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What hardware are you going to buy in 2012?

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I just ordered a 6670 amd vid card. link. Should be a huge improvement over my onboard ati 4250. For example using firefox on one monitor while using XBMC on the other can be slow changing/closing/opening tabs etc.

With this can hook up 3 monitors (I currently have 2 monitors +tv, will try hooking all 3 up to test).

Recently I also bought a 23" e-IPS dell monitor. link

My 22" power button was acting up sometimes powering on/off randomly. Not serious but enough that I thought it was going to die (or at least be too annoying). Good thing now both my devices are 1080p resolution. My 22" was only 1680*1050.

Any plans on buying stuff this year? Tablets? phones? accessories?

I'd say by end of 2012 tablets should be better priced, or at least twice as powerful as current stuff, making them much more attractive than original single core tablets, and most dual core currently. quads just came out.

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New laptop here. Hoping to wait until back to schol prices.

There were some nice prices last August/September. Then the HDD shortage hit and I havn't seen much good prices. There were some for black friday/boxing day, but nothing like the $300 quad core laptop deal last September (but the unit had no hdmi making it less of good deal, otherwise was awesome).

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Any idea what you are looking for? 14" 15"? I assume used for work? Have you thought about a desktop (or is portability required?)?

Any price range you're looking at?

Video card arrived yesterday. Installed it no problem (had to unplug front audio out cable for case which I have never used), and makes huge difference in games (was expecting that), and also big difference in just browsing the web and any other task. I had a game at max settings + XBMC 720p tv show running at same time on monitor+tv. I should have got a vid card a lot sooner. Won't be able to try 3 monitors until I get displayport cable.


Another thought, if just screen on laptop died, maybe get a monitor and hook laptop up to it. Hopefully autodetect monitor and show up on monitor, otherwise not sure how you'd change settings to get display to monitor.

You should be able to get used lcd monitors cheap. I'd sell you my 3 year old 22" lcd for $50 that I want to get rid of if you were nearby. Obviously check to make sure monitor would hook up to laptop before buying.

You just have VGA connection? Or DVI/HDMI?

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It's my personal laptop but my fiance uses it constantly for school work and, when she's back to work, work work. 15 inch widescreen with numpad, bluetooth, fingerprint scanner, hdmi out are features we are looking for but either computers stopped coming out with the fingerprint scanner or websites just dont list it as a feature.

We have it hooked up to a monitor now as a temp fix but portability is an issue. We have a lot of major expenses coming up (new vehicle, wedding, septic tank pumping) so had hoped to wait until the fall when everything was taken care of and then spend the money on a really good laptop.

I'm way behind the time on processors - no idea what is good or bad.

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I'm way behind the time on processors - no idea what is good or bad.

Yep, a monitor hookup would be temp fix, or at least you'd have a backup if needed.

CPU is hard to figure out. There's AMD vs Intel (I've only researched AMD, researching both takes much more time, so I've stuck with AMD for my desktop+nettop). Also since AMD CPU (A6, A8, e-350 etc) comes with better vid card than Intel, you have to weigh that as well. Especially if any video/graphic/game intense stuff.

Definitely make sure HDMI out so you can hook up to tv to watch web videos or whatever. I'd think most new laptops come with it by now.

As for CPU, I've looked at AMD A6 quad core CPU laptops would be the minimum you'd want from AMD. They appear to be $100-150 more expensive than last September. I remember ~$500 would be normal sale price, with $450 possible.

Sadly I've done zero research on Intel. Futureshop seems to have 3x as many intel laptops than AMD, so maybe lower prices.

Stay away from "pentium" brand, probably core i3 or i5 would be best. 4gb ram minimum (also make sure to check how many ram slots laptop has and how configured, if possible to upgrade in future). Probably 500gb hdd would come with most. Make sure you have easy access to ram and hdd, in case need to upgrade or replace. Don't want to have to take entire laptop apart to replace those 2 simple things.

