looking for advice on laptop shopping.

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Sulqy117

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As the tittle says Im in the market for a new computer. I havent had a laptop in quite a few years and im not sure what brands are worth getting. My last one was a toshiba I bought in 2009, since the screen broke Ive been using my iPad for the basics. Ill have to learn to use windows all over again, last I used was early Vista.

Anyhow, Im planning on spending $600-$800. Im not planning on using it for gaming so I dont NEED to have dedicated graphics but if its there ill take it. I like a pc that runs Windows with some speed on decent settings, I hate slow speeds. Im not fond of the 2-in-one like surface. I could do the research but Id like to see what you guys would recommend, I figure CNET gets paid to put laptops on their top ten lists so I dont wanna trust em too much.

Side question, how necessary has touch screen become on laptops?

thanks for taking the time to suggest something.
 
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PaddedPuppy

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Touch screens are totally unnecessary unless you are wanting a hybrid laptop that can also be used as a tablet. When you have a keyboard and touchpad in front of you, the touchscreen is never of any use in my experience. The one time you do try using it, you just get the screen covered in fingerprints and you sit there cleaning it off.

In my opinion, your best option would be to look for a laptop that has an AMD A8 or A10 processor inside of it. They are APUs which handle both your processing power, and graphics, meaning you get a much better performance without needing a dedicated card. The benefit of this though, is that it keeps the costs down, and uses less of your precious battery. While AMD chips were previously best avoided in laptops due to the heat that they used to produce, things have got a lot better in recent years.

I've had a look on the Best Buy website, and all the laptops they have on there with the A8 or A10 chips look fine. The starting price is below budget too, so could possibly save you a bit of money. You never mentioned what screen size you had in mind so I can't give any recommendations of exact models from what I see.

In terms of brands, Toshiba is generally ok but not what it used to be. Especially with their cheaper models you can really tell that they cut corners to get to this price. Previously they were good value for money, but these days the phrase "You get what you pay for" is definitely relevant. Poor build quality, and very cheap parts.

HP/Compaq are a good brand to go for if you want quite a lot for a good price. The only problem with these is cooling. If you are using it anywhere other than on a table, you will block the vents and it WILL overheat. Other than their fanless computers like the Chromebooks, this has been a problem with every single model of theirs I have ever used.

If you want something a little more tough, that is more portable, and that you can use on your lap, or on the bed without worrying about heat, then go with a brand like Asus. They are very well made, but you will pay a slight premium for it, You might struggle to find an Asus with these specs in mind too, as they usually only deal with Intel. At that price point you are probably looking at the integrated graphics if you go down the Intel route, so be careful depending on what you want to do. They are still just as basic as they were back when you had your old Toshiba one.
 

MetalMann

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There's no need to spend $600-800 on a laptop if you're not doing any kind of gaming.

You should include what you like to do on a laptop. If you're only interested in Web browsing and basic stuff like that, you could spend $200-400 on a laptop that is more than capable of doing that.

Choose your screen size, make sure you get 4-6gb of RAM. Hard Drive size is based upon your needs.

If you won't use or have no need for bells and whistles, then don't pay for them.


Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 

Sulqy117

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Touch screens are totally unnecessary unless you are wanting a hybrid laptop that can also be used as a tablet. When you have a keyboard and touchpad in front of you, the touchscreen is never of any use in my experience. The one time you do try using it, you just get the screen covered in fingerprints and you sit there cleaning it off.

In my opinion, your best option would be to look for a laptop that has an AMD A8 or A10 processor inside of it. They are APUs which handle both your processing power, and graphics, meaning you get a much better performance without needing a dedicated card. The benefit of this though, is that it keeps the costs down, and uses less of your precious battery. While AMD chips were previously best avoided in laptops due to the heat that they used to produce, things have got a lot better in recent years.

I've had a look on the Best Buy website, and all the laptops they have on there with the A8 or A10 chips look fine. The starting price is below budget too, so could possibly save you a bit of money. You never mentioned what screen size you had in mind so I can't give any recommendations of exact models from what I see.

In terms of brands, Toshiba is generally ok but not what it used to be. Especially with their cheaper models you can really tell that they cut corners to get to this price. Previously they were good value for money, but these days the phrase "You get what you pay for" is definitely relevant. Poor build quality, and very cheap parts.

HP/Compaq are a good brand to go for if you want quite a lot for a good price. The only problem with these is cooling. If you are using it anywhere other than on a table, you will block the vents and it WILL overheat. Other than their fanless computers like the Chromebooks, this has been a problem with every single model of theirs I have ever used.

