General Question

anoop66's avatar

Help me find a laptop under 800$ (Incl. of taxes) that meets my requirements?

Asked by anoop66 (897 points ) June 30th, 2010

I need a laptop for my studies at USC, California for MS Computer Science Course. Heard the tax on electronics goods is quite high in California. My budget is 800 $ inclusive of taxes. I guess that’s 700–730 $ without taxes, not sure of that.

My requirements are:

Intel Core i processor (i3 or i5)
4GB DDR3 RAM
320/500 GB Hard Disk
Nvidia or ATI graphics (512 or 1 GB)
Battery life of atleast 2.5 hours
14” or 15.6” HD Display
Good build quality (Shouldn’t feel cheap/plasticky)

The looks, weight of the notebook are not that important to me but the build quality must be good.

Thanks !

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16 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Wal*Mart sells a Toshiba with those specs and at that price level.

se_ven's avatar

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834146774

I think Lenovo’s have one of the best build qualities.

jaytkay's avatar

In addition to that Lenovo linked by @se_ven, Newegg makes it easy to click through item-by-item (cpu, cost, hard drive, RAM, etc) and find all the models which match your criteria.

Newegg is also hands-down the favorite source for computer gear among the IT people I know.

RandomMrdan's avatar

Here is a pretty good deal on a 14” Acer that has a Radeon 5650 Graphics card, and an i3 processor.

Though, it’s priced at 799.99 pre tax, it’ll be tough to try and find one with a graphics card and that much processing power for 800 after tax.

@se_ven the model you linked to doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card.

@aprilsimnel The model you linked is nice, but the graphics card is about equivalent to a motherboard shared card.

nina's avatar

I seriously recommend looking on CL for used models, of course if you can risk the $

mhl12's avatar

You could try the first model listed here: http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?sduid=0&t=2103156

Dell Studio XPS for $690 after 40% off.
15.6 in Edge-to-Edge HD Widescreen LED backlit (1600×900)
Intel Core i5 430M, 2.53 GHz
4 GB DDR3 1066 MHz
500 GB SATA 7200 RPM
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4670 with 1 GB graphics memory

RandomMrdan's avatar

go with @mhl12 you’re not going to find anything better than that right there.

joon1986's avatar

Bestbuy has lots of laptop that falls into your specification under your price
and I am pretty sure there are thousands of small/big online computer shops that sells laptop that you are looking for
I personally think design of laptop is also a big thing…so I would recommend you to go to store and check them out first….I like laptop from toshiba and dell but it’s just my preference
below is the link from bestbuy…I think you can upgrade video card and thing with additional few bucks..
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Dell++Inspiron+Laptop+with+Intel%26%23174;+Core%26%23153;+i5+Processor++Black+Obsidian/9693173.p?id=1218150183860&skuId=9693173

RandomMrdan's avatar

@joon1986 you can’t upgrade the graphics on any laptop. What you buy it with, is what you’re stuck with. The item you found is a good deal, but my only concern is that Best Buy won’t ship it, or it won’t be available… I notice it’s an Outlet store item.

joon1986's avatar

@RandomMrdan
When I bought my laptop 2 years ago from Future shop…(which is Canadian version of Bestbuy) I didn’t like the graphics card that originally comes with…so I asked to guy if I could possibly customize it and I did… I had to pay nearly 1.5 times more than original price…but I did upgrade memory card, hard drive and graphic card..
maybe they had that particular laptop with better graphic card and they just upgraded other two things….or maybe I was lucky….but never hurt to ask for it…right???

ericnueman's avatar

Check out Mac new laptops running PC OS using boot camp! Then you’ll have the best of both or else go to China town for a cheap Asus!

RandomMrdan's avatar

@joon1986 I’ve worked in computer electronics retail for over 5 years, and I’ve never once seen a laptop that has the option to upgrade the graphics card. Now, customizing prior to purchase, and having it sent to you later is one thing. But buying a laptop in a box, opening it, and deciding to put in a graphics card is something I’ve never seen. I can only assume it’s not a name brand laptop (HP, Dell, Toshiba, etc), and maybe was quite large and supported parts for it.

And as you said, you paid 1.5 times more than the original price…. why not get a system that is preconfigured the way you want?

Any laptop you go out and buy in a retail store now only has the option for upgrading ram and hard drive.

jaytkay's avatar

@RandomMrdan I had never heard of upgradable laptop video cards either (and I worked 12 years in PC retail), but here are a few examples.

PC World 2008: “Upgrading your laptop’s graphics card is no walk in the park; in fact it’s something more akin to open heart surgery. But it can be done, and the rewards can be well worth the trouble and risk.”

Alienware Area-51m laptops circa 2004 “all of which feature user-upgradeable graphics modules based on ATI and nVidia laptop graphics chips.”

eHow circa 2008How to Install a New Video Card in Your Dell Laptop PC…These instructions work for just a few models of Dell laptops, including the Dell Inspiron 8500 and similar laptops.”

joon1986's avatar

@RandomMrdan
I did upgrade my graphics card prior to purchasing…..it was like how you would customize a laptop when you purchase it online kinda thing…..they give you few options such as two/three choice of memory card capacity, hard drive capacity, graphics card option and so on…I guess “upgrade” was wrong choice of word…...sorry for confusions I may have caused :(

HungryGuy's avatar

Do you have a friend in another state with lower taxes who can buy it for you and ship it to you?

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