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Looking for the best laptop under $550...any hot tips?
Old 08-07-2008, 08:24 PM   #1
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Looking for the best laptop under $550...any hot tips?

Seems I can get an Inspiron, 15.1 screen, Intel Core Duo 1.7ghz, 2gb ram, 120 hard drive for about $500+ shipping


I havent seen much better on slickdeals or the like...any hot deals out there I may be missing? I have an Acer that's 3 yrs old, and def. on it's last leg


thanks!
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Old 08-07-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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Please note that I can score the same computer with an AMD x2 64 bit Dual core processor of similar speed (about 1.7 ghz) for $100 less!

I usually am only running a browser, excel,word, and a few simple business apps....so i assume the amd should be okay?

i can find a good comparison of the intel dual core and amd x2dual cores....like which is better on the battery etc..
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Old 08-08-2008, 05:46 AM   #3
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My new laptop has an AMD processor, and the desktop that I ordered for my sister last year was an AMD. No problems, and cheaper! What's not to like?
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:32 AM   #4
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Maybe the slower speed, higher power draw, higher operating temperatures, lower resale value, and the whole thing where they catch fire and have been known to bite anything put within a 12" range?

Not too many good deals around this week, which is funny because they were coming out of the woodwork a few weeks ago for back-to-school.

I'd look at all the office supply stores ad's for this sunday and see what they're putting on clearance. Thats how I got my last two laptops.
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Old 08-08-2008, 10:41 AM   #5
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Office depot has a 14 and 15" laptop, both with core 2 duo's and decent specs for under $540.

Officemax has this, which is pretty well featured for the price
Acer Aspire AS5920-6444 15.4" Notebook PC Core 2 Duo 250 GB 15.4" Widescreen INTEL 3072 MB Windows Vista Home Premium at OfficeMax

Keep your eye on fatwallet...there'll be a core 2 duo machine with good specs up for sale in the $500 range at some point in the next week or two. Or scrounge around the dell outlet...
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:39 PM   #6
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Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 Laptop Computer - Intel Pentium Dual-Core T2390 1.86GHz, 802.11abg Wireless, 2GB DDR2, 160GB HDD, DVDRW, 15.4" WXGA, Integrated Webcam, Windows Vista Home Premium 59014810 at CompUSA.com

Not bad. I think they give you an extra $20 off if you pay with paypal.
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:41 PM   #7
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My new laptop has an AMD processor, and the desktop that I ordered for my sister last year was an AMD. No problems, and cheaper! What's not to like?
CFB is NOT a big AMD fan, and he has some good reasons as to why..............
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:48 PM   #8
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If you are into MACs, you can get a good refurbished one from here:

http://www.gainsaver.com/gainsaver/App/Catalog/List.aspx?CCode=1015^Apple&CCode=1022^iBooks
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:48 PM   #9
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And heres a crazy curveball. If you're thinking about buying a blu-ray high def dvd player, check out this notebook. Has a blu-ray drive and HDMI output so you can watch high def dvds on the road or on your HDMI equipped tv at home...

Pretty well equipped, $799 with a 10% off coupon (8MAJTZLA9L) for about $720. Not bad considering a sony blu-ray player runs around $340-350 and its not portable.

Decent low-mid range graphics card for gaming. Good battery life. Nice screen. Wireless N. Seems to have all the goodies.

Buy the Sony VAIO VGN-FZ348E/B 15.4" Widescreen Laptop and other Laptop computers at circuitcity.com
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Old 08-08-2008, 02:50 PM   #10
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CFB is NOT a big AMD fan, and he has some good reasons as to why..............
You mean ones like "You're getting what you pay for because its not as good"?

Here's the swing: you buy a core 2 duo laptop for $500, and in 3 years you'll be able to get $300-325 on craiglist selling it. You get an AMD laptop, especially a sempron, and you'll get $175-225 for it in three years.

