Laptop for College bound kid $900-$1100

mlapgw

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My oldest is graduating high school in June. I want to get him a laptop as a present for doing a good job.

I envision him using this for college for the first few years.

I am thinking I should not get him a big 17" but rather something more portable like 15.6 or below.

I'd like to spend about 1k.

He does game, plays everything. He has been happy with his desktop which only has a MSI GTS 450 Cyclone.

I was looking at Sager. This is what I put together. It comes out to about $1189. Wish it was a little less but I can do this price if needed. Is this the best guts I can get him for the price?

Display 15.6" Full HD LED-Backlit Display with Super Glossy Surface (1920 x 1080)

Video & Graphics Card Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M GPU with 2GB GDDR5 Video Memory

CPU Processor 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i5-3230M Processor ( 3MB L3 Cache, 2.60GHz)

Operating System Genuine MS Windows® 8 64-Bit Edition

Memory 8GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz - 2 X 4GB


Primary Hard Disk Drive 128GB Crucial M4 Series SATA3 Solid State Disk Drive

2nd Hard Disk Drive 750GB 7200rpm SATA2 Secondary Hard Disk Drive

Optical Drive Bay 8X DVD±R/RW/4X +DL Super-Multi Drive & Software
 

OrangeWolf

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Check out the Lenovo Y400 or Y480 -- both great gaming options that come in at 14.1" for under $1000, leaving you some room to upgrade before buying. There are 15.6" options as well (Y500 and Y580), but as they are "large" for their size I'd suggest the 14.1" option.
 

crazjayz

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Surface Pro 128GB is what I would get today if I went back to college. It would be my "do anything, take anywhere" system. Keep a usb hub and 2nd monitor in the dorm for "desktop" use. Plus, you can do some light/medium gaming on it.
 

Suprfire

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As a college student, i will say that buying an expensive laptop with dedicated graphics loses its value very quickly. My 3 year old laptop is benched right now. If i were to do it all again... i would just take my desktop with me (is that reasonable in your situation?) and just buy something like an ultrabook or touch-enabled laptop for in-class stuff.
 

xBanzai89

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D

Deleted member 238539

Guest
edited, this is a dual with HT

forgot the mobile i5's were dual with HT
 

xBanzai89

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edited, this is a dual with HT

forgot the mobile i5's were dual with HT

What Sager model specifically are you looking at? Keep in mind that Lenovo model will outperform it when it comes to gaming due to having GT 650M SLI.
 
D

Deleted member 238539

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I wasnt looking at a Sager, but I will tell you for that price range it will be hard to find a sager in that price range
 

A15G

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A really nice value package if you were to accept AMD for GPU/CPU, MSI G Series GX60 1AC-021US 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black), the 7970m is a really powerful gpu very comparable with the GTX680m, much faster than the GTX660m, very close to your kids desktop GPU.

The A10-4600M will bottleneck that 7970M. The most idiotic combo if you ask me, simply stupid...

Get the Y500 with the SLI GT 650M's. Unless you are using intensive programs that uses 4 cores, the i5 3230M will chomp through most things you throw at it.

@ $899 you aren't going to get more gaming power at that price.
 
Last edited:

mlapgw

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OK so how about this set up for my son?

Sager NP9130 - Gaming Laptop (Clevo P151EM1)
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 LED Backlit Wide screen (1920x1080) Super Clear Matte Type Sager Screen (SKU - S1R324)
- Sager - 3rd Generation Intel® Ivy Bridge Core™ i7-3630QM (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP) (SKU - S2N224)
- FREE UPGRADE! - nVidia GeForce GTX 670MX 3,072MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 with Optimus™ Technology (SKU - S5S999)
- 8GB - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS) (SKU - S4S423P)
- 128GB Crucial M4 Series Solid State Drive [SSD2 Serial-ATA III] (SKU - S5R061)
- 750GB 7200RPM [Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache] in Optical Bay (SKU - S7R412)
- Sager - Built-in 802.11 Wireless B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetooth™ v3.0 (SKU - S8R110)
- Internal 9-in-1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD/Mini SD/SDHC/SDXC/MS/MS Pro/MS Duo)
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- Integrated Fingerprint Reader
- Standard Sager/Clevo Non Chiclet Keyboard
- ~Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included (Supports up to 16GB of RAM)) + MS Office 2013 Trial

