Best US$1K laptop?
December 28, 2007 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Best US$1000.00 Windows laptop?

This is mostly for word processing, email, and browsing, but I'd like to get the best value possible. And, even be able to run a game or three.

Other requirements:
* Would like to order online today or this weekend
* OS should be included - XP preferred, but not essential
* Ability to game (WoW / Hellgate / Civ) important, but not essential
* Reasonable portability (~15" screen?)

Here's a baseline (refurb) machine from Dell for about $920:

Vostro 1500 Notebook: Intel Core 2 Duo T5470 (1.6GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB)
Operating System: XP Pro
Memory: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM 667MHz (2 DIMMs)
Hard Disk Drive: 160 GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
Video 128MB NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS
Media Bay 8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write

Any other suggestions?
posted by bodega to Shopping (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Lenovo is having an End of Year Sale. With the discounts, you'll probably get a machine similar to dell, but of the higher quality of the Lenovo machines. Worth checking out, at least.
posted by fengshui at 7:55 AM on December 28, 2007

I scored a Dell XPS 1330 for only 1200 a few weeks ago -- AFAIK, it's their top-of-the-line system for NON-hardcore gamers. I'm very happy with it.
posted by davidmsc at 8:01 AM on December 28, 2007

Check ebay. A lot of Dell resellers sell new Dell gear there. The prices are significantly below the site prices.
posted by mrbugsentry at 8:05 AM on December 28, 2007

Best answer: Check out Tiger Direct. I really recomend Acer brand myself. They were making components for other companies for a long time and, since they started making their own systems a few years back, they have earned a really good reputation.
posted by slavlin at 8:20 AM on December 28, 2007

Do you need it to last?

Because if you do, and those really are all your requirements, I'd suggest getting a \$600 laptop now and then, when it dies in two years, another one.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:12 AM on December 28, 2007

We have a cheap \$600 Acer from three years ago or so. It's been fine for us, and reasonably reliable. Now either the power supply or the power jack is a little bit wonky so you have to have the cord *just so* to get power in, but otherwise it's still 100%. When it finally goes tits-up sometime this year, probably, we'll likely just get another \$600 Acer to replace it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:15 AM on December 28, 2007

That end of year T61 Thinkpad (as pointed out by fengshui) is a very good computer.
posted by ReiToei at 10:42 AM on December 28, 2007

You don't need to buy it as a refurb. Dell is currently offering $350 off of the Vostro 1500.

I configured on with the same specs as you have listed, and it's totaling $873. If you were willing to spend $99 more, you can upgrade to the 256mb 8600M GT. That would put you at $972 out the door.

I've used the Vostro line before and I'm a fan. I also like the Lenovo, but if price is the deciding factor, you can squeeze more out of the Dell than the Lenovo.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 11:19 AM on December 28, 2007

If you drop the gaming requirement, you could go a lot cheaper - I bought a Compaq Armada M700 on ebay a couple of years ago for $300 that would handle the email and web browsing fine. This is a PIII 650 MHz machine that has a designed for Windows NT/98 sticker on it - it runs XP Home fine, and has never had a hardware problem.
posted by rfs at 5:43 AM on December 29, 2007

Response by poster: (Still browsing, but thanks for the Lenovo and Acer tips.)
posted by bodega at 7:25 AM on December 29, 2007

Try browsing dealnews. Let us know what you get!
posted by lukemeister at 9:10 AM on December 29, 2007

If the price is more important than exactly which model you get, may I also recommend the SalesCircular Web site? You just pick your state, choose the category (notebooks) and you'll see a list of what's on sale this week from all the local big box stores.

These are the "loss leaders" advertised in the glossy ads in the Sunday paper, so it makes it easy to compare what may be some of the best bargains available within your budget. Be sure to follow up by looking at a few independent sites (,, etc.) to see some opinions of the ones you're considering.
posted by tomwheeler at 1:27 PM on December 29, 2007

Following up on tomwheeeler's suggestion, you can also try, which allows you to specify your location and how far away you're willing to go.
posted by lukemeister at 2:15 PM on December 29, 2007

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