Laptop for school, work, and entertainment ($1000)

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Egozar, Sep 14, 2011.

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  1. Egozar

    Egozar Newbie

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    I am looking for a laptop that I can use for school, work, and entertainment. I would prefer buying a core i7 with a good graphics card as I might use it for gaming.

    1) What is your budget?
    $1000 (I would like to spend less if possible but am flexible)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

    The United States of America.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    a. Like: N/A
    b. Dislike: N/A

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?


    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    School work (heavy use of Microsoft office), business, and entertainment (I would like to be able to play newer games if I am ever in the mood).

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?


    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?

    Possibly. If anything, I could give Battlefield: Bad Company 2 a try.

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

    About 4 but I would prefer more.

    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?

    I would prefer seeing the notebook but would not have much of a problem buying it online as long as it is from a trusted website.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (XP or Vista or Windows 7), Mac OS, Linux, etc.

    Windows 7

    12) 720p or 1080p

    13) Do you want a Glossy/reflective screen or a Matte/non-glossy screen?

    It does not matter.

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?


    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    I would like to buy this laptop within about two weeks.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

    I want this laptop to last for a few years without having to upgrade it.

    17) How much hard drive space do you need; 80GB to 640GB? Do you want a SSD drive?

    500 GB+ preferred.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a CDRW/DVD-ROM, DVD Burner or Blu-Ray drive?

  2. Andrew Baxter

    Andrew Baxter - Super Moderator

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    Here's a few I'll throw out as recommendations that are solid laptops with gaming capabilities:

    Dell XPS 15
    HP dv6t quad edition (dv6tqe)
    Lenovo IdeaPad Y560p

    I'd say the XPS 15 is probably the pick of the litter there based on popularity, lots of nice features you can add, the B+RGLED hi resolution screen is an often recommended upgrade, but it is $150.
  3. Drake250

    Drake250 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Sager NP5165 is my pick. The i7-2630QM and Nvidia 555m is a great combo for doing anything you could want to do on a computer. It doesn't come with an OS by default, but if you can get a Windows 7 license from work or school that would help (or for cheap with a student discount).

    The XPS 15 and dv6tqe Andrew recommended are also solid options.
  4. edit1754

    edit1754 Notebook Prophet

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    The XPS 15 is a good option, but make sure you get the 1920x1080 B+RGLED display upgrade. Buying the Dell XPS 15 but getting the 1366x768 screen is a waste of money. 15.6" 1366x768 screens are terrible, because they make things onscreen huge and limit your multitasking since it's difficult to fit more than one window onscreen at a time. They also generally have mediocre image quality, especially in the case of the XPS 15's 1366x768 screen. Regardless of what the upgrade costs, you shouldn't buy the XPS 15 if you're not going to get that upgrade. If you end up buying the XPS 15, either base off the $799 model on the website, and add this upgrade, or base off the $1099 model which already includes the upgrade, and make sure you don't switch it to the 1366x768 touch-screen. Second most worthwhile upgrade: backlit keyboard.

    The IdeaPad Y560p is not generally worth it either unless you're on a budget and you're getting the absolute cheapest model... because it has this same type of screen with no option to upgrade. Don't buy the $949/$999/$1149 models, they're too expensive for what you're getting. For this price range, look at the other options here.

    The DV6tqe: This laptop is a good option if you get two upgrades:
    - AMD Radeon 6770M GPU, the cheaper (1GB) version. Don't get the 2GB version because it doesn't make a difference, and don't get the 6490M because the 6490M is vastly underpowered.
    - 1920x1080 display - with a $1K budget, avoid settling for a 1366x768 screen. The screen is the biggest limiting factor in a computer.
    Here's a config with both upgrades: HP Official Store — Buy and Customize your dv6 and dv6tqe series PC direct from HP (don't change the GPU or the display) - Use coupon code NBPA4874 to bring it down to $949

    The Sager NP5165 mentioned above is a decent option too. Aside from the poor audio quality, it's a good value for the money.
    - Make sure you buy it from a good reseller such as XoticPC:
    - Make sure you scroll down and select an OS.
    - Get the thermal compound upgrade, the stock thermal compound doesn't have a good reputation.
    - The Sager NP5160 is the same thing but with a less powerful GPU:

    ASUS N53SN-XV1, N53SV-XV1, or N53SV-B1 - $877-$899 - ASUS N53 Series N53SN-XV1 Notebook Intel Core i5 2410M(2.30GHz) 15.6" 4GB Memory DDR3 1066 640GB HDD 5400rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce GT 550M (1920x1080, i5-2410M, GT 550M, DVD) - ASUS N53 Series N53SV-XV1 Notebook Intel Core i7 2630QM(2.00GHz) 15.6" 4GB Memory DDR3 1333 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD Super Multi NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M w/ NVIDIA Optimus (1920x1080, i7-2630QM, GT 540M, DVD) - ASUS N53 Series N53SV-B1 NoteBook Intel Core i5 2410M(2.30GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 1333 640GB HDD 5400rpm BD Combo NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M (1920x1080, i5-2410M, GT 540M, Blu-ray)
    Note: I'm only recommending these three specific models of the ASUS N53, not the whole ASUS N53 line in general. There are some other models out there, but they have a 1366x768 display rather than a 1920x1080 display, and the 1366x768 display is terrible. The screen is the most important spec because it makes the most difference.
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