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Old 09-20-2012, 11:22 PM   #1
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Default Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

I'm trying to buy a laptop but I don't want to throw down a lot of cash on it. I've done some research but I'm still not sure which one is best. I have to buy it from my local Walmart so I've narrowed it down to these 3 in stock. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

1. HP 15.6" 2000-314nr Laptop PC with AMD E-450 Accelerated Processor, 1.65GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 6-cell lithium-ion battery, 4GB memory; 500GB hard drive ($341)

2. Gateway 15.6" NE56R10u Laptop PC with Intel Celeron B820 Processor, 1.70GHz, 2MB L3 Cache, 6-cell lithium-ion battery, 3GB memory; 320GB hard drive ($300)

3. Acer 17.3" AS7250-3821 Laptop PC with AMD E-Series Dual-Core E-450 Processor, 1.65GHz, 1MB L2 Cache, 6-cell lithium-ion battery, 4GB memory; 500GB hard drive ($368)
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

Before anyone can possibly make a suggestion, we'd have to know what is the intended use for this notebook?
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

I would be using it to browse the internet basically. I don't download but i do watch a lot of videos. (Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, etc)
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

I'd go with the Acer. Almost identical to the HP but with a bigger screen. Price is right too.
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Old 09-21-2012, 12:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

I agree with OhSnap. The specs/prices are all very close, you'd notice no difference in performance between the 3, but it's easy to notice an extra 2 inches of screen space if you're watching a lot of videos.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

+1

Go for the bigger screen, you won't regret it. And don't forget to backup the hard disk. The laptop will come with an Acer program that enables you to burn DVDs of the factory-default install, don't forget to do this before you go online or add anything else on the machine. As soon as you see the desktop for the first time, your first task should be to burn those discs.

Also the laptop will most probably come with an Internet Security package valid for only 3 months. Just before this time period is over uninstall it, and then install Comodo Firewall (free) and Avast! antivirus (the free version). These two are great together and a good replacement for the McAfee/Norton bloatware that are usually pre-installed on new computers.

Once you have your Windows the way you want it with all your favorite programs installed and all Windows updates done, make sure to make another backup. You can use the native Win7 backup program for this purpose. Save the backup on an external disk and also burn a Windows 7 startup CD which will enable you to restore your backup in cases when Windows may be unbootable.

If I'm speaking chinese let me know and I'll break it down for you.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

@deelow20

You're getting good advice from everyone. +1 here....nothing to add.
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

Thank you everyone for all the help! Thank you bad_machine for going into some step by step detail. I'm good with computers but not great so I will probably be doing everything you mentioned. I've posted on a few forums and it looks like more people were leaning towards the Acer. I think I'll take everyone's advice and pick this one up.

Also, I wont be purchasing this laptop for another week so if anyone has anything to add, I would love to hear it.

Thanks again guys
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: Please Help! Which laptop to buy?

Forgot to mention: When you burn those DVDs make sure you use the BEST quality discs. It's all down to the dye quality, the brand has nothing to do with it. Even good disc brands like Sony, TDK, Philips etc. can be crap. They may burn OK and verify OK, but the dye will degrade much faster than with better quality discs. What you need to know is the media code of the dye used, and most decent disc retailers now mention this code.

What I mean is that you should never go cheap on optical media. If you do then you may find a couple of years later when you try to restore your backup that some of your discs may be damaged and unreadable. On a multi-DVD backup set it takes a single disc error to render your whole backup set useless. More info on optical media degradation here:

Optical Disc Archiving

One of the best brands is Verbatim DVD+R (media code: MCC 004) which I always use. Google for the media code when looking to buy online, and remember, if the price is too good to be true then they're probably fakes. Have a look at the label for the country of manufacture when buying in a shop. If they are made in Taiwan, India, UAE, or Singapore they are good, with the best of those being the Taiwanese ones (by best I mean the ones with the least failures, at least for me, and I have burned thousands of those for customer backups). If you find Verbatim that are made in China DO NOT BUY THEM they are crap despite the fact that their media code is also MCC 004.

More info and decent links to buy:

Blank DVD Media Quality Review – The Digital FAQ – Media Guides & Services
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