As with laptops the specs could be good but could end up with crap laptop, and I'm not sure what brands are best. I thought Toshiba was a better one.

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Feel free to post any others you might think of.

One thing to note about A6-3400 and others, is that they advertize "2.3ghz" quad core. It is actually 1.4 GHz quad core. But once some cores are not being used and say one core is being fully utilized it can "turbo" to 2.3ghz.

Not a big problem, just a bit of marketing gimmick that stores don't advertise (even though 2.3ghz is possible and will be done regularly).

This explains how turbo works with these AMD processors. Also the entire article explains the CPU type you have picked. Pros/cons, battery life etc. Definitely read from beginning!

From what I've read, Intel has better CPU, and AMD has much better integrated GPU (graphics/video card). This is one reason why I've liked the AMD, since I've had previous Intel machines with intel graphics that were slow. Lots of stuff (web browsers, flash etc) are now taking advantage of GPU. Basically having the GPU take care of video and other stuff so CPU can be used for other stuff, and not just CPU doing all the work.

The processor in this laptop should be fine (I guess depends on what CPU you have in current laptop if you'd notice a difference). Assuming you had intel laptop (even AMD laptop with HD4250 graphics), this new CPU/graphics combo should be huge improvement. Good graphics card is important nowadays.

6gb ram = good. Expandable to 16gb =good. Not sure how they get that high, if 2x8gb (8gb ram sticks have been coming out), or 4x4gb. Not that you plan on upgrading right away, or ever, but nice to have options.

750gb hdd = good, at least because HDD prices are high (to buy 750gb 2.5" retail currently costs $130). Make sure can replace HDD/ram easily (on bottom of laptop should have 1 or two screw spots to access it). Some day might want to throw in a SSD that would be anywhere from 5x-80x faster than HDD depending on benchmarks. Prices for SSD are dropping, and in 2 years can definitely see you upgrading to one. Or if HDD dies out of warranty, get an SSD. They are insanely faster than 5400rpm hdd. Can always put hdd into enclosure for portable storage purposes. I know not getting one now, but got more options for future =better.

HDMI =good

I assume they have some display models you could test. Most say that HP is bad brand, but whatever.


review of HP laptop here. Not exact same model as what you linked, but has same processor and other stuff (num keypad).

HP website for laptop

According to it, 2 ram slots. So probably 1x2gb and 1x4gb ram in it.

2 headphone out jack is something I havn't seen before. Could be useful if you ever use them.

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Also considering these two:



I have no clue about the processor in the toshiba vs. the HP - little help on that? The toshiba is the same price as the HP but has 2 gb more RAM, but is lacking USB 3.0 and bluetooth - but if it has a better processor than I think it is the better choice.

The samsung is $50 more but again I don't know if an I5 is a better processor than an AMD SAbine or not. Plus, while it says it isI5 in the name, the details list it as an I3....

Have to buy one today....

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The toshiba has better processor and vid card than HP.

See here to compare both AMD processors. (3520m not listed, I think futureshop means or equal to A8-3510MX based on processor speed). Maybe open up directx on display model to see what it lists CPU as. Or run cpuz program.

EDIT: 3520m does exist. Released December 2011, so not listed at wikipedia for some reason. Definitely better than HP.


The Toshiba processor and vid card are better than HP. But this would also mean they use more power and probably not as long battery life (I doubt would make huge difference). Toshiba has more ram which is good.

Since HP/toshiba are same price, I would definitely get Toshiba, since it supposed to have better brand and the CPU/vid card have higher specs.

The Samsung Intel: Dual core 2.45ghz. processor. So higher clocked CPU, would mean some CPU operations would be faster, but only dual core, so I would think multitasking would work better on AMD quad core. Also the AMD can turbo to 2.5ghz, so similar speed to Intel.

I'm not sure on the NVIDIA GeForce GT 520MX; Optimus. Havn't done much research on nvidia. I know that optimus means you should be able to switch from nvidia graphics card (gaming etc) to the intel HD3000 (simple stuff), to save battery life (it might do it automatically, or manually).

