PDA

View Full Version : Need help with notebook purchase



apicius9
10-02-2012, 02:11 AM
Hi, just trying to tap into the wisdom of the group reg. a notebook. I know, there will be plenty of opinions ;) But I have looked around quite a bit and as much as I like the sleek new Ultrabooks, I find many of them overpriced just for the design aspect - I need portable function. I came across this one here:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+14%26%2334%3B+Laptop+-+8GB+Memory+-+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Aluminum+Gray+Hairline/5587561.p?id=1218667451379&skuId=5587561&st=u47a&cp=1&lp=1

Comes with a - most likely 2nd generation - i7 processor, sufficient RAM and an optical drive (which I don't consider essential but nice to have) in a package that is not much larger or heavier than some of the ultrabooks out there (around 4 pounds, I think). Does that seem like a good enough package for someone who does mostly MS Office stuff, a few larger database programs and the usual web stuff. Occasionally I may backup my pictures on it but will most likely use the faster desktop at home for editing. Specific questions:

- will the 'slow' Intel® HD Graphics 3000 drive me nuts (remember, no gaming or video editing on this machine...)
- I assume I can just replace the slow HDD with a 256GB SSD? Samsung?
- I would like a fancier screen but not for twice the cost and I am generally o.k. with Asus screens.

Any other things I should think about - or a machine in the same price range I should look at? Oh, and I like buying from Bestbuy because I have a card with them...
Thanks,

Stefan

The Edge
10-02-2012, 08:21 AM
I can't argue with any ASUS products, since they are usually pretty solid. Only thing I can offer is that Windows 8 is releasing in a couple weeks, so prices may drop lower on this one once it does.

James
10-02-2012, 08:51 AM
Seems like you'll be fine. No need to worry about the graphics card; since you won't be gaming, this video card is more than fine (although this one can handle a lot of source games).

The HDD is a tad bit on the slow side, but you should be able to replace it with SSD. Ideally, the computer would be a tad bigger and be able to accomodate 2 separate harddrives so you would be able to use a smaller and cheaper ssd for your programs+OS and a HDD for your data.

Andrew H
10-02-2012, 09:47 AM
Hi, just trying to tap into the wisdom of the group reg. a notebook. I know, there will be plenty of opinions ;) But I have looked around quite a bit and as much as I like the sleek new Ultrabooks, I find many of them overpriced just for the design aspect - I need portable function. I came across this one here:

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+14%26%2334%3B+Laptop+-+8GB+Memory+-+750GB+Hard+Drive+-+Aluminum+Gray+Hairline/5587561.p?id=1218667451379&skuId=5587561&st=u47a&cp=1&lp=1

Comes with a - most likely 2nd generation - i7 processor, sufficient RAM and an optical drive (which I don't consider essential but nice to have) in a package that is not much larger or heavier than some of the ultrabooks out there (around 4 pounds, I think). Does that seem like a good enough package for someone who does mostly MS Office stuff, a few larger database programs and the usual web stuff. Occasionally I may backup my pictures on it but will most likely use the faster desktop at home for editing. Specific questions:

- will the 'slow' Intel® HD Graphics 3000 drive me nuts (remember, no gaming or video editing on this machine...)
- I assume I can just replace the slow HDD with a 256GB SSD? Samsung?
- I would like a fancier screen but not for twice the cost and I am generally o.k. with Asus screens.

Any other things I should think about - or a machine in the same price range I should look at? Oh, and I like buying from Bestbuy because I have a card with them...
Thanks,

Stefan

That's a lot of power. Are you going to be doing any video editing / 3d design work? If not you really don't need an i7 processor. I have an ivy bridge i7 in my laptop and it won't go past 50% load playing two games and editing at the same time.
I agree on the SSD, but I'm still waiting for prices to drop more to install one for myself. I'd say look at i5 computers, look at 3rd gen instead of 2nd, and wait for Windows 8 to come out. You should be able to find a better deal than $750.

AFKitchenknivesguy
10-02-2012, 11:22 AM
I just got a Samsung Galaxy Tap 2, but I hear that's a good one.

cnochef
10-02-2012, 11:42 AM
You should look at the Acer Aspire TimelineX series of laptops. They're not in the ultrabook category but very thin, light and powerful laptops with the benefit of still having a DVD drive. They also have the great battery time of an ultrabook, that's mostly why I bought mine. $549 on sale at Best Buy!

mhlee
10-02-2012, 12:50 PM
Also, check Costco (if you have membership). Their concierge service, which comes with every computer purchase, is invaluable if you have questions. Also, IIRC, they add a second year to the warranty and the prices are better than most places. The only thing is that you have a limited selection of products.

El Pescador
10-03-2012, 12:17 AM
Look at newegg.com tough to beat their prices...

Eamon Burke
10-03-2012, 02:01 AM
What are you doing with it? Are you really going to be using Excel and Powerpoint, or just writing and using the web?