And thats if it doesnt bite your leg first or irradiate your nads.
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Old 08-08-2008, 08:54 PM   #11
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If you are into MACs, you can get a good refurbished one from here:

http://www.gainsaver.com/gainsaver/App/Catalog/List.aspx?CCode=1015^Apple&CCode=1022^iBooks

As a new MacBook Pro owner, I can't resist quoting this:

No. 10 on a list of 13 things your computer person won't tell you: "If you want to see less of me, get a Mac. That's what we use. 'Macs are actually a little bad for my business.'" says Aaron Schildkraut, who owns a home tech-support service in the New York tristate area.
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:02 AM   #12
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Perhaps. But thefed can buy two of the machines he's looking at for the same price as an entry level apple lappie.

I guess if one isnt performing to suit, he could use the other
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Old 08-09-2008, 09:35 AM   #13
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Right now, the Dell outlet is full of $469 1525's with 2gb ram, 160gb hard drives, wireless 'n', etc. Some 'refurbished', some 'ordered new/canceled'.
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Old 08-09-2008, 10:56 AM   #14
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CFB is NOT a big AMD fan
Obviously so....

I haven't seen any issues with excess heat, and my laptop is plenty fast for me. Resale means nothing to me, as I've never sold one of my old ones. I keep 'em long enough to just throw them away, or give 'em to the kids.

I am, however, concerned about the biting thing.... I've go these funny lumps on my ankles, calves, and thighs, and I've spent a lot of time with this laptop in my lap, legs frequently crossed. Thought it was mosquitoes or bedbugs, but just maybe..... And then there's the irridation thing....
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:44 AM   #15
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From ResellerRatings Email Alert & Forums today:

$369: Circuit City, Compaq Presario F755US
http://www.resellerratings.com/forum...ok-380-ar.html

Closeout, AR, YMMV.

I'd likely go with Dell as above, but if price is the sole factor -- ain't a bad deal.

- Stoop
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:53 AM   #16
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Well you probably wont experience a heat problem, but the cpu fan is going to run faster and more often to dissipate it and that means more noise and less battery life.

Hotter, higher watt draw cpu's bite you twice that way.

The fan on my laptop hardly ever comes on, and its barely warm to the touch.

On a performance vs watt basis, the pentium dual core and core 2 duo's are without peer. Not only are they more efficient from the get-go, many of the newer chips are on a smaller die than AMD's offerings so they're smaller and more efficient than the last generation dual cores.

Now that battery thing can be offset by using a bigger battery, which means more weight.

So while you can certainly get cheaper (although $469 is pretty dang cheap) you're going to get some tradeoffs...performance, battery life, weight, heat, resale.

As far as AMD...well...I cant say I hold a lot of respect for a business that never had a chance to do anything other than exist for a period of time and reduce the profitability of the market before expiring. Intel's manufacturing efficiency and low costs are an order of magnitude better than anyone else in the semiconductor business. All they had to do was drop the price until AMD went out of business, but they had to become pesky enough and Intel had to be willing to test the antitrust folks again. So basically AMD had no chance and they'll be gone one way or the other by next year.

I had an interesting discussion with some folks a while ago about it. The initial take is that competition is good and brings the best products to the customer at the lowest price more quickly.

Not so fast...

Competition between Microsoft Windows and OS/2 way back when coughed up Windows as a winner. OS/2 was frankly a far better product and was pretty darn similar in terms of capabilities as Windows XP. A very stable product. But windows was a little cheaper and a smaller increment in capabilities and complexity. So people chose the cheaper, lesser option and then suffered with stability issues for ten years.

Competition between Intel and AMD caused Intel management to press forward with the Pentium 4 product line rather than take a little longer and produce what would have been the current Core architecture. So without that competitive pressure you might have had these cool multicore highly efficient processors 6-7 years ago instead of that godawful firebreathing large die, high MHz pentium 4 POS. There were actually several higher speed versions of the pentium 3 that could have eating the early pentium 4's for breakfast, but those were scuttled to make way for the new generation.