520mx. Based on config core spec, the AMD toshiba vid card is faster.

AMD 6620G vid card.

The vid cards look similar in speed, with AMD coming ahead slightly in most.

Looks like the Intel would have better battery life overall (and says so at futureshop, but those can't be trusted).

anandtech mobile summer 2011 guide, mentions both AMD and nvidia graphics cards. Hmm, for nvidia 520mx

Basically inadequate for any kind of gaming, the 520s don't offer anything over the Sandy Bridge IGP that you don't get just by virtue of having NVIDIA hardware.

Not sure how to take that. They mean the nvidia not much better than already integrated intel hd3000 vid card?

I would go with the Toshiba. $50 less than Samsung, and the integrated AMD CPU/vid card would be simpler since AMD has control over both of them.


I assume the Toshiba comes with windows 7 64 bit (futureshop doesn't mention it). If it doesn't then I don't think it can use more than 4gb of ram... I'm pretty sure everything comes in 64 bit nowadays, but check to make sure. EDIT: CPU is 64 bit so without 64 bit OS it wouldn't even run :P, so has to be 64 bit


The samsung should be an i5, not i3, based upon my earlier wiki link. I know you weren't sure about that.

CPU: Oddly, the AMD has 4x1mb L2 cache, while Intel has 2x256kb L2 cache and 3MB L3 cache. Having L3 cache is good, but not sure why the Intel L2 cache is so low compared to AMD. Nothing to worry over, just find it odd.

I don't see the HP having USB3.0 listed anywheres?? Sucks no bluetooth in Toshiba, but you can always buy bluetooth receiver for $10 if needed.

Also with regards to battery life, I assume your tablet takes care of ultraportability needs, and thus a difference in battery life in laptops not huge difference, since can just be plugged in?

So since after all these edits, I'd recommend the Toshiba based on specs.

Going to be gone for a couple hours (8:30 EST ->11 EST), if any more questions.

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Your welcome.

And the Toshiba processor is listed in my first link in last past. It just wasn't listed with the other link comparing vid cards for them.

The A8-3520M Toshiba should be good, especially since came out in Dec. 2011, and has less TDP than other A8 AMD laptop processors. Make sure can access ram/HDD (I think most laptops you can, it is netbooks that sometimes don't let you).

I have no idea about keyboard layouts, screen, mouse etc for laptops. You'd have to read reviews (I don't see any for exact model) or see for yourself.

Hope it works good, let me know what you get and how it works out.

You get extended warranties? They usually aren't worth it, and don't get any of the special antivirus / backup packages or whatever they are trying to sell. Probably comes with lots of crapware so uninstall lots of crap.

If comes with norton/macafee, I'd get rid of that and install Microsoft Security essentials. I'm sure there are lots of other software recommendations I could do, but that's mostly for software thread if you have questions. The more crap that is running in background you don't need, the more wasting battery life.

Also I think they sometimes come with say Toshiba (or HP, dell etc) toolbars that run on desktop as shortcuts to brand stuff, which for me would be waste of resources, so just disable from starting up.

Example: Friends old (4-5year?) laptop, had program for burning CD/DVD that was constantly monitoring everything using 10% CPU (dual core processor I think), so I had to track it down and stop process from running/starting. They mostly use it for web browsing, so I tried to optimize for that (I got them using Chrome since it's fastest, and makes use of lots of processes/cores).

Curious: What was the specs for your broken laptop (cpu / vid card / ram / hdd)?

Also, if your going to throw out your old laptop at some point, make sure to take out HDD and you can put in $20 external enclosure that can be used for backups or portable storage. Ram could be worth something if DDR3. Or if you know someone wanting ram (depends on ram size mostly, if you had a 1x4gb ddr2 ram stick, someone might have free ram slot etc).

