New Laptop Help?

Posted on Tuesday, June 22, 2010 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

So here's what I've got from the Dell website. Can any tech people help tell me if this is good or if I should be adding something better. I'm going to be using it primarily for writing and Internet surfing, but I might dabble in audio/video editing, as well as some light gaming (Portal, Torchlight, etc.). I'd love for it to last me a good 3-4 years, if not longer, without the need of any major upgrades.

What I have right now is $599.99, which is about my price range, but feel free to explain to me why I need a better whatever and why I'm overpaying for a whatever.

This is the one I started with, and the only thing I changed was bumping up the video card to the next tier:

PROCESSORIntel® Pentium® Dual Core™ T4400 (2.2GHz/800MHz FSB/1MB cache)edit
OPERATING SYSTEMGenuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, Englishedit
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WARRANTY AND SERVICE1 Year Basic Service Planedit
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Extended Service Plans cost less when you buy now with your system! Upgrade now to a 2 Year Basic In-Home Service Plan* *Important Info
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MEMORY4GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 800MHzedit
HARD DRIVE320GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)edit
BATTERY OPTIONS6-cell batteryedit
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INTEGRATED WEBCAMIntegrated 1.3 MP Webcamedit
WIRELESS CARDSDell 1397 Wireless-Gedit
VIDEO CARD256MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4330edit
INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE8X CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)edit
SOUND OPTIONSHigh Definition Audio 2.0

3 Response to "New Laptop Help?"

Mark T. Whitney Says....

Looks good to me. Independent video card, a decent amount of ram, and a nice-sized hard drive. It won't play Crysis, but it should be able to handle a decent library of stuff.

Jeffrey Grubb Says....

Sounds about the same as mine and I love mine.

You have a faster processor, but the same CPU.

And I have more RAM in my graphics card, but 256 is more than enough.

You'll be able to play Civ V and probably Portal 2 on mid level settings.

One thing, how big is the screen or am I missing that somewhere?

Still, good PC. And I wish I had Windows 7.

Jon Says....

@Jeffrey Grubb, I think it's a 15".

I've got a 2ghz Core 2 Duo machine, 4GB of 800mhz memory, and a Geforce 105m (a bit slower than your video card) and I can run portal acceptably. Not amazingly, mind you, but you can get it looking pretty good and still maintain 20-40fps.

I will caution you though that using Portal and Torchlight as your barriers for entry is going to have you coming up a bit short in the wide scheme of things. Valve is really good at making their engines scale well to match various levels of computing power, and Torchlight would just about run on an iPod (even if I run it in 'netbook mode' it looks great).

That said, I don't think you are going to find any better without dumping out a lot more money. Without geeking out on you too hard, you probably won't find a laptop with a more powerful video card without also running something like DDR3 system memory or a core ix setup, and those are expensive.

One last thing I'd recommend, if you can justify it, is getting a few years of 'accidental damage coverage'. Especially with you having a little one around the house, an extra couple of hundred dollars now could prove a good investment if your daughter all of a sudden gets curious about what types of plugs go where (My neice killed my sister's laptop playing with an iPod charger cable).

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