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Old 11-02-2012, 10:35 AM   #1
donfm
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Default Is this Dell Inspiron 15R any good?

I am in the market for a new laptop and I really don't know much about what features are desirable in a new laptop. I saw this deal on the Dell Inspiron 15R for $741 with coupon and I was wondering what you folks thought of this particular unit. If it's missing something desirable please let me know what it is. Thanks for your help. It has a quad core processor but the screen is only 720P so I am guessing that's a bad thing since it's not 1080P. But how about the rest of the features?

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...1264C84A01A0A0

SYSTEM Inspiron 15R Notebook (Inspiron 5520)
PROCESSOR 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3632QM (6MB cache, up to 3.2Ghz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows 8, 64-bit, English
MEMORY 8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
HARD DRIVE 1TB 5400 RPM SATA Hard Drive
VIDEO CARD Intel® HD Graphics 4000
INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE 8X Tray Load CD/DVD Burner (Dual Layer DVD+/-R Drive)
SYSTEM COLOR Switch by Design Studio - Moon Silver
DISPLAY 15.6" High Definition (720p) LED Display with Truelife
BATTERY OPTIONS 48 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery
WIRELESS CARDS Intel® Centrino® Wireless 2230, 2x2 bgn + Bluetooth
SOUND Dell Stereo Speakers with Waves MaxxAudio 3 audio processor
NETWORK CARD Integrated 10/100 Network Card
KEYBOARD Dell Chiclet Keyboard with Multi-touch Touchpad, US English
POWER CORD Power cord, 125V, 3.2 Feet, US
ADOBE & ENTERTAINMENT Adobe Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements- Additional software purchase required
WIRELESS DRIVER SRV Software for 2230 WIFI Wireless Card
SHIPPING MATERIAL Shipping Material, Direct
ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE Additional Software
OPTICAL DRIVE SOFTWARE Cyberlink Media Suite Essentials DVD
WIDI Wireless Display Application & Driver
ADOBE READER No Adobe Reader Selected
DOCUMENTATION English Documentation
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING DELL A5INT1305_044/BTS/C5
Retail Software Retail Software - All WIN8
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:04 AM   #2
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Price is to high in that configuration...nothing standout about it at all. Basic IGP no GPU, slow HDD, no Blu-Ray, basic "crap" screen (not just resolution). Only thing that puts it above a $400 unit is the i7...that's a $600 laptop at best.

What is it your actually looking for, general usage, gaming, something else?
If general usage you can get a similar spec i3 system for $400 that will run just as well.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EliteRetard View Post
Price is to high in that configuration...nothing standout about it at all. Basic IGP no GPU, slow HDD, no Blu-Ray, basic "crap" screen (not just resolution). Only thing that puts it above a $400 unit is the i7...that's a $600 laptop at best.

What is it your actually looking for, general usage, gaming, something else?
If general usage you can get a similar spec i3 system for $400 that will run just as well.
Thanks for the response I appreciate all input. I'm really clueless as to exactly what I need in a laptop. I wish there was a tutorial somewhere online that spells out all this stuff as to what is old technology and what is desirable. You go into the store to look at laptops and it's really hard to tell the difference between a good laptop and a cheap one by just looking at it.
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Old 11-03-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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Again, what is it that your looking for in a laptop?

For most people looking to just do basic web/email/office a low cost laptop should be fine. In fact you'll probably be better served getting a $400 unit now and another $400 unit in 2 years than trying to get some random $800 computer and keeping it for 4 years.

If you have some special requirements though, more lightweight/portable, extra long battery life, gaming, desktop replacement, big screen, etc. then there is more reason to spend up. An $800 unit can probably meet one of these needs...otherwise there's not to much point in spending that much. Its not likely to make the laptop last twice as long (there are some higher quality laptops in this price range, but probably not that Dell).

So figure out what you actually want/expect to get from a laptop and then we can help you figure out which models in your budget may best fit.
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Old 11-04-2012, 12:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliteRetard View Post
Again, what is it that your looking for in a laptop?

For most people looking to just do basic web/email/office a low cost laptop should be fine. In fact you'll probably be better served getting a $400 unit now and another $400 unit in 2 years than trying to get some random $800 computer and keeping it for 4 years.
This, 100%. Laptops, on the whole, for what you get, are getting cheaper and cheaper. (Well, if you ignore the ultra-high-priced/"ultrabook" craze.)

I bought a nice MSI A5000 laptop from TD for $420 some time ago, it has a dual-core T3100 (1.9Ghz C2D-era dual-core), 3GB of RAM, and unfortunately, Windows 7 32-bit. It has an NV 8200M G IGP in it, so it's not too bad. It also has ExpressCard, HDMI, and webcam. I put in an SSD, and reformatted to Win7 64-bit. Win7 detects all the drivers automagically it seems, except it needed an install of the NV video drivers from NV's site.

