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Old December 11, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Default Less than 15" system with decent power and performance for Canadian Customer. ~$1000

Basically I am looking for a small system that has some pretty good performance, battery life and build quality that can fit in my back pack and I can carry it around campus or to a coffee shop. I also want it to last, be upgradeable, have enough performance to play most games and applications.



Some suggestions would be great. Thanks.
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Old December 11, 2013, 04:14 PM
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I got an Acer aspire V7 Acer | Aspire V7 | Aspire V7-482PG-6662 | Overview and I love it so far, I did a little write up on it after having it for a few days I will copy and paste below. Processor is a ad weak on the gaming side but it will definitely do some work at medium settings @1366x768.

It is on the heavy side of an ultrabook but it doesn't feel all that heavy because the weight is very well distribuated (if you hold it by the front the torque required to hold it straight up isn't magnified by the length of the arm since much of the weight is at the front). The lid and keyboard deck are made of aluminum so they are rigid and feel strong. The bottom is made of plastic which has been rubberized for a nicer feel and better grip.

The screen is gorgeous 1920x1080 IPS so viewing angles are awesome and the blacks are surprisingly dark. You can actually multitask pretty well on it even though it is only 14 inches because of the higher resolution. Backlighting is pretty good, in a well lit room you can use it on the lowest brightness setting to save on battery life however outdoors you pretty much need to have it on the max setting.

The body of the laptop is slim, actually much slimmer than you might expect from a 23mm thick notebook whereas the lid/screen is much thicker due to the touchscreen (which I haven't used because why would anyone want to smudge up such a beautiful screen). The trackpad feels nice and smooth but is slightly textured so you can tell your finger is on it, however it was slightly jittery until I updated the software. Clicking the trackpad doesn't feel as satisfying as many other notebooks but I prefer the single finger or two finger tap input method anyways. The keyboard has shallow travel but is very tactile and has a surprisingly high actuation force which makes it still feel good to type on. The layout is nice, I haven't hit very many of the wrong keys and I don't even need to look down at the keyboard. The back-lit keyboard is bright enough so you can see your keys but not so bright as to cause you to have to squint when you look down at them.

As far as performance goes it is pretty snappy, I haven't had a chance to benchmark anything but it resumes from hibernation in about a second and it boots pretty quickly too.

Battery life is great, been on it for about 4 hours and got it down to 50% with minimum brightness settings and just doing some word processing and loading some web pages for homework (damn online assignments). It estimates I have about 4 hours 17 minutes to go before it dies.

With a GT 750m and 4 speakers in this form factor gaming on the go should be pretty decent as well.
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Old December 11, 2013, 06:23 PM
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The processor won't really be the bottleneck for gaming. The main limitation is the DDR3 memory for the GT 750m which is a somewhat puzzling choice (possibly for TDP reasons) given the high resolution.

I believe the best place to purchase it at the moment is Bestbuy/Futureshop at ~$850 with free shipping and price match/returns until January. If you want a good all rounder with an excellent display and a GPU this is basically the stand out at its price point.

In general though I think you need to have some reasonable expectations though given your requirements and the price point.

Also what do you want in terms of upgradeable? Do you mean the CPU and GPU as well?

Some other options are the following -

Lenovo Y410p
Clevo w230st
Clevo w740su

Last edited by limitedaccess; December 11, 2013 at 06:29 PM.
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Old December 12, 2013, 06:48 AM
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thanks JJThomp and limited access. I hadn't really considered the Acer, to be honest I have had some friends with Acers and they seemed to fall apart quite quickly. Glad to hear that your system is working out.

I'll definitely check out BestBuy. I have heard of the W230st and I also like the w110 because of its small size, I dont really need anything too powerful and I think it is pretty cool looking. very industrial.

For upgradeability I would ideally like to have the option of upgradeing absolutely everything. I understand given the lower price point that the graphics card will likely be integrated but I would like to be able to easily get inside, possibly change the storage drive and add more ram. This is how I started looking at w230 and w110 originally, If i had more needs/cash I might splurge for the P150SM.

Thanks for the suggestions ya'll. I will look around and let you know what I am thinking. More advice/suggestions are welcome!!!! :))))
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Old December 12, 2013, 09:20 AM
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So I just went to Bestbuy and was looking at this w110. Its got a 4 GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. I would like some more RAM and storage though. I think I may contact the company directly and see if I can get a deal or something.

Results for - Best Buy Canada
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Old December 12, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TechTech View Post
So I just went to Bestbuy and was looking at this w110. Its got a 4 GB of RAM, a 750GB hard drive and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M. I would like some more RAM and storage though. I think I may contact the company directly and see if I can get a deal or something.

Results for - Best Buy Canada
I don't know if that laptop is really as portable as you think. It might be 11 inches but it is an inch and a half thick (the acer is 1/2 the thickness) and still weighs 4 lbs (not to mention 4 hours battery life is pretty bad). Acers new laptops are actually really reliable they have turned a new leaf in the higher end notebook department.

The v7 is thinner has more ram, a better GPU, longer battery life has an msata SSD you can upgrade, HDD you can upgrade, RAM you can upgrade, and is $100 cheaper. It also has a beautiful Full HD IPS screen. As someone who looked for a month trust me when I say there really is no other comparable option at this price point unless you really, really want it to be under 14 inches.
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Old December 12, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJThomp View Post
I don't know if that laptop is really as portable as you think. It might be 11 inches but it is an inch and a half thick (the acer is 1/2 the thickness) and still weighs 4 lbs (not to mention 4 hours battery life is pretty bad). Acers new laptops are actually really reliable they have turned a new leaf in the higher end notebook department.