If you want something a little more tough, that is more portable, and that you can use on your lap, or on the bed without worrying about heat, then go with a brand like Asus. They are very well made, but you will pay a slight premium for it, You might struggle to find an Asus with these specs in mind too, as they usually only deal with Intel. At that price point you are probably looking at the integrated graphics if you go down the Intel route, so be careful depending on what you want to do. They are still just as basic as they were back when you had your old Toshiba one.

Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. i was thinking around the 15 in screen size, preferably bigger than smaller. im not a big techie but i was still under the impression that amd was risky to get without knowledge.

- - - Updated - - -

There's no need to spend $600-800 on a laptop if you're not doing any kind of gaming.

You should include what you like to do on a laptop. If you're only interested in Web browsing and basic stuff like that, you could spend $200-400 on a laptop that is more than capable of doing that.

Choose your screen size, make sure you get 4-6gb of RAM. Hard Drive size is based upon your needs.

If you won't use or have no need for bells and whistles, then don't pay for them.


Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

I do have a tablet for the most basic stuff like browsing. the laptop would be used for everything else, storage, music,movies, i miss usbs, and while i do not wanna game primarily, i will probably do some small stuff on there even if its on low settings. i might want to start doing something like making gifs for fun too. i just feel so limited with an ipad and "free" apps.
 

MetalMann

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Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. i was thinking around the 15 in screen size, preferably bigger than smaller. im not a big techie but i was still under the impression that amd was risky to get without knowledge.

- - - Updated - - -



I do have a tablet for the most basic stuff like browsing. the laptop would be used for everything else, storage, music,movies, i miss usbs, and while i do not wanna game primarily, i will probably do some small stuff on there even if its on low settings. i might want to start doing something like making gifs for fun too. i just feel so limited with an ipad and "free" apps.
Check out Woot.com I've come across lots of great deals on laptops that are refurbished at great prices. I've used this company for years getting awesome deals on many things.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk
 
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PaddedPuppy

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Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response. i was thinking around the 15 in screen size, preferably bigger than smaller. im not a big techie but i was still under the impression that amd was risky to get without knowledge.

Without knowledge? I'm not sure I know what you mean there. If your computer runs an AMD chip its going to behave exactly the same as a computer with an Intel one, and run the same software without a problem. In the past they were known to run at a higher temperature than the equivalent Intel models, but the temperature difference has since reduced, and even then it still fine for anyone to use.

As I said, the AMD APU route would be the best in terms of value as it gives you a powerful processor as well as pretty good graphics capabilities in your laptop without costing too much, and also saves on heat and power consumption too.

There is one on clearance right now:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-...lver/4688100.p?id=1219801180358&skuId=4688100
Its only $322.99 and has the AMD A10 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB Storage, and has the 15" Screen you were looking for. Its also got some nice extras like a DVD drive (becoming increasingly rare these days) and Bluetooth connectivity.
 

Sulqy117

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Without knowledge? I'm not sure I know what you mean there. If your computer runs an AMD chip its going to behave exactly the same as a computer with an Intel one, and run the same software without a problem. In the past they were known to run at a higher temperature than the equivalent Intel models, but the temperature difference has since reduced, and even then it still fine for anyone to use.

As I said, the AMD APU route would be the best in terms of value as it gives you a powerful processor as well as pretty good graphics capabilities in your laptop without costing too much, and also saves on heat and power consumption too.

There is one on clearance right now:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-...lver/4688100.p?id=1219801180358&skuId=4688100
Its only $322.99 and has the AMD A10 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB Storage, and has the 15" Screen you were looking for. Its also got some nice extras like a DVD drive (becoming increasingly rare these days) and Bluetooth connectivity.


what I meant is I didnt do my research between AMD and intel. Thanks for the explanation and the suggestion, Ill look into it.
 

kapi

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I really like having a slim, mobile, long lasting laptop. Currently I'm with the Lenovo X series. But an AMD chipset might be easier on the budget, don't know the best options there.

Do get integrated graphics. Saves energy and space.
Do get an SSD. Aftermarket if you have to. It's totally worth it.
 

tiny

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... i was still under the impression that amd was risky to get without knowledge.

There's nothing risky about getting an AMD chip. The only things that matter are price and performance. :)
 

Lestat

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I would go for Asus laptop with Intel I5 chip in it. Integrated GPU on the cpu. They are better then any laptop with AMD chip. AMD laptops seem to be lacking in processing power.

It Laptops with the Intel I5 chips tend to be around $600. Good for moderate game play like Facebook games. Great for movies with a good sound system.