$1304


They also have an option to use IC Diamond thermal paste ($35)
and a COPPER COOLING UPGRADE - Extra Cooling Copper Heatsinks Applied to the Heatsink/Heatpipes ($79)

Either of those worth doing at the price they are charging? I worry with these, how do I know they really did it?
 

Tarrosion

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As a college student, i will say that buying an expensive laptop with dedicated graphics loses its value very quickly. My 3 year old laptop is benched right now. If i were to do it all again... i would just take my desktop with me (is that reasonable in your situation?) and just buy something like an ultrabook or touch-enabled laptop for in-class stuff.

+1. I bought a laptop with switchable graphics for college and used it exclusively for the first 2 years. Then I brought out my desktop and said gee, should have done this years ago. For the cost of a gaming laptop you can ship a desktop and monitor cross country and buy a high quality portable laptop.

In a few months I'm off to grad school, and I'll probably pick up a Surface Pro or Yoga 13.
 
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As a 'long-term' student I did the whole 15" laptop for three years (2007-2010). Not fun is how I would describe the experience. It was heavy, bulky, and often awkward to type notes on it during class. It was especially awkward if they had those annoying desks where the arm becomes the desk surface as those were typically too small for 15" laptops to rest flat on. And that was a great many of my classes. Fold-up desks in large lecture halls were the same issue. On the flip side, I also had a netbook. It was small, light, easy to carry, and had great battery life but the screen was too small to work with and it would chug when switching tasks. My suggestion? An ultrabook. Yes, they are more expensive for their capability but they don't suffer from the sluggish performance and nasty screens of netbooks but also don't suffer from the poor battery life, awkwardness, and noise of a full on desktop replacement. I can't tell you how annoying it is to be in a classroom trying to pay attention to the lecture when suddenly some random gaming laptop whirs to life with a frankly annoyingly loud and buzzing fan. My current 13" is a fair sight better than my 15" prior but even that I find myself wanting to be lighter and easier to manage. But, hey, that's just me and my five years of college.
 

drummer223

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I'm having the same question (actually, its more of - my parents decided to get me a laptop for college, and I pretty much get to choose, since I know more about computers than either of them) and I've been considering the Lenovo Y400, especially considering the Lenovo Y-Series just got upgraded to from 650M to 750M graphics cards, and based on my experience, 14" laptops are a great size. And for me, bringing a desktop with me to college is not an option. However, I'm waiting until Haswell comes out in the hopes that Lenovo will upgrade the CPU (or lower the price for the current setups) for the Y-Series at about the same time.
 

robvas

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I wouldn't even buy new. It will get stolen, lost, dropped, beer spilled on it, stepped on, left on the bus...
 
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MacBook Air 11.6", take desktop too.

This, oh so very this.

Or a ZenBook, but honestly, the optimization thing that Apple does SOO well with OSX makes a MBA a better ultrabook.

It's my experience that most heavy laptops will just turn into 'semi-portable' desktops within a few weeks.

So why fight it, get something that's light, portable, and 'should' last 4-5 years easily. And send him with a desktop to game with.
 

OrangeWolf

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If I was going back to undergrad again and planning to live on campus I'd go with a 13.3" or 14.1" laptop. Something powerful enough for basic gaming but primarily portable.

Another choice would be desktop + 11.6 or 12.5" laptop with integrated graphics.
 

W.Feather

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dont think i saw it asked --- what major?


