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Help me pick out a laptop for College!

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
First off, a little introduction. I'm entering college in the Spring as a Freshman, & I intend on majoring in Computer Engineering. There's no refuting the fact that I need a laptop for school, however just exactly how much laptop I need is still open to discussion. I will be living in the campus dorms, as the school is 4 hours away from home. I'm also bringing along my gaming desktop (sig rig). Basically, I probably actually only NEED an i3-21xx w/ 4 GB of DDR3RAM & a 500GB 5400 RPM HDD. A 7200 RPM HDD would be great, but I'm sure it'd be noisier/cut down on battery life, & I'm not even sure how much faster it'd be versus a 5400 RPM HDD. A 14" would be perfect, but a 15.6"(standard size) would be fine too. The reason I say that a 14" would be perfect is because to me, laptops = mobile w/ decent battery life. A 14" normally weighs about a pound or so less & possibly has a little better battery life, which is what I want. However, I'm not sure if its performance would be up to par, although I think it's not because I've been spoiled by the i5-2500K @ 4.5 GHZ. I know that the main difference between the i3 & i5/i7 mobile processors is turboboost, automatically overclocking the CPU when under load, which would make a difference in day to day usage, albeit probably not much. Are there any times that I'll actually need an i5 or dedicated graphics for my laptop? Perhaps I might need to run CAD for Computer Engineering? Otherwise, I'd probably only actually utilize the i5-2430M/GT 540 whenever I'm too lazy to play ToR on the desktop, like when I'm in someone else's dorm room. Another good example of a situation when I'd utilize the full power of i5 & GT 540 would be when there's a break from school & students are evicted from their dorms. In that situation I might be too lazy to lug my full-tower case home. Help me see the light, guys. Do I really only need an 2nd gen i3 laptop? Or would it be worth it to me to get an i5, possibly with dedicated graphics?

On a second note, my friend does not have a PC of his own, neither laptop nor desktop, at least yet. I've recommending him an Acer w/ the following specs: i5-2430M @ 2.4 GHZ, 4GB of DDR3-1066 RAM, a 500GB 5400 RPM HDD, & a GT 540M, dedicated GPU with 1GB of VRAM, according to the Egg. I recommended this to him because this is a great deal, & he wants to play Stars Wars: The Old Republic/ Minecraft on this laptop, which it should do fine @ medium settings, with a resolution of 1366x768. Yet, with the GT 540M, it also sports a battery life of around 4 hours or so, although not under heavy usage. Does anyone have any better ideas before he finally pulls the trigger in a week or two? This is his #1 pick, his second being a some Lenovo, a Thinkpad Edge 420(with only HD3000 integrated graphics but a 7200RPM HDD) If I'm correct .

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?nm_mc=AFC-TechBargains&cm_mmc=AFC-TechBargains-_-NA-_-NA-_-NA&Item=N82E16834215197

I might just get the Acer like my friend, otherwise I'd probably get a 14" business laptop, like a Lenovo Thinkpad Edge E420 or a Dell Vostro 3450. I think that paying the little extra for a business laptop's reliability is justified, unless you guys can prove me otherwise. If I don't get either of the above laptops, I'd probably get some cheap laptop that's $400 & below with an i3-2310M CPu & 15.6" screen.

Thanks in advance for the help, guys.

Edit: Forgot to mention that my budget is a SOLID $600, max.
Edited by N7-OC - 11/24/11 at 9:08pm
 
