Does anyone have any recommendations for cheap Windows laptop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by piatti, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. piatti, Mar 16, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2012

    piatti macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    Around the $400 range.
    Also, when you buy online from Tigerdirect or Geek or newegg, do you have financing options where you pay it in 12months or something similar to that like you can in Apple or Best Buy (18 months for BB).

    Also I heard that HP has the most problems and Toshiba has the least. The only problems I can remember ever having with computers in general is simply the HD dying. What other problems could you expect from buying a laptop like HP?
     
  2. ericinboston macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    #2
    Unless you buy a netbook, ANY $400 Windows "laptop" is going to be junk...and I am not an Apple Fanboy. You should spend at least $550 on a Wintel laptop if you want it to run well and last a few years from a technology point of view. Lenovo machines are excellent, but more expensive than Dell or HP or others. Netbooks can be very good for a low budget, but even $400 is mid-budget for a Netbook.

    1)You need to detail what you want to use the machine for...gaming? web surfing? email? Photoshop? writing code?

    2)If $400 is your budget for a machine, you probably should spend it on a desktop and get better tech specs...but again, you need to give us more insight into what you are going to use the machine for...maybe you can use a desktop.

    3)What are your spec needs? big screen? hdmi output? large hard drive? long lasting battery? etc.


    I'm not sure why you are posting on this website.

    At the end of the day you are VERY LIKELY going to have to spend more than $500 for a brand new machine. If you want to buy used, try the manufacturer's websites for used machines.
     
  3. piatti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    USA
    #3
    how? why do they not last? I've had 1000+ laptops and they didn't last and it was always HDD failure.

    1) web surfing with lots of tabs, maybe 20 tabs.

    2) But when I looked at desktop they had the same specs minus the screen and everything else so that it seemed to me it would be cheaper to get the laptop version and then buy an external screen. By buying a laptop in this range it seemed you can get portability for free.

    3) 17 inch. Don't care much for the rest but decent battery is good. Heard Lenovo battery is bad.
     
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Georgia
    #4
    Toshiba, HP, Dell, &c all use the same parts. In a $400 notebook you are going to get all cheapest available. The real difference is in the amount of bloatware.

    Toshiba is by far the worst manufacturer I have seen in adding bloatware to a new computer. Anything in the Programs and Features with the name Toshiba is likely a poorly designed and inefficient redundancy of a built in Windows feature.

    For a budget computer I recommend Acer. You generally get the best bang for your buck on low end computers. Once you get it go into Programs and Features and uninstall anything that is bloatware. So all the trials, non drivers, anything with the Acer name, &c. Basically everything that does not list Microsoft as the publisher that is not a driver or rare useful utility (CD/DVD playback and burning program, anything marked backup is a limited trial).

    Right now you can get an Acer Aspire with a Core i3 370M, 4GB RAM, 802.11n, and a 15" screen for $380. http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0380449

    To save on software software use Avira Antivirus Free edition, Openoffice.org, Picasa and Firefox. Avira is the current top performing free anti-virus at AV-Comparatives. You get the occasional ad popup trying to get you to upgrade if that bothers you then get the lesser AVG free or get a payed anti-virus. If you're going to pay get GData it has a long standing record of performing superbly in testing.
     
  5. piatti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

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    #5
    Thank you, but microcenter stores are pretty far away from where I live.
     
  6. willieva macrumors 6502

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    Mar 12, 2010
    #6
    Why do you want to spend money to web surf on a windoze box when you already own a mac? If all you want is a cheap windoze platform then buy a copy of w7 and install it in your favorite virtualization software.
     
  7. Bob Coxner macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    #7
    Sign up for email alerts with Dell. They often have special prices that are very good, although getting a 17" under $400 could be tough. If it has an Intel CPU the best you'll get for that price is an i3.

