Lenovo L520 vs Dell Vostro 3550

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Mar 28, 2011
I am going to college next fall and I am deliberating what laptop to get. After 5-6 years of using Macs, I want to go back to a PC. Anyways, I am right now between the Lenovo L520 and Vostro 3350. When I configured them, both are about the same at approx. $1050-$1100.

Specs for the L520:
-Intel i3 Processor (2.1 GHz w/ 3MB L3 cache)
-Integrated graphics
-6GB of RAM (though I might downgrade to 4)
-128 GB SSD

Vostro 3550:
-Intel i5 processor (2.30 GHz, supposedly able to OC to 2.90 GHz, cache not stated)
-ATI Radeon 6630 with 1GB of VRAM
-6GB of RAM
-320 GB 7200 RPM HDD

Basically, each has a major trade off. On one hand, if I get the Lenovo, I get a uber fast SSD and probably a tougher computer (since Lenovo/IBM is known for durability). One the other hand, the Dell has a pretty decent dedicated graphics card and a better CPU, also a backlit keyboard (ableit a minor advantage). Basically, I am at a crossroads, is an SSD worth getting over a better GPU? I want some gaming power, but I do only light-moderate gaming (ie games like Spore, Black and White 2). Anyways, I was also wondering...

1) Does the Vostro 3550 have a durable chassis?
2) Has Dell gotten any better? I haven't had a Dell since my nightmarish Inspiron I got about 7-8 years ago.


Looks like both models are the newer Sandy Bridge CPUs.

Thinkpad Core i3-2310M
Vostro Core i5-2410M

For any reasonable chance at gaming I think the better CPU/GPU combo is for you.
The SSD would be nice for snappy responsiveness. But overall performance wise you'd get more with the better CPU/GPU.


Overall the whole Dell business lineup (Latitude and Vostro) is quite good, as are most of the major MFGRs business class lineups.

It's not easy to get up-to-date data on reliability/durability on new models. But one study by SquareTrade found this:
(with the usual caveats like they're measuring older & different models, and only from customers who purchased extended warranties)
Lenovo didn't agree with the conclusions and I personally believe they have a point. SquareTrade wants to sell more extended warranties.

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May 3, 2012
i am on vostro 3550. its great build with anodized finish. 2.0 mp web cam. good 3.0x2 + 2.0x1 port. but amd switchable 6630 has a problem. u cant find it physically. all properties are that of intel 3000. but if u dont game heavy its good outdoors.(fingerprint reader is added)
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