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Old 11-10-2007, 02:58 PM   #1
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Default Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

I'm a junior in highschool and will be going PSEO at a college next semester (term starting in january) so I have until then to decide what laptop I need....as always..I come here to CF because everyone knows what they are talking about here!

First question is whether or not I want to build or buy my laptop....I have vast experience building PC's, but I'm guessing they are two totally different scenarios...so I guess if you HAVE build your own laptop before, please tell if you think it was a good idea or if you'd never do it again...and also how hard it was on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the hardest)

In any case, build or buy, I'm on a budget but am willing to slurge on it if needed because it is a tax write-off for my parents anyways......here's my baseline specs

Atleast a 120 GB HD

2 GB RAM (min.)

DVD/CD Burner


Wireless capable (for on campus and home use)

Decent sized screen (from idk 14-17" i suppose)

Now here is where things get tricky for me since I've never built a laptop before....

I have no clue what CPU to go with...I'm guessing I want a dual core....mostly since my intel core2 duo has been great in my desktop pc.....but I'm not sure if Intel or AMD is a better value..so you'll have to clue me in there....

I don't know what kind of Mobo to run either, again, no experience with laptop mobos

Also, I don't know if I want an intergrated or seperate graphics card.....I'm not really sure if I'll be doing any video editing or gaming, but it would be nice for the power to be there if need be....

I'm probably forgetting something but you can clue me in on that as well...I have checked Newegg.com for prices on prebuilt laptops and they are WAY out of my price range...about $1300 and higher......my budget is to really try and stay well below $1000 ..but who knows......

One last thing I thought of was buying a crappy prebuilt and just upgrading it...tell me what you think about that as well......

Thanks a ton

Zac
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Old 11-10-2007, 02:59 PM   #2
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

http://configure.euro.dell.com/dells...1117D002&s=bsd
it is a good laptop
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:05 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

well its like impossible to build a laptop. buy a prebuilt laptop
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

I dont know a whole lot about laptops, but I dont think you can build them. I wouldnt go for crappy and upgrade either. I would just buy one prebuilt from dell.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

you cant build your own laptop, you can customize it, but you cant build it from scratch.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

thanks....by build i mean barebones...they get cheaper and cheaper by the day...people like asus and msi sell them...it basically just a screen, mobo, and sometimes a GPU that it comes with and you buy and install the rest of the components..its a lot cheaper.....sorry but after my first dell desktop and the notebooks my school bought, i'll never buy a dell again in my life....just my thing......

anyways..no matter what whay i go i still need help on choosing components...

if you wanna check out what i mean by DIY barebones go here its a 2005 write-up so the prices have dropped even more im assuming
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

heres the best laptop i can find
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834224076
great value
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

PLEASE keep in mind my budget, like i said, is under $1000
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

If you buy a barebones system from like asus for laptops, that has only the motherboard and case, the rest you configure. My work does this and I have built two laptops. SInce the motherboard is already installed, 90% of the work is done for you. After that it's relitivly easy. That hardest part is finding compatable CD drives.

If you are unsure, just buy a pre-built. I would recommend Acer or HP. Could you also tell me what state you live in? If you live in Wisconsin I have another option for you.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

I personally think Dell is a good make.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

Quote:
Originally Posted by computerbuyer01 View Post
I personally think Dell is a good make.
You clearly havn't bought any laptops from dell in his price range recently...
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

ha ha thanks celegorm! agreed!!! So i had a revelation...not really just a thought...Alienware is a decent brand, is it not? I could check what I can get for a grand there.....

So Celegorm, how have the barebones worked for you? Good, Decent, Crap? and what was the price that they came out to be about?
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

yeah if you customize it it can come 2 a grand.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

Eh Alienware is decent. Quality has gone down a bit, and CS alot since Dell bought them out.

The barebones have worked out quite nice actually. We started doing them here at the end of June, and we have yet to see one come back for service. Considering the volume we have sold (atleast 200) that is some-what suprising.

{Edit} As for the price, I don't know what the barebone itself is, but we sell a few for like $900ish that has a 120GB HDD and i think 2GB of RAM, so it isn't bad.
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Old 11-10-2007, 03:44 PM   #15
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

Celegorm....I'm really interested in barebones since I know that most of the work will be done by myself with the main components...cpu, hd, cd/dvd, etc... which makes me feel a bit better since I know that I'll have done it myself instead of trusting some (not being racist, just saying) Indian or Chinese laborers in an outsource factory working a 2 dollars an hour putting my laptop together if you know what i mean?

About how much did the barebones come out to after final build? What normally was used to start off with (chassis,lcd,mobo, etc) Asus, MSI, etc?
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

heres a really nice amd one got an nvidia 8400 in it to 2g ram
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834115410
900$
or heres one with dual hard drives but a 7100 gpu
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...2E16834147532R
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Old 11-10-2007, 04:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

The barebones we usually get are from a company called Compel. We do have an Asus one that costs $800ish I belive. After hard drive and stuff on one of the compel's (don't ask where to buy it, I can't find a sales site for it. A low end Asus would work) We can sell it for 900.
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

thanks for all of your help thusfar everyone..... still don't know whether to go barebone or retail...but thats still slightly beside the point....I still need help on components for the laptop so chip in your 2 cents about what you think is the best to go with for:

CPU (needs to be dual core!)

RAM (idk anything about laptop RAM--speeds and such) needs to be 2 GB though

GPU (no idea if GeForce or ATI have better laptop GPU's) or just go with integrated

Mobo (most seem that you cant choose so im guessing im screwed here)

Screen size (I dont' want it to adversely affect my bat life too much)....

Speaking of bat life...needs to be more than 2.5 hours for sure would like 3+

HD (i can figure out a size but idk much about notebook caches and speeds so you'll have to tell me here too)

Not worried at all about OS...vista is pretty crappy and every comp. guy like me always has his Corp version of xp laying around :-)

Cue me in on all this and anything else i forgot..thanks
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:51 PM   #19
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

I would say get a Core 2 Duo for the CPU.

RAM, odds are you'll be getting PC2-5300, I have yet to see a laptop in your range support faster speeds.

Screen, 15.1" would be fine. Anything bigger will require more power and thus drain your battery faster.

Video... eh... If your not gamming onboard should be fine, but if there is only like a $50 difference between on board and an Nvidia or ATI video, go for it.

If you want good batterylife, get a Core 2, on a Centrino chipset. Those have great battery life. Only downside is you are stuck with onboard video.

If you can find one, get one with 7200 RPM. If not any other compatable hard drive (ATA or SATA) will work.

Why don't you like vista? Works great for me.

Also, what about an optical drive? most barebones do not come with them. what capabilities do you want?
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Old 11-10-2007, 05:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: Need A Laptop For College....build Or Buy? Help W/ Both Please...

Vista as an OPERATING system work great....but Microsoft didn't need all the excess junk...i sat up for like 3 days straight disabling useless junk..other than that its fine...i think microsoft should have upgraded not rethought the whole OS...anyways...just my opinion......

Um yeah i was thinking 15 inch since the bat life would drain if any bigger...really like SATA HDs..much faster

Any drive that burns cds and dvds will work..don't care about their speed...

I've been researching the entire day today..still not sure if i go barebone or retail, but still pretty much beside the point....
____

So core 2 duo was my thought as well.....any specifics I would want to look for for the best performance?....not familiar with centrinos such as series, ghz, etc..
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