A great place to review laptops is Notebookreview.com. They talk about each notebook. Pros and cons.
 
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PaddedPuppy

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I would go for Asus laptop with Intel I5 chip in it. Integrated GPU on the cpu. They are better then any laptop with AMD chip. AMD laptops seem to be lacking in processing power.

It Laptops with the Intel I5 chips tend to be around $600. Good for moderate game play like Facebook games. Great for movies with a good sound system.

A great place to review laptops is Notebookreview.com. They talk about each notebook. Pros and cons.

On desktops I would absolutely agree with you, that Intel is the best way to go unless you are on a real budget, for the lack of power in comparison. If you are going for a laptop (or a REALLY low budget desktop) the AMD APU chips are great. If you get something like an A10, you are looking at a quad core processor around 4GHz, and Radeon R6/R7 graphics built in. You get that for less than the cost of an i5, and the graphics are way better than integrated on any other processor, but still with the low power consumption, allowing you to play games even like GTA 5, on medium settings. Without installing loads of special mods, thats not something you can do with Intel integrated graphics, and even after the mods to make it run, you are only going to get 10-15fps at best.

If you are talking about AMD CPUs for example (processor only, no on board graphics chip with only the basic chipset GPU) other than the desktop FX series, you're right. They suck. I'd stay far away from them in a laptop for the heat issues and lack of power.

Something to remember though, is that for something that has an AMD A10 chip in it, the Intel equivalent at that price point is a top end Celeron, or a low-mid range Pentium. You're paying a premium for an i5, which is great for processing power, but not many laptop applications really need such power unless being used alongside a powerful GPU, which the integrated chip from Intel is going to let you down.

In my eyes you get two options for an average user, if you want a laptop that is actually usable in all circumstances:
Budget - AMD APU
High end - Intel Core i5/i7 with dedicated GPU alongside
 

ShippoFox

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You can probably get a laptop with a GTX 950m or 960m, and an i5 cpu, for around $800. That way you'll still be able to play at least some games if you change your mind about gaming. A GPU can make other things work better sometimes too.
 

NabePup

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I agree with PaddedPuppy's and MeTaLMaNN1983's advice and reasoning.

Avoid Toshiba at all costs (except for maybe their Chromebook). Literally, no laptops, internal and/or external drives, tablets, televisions, etc... To put it simply, just don't get anything Toshiba.

Touchscreens/2in1's are really just a useless gimmick for the most part (this is totally my own opinion, I'm sure some others will feel differently). Have you ever been using a mouse/trackpad and keyboard and been like "Man, if I could just type on my screen and use my finger instead of clicking, that would totally help." Really, the only time a touch screen is really beneficial is if you like to digitally draw/paint and/or play games designed for mobile devices (or if you're using a tablet and portability outweighs functionality). And there are drawing tablets that can plugged in via usb to any computer that do a much better job than touchscreens.

HP is a good middle of the road brand. They're nothing super nice or fancy, but aren't complete garbage and won't (shouldn't) break down on you too quickly. Dell is a close second after HP.

I personally like Asus. Their devices have few problems, they make good quality (and higher end stuff if desired), and I like the aesthetics of them. I use to like Lenovo more but when they came out with at least the first 2 generations of Yogas, they had all sorts of problems.

You'll probably definitely want at least a 13.3" screen, but 15" is even better. Especially if you watch a lot of videos and plan on doing long work on it (i.e. typing up documents or spreadsheets etc.). At least 15", if not 17", is necessary if you're gonna be doing digital design (creating/editing audio within a DAW, using Photoshop/illustrator, coding, etc.) although it sounds like this won't apply to you but you never know what the future holds.

While typically I always preach Intel, Intel, Intel (and still do), if you're really looking for the best value and don't plan on doing CPU intensive tasks (serious gaming or rendering) then I guess getting an AMD would be doable. However, this also means within 2, 3, or 4 years when your machine starts becoming more aged and newer software utilizes/requires more computing power and resources, the Intel will fair better.

Definitely get at least 6gb of RAM. Granted the RAM and hard drive will most likely be upgradeable which is something you might want to consider doing. Get a computer with a really small, nearly unusable, amount of storage (small hard drive) and memory (small amount of RAM) and then upgrade it after you get it. More often than not, you can get the same or better stuff for cheaper.

Finally, whatever OS you put on it, make sure it's 64 bit.

By investing more now, you'll ultimately be better off down the line.

Either way, it will be a nice shiny and new device that you'll love and enjoy and probably be happy with. Let us know what you end up going with!
 
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