Computer Help forum


What is a fast Laptop for under 500?

by Brad Spears / June 10, 2016 10:21 AM PDT

I'm in school for software development and I'm looking for a 17" somewhat fast laptop for a lot of multi-tasking. I constantly go between my browsers, IDE's and online books and my current laptop bogs out all the time. I'm trying to find something on a budget that may be able to not time out on me with several apps open at once. I see there are a lot of HP Pavilion's or the Dell 5755, but a lot of the comments say they're really slow. Any help on what I should look for?

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All Answers

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Don't do this. (17)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 10, 2016 10:34 AM PDT

Time and time again students lament the 17 inch decision after a year. Don't do that.

Most of the speed issues is low RAM and for some, the old tech we called hard drives.

Maybe your current laptop can be boosted with a cheap SSD and more ram?

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What's wrong with the 17"
by Brad Spears / June 10, 2016 10:40 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't do this. (17)

I did up the ram from 4 to 8 Gb which did help a little bit, but not much. I had a 17" previously and like the size better. So hypothetically, I could get one of the lower end laptops, say with an AMD Quad Core A8-7410 Processor 2.2GHz and up the ram to the max which for the Dell 5755 would be 16 GB and get an SSD Hard drive and it would be a decent speed?

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Students that transport it daily
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 10, 2016 10:53 AM PDT

Usually break them as well as the extra weight wears them down. It's why all the advice is to stick with the usual 15.6 or so inches.

8GB is fine, so my bet is the HDD is what's dogging your current PC.

As to the AMD A8, my son had that for a time and even with 16GB and a SSD it wasn't good at development work (Visual Studio.) I'd go to some i5/i7 8GB and SSD before that.

-> You seem to be fixated on the 16GB RAM. Fix the HDD issue first as that's where most delays are now. SSDs in the 480GB size are now 99 bucks. And for most the 240GB will do fine unless the owner collects movies and that can be snagged cheap.

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That makes sense :)
by Brad Spears / June 10, 2016 11:00 AM PDT

There's to much I don't like about my current Laptop to bother upgrading it with an SSD.

I'll see if I can't find one at a decent price with your suggestions and/or the option to upgrade. Appreciate the help and advice.

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There are some i5's in the sub 500
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 10, 2016 11:17 AM PDT
In reply to: That makes sense :)
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I've got several in my Wish List
by Brad Spears / June 10, 2016 11:21 AM PDT

I actually have that one in my wish list already Happy

I'm trying to stick closer to the 400 range since I'll more than likely upgrade the ram and the drive for it. Guess I could always hold off on the upgrades though.

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Penny wish pound foolish?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / June 10, 2016 11:56 AM PDT

Here's what the office supplied me this month as I was past 2 years since a refresh. Yes we changed the HDD to SSD right away.

You already were pressing your luck at 500 and you want to spend less?

In short you'll be trading time for money.

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Get a refurbished one
by yasinghMD / June 10, 2016 10:37 PM PDT

In that price range you can get much faster CPU on a refurbished laptop.
Try this site:
They sell business refurbs so be sure that the unit you purchase has features like web cam and DVD-RW (if you will be needing them). Be sure to get at least 8GB RAM.
Here is one example:
They have some 17" also.
I would not waste money on SSD. For the difference you can purchase much larger SSD and replace it afterwards.

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Plus 1 for a refurb
by Zouch / June 11, 2016 1:28 AM PDT
In reply to: Get a refurbished one

Most of my machines are refurbs, preferably by the manufacturer but sometimes privately. My latest was a private refurb, Lenovo T430s, Ivy Bridge i5 dual core with HyperThreading, 2.53 GHz, with 8 GB RAM and a 180GB SSD. Still has 90 days of its original 3 year warranty to run, around $400 Australian, what's not to like?

Lenovo Thinkpads are business machines and expected to last well over their usual 3-4 year lease, The T-series are built like tanks but not unreasonably heavy, the E-series is a little less robust but typically the same internals. You might look for a T44x Gen 4 or T45x 5th Gen.

From your usage, I'd recommend you stick with an Intel processor for performance. I have an Asus with an AMD A8 quad in it and it isn't as sprightly as a nominally lower power Intel i5 HT. Whether you go for an i7 or a higher frequency i5 would depend on your workload and budget - i7 refurbs are much less common.

I'd read all the specs on SSDs but never had one until this latest T430s. I'm now with Bob, they are the best way to remove the performance bottleneck, assuming you have at least 8 GB RAM. And not just for boot, shutdown and program loads, everything is so much faster, go for it.

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Under 500
by Bob__B / June 11, 2016 5:48 AM PDT
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Acer Laptop
by yasinghMD / June 11, 2016 11:47 AM PDT
In reply to: Under 500

This is obviously a much better value than the refurb that I posted
above, except for the Acer quality and the CPU is half as fast.

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I will recommand Acer.
by rosedhue / February 17, 2017 12:51 AM PST

I've got Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-53VG in this winter.
I usually watch TV, create documents in Word, Excel and surf the internet. And the computer is not slow .

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