Advice for buying a laptop.

  jmorey 21:04 08 Aug 2010

I am currently looking to buy a new laptop and I have a few questions that it would be great if someone could help me with.
My budget is £500 give or take a hundred or so and for that price, laptops with i5 processors are few and far between, and they are entry level i5s. With regards to the processor, is there a lot of difference between the i3 and i5 and also with the older core 2 duos? Is it better to get a better i3 processor rather than the entry level i5-430m. How important is the cache? is 3
With RAM, i would like to have 4gb, the faster the better right? And ddr3 ram is worth getting rather than ddr2, from what I understand it is quicker and uses less power?
How much difference is there in battery life between a 15" and 17" screen?

As far as I can see this laptop would be perfect for what I want but for some reason it seems as though the Dells don't come with wireless N.
click here

I've probably forgotten some things but I can add them later.
Any help would be appreciated.

  Why wont it work 22:56 08 Aug 2010

Firstly, what do you want to do with the laptop? Just basic work or gaming etc etc?

1) The i3 and i5 are a bit faster than the older Core 2 Duos, but the difference isn't massive. A 2.8ghz+ Core 2 Duo could probably keep pace with most of the i3s and i5s.

2)The i5 will nearly always be faster than the i3. They generally have a higher clockspeed and have certain performance boosting features that the i3s lack(turboboost for instance), which makes the i5 quicker.

3)I wouldn't worry about CPU cache, but as a general rule, the more the merrier!

4)It isn't worth purposely hunting for DDR3 laptops over DDR2, the perfomance difference is usually very small indeed. Besides, all Intel i3 and i5s will come with DDR3 anyway.

5)You're not likely to notice the difference between 3gb and 4gb RAM. Even 2gb is enough for most activities- although again, more the merrier!

6) Normally 17" laptops are designed as 'desktop replacements' and aren't for carrying around. They therefore tend to have a much shorter battery life than laptops with smaller screens.

7) Wireless N is useful if you can get it (although you'd need a wireless N router to get the full benefit). If you buy direct from Dell you should be able to upgrade to wireless N, although you may have to ring them. If you can't get it, it's no great loss as most things run fine a G speed anyway (internet etc).

Hope that helps!

  jmorey 11:10 10 Aug 2010

Thanks, that response was a great help, cleared a lot up for me.

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