    Here's a Dell that was on sale recently for $525, which is a great price for an i5 laptop:

    SYSTEM Inspiron 17R
    PROCESSOR 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5-2430M processor 2.40 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.00 GHz
    HARD DRIVE 500GB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
    VIDEO CARD Intel HD Graphics/HD Graphics 3000 with up to 1.6GB Dynamic Video Memory
    INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE 8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive) with Roxio Creator 2011
    MCAFEE SECURITYCENTER McAfee® SecurityCenter, 36-Months
    FACIAL RECOGNITION SOFTWARE Integrated 1.0 mega pixel widescreen HD Webcam
    DISPLAY 17.3" HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Display with TrueLife™

    Lenovo and Sony have the best reputations in laptops but I doubt you'll see anything close to $400 with them.
     
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #8
    Isn't it odd how people decide on a price (like $400) before they even go shopping. Why not $300. Will a $400 PC even do what you want? Why buy one at all if you already have a MacBook?

    I bought a Dell Netbook a year ago and it does what it does just fine. I put Linux on it and use it for web and e-mail. I want ed something cheap so I can put it in luggage or a rental car and not worry what happens to it.
     
  9. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    Location:
    Georgia
    #10
    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=1777517&CatId=4965 $400

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2109856&CatId=4965 $450 (Core i5, USB 3)

    http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=2109980&CatId=4965 $430 (lighter, 14" so more portable, 8 cell battery long life)

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+...lack/3672031.p?id=1218425883601&skuId=3672031 $380 (14", USB 3, 4 cell battery)

    There are actually quite a few Core i3 2nd generation on Best Buys website for around $400.
     
  10. diamond3 macrumors 6502a

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    #11
  11. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #12
    I didn't notice this. Op you can just get an OEM copy of Win 7 Home Premium on Newegg for about $100. Partition the drive with bootcamp and install Win 7. Then you can dual boot. Once you install the bootcamp drivers it will be just like running any other Windows computer.
     
  12. r0k macrumors 68040

    r0k

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    Mar 3, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit
    #13
    I agree. But you can also use virtualbox which allows you to run windows without having to reboot. There is also parallels or vmware but those are not free.
     
  13. piatti, Mar 19, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

    piatti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

    Joined:
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    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Our family needs extra computers, so that's why.

    ----------
    BTW,
    I got this cheap HP laptop from best buy:
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/HP+-+15...29550318&skuId=4792337&st=hp laptop&cp=1&lp=7

    It says it's $300 but I got it for like $330 at my local best buy maybe a week ago. What I do like about it is it has a bluetooth, which seems rare for laptops of this price range. But it also seems extremely slow. Is it because it's a dual core AMD? I heard AMDs are slower than Intel. Or is it because of bloatware? I do see it has a lot of games like Mahjong etc. I wonder if it was slow because of that?

    (from the above link) how do you uninstall the bloatware? I don't even know how to identify bloatware.


    I don't like the keyboard, it's too hard to type on it and hurts my fingers. Maybe it's cheap because of the keyboard?

    I was thinking of really returning it because it's slow and hard to type on (and can't even watch 1080p movies because it lags b/c it's so slow) but it would be my 4th computer to return in a row and the guy who handles the returns gives me pressure. Hmm, what would be the best laptop to buy in Best Buy these days... I liked some computers available in places like tigerdirect, does anyone know if you can buy from tigerdirect with 18month or 12month financing? Because we are tight on budget and financing can help.
     
  14. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    Georgia
    #15
    The computer is slow because of the CPU. It is a 1.3Ghz AMD Fusion CPU. These are designed to be cheap and have low power requirements. They are similar in speed to Intel Atom CPU's. These are many times slower than even the old Core 2 Duo.

    Really these chips are better suited for specialty tasks where energy usage is more important than processor speed.

    Really around $400 is about as low as you can expect to go on a new computer. At $300 there is a monumental performance hit. Where you go from a computer that can last you quite well for the next three to five years to one that is barely usable in the here and now.

    At lower prices you can look at used Core 2 Duos on eBay. I'd look at units with Windows 7 64 bit and 3GB+ of RAM.

    As for removing programs go to Start Menu > Control Panel > Programs and Features. I already gave some criteria to look for. Basically most of the stuff is garbage. The only stuff you don't want to remove are hardware drivers and anything from Microsoft.

    Since you say you have financial troubles. I'd go with a used Core 2 Duo, Turion X2, Athlon 64 X2 even and Pentium M with Windows XP and 2GB RAM over making payments on a new computer. Adding monthly payments with interest just makes a bad financial situation worse.
     
