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i3/i5 with Intel GPU vs A6 with dedicated GPU?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm on the lookout for an excellent deal on a new laptop, but am a bit undecided as to what route to go. I want to be able to play some basic games on it, like Civ 5, but the main use of it will be for writing and web browsing. I'd say it is very important that the laptop stay cool on my lap in the scenarios where I am doing simple tasks (and the computer is pretty much just idling).

My price range is about $600 max, though I'd prefer to spend $400 (am hoping to get what I want for that price during black Friday).

That said, I'm seeing lots of laptops with A6's or similar AMD processors in them and good dedicated graphics cards for very decent prices (sub $500 at times). And I'm seeing lots of i3/i5 laptops with crap Intel HD 3000 chipsets in them. Unfortunately, all of the laptops that I've seen with an i3 or better and a dedicated graphis card are over $700, often $800 or $900. That's quite the disparity from the AMD lineup.

So, what would you buy? Any downsides to the AMD laptop CPU's, besides just speed? Do they consume more power at idle than the i3's/i5's? Should I just keep waiting and see if I can snag a deal on an Intel laptop with dedicated graphics? I do want something with at least a 1 year warranty, not a refurb, but I'm not entirely set in stone on that. If a good enough deal comes along, I'd go with a refurb.
post #2 of 10
With your needs and budget, go with an AMD laptop. Gaming on the HD3000 is less than stellar. Just about any laptop will run cool during non-intensive tasks like browsing, etc. About the best deal your going to get on an Intel laptop with discrete graphics is ~$650 if you catch a good sale on a Lenovo IdeaPad.
post #3 of 10
You could get an A8 for less than 500 after rebate next week at Staples

http://weeklyad.staples.com/Staples/BrowseByPage?StoreID=2568491&PromotionID=82493&PromotionViewMode=2

Not sure if you have one around you or not, but you could always order online. Also, I have done over 3000 in rebates and have never had an issue.


EDIT: This deal starts on Sunday October 14th.
Edited by iWorkAtStaples - 10/12/12 at 7:10am
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iWorkAtStaples View Post

You could get an A8 for less than 500 after rebate next week at Staples
http://weeklyad.staples.com/Staples/BrowseByPage?StoreID=2568491&PromotionID=82493&PromotionViewMode=2
Not sure if you have one around you or not, but you could always order online. Also, I have done over 3000 in rebates and have never had an issue.
EDIT: This deal starts on Sunday October 14th.
Not bad! I am definitely considering that...

I think I am going to wait for black friday sales, just to see if anything good comes up. If not, then the next one I see that fits my fancy, I'll go ahead and snag.

Found this site, which seems to indicate the A6 is actually BETTER than the i3 at idle as far as power consumption. That's encouraging.
post #5 of 10
The laptop in my sig, with brightness all the way down and word processing/web browsing I get 4.5 hours of battery life.

720p video playback I get 2.5 hours.

I also use it as my main rig, 90% of what I do on this laptop. Games, everything. I bought a Llano specifically over Trinity because Llano can be overclocked with k10stat, rivaling or beating sandy i3 and i5s.

Dual graphics is great, I would not be able to play most of my games well on the 6520G IGPU.
Money
(17 items)
 
Z575
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.8Ghz MSI B350 Pro Carbon GIGABYTE R9 390 8GB 1100/1650Mhz 16GB Team DDR4-3000 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY CS1311 240GB - OS 2 x 2TB WD Black Raid 0 Synology DS416slim 4 x 1TB (raid 5) Corsair H100 
OSOSMonitorKeyboard
Windows 10 Pro ElementaryOS Loki LG 29UM67P 29" 2560x1080 FreeSync HPE 87 w/ Browns + Ducky PBT caps 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
EVGA 600W B2 Lian Li PCA05N Steelseries Rival 100 FiiO G10K + Philips SN9500HiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6-3420M @ 2.2Ghz 1.1v Lenovo Torpedo A55 6720g2 8GB Kingston 1600 CL9 
Hard DriveOSMouse
Samsung 840 250GB ElementaryOS x86_64 Abyssus 3.5G 
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Money
(17 items)
 
Z575
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.8Ghz MSI B350 Pro Carbon GIGABYTE R9 390 8GB 1100/1650Mhz 16GB Team DDR4-3000 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY CS1311 240GB - OS 2 x 2TB WD Black Raid 0 Synology DS416slim 4 x 1TB (raid 5) Corsair H100 
OSOSMonitorKeyboard
Windows 10 Pro ElementaryOS Loki LG 29UM67P 29" 2560x1080 FreeSync HPE 87 w/ Browns + Ducky PBT caps 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
EVGA 600W B2 Lian Li PCA05N Steelseries Rival 100 FiiO G10K + Philips SN9500HiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6-3420M @ 2.2Ghz 1.1v Lenovo Torpedo A55 6720g2 8GB Kingston 1600 CL9 
Hard DriveOSMouse
Samsung 840 250GB ElementaryOS x86_64 Abyssus 3.5G 
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by S.M. View Post

The laptop in my sig, with brightness all the way down and word processing/web browsing I get 4.5 hours of battery life.
720p video playback I get 2.5 hours.
I also use it as my main rig, 90% of what I do on this laptop. Games, everything. I bought a Llano specifically over Trinity because Llano can be overclocked with k10stat, rivaling or beating sandy i3 and i5s.
Dual graphics is great, I would not be able to play most of my games well on the 6520G IGPU.
Ok, not interested in overclocking at all (again, I do want the thing to stay very cool), but what is Llano and Trinity? Different CPU's or GPU's or...?

