To buy or not to buy?
November 26, 2009 3:15 PM   Subscribe

Is this laptop a good buy for the money? Does anyone have any personal experience with it?

Office Max is offering an HP Paviollion for $379.99 tomorrow. Since I don't have time to do a lot of test driving, help me figure out if it's a good buy.
posted by timdicator to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What do you want to use it for?

I've never personally used it, but checking out the specs:

3GB memory - This is enough to surf the web and do some decent work.

160GB hard drive - This is on the small size now a days, depending on what you plan to sue it for, may be plenty. Would store tons of music and pictures. Only about 22 movie quality dvds though.

802.11b/g WLAN - Pretty standard. Wireless internet.

Windows® 7 Premium 64-bit (G61-301NR) - I hear good things about windows 7. The only concern i would have is that 65-bit part. Some software you download/buy has to be made for a 64-bit system or it will not work. (a lot is designed for 32 bit systems, as that was the norm until Windows Vista)
posted by royalsong at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2009

I would not buy a computer with a Sempron processor, nor a laptop that lacks 802.11n.

The Sempron is a budget processor and it shows. You want to find a nice Intel core 2 duo or something.
posted by ODiV at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2009

ODiV has it - the proc is somehow slow AND hot. I wouldn't, sorry.
posted by fingerbang at 3:29 PM on November 26, 2009

royalsong: 64-bit Windows is compatible with most 32-bit applications. Drivers are a notable exception, but if the laptop ships with a 64-bit OS then you can assume it will have appropriate 64-bit drivers for all included hardware. Most new hardware (printers, etc.) has 64-bit drivers available.
posted by reegmo at 3:58 PM on November 26, 2009

To be honest, the Sempron is slower than others, yes, but it is fast enough for most things most people do with their laptops. Honestly, you would have trouble noticing the difference. Likewise, lacking 802.11n won't really affect you unless you are often transferring large files between computers on your home network, and even then, waiting a while longer won't hurt.

That said, I would recommend getting something with a dual-core processor. That actually can make your computer noticeably more responsive in some situations. Getting in on one of these laptop deals would be worth the extra cash over the one you linked, in my opinion.
posted by whatnotever at 4:11 PM on November 26, 2009

I want to use it to browse the net, do a little writing, and will probably use it as a part of the media center I'm going to buy next year.

I don't game on it, won't be doing anything that requires much processing, something reliable with good media is all I need.
posted by timdicator at 4:18 PM on November 26, 2009

Runs hot runs slow. Cheapest of the HPs Not worth the expense - you will want something upgraded in all of its parts within 6 months.
posted by ptm at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2009

"Hot" isn't just a comfort factor -- keep in mind that the energy a hot processor wastes as heat comes from your battery. That means less useful work done before you have to plug in again.

I'd pay extra for a dual-core of some sort.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:24 PM on November 26, 2009

I would steer clear because of the processor, which is rubbish (AMD is generally great, but this one isn't), the 160GB HDD, which is small, and the 3GB RAM, which is annoying. It also doesn't say anything about the graphics, which could quite possibly mean that the graphics chip would be borrowing system RAM to do its work, which leaves you with less for doing actual work.

It would be nice to get a Blu-ray drive in there, too.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:25 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sempron bad! Baad! Seriously, I recommend you pay a couple more (hundred) dollars and get a Core 2 Duo. Even if you don't plan on doing any gaming, you want a machine that will be moderately responsive. You do not want to sit and grit your teeth while the hard drive grinds and grinds and grinds and you wish, wish, there was something you could do about it - but you can't, because more RAM won't help - nothing will help - you're saddled with a poor core component. A shitty, shitty processor.

A couple hundred bucks now will save you so much grief. So much grief.
posted by kbanas at 7:28 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also, I find it interesting that they don't want to come out and say what model Sempron it is - I actually spent about 60 seconds trying to find the specs, and could not find the specs. I find that kind of curious, and another marker to stay far away.
posted by kbanas at 7:35 PM on November 26, 2009

Oh, I failed to notice that was not actually OfficeMax's website. I couldn't find it on their actual website, but that's probably because it's a circular only sale for Black Friday or something.

So, ok, probably I was making too big a deal out of that.

I'm passionate.
posted by kbanas at 7:39 PM on November 26, 2009

Given that even an Intel Atom would be enough for someone who wants to "browse the net, do a little writing, and will probably use it as a part of the media center I'm going to buy next year," I don't see how the Sempron is such a huge deal. Given what HP is putting in other laptops in the series, it's likely a Sempron M100, which is a 2GHz 45nm part. It will work perfectly well for browsing the net, writing, and running a media center. Nor is it a particularly hot chip with a 25W TDP.

AMD could learn a lesson in branding here from all of the people jumping on the name without even knowing what the specs are. The fact is that any [non-netbook] processor sold these days will be faster than most sold even three years ago. Computers were not horribly unresponsive then, and Windows 7 is not slower than XP (it's often faster).

The processor is fine for what you want to do now, though it may limit you as you find new uses for your computer later; 3GB of RAM is more than adequate for Windows 7; and 160GB of hard drive space is more than you will use unless you store lots of video or games.

Basically, yes, this is the lowest of the low-end in terms of specs, but it just so happens that the lowest of the low-end meets your particular needs fairly well these days. [I still recommend getting a dual-core processor, but I wanted to clarify this point.]
posted by whatnotever at 1:01 PM on November 27, 2009

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