A Roblox laptop for middle school tasks

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by SaltyLocal, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. SaltyLocal

    SaltyLocal Newbie

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    Hi Folks and Happy Holidays,

    I'm in the market for a Christmas gift for my 12-year old. Here are the guidelines...

    1) What is your budget? Max $600

    2) What size notebook would you prefer? 14"-17"
    a. Ultraportable; 10" - 12" screen
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen
    3) Which country will you buying this notebook? USA

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like? No
    a. Like:
    b. Dislike:
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed? If the price and warranty are fair

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Light gaming (Roblox, Minecraft) and office apps (Word, Excel..)

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both? Mostly at home but occasionally to school/friends.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?) Roblox, Minecraft, nothing to graphic intensive

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need? 4-8 hours???

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK? Fine without seeing it as long as it is returnable

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.Windows

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.) Best I can get for my budget

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.) matte is preferred but optional

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you? Not really

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need? It'd be nice to have at least a 500GB 7200 RPM and/or a SSD that also has a platter HDD

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop? Black Friday/Cyber Monday or sooner

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop? 3-4 years or more. Until its can no longer perform.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? 3 months??

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage? On-site would be nice but open to shipping back.

    Any help on this folks?

    Also, I been thinking (as much as the Wife despises it) of spending a little more if it warrants the ability to do some home camcorder video editing. I currently use Premiere Elements or PowerDirector. Any suggestions on all of this. Mind is spinning with all these choices! Thank you in advance!

    https://deals.dell.com/en-us/produc...acd=12309198375458460&VEN3=810605124734776705

    VS.

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Legion-By-Lenovo-Y540-15-6-Gaming-Laptop-Intel-Core-i7-9750H-Nvidia-GeForce-GTX-1650-4GB-Graphics-8GB-Memory-512GB-PCIe-SSD-Storage-81SY0091US/115115224?irgwc=1&sourceid=imp_W:Mz98XXUxyJUYAwUx0Mo3YUUkn1bq0p2QRs0U0&veh=aff&wmlspartner=imp_1943169&clickid=W:Mz98XXUxyJUYAwUx0Mo3YUUkn1bq0p2QRs0U0
     
  2. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Hello, for 600 dollars and some ruggedness I would recommend you the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 15" with Ryzen 5 3500U
    the Ryzen should be good enough graphical wise to run any of those games just fine with good performance as it can run even modern games fine.

    The keyboard is excellent on these machines, they are well built, the screen is decent nothing special but its not bad by any means.
    Some of these variants of the L340 come with SSD and a harddrive but you will have to check it out in your market but I would highly recommend get one with Ryzen 5 at least, the Intel ones are no good as they come only with integrated graphics which performs pretty poorly.

    There are of course refurbished laptops with dedicated GPU's but being mostly unaware of the US market I am not very sure to suggest anything in this space regarding that.
    Usually in these cases such laptops are very heavy and bulky mostly duo to age and anything even 2 years older wont be all that cheap, maybe 30% less than they were new.

    I hope my insight helped you some, if Lenovo are no go for you, I recommend any laptop that can fit your budget but look for Ryzen 5 2500U, Ryzen 5 3500U, Ryzen 7 2700U or Ryzen 7 3700U.
    These are excellent APU's (CPU+GPU in one package) for decent all around performance graphically and computationally.
    There VERY few laptops under 600 dollar with better GPU's than these.

    I like to add in that those Ryzen APU's I listed are perfectly fine for editing 1080p and even 4k compressed video footage.
    You mentioned home camcorder video editing. I currently use Premiere Elements or PowerDirector
    So I would assume camcorder would be within consumer grade quality so nothing professional such as 4k ProRes, RAW DNG and what not which requires some serious hardware.
    Ryzen will run Premiere Elements and PowerDirector fine, in fact these days for such light video work not much hardware is needed anymore but the Ryzen will deal with it exceptionally specially with Premiere Elements which I recommend more as its got hardware acceleration built in letting you use the GPU inside of the Ryzen to edit 4k consumer grade video footage real time without much hasle.

