Laptop for moderate/heavy usage on a budget?

  AlexisC 14:37 25 Jul 2007

Hello there,

I'm new here, but have been reading through all the posts and have already found lots of useful info!

I was hoping you might be able to help me further. I'm trying to purchase a laptop for under £500 (as far under as possible!), that I can use at home for work and personal use. I'll be loading on Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and probably doing a lot of downloading of heavy files via the internet. I'm just really confused about if I should spend more money, or if a laptop under £500 will be OK. I'm also trying to figure out if a sub-£500 laptop will last me 2 years, in comparison to a slightly more expensive laptop might last me double that time (in which case I should grit my teeth and outlay more cash....)

Gigaherz, graphic cards,'s all a jumble!! I've seen someone who recently got a great deal on an Acer, but one of the IT guys I work with is convinced I should go for a HP if I can (my head is hurting!!). Any recommendations or advice would be massively appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Clueless Alexis

  malcolme 23:39 25 Jul 2007

I have a Acer Laptop which I paid £399 for it from Comet, has lasted over 3 years so far,I have got Windows Vista on it.

It came with Intel Celerom 1.5Ghz
256 Meg Ram, which I upgraded with extra 512 Meg Ram and it is copeing quite well.
Only got 30 gig hdd.

I suggest you have a look around a few high street stores and you should find a good laptop within your budget.

  pingadam 00:50 26 Jul 2007

Hi Alexis,

£500 probably won't get you a very high-spec laptop. *However*, I have just seem the following laptop at SimplyAcer:

click here

This is an Acer Aspire 5633 with Intel Core 2 Duo chip (very powerful), 2GB RAM and 120GB hard disk (which should be plenty for your needs). The price excludes delivery, but if you opt for the "Super Saver" option (10 - 14 days for delivery), it seems to be free:

click here

I think this is the most powerful laptop you could probably get *at the moment* for £500 (although with the rate things change in computers, this could be out-of-date by next week!). It should last you well.

If you can stretch your budget a bit (say to £650), there are certainly some very powerful laptops indeed to be had (for example, the Acer TravelMate 5720:
click here).
The more powerful the laptop, the longer it would last you, I would think.

Anyway, also look at the click here website.

Disclaimer: I have not (yet) ever purchased from SimplyAcer or LaptopsDirect, so I can't vouch for their customer service, and I don't personally (yet) have a Laptop (Acer or otherwise), although a neighbour has an Acer Aspire 5633 and is very happy with it so far! The reason I can help you a bit is that I'm researching myself to purchase a laptop soon (will probably go for an Acer, possibly the Acer Aspire 5920), and have done a lot of "digging" already!

Hope this gives you a few ideas anyway!

  davidprc 12:49 26 Jul 2007

Have a look at click here for a good selection of reduced priced laptops. The customer service is also very good.

  Koochy 22:01 26 Jul 2007

Have a good thing on at the minute - if you sign up to Orange broadband you get a free laptop which is very basic but i was advised yesterday that you can have any laptop in the store with approx 300 quid off so in theory if you take out Orange broadband for 24 months you could have an 800 quid laptop for your 500 quid and then just pay the monthly charge for your broadband.


  acxxxx 23:56 26 Jul 2007

In your post you put

'I've seen someone who recently got a great deal on an Acer, but one of the IT guys I work with is convinced I should go for a HP'.

That’s a good starting point (If the IT guy has an HP model in mind) compare the two - price, specs etc (you don't have to go for either) you may decide to go for something in the middle, be it an Acer, HP or other brand.

If you can post a link, we can then tell you what we think about the choices.

  AlexisC 13:48 27 Jul 2007

Thanks for all the great feedback everyone. I've been looking at a couple of laptops at John Lewis...could anyone tell me if the difference in speed between these two would be substantially different? If so, I might look at stretching my budget (eek!). I think there is a cashback website where you can get 8% back on John Lewis electrical purchases online, so the more expensive option would be a little less than advertised...

click here

click here

  Ashrich 23:54 27 Jul 2007

I'd go for the HP Pavillion , just for the beefed up graphics alone , much better that Intel onboard type that uses system memory leaving you with less than the 1gb supplied .


  acxxxx 23:57 27 Jul 2007

I doubt the graphic card on the £499 laptop would be good enough for Photoshop and Dreamweaver (latest versions anyway), I think these programs prefer dedicated graphics cards like the NVIDIA GeForce Go 7400 graphics (as on the £599 laptop).

The Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 -(on the $499 laptop) might struggle with any future versions of Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

I'll have to leave the best processor to someone else, but I don’t think you would see a great deal of difference.

Would of liked to of seen 2GB memory on the £599 laptop but 1GB is good enough.

  acxxxx 00:30 28 Jul 2007

Just to add - if you can get 8% off, I think I would be happy with the HP.

  Will Hs 18:56 28 Jul 2007

Thanks everyone - that's helped me too. I like the look of that Acer (thanks Pingadam!).

Which would you go for: the Acer, or the new Zoostorm 52-4201?

Pcnextday are offering this for £500. It includes the new Santa Rosa Centrino Duo. Core 2 Duo T7100 (1.8Ghz), 1Gb RAM, 120Gb HD, Vista H.Premium. However it only has standard Santa Rosa X3100 graphics chip. Would this be enough for using it as a TV (with USB TV tuner)? Or do I need to choose a laptop with dedicated graphics?

Any help / advice appreciated.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Alienware 17 R4 2017 review

These brilliant Lego posters show just what children's imaginations are capable of

Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Comment réinitialiser votre PC, ordinateur portable ou tablette Windows ?