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Looking for a 14" or 15" Windows 7 laptop. Should I wait until Sandy Bridge makes its way out into the market or should I buy one now? Also, which should I buy? Details inside.
December 29, 2010 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a 14" or 15" Windows 7 laptop. Should I wait until Sandy Bridge makes its way out into the market or should I buy one now? Also, which should I buy? Details inside.

I hear Sandy Bridge will be released at CES this year but I really have been wanting to buy a new Windows 7 laptop for months now. I do not HAVE to buy one immediately, but I really have been looking forward to a new Win7 laptop for some time now.

Should I wait for these new Sandy Bridge processors to make their way into laptops or should I just buy a new laptop now? Will I really notice a major difference with Sandy Bridge or are they just the "new thing"? Will these new Sandy Bridge laptops be ridiculously pricey when they first appear on the market?

Also, when will we be seeing improved Windows touchpads? Are these something worth waiting for?

My laptop hardware requirements:
1. 14" or 15" screen (hopefully 1080p resolution)
2. no number pad on the keyboard
3. HDMI output
4. robust build / quality components
5. USB 3.0 would be nice to have

How I'll be using this laptop:
1. will be primary machine
2. will not be used for gaming
3. will mostly be used for Internet, Word processing, listening to music, watching HD videos
4. must be able to play HD video files near flawlessy

So far, I seem to hear that the following are good machines (mostly due to the buying guides and reviews I have linked here):
HP Envy 14
HP Envy 15
Dell XPS 14
Dell XPS 15
Samsung QX410
ASUS U43JC

Buying guides I have come across that seem to point to these laptops:
Engadget
AnAndTech
Gizmodo

What do you all think? Should I wait for Sandy Bridge since I know it's coming? Should I buy now? If so, which should I buy?
posted by decrescendo to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Additionally, as far as storage goes, I'd be fine with a few hundred GB 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM HD for now. Eventually, I'd like to upgrade to a SSD for the performance gains since my music, videos, photos, and documents will be stored on a home server. I think I could wait on that upgrade since SSD prices are still pretty high.
posted by decrescendo at 12:18 PM on December 29, 2010


I can heartily recommend the MacBook Pro. It easily dualboots Windows 7, and whilst there have been some issues with sound and wifi drivers (see my profile and my recent ask), they are resolvable easily with the right driver packages, which I can provide you with). The current range are i5 and i7. They'll undoubtedly drop in price as the newer line are announced early in 2011.
posted by dougrayrankin at 12:30 PM on December 29, 2010


I can heartily recommend the MacBook Pro. It easily dualboots Windows 7, and whilst there have been some issues with sound and wifi drivers (see my profile and my recent ask), they are resolvable easily with the right driver packages, which I can provide you with). The current range are i5 and i7. They'll undoubtedly drop in price as the newer line are announced early in 2011.

I currently own a spring-'08 15" Macbook Pro that I'm going to sell when I buy this Windows 7 laptop. I'm much more comfortable with Windows 7 than I am OSX. I'd rather not spend the premium on the Mac when it's not designed to run Windows by nature.
posted by decrescendo at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2010


I would wait for the sandy bridge processors. There are already hp laptops with them in it beign sold i na few places. You will only have to wait till january.

Plus this will laosl eave time to see what the new ipad will have.
posted by majortom1981 at 12:35 PM on December 29, 2010


I would wait for the sandy bridge processors. There are already hp laptops with them in it beign sold i na few places. You will only have to wait till january.

They'll be out in January?
posted by decrescendo at 12:51 PM on December 29, 2010


Yeah, I figure you're looking at most three weeks from now until you can get your hands on a SB laptop. There are two main reasons that you'd want to wait.

First, the integrated graphics performance of the SB chip is 2x that of previous generations. While you said it wont be used for gaming, its possible that future non-gaming applications start to more heavily leverage 3D (whether as a gimmick or something useful).

There will also be benefits if you rip your own DVDs (e.g. Handbrake), as the new chip has a small ASIC design to speed up video transcoding by 10x. It might take a while (a few months) to get apps out the door that are fully functional to use that extra performance but it will be worth it.
posted by SirOmega at 12:53 PM on December 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


N'thing: Wait for Sandy Bridge and the reviews. If Sandy Bridge seems worth it, buy it. If it doesn't, prices on first-gen i3/i5/i7 notebooks will likely drop and clear out. Win either way.

Normally I wouldn't advocate waiting on a computer purchase, but this is one of those cases where the new generation is very close and could well be worth waiting for the release.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:03 PM on December 29, 2010


N'thing: Wait for Sandy Bridge and the reviews. If Sandy Bridge seems worth it, buy it. If it doesn't, prices on first-gen i3/i5/i7 notebooks will likely drop and clear out. Win either way.

Very good point. Thanks for the input.
posted by decrescendo at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2010


I have a Macbook Pro with the multi-touch touchpad and it's a wonderful thing. I don't know what the software support for multitouch trackpads is like on Windows, but if it's any good I would suggest it's definitely a feature worth holding out for. I'll not recommend an Apple machine for running Windows as the keyboards are really quite different.
posted by nowonmai at 2:27 PM on December 29, 2010


I've recently purchased the 15" Asus which satisfies all of your requirements except it also has a separate numeric pad. It is a wonderful laptop, quiet, cool, quick. I would wait for the Sandy Bridge to come out and see if it lives up to the hype. You have some good options at reasonable prices.
posted by ptm at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2010


Yeah I'm itching to buy a new Thinkpad, but I am waiting to see what CES and SB hold. I haven't seen any announcements about future Thinkpads with SB.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:13 PM on December 30, 2010


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