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Notebooks Back to school abroad - Laptop advice needed

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by JaccoW, 12 Jul 2012.

  1. JaccoW

    JaccoW Overspender on keyboards

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    Introduction:
    I'll be moving abroad in September for a minor in Berlin and I am contemplating on which laptop to buy. I will only be there for 5-6 months and I don't intend to bring my huge behemoth of a desktop (20kg) to a small single-room apartment.
    I will need my laptop for taking notes in class so I was thinking of getting a small, lightweight laptop that I can connect to an external screen and various peripherals to turn it into a comfortable workspace when needed,
    maybe even through a usb 3.0 dock like this badboy or its thunderbolt equivalent.

    Ideas:
    While I am tempted to go for a Sony Vaio Z, at €1600 for my preferred setup it is just too much for now. :D
    My current plan was to get an Asus EeePC 1225B and just cobble together a nice little setup from that. My current mini-laptop is an old EEEPC 1000H first generation Atom but I will be selling that one to my parents for their travels.
    I am not too keen on most of the current Ultrabook offerings. Not enough ports, lousy keyboard and too much money for a slow cpu and gpu.

    Uses:
    I will mostly be using this for some text editing, browsing the web and watching HD video.
    The most stressing game that will be played on it will be TF2, which can be scaled down and still look good.

    Budget:
    With an external screen (full HD 22” or 24”), speakers and a mouse up to €1000 / £800 . Preferably I want to keep the total package well under that price. Got the keyboard covered already. :p

    Preferences:
    To sum it all up I want:
    - Lightweight! (<1.5Kg preferred)
    - 13 Inch maximum screen size
    - Good connectivity (enough ports, minimum of 3 usb)
    - USB 3.0 ports (For HDD)
    - Able to play HD video
    - Be 'zippy' enough not to be annoyingly slow
    - Low price (means more money for externals)
    - Not so fast that I am tempted to spend my time gaming, I am in Berlin damnit! :p
    - Good battery life (+4 hours)

    My questions to you:
    - Does anyone have any experience with this Asus or any other of the new Brazos from AMD? Is it fast enough to be used as your main pc if only for a while?
    - Similar alternatives?
    - Any alternatives with a thunderbolt port?
    - Tips on a good external 3.0 HDD 1TB?

    I tried to be as complete as possible, but if you think I missed something please ask. :)
    My intention is to order it this August and perhaps buy a few of the electronics over there in Berlin. I will be visiting Canada and the U.S. this summer, but I will probably not be able to buy any electronics because of software, electric outlet and customs. Might try though. :rock:
     
    Last edited: 13 Jul 2012
  2. Cei

    Cei pew pew pew

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    I would, personally, pick up a second hand 13" MacBook Air (the 2011 SandyBridge model). They're widely regarded as the best ultrabook around, and are actually nice to type on. Admittedly, they only have two USB ports, but the snazzy Thunderbolt dock will work, and you'll get a very lightweight package.

    I owned one up until yesterday, and it had no problem dealing with day-to-day tasks, certainly including HD video playback, whilst having excellent battery life. It could even game - L4D2 ran fine, so I assume TF2 will as well.

    Second hand, you can pick up a 13" i5 model for £800. If you really want to buy new, Apple will sell you the new IvyBridge 2012 model which has USB3, faster GPU and CPU, and you can get eduction discount to take some of the pain away. At a rough guess, the top end 256GB SSD, 1.8Ghz i5 model after discount will be around £1100.


    You can even install Windows.
     
  3. Guinevere

    Guinevere Mega Mom

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    The other advantage of a Mac over a PC is when it comes to resale value. Unless you leave it too long, you can usually sell a MacBook for a fair percentage of your purchase price when comparable spec PCs will plumet in value.
     
  4. JaccoW

    JaccoW Overspender on keyboards

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    Keep in mind we are talking €1000 Euros here. So less than £800.
    For that I also want to buy a 22-24" Full hd screen (€160) and a good set of speakers like a Creative Gigaworks T40 (€90). That leaves a total of €740 / £580 for the laptop.

    That is a far cry from the £1100 for a macbook air. For that price I can get a Sony Vaio Z at 2-3 times the performance at a lower weight. It is a nice laptop though, especially with the thunderbolt port. Just a little out of my pricerange.

    If you want to find out prices, take a look here: Tweakers.net - Pricewatch. A Dutch electronics search engine.
     
  5. JaccoW

    JaccoW Overspender on keyboards

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    I've been digging, owners of the Asus would not recommend it as a primary pc. Ah well.

    The Sony Vaio T13 seems like a nice option. Can be upgraded with a Intel i7-3517U processor for a little boost and it won't break the bank at €730,- after the student discount. Still an ultrabook though. :/
     

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