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No extended warranty's here - although with my last laptop it probably would have been worth it :(

The plan is to hook my old laptop up to my TV - use it for downloading (if I'm gonna get a virus it might as well be on the old one!) and streaming Netflix. It doesn't have HDMI out but my internet is too slow for HD streaming anyway, so VGA is fine.

It does have dual harddrives so I might get the second one taken out, might not.

It is an acer aspire 5535-6389. Complete shit, but was so cheap compared to other swith similar specs at the time...

AMD 64 X2 Dual core QL-62 (2.0 ghz with 1 mb cache)

4gb ddr2 Ram

HD 15.6" widescreen

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Any idea what the vid card was in it? According to google ATI Radeon HD 3200 Graphics. So yes the new laptop should be HUGE improvement in graphics department.

Good idea with the laptop->tv. Probably worthwhile to have wireless mouse (maybe even keyboard?). If old laptop dies you can always use with new laptop etc. Then your old laptop would be like basic HTPC for the TV. Just shove the laptop behind tv, or on tv stand somewhere that you don't need to deal with it (make sure it has room for cooling purposes though), and can control with keyboard/mouse. If it has an option that when you press keyboard key it can wake from sleep (or hibernate?), you shouldn't have to touch the laptop at all (instead of shutdown, go into sleep/hibernate).

I assume you have 3.5mm audio cable to go from laptop headphone jack ->tv to get audio? Something like this?

If old laptop near router, could just hook directly via ethernet cord instead of wireless to get best speed for streaming netflix, and leave wireless for you new laptop/tablet. Google says your old laptop only has wireless b/g, so only having wireless N devices connecting to router should help with speed/reception.

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I have a gyration air mouse for using my laptop with my tv - got it for christmas. No audio to the tv - my tv dosn't have the right input - so what I have is headphone to rca to rca switch to my stereo so my tv and laptop are both hooked up to it for sound.

My entertainment center has a nice little shelf I was for the laptop but unfortunately I will have to manually turn it on and off quite often - it overheats too easily and shuts itself down. This is despite a new fan put in it last year. The thing is a lemon.

I hear you about the wireless connection. I bought a remote desktop program for my playbook in ordwr to stream netflix from the comp to my tablet and the laptop just doesn't have the juice to do it. Lags like crazy. I expect the new one will be much better in that respect.

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Audio to stereo system is fine (what most do).

Yah, your old laptop probably wouldn't be able to handle remote login + netflix that great due to vid card (I'm surprised netflix even worked :P). Your wireless network should be fast enough for there to be no lag between devices. I had lag between my desktop and old nettop when I remoted in as well with mouse sporadically moving everywhere, which I attributed to nettop being slow.

I hear you about laptops overheating. Old laptops I've seen get very hot. I think they were both similar dualcore AMD processor as your old laptop.

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Hey. Do you hear about new windows 8? Its intersting? I dont red many articles about this product. ;)

Maybe a new thread can be made about that. The metro design will be drastic change.


I hooked my 24" tv up to my nettop, and it was running both tv+monitor (dualscreen). On the tv I had XBMC playing 2k resolution Sintel movie (higher res than 1080p), and 480p youtube video in Chrome on monitor. My nettop was able to handle them with ease (40-50% CPU). Although when I tried to run Sintel on VLC 2.0.0, CPU went up to 100% with stuttering (I think it wasn't using GPU to decode, even though vlc 2.0.0 is supposed to), but played 720p vid sample fine. I guess I forgot that my nettop can do dual display, which is good because I plan on replacing old tv with flatscreen and getting rid of satellite dish ($75/month).

So your laptop should be able to handle everything you can throw at it, the only slow part should be the HDD. I put together a comparison of my nettop vid card (6310) and your laptop vid card (6620). As you can see yours is a lot faster.


Although be warned that doing stuff such as installing libreoffice, will still be slow, as that is a limitation of HDD. I'm trying to install libreoffice on my 320gb 2.5" 5400rpm hdd and it is extremely slow (like 5 minutes, whereas SSD took 30 seconds at most).

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