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New budget laptop - around 400 pounds

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Exteez

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Hi guys. I live in the United Kingdom in Europe, I'm telling you this because I want my item delivered from my country.

I am looking for a new laptop for my university work doing programming languages etc. I would also like to use it for leisure like watching movies etc... and maybe playing some small games. What laptop can you guys recommend? I am looking roughly at 400 British pound budget for the laptop. Windows 7 or 10 please not 8.

Thanks you! I appreciate any comments that are made here!
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
You'll want a Nvidia GPU for high quality scaling, especially if you're connecting a larger display. Actually getting one on that budget can be difficult. You might be better off bringing a desktop (or several!) as well, even an older one. (You can use the desktop(s) to mine altcoins 24/7 and a get a little income. Just beware the steep learning curve to getting started!)

Exactly what sort of work are you looking to do? If you're just getting started in programming, you won't need much power at all - a Raspberry Pi will do except that's not a complete PC. Otherwise, you should have a good idea what sort of power you'll need. Decide whether you want to spend more now and use the same machine for all of college or spend less and upgrade partway through. I personally chose the first path back in 2007, but I had roughly a $1000 budget to work with for the PC itself, not including accessories.
 

mackerel

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
Hi also from UK. £400 could be a challenging budget or not depending on expectations...

Some random thoughts:
- any preferences on size of the laptop? 15" tends to be cheapest but not so much fun to carry around regularly, compared to smaller ones.
- related to size, you can then think about the screen. 1920x1080 would be nice to have at 15" depending on your eyesight. Smaller sizes would result in lower resolutions, and a cramped working area.
- consider a bigger external monitor if you'll be using it a lot where you live.
- how small are "small games"? Integrated graphics could be ok for less demanding games, or much older games, but largely forget big name titles.
- GTX 940M might just make it into that budget, although there may be two versions with no easy way to tell between them. The faster one looks comparable to a desktop 750Ti, which could ok for basic gaming of more recent titles.
- CPU wise I'd aim for an i3 based system, avoid atom as they're slow.
- AMD APU might be another possibility here but I'm not up to speed on those

Basically if you don't look too hard on the gaming side it would be a lot easier to find something nice.
 
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Exteez

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Hi guys thank you for your answers! Right I think I've confused you a little with the "gaming", I'm not looking to play any demanding online games, like maybe hearthstone or something like that I would play, nothing more really. However, I would use the laptop to connect it to a TV via a HDMI cable to watch movies from the laptop that are streamed onto the TV. So connecting it would I really need a graphics card just to connect it to watch films? or would integrated graphics just do? And the programming is very basic to be honest, so really the most stressful thing for the laptop I guess it would be playing hearthstone and watching films, but I'd like both to be smooth and to last some time...

- - - Updated - - -

From lists online that I have read about, it seems the laptop HP 250 G4 is good? What do you guys think about it?

- - - Updated - - -

And the screen size around 15 inches is completely fine :)
 

mackerel

Member
Joined
Mar 7, 2008
That helps a a lot. For that level of gaming, almost anything would do and you can try using the rest of the budget more effectively. I'd look for something recent-ish with at least a Core i-something dual core processor in it. Maybe a true quad is outside the budget. Any preference on side of the laptop? Again, a 15" would tend to be cheapest and there's premium/compromise as you go smaller.
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Do you have a desktop, even an older one, that you can bring as well? IIRC, Nvidia GPUs have supported high quality scaling as far back as the 8000 series, although the more advanced algorithms will only run on more powerful GPUs. The 520 used to be the minimum recommended for HTPC.

A Nvidia GPU is not a must have, but it does improve the video quality. For the uses you mentioned, a Tegra X1 would be ideal but there are currently no reasonably priced laptops/tablets based on it. (Pixel C is a bit overpriced for what it is.)

I wouldn't recommend any HP given their poor reliability within the last few years. Dell and Lenovo seem to be the most reliable of the "popular" brands.
 

Mattyh

Registered
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
probably over your budget but if you are looking to spend a bit more im selling my Alienware 17" laptop, with 16gb ram, intel core i7, amd r9 x290m
 
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Exteez

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Well anything will do really but it is important that movies will run in 1080p that are streamed through a hdmi cable to a TV, and so that they are just as smooth. So can you guys maybe give me some names of laptops I can search up on Ebay/Amazon and look at?

- - - Updated - - -

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/computing/laptops/laptops/lenovo-g50-15-6-laptop-silver-10150313-pdt.html?istCompanyId=bec25c7e-cbcd-460d-81d5-a25372d2e3d7&istItemId=xxqwiwmatq&istBid=tztx&srcid=198&cmpid=ppc~gg~~~Exact&mctag=gg_goog_7904&kwid=GOOGLE&s_kwcid=DS!700000001428950!105916003459!!!g!!PRODUCT+GROUP&device=c&ds_kids=92700014660922572&PLA=1&gclid=CjwKEAjwwOvABRC08aedoZ_lnTMSJACs_cbuyhpW43Xdj3a3h8_K1gDI4kzs5ftTcXIkbdPRl7FxnRoCLWXw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CIvs54esjdACFTam7QodEgoEuw


Is this one good to buy? The processor seems fine, but will it run 1080p videos ?
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
It will work fine to play 1080p content on a 1080p display. (There's no scaling involved there, just decode and output.) Where it falls short is when playing 720p content on a 1080p display. It all depends on what level of quality you're looking for.

The RAM is also going to fall short for heavy multitasking (but you can upgrade it easily enough) and they cheaped out on the battery with only 4 cells. The slow HDD is going to noticeably slow things down and although you could swap that for a SSD, I'm not sure if it's possible to have both a SSD and a HDD in that machine.
 
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Exteez

Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
It will work fine to play 1080p content on a 1080p display. (There's no scaling involved there, just decode and output.) Where it falls short is when playing 720p content on a 1080p display. It all depends on what level of quality you're looking for.

The RAM is also going to fall short for heavy multitasking (but you can upgrade it easily enough) and they cheaped out on the battery with only 4 cells. The slow HDD is going to noticeably slow things down and although you could swap that for a SSD, I'm not sure if it's possible to have both a SSD and a HDD in that machine.


what you mean? Wouldn't it be easier to play 720p what is the problem downscaling? I don't understand? And I only want that machine for multi-tasking really. Like I said just watching 1080p videos, doing some typing and that's it basically. so is it good enough to do that then? The person above said lenovo are one of the best
 

NiHaoMike

dBa Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
1080p content just fits on a 1080p display. No scaling needed. If all the content you watch (at least what you actually care about the quality) is 1080p, that limitation won't be a problem.

To display 720p in full screen on a 1080p display, it must be upscaled. Making matters worse is that 1080p is not an integral multiple of 720p so it is harder to scale it well.