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Hardware  » Laptop help wanted.

10 posts found
  Xthos

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2651

 
OP  1/20/13 7:33:59 PM#1

I usually give my mom old computers from my wife and I, her current computer, something is broken in it, may be the motherboard having problems, not sure.  I tried to figure it out a couple times, but as it is an older computer, it is not worth fixing imo, especially with the cost of a new computer/laptop.

 

 

She has wanted a laptop for a while, so I suggested she get a lap top, and hook up a her keyboard and monitor at the house, to use it like a desktop when shes home in the computer room, but she can also move it around or take it on vacations and such.  This way she doesn't have to buy a desktop and a laptop.

 

 

She does not play MMOs or anything demanding, she mostly plays like some jewels type game, can't remember the name on yahoo games, and she plays cards, and does email/internet stuff....So she is not a power user.

 

From reading on here, AMD processors are better at things with no graphics card added?  Does this matter at the level of computer she needs?  I do not know laptops that well, and I am usually buying a higher end desktop with a graphics card, so this is a different area for me.

 

So I am looking for suggestions for a laptop that will do what she does, is not sluggish at doing them, and comes with windows 7.  She has vista now, and she is very computer illiterate, so I do not think having her learn windows 8 is a good idea, especially since I am using 7 still.  I may be getting a new computer in a few months, but she doesn't want to wait.  She also would prefer something in the 14-15ish inch size.

 

 

I was looking at some A6, or i3 laptops, I imagine they would work well, just don't know if that is overkill for her needs, or if it is best to not go lower than that.  Thanks for the help/info.

 

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13762

1/20/13 9:00:29 PM#2

If you don't get a discrete video card (and unless it's a gaming system on a reasonably large budget, you shouldn't), then the choice between AMD and Intel is basically one of whether you want better graphics or better CPU.  AMD will give you better graphics, and Intel will give you a better CPU.

The real question is how often the internal hardware won't be good enough.  For light usage such as what your mom probably needs, it will probably be rarely both ways.  But if an AMD Trinity laptop CPU isn't fast enough, then it's not likely that an Intel Core i3 will be, either.  On the other hand, while the cut down versions of AMD integrated graphics aren't necessarily faster than Intel HD Graphics 4000, they sure do have better video drivers.  And there could be situations where Intel has good enough hardware, and the drivers just completely fail.  AMD Trinity laptops will tend to be cheaper than Intel Core i3, too.

One cheap option is this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834312242

That's an ultraportable, so it's under 4 pounds.  But that's giving up an awful lot of performance, so much so that while it leaves a memory channel vacant entirely, that doesn't really matter.  It also means a small battery, and thus short battery life.

If you're willing to spend a little more to get your mom something nice, you could try this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215622

That also leaves a memory channel vacant, but it's not hard to add your own:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820231266

That would get her a real quad core processor with turbo up to 2.8 GHz, 8 GB of system memory with properly matched channels (after you add a module, and graphics with 4 SIMD engines, and for $477 including shipping and the memory upgrade.

If you want a hardware upgrade that she'd definitely notice, you could add an SSD:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820239045

That's more involved, though, as you'd have to reinstall Windows on it.  Ideally, you'd like to do a fresh install to get rid of bloatware, and then you could reuse the Windows 8 license that came with the laptop.

While your mom might not notice the difference that a faster processor or better graphics would make, she'd definitely notice an SSD.  Even people with no clue about technology can tell the difference between a computer that does something when they tell it to and one that constantly sits there and makes them wait.

  Xthos

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2651

 
OP  1/21/13 3:40:19 PM#3

Thanks for the reply, was wanting to stay away from Windows 8 though, here is a couple I found last night on lunch break at work.

Office Max:

 

$370  - Intel Core i5-2450M Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, 15.6-inch HD LED-Backlight Display

http://www.officemax.com/technology/computers/laptop-computers/product-prod4040009

 

$470 - AMD A6-4455M Processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard Drive, 15.6-inch HD LED Display

http://www.officemax.com/technology/computers/laptop-computers/product-prod4000126

 

$550 - AMD A10-4600M Processor, 6GB RAM, 750GB Hard Drive, 15.6-inch HD LED-Backlight Display

http://www.officemax.com/technology/computers/laptop-computers/product-prod4040012

 

$600 - Intel Core i7-3610QM Processor, 8GB RAM, 750GB Hard Drive, 15.6 Backlit LED Display

http://www.officemax.com/technology/computers/laptop-computers/product-prod4000086