I recently picked up an Asus X401 (netbook-like laptop, no DVD drive) 14" screen, 4GB RAM, B970 (2.3Ghz Sandy Bridge Pentium dual-core) for $300 at BB. It uses the Intel IGP, which is mediocre compared to the IGP in my C-60 Netbook, but it's passable. This laptop was not designed to be user-upgradable, sadly. So no SSD for this one. This too, has HDMI and webcam, and one USB3.0 port.

I also picked up an Acer Aspire One 722 for $202 + tax at a local Target store on clearance. It has a C-60, 4GB RAM, and a 250GB HD. 11.6" screen. I swapped in an SSD into this one too. All of the major drivers were available for download on Acer's web site, for Win7 64-bit. Also has HDMI and webcam.

I had a 15.6" EMachines with a Sempron 1800+ in it, had a decent screen, and a decent chipset IGP (780G mobile chipset), got it on a BF Wallyworld special for $200. Have since sold it. Wish I had kept it, it was a nice little laptop, if a little slow due to being a single-core. Was the first laptop I had that could watch full-screen Hulu, thanks to the brand-new ATI drivers and Flash Player HW video acceleration. No HDMI, no webcam.
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Old 11-04-2012, 05:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliteRetard View Post
Again, what is it that your looking for in a laptop?

For most people looking to just do basic web/email/office a low cost laptop should be fine. In fact you'll probably be better served getting a $400 unit now and another $400 unit in 2 years than trying to get some random $800 computer and keeping it for 4 years.

If you have some special requirements though, more lightweight/portable, extra long battery life, gaming, desktop replacement, big screen, etc. then there is more reason to spend up. An $800 unit can probably meet one of these needs...otherwise there's not to much point in spending that much. Its not likely to make the laptop last twice as long (there are some higher quality laptops in this price range, but probably not that Dell).

So figure out what you actually want/expect to get from a laptop and then we can help you figure out which models in your budget may best fit.
This is a difficult question since I'd like it to do almost anything I ask. I want a laptop that won't limit me regardless of what I want to do. That being said I am not a gamer but I'd like it to be rather fast. I don't know if I need an I-3,4,5 series processor dual core or quad core. This will be used for general use to replace an old desktop but I want something portable enough that I can take with me traveling. I'm not too concerned if the thing boots up in 2 seconds so SSD hybrid memory is not mandatory. I probably will use it for an occasional movie or watching streaming media. No movie editing. I want it to have a decent webcam. Budget is not really an issue but I'd like to stay under say $800 if at all possible. The new ultrabooks don't have a disk drive and I don't know if that's a detriment since most everything is downloadable now. Screen size would be 15.6 inches or 14 inches. 14 is adequate for my purposes. Durability is something I desire. Would be nice to have a 1080P display but not sure if it's absolutely necessary.

A good point was brought up in this thread. Instead of buying an $1100.... I-7 Quad Core processor that will last for 4 years or more I'd probably be better served getting a cheaper laptop and replacing it sooner. Windows 7 or Windows 8 really makes no difference. I was told Win 8 is rather non mouse friendly if you don't have a touchscreen computer buy a salesman. Dunno if that's true.

Perhaps a better thing would be for me to know what features and hardware are desirable and for what purpose. I don't need a Lamborghini where a Lexus will do.....

I'd like to thank you guys for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it!
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:46 PM   #7
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Sorry, a bit busy...but here's a quick look at other potential options:

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...oho&cs=ussoho1

This is a Dell Latitude E5430, 14" 4.5lb unit. Being a business oriented unit it should be better built than their Inspiron line. You can configure it with an i5-3210, a 7200rpm drive, a higher res 1600x900 screen, and a back lit keyboard for under $700.
$100 off code: CTLRFD730WQB01

You can get it with up to 8GB RAM, but it'd be better to upgrade it yourself (1x8GB or 2x4GB ~35$)...HDD/RAM are easy to get to on this unit. If 500GB is enough space the $30 upgrade aint bad, but if you want lots of storage stick with the basic 320GB drive (use it for external storage) and buy a 750GB 7200RPM for ~80$...or get a large SSD for for snappy performance, a good 256GB SSD is ~165$.


Anywho, this would be a better balanced laptop than what you were looking at originally. Smaller/lighter better built with a higher res screen faster HDD and a good mid-range CPU.

Here's the same laptop you were looking at, but $300 cheaper after tax/shipping ($530):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834200522
It just swaps the i7 for an i5. With the $300 saved you could easily get a faster HDD/SSD and keep the slow 1TB for storage of movies/music/photos and such.

Something like this might also be a good option...its relatively cheap with mid range parts. Faster than an i3 without going overkill, since you don't know if you need an i7.
This would leave enough in your budget that in a year or so if you find it doesn't have enough performance for whatever reason you could resell it and pick up something faster. Or save the money for another upgrade in a few years if it does what you need.

