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Tech people: i3,i5,i7 processors in laptops?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by surftheiop, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. surftheiop

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    So I'm looking to buy a medschool laptop, I'm going to get a PC because thats what I'm most comfortable with. The thing that is hanging me up is which type of 2nd gen intel processor I should go for, I will mostly be using it as a "student", but might possibly play a computer game every once in a while. I definitely want the computer to not feel ultra slow by the time MS4 comes around. Basically I'm curious which line of processor probably makes the most sense for general use and maybe a little gaming.
     
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  3. SoundofSilver

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    I think an i5 would be more than sufficient, just make sure it's one of the second generation sandy bridge processors. An i7 (quad-core) may be overkill, but if you plan on playing newer games (which can take advantage of multiple cores) or want to future-proof your machine, then it may be appropriate. If you do plan on gaming, make sure you get a solid, discrete GPU (integrated graphics won't cut it), as this will actually affect gaming performance more than your cpu in most cases.

    In my opinion, the most important upgrade you can get on a computer would be the screen. Go with a 1920x1080 screen if available. Not only will everything look sharper, but you'll also have more screen real estate to work with. I hear Dell has some really good 95% color gamut screens in some of their higher end laptops.
     
  4. Guillemot

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    For use as a student any of the processors would be fine, but make sure you get a laptop with a hard drive faster than 5400rpm. IE 7200 or a solid state drive.
     
  5. surftheiop

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    Any suggestions for specific laptops? I've been looking at the Dell XPS 15 series and it seems to be pretty nice and not absurdly expensive.
     
  6. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member
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    Be aware that an i7 processor will kill your battery life...
     
  7. surftheiop

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    I think im going to go for i5
     
  8. SoundofSilver

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    I personally have an i7 and get about 4 to 5 hours of battery life when surfing the web and doing other non-intensive tasks. This is plenty for me. I went with an i7 and 8 GB of RAM because I wanted a computer that won't feel too outdated in a few years.

    Yes, the i5 will tend to eat up less power than an i7, but there are many things besides cpu that influence battery life. I would guess that something like screen brightness would have a much bigger impact. But if you want battery life over performance, then definitely go with an i5. You probably won't be able to tell much of a difference between it and the i7 with casual usage anyways.
     
  9. greg1184

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    Both i5 and i7 are quad core. The difference is that the i7 has hyperthreading which creates 8 virtual cores. Major overkill for a laptop that you will be using for medical school.

    I built an i7 desktop for gaming purposes. If you are not a gamer or using photoshop extensively, the i5 is more than enough.

    I would argue that a solid i3 laptop would be better for the price.
     
  10. surftheiop

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    Any brands / models you would suggest looking into?
     
  11. MightyMoose

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    We just bought my gf a Toshiba Portege R835-P55X and it is sweeet. I'm actually considering buying one myself. It was the cnet cpu of the year, offers great battery life, is roughly 3 lbs, great display, and runs the i5. You'll get ~7 hours of battery life.

    Highly recommend it. Right now if you buy it at the microsoft store or through Amazon you qualify for the free Xbox 360 as a student (if you don't want it, you could sell it in a day on craigslist for $150).
     
  12. greg1184

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    Toshiba is a highly regarded brand. ASUS is another brand highly regarded in the computer world. I personally have Sony Viao laptops. I simply like how they look, and since most laptops are similar that was a factor I took into account. Honestly, this days the brands are pretty comparable for the most part. Support wise, I never cared. I buy the Best Buy warranty so I don't have to deal with manufacturers' support.

    Stay away from cheap brands like Compaq though. That is HP's budget brand.
     
  13. SoundofSilver

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    Yes, this is true of desktop processors, but mobile i5 processors are not quad core. There are even some mobile i7's that are only dual core.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Bridge

    But I do agree with you on your other point. I wanted a good gaming laptop which is why I got an i7 quad. It's overkill for everyday computing.
     
  14. addo

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    dont go for an i7, unless you game or do some serious computing.... instead, save some money, go for an i5 and get an SSD. The SSD will provide the most noticeable speed increase when doing everyday things.
     
  15. Charles_Carmichael

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    +1.

    I recommend a ThinkPad x220. I just recently ordered one. i5, 2.3 GHz, 4 GB RAM, and an SSD (Crucial M4 is what I'm planning on ordering). Very reasonable cost too.
     
  16. organdonor

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    I just wanted to put in a good word for anything ASUS. I love my 1.5 year old UL50A. I recently broke the bezel around the screen and needed it sent in for repairs. The warranty ended more than 6 months ago so I shipped it to ASUS and resigned to pay for it. They said that they'd look it over and tell me how much it would cost to repair before charging me. Lo and behold, 4 days later the UPS guy knocks on my door with my laptop, fixed and shipped back to me for free. I've heard of other instances of this as well.
     