[3IR] STG
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K [4.5 GHz, 1.35 V) MSI P67A-GD55 EVGA GTX 570 [2x4 GB] G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM ASUS DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner Xigmatek SD1283 Gaia Windows 7 Home Premium 64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung P2370HD Microsoft Sidewinder X4 PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer Quad NZXT Phantom [White] 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Cooler Master Storm Spawn Steelseries QcK+ Klipsch Promedia 2.1's 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i5-2430m [2.4 GHz] GT 540M [1GB DDR3 VRAM] 4GB [2x2GB] DDR3-1033 500GB, 5400RPM 
Optical DriveOSMonitor
8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit 15.6" [1366x768] 
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[3IR] STG
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K [4.5 GHz, 1.35 V) MSI P67A-GD55 EVGA GTX 570 [2x4 GB] G.Skill Ripjaws X DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
SAMSUNG Spinpoint F3 1TB 7200 RPM ASUS DRW-24B1ST CD/DVD Burner Xigmatek SD1283 Gaia Windows 7 Home Premium 64 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung P2370HD Microsoft Sidewinder X4 PC Power & Cooling 750W Silencer Quad NZXT Phantom [White] 
MouseMouse PadAudio
Cooler Master Storm Spawn Steelseries QcK+ Klipsch Promedia 2.1's 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i5-2430m [2.4 GHz] GT 540M [1GB DDR3 VRAM] 4GB [2x2GB] DDR3-1033 500GB, 5400RPM 
Optical DriveOSMonitor
8X DVD-Super Multi Double-Layer Drive Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit 15.6" [1366x768] 
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post #2 of 3
If I were you, I would get an apple macbook pro 13". If you are on a budget, the one you listed would also work.
PC
(7 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500K Asrock p67 extreme4 gen3 Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Corsair 8 GB  
Hard DriveCoolingCase
M4 128 GB 212+ evo  Corsair 600T SE 
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PC
(7 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5 2500K Asrock p67 extreme4 gen3 Gigabyte GTX 970 G1 Corsair 8 GB  
Hard DriveCoolingCase
M4 128 GB 212+ evo  Corsair 600T SE 
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post #3 of 3
I think that Macbook Pro is going to be a bit over $600, Captain...

I'd say something with a workstation card, for better openGL support. But if you're going to play ToR, you will need a better DirectX to price ratio. And workstation graphics in a laptop is expensive.

Another thing; 15.6 inch screens are typically the cheapest; which is really important for your particular budget. That Acer is $100 more with a 14 inch screen. It looks pretty good, actually. Just throw in another stick of memory for the CAD work and you should be good with it.
Edited by llamaboy - 11/25/11 at 6:39am
Washu9050
(17 items)
 
Asus K53TA-BBR6
(11 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX 8320 Asus Sabertooth 990FX XFX Radeon HD6950 2 gig 24 Gigs Corsair Vengeance DDRIII 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Seagate Mediocre 7200 RPM Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Windows 8.1 Apple Studio 21" CRT 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid XFX 850 watt something (Seasonic) HAF 932 Cooler Master something with a little screen bu... 
Mouse PadAudioAudioAudio
Abit (Yea, the dead MoBo company) huge pad. Asus Xonar Essence ST (PCI) Sennheiser HD600 Behringer XENYX 1202FX 
Audio
Audio Technica Mb3k 
CPUGraphicsGraphicsRAM
A8-3510MX AMD HD 6620G AMD HD 6650m Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 4x2 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
Stock 5400 RPM Corsair Force3 240 Gigabyte Windows 7 Home Premium 15.6 in 1366x768 
AudioAudioOther
Realtek HD Audio FiiO E10 AMP/DAC Intel Ultimate-N 6300 
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Washu9050
(17 items)
 
Asus K53TA-BBR6
(11 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX 8320 Asus Sabertooth 990FX XFX Radeon HD6950 2 gig 24 Gigs Corsair Vengeance DDRIII 1600 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Seagate Mediocre 7200 RPM Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus Windows 8.1 Apple Studio 21" CRT 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid XFX 850 watt something (Seasonic) HAF 932 Cooler Master something with a little screen bu... 
Mouse PadAudioAudioAudio
Abit (Yea, the dead MoBo company) huge pad. Asus Xonar Essence ST (PCI) Sennheiser HD600 Behringer XENYX 1202FX 
Audio
Audio Technica Mb3k 
CPUGraphicsGraphicsRAM
A8-3510MX AMD HD 6620G AMD HD 6650m Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1600 4x2 
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
Stock 5400 RPM Corsair Force3 240 Gigabyte Windows 7 Home Premium 15.6 in 1366x768 
AudioAudioOther
Realtek HD Audio FiiO E10 AMP/DAC Intel Ultimate-N 6300 
  hide details  
Reply
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