The v7 is thinner has more ram, a better GPU, longer battery life has an msata SSD you can upgrade, HDD you can upgrade, RAM you can upgrade, and is $100 cheaper. It also has a beautiful Full HD IPS screen. As someone who looked for a month trust me when I say there really is no other comparable option at this price point unless you really, really want it to be under 14 inches.
hahah ya it is decently thick. I kinda like the no frills look tho.

Very compelling JJ, very compelling. Thanks again for your advice. I know a decent amount about computers but there is a crazy amount of choice now in laptops. I was on NBR just now and a guy posted a link to this Eurocom M3 (Clevo W230ST) 13.3" gaming laptop coupon

I think I'm going to check with these guys and see if they can help a fellow Crazy Canuck out.
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Old December 12, 2013, 07:43 PM
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If you're wondering I have also been looking for something roughly similar but I also had the consideration of dropping the GPU requirement and going with something like the Surface 2 Pro and Thinkpad Yoga to use more so as a graphics device with the digitizer. The actual IGP performance isn't too bad depending on what you want to play. The other thing is I have a bias towards display quality. I tried the y410p for instance and did not like it because of this, it isn't even that it necessarily has a bad display but I think I've gotten used to all my other devices having better displays and non TNs.

Regarding the Clevo's (and derivatives like Sager, Eurocom, etc.)

- Generally the base quotes (prices) for these systems is often without a OS installed. Just keep that in mind if you need (or want) and actual OS license to factor that into the price.
- Clevo's cooling system, on the gaming laptops anyways, is generally considered to be tuned rather aggressively. This mean's it is effective (relatively speaking) but at the same time loud (relatively).
- Aspects like speakers, keyboard, trackpad, etc. are not considered very stand out. Although this can be said for many laptops.

Also for the Clevo W230ST deal you posted just keep in mind it is a dual core not a quad core non ULV i5.

Regarding thickness and portability this is a bit of a debating point. Some people feel it doesn't matter while some do. If you need to items for example, possibly in your backup scenario with books/binders/etc. it may crop up.

About upgradeability, it isn't really a price issue but a combination including light weight, size and the form factor itself. Especially for example if you are looking at an ultrabook form factor (for size/weight) the CPU and GPU (if present) is certianly soldered on. RAM may also be soldered. Other components, like drives, battery, etc. may or not be easy to get to as well. Just for laptops in general though you are looking at limited upgradeability, especially these days at the smaller size you are looking for as well, for the CPU and especially the GPU. I don't believe you will find any MXM GPU laptops at this price range actually and this size. If you really want to upgrade the CPU you will need to find ones using MQ CPUs and this will then depend on bios support. Other Haswell CPUs are soldered on.

In terms of the Acer you can get inside and it is rather simply laid out, see here - AnandTech | Gallery - Acer Aspire V7-482PG-9884 Internals - 10 Photos. Basically half the ram is soldered, so you can replace and go up to 12gb total. Otherwise you can swap out the wireless card (for the AC version). You also can have a mSATA and 2.5mm drive. The heatsink and battery are also easy to access if you need to replace those (not sure about the supply side though) or want to repaste/clean the heatsink.

For the Clevo 230st, can see here - http://www.notebookcheck.net/fileadm...92ced11470.jpg, it slightly better. You have a MQ CPU so it isn't soldered on. The battery is removable externally. You have 2 SODIMM slots.

Here is two detailed reviews for these two models, bear in the mind the actual configuration is different from what you getting though -
Review One K33-3E (Clevo W230ST Barebones) Notebook - NotebookCheck.net Reviews
AnandTech | Acer V7-482PG-9884 Review: Everything You Need

Here is a notebookcheck review of a similar Acer (internally) just so you can get a better comparable gauge of battery life/thermals/etc. - Review Acer Aspire V5-573G-54208G50aii Notebook - NotebookCheck.net Reviews
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Old December 13, 2013, 11:24 AM
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LimitedAccess! Thanks man! That is very helpful.

I have contacted Eurocom and they offered me a 10% student discount. I am also Canadian and live in Ottawa so I feel a little more comfortable buying form a local company. I had a lot of people from NBR recommending the w230 so it made my decision a little easier as well.

Here's my configuration.

13.3" fhd display
Core i5-4200M (probabky upgrade this later when I have some more $$$$)
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M
8 GB
1 TB
802.11 wifi

It came to $979 - 10%(97.9) for $881 and they calibrated my screen for free.

When I get it in the next few days I will take some pics and let you know how she is. I cant wait! Thanks for the help guys!
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Old December 17, 2013, 02:07 PM
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So I posted on here a few days back. I was looking for advice on a system to get. Not sure if there is a reseller feedback area here so I'm posting here.


Based on the feedback I got here and on a few other forums I decided to go with the Eurocom M3. Thanks a lot for the help guys!


Here's my configuration.
13.3" fhd display Core i5-4200M (probabky upgrade this later when I have some more $$$$)

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 765M 8 GB

1 TB

802.11 wifi


I got a pretty low end configuration with a 10% student discount. I have had it for a few days now and I am quite impressed by its speed, performance and small size. It is small enough to easily fit it in to my backpack its only 13”. With a full hd 1920x1080 screen it is quite sharp with a high pixel density. I haven’t benchmarked it or anything I am sure those are easy enough to find online.


I’ve taken a few photos from their website and included them so for those of you who are not familiar with the system have an idea what I am talking about. http://web.eurocom.com/ec/ec_images(242)x


The purchase process was quite smooth, I sent my configuration in and then sent them a photo of my student card and bam 10% off. Not too shabby at all. No complaints so far. I’m not too technical so I may be coming back for some expert advice. I have thought about upgrading the processor in the future when I get some more money, I'll keep you guys posted.
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