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Could use some laptop guidance

by bradleyheathhays / January 31, 2014 10:33 PM PST

Have done a lot of research looking for a new laptop and I'm having problems finding something that doesn't have at least one fatal flaw. So although I'm not here a lot I'm writing in to see what kind of advice I can get.

Here's what I'm looking for:

- Thinkpad style input (which pretty much limits me to a thinkpad I'm
- Intel processor
- 500GB HDD
- 15.6" screen
- Wifi
- separate numeric keypad
- Windows 7 (must)
- USB 3.0 (negotiable)
- VGA output (negotiable)
- HDMI output (negotiable)
- around $500 (but not $600)
- rating at high 3 stars or above
- would prefer new but will go w/ a manf refurb if that's what it takes to get
everything in this price range
- processor speed in the 2 GHz range if possible
- some kind of warranty

I'm not a gamer so the graphics card isn't that important. A good screen res would be nice but again not that high on the priority list. Would like to stay away from a weak case.

So but here's the thing...I can't tell which but either by way of addiction or if simply through my own inability to adapt to something different I've become hooked on the Thinkpad trackpoint input device (the red dot) as well as the two separate dedicated mouse buttons at the top of the touchpad. I've tried to adapt to newer style touchpads but something about them will always be ambiguous and awkward for me. I know it's putting a huge limitation on this laptop hunt of mine but I know in the long run if I stick to a thinkpad, or a computer with a similar input button (of which I know none) I'll be overall much happier with the interface.

So there's that.

After a lot of reading I was all set on getting a manf refurbd Lenovo E530 for $509 on ebay until I read reviews that the touchpad itself is 'total junk.' Big disappointment there because spec wise it was everything I was looking for.

I've checked lots on Amazon, Best Buy, Tiger Direct and the New Egg websites, and after finding nothing more than this last one it seems now that I've exhausted all the resources I'm aware of. So if anyone has any idea at all on where I should look to make this next computer of mine happen I'm all ears. Been wondering if there's something maybe like a well known reliable computer builder somewhere, maybe on ebay, who does build to spec orders.

Quick question: I've seen some machines listed as Win 7 by way of something like a downgrade option from Win 8, or something like that. I'm guessing that means it arrives appearing as Win 8 but you can do some sort of swap where you probably get online and they shoot you Win 7 whereby you install. However it works, do all Win 8 machines have the ability to downgrade to Win 7?

Thanks for the help.

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