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Might be in the market for a laptop

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Since black friday is coming up soon I am contemplating buying a laptop for when I start college next year. Would it be smart to buy now to take advantage of the savings or will a new platform be launched in between now and next spring? Also I don't really know exactly what classes I will be taking, but I am leaning towards marketing or criminal justice, so if anyone is in those fields and could provide examples of how strong of a computer you might need redface.gif

What is your maximum budget?
around $1000 preferably lower though
What country are you in?
United States of America
What will be the uses of this laptop?
School, web browsing, watching tv/movies, maybe light gaming if possible
Do you have brand loyalty or care which brands we select for you?
not really just needs good build quality
What screen size do you require?
less than 14" would be great
What screen resolution do you require?
1600x900 or above
Are you looking to buy NEW or would refurbished/recertified/used be okay?
New would be best, but refurbished is okay as well
How long should the battery last? (Under optimal conditions, no movies/games/heavy internet)
I'm not sure maybe 4-5 hours at least
What games would you like to play with your laptop? And on what settings?
borderlands 2, tropico 4, simcity, whatever settings would get good framerates
What operating system do you need? (if any)
Windows or Mac OSX
Is there a certain style of laptop you want? (aluminum, black, gaming, etc.)
I would like it to look "mature" so no alienware styling
How much hard drive space do you need?
I'm planning to and external hard drive so I would prefer a 120gb ssd maybe?
Do you need any special hardware? (blue ray, webcam, specialty ports, etc.)
nope
Is there anything else we need to know?
I read that best buy is taking $150 off macbook airs for black friday
post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 
Also wanted to add that gaming isn't a must, so I don't need a dedicated graphic card if it will bring the cost down or improve battery life/allow for higher specs elsewhere.
post #3 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by etownbrad View Post

Since black friday is coming up soon I am contemplating buying a laptop for when I start college next year. Would it be smart to buy now to take advantage of the savings or will a new platform be launched in between now and next spring? Also I don't really know exactly what classes I will be taking, but I am leaning towards marketing or criminal justice, so if anyone is in those fields and could provide examples of how strong of a computer you might need redface.gif

What is your maximum budget?
around $1000 preferably lower though
What country are you in?
United States of America
What will be the uses of this laptop?
School, web browsing, watching tv/movies, maybe light gaming if possible
Do you have brand loyalty or care which brands we select for you?
not really just needs good build quality
What screen size do you require?
less than 14" would be great
What screen resolution do you require?
1600x900 or above
Are you looking to buy NEW or would refurbished/recertified/used be okay?
New would be best, but refurbished is okay as well
How long should the battery last? (Under optimal conditions, no movies/games/heavy internet)
I'm not sure maybe 4-5 hours at least
What games would you like to play with your laptop? And on what settings?
borderlands 2, tropico 4, simcity, whatever settings would get good framerates
What operating system do you need? (if any)
Windows or Mac OSX
Is there a certain style of laptop you want? (aluminum, black, gaming, etc.)
I would like it to look "mature" so no alienware styling
How much hard drive space do you need?
I'm planning to and external hard drive so I would prefer a 120gb ssd maybe?
Do you need any special hardware? (blue ray, webcam, specialty ports, etc.)
nope
Is there anything else we need to know?
I read that best buy is taking $150 off macbook airs for black friday

Hmmm. The biggest glaring difference I can see between your choices is Mac OSX versus Windows. This is really a huge deciding factor and also the size being 14". So this narrows it down to Windows Ultrabooks and MacBook Air or perhaps a MacBook Retina 13" (Will elaborate later on last one).

Here's the funny thing though: in 2011 or earlier, if I were to tell you to say what you think of Macbooks, 'more expensive than Windows' would pop into your mind. But this time it's not true.

13" MacBook Air 2013 is $1099 and comes with Haswell i5, HD5000 graphics, 4GB of ram and 128GB of SSD space. It can install Windows through Boot Camp, gets about 12 hours of life. The ONLY disadvantage is the lack of touch/HD screen but most overlook it at that size. It can be found for a lot less than $1099 online if you look around enough, Amazon has it for $1049 and my University bookstore sells it normal price at $999. The funny thing is, Windows Ultrabooks with the same specs start at around $1300-1400 so I can't even make a direct comparison. I can compare more expensive models though.

The Retina 13" MacBook Pro's direct competitor is the Samsung ATIV Book 9 which has similar specs and a higher resolution touch screen. They trade blows with the Samsung having: Higher resolution, expandable memory, touch screen and the Retina Macbook having: more initial memory, better processor and graphics (HD5000 instead of HD4400). But the Retina is still cheaper. It's $1199 and it comes with 8GB, better processor/GPU.

Windows laptops are cheaper until you think about Ultrabooks and for some reason those are more expensive. However, if you're not considering ultrabooks I would say look for a Lenovo Y510p. It's not a small laptop, it's about a 15" but it can be had with SLI 750m's and a quad core. Quite beastly and beats my 15" Retina handily in games.
post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 
So in terms of the two 13" macbooks (Macbook Air and retina Macbook Pro) would it be worthwhile spending the extra money on the Pro?
post #5 of 5
I would get the entry level rMBP if I had to choose between the MBA and rMBP.

For the extra $200 you get:
better processor (with better graphics)
better, higher resolution display
larger battery capacity (yet good battery life approaching the MBA during casual use )
plus, HDMI output (and extra Thunderbolt/DisplayPort jack)


All these upgrades are definitely worth the $200. I would only get the MBA if you absolutely needed the thinnest lightest laptop with the longest battery life.

With the rMBP, you have extra processing power on reserve when you need it while maintaining excellent battery life and compact dimensions.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-Pro-Retina-13-Late-2013-Notebook.105035.0.html
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Apple-MacBook-Air-13-Mid-2013-MD760D-A-Subnotebook.96311.0.html
    
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5 3570K @4.4 GHz ASRock Z77 Extreme4-m ASUS GTX 670 DirectCUII TOP Patriot VIPER III 2x8 GB DDR3 1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
Crucial m500 240 GB Samsung 850 EVO 500 GB ASUS DVD-burner Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2412m Rosewill RK-9000 Cherry MX Blue SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 
CaseMouseAudioAudio
Rosewill R101-P-BK Logitech G100s HRT Music Streamer II -> Audinst AMP-HP -> Westone 4 
Audio
Etymotic Research ER-4P 
  hide details  
Reply
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