they are a reputable company selling quality products. They have an e-machine for 189, but you get what you pay for. Here's some of the specs for what we did buy:
Intel DualCore 2.6 Ghz, Windows 7 Pro, 2GB DDR2, 800MHz, SATA HDD, DVDRW

Go to Desktop computers on the menu on the left side of the page for the best options. Or use this link:
Systemax Venture VX Desktop PC - Intel Dual Core E5300 2.6GHz, genuine Windows® 7 Professional 64 Bit, 2GB DDR2 800MHz, 160GB...
Good luck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by acoffey View Post
Hello. I am looking for a new laptop, and have a pretty tight budget. Everytime I go to Best Buy i am told I have to buy this or that computer as the lower priced one will be too slow. Being none too savvy regarding memory and processing speed, I am hoping someone can give advice so I can get a decent machine and not get ripped off.

Basically we will be using internet, email, uploading and dealing with photos, and music for an ipod. I would also like to be able to watch movies or a football game on the nfl channel online once in a while.




Can someone help me understand what the minimum requirements that will handle my needs are? I really would appreciate it! Exact numbers will be most helpful. This way I can just write it down, take it to the store with me, and be armed when an aggressive salesman tells me I cannot get anythign decent for under $600. (( would like to spend under 500 or 400, ideally.)

Thanks in advance!

norwalklowtechie
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:42 PM
 
28,622 posts, read 40,600,178 times
Reputation: 37296
Annie,

The OP is looking for a laptop, not a desktop.
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Old 12-22-2009, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
13,720 posts, read 25,906,913 times
Reputation: 9219
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tek_Freek View Post
Newegg discounts $400-500

Newegg.com - PCs & Laptops,Laptops, Notebooks & Netbooks,Laptops / Notebooks,Discount Item,$400 - $500

$500-750

Newegg.com - PCs & Laptops,Laptops, Notebooks & Netbooks,Laptops / Notebooks,Discount Item,$500 - $750

The problem with trying to give out specifics for buying a computer is the wide range of options available. The best advice I can give is to look through those you can afford and try to narrow it down.

Items to look for:

The most RAM (of course) and as fast as possible.

Operating system: What are you comfortable with/want

Hard drive capacity: Unless you are planning on storing a lot of photos or music anything 100GB or larger should suffice

Graphics: A bit of a tough one. Depends on your use as much as anything. I recommend reading through some of the reviews on Newegg to get a feel for what buyers are happy with

Front Side Bus (FSB): This is important. The higher the number the better. If you are looking at two laptops with the same specs except for this one and the price is close buy the one with the higher number. I would not buy a laptop with anything less than 800MHz FSB.

CPU cache (CPU L2 cache): No less than 1MB and I prefer at least 2MB

Internet: If you can find one with 10/100/1000 connection it's preferred. 10/100 is more common.

Wireless: 802.11b/g/Draft-N is preferred. The older standard is 802.11b/g

CPU speed: At least 2.0GHz. A slower CPU is acceptable, but you will probably become impatient with it fairly quick.

CPU: A dual core (duo core) is a good idea if there is one in your price range.

I am thinking of buying this laptop since mine seems to be failing. Keep in mind I don't travel much with one so the size and weight (this actually weighs less than my current HP) are not a concern. It is more than the price range you specified, but I'm using it as an example, not a recommendation. The only thing I don't care that much for is the 512MB dedicated graphics memory. I'd prefer 1GB. On the plus side it will draw from unused system RAM so I can up that to the 8GB max and have plenty available.

Amazon.com: HP Pavilion DV7-3060US 17.3-Inch Espresso Laptop - Up to 4.5 Hours of Battery Life (Windows 7 Home Premium): Computer & Accessories

Specs:

HP® Official Store — Buy the HP Pavilion dv7-3060us Entertainment Notebook PC, Espresso Black direct from HP (http://www.shopping.hp.com/product/rts_notebook/rts_notebook//3/storefronts/VM237UA%2523ABA - broken link)

Hope some of this helps. Buying computers gets more complicated every day!
No disrespect intended but you are way overboard for the OP. For what they want to do most of what you describe doesn't matter at all. The OP should not be concerned with the FSB. Nor does it matter what the ethernet adapter speed is.

For $700 or less you can buy:

15 inch widescreen display
Intel or AMD dual core processor faster than 2 Ghz
2 Gb or 4 Gb of RAM
200-400 Gb hard drive
DVD driver ("burner")
built-in wifi
Windows 7 (probably 64 bit version)

Such a laptop will do everything the OP wants for years to come. It will not be so heavy that it is hard to carry for most people.

You can find such a laptop from Dell, Sony, Gateway, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo and more.
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Old 12-22-2009, 05:20 PM
 
Location: NW. MO.
1,817 posts, read 6,053,093 times
Reputation: 1357
I have a couple year old Acer, Aspire that I have passed on to my husband and it works great for what he wants and I've had zero issues with it. It has 2 GB RAM 1.3 GH processor and an 80 G HD.

We also have two HP's that are lower on the price end and have had no problems with and I have a Toshiba that I won't recommend because Tech support stinks and I had issues with it right off the bat and had it sent in to the shop and it came back with the case broken and we had to fight them over it. It works fine now but the first month of ownership it was back and forth to the repair depot.
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