 

NewEgg:

 

$600 - ASUS A55 Series A55A-NB51 Notebook Intel Core i5 3210M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory 750GB HDD 5400rpm DL DVD+/-RW / CD-RW Intel HD Graphics 4000

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834230533

 

$480 (Refurbished - never bought one) - Acer Aspire V5-571-6726 Notebook Intel Core i5 3317U(1.70GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory 500GB HDD 5400rpm DVD±R/RW Intel HD Graphics 4000

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215958

 

Tiger Direct:

 

$480 - Toshiba Satellite L855D-S5220 PSKAYU-008007 Laptop Computer - AMD Quad-Core A8-4500M 1.9GHz, 6GB DDR3, 640GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.6" Display, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4809462&CatId=4935

 

Ok, thats a few, if you wouldn't mind giving an opinion, I want to keep her price down, but I don't want her to get something that is slow and irritating, she doesn't have much patience heh.

 

 
  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13762

1/21/13 4:29:12 PM#4

In order:

1)  Cheaper for a reason, but your mom might be happy with it.  That's an older generation Sandy Bridge chip that probably isn't produced much anymore.  It also means previous generation Intel graphics, which will be substantially worse than the already bad current generation Intel graphics.

2)  That's nearly the same as the first laptop I linked, except heavier and with a bigger battery.  And more expensive.

3)  That's the sort of thing you might look at (and fix the mismatched memory channels) if you were looking for a budget gaming laptop.

4)  Too expensive.  It's a nice processor, but paying $300 for a CPU doesn't really fit the theme of getting something cheap for your mom.

5)  Expensive for no apparent reason in particular, which means it's rather overpriced.

6)  ULV processor means it performs like an ultraportable, except without the extra portable form factor.  I wouldn't like it at that price even if it were new.

7)  That's similar to the second laptop I linked, but it does add a second memory module.  And it's a different capacity from the first, which mismatches the channels, thereby crippling your memory bandwidth.  But they advertise that it's 1600 MHz memory, to try to make you think they care about memory bandwidth.  Not a bad deal, though.  Do be warned that Toshiba artificially disables video driver updates, though your mom would likely never update the video drivers, anyway.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13762

1/21/13 4:34:10 PM#5
Originally posted by Xthos

Ok, thats a few, if you wouldn't mind giving an opinion, I want to keep her price down, but I don't want her to get something that is slow and irritating, she doesn't have much patience heh.

 

If you want to get a computer that your mom will think is fast, then add your own SSD.

Suppose that you built two desktops and let your mom try both to see which was faster.  (You shouldn't actually do this for obvious reasons, but it's a thought experiment.)  One had high end hardware all around, with a $1000 processor, a $1000 video card, 64 GB of system memory, and so forth, except that it only has a relatively fast 7200 RPM hard drive and no SSD.  The other is very much of the budget variety, with perhaps this for the CPU and GPU together in a single chip:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819106013

But the second computer also has a good SSD.  You let your mom use both, and ask her which one she thinks is faster.  She'd confidently tell you that the second computer is definitely faster, at least if she hadn't fired up any reasonably demanding games.

  Xthos

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2651

 
OP  1/21/13 6:38:02 PM#6

Thanks again for the input, her definition of fast is if the web page loads quickly for the most part.  She just plays online games that are part of yahoo or other gaming sites, like cards and some game called luxor heh.

 

She has no interest in playing newer/demanding games, she is retired now, so she does a lot of time sink/simple games, and she does go on vacation usually twice a year for a week or so, so she would like something she could drag along also.

 

Starting to pick up what some of the stuff means, designation wise, and what is older/newer.  I will probably look a little more this week and get with her this weekend and try to get her to decide.  I told her to go to costco or best buy and see if she liked the 14 or 15 inch size better, to narrow things down and see which one it was easier to read things on, that way it could break a tie or something.  I am mostly selecting 15 inch type ones though, 14 inch seems kinda small to me, but its not for me.

 

  Xthos

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2651

 
OP  1/25/13 1:36:28 AM#7

Well, took my mom laptop shopping today at Best Buy, just to get an idea of what she liked, and if she could get use to windows 8.  They tried to sell her a macbook (let them do their sell, I am not a huge apple person, and I wanted her to get something I could help her with if she had problems), but she had trouble with the multiple finger stuff and felt more comfortable with W8.