Also, as a 3rd year (junior/senior), i would highly suggest a ~11/12" notebook, over the 15" one. Just so many times my laptop has been more ideal than friends 15.6" ones, that are big/bulky, and its lasted me 3 years so far, hoping for another year or two. Just using a 12" is alot easier in a lecture hall, or a desk, compared to a 15".....just my thoughts an oppinons (coming from a Mech E program's point of view)
 

daveatx

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My wife is playing Tome Raider the Lenovo Y500SLI and it's truly a great machine. It's fairly light and small for having such great performance. It makes my 7970m m17x look really oversized.
 

mlapgw

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He will be staying at home while attending college. His desktop is a little wimpy, although he never complains about it.

CPU:Intel I3-530
MoboECS Black Edition P55H-A 1156
Ram:4gb Adata ddr3 1333G
Vid:MSI GTS 450 Cyclone

He is over due for an upgrade. He plays a wide variety of games. His computer sits about 10' away from the computer in my Sig. I spent $450 for his computer. Mine cost me quite a bit more and sometimes when I watch him game I wonder if the difference is so great that it was worth it.

Back to laptop...
What about this?

It is a Lenova Y400
System Components
3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor( 2.40GHz 1600MHz 6MB)
NVIDIA GeForce GT750M GDDR5 2GB
8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
14.0" HD Glare with integrated camera 1366x768
1TB 5400 RPM
DVD Recordable (Dual Layer)
6 Cell Lithium-Ion
Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230
Bluetooth Version 4.0
Integrated HD Camera
Windows 8 64

$749

I like the price, seems like a good deal. It is a 14" laptop.

I'm not sure about the red backlit keys, not his favorite color. I did want SSD but the next version up with just a 16gb SSD they want 1250! I'm willing to pay 1250 but not for just 16gb.

Anyway I thought this might be a good deal and hard to pass up, don't know anything about the brand.
 

drummer223

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If you really want the SSD, I would check the Lenovo website regularly, and wait a few weeks. The way Lenovo's website works is strange; they have these "weekly" deals that generally drop the price down to a manageable range. A week or two ago, the Y400 w/ 16GB SSD was $829 or something (in the 800-850 range). So if you can, I would wait a few weeks to see if they put a "weekly deal" on that model.
 

Vengance_01

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IMO This what I would do. Mini ITX Plus surface RT

Uses the surface RT for all class stuff, writing papers etc... and then a very basic desktop thats small and easy to move around for gaming or other larger school projects.
 

wrxdrunkie

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I would also recommend something more portable and light like the Surface Pro or Surface RT. It's so much easier to take to class and will mesh much better with the college everyday tasks. You can always return the Surface if it ends up not being what your son is looking for.
 

OrangeWolf

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I'd say the Y400 is a good enough college-bound option, especially if he wants to keep gaming. I'm still partial to smaller laptops (like the x230), but if you want discrete graphics then go for it.
 

Kueller

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He will be staying at home while attending college. His desktop is a little wimpy, although he never complains about it.

CPU:Intel I3-530
MoboECS Black Edition P55H-A 1156
Ram:4gb Adata ddr3 1333G
Vid:MSI GTS 450 Cyclone

He is over due for an upgrade. He plays a wide variety of games. His computer sits about 10' away from the computer in my Sig. I spent $450 for his computer. Mine cost me quite a bit more and sometimes when I watch him game I wonder if the difference is so great that it was worth it.

Back to laptop...
What about this?

It is a Lenova Y400
System Components
3rd Generation Intel Core i7-3630QM Processor( 2.40GHz 1600MHz 6MB)
NVIDIA GeForce GT750M GDDR5 2GB
8.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
14.0" HD Glare with integrated camera 1366x768
1TB 5400 RPM
DVD Recordable (Dual Layer)
6 Cell Lithium-Ion
Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230
Bluetooth Version 4.0
Integrated HD Camera
Windows 8 64

$749

I like the price, seems like a good deal. It is a 14" laptop.

I'm not sure about the red backlit keys, not his favorite color. I did want SSD but the next version up with just a 16gb SSD they want 1250! I'm willing to pay 1250 but not for just 16gb.

