Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I want a laptop what do I need?

I want a laptop what do I need?

Laptop RecommendationsI 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 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

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


Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

Friday, September 10, 2010

Software EULA's; Private Resale and the law

An important court ruling in the United States has much wider implications for users then they know; if you think buying that old copy of software such as an older version of Adobe Photoshop from an auction or because a company is going out of business think again.  The US court as passed a ruling which could change everything.  The case is Vernor v. Autodesk is what set the president.  Autodesk was trying to keep Vernor from reselling software he got from a an architects office sale.  So for those of you selling software you purchased on Kijiji, EBay and Craigslist read this carefully!  In the Software EULA's such as in Autodesk and Electronic Arts's you can not transfer the software license, even if you physically own the disk and have a ligament serial number.

This ruling will probably have the following effect in the future:

  1. specifies that the user is granted a license or life time subscription
  2. significantly restricts the user’s ability to transfer the software or digital media
  3. imposes notable use restrictions

With this ruling I think you will start seeing a lot more EULA's and more notably digital media EULA's more emphasizing the purchaser as the licensee.  In essence this will end any ownership of digital media and software unless your the one holding the copyright to said item.  What does this mean for reselling computers?  Do you have to format that old windows 2000 machine or iMac and install linux if you want to sell it? (Ok that's not such a bad thing - I am referring to the installing LINUX folks!)  So what we have to do now is lobby our governments to allow for the transfer of these digital licensed.  For example if you father has a huge iTunes library and dies, you would not be allowed to take those songs any of them you wanted you would have to re-buy them; where if they were a physical disk they would be yours to do with as you wished.  What if someone bought a private company do you have to re-buy all the software because the software is technically licensed under the former owner?

I would like to think our governments can be trusted to handle these kind of issues, but based on their track records with copyright laws such as the DMCA in the US and Bill C-32 here in Canada and the ACTA Treaty I don't have much faith.  Write your elected representative, and let's make sure that our consumer writes are being protected because right now there not.

Read Arstechnica article

Posted via email from The OptionKey Blog

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