 

So she destroyed all the previous parameters with the shopping trip, for the most part.  She is still fine with a 14 or 15", but she likes the idea of a touch screen for when she is using it as a laptop and playing her games, wants a dvd drive (not a deal breaker, but she is not digital, so her movies are all still dvds).  So obviously the original budget got blown out of the water.

 

One big problem is, that their are not a lot of laptops out atm, that fit those criteria.  Newegg has like 10 touch screen lap tops, and some other sites have 3-4...Here is the one from Best Buy that fit the criteria the best:

 

Asus - 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - 8GB Memory - 750GB Hard Drive - Black $950

 

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+15.6%26%2334%3B+Touch-Screen+Laptop+-+8GB+Memory+-+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Black/6906088.p?id=1218812712236&skuId=6906088

 

 

I like the weight of something like this, even though the screen is a little smaller than she was looking for:

Lenovo - Yoga IdeaPad Ultrabook 13.3" Touch-Screen Laptop - 4GB Memory - Silver $1000

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Lenovo+-+Yoga+IdeaPad+Ultrabook+13.3%26%2334%3B+Touch-Screen+Laptop+-+4GB+Memory+-+Silver/6634279.p?id=1218767481156&skuId=6634279

 

 

She could then get a external basic DVD drive for playing DVDs, not sure how much of a pain that would be, to have it to carry around also.

 

So I am kind of shopping with new parameters, if anyone has anything that can add or suggest.

 

 

  jdnewell

Elite Member

Joined: 7/04/06
Posts: 1935

1/25/13 9:18:01 AM#8

I think your overcomplicating the issue a bit.

For web browsing and dvd watching damn near anything will do. If she didnt want a dvd drive I would say go with a tablet. A tablet may still be a good option as you can get keyboards for them as well.

If she want to watch movies on the road use netflix lol. =)

If she needs an actual laptop with a touch screen then shop around online for the models you see at best buy. You can more than likely find them cheaper than they sell them for.

If you were worrying about gaming, speed, work laptop, ect. then I would put alot more thought into it. Your mom will be happy as long as she has a touch screen, can look online, play games on Yahoo and watch the occasional DvD. That does not take much of a laptop to be honest, just finding one with a touch screen is the goal.

  Xthos

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/18/10
Posts: 2651

 
OP  1/25/13 1:37:22 PM#9

Yeah, she has totally changed it up...I did debate the tablet some.  I could get her to buy a desktop to use at home for a smaller amount, and a tablet to use for entertainment and such on vacations and such....

 

She is tech challenged, she doesn't even use her DVR.  So I wanted to avoid having her on multiple platforms, like say a desktop and then something like a kindle fire or some other tablet, that she would have to learn to use digital copies of things and alter what she does now.  

 

I will have to look into it though, think if she altered her DVD buying to say amazon, they give you a digital copy of everything you buy for access....Be much simpler if I didn't have to worry about her getting something and not being able to use it or being fustrated and not liking it.

 

Maybe I will have to price out the lower end desktop and a tablet of some sorts and present the idea.

  jdnewell

Elite Member

Joined: 7/04/06
Posts: 1935

1/25/13 3:14:10 PM#10
Originally posted by Xthos

Yeah, she has totally changed it up...I did debate the tablet some.  I could get her to buy a desktop to use at home for a smaller amount, and a tablet to use for entertainment and such on vacations and such....

 

She is tech challenged, she doesn't even use her DVR.  So I wanted to avoid having her on multiple platforms, like say a desktop and then something like a kindle fire or some other tablet, that she would have to learn to use digital copies of things and alter what she does now.  

 

I will have to look into it though, think if she altered her DVD buying to say amazon, they give you a digital copy of everything you buy for access....Be much simpler if I didn't have to worry about her getting something and not being able to use it or being fustrated and not liking it.

 

Maybe I will have to price out the lower end desktop and a tablet of some sorts and present the idea.

I would be willing to bet a cheap desktop / cheap laptop and a tablet would be a good option. Chances are the tablet would get the most use. Once she gets used to the tablet the desktop would hardly be used for what she does.

IMO get her a decent tablet, download the apps she needs for email, movie watching, books, a few games, ect and she will really enjoy it.

I have an Ipad and really love it for what it is, it gets a ton of use. I am not an apple fanboy by any means, but the Ipad is solid.

 

edit: and as far as movie watching / tv watching the tablet is great. I have mine with a netflix app, Xfinity app and several for TV shows. Plus I am sure you can get the amazon app and watch whatever you have on the account.