There are other options, Ill probably come post some more...but I've got some stuff to do right now (sorry I got busy ). If you want a basic i7 laptop, something like this Acer ($580) is a better option than the Dell you were looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834215260
It has its own faults, but its all about finding the right balance of price/performance and features...

Last edited by EliteRetard; 11-07-2012 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 11-07-2012, 02:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliteRetard View Post
Sorry, a bit busy...but here's a quick look at other potential options:

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...oho&cs=ussoho1

This is a Dell Latitude E5430, 14" 4.5lb unit. Being a business oriented unit it should be better built than their Inspiron line. You can configure it with an i5-3210, a 7200rpm drive, a higher res 1600x900 screen, and a back lit keyboard for under $700.
$100 off code: CTLRFD730WQB01

You can get it with up to 8GB RAM, but it'd be better to upgrade it yourself (1x8GB or 2x4GB ~35$)...HDD/RAM are easy to get to on this unit. If 500GB is enough space the $30 upgrade aint bad, but if you want lots of storage stick with the basic 320GB drive (use it for external storage) and buy a 750GB 7200RPM for ~80$...or get a large SSD for for snappy performance, a good 256GB SSD is ~165$.


Anywho, this would be a better balanced laptop than what you were looking at originally. Smaller/lighter better built with a higher res screen faster HDD and a good mid-range CPU.

Here's the same laptop you were looking at, but $300 cheaper after tax/shipping ($530):
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834200522
It just swaps the i7 for an i5. With the $300 saved you could easily get a faster HDD/SSD and keep the slow 1TB for storage of movies/music/photos and such.

Something like this might also be a good option...its relatively cheap with mid range parts. Faster than an i3 without going overkill, since you don't know if you need an i7.
This would leave enough in your budget that in a year or so if you find it doesn't have enough performance for whatever reason you could resell it and pick up something faster. Or save the money for another upgrade in a few years if it does what you need.

There are other options, Ill probably come post some more...but I've got some stuff to do right now (sorry I got busy ). If you want a basic i7 laptop, something like this Acer ($580) is a better option than the Dell you were looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834215260
It has its own faults, but its all about finding the right balance of price/performance and features...
Thanks so much for taking the time to post that. Great ideas and information. I really appreciate it. I will look into the options you mentioned.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:07 PM   #9
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I know HP and Toshiba have sales often...and Asus makes some decent machines that usually come with a 2-3 year warrenty with accidental coverage as well. Yeah like this one:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16834230648

lighter 14" option trades for less HDD (like the Dell, it needs a faster HDD anyway) and RAM than the $530 Dell but twice the warrenty...Im kinda partial to 14" units myself, they seem to be the best balance of portable and useable.

It seems this may be your first laptop...so it might be best to stick with a lower budget like sub $600. I think a decent i5 system closer to $500 will serve you well enough and help you determine if theres anything more specific you may like....and save you enough money so you can actually get another system later if you choose.

One important aspect is the HDD, you do want a fast model. A good SSD can make a big difference even for basic users, while a slow HDD can make the fastest system feel slow as hell. I would never use a 5400RPM drive as my main...but they're usually simple enough to upgrade that it shouldn't be a sticking point (at least not at lower price points...but in a $750 laptop thats just sad). There may be a second HDD bay or you can put the drive in an enclosure and use it as a backup/storage drive.

RAM, its so cheap today that 6-8GB is a good start...and usually simple enough to upgrade yourself that its often better to do so if a system has less. Manufacturers charge you an arm and a leg. Its like buying popcorn at the movies...you don't think it really costs them $15 for that bag of popcorn do you?

Anyway, that's my opinion...lets see if anybody else chimes in.
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Old 11-07-2012, 09:32 PM   #10
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You can find an i5 system with a 7200RPM drive around $600...that would save you the hassle and get you a decent machine right out of the box.

But if you get a laptop with a big slow drive perhaps you should consider getting an SSD as an upgrade (256GB is the sweet spot ~$165). Theyll have less space but you can use the slow HDD as storage. An SSD should make the system much snappier. Though it would bring the cost closer to $700 total...you should be able to use the SSD in future systems. Kind of like getting a good monitor, not really required but makes things much nicer to use and its not really tied to the system you got it with.
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EliteRetard View Post
You can find an i5 system with a 7200RPM drive around $600...that would save you the hassle and get you a decent machine right out of the box.

But if you get a laptop with a big slow drive perhaps you should consider getting an SSD as an upgrade (256GB is the sweet spot ~$165). Theyll have less space but you can use the slow HDD as storage. An SSD should make the system much snappier. Though it would bring the cost closer to $700 total...you should be able to use the SSD in future systems. Kind of like getting a good monitor, not really required but makes things much nicer to use and its not really tied to the system you got it with.
You've given me a lot of great ideas thank you. Yes you were right it's my first laptop. I've built several desktops but none in the last couple years. The processors have changed a lot since then.

