Need advice on new laptop! Watch

Opts
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#1
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Hi guys, currently using a 4 year old Sony Vaio - which I love, but it has just got a bit too slow, and the battery is useless now, so I think it's time to move on now I've graduated and actually have a paying job!

I'm prepared to spend upwards of £500 on a new laptop, and have some criteria to fulfil.

-Keyboard with spaces between the keys, not joined together!
-Good sized screen and high resolution.
-The ability to play 1080p films, with an HDMI port so I can project them through my TV.
-V Quick startup and running speed (this is RAM related right?)
-Be able to play games like Civ 5 and Football manager with good spec.

Optional....
-Looking to run Windows 7, not 8.
-Slim design
-Strong battery life
-Multiple USB ports

I really don't know a great deal about laptops etc, so if some of you techies have some advice I'd very much appreciate it!

Thanks
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Gofre
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(Original post by Opts)
-V Quick startup and running speed (this is RAM related right?)
Fast startup times will be dependent on an SSD, while fast running speed is a combination of factors including the CPU and RAM (but more RAM won't just mean better performance).

I would personally go for this laptop from PCSpecialist with the options for a Core i3-4000M processor (good bang for buck, should be enough for what you need), 4GB of RAM (plenty for multitasking for the average person), 1TB hard drive (or as much storage as you think you'll need, you could just leave it at 500GB if you wanted), 64GB mSATA solid state drive (for the rapid boot times), and Windows 7 (because you want it). For around £495 (depending on your HDD choice) it's a decent spec and custom laptops like these are pretty much the only way of still geting Windows 7 on a brand new machine short of an aftermarket installation. Alternatively for £508 you could get this model and switch out the i5 for the i3-4000M again (and your desired flavour of Windows for £508. You lose the SSD and the laptop gets bigger and heavier, but you gain a 1080p display and a decent low-end graphics card, which will let you push Civ 5 to higher graphical settings than the integrated graphics could achieve at playable framerates. Or you could spend more and get the second option with the SSD, the nice thing about custom laptops is that you get to dictate how much of your budget goes into each area.
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Opts
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(Original post by Gofre)
Fast startup times will be dependent on an SSD, while fast running speed is a combination of factors including the CPU and RAM (but more RAM won't just mean better performance).

I would personally go for this laptop from PCSpecialist with the options for a Core i3-4000M processor (good bang for buck, should be enough for what you need), 4GB of RAM (plenty for multitasking for the average person), 1TB hard drive (or as much storage as you think you'll need, you could just leave it at 500GB if you wanted), 64GB mSATA solid state drive (for the rapid boot times), and Windows 7 (because you want it). For around £495 (depending on your HDD choice) it's a decent spec and custom laptops like these are pretty much the only way of still geting Windows 7 on a brand new machine short of an aftermarket installation. Alternatively for £508 you could get this model and switch out the i5 for the i3-4000M again (and your desired flavour of Windows for £508. You lose the SSD and the laptop gets bigger and heavier, but you gain a 1080p display and a decent low-end graphics card, which will let you push Civ 5 to higher graphical settings than the integrated graphics could achieve at playable framerates. Or you could spend more and get the second option with the SSD, the nice thing about custom laptops is that you get to dictate how much of your budget goes into each area.
Thanks, that is definitely some food for thought. Sorry what is SSD?

What would be your preference for say, £600?
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Opts
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Just looked up SSD, looks interesting but no idea what it does ha!
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Gofre
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(Original post by Opts)
Thanks, that is definitely some food for thought. Sorry what is SSD?

What would be your preference for say, £600?
SSD= solid state drive, basically a hard drive that uses memory similar to what you find in phones and tablets rather than traditional hard disk drives which use spinning platters. They're significantly quicker for booting/loading programs and the operating system from, but are much more expensive per GB than HDDs, so it's popular to use a small SSD to house the operating system and a few key programs for the speed benefits where it's most important alongside a high capacity HDD for mass storage.

For £600, you could either go with more powerful graphics if you wanted to play demanding games, or more "premium" machines with slimmer form factors or higher res displays. Let me know which direction you'd rather go in and I'll make suggestions.
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Opts
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(Original post by Gofre)
SSD= solid state drive, basically a hard drive that uses memory similar to what you find in phones and tablets rather than traditional hard disk drives which use spinning platters. They're significantly quicker for booting/loading programs and the operating system from, but are much more expensive per GB than HDDs, so it's popular to use a small SSD to house the operating system and a few key programs for the speed benefits where it's most important alongside a high capacity HDD for mass storage.

For £600, you could either go with more powerful graphics if you wanted to play demanding games, or more "premium" machines with slimmer form factors or higher res displays. Let me know which direction you'd rather go in and I'll make suggestions.
I think the latter, graphics wise - the only games I play are AOE, Civ and Football Manager, much more of a console gamer! These aren't tooooo demanding on graphics.
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Opts
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Thanks again for your help though, I'm lost when it comes to this sort of thing!
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