Laptop verdict required – PLEASE!

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  • Laptop verdict required – PLEASE!
  • Looking for a laptop for general day to day stuff (word processing, internet etc) but also to do a bit of video editing from my Kodak HD vid cam and some photoshop. Don’t want a desk top.

    See a Asus n56vj in following spec – Intel Core i5-2320 processor, 750GB hard drive, 8gb RAM and a NVidai GT630 2gb graphics card. £600

    So a few questions;

    1) Is this any good for what I need?
    2) Is it any good for the money – could I do better?
    3) Could I get away with less?
    4) Should I be getting a better processor/dropping the video card?
    5) Any other advice?
    6) Where is good to get a laptop from these days apart from Currys?

    Cheers

    Surely someone must know something – or is this just one of those irritating posts?!

    the easy answer is yes, stand alone graphics cared is more for gaming/photography and other picture resolution intensive stuff.
    For what you want to do lower price laptops wwould also do what you need

    Having said the above I manages to get a quad core i7 with 6gb of ram 1TB drive and 650 gfx card just b4 xmas from a amsung clearance place so maybe worth a chweck

    Markie
    Member

    Your requirements are pretty ‘modern day standard’, so I’d say see what Dell can do… price something up with an extended on site warranty and compare it to what you’ve got there?

    hustler – so what sort of spec would do what I want (well!)??

    Would something with intergrated graphics be any good?

    Torminalis
    Member

    erm, yeah, laptops.. get a nice shiny one.

    😕

    IA
    Member

    Would something with intergrated graphics be any good?

    It’d be fine.

    TBH nearly anything around that price would be fine. The stuff that matters more anyone can judge. Pick them up, open and close them, type for 5 minutes, try the trackpad, how bright does the screen go? Do the colours look right (browse flickr?) etc. When you pick it up by a corner is it flexy and creaky? Does it feel solid?

    You can test all that yourself by going hands on with one at currys/pc world/john lewis.

    skids
    Member

    It’s not a good price, the CPU is two generations old, and better graphics cards can be found on cheaper machines than that.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    Only the newest Intel integrated graphics are even half good. More and more stuff uses the GPU to offload work, even web browsers.

    I’d avoid an Intel CPU with integrated graphics unless it’s a Haswell
    series CPU – just check that against this list.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haswell_(microarchitecture)

    Other than that I’ll leave it to everyone else this time.

    My main criteria for buying a reasonable laptop is to get a decent screen. 1366×768 is not good enough in my opinion for a 15.6″ screen. I’d be looking for a 1440×900 for a 15.6″ or 1920×1080 for a 17″. I’d also look to see if has space for a second hdd – £70 on a SSD for the operating system is by far the best laptop upgrade you can make if it has the space. A msata SSD is also an option if it has a msata slot.

    IA
    Member

    I’d avoid an Intel CPU with integrated graphics unless it’s a Haswell
    series CPU – just check that against this list.

    Actually there’s not much difference with Haswell except for the Gt3e (iris pro) parts, which will only appear on ultrabooks way out the OP’s budget.

    If you want to tell what generation an intel CPU is look at the number, it’l be something like:

    iX-4YYY, iX-3YYY, iX-2YYY

    The 4, 3, 2 tells you which gen – 4 being the latests. If there’re only 3 numbers it’s older still but I’d not expect any of them to be still for sale.

    I maintain integrated graphics will be fine for the OP’s usage, they’re not gaming. I’m typing this on a sandy bridge (I7-2YYY) and it’s fine for all the above. I use powerful GPUs for work, and those machines are not noticeably faster for everyday stuff.

    The point above about screen resolution is worth noting, but it’s not just pixels, it’s colour quality too.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    Screen and keyboard are my two main things.
    I wouldn’t buy a laptop without playing with a similar one in a shop to see if I get on with them.

    I ruled out all lots very quickly by doing this.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    IA I agree WRT the last 2 generations being much better.

    I disagree that it’s not going to become more important in the future to have a good GPU. Maybe not for typing in Word, but any transcoding, and any accelerated graphics or processing engine is patching into GPU now. And it’s only going to get more prevalent.

    The Mercury Playback Engine from Adobe, for example. Photoshop’s GPU heavy now too, even the zoom and rotate are much better with acceleration!

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    I got a desktop without a GPU (integrated Intel 4000) and one of the video apps I was looking forward to using (Speedgrade) just refuses to bother working. It apparently requires a minimum of 1GB GPU.

    Premiere and After Effects both run fine though (i5, SSD and 16GB RAM).

    Thanks guys. Been reading around further and there’s alot that agrees with IA, i.e. I’m better spending money and a decent processor, RAM and fast hard drive. I wouldn’t be using anything more than Premiere and it sounds like that’d be ok.

    Can anybody recommend a decent online shop? Currys have nothing in stock, and heard iffy things about laptops direct.

    Cheers

    Lambda Tek have some excellent deals and they’re good to speak with too.

    FTR I’d be looking for an Ivy Bridge proc (or Sandy Bridge as a minimum) as this will future proof performance for longer.

    Ebuyer are also good.

    IA
    Member

    but any transcoding,

    Actually, for fast transcoding you want something that supports quicksync, which is intel’s accelerated transcoding engine built into the CPU.

    I’ll not argue that you can see improvements with a GPU, but for the extra money a decent one would cost, I’d FAR rather have a SSD in there. It’ll make a noticeable difference all of the time, rather than some difference some of the time.