A dual GPU laptop would be awesome though. smile.gif How much did you pay for it?
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SgtSpike View Post

Ok, not interested in overclocking at all (again, I do want the thing to stay very cool), but what is Llano and Trinity? Different CPU's or GPU's or...?
A dual GPU laptop would be awesome though. smile.gif How much did you pay for it?
Llano is the first generation of AMD APUs, Trinity is the second generation.

Llano uses Stars cores based on K10, and Trinity uses Piledriver cores. They perform almost identically (at different frequencies) but Trinity uses quite a bit less power. However Llano can be overclocked via K10stat.

I overclocked my A6-3420M from 1.5Ghz to 2.2Ghz at stock voltage. Temperatures are only 7 degrees higher @ ~80c large FFT. I also undervolted the lowest P state to 800Mhz @ 0.73v instead of 800Mhz @ 0.9v which is 100% stable and gains almost 45 minutes of battery life. My cinebench 11.5 scores went from 1.8 to 2.5 with this overclock. And gaming performance is at least 15fps more.

Dual GPU is awesome, crossfire is only available in true dx10 and dx11. So for right now, it's just switchable graphics. I have it set to where my browsers and media players use the IGPU and games and heavy workloads use the discrete GPU. Which I can then use simultaneously without any slowdown. (CCC is very easy to set this up, if an application uses the GPU a popup comes up and asks which GPU you want to utilize for that specific program and then it saves onto a profile).

I bought my Z575 for $450 on newegg before they discontinued it.

Trinity is honestly the best choice for a sub $550 laptop. You need a sandy with a 640 or better to beat it. But who knows, black friday might bring some crazy deals.
Money
(17 items)
 
Z575
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.8Ghz MSI B350 Pro Carbon GIGABYTE R9 390 8GB 1100/1650Mhz 16GB Team DDR4-3000 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY CS1311 240GB - OS 2 x 2TB WD Black Raid 0 Synology DS416slim 4 x 1TB (raid 5) Corsair H100 
OSOSMonitorKeyboard
Windows 10 Pro ElementaryOS Loki LG 29UM67P 29" 2560x1080 FreeSync HPE 87 w/ Browns + Ducky PBT caps 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
EVGA 600W B2 Lian Li PCA05N Steelseries Rival 100 FiiO G10K + Philips SN9500HiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6-3420M @ 2.2Ghz 1.1v Lenovo Torpedo A55 6720g2 8GB Kingston 1600 CL9 
Hard DriveOSMouse
Samsung 840 250GB ElementaryOS x86_64 Abyssus 3.5G 
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Money
(17 items)
 
Z575
(9 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Ryzen 7 1700 @ 3.8Ghz MSI B350 Pro Carbon GIGABYTE R9 390 8GB 1100/1650Mhz 16GB Team DDR4-3000 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
PNY CS1311 240GB - OS 2 x 2TB WD Black Raid 0 Synology DS416slim 4 x 1TB (raid 5) Corsair H100 
OSOSMonitorKeyboard
Windows 10 Pro ElementaryOS Loki LG 29UM67P 29" 2560x1080 FreeSync HPE 87 w/ Browns + Ducky PBT caps 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
EVGA 600W B2 Lian Li PCA05N Steelseries Rival 100 FiiO G10K + Philips SN9500HiFi 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD A6-3420M @ 2.2Ghz 1.1v Lenovo Torpedo A55 6720g2 8GB Kingston 1600 CL9 
Hard DriveOSMouse
Samsung 840 250GB ElementaryOS x86_64 Abyssus 3.5G 
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, I (feel like I) got the best of both worlds. A 15", i5 2.4ghz, 6GB of ram, 1TB HDD, and 6470M for $385. I think I'll be happy with it! And if not, I think I got a good enough deal that I'll be able to resell for more than I bought it for anyway. smile.gif

Mostly, I just wanted to play some Civ 5 on it, and I know the 6470M will do that just fine. And I won't have to deal with the crappy AMD processor either! Woohoo!
post #9 of 10
Those are some good looking spec's for the price i hope that you like your new laptop.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I actually ended up buying two, deciding to keep the 2nd one and I'll be reselling the first here shortly. I bought a 17R with the 2.1/3.1ghz i7, 8GB ram, 1 TB HDD, and HD 4000 GPU for just $482 (vs $850 configured brand new without any promos)! It freaking rocks. The GPU is stellar for being Intel, and the i7 with a max TDP of 35w (it idles as 3.2w according to coretemp) and integrated GPU means very little heat output, even when gaming. I was playing Diablo 3 smooth as butter earlier, and it was hardly warm to the touch on my lap. Absolutely perfect, and I would almost rather have this combo than a better GPU that creates more heat, because that gets uncomfortable quickly.

The 17" screen is nice too, for my aging eyes... I can't see as well as I could 10 years ago, that's for sure! But it allows me a decent-sized workspace (1600x900) without getting too small with the text.

Couldn't be happier with my purchase.
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