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Cousin needs a new computer, $500 in Canada

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
The imposable dream My cousin needs a computer for school. He needs some sound editing ability. And under $500! Oh, and he thinks a laptop would be best.

This is what he had to say: I use propellerhead reason and will be using pro tools once a new compute is ready. I actually need a laptop not a desktop so keyboard and mouse doesn't matter. In terms of inputs I just need USB to run an MBox, outputs don't matter either.

Can we find him one and make me into the hero.

Shopping in Canada or Taiwan only, so no USA only egg deals.
 
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post #2 of 14
Hey mate, it is very doable to have a new laptop below 500$. I've done a quick search on newegg.ca and there are two types of laptops as far as I can see:
*based on dual core AMD @2.2GHz
*based on dual core Pentium @2.1GHz
I think the two are evenly matched as the AMD processors are based on Athlon II (which is better than the run of the mill AMD mobile CPUs), while Intel's Pentiums are castrated C2D, so worse than what you'd expect from an Intel mobile CPU. Having said that, the purchase decision should be based on other consideration as size, HDD, screen resolution, etc. My favorites are:
1. Dell Inspiron 5030 450$ - Inspiron have solid quality and this one frankly is far and away the best option (albeit the cheapest also): 3GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Win 64bit
2. Lenovo G560 480$ - Lenovo quality is good also, it has the Intel CPU but only 2GB RAM, 250HDD and Win 64bit

The 2) may have some slightly better CPU performance (probably ~5-10%) while lagging at the rest. It would probably need RAM upgrade as 2GB seems too little for a 64 bit OS, so you can toss 40$ for a 4GB kit. About 1) 3GB of RAM should be enough, the HDD is more roomy and being cheaper to boot, within 500$ there can be added some upgrades like a much faster WD Scorpio Black 7200 RPM HDD.

Cheers
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post #3 of 14
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Interesting suggestions. I will actually pass them all on to him.

But, will the run propellerhead and/or pro tools? Do they have a sound card good enough to do what he wants? I don't see sound mentioned in there sheets at all (not that I looked hard).

I know nothing about sound you see.

Thanks you two
 
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post #5 of 14
I think the best out of all the <$500 laptops in Canada is the Asus A52F-XN1 because Asus has the best projected reliability out of all laptop manufacturers and it has the highest amount of RAM, and a CPU that is faster than the AMD Athlon II (Arrandale Pentium is faster clock-for-clock). The Intel HD IGP is around the same speed as the Radeon HD 4250. The 320GB HDD should provide a good amount of space for all his audio files and other media. Where this should have a big advantage, though, is in battery life because the Intel platform consumes less power.

The Dell and Lenovo are good, but the Asus is better for the price because it's much more balanced in terms of performance. The 2GB of RAM in the Lenovo is gonna need an upgrade ASAP, not to mention the base price is already higher.

And yes, any of these should be able to handle his audio editing applications. As for the sound cards, well, these are laptops. Almost all of them are based on the Realtek HD audio, which is very good but not professional-grade. If he wants professional-grade audio, he needs to buy a desktop with a separate sound card.

EDIT: also saw the Acer. AMD's Zacate is not really meant for large chassis laptops. All of the CPUs in the other laptops will easily spank it when it comes to performance. The Pentium is 2x faster in performance.

Pentium P6100 CPU Benchmark

AMD E-350 Benchmark
Edited by LOL_Wut_Axel - 3/16/11 at 5:55am
    
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post #6 of 14
...about the soundcard, they are crap on laptops, there's no other way of putting it. The audio jacks are full of static and the speakers are probably a bit better than the one in your telephone. Not by much though.

A way to have good sound from a lappy is to add an external USB soundcard. Here are a few from newegg.ca:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...CE&Pagesize=50
I don't really kwno which would be better, but read some reviews.

...and all laptops above should run any software as long as that software is compatible with Windows 7.
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post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragosmp View Post
...about the soundcard, they are crap on laptops, there's no other way of putting it. The audio jacks are full of static and the speakers are probably a bit better than the one in your telephone. Not by much though.

A way to have good sound from a lappy is to add an external USB soundcard. Here are a few from newegg.ca:
http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product...CE&Pagesize=50
I don't really kwno which would be better, but read some reviews.

...and all laptops above should run any software as long as that software is compatible with Windows 7.
USB soundcards have worse quality than the Realtek HD integrated. Just sayin'
    
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
I was not too worried about RAM, I would upgrade it. I know you need a lot for anything that is called editing I wish I could convince him to get a small computer.

So, at 500 it seems a bit... small. Would it be worth it to spend $100 more and get something with an I3, are there any sandy bridge laptops?
 
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post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kip69 View Post
I was not too worried about RAM, I would upgrade it. I know you need a lot for anything that is called editing I wish I could convince him to get a small computer.

So, at 500 it seems a bit... small. Would it be worth it to spend $100 more and get something with an I3, are there any sandy bridge laptops?
If your cousin can spend $100 more for a better laptop, he'll get a more powerful processor and a higher quality chassis if he goes for the Asus P42F-XD1B. The case is matte plastic and metal, the speakers are better, it has Win 7 Pro, and is more portable and should have higher battery life because of the smaller 14" screen that still has the same resolution and should therefore also look better. The screen is matte, too, so that's good. The CPU is a Core i3 370M and should be around 45% faster in multi-threaded apps.

With that CPU, he'll definitely be able to run his audio editing applications with no problems.

No, there are no Sandy Bridge laptops at that price range in Canada that I was able to find.
Edited by LOL_Wut_Axel - 3/16/11 at 6:10pm
    
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I like that XD1B but not the link to it
Here is the Mbox (I think) is it a good USB sound card or something different?
 
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