  17. FIREitUP

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  18. HiddenGentleman

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    I have this computer as well and it is really great. As far as what you get for the price you really can't beat it. As far as gaming, I tried running WOW on this and it ran great but not at the higher settings. I went to a website that tells you if your computer would be able to run certain games or not and it said that it could run the new Star Wars old republic game without any issues. As far as FPSs and graphics intensive stuff, that's what I have an XBox for.
     
  19. surftheiop

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    Anyone have any experience with the Toshiba Satellite?
     
  20. Ravendown

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    an i3 is all that you need TC. you don't need all that extra power of an i5. I don't really know the price differences for the laptops though, so if it's not that much more, you might as well get the i5 then. Depending on how much you save from getting an i3, a ssd would be a smarter choice to make with an older gen laptop. It'd be much faster at loading apps, than an increase in cpu could ever do [at a reasonable price].
     
  21. bomgd3

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    Toshiba R835 and Lenovo X220 are both very good recommendations!
     
  22. DoctwoB

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    I3 to I7 are all crazy fast these days, so I'd go with the i3 for cheapness unless you really need the power (lots of video editing, compression, etc.) in which case you really shouldn't use a laptop.

    For gaming, the bottleneck will be your graphics card, so if thats important to you get a higher end discreet card (preferably with tech like nvidia's optimus, so it doesn't destroy your battery life)

    For general use, the bottleneck will be your hard drive. So upgrade to a solid state disk. They're pricey, but if you don't need too much storage space (not too many pictures/videos), they make your computer fly. My 4 year old lenovo with a low voltage processor feels faster then any new computer that doesn't have an SSD. And thats not even taking full advantage of the speed, because my comp only has a SATA 1 interface.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834215119
    This computer + http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227532 this SSD = beastly laptop.
     
  23. surftheiop

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    How hard is it to install a SSD on a laptop? I assume I would need to take out the original drive and then re-install windows and everything right?

    I haven't bought computer in ages, they still come with windows discs to re-install windows right?
     
  24. DoctwoB

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    Depends on the computer. Some (a minority these days) come with complete re-install discs for windows. Some just have a recovery partition, which obviously wouldn't transfer to a new hard drive.

    Another option, however, is that some SSDs come with software to "clone" your hard drive. Meaning you plug in the SSD, copy all your hard drive contents to it, take out the hard drive, pop in the SSD, and you're all set. Alternatively, you can buy the software. I believe its called Anconis "true image" software. Here's an example of an SSD + software cloning combo.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboDealDetails.aspx?ItemList=Combo.653163.20-139-416

    Also, many med schools have free or ridiculously cheap software licensing options, so you might be able to get a new copy of windows for free or $10 or something. We get free windows and office.

    Most laptops have hard drives that are very easy to access and replace, but it might be worth reading some reviews or forums on the model in question you're looking at.
     
  25. int3l

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    I have a fitting user name for such a thread ._.

    Lemme know what laptops you have your sights on and I can give you some opinions between the models

    Yep, it's that easy... They are all sata ports, so you basically flip over your laptop, take out the screws, take out the mount for the hard drive and install the new one. The thing you should do however is update the firmware on the SSD, it will help with the seek/read times. Updating the firmware on the SSD wipes everything on the hard drive itself, so it's advisable to update the firmware before installing any OS/programs.

    Like to person above me said, they rarely come with restore discs. Your option would be to call the vendor and ask for the physical discs, it'll probably be around 20-30 bucks for the set of cds.
     
    #24 int3l, Jul 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2011
  26. surftheiop

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  27. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades
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    FWIW I recently got an HP dm4 with an I5. for under $600. Best little computer on the market. The touch pad takes some getting used to but when you figure it out its great.
     
  28. osumc2014

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    I tried getting several of these and they all had defects (at least the online ordering), I would go to the store and buy dm4 or go up a tier and get an envy, I have a 14 and love it! the quality is much better. Also I've found that gaming on laptops with the CPU and GPU now a days gets way too hot, probably not good for the motherboard. I'd still just stick with gaming (new games) on desktops.
     
  29. danzman

    danzman The Ace of Spades
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    Had mine for about 3 months, got it new. No real problems, minor snafu with the touchpad (had to re-instal it NBD), the Envy is a nice machine though. Im convinced that 14 is the perfect size for everyday use. Also, I dabbled in the Mac world and am always let down by the relative cost of their stuff and their performance.
     
  30. aren21

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    I got the same one a few months ago. I havent had any problems with it, and its pretty lightweight compared to most laptops in the 14-16 inch range. The fingerprint scanner is cool too.
     
  31. plsfoldthx

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    A core two duo is all the processing power you really need... A solid state drive is a far far better investment than cpu .... and will make daily computing much faster than a top of the line processor. An i3 with ssd will be much much snappier than an i7 with a 7200 rpm drive
     
  32. plsfoldthx

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    as for games i just bought a xbox because i don't wanna combine work and play on a computer.
     
  33. Rockinacoustic

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    What kind of games do you play? A laptop with a decent discrete graphics card will run you some more money than these $500-600 configurations people are recommending.

    To answer your question, anything over an entry level i5 CPU would be overkill for your needs.
     

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