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Laptop Recommendation [Closed, thanks!]

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm saving up to buy a decent laptop within the next couple months. I want one that can handle work, some light gaming, and general use. My budget is $1000 max for the laptop itself but there are a few accessories I'll be getting regardless, including an OEM copy of Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, 8 GB RAM, and a wireless keyboard and mouse if I need to use it for extended periods of time.

I'd also like it to be as small as possible so it's portable and easy to store, I hate big clunky laptops and I'm actually fine with my 10" HP Mini as far as size, just not performance. I'd prefer a 14" screen as that seems to be the best balance of size vs. performance. 13" would be awesome but I'm concerned about graphics performance.

For work it needs Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and 8 GB of RAM so I can use VPN and comfortably run my development tools. This wouldn't be my main work PC, it would just let me work remotely so I don't have to be in the office. None of the laptops I considered have this so I'll upgrade it myself.

For the GPU I'm not sure what to get. Most of the games I play are old, i.e. Age of Empires II, so anything will run that. However I want it to run Minecraft well (it's unplayable on my netbook), and if Supreme Commander, Sins of a Solar Empire, and Demigod are playable at low resolutions that would cover everything I want. Finally, it needs to have either HDMI, DVI, or VGA out. DisplayPort is worthless to me.

Hard drive isn't an issue. 250 GB or more will be plenty of breathing room.

CPU isn't too important. I assume even the dual-core mobile i3 is better than the E6600 and Atom N270 I use at home.

Here are some models I'm considering, all from Newegg but other sites or vendors are fine.
  • ASUS N43JF-A1 - This is my top choice right now. i5, GeForce GT 425M, 14" screen, and I really like ASUS. But it's also the most expensive at $999.
  • MSI FX400400 - This is my second choice, pretty similar to the ASUS but cheaper at $799. The GPU is a GT 325M. I couldn't find benchmarks on this specific GPU but it seems the 320M is about half the 425M. I also don't know much about MSI. Can I trust their laptops?
  • ASUS U30JC-B1 - Getting small at only 13.3", which I would love. The price is great at $779. CPU is only an i3 but I don't see that being an issue, certainly it's at least better than my E6600. However the GPU is only a GeForce 310M which ranks a bit below the 320M above. If I saw some benchmarks on this GPU and liked what I saw this would probably shoot to the top of my list because of the size and price.
  • ASUS U35-JCA1 - Same as above but $100 more expensive? The only difference I see is it has twice the video RAM (is that even an issue at only 1366 x 768 resolution?) and a larger hard drive, am I missing something?
  • MSI FX603-019US - This is at the bottom of the list just because of screen size. 15.6" is getting big. However, it has a slightly better CPU than my first pick and it has the same GPU while being $200 cheaper at $799.

Recommendations? Any other models or sites I should consider? How will the new mobile Sandy Bridge i5's change things when they're released next month? Finally, if someone can comment on the graphics performance of the models I listed that would be really appreciated. Minecraft and Supreme Commander FPS benchmarks would be enormously helpful.

Thanks in advance.

Edit:
Thanks to your advice I got an Alienware M11X instead--so much for waiting a month or two, lol. i7 (low voltage model, only mildly better than my desktop E6600 but it'll work), GT 355M, and an 11" screen. This will replace my HP Mini well, more battery life and much more power. It has an HDMI port so I can use another screen for extended use. The best part is I found a barely used one on eBay for cheaper than the original ASUS laptop I was looking at. I'll make sure to benchmark it for you guys once I get it and get Windows 7 Pro and 8 GB RAM on it.

Thanks again!
Edited by mott555 - 1/21/11 at 6:53am
post #2 of 12
I would recommend ASUS myself, had 2 myself before. Its great spec wise, but it tends to be a little thicker and a little hotter than other brands. I know that pretty much every manufacturer is revamping up their laptop lines in a month or two (I work electronic retail), so I would wait if you could.

