What can I get for my money (laptop wise)?

alihaig

Active Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
178
Location
Manchester
I have been out of the PC buying loop for a couple of years being a poor student, so I don't really know what to look for spec wise.

I am still a poor student but my laptop is really starting to get a bit creaky so I am looking to replace it soon, the question is what specs should I be looking for and what should I expect to pay?

Last time I was paying attention was just before Dual Core became the norm, so everything seemed simpler (big numbers were best :)). With Dual Core I am kind of stuck as to what speeds I might need.

Ideally I am looking to use it for pretty standard stuff - Uni Work, DVD watching, music (big HDD would be nice - maybe 250GB or so based on my past experience), visiting this place (obviously), nothing particularly special - maybe a few games but that is not a priority as I expect I will install Linux as my primary OS. Something reasonably lightweight so I can take it to Uni would be nice, but again not a priority.

My max budget is about ?500.

So my questions really are:
a) What specs should I be looking for to run this stuff?
b) What price should I expect to pay (assuming I can get what I want for less than my budget).
c) Does anyone have experience of buying systems with Linux pre-installed (like Dell offer with Ubuntu) - do you think it is worth it to avoid the niggling compatibility problems? - Do you miss having the "free" copy of Windows installed for those things that don't run on linux?
d) Is it worth looking at a Mac? I have no experience of apple at all.
e) Any Specific recommendations?

Thanks for any help :D!
 
Last edited:

Matt2000

An Unfortunate Discovery
DONOR
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
15,793
Location
Left a bit, no right a bit, just there. England.
Car(s)
2020 Tesla Model 3, 1990 Discovery 1 Bobtail
For that you should be looking at a good spec, with a Core 2 at least, at least 2Gb of RAM, a decent graphics card and a Blu-ray reader/DVD-RW combi drive, probably with a 15-17" screen and Vista.

Dell have some very good deals on at the moment. :)
 

alihaig

Active Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
178
Location
Manchester
How do Core 2 processors compare to single cores in terms of performance? I mean, can I look at a Core 2 with a certain spec/speed and say it is equivalent to an old pentium 4 with twice the speed, or is it much more complicated than that? I mean, I sort of know/knew what to expect a given Pentium 4 to give me, whereas I really don't know whether a specific dual core processor will do the job.
 

MadCow809

Forum Addict
Joined
Feb 23, 2006
Messages
6,375
it's more complicated than just 2 x 1

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-core

Have fun reading.

a) What specs should I be looking for to run this stuff?
b) What price should I expect to pay (assuming I can get what I want for less than my budget).
c) Does anyone have experience of buying systems with Linux pre-installed (like Dell offer with Ubuntu) - do you think it is worth it to avoid the niggling compatibility problems? - Do you miss having the "free" copy of Windows installed for those things that don't run on linux?
d) Is it worth looking at a Mac? I have no experience of apple at all.
e) Any Specific recommendations?

a) 2gb ram, 320gb hdd, 15inch screen (you said that you wanted a small, lightweight laptop)
b) it's around your price budget
c) by purchasing the laptop, you are already paying for a copy of windows, trashing it with linux seems a bit daft to me, and windows is miles better in terms of multimedia playback and everyday programs, it's far more versatile and is compatible with just about any programs.
d) rofl, no. just no.
e) go asus, usually they have the best spec/money ratio.

another thing... avoid DDR3 ram, because you don't have an i7, so therefore you are not using the full advantage of DDR3 ram, rather stick with DDR2 and get more memory instead.
 
Last edited:

alihaig

Active Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2007
Messages
178
Location
Manchester
Thanks for the tips.

Windows just pisses me off (at least vista on this laptop did, but that may be partly because it came pre-installed with vista because vista was out, but wasn't really designed to cope with it). I have had too many occasions where it just won't do what I want or tell me how to do it, or just gives up for no good reason. Also I am trying to build my knowledge of linux because it is useful for my course.
 

eltoro507

> ahpadt
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
342
Location
Antwerp, Belgium
Car(s)
French shitbox
I bought a Dell Inspiron 1525
T6400
3GB PC5300
320GB
X3100
You can get one of those in the UK for 499? with bluray

It will do anything you want from it, 720p playback from the hdmi out on my lcd is fine too. Dont expect to be gaming, but if you dont need that, you will love it.

I run mine with a dual boot kubuntu/vista setup. In Kubuntu everything works flawlessly straight out of the box.
 

anTo

Active Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2007
Messages
325
Location
Delta, BC
as madcow say, id recommend an asus, it's great value for what it does
 

ViperVX

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2005
Messages
1,404
My choice for your budget would be:

1. Acer Aspire 5920G-833G25Mi T8300/3G/250/9500GS/15.4/VHP

C2D T8300 2.4Ghz 3mb cache
3GB PC 5300
250GB HDD
Geforce 9500 video, 512mb.
15.4' Screen

2. Sony VGN-FW11ER P8400/3G/250/HD3470/DVD/16"/VHP

C2D P8400 2.26Ghz 3mb cache
3GB PC 5300
250GB HDD
Radeon HD 3470 video, 512mb (there's the same older model with 256mb, so check for 512mb)
16.4' Screen
Blu-Ray player

Both these models cost a little less than 1000$, the older Acer offers a little bit better performance, however Sony has a bigger screen, a Combo Blue-ray/DVD player, the better cooling and the "VAIO badge" effect if you wish. Of these two i'd go with the Sony, especially if you're into HQ movies (720p/1080p). Vista Ultimate and Win7 Ultimate will "Fly" in either of these.

Also, even though Sony has a bigger screen it weighs only 0.1kg more than Acer, i.e. 3.1kg, which is nothing. The most lightweight one you can find will be 2.5kg at best.

I'd stay away from Apple and HP, as they both are quite overpriced, also i don't really like the modern mid-range Asus lineup, as they switched from Intel Chipsets to SiS, AMD and even Nvidia, leaving Intel Mobile PM45 (like the one in the Sony) for more expensive models, that just sounds like a rip-off.
 
Last edited:
Top