Laptop shopping: Cheaper N3710 w/8gb RAM vs slightly more expensive N4200 w/4gb RAMnsive N4200


Feb 10, 2014
Present computer-ancient Dell XP desktop circa 2005-looks like it's finally giving up the ghost and I thought I'd see what laptops are like these days. Fascinated by a 17 incher, didn't know they existed. My choices are three: one HP off Ebay, supposedly unused, with an N3710 chip and 8GB RAM. Another choice, brand new and perhaps $100 more, is an Acer with an N4200 chip and 4 GB RAM. Still a third possibility is a Lenovo, perhaps $110 more than the Acer when sealed but only $50 more than the Acer if I go for an "open box" model. This Lenovo has an Intel i5 w/ 8 GB RAM, though the screen is not that bright.

My first decision is figuring out if an N3710, 8 gb machine is better than a machine with an N4200, but with only 4 gb. No gamer here, never caught the bug. There is a possibility that I will use it for a loudspeaker design program, but that would be the hardest thing. As that loudspeaker design program was around 7 years ago and the only strenous thing about it is that some preferred to use firewire instead of USB 2.0 with it, I would think most of these machines could handle it as they all have USB 3.0, which they do. So to start off, which is better, a slightly weaker N3710 with 8 gb or slightly stronger N4200 with 4 gb?

Any help is appreciated.
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Sep 29, 2016
17" laptops are not really very portable, they're pretty big. If you're planning to use it as a laptop and take it with you places, get a smaller model. If it's only going to travel from your desk to your living room, 17" is ok.

For CPU choice, if the ram is upgradeable, get the n4200, if not, get the N3710 with 8 gb. I don't think you'll notice the performance difference either way, but you will notice it in a year or two when 4 gb isn't enough ram anymore.


No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
I would avoid ANY "N-series" CPU. altogether - those are based on the Intel Atom "small core" CPUs. They may have an advantage in battery life, and I use an older N2830 dual-core Bay Trail Atom laptop from time to time, they're not horrible, but they just don't have the performance that the normal 6/7/8-Gen Core CPUs ("big core") have.

Look for a laptop with a REAL "Core" CPU (even a dual-core), that has removable RAM, disk, and if possible, battery. (Might have to look for the business line.)


Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2013
Budget and intended uses would be helpful. If you're looking at the $300 or less price range (based of the processors you mentioned) and are just doing basic web surfing, I'd look at an Android based device. I see there's some speaker design apps available on Android (IE: but not sure that would be a suitable replacement for what you had in mind. If you want a Windows based laptop, I think this is probably the best bargain right now at $490:

Latest generation "Big" Quad Core with Hyper Threading and a decent turbo clock speed. Two RAM slots with only 1 in use. Open M.2 slot for an SSD. Externally accessible/replaceable battery. The screen however is definitely the weak point. Depending on your skill/bravery, I've seen mention of people replacing the panel with a 1080p IPS panel for $80. However, at that point, I'd go with the $599:

Same processor, adds a dedicated GPU, includes SSD instead of HDD out of the box. Same expansion/upgrade options as the HP. You do lose the replaceable battery but personally I don't consider that a deal breaker.