  15. piatti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

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    #16
    For financing, I meant no-interest financing. Thanks for the suggestions. How do I go about finding the type of laptop you specified?
     
  16. Giuly, Mar 20, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012

    Giuly macrumors 68040

    Giuly

    #17
    A) $350 would've got you a nice used 2.0GHz (and if you're lucky, 2.4GHz) Core 2 Duo polycarbonate MacBook. Or a nice, sparklin' new AMD desktop PC.

    B) If the hard drive fails, why not just changing it? And if hard drives fail a lot on you, maybe it's time for an SSD.

    Nah. They're about 3 times faster than Atoms, but 10 times slower than a desktop i7. Also, they have significantly better graphics than Atoms.

    In your case: No, as we're talking here performance per dollar.
    If you are talking the most expensive Intel hardware vs. the most expensive AMD hardware in terms of raw performance, then yes. But that's not the issue here, and even in that scenario the most expensive AMD hardware is nearly as good, but significantly cheaper.
     
  17. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    Florida, U.S.A.
    #18
    Try to save up to $600.00 (not necessarily you'll spend it all, but be able to cover a price difference and sales tax) then go to Best Buy and get either a Toshiba or HP Laptop.
    Don't bother with cheap brands like Acer, Gateway, etc., you need it to have a good warranty.
    My brother-in-law and also a friend were able to buy really nice Windows laptops Intel-based (non Atom) from Best Buy. You'll need to do your research to see which one is more convenient.
    That's my best professional recommendation based on you question.

    Of course, if you asked me as a friend, I'd insist you try to save some more and get a Mac. :D
     
  18. Steven in VA macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    #19
    seriously

    I've sold several MacBooks when someone in the family upgraded, all for $400 or less. (OK, $425 for one, but it was a Black Beauty.) They all worked great, and have performed well for their new owners. Even if you are leery of eBay, you can definitely buy a Mac on your budget, enjoy it, and stop fretting with and returning PC stuff.

    And for less than $100 you can put in a capacious new hard drive. Seems an easy call. Stick with Apple.

    You must have sort of expected this kind of response on this site . . .
     
  19. BGrifter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2012
    #20
    If you can still find one (Lenovo just stopped producing them) keep an eye out for the Thinkpad x120e. For the price range it's an excellent little machine. The keyboard is one of the best I've ever used in any size or price range, the matte case/display are nice perks, and while I'm not big on the trackpoint a lot of people seem to like them.

    It's no Macbook Air or anything, but if you've got realistic expectations it's a great little notebook.
     
  20. piatti thread starter macrumors 6502a

    piatti

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    #21
  21. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    #22
    HP is total crap, from the build quality to the infestation of bloatware. Toshiba isn't bad for $400; though if you can find a Lenovo or an Asus, I'd go with them instead.
     
  22. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    Location:
    Georgia
    #23
    That runs about $400. The only cheap sellers are some shady no name companies that are probably scams. I already gave you a link to a $380 laptop that is quite good.
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+...2031&ci_src=11138&ref=39&CJPID=4169666&loc=01

    If you want to spend less. Microcenter offers a few refurbished laptops through their web store. They aren't the fastest but are going to be better than any new $300 laptop. They only run $250 at the moment. These three have the same specs just different manufacturers. The Lenovo comes with Win XP the Dell and HP have Win 7 so I'd flip a coin between the Dell and HP.

    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0383095
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0380247
    http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0383094
     
  23. ericrwalker macrumors 68030

    ericrwalker

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    #24
    Stop moving the computer around while it's running, that's why HHD's fail more often on laptops.
     
  24. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #25
    Go with any of these. I use a v3450 in bronze as my home machine, and I have a v3550 at work. I used to have a v13 (predecessor to the v131) but it wasn't fast enough for programming, but it was a great machine too.

    They're fantastic, well built, with fantastic keyboards. You can get a 2-year on site warranty for a few bucks. That's a piece of mind that you can't get from any laptop from Best Buy or even Apple.

    Also, don't forget to check out Dell's outlet. Most of their computers can be found for about $100 less.
     

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