Further, when product releases were a little longer between generations, the chip companies and the software companies had a lot of time to make hardware that the software could use to advantage and software that made use of the hardwares features. Remember the old 486 "math coprocessors" that Intel developed with Lotus to make 1-2-3 go 10x faster? Wouldnt it be nice if your applications were making better use of those 2 or 4 processing cores in your new computer? That sort of synergy just doesnt happen when your product releases are 18 months apart instead of 3-4 years. So while we've all paid a little less for our computers and they're bloody fast, the s/w isnt using half of its capabilities most of the time. Not a very good value.

Just think...by 2001 you might have been running a rock solid stable OS/2 operating system loaded with features, on a powerful highly efficient 2 or 4 core chip. Of course, you'd have paid a few hundred extra for the computer and OS.

It'd still be cheaper than a Mac.

But competition fixed that...
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Old 08-09-2008, 11:55 AM   #17
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I'd likely go with Dell as above, but if price is the sole factor -- ain't a bad deal.
Yeah, thats a nice feature set for the price. Compaq's are pretty cheap on the build quality and tend to use the least expensive components, but if all you have is $370 thats plenty of computer for the money.

If you keep scrounging in the dell outlet, you can occasionally find sub $400 machines with a little better build quality, but they dont last very long before they're sold.
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Old 08-09-2008, 12:19 PM   #18
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Wouldnt it be nice if your applications were making better use of those 2 or 4 processing cores in your new computer? That sort of synergy just doesnt happen when your product releases are 18 months apart instead of 3-4 years. So while we've all paid a little less for our computers and they're bloody fast, the s/w isnt using half of its capabilities most of the time. Not a very good value.
Amen to that, CFB (or CFSK, I like your new avatar)

A good post, well written. I really do agree with your post, and used to never buy AMD processor computers. Saving $200.00 on an $800.00 laptop was just too much, though.

Interesting note on OS/2. I used to run it in it's day, and was somewhat of a diehard, until forced away from it. I seem to remember that it came on about 2 dozen 5 1/4 floppies.

I've been waiting 15 years for software to catch up with the hardware...
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Old 08-09-2008, 12:22 PM   #19
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Perhaps. But thefed can buy two of the machines he's looking at for the same price as an entry level apple lappie.

I guess if one isnt performing to suit, he could use the other
-----

You got me there, CFB, "perhaps": The quote comes from the esteemed "Reader's Digest" [which I receive from an old friend]. One of the reasons I LBYMed for years saving up for a Mac was so I wouldn't have to replace a PC every two or three years; it is my first home computer. It'll take five or more years to see what kind of Mac fanatic I become. Hope thefed doesn't have to throw the extra into the landfill too soon. I think the debate isn't really Mac vs other but quality vs junk. Would be interesting to poll the forum members on how many computers they own and how often they toss them.

I assume you are kidding about the possible name change. Sometimes the high point of my day is when sitting in the coffee shop, someone looks over my shoulder and says, "what's this Cute Fuzzy Bunny." IMO, there is no better project than being with your son.
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Old 08-09-2008, 01:25 PM   #20
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Well I've built my own desktops from parts and bought generally first tier manufacturer laptops and desktops and only once had the product die...an HP laptop. Otherwise the hardware has been good. A brief experience with an emachines desktop and some 3rd tier mini-notebook werent so good. Cheap parts, driver issues, flaky...both went back.

Windows for sure has given me fits on occasions, but so did OSX and since XP came out and got past SP1, I never really had any difficulty with it. Even vista with SP1 is about on par...no problems with it.

Hey Puzzley, OS/2 still lives, its called "ecomstation" and is a collaborative development project between IBM and some other guys who apparently couldnt let it go. Has multi processor support, all the latest drivers, and even its own version of OpenOffice. Unfortunately its a couple of hundred bucks to buy...

As far as the name change? Lets just say that its a good thing that my medical plan covers removal of the tongue from the cheek. The bunny is here to stay!
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