Best Laptop Under $500?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by yerscattergun, Apr 4, 2010.

  1. yerscattergun

    yerscattergun

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    I didn't post in the tech forum because they seem like they would be bored
    with my silly question. Anyway, we need one that is under $500, for heavy
    net use, word processing and some pics and videos(no games). It needs to be 3g capable also(according to my Wife). I was looking at the Compaq(HP) Presario CQ61Z series as it seems to have some decent features. It has twice the RAM and the same hard drive capacity as my old '05 vintage desk top.
    Does anyone have any experience with this one? How about other options?


    Thanks
     
  2. Chad Landry

    Chad Landry Cajunator® CLM

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    They have some good offerings on Amazon, with plenty of customer feedback.

    I've purchased 5 computers from http://www.dfsdirectsales.com/

    Two for me, and one each for my wife and children. They've all performed fantastically. The only problem is that they don't come with much in the way of software. Just a computer, an OS (all mine have XP Pro, and they're still available with XP Pro), and a small freebie word processing program that was once very popular.

    Most of the software you're likely to need is available free, and I use Open Office on these machines for word processing, spread sheets, etc.

    They're refurbished corporate machines. I love 'em.
     

  3. BAILIFF

    BAILIFF Piece Officer

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    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  4. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    Well, I'll tell you this much: a computer is a lot more than just ram and hard drive capacity, and you need to look at the whole package when you decide. For instance, the CPU plays a major role in everything from speed to power consumption, and due to a different CPU you may need a different motherboard and chipset to run it. So what I am trying to get at is this: there is a very good reason why some laptops cost under $500 and others cost closer to $1000, even though they may have the same screen size, and HD and ram capacity.

    Another thing, I have never seen a sub-$500 give people reliable long-term use. It's not easy to cheaply build a computer, so cost-cutting has to be done somewhere. Since you really can't cut costs on the ram or hard drive (they are virtually the same in all computers), you cut costs with the CPU and motherboard quality. Usually, the motherboard is the first thing that fails. One of my friends has an HP laptop virtually the same as yours, it's 2-3 years old, and the replacement motherboard has just failed on her. My Dell laptop cost me $1000 5 years ago, and is still happily running with minor upgrades to ram and HD space. Still perfectly fine for everything that I need my laptop to do, and I am hoping that it will last me through 4 more years of med school. I can even install Windows 7 on it if I choose to. But it is of course not my main computer.

    I am not telling you not to get this computer. It can be related to guns in a way. If you have the money for a Glock, you'll buy a Glock, but if all you can afford is a Hi-Point, nobody is going to tell you not to buy a Hi-Point. This is the Hi-Point of laptops; cheap, low quality, and disposable (yes, I mean it), but if you need a computer, it'll do in a pinch.

    If you can spend a couple hundred dollars more, the Dell Vostro line runs on a much better CPU (Intel Cure 2 Duo), will give you considerably better battery life, and uses higher quality parts. As far as 3G goes, are you mistaking 3G for WiFi, because laptops typically don't come with 3G built-in? 3G is usually an AT&T or Verizon addon card that you plug in, and you have to pay a monthly fee for that. WiFi is built in to every laptop nowadays.
     
  5. IndyGunFreak

    IndyGunFreak

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    LOL... You've not read enough posts there... we answer silly questions all the time. :). We're actually pretty friendly down there.. it's probably one of the more civil forums here on GT... :)

    For the needs you stated, almost any modern laptop will do, so you don't really have to be picky. The key will be to make sure you get quality for your $$. I'm not a fan of Compaq/HP... Anyways, under 500... I've been very happy w/ my Acer(about 4yrs old now)... After that, I would look at possibly a Dell out of the Dell Outlet store... http://www.dell.com/outlet?dgc=ST&cid=20497&lid=661198
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  6. gearjammer351

    gearjammer351 EnemyOfTheState

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    Cost was a consideration for me when I bought mine, so I shopped around a lot. I needed a basic computer for general use (nothing like high-speed games or video editing -just writing papers and arguing on Glock Talk:)). I bought an Acer about a year and a half ago for $399 and it's been great. This thing was cheaper than any desktop I ever had. FWIW, Acer is a budget brand, but it's one with a good reputation.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  7. tbhracing

    tbhracing Senior Member

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    I was hoping to hear more about the Dells as well. :)
     
  8. glock19_fan

    glock19_fan ... --- ...

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    Lenovo u450, one great laptop. Microsoft Store sells it. Look it up.
     
  9. Wake_jumper

    Wake_jumper

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    I really like my ACER 5740-5513. I bought it at Office Max for $500.00 (on sale from $650.00) a few months ago. Battery lasts a solid 4 hours, its very fast, very quiet, runs cool and has a great screen. I have recommended it to several of my friends.
    Specs: Intel i3, 4GB ram, 320GB Hard Drive, 802.11n, 4 USB, DVD RW. Win 7 Home Premium.

    http://us.acer.com/acer/productv.do...tx1g.c2att92=447&ctx1.att21k=1&CRC=4055624690
     
  10. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    That is an incredibly good laptop, and one hell of a sale. It is light-years better than the one the OP is looking at. If I was in the market right now, for $500 (if still available) is a great price for it. My sister has an Acer netbook, and she's very happy with it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  11. Yo

    Yo

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    I have a Samsung netbook, and have been very impressed by the build quality, owner software, reliability. Right now Samsung and Toshiba would be my first choices in a laptop.

    There's more to laptop usability than just hard-drive size etc. Samsung comes with excellent back-up software, very good manual, no bloatware, good screens, nice keyboards. Check out the new Samsung R530 . $599.00 at sam's club.

    I have a 2-year old Dell laptop and the Samsung's screen blows it away.
     
  12. HKUSP45Css

    HKUSP45Css

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  13. cgwahl

    cgwahl Sheriffs a near

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    If you go with Lenovo or Dell, be sure to see what if any coupons/deals they have going.

    Lenovo seems to have 10-20% sales going all the time and Dell is always doing some sort of promotion.


    http://www.techbargains.com is a good site that keeps track of them.
     
  14. lanternlad

    lanternlad Mythmatician

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    Whatever laptop you get, you might be interested in using this to get rid of all the excess garbage software that comes pre-loaded on everything:

    http://pcdecrapifier.com/
     
  15. Cochese

    Cochese Most mackinest CLM

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    I paid big money for a Dell XPS M1330.

    It is currently in use as a file server at my house. It is running three monitors, external network drives and printer and is networked to a phone and two other laptops. I'm running 8GB or ram.

    Its a beast.

    My runaround laptop is a Asus T91MT. Awesome!
     
  16. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    This is a great program if you are buying the typical laptop form a major retailer or supplier. If you go with a laptop from a business line such as Dell Vostro, it actually does not come with any of the crap the consumer laptops come with.
     
  17. Berto

    Berto woo woo

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    <------- Damn happy with Dell Vostro 1510
     
  18. HKUSP45Css

    HKUSP45Css

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    Why wouldn't one just fire up the old "add/remove programs" instead of installing programs in order to uninstall programs?
     
  19. sputnik767

    sputnik767

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    It takes forever to do it that way. This program does everything for you automatically. I take a more drastic approach. When my sister bought her netbook, the first thing I did was fully wipe the HD and install my own copy of the operating system. It ran much better.
     
  20. badr1

    badr1

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    I have an Acer Aspire 5532 I love it and it was 348 2 BEST BUY