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need help choosing budget laptop..pentium vs core i3


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hey guys,


I'm looking for a new budget laptop to do basic productivity at home... office, web, email, whs 2011 file access (all files will be stored on server). It won't be a travel laptop so weight and battery are generally not important. I'll possibly replace the drive straight away with an SSD to speed it up a bit.


I'm seeing decent prices from dell for example such as the following;


Dell Inspirion 15 3000 $350

pentium 4 N3540 (2M Cache, up to 2.66 GHz)
4GB DDR3L 1600 (4GBx1)
500GB 5400RPM SATA Hard Drive
Intel® HD Graphics
15.6" TL HD (1366 x 768)
Intel® Centrino® Wireless-AC 3160 + Bluetooth 4.0
40 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (removable)



Dell Inspirion 15 3000 $400
i3-5005U Processor (3M Cache, 2.00 GHz),
4GB Single Channel DDR3L 1600MHz (4GBx1)
500GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
Intel® HD Graphics
15.6-inch HD (1366 x 768) Truelife LED-Backlit Display
802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz, 1x1
40 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (removable)


At this price the only difference seems to be the pentium (4 cores, CPU benchmark 1771) vs core i3 (2 cores,  CPU benchmark 2991)....any comments would be appreciated if the i3 is worth the extra. Especially when I might get another $50 off the pentium model on a discount somewhere, such Frys or newegg.

Any other brand suggestions?






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Will this have Windows 8.1?


I have an Acer 1810T which has an Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300/1.3GHz -- it had a 2.5" 5400RPM WD Blue in it -- and the machine was doggy (with a Passmark score for the CPU of 904) but when I deleted all the crapware, replaced the HDD with a SSD (Crucial M4 256GB), and loaded Windows 8.0 and later 8.1 on it -- the machine screams (relatively).  I like my Acer now except for the fact that it doesn't have a touch screen :) but it's one of the oldest computers I have and it's going strong -- the SSD was the major game changer IMO.


For another comparison check my performance review in the Forums at SurfaceGeeks -- the Surface 3 CPU has a Passmark of 1485 so it's respectably better than my Core 2 Duo in the 1810T -- but the disk performance is below that of my 1810T -- so while I can (and have) loaded Camtasia on the Laptop and Surface 3 neither would be good for Video editing IMO.


The Pentium has twice the Passmark score as my Core 2 Duo so with the price difference between the Pentium and i3 you could pick up a few accessories, YMMV -- Assuming all else is equal -- if you do a lot of spreadsheet work, data crunching, tech modeling, video rendering, CAD, etc. the i3 with the higher Passmark may be a better choice (actually, for some of that stuff an i7 may be called for) but for general purpose work the SSD will be the performance driver in my opinion (IMO)


It may help your decision if you could look at both Dells side by side in a store.

Edited by Joe_Miner
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Your decision all depends on how you use the laptop.  If you do nothing more than surf and email, why not look at a ChromeBook?  There are deals daily for under $200

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can't bring myself to get one without a HDD

interesting prices ranges at dell


14in non touch screen, celeron, 2GB ram, 32GB SSD for $229

with 500GB HDD $249


15in, celeron, 4GB, 500Gb HDD, $299

15in, pentium, 4GB, 500Gb HDD, $329 ($349 for touch)

15in, corei3, 4GB, 500Gb HDD, $399 (touch and non touch )

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I have had great luck with refurb from Woot:

a good friend just got one of these and is very happy with it:


At $459 it is more, but:

Toshiba P55W-B5220 Satellite Radius Convertible Laptop 15.6" Full-HD IPS Touchscreen Intel Core i5-4210U 1.7GHz 750GB SATA 8GB DDR3 802.11ac Bluetooth Win8.1
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thanks HSS,


in reading some processor review , seems the key differences between the Pentium n3540 and the core i3 5005u, are 2 mores cores in the pentium (thus better for more apps open at the same time) and better power efficiency, whereas the core i3 will run apps approx 20% faster that are more memory hungry, but the non-hungry apps much less.


It might come down to, 6 of one and half a dozen of another (if the phrase is understood)..more apps running simulations (pro for the pentium), also use more memory (pro for the i3)


Seems to me at this price point, not much between them.




refurb??, might consider that

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I'm also seeing that some of these have no Ethernet ports, and you have to buy a usb / lan adapter or use a docking station.

If this was your only laptop, setting up a router would I suppose require the usb Ethernet port adapter...not exactly convenient.



no Ethernet appears to be a trend

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