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Portable and Durable laptop for school under $700 (minimal to no gaming)

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

As always, I turn to OCN forums first when I need helping picking out electronics to buy thumb.gif. I'm looking for a laptop, preferably in the 15.4" screen size range that's also very portable and somewhat durable (less plastic more metal) for school related work, which consist of MS Word, Excel & Powerpoint, Adobe Photoshop, and LOTS of youtube/facebook. An excellent wireless card is a must, as well as a quality screen and good battery life. I really don't plan to game on the computer, so a dedicated gfx card is (I can't believe I'm saying this after all these years) completely optional. Bonus points for a quality sound card and HDMI output, since I like to put Netflix or Youtube up on my TV pretty often and I have a nice 5.1 system I use frequently when playing music. Webcam and mic too, for skype. Ideally I'd like to nab something under $500, but my maximum is $700 for a very quality machine. Alright OCN, let's see what y'all got for me!
Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
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Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
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post #2 of 7
I really recommend checking out the new HP AMD Trinity APU laptops. At $600 for a "sleekbook" "ultrabook" "air" sized laptop idk if you can go wrong. They are pretty neat. Especially if you swap in a SSD which I would think is a no brainier this day and age.
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Is there anything out right now that I won't have to wait for? I'm about to travel abroad and I'm trying to pick up something before I leave, otherwise I'll have to haul my 10lb gaming laptop all over the place!
Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
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Reply
Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
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post #4 of 7
For 15" laptops, everything is pretty "middle of the pack" below ~$800. I'd personally go with this Toshiba Satellite R845 for $640. http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-Satellite-R845-S85-14-0-Inch-Laptop/dp/B005KP0BJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1337204128&sr=8-1

Battery life really is high - 7-8 hours realistically. Weight is pretty low for a 14" at 4.2 pounds. Magnesium alloy chassis.

If you would rather a 15", this Asus U56 is the same price, weighs about 1.3 pounds more, has similar battery life, aluminum chassis. http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+15.6%22+Laptop+-+6GB+Memory+-+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Platinum/4566353.p?id=1218492344573&skuId=4566353&st=asus%20u56&cp=1&lp=1

As for wifi cards, both are Wireless-N. The Satellite has an Intel wifi card, not sure on the Asus. Amazon can overnight stuff for cheap ($4 with Prime membership), otherwise Best Buy probably carries the U56.
 
Lanbox Lite
(16 items)
 
 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i3-2310M Intel HD 3000 8GB DDR3 Samsung 830 64GB SSD 
Hard DriveOSMonitorCase
640GB Hitachi HDD Windows 7 13.3" LCD Magnesium Alloy, 3.2lbs 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 955 BE Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-UD2H MSI Hawk R5770 3x2GB G.Skill DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 250 GB WD Caviar Black Samsung 20X DVD-R/RW Thermaltake MaxOrb 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua NF-B9-1600 Windows 7 Pro 64-bit BenQ E2420HD, 24" 1920x1080 TT Purepower 500W 
Case
TT Lanbox Lite 
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Lanbox Lite
(16 items)
 
 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i3-2310M Intel HD 3000 8GB DDR3 Samsung 830 64GB SSD 
Hard DriveOSMonitorCase
640GB Hitachi HDD Windows 7 13.3" LCD Magnesium Alloy, 3.2lbs 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Phenom II X4 955 BE Gigabyte GA-MA78GPM-UD2H MSI Hawk R5770 3x2GB G.Skill DDR2 800 4-4-4-12 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB Samsung Spinpoint F3 250 GB WD Caviar Black Samsung 20X DVD-R/RW Thermaltake MaxOrb 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Noctua NF-B9-1600 Windows 7 Pro 64-bit BenQ E2420HD, 24" 1920x1080 TT Purepower 500W 
Case
TT Lanbox Lite 
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post #5 of 7
Lenovo Thinkpad X220 or T520 through the Barnes and Noble discount.
- First, follow this link: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barnesnoblegold/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/Lenovo:EnterStdAffinity?sexpired=1&requested-affinity-cmd=StdAffinity:Home&home=barnesnoblegold&menu-id=products
- Create a free account and login

