Computers & Electronics

Just realized how difficult it is to shop for laptop with a budget

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[OP]
Newbie
Jun 30, 2008
97 posts
27 upvotes
Toronto

Just realized how difficult it is to shop for laptop with a budget

All I need is:
- A good cpu (i5 6th gen or i7 4th gen and up for occasional video editing)
- 8gb ram with the ability to add more (must!)
- A HD that I can swap out for an SSD in the near future.

No gaming. Size can be from 13" - 15", just need it to be able to carry it around school.

Is it possible to get a laptop with those specs around the $700-900 range? Or am I asking for too much?


After a few hours of searching this is the best that I can find.

http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/asu ... cbb2b1en02

Intel Core i7-5500U / 1TB HDD / 8GB RAM / Windows 10 for $800. But the mobo can only handle 8gb ram :facepalm:
22 replies
Deal Addict
Aug 28, 2014
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It's mostly a scam market; the chip makers keep using confusing labelling to trick people on the actual performance between generations and justify the premium you pay, the cpu's are 1/4 the size of full desktop versions and these days with ultra books they are actually downgrading performance from previous laptop generations while upping the price astronomically.

You might have better luck buying second hand business laptops.
Temp. Banned
Aug 7, 2011
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Vaughan
Step one is avoiding best buy.
Deal Addict
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Nov 12, 2011
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Niagara-on-the-Lake
squadz wrote: Step one is avoiding best buy.
This. Better deals at other stores and online.
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Apr 30, 2011
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RICHMOND HILL
Typhoonz wrote: This. Better deals at other stores and online.
IDK you'll be hard pressed to find better prices outside Best Buy and ME/CC/NCIX. Small businesses simply can't compete in terms of price these days.
Deal Expert
Mar 23, 2004
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solara99 wrote: All I need is:
The list you're already asking for trouble because:
solara99 wrote: - A good cpu (i5 6th gen or i7 4th gen and up for occasional video editing)
There are lots of "good CPUs" that aren't necessarily 5th and 6th gen models. If you're on a budget you may want to look into stuff like Ivy and Haswell, particularly since you can probably find off-lease/refurb Latitudes with those processors at good prices. But if you insist on the latest processors, then expect high prices.

As for the i7, you do realise that many mobile i7 models (the 5500U included) are just DC + HT, same as any mobile i5 and i3, right? All that separates the DC models is the i5 has turbo over the i3, and the i7s have higher clock speeds and sometimes stuff like Iris/Iris Pro graphics. Otherwise the i7s are just a lot more expensive for little performance increase. While there are some QC mobile i7s the 5500U isn't one of them and they are even more expensive and pay a second penalty of shorter battery life.
solara99 wrote: - 8gb ram with the ability to add more (must!)
Well at least that's reasonable.
solara99 wrote: - A HD that I can swap out for an SSD in the near future.
For some reason laptops, unlike pre-built desktop systems, many of them have had SSDs for some time now. So you might even find one that has an SSD to start with.
solara99 wrote: No gaming. Size can be from 13" - 15", just need it to be able to carry it around school.
If no gaming you should seriously consider a used, off-lease, or refurb Latitude or Thinkpad which will save you lots of money get you under your budget and be pretty much fine in terms of processor power. Again though if you insist on a 5th or 6th gen i7, then be prepared to fork over more than your budget allows because in that case you are asking for too much.

Laptops depreciate like crazy, ones that are 1-2 years old can be had for 1/3rd the price they originally sold for. IMO unless you're buying a "gaming laptop" (which you're not), it's just a waste of money to buy a brand new one.
solara99 wrote: http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-ca/product/asu ... cbb2b1en02

Intel Core i7-5500U / 1TB HDD / 8GB RAM / Windows 10 for $800. But the mobo can only handle 8gb ram :facepalm:
I'd imagine being a 5th gen CPU it can easily handle more than 8GB RAM, however if you'll ever need it is another story (you probably won't from the sounds of it). Secondly the resolution on that things is pretty poor for a nearly 16" screen. Thirdly, I'd stay away from the consumer-market crap you see at Best Lie, etc., again unless you're looking for a gaming laptop where you have no choice.
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Oct 6, 2005
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squadz wrote: Step one is avoiding best buy.
Best Buy has a generous return policy.
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Mar 20, 2009
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If you have a specific set of minimum specs in mind, you'll find it difficult to stick to a low budget. Every laptop that seems like a bargain will turn out to be almost, but not quite - just one or two things missing. So if you have the impression that there are lots of laptops for $700 that have pretty much what you want, you'll end up spending $1100. :)

The alternative is to stick to your budget and be prepared to compromise on one or two things. You can always add an after-market SSD. Do you really need a backlit keyboard? How often are you going to use those high-performance graphics, really? So the nominal battery life is only 3 hours instead of 5 hours. Etc.
[OP]
Newbie
Jun 30, 2008
97 posts
27 upvotes
Toronto
Thanks for the responses guys
Typhoonz wrote: This. Better deals at other stores and online.
Where else would one look? CC, Tiger Direct, NCIX, Newegg type of places?
ES_Revenge wrote: ...There are lots of "good CPUs" that aren't necessarily 5th and 6th gen models. If you're on a budget you may want to look into stuff like Ivy and Haswell, particularly since you can probably find off-lease/refurb Latitudes with those processors at good prices. But if you insist on the latest processors, then expect high prices.