Anyway I thought this might be a good deal and hard to pass up, don't know anything about the brand.

Buy the SSD separately. The Y400 has a msata slot for SSD's, so get a mSATA form factor SSD and he can keep the hard drive as well as run an SSD.
http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-256GB-mSATA-Internal-CT256M4SSD3/dp/B0085J17UA
 

mlapgw

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539
His grandmother feels I am not spending enough. She is going to kick in some cake too. You guys have me convinced I need something on the smaller size. So at around the 2k ballpark what is a good machine that will game a bit for him.
 

Abula

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If you can wait a month or two, wait for haswell release, Sager/Clevo will release their new 13.3'', it seems it will be 13.3 1920x1080 screen kinda slim chassis, with i7 4800qm + GTX760m, probably msata (for OS/games) and a 2.5 mechanical hdd for storage (you can go to 1tb now for less than $100 on this size), my guess is below $1500. This would be my dream laptop for collage, a really portable and gaming capable laptop.

If you wish to read more info check W230ST - The 13" We've been waiting for!?
 

Kueller

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His grandmother feels I am not spending enough. She is going to kick in some cake too. You guys have me convinced I need something on the smaller size. So at around the 2k ballpark what is a good machine that will game a bit for him.

If you want to spend more then give him more capabilities, get him a laptop and a pen-enabled tablet. Not sure which major he's considering, but I was in engineering and rarely took my laptop to class because it involved a lot of formulas that would've been difficult/slow to type. A pen-digitizer type input device would've been extremely useful, but I still needed a computer for typing up papers and lab reports...so I made-do with a piece of carbon and some dead trees.
 

rudy

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I think you should tell him you have the money and wait till he gets to college, I see so many people doing this but until you go you don't know what his usage pattern is going to be. And TBH neither does he.

The one major thing I think is key is the ability to use an active digitizer pen to take notes, notes in onenote blow paper notes away, not more paging through junk no more piles and piles of binders and papers. But that will probably push you to hybrid devices, and push him to take the desktop as his gaming rig.
 

W.Feather

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Sinc budget is up, look at the

Hp2760p, Lenovo x230t, and the dell equivalent

All are convertible pcs, I have a hp 2740p, going on three years, rock solid, worth the money, and the active digitizer is great for classes, in all classes.
 

mlapgw

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Dec 2, 2005
Messages
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Thank you so much for the suggestions, you have me really thinking differently on this.
It just so happens I have a 14" thinkpad and 15.4 Samsung here at the house so I can really compare the size. Where, with gaming, I'm always thinking go big, I can definitely start to appreciate how a smaller form factor would be good in a class room setting.

I was set to go with a 14" Lenovo with a 750m, then replace the HD with a 512gb SSD. I can do this for about $1100

Then his Grandma wanted to be included on the gift and to chip in, at the same time I started considering the suggestions regarding the Digitized Pen

I had not even considered a touch screen, but that may be even more useful. I have found it is difficult to find a laptop that has both a touchscreen and dedicated graphics. I imagine that will be changing rapidly but maybe not soon enough for me.

I have approx. a 5 week window, so I can shop around for a little while.

Would this Sony Viao be the right way to go?
i7-3632QM quad-core (2.20GHz / 3.20GHz with Turbo Boost)
Windows 8 Pro 64-bit
Microsoft Office 2013 Home & Student
14" LED backlit display (1600 x 900)
Touch screen
AMD Radeon HD 7670M (2GB)
512GB (512GB x1) solid state drive
8GB (8GB x1) DDR3-1600MHz
CD/DVD player / burner
Standard lithium-ion battery (5300mAh)
$2039.00
 

Kueller

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Get him the 14" Lenovo for the moment (or maybe the 15.6" since it's possible to do SLI and will be the main gaming machine), and a Haswell based MS Surface when they come out for pen-use and general in-class note taking. They'll both be x86 Windows based systems and should work well together.
 
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