I'm just saying, I don't use anything outside my browser, realistically, and I'm switching my laptop to a Chromebook.

apicius9
10-03-2012, 02:31 AM
Thanks for all the tips, guys. I followed up on some of them and they look good, but I keep coming back to the Asus I asked about as the most complete package that doesn't make me look again in a year or so. It certainly is more than I 'need' but it gives me a little extra buffer for the coming 2 years. I do most of my surfing on the Ipad, so this is really mostly for work (and that's what I will tell the IRS also...). Lots of Powerpoints and quite a bit of statistical analyses with reasonably powerful programs, so a bit of speed cannot hurt. I looked at Costco and Newegg, but Bestbuy has the added benefit of interest free payment over 18 months which in my current situation is easier than coming up with bigger sums. It's definitely not my dream machine but powerful enough to do everything I need. You see, I a just trying to talk myself into buying it ;) This here would be closer to the dream machine after hard drive and RAM upgrades), but it's also $500 more which I neither have nor am willing to spend for aesthetics right now. http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Zenbook-UX32VD-DB71-13-3-Inch-Ultrabook/dp/B00863L2MS/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1349245631&sr=1-1&keywords=asus+ux+32vd

Anyway, I will keep looking a little more and go back to check it out again at Bestbuy. Will also look at the Acers again. BTW, I usually get the small stuff at Newegg, so I will most likely order an SSD etc from there if it comes to that.

Stefan

dragonlord
10-05-2012, 02:50 AM
What are you planning to use it for?
Browsing,email, and the occasional word document - pretty much any computer will do - if ultra portable is more important than ease of typing, then consider a tablet (look at the new Microsoft surface that's coming out soon http://www.microsoft.com/surface/en/us/default.aspx the pro version will have the full version of windows on it, but expect ultra book prices)
Media store and playback - the larger the hard disk the better
Regular document and spreadsheet use, with multiple documents open at the same time for cross referencing - more memory.
What does portable mean for this computer? Moving from the kitchen table to the dining room table - don't worry about the size, regularly taking it to work or round to other locations (every day or so) - lighter is better, using anywhere and everywhere for everything from reading books to displaying recipies in the kitchen to browsing the net in the bath or watching a film on the beach- a tablet is probably for you then

apicius9
10-05-2012, 04:01 AM
All valid points. But as I said, this will probably be 80-90% for work which includes the basic surfing, MS Office programs but also statistical software packages which will benefit from a bit more Ram. Until now I have been using a Dell with a first generation i5 and 4GB Ram and I could go and get coffee while the statistics program opened... For entertainment, I don't have very high demands - I am still using a 1st generation Ipad and while I sometimes grumble because it is slow, it does most things that I need well enough. But I cannot type on tablets - I am writing this on the Ipad and it takes me 2-3 times the time I would need on a keyboard, not an option for work.

So, here is where I am at the moment: I have never ordered anything with the intention to use my 30 day window to return it, but I went to Bestbuy and bought the mentioned Asus, thinking that I might return it if anything is not as good as I expected. I also ordered a Crucial 256GB SSD from Newegg to replace the slow HDD in the notebook, assuming I will keep it. BB being who they are, they didn't have the notebook in stock when I came to pick it up and I quengeled loud enough that they offered me another discount on it. So, just assuming everything will go as planned, I will end up with a 14" notebook around 4# which is perfectly fine in terms of weight, screen and keyboard size. It's a dual core i7 which is still a touch ahead of the current i5s, and it will have a 256GB SSD which should speed things up and is plenty for my work stuff. The original HDD will go into a USB 3.0 enclosure, I will stick a PCI USB 3.0 card in my desktop, and I will have another reasonably fast portable backup drive for both computers. Hopefully all parts will be in early next week to attack the reconfigurations.

This will cost me a total of around $880. I know, there may be cheaper options out there but that's my main work tool, so I want to feel comfortable with it, at least within the given limitations of not having a regular paid day job... I work at different places, another reason why I need one right now. And I was thinking the other day, I remember paying around $800 for a 2 MB (!) upgrade for my 22pound heavy IBM XT laptop computer some years ago, that somehow makes it easier to justify ;)

Aside from hoping for functioning hardware, I hope that cloning the HDD to the SSD will work o.k., looks like there may be looming some hurdles there. I asked the 'expert' at the 'Geek Squad' about that and he didn't even know what I was talking about... Sometimes I miss the nights when my computer guy and I hung over building up a PC from scratch for me amd figuring all these weird things out for the first time - but not very often :) But in a way I am a semi geek, just haven't done anything anymore in the past years when I could just hire IT people... That's why I wanted a bit of input.

O.k., long post on the Ipad, could have written a dissertation on a keyboard in that time ;)

Stefan

dragonlord
10-05-2012, 01:26 PM
With your iPad, did you know that you can split the keyboard by putting a finger on either side of the Center and moving them apart (do the reverse to join it back together). This then puts all the keys in convenient thumb reach.