    There is no need to spend 800 dollars on a machine if all you will be doing is light gaming and doing basic video editing from consumer grade cameras, the Lenovo that I mentioned will get the job done and its under 600 dollars, it will do you good for 2 or 3 years and you can spend another 600 dollars for an even better Ryzen laptop while if you spend 800 bucks on those machines you listed, they might last 3 to 4 years if what you are doing is the same within this time frame if not you would be buying into what is basically old hardware from 2016 sold at a new price and be forced to get something better because its no longer up to the task.
     
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  3. SaltyLocal

    SaltyLocal Newbie

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    Wow, I couldn’t thank you enough for your detailed suggestions @SMGJohn!

    I was actually considering a few AMD laptops and hoping you and/or this community can advise. Any suggestions regarding the below machines for light gaming and occasional home camcorder editing?

    The least expensive the better (three other children to shop for)

    https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-l...duct-tile_laptops_9_3je20av-1_hp-laptop---15z

    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Acid-FHD...ickid=VE8WIz0doxyOTrVwUx0Mo3YSUkn15g052QRs0U0

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-15-...me-green-paint-finish/6364574.p?skuId=6364574
     
  4. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    The first one you linked is very poor, even for its value its a dual core and its using a 28nm APU its basically a computer with hardware from 2014.
    The second one is really good value however, if anything I would highly suggest that one.
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Acid-FHD...ickid=VE8WIz0doxyOTrVwUx0Mo3YSUkn15g052QRs0U0

    But this is just from my experience, HP tend to have really awful quality in general, the keyboards are terrible at some models specially lower end ones and they throttle usually power throttling this means that the CPU might be a 45W TDP one, it should draw 45W but HP might have limited it to 25W, their shenanigans have been done since dawn of PC and they wont stop tomorrow with this, its basically like buying Ferrari but you get it with 6 of the 12 cylinders disabled and there no way to re-enable them.
    Instead I suggest this:
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Lenovo-i...Windows-10-Gradient-Blue-81LK00HHUS/205816581

    Its a Lenovo Ideapad, its got the same specs but in general Lenovo does not throttle their hardware like HP does, they have better build quality, better keyboard which all in all adds in a better experience and you should not worry too much about Lenovo being some state run espionage center, both HP and Lenovo are made in the literally the same city which so happens to be in China.
    HP are nice looking machines, but that is all they are, they did not learn their lesson in 2007 and they have not learned their lesson today, something never changes.

    Lenovo are famous for their low cost gaming machines basically their IdeaPad and Legion lineup and their ThinkPad lineup, needless to say its a company that knows what makes a good machine no one is perfect however but its better than HP, its 50 bucks more but at the end of the day its your choice.

    The reason I recommend you just get these over the ones I suggested is because these have dedicated GPU's while the CPU might not be all that much better than the Ryzen in fact its 45W TDP compared to Ryzen 25W TDP but performance is still great. 4 cores and 8 threads so its very future safe at least for another 3 or 4 years.
    The 1050 is pretty slow for us who game on 400 dollar GPU's but it will suit your needs quite well, better than the Ryzen integrated GPU in those machines I gave you earlier.

    So yeah, short story go for either that HP you found with the GTX 1050 or the Lenovo IdeaPad L340, neither are bad choices to be honest but the Lenovo is just better quality machine overall if you think 50 extra bucks are worth it.
     
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  5. SaltyLocal

    SaltyLocal Newbie

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    Thank you again for your expertise! My heads spinning from all these configurations but I’m leaning toward the Lenovo. I’m also considering this as I was told the 1650 is better than the 1050 GPU. Any input on this for $579.99?

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-1...6fa0e3411eaa052460415d38b680INT&skuId=6356774
     
  6. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Yes a 1650 is better than a 1050, look at it like this. 1050 -> 1650 -> 1060 -> 1660 -> 1070 -> 2060 -> 1080 -> 2070

    Of course by the link you gave me we are already in the 800s just for a 1650, and if all you will be doing is light gaming a 1050 for 500 or so bucks is undeniable but if you can get a 1650 for under 600, I say go for it.
     