    On my own personal laptop, which is hardly a budget machine (top end 13″ MBP) I have no discrete GPU. I could’ve had one if I wanted, but I valued other things more. And it’s not ignorance of the benefits of a high end GPU either – as I said I use them everyday at work. But I accept that’s anecdotal evidence, not hard numbers. Anyway, the point may be moot at £600 ish – not going to get a particularly decent GPU for that money.

    Topangarider (diamondback topanga? With XT thumbies? That takes me back…) – try the dell outlet too for good deals.

    Premier Icon AlexSimon
    Subscriber

    http://www.saveonlaptops.co.uk/ have some great deals occasionally.
    Plus they sell Lenovo who I like (althoug not so much the cheap ranges).
    I like their search too.

    stumpy01
    Member

    I got my laptop from acerdirect and they were fine to deal with. They don’t just sell Acer, although that’s what I bought.

    From memory, it’s a 17″ i5 with 750Gb HDD, 6GB RAM and integrated graphics. Can’t remember the screen resolution off the top of my head, but it’s good enough for me!
    Chassis too flexi for lugging it around lots, but I didn’t buy it for that purpose so am happy with the compromise. It cost £550 – 2.5 years ago.

    Premier Icon takisawa2
    Subscriber

    Ok, blatant opportunism seing seeing as there appears to be some chaps posting who sound like they know a bit… 🙂

    I need to get the Wife a laptop for Uni.
    Would this be ok…?

    stumpy01
    Member

    takisawa2 – Member
    Ok, blatant opportunism seing seeing as there appears to be some chaps posting who sound like they know a bit…

    I need to get the Wife a laptop for Uni.
    Would this be ok…?

    Erm. What will she be using it for?

    That laptop is cheap. BUT, the spec is really old – my other half bought a Dell laptop about 6-7 years ago (edit > probably nearer 7-8 yrs ago, actually) with a spec broadly similar to that for £300 new.
    We updated it to Win7, and it runs OK for web browsing and stuff but I suspect it would slow down spectacularly if you needed to do anything demanding on it.

    What is your budget? I was looking in the window of a small independent compute shop the other day and they had refurbed laptops for £250 that would blow that thing out of the water.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    takisawa2 – It’s ok, if you: get it fitted with a new HDD and bump to 4GB+ of RAM. Otherwise it’s going to be unusably slow – it’ll run out of RAM about 3 seconds after it’s booted and then be dumping RAM to that tiny tiny slow as a dog drive. Which is also not new and may well croak ASAP – taking all your work with it. Backup, backup, backup. If you don’t, you’ll be sorry. If not tomorrow then someday soon.

    But that makes it non cost-effective, so I’d do as stumpy01 says and get a new machine. And an external drive for backups.

    IA – I never used to recommend Quiksync due to O/P quality issues, but they do appear to have been addressed. Handbrake all the way for me.

    SSDs, though – I still don’t use and here’s why.

    IA
    Member

    SSDs, though – I still don’t use and here’s why.

    really? Or is it cost? Reliability stats are plenty good enough (better in some cases) than HDDs. And anecdotally, HDDs seem to die quicker than SSDs. Not to mention they’re more robust to being dropped etc.

    And the speed improvements with SSDs are huge, and hugely noticeable. Biggest performance jump in everyday use for years.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    Well, I would like 2*256/512GB drives I suppose, but yeah that’s a £-bomb.

    I don’t get the speed issue, but then I don’t write many tiny files.

    I check SMART values and Read/Write/Verify drives every few months as well. I don’t believe SSD’s usually give any warning of going titsup, and that scares me.

    My friend who just had some f-off PC built [2*4GB 680GTX watercooled, for example] phoned me up saying “It boots to the desktop in 15 seconds!”
    I said “I switch mine on, fill up a glass of water, drink it and come back in 1:30 and it’s on the desktop” If mine booted in 15 seconds I’d still be having a drink 😉

    Meh, I kept the change from my WD Black and Spinpoint drives. They read around 120 MB/s for large files, so I rarely have to wait for more than 10 seconds for anything for any appreciable time, and I can probably just flick to another program or something for those few seconds anyway.

    The other day I slurped about 1.2GB of files over Samba in Ubuntu writing to NTFS – now that was painful… <50MB/s. Sometimes about 30. Yuk.

    IA
    Member

    I don’t get the speed issue, but then I don’t write many tiny files.

    That’s it though, you do. It’s general use that the big difference is noticeable (if you use computers a fair bit). Those slight pauses when you click things etc. all gone.

    I don’t care about boot times or transfer speeds, it’s the general use. You save the fractions of a second all the time compared to seconds in hundreds.

    I’ve two high end machines on my desk* right now – xeon workstation with spinning platters and a fast (as money can buy) laptop with an SSD – the laptop’s noticeably nicer to use.

    My spec priorities on a computer would be display, input devices, SSD then everything else.

    They read around 120 MB/s

    It’s all about** the gigabytes per second on a ramdrive 🙂

    Having said all that though, it’s hardly critical if you’re just browsing the web, sending emails and tweaking the occasional photo! And I think we’re a bit OT now 🙂

    *work desk, I’m not made of money, there’s bikes to buy! 😉

    **actually on most of my heavy IO workloads this doesn’t make much difference over the SSD, they become cpu limited.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    I’m changing my login to goO/Tstripes

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