I want a laptop what do I need?
I get asked this question a lot. As I tell everyone it depends on what you want to do. Do you want something for word processing and checking email or a desktop replacement? Do you want to do some photo editing, or something for gaming. Those are some of the things I need to know to get an idea of what to recommend to you. There are a few things that you need to know about a laptop before we get to the details
Hard Drive Size Doesn't Matter - Hard Drives are typically replaceable. There are only a few laptops such as the Apple Macbooks and Macbook Pros are great examples where you have to literally take apart the computer to replace the hard drive. In most Windows and Linux based laptops it is two screws to remove the cover to replace the hard drive.
RAM - Ram can be upgraded; however you do need to check what the maximum ram is that your system can take. Some manufactures cheap out and what you get in the laptop is what you get forever. To check what your laptop's maximum ram check the manufacture's website or check kingston memory configuration.
How fast and the amount of battery life the Laptop is depends on all the components of the computer. For instance a 7200 RPM hard drive will be faster then a 5400 RPM hard drive but use more power. However the a 5400 RPM hard drive will more likely give better battery life. Something to keep in mind.
What to Expect For The Budget.
Basic Computing Needs
If the basic computers for web surfing and word processing I would say budget for $300 - $600. This will be a basic low end word processing and web surfing computer. It won't be great for much more then that. These computers have been designed not to do very much, and you will probably get very frustrated with it after about a year. The processors are the low end slow processors, and are typically processors Like the Intel P6000 to the Intel Atom N270 and everything in between those processors in the table below. These computers are typically very low power and have a longer battery life depending on what your power settings are set to.
Moderate Performance / Desktop Replacement
For the regular desktop replacement or for something that can do a little bit more then word processing and web surfing; I would recommend a $600 - $1500 budget. These laptops would be good for everyday desktop use, be able to do some gaming (you will get better performance if you have a dedicated graphics card). The main difference from shared and dedicated graphics cards is the memory on the computer isn't shared therefore you should always have better performance from a dedicated graphics card. Processors I would recommend for this price point would be The AMD P820, N830, P920, N930 and the Intel i3 330, i3 350, i5 430, i5 450. The GPU's I would look for to come with these processors would be the Nvidia 310m, Nvidia 330m, Nvidia GTS 250m, ATI 5470, ATI 5650 and ATI 5730.
High End Gaming/Performance
For the High End Gaming/Performance Laptop I would budget between $1500 - $2500. The ONLY AMD processor I would recommend would be AMD Phenom II N930. It is a quad core processor and the only one I've seen in stores in a laptop that can even come close to the performance of the i7. On the Intel side I would recommend the Intel Core i7 720QM and Intel Core i7 740QM. These are both Quad core i7's unlike the i7 620M which is only a dual core processor. (Sorry to break it to you Apple People). For the Graphics processor I would select ATI Mobility HD 5730, Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M, Nvidia GeForce GTS 360M, GeForce GTX 280M, Mobility Radeon HD 5850, and the Mobility Radeon HD 5870. Obviously the battery life on this laptop will not be very long; but lets face it your not buying this kind of laptop for the battery life.
When I buy and select the hardware I try go for best performance for your dollar. These are some good deals I've found online; if you look for similar hardware from your local store they should be around the same price.
Asus EEE PC 1001P - Approx $359.99
Acer Aspire 5553-2847 - Approx $569.99
Acer 5741 - Approx $699.95
ASUS K52JR-X2 - Approx $870.00
Sony VAIO VPCEB27FX/L - Approx $1000.00
Sony VAIO VPCF126FM/B - Approx $1349.99
ASUS G73JH-A1 - Approx $1698.88
ASUS G73JH-B1 - Approx $1849.95
Here is a list of common mobile CPU's and GPU's listed from slowest to fastest. I composed this list from the commonly used processors and graphic processors that are for sale in most notebooks. For the ratings I've referenced passmark.net to compose the list.
|Processors (CPU's)||Score (Higher is Better)||Graphics (GPU's)||Score (Higher is Better)|
|Intel Atom N270||305||Intel Media Accelerator 500||24|
|Intel Atom N280||309||ATI Mobility HD 4200||103|
|Intel Atom N450||322||Nvidia Ion LE||104|
|AMD V120||667||Nvidia Ion||108|
|AMD Athlon X2 L310||673||ATI Mobility HD 4250||184|
|AMD Athlon Neo L325||794||ATI Mobility HD 4330||232|
|Intel SU7300||977||Nvidia GeForce 310M||285|
|AMD Turion RM-75||1091||ATI Mobility HD 5145||308|
|AMD Athlon II M300||1183||ATI Mobility HD 5470||312|
|Intel Core i3 330UM||1205||Nvidia GeForce 320M||317|
|AMD Athlon II P320||1292||Intel HD||319|
|Intel Core2 Duo T6570||1344||Intel Media Accelerator HD||329|
|Intel T4300||1420||Nvidia GeForce GT 330M||480|
|Intel P6000||1451||ATI Mobility HD 5650||611|
|Intel T4400||1515||Nvidia GeForce GT 335M||625|
|Intel Core2 Duo T6600||1566||Nvidia GeForce GTS 250M||658|
|Intel T4500||1581||ATI Mobility HD 5730||675|
|AMD Phenom II P820||1655||Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M||701|
|AMD Phenom II N620||1824||Nvidia GeForce GT 240||779|
|Intel Core i3 370M||1858||Nvidia GeForce GTS 360M||859|
|AMD Phenom II N830||1954||GeForce GTX 280M||912|
|Intel Core i3 330M||1975||Mobility Radeon HD 5850||927|
|Intel Core i3 350M||2071||ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5870||1245|
|Intel Core i5 430M||2360|| |
For more detailed information about the Intel Processors such as how much power it uses and other features visit http://ark.intel.com/
For more detailed information about the AMD Processors such as how much power it uses and other features visit AMD Processor Page
|Intel Core i5 450M||2504|
|Intel Core i5 520M||2344|
|Intel Core i5 540M||2440|
|AMD Phenom II N930||2477|
|Intel Core i7 620M||2753|
|Intel Core i7 720QM||3250|
|Intel Core i7 740QM||3618|