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  7. SaltyLocal

    SaltyLocal Newbie

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    The price is actually $579.99 plus tax and any insurance I’d purchase. I just don’t know about the Asus brand, quality or longevity of the build. The specs seem fair but worth the extra $25 over the Lenovo L340 with the Ryzen you linked above?
     
  8. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    The Asus has better specs, better GPU and twice the SSD size.
    Overall build quality and specially keyboard quality I say the Lenovo is better but the Asus is clearly vastly superior in terms of performance, its up to you what is more important, having a machine that is ergonomically good or a machine that is less ergonomically sound but better performing.
     
  9. SaltyLocal

    SaltyLocal Newbie

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    Hey SMGJohn, thanks again. As my Wife and I are still weighing our options, we're still debating the Lenovo vs the Asus branding/specs/build. We're also looking to get the best "bang" regarding deals. With the Best Buy Asus 1650 GPU, we'd get 18 months 0% BUT the cost of Geek Squad warranty kills any deals as their warrant starts at $170 for one-year and almost $300 for three-years (ridiculous). With the Walmart Lenovo, we'd lose some performance/storage space BUT we could buy a warranty of three years for $70. Definitely leaning towards the L340 regarding the warranty and peace of mind, if our 12-year old decides to spills or drop the laptop.

    BTW, I was researching and it seems the Lenovo L340 only has one RAM slot (which comes with a 8GB stick). If so, is it possible and OK to upgrade the RAM with a 16GB stick if needed? Also, any idea if there is a free slot to add an additional HDD for added but slower disc storage? Or, is the Lenovo limited to just the 256GB SSD?
     
  10. SMGJohn

    SMGJohn Notebook Evangelist

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    Sorry for late replay. the L340 sadly only has one RAM slot (single channel) and only comes with a M.2 slot and yes you can indeed upgrade the RAM to a single stick of 16GB or even 32GB (not recommended to go 32) however there no hard drive slot (2.5 inch slot) but you can upgrade the M.2 slot to 1TB or even 2TB as prices of SSD's only keep going down, when I first bought the worlds first 1TB SSD it cost me 545 dollars and these days you can easily get 1TB for below 100 dollars, so prices have indeed gone down pretty drastically.

    The Asus however does come with two ram slots (dual channel) and does come with a hard drive slot (2.5 inch slot) but it does not come with a M.2 SSD slot and has a smaller battery something to keep in mind if you wont be plugging it in a lot which arguably is what laptops are for, portability not really to be used as stationary machines in this case I highly recommend to get a desktop as not only are desktops cheaper they are vastly more powerful.

    To add further upgrading M.2 SSD are much more expensive than to buy 2.5 inch slot SSD sometimes the price can vary from 10 to 20% at least in my own country however again the pricing in USA may be different and therefore I cannot really recommend anything in terms of pricing all that much as they differ and buying another stick of 8GB RAM is going to be cheaper than to buy a single stick 16GB RAM.
    So arguably in terms of upgrading what little there is of, the Asus is cheaper but as you said the warranty, Lenovo does in general have the better warranty out of most laptops and they come with their own warranty, having dealt with Asus warranty service I can tell you if there was ever a company I recommend over another if we just looked at warranty services, Asus would be at the bottom of the list their warranty service are the worst in the world, I never had such displeasure dealing with them in which I have many times, they will even go as far as to insult you just because you did something wrong.

    Lenovo, Dell, Apple, Alienware, HP, Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic and Samsung have vastly better customer services and are easier to contact by phone, chat or email.
    HP can be a little pain trying to contact by email but phone they always answer, however anything else I would strongly recommend against if warranty means a lot to you then these brands tend to be the strongest.
    This is based on my experience with them in Europe, your experience in the states might be different but I still think its important to point it out just in case.
     
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