The two laptops I have now is an Alienware M11x, got it for a great price @ $599, though the CPU is only a 1.3GHz, but the graphics card can run Crysis at medium no problem =D I wanted to recommend this at first, but it is kinda heavy for an 11 inch. Too bad they don't make a 13 inch eh? The other one is a Macbook Pro, I don't think you're interested in that LOL.
Edited by starwa1ker - 1/20/11 at 12:16pm
Arc Midi
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post #3 of 12
I came in to recommend the M11x as well. Great portable machine.
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for pointing out the M11X. GT 335M and 11" screen sounds great. This is netbook territory but with some actual power in the machine!

Just from looking at Dell's site, I'd definitely want to get the base model and upgrade RAM and OS myself, they really charge a premium for that stuff.

How good is Dell if I called them up for further customization? Do you think it would be possible to get one without a low-voltage processor, like with a normal i5 460M? Maybe even with no OS?
post #5 of 12
Here's a $50 coupon if you're going ahead with it ---> BHW1L0MX0D?MCX

I don't think they'll put other CPUs in...its a pretty standardized procedure for them. They won't really bend the rules that way. You could upgrade the RAM OS and HDD yourself =D
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Arc Midi
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Define Mini
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Intel i5-3750K MSI Z77A-G45 MSI Twin Frozr 7850 2GB Kingston HyperX 4GB x 2 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Crucial M4 Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X650 Fractal Design Arc Midi Logitech G700 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3750K ASRock Z77 Pro4-M HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Corsair XMS 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 Blu-Ray RW Drive Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
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Dell U2412M IPS Monitor Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X750 Fractal Design Define Mini 
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post #6 of 12
I would skip the Asus U-Series.
I had the U45JC-A1 and the trackpad was jumpy and the clicking wasn't too accurate. The keyboard also had a bit of lag and the monitor bezel is very easily scratched.
Other than those issues, it's a great little laptop.
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post #7 of 12
you're right,i agree
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mott555 View Post
Thanks for pointing out the M11X. GT 335M and 11" screen sounds great. This is netbook territory but with some actual power in the machine!

Just from looking at Dell's site, I'd definitely want to get the base model and upgrade RAM and OS myself, they really charge a premium for that stuff.

How good is Dell if I called them up for further customization? Do you think it would be possible to get one without a low-voltage processor, like with a normal i5 460M? Maybe even with no OS?
haha,I have M17x
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to your advice I got an Alienware M11X instead. i7 (low voltage model, only mildly better than my desktop E6600 but it'll work), GT 355M, and an 11" screen. This will replace my HP Mini well, more battery life and much more power. It has an HDMI port so I can use another screen for extended use. The best part is I found a barely used one on eBay for cheaper than the original ASUS laptop I was looking at. I'll make sure to benchmark it for you guys once I get it and get Windows 7 Pro and 8 GB RAM on it.

Thanks again!
post #10 of 12
Congratulations! How much was it?
Arc Midi
(13 items)
 
Define Mini
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3750K MSI Z77A-G45 MSI Twin Frozr 7850 2GB Kingston HyperX 4GB x 2 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Crucial M4 Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X650 Fractal Design Arc Midi Logitech G700 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3750K ASRock Z77 Pro4-M HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Corsair XMS 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 Blu-Ray RW Drive Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2412M IPS Monitor Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X750 Fractal Design Define Mini 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G700 Razer Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
Arc Midi
(13 items)
 
Define Mini
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3750K MSI Z77A-G45 MSI Twin Frozr 7850 2GB Kingston HyperX 4GB x 2 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Crucial M4 Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit Dell Ultrasharp U2412M 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X650 Fractal Design Arc Midi Logitech G700 
Mouse Pad
Razer Goliathus 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3750K ASRock Z77 Pro4-M HIS Radeon HD 7850 2GB Corsair XMS 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 Blu-Ray RW Drive Corsair H60 Windows 7 Professional 64-bit 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Dell U2412M IPS Monitor Razer BlackWidow Ultimate Seasonic X750 Fractal Design Define Mini 
MouseMouse Pad
Logitech G700 Razer Goliathus 
  hide details  
Reply
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