I have a pretty good grasp about what makes a laptop fast. I'm not afraid to upgrade but I've never upgraded a laptop so not sure about the difficulty of changing drives etc. I don't know much about laptop screens and resolutions. Not sure what would be the best for me. 1080P seems to be the high end but does the average person need a 1080P laptop display to be happy or is that more for gaming? That seems to add a couple hundred bucks to any laptop price. What is the best combination of resolution and performance for the buck? Is a video card necessary or is the new onboard Intel video adequate? I've seen there is a 3000 and the better 4000 model.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:15 PM   #12
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As with any system you need a decent balance to make it fast...typically the HDD is the slowest part, even at 7200RPM. Getting a low speed laptop drive can even make checking your email slow.

Anyway, as far as upgrades go usually you do have acces to the HDD/RAM. Some models (especially the ultraslim) stick the RAM to the MOBO or hide it under the keyboard and such...but it shouldn't be to hard to find out if you look around online.

To upgrade those components its pretty easy...look at the picture I posted earlier, the RAM is the blue colored chips and the HDD is the steel grey colored rectangular item. To change the RAM just push the spring clips on the side back and it will flip up and allow you to take it out and change it. For the HDD just take the screws out and slide/swing it away from the SATA connector and reverse that to put a new one in.

As far as screens go, thats a personal preference...but typically the standard 1366x768 screens are low quality (color, brightness, uniformity etc)...while the higher resolution screens have usually been of better quality. The limited resolution can be an issue for productivity as well. Odly enough, because of the limited power of mobile GPUs, a lower resolution can give you a better gaming experience. There are mobile GPUs that can handle 1080p, but they usually bump the price substantially.

Take a look at the laptops in store, most are likely the low end standard 13x7 screens and if they look fine to you then great. Usually the only option is the basic 13x7 or 19x10...but sometime on smaller laptops (14" and less) the max resolution is 16x9 or so. Personally I like a good 16x9 14" laptop. Smaller and lighter than 15" units with a mid range resolution that improves productivity without being to tough to game on. Now if somebody could just make a good high quality 14" gaming laptop that could really handle 1080p maxed out I'd be all over it.

As far as the IGP goes, Intel has come a long way. It can even handle light gaming (older games or low details on newer stuff) at 13x7. AMDs new high end (A10) APUs can do a bit better...and make good budget gamers (sub $600). The 3000 series IGP was Sandy Bridge (2xxx CPUs), while the 4000 series is the new Ivy Bridge (3xxx CPUs). If you can get a great price on a last gen Intel system they can be worth it...otherwise just get the newest Ivy chips.

If your not specifically looking for a gaming laptop then a modern IGP should be just fine.

Just ran into another possible laptop:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Asus+-+1...103D&cp=1&lp=1

A 15" Asus unit with the new i5 for $450. Again, you probably want to upgrade the RAM/HDD...but youll have 6-8GB for $15 (depends if they used 2x2GB or 1x4GB). A basic 500GB 7200RPM drive can be had for $60 (there may even be a second HDD bay inside). This may be your best option yet....even with upgrade costs its well under your origional budget and should give you a decent laptop to start with. About $525 total to get it up to snuff...thats a great price. Even at $600 with a good SSD this is a nice deal.

This should easily last you a year or two and give you a good idea what a midrange laptop can do. No fancy options, but not worth spending up for those the first time around...

Edit: Nope looks like it is just 1 HDD bay:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ND6EA9GHz_s
But looks pretty easy to upgrade...and likely 1x4GB, so if you get another 1x4GB youll have a nice 8GB total.

Oh and heres a hot deal on a good 180GB SSD ($90 after $30 rebate) if you want to try an SS
http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...752&CatId=5300
Even the pre-rebate price is pretty good.

And you can get a cheap USB3 enclosure for the HDD and use it for external storage.

Last edited by EliteRetard; 11-09-2012 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 11-09-2012, 06:21 PM   #13
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dont forget about delloutlet once i found out about them years ago, i have never bought a Dell new, always have gone with the outlet and have not been let down. sometimes it takes awhile to find one with the cinfiguration i want, but you can get a well configured laptop/desktop cheap. if they have a % off coupon, makes the deals even sweeter
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Old 11-10-2012, 01:05 PM   #14
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I agree on Dell outlet if there's a good coupon...and if you're comfortable with a refurb. There was a really great deal on refurb 15R's just a week or two ago...totaly decked out units for like $600 after discount.
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Old 11-16-2012, 04:37 AM   #15
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Dell Inspiron 15R good laptop. this software.
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