Recommend 'good' economical laptop

Greeting folks. I just missed out on a good deal from the MS Stores.

But perhaps someone can point me to a decent laptop for about $500 or less. What I
have now is:

Processor: Intel Pentium P6200 @2.13GHz 2.13GHz


System: 64-bit

Graphics: Intel(R) HD Graphics (ugh)

And when I attempt to buy some older games from GamersGate or Stream etc., the
one thing that prevents it to run these (using 'Can I run this') is the graphics
card. (as I understand it, you can't upgrade a video card like this 'cause it's
attached to the cpu card.

Anyway and all help would be appreciated.


This was the most recent thread discussing a cheap laptop option:

He went with something a bit over your budget, but someone lists a $530 option. Unfortunately, that uses integrated Intel graphics which won't really work for games.

You can check each day to look through the deals. Something should pop up with discrete graphics and be around $500 eventually. I'll look through it and see if I can find anything.

For some reason I just lost an entire post. Ugh.

Short version: The cpu you currently have was never intended for gaming, just stuff like surfing the web and video playback.

Intel's latest offerings in terms of intergrated video are the HD3000 and HD4000. In the $530 option tuffalo listed they have HD3000 on the chip. That's good enough to get you to play games like Crysis and Skyrim at lower resolutions. The HD4000, which is brand new, can actually get pretty good framerates at 1680x1050.

At the end of the day, though, AMD is kicking Intel's offerings in terms of on-the-die video performance (you'll want a Llano-based AMD CPU). I'd look for an AMD-based system unless you're able to find a good Intel laptop with a discreet GPU.

What kind of games are you planning on playing? Anything new or just old stuff?

Edit: Also, what is the primary purpose of the laptop? Is it for work mostly? Do you need it to run some specific programs if that is the case?

Thanks for the good information folks. I mainly use it for email, web surfing and hopefully some older strategic games like Total War, Warband (not so strategic), some 4x sci-fi games. Sport management games too. I would love to play CM:Battle for Normandy, but that might be asking for too much.

One word of caution: without a discreet graphics card Civ V will not run.

One word of caution: without a discrete graphics card Civ V will not run.

Llano should run Civ5 okay, shouldn't it?

Malor wrote:
One word of caution: without a discrete graphics card Civ V will not run.

Llano should run Civ5 okay, shouldn't it?

Ah, yes, it appears it does. For some reason I thought they all choked. I will revise.

If you go the Intel route you will not be able to play Civ V at all.

I'd recommend just watching or or other sites of that ilk. There will be multiple deals a day on laptops.

For instance, here's an HP for $499 that has the A6 AMD processor.

Also, look at places like the Dell Outlet and watch their deals on twitter.

Keep in mind that, while Llano is stronger, it's very badly bandwidth-impaired. It has lots of muscle, but has trouble moving much data back and forth to memory and to the screen. This means that, at low resolutions, it can be extremely strong, but as soon as you start raising the resolution very high, it chokes hard. For this reason, you may want to opt for a lower resolution screen. You can pick a higher resolution one and scale a lower-res image up, but that always makes images a little blurry. A cheaper laptop may actually look a little better.

In that budget range, that should be the strongest gaming performer by quite a margin. Typically, 'real' gaming laptops start at $1500ish and go up fast. You can actually get fairly close to desktop performance if you're willing to spend a mint. But down in the cheap seats, AMD's Llano trades away some CPU performance to pick up quite a lot of lower-resolution video performance, and that's a smart trade for most games.

Thanks everyone for the tips and links. Appreciate it.

Oh, how to I know the chip set is Llano? The 'L' on the specs?

It's particular models, but specifically the A4 and A8 series being the ones you are most likely to see (that's dual and quad cores, respectively).

MannishBoy wrote:

Here's another one for $379.

Btw, even though that says A6, it's actually a quad-core (A6 on the desktop models means 3 cpu cores).

Edit: Here's some benchmarks for that particular cpu's GPU:

If I were you I'd perhaps get something a bit stronger.