As for the i7, you do realise that many mobile i7 models (the 5500U included) are just DC + HT, same as any mobile i5 and i3, right? All that separates the DC models is the i5 has turbo over the i3, and the i7s have higher clock speeds and sometimes stuff like Iris/Iris Pro graphics. Otherwise the i7s are just a lot more expensive for little performance increase. While there are some QC mobile i7s the 5500U isn't one of them and they are even more expensive and pay a second penalty of shorter battery life.

If no gaming you should seriously consider a used, off-lease, or refurb Latitude or Thinkpad which will save you lots of money get you under your budget and be pretty much fine in terms of processor power. Again though if you insist on a 5th or 6th gen i7, then be prepared to fork over more than your budget allows because in that case you are asking for too much.

Laptops depreciate like crazy, ones that are 1-2 years old can be had for 1/3rd the price they originally sold for. IMO unless you're buying a "gaming laptop" (which you're not), it's just a waste of money to buy a brand new one.
Yeah you're right, I think I'll just have to go with an older gen cpu to reduce the cost. I can't skimp out on ram though, need at least 12gb.

Where can I go to shop for reliable refurb laptops?
Cheapo-Findo wrote: Get this https://www.amazon.ca/F555LA-Full-HD-La ... s=asus+555

Add a Samsung Evo SSD 250gb and another 8gb ram. All in all including taxes =$730
Interesting, gonna see if I can find an i5 instead, I have an i3 right now and the amount of time it takes to render a short video is unreal.
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Jul 27, 2006
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Took me forever (1 year) to find a laptop and got a T450 for $500. Spent some money on more RAM and as SSD which put it to $580.

Just need the FHD screen next.

How portable are you trying to be? Getting around school is pretty vague to be honest because 15" can get quite heavy to be carrying around school.
Deal Addict
Nov 29, 2005
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As mentioned, i'd second getting an offlease business laptop (thinkpad/other). Look for an ivy bridge model as haswell onwards there was a shift to more battery savings which resulted in a significant drop in performance.

My x230 has been stellar these last 4 years and i'd like to get something newer but can't justify buying something new that would only have a marginal (at best) performance increase. My x230's Core i5-3320M @ 2.60GHz actually benches on par with the Core i7-5500U. Put in an SSD and min 8gb ram and you are golden.
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Nov 12, 2011
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solara99 wrote: Thanks for the responses guys



Where else would one look? CC, Tiger Direct, NCIX, Newegg type of places?



Yeah you're right, I think I'll just have to go with an older gen cpu to reduce the cost. I can't skimp out on ram though, need at least 12gb.

Where can I go to shop for reliable refurb laptops?



Interesting, gonna see if I can find an i5 instead, I have an i3 right now and the amount of time it takes to render a short video is unreal.
I've always found Canada Computers and NCIX to have decent deals. Much better value than bestbuy. Just my two cents though.
Deal Addict
Feb 6, 2008
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How about this Acer model, it's a bit pricier at $999, but the processor is much better than any of the i7 U models mentioned above. It also comes with an SSD and discrete graphics.


15.6-Inch1920 x 1080
i5-6300hq
256Gb SSD
8Gb RAM (up to 32GB)
Windows 10 home 64-bit




https://www.amazon.ca/ACJ4C-V5-591G-55P ... =i5-6300HQ
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
27311 posts
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Think that's hard? Try finding a notebook nowadays with Windows 7 drivers.
bubuski wrote: Downside is no gigabit wired card.
Who thought this was a good idea? I literally want to punch anyone that pulls this kind of crap.
Or literally murder anyone that pulls the ethernet port altogether.
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Mar 14, 2009
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solara99 wrote: Thanks for the responses guys



Where else would one look? CC, Tiger Direct, NCIX, Newegg type of places?



Yeah you're right, I think I'll just have to go with an older gen cpu to reduce the cost. I can't skimp out on ram though, need at least 12gb.

Where can I go to shop for reliable refurb laptops?



Interesting, gonna see if I can find an i5 instead, I have an i3 right now and the amount of time it takes to render a short video is unreal.
There is little to no difference between a mobile i3 and a mobile i5. They are both dual cores with hyperthreading.

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