For the 15.6" Lenovo Thinkpad T520:
- Follow this link: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barnesnoblegold/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=7162ACCF009D2872F8BA28660C1EC3B5&action=init
- Generally, you should start with the cheapest base model
- Important: Add AT LEAST the HD+ (1600x900) display upgrade. Do not buy this laptop in any configuration that has the stock HD (1366x768) display. 15.6" 1366x768 displays limit multitasking because they make things onscreen large, and they tend to have terrible image quality due to low contrast.
- Consider the free Intel WiFi Link 1000 wireless upgrade. It's supposed to be better than the stock Thinkpad b/g/n
- Consider the 9-Cell batttery.
- Apply the listed coupon code.

For the 12.5" Lenovo Thinkpad X220:
- Follow this link: http://shoplenovo.i2.com/SEUILibrary/controller/e/barnesnoblegold/StdAffinityPortal/en_US/catalog.workflow:category.details?current-catalog-id=12F0696583E04D86B9B79B0FEC01C087&current-category-id=20E990072AB74EA5EA87218BF129CC11&action=init
- Generally, you should start with the cheapest base model
- Important: Add the "Premium" IPS display upgrade. Don't buy the X220 in any configuration that does not include this upgrade. The IPS display has high contrast and wide viewing angles, and is one of the best displays available in an ultraportable. The stock display is, however, poor.
- Consider the free Intel WiFi Link 1000 wireless upgrade. It's supposed to be better than the stock Thinkpad b/g/n
- Consider the 9-Cell batttery.
- Apply the listed coupon code.
post #6 of 7
Companies sell batteries now, so you could pick up something you like, then buy an extra battery or two
SolusIgnis
(21 items)
 
2 Watts
(6 items)
 
Huh?!
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CPUCPUCPUMotherboard
i7-3820 Xeon Phi 31S1P Copressor (WIP) Xeon Phi 31S1P Copressor (WIP) ASRock X79 Extreme6 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
XFX Reference 6950 Samsung Magic RAM Crucial M4 Cosair H80 
OSMonitorMonitorMonitor
Windows 8.1 Pro HannSpree HF205 1600x900 ASUS VH239H 1920x1080 ASUS VH239H 1920x1080 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
CMStorm Quick Fire Pro, Cherry MX Blue Thermaltake Oversoar RX-I MadCatz RAT 9 Saitek Cyborg V.5 
OtherOtherOther
Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog TrackIR 5 Saitek Pro Combat Pedals 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Marvell PXA510 D2Plug DDR3 
Optical DriveCooling
Pssh! Who needs optical drives Passive 
CPUOS
i386 MS-DOS 
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SolusIgnis
(21 items)
 
2 Watts
(6 items)
 
Huh?!
(13 items)
 
CPUCPUCPUMotherboard
i7-3820 Xeon Phi 31S1P Copressor (WIP) Xeon Phi 31S1P Copressor (WIP) ASRock X79 Extreme6 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
XFX Reference 6950 Samsung Magic RAM Crucial M4 Cosair H80 
OSMonitorMonitorMonitor
Windows 8.1 Pro HannSpree HF205 1600x900 ASUS VH239H 1920x1080 ASUS VH239H 1920x1080 
KeyboardCaseMouseMouse Pad
CMStorm Quick Fire Pro, Cherry MX Blue Thermaltake Oversoar RX-I MadCatz RAT 9 Saitek Cyborg V.5 
OtherOtherOther
Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog TrackIR 5 Saitek Pro Combat Pedals 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
Marvell PXA510 D2Plug DDR3 
Optical DriveCooling
Pssh! Who needs optical drives Passive 
CPUOS
i386 MS-DOS 
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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Great suggestions! I'm going to browse through them thoroughly tonight and settle on one if the everything looks right +rep to everyone thanks!
Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
  hide details  
Reply
Altes Maschine
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Q9450 C1 @ stock DFI LANPARTY DK X38-T2RB Visiontek HD 4870...will CF later Corsair 4GB XMS2 DDR2-800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 750GB Samsung DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe Vista Ultimate x64 Westinghouse 24" L2410NM 1920 x 1200 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair 750W Antec 900 Logitech G5 
  hide details  
Reply
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