I am new to buying laptops and i need help

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Dec 21, 2010

Yeah, you can practically buy a laptop for $400 that will do your office work perfectly. If you want a better resolution (too see more stuff on the screen) and a little more punch to go a bit faster, you can find one for $600. However you gotta understand that laptops in this price range do *not* have a graphics card but have an integrated graphics chipset solution which is [strike]horr[/strike] poor for gaming, at best. Sometimes they have a weak graphics card which is most of the time better but not a great-great gaming experience.

A good idea would be to look at Dell's Inspiron series, they provide very affordable performance laptops for office work and occasional gaming (on low settings of course). I suggest this one Inspiron, a little bit over your budget ($650) but I think it's worth it because the graphics card is a lot more powerful than what you'd find on cheaper laptops and can play almost any game on low/medium settings at a decent framerate (cheaper ones will struggle/fail on lowest settings):


Try customizing it and see what works for you, or otherwise look for other laptops. This looks like a good bet but of course there's always something better out there.

For your needs you will want:
- a good CPU, try looking at least at a speed of 2GHz and a dual core. 2.5GHz dualcore is probably the most you should get before it gets overkill
- at least 3GB of memory, try and aim for 4GB if you can (it's pretty much mainstream now), don't feel obliged to add gig upon gig just because it's cheap
- a 5400RPM hard-drive, storage size depends on how you use it. If you can get a 7200RPM hard drive it's better (since it's faster) but it's absolutely not a prerequisite
- a good GPU, try using this chart to check the performance of the graphics card that's in the laptop you're looking at
- a good-resolution LCD, you want at least 1366x768 or 1280x800, anything smaller looks cheap and blurry, and if you can afford a 1920x1080 it's even better. But in your price range I'd stick to 1366x768, it's pretty decent and you can hook up an external display later on anyway.
- the rest is pretty much mainstream...
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