Laptop Advice

GB72

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I am very out of date on my PC knowledge. When my wife was around, she was obsessed with Apple products so had a Macbook.

Anyway, long story short, now I no longer have access to the Mac, I am looking for a laptop ideally but would consider a desktop PC for home. Going to be used for the general everyday stuff, web browsing, occasionally watch a film of YouTube and sometimes for working from home (normal office based programs being used). In an ideal world, it would also be able to play some non graphic intensive strategy games as I can use my Xbox Gamepass on it but that it not the main function.

In an ideal world, I am not going to spend more than £500-£700 on this but I have no idea if that is realistic. What I do know is that most of the offerings on sites like Currys are generally not good so I have put this out to the forum Hive Mind to see if you can come up with any suggestions.
 

Mandofred

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I've bought a few things from Scan computers. I've been pleased with them. I have a desktop for most of my use....I play games at times, and.....you get more bang for your Buck as they say with a desktop. I'm starting to have a little trouble with my 13" Lenovo laptop, so I'm thinking about buying a 15.6" for when I'm in the living room etc and want a computer handy. The laptop can be lower spec since I only need it for cruising the internet etc. Currys has a Samsung I've been thinking about for £449. Actually, your post just reminded me to check Scan to see what they offer.
 

GB72

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I've bought a few things from Scan computers. I've been pleased with them. I have a desktop for most of my use....I play games at times, and.....you get more bang for your Buck as they say with a desktop. I'm starting to have a little trouble with my 13" Lenovo laptop, so I'm thinking about buying a 15.6" for when I'm in the living room etc and want a computer handy. The laptop can be lower spec since I only need it for cruising the internet etc. Currys has a Samsung I've been thinking about for £449. Actually, your post just reminded me to check Scan to see what they offer.

I have no idea on what is a decent spec these days but I am looking at this as an option, seems cheap and probably able to play Xcom 2 plus a few others. Any thoughts

 

Mandofred

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I have no idea on what is a decent spec these days but I am looking at this as an option, seems cheap and probably able to play Xcom 2 plus a few others. Any thoughts

I don't know specs well enough either. When I start looking for something new I have to go back and do some research to see what I would need. I don't need to play games on my laptop since I have a decent desktop, so my requirements are fairly minimal for a laptop. If somebody who is a computer nerd doesn't pop up here, I usually just go to Google and start typing in things like "laptop specs for playing games" etc....and various other wording to see what is needed. Sites like CNET, expertreviews laptop uk, Techradar, PCmag UK, there are plenty more. A decent gaming laptop will run up in price very quickly.
 

GB72

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I don't know specs well enough either. When I start looking for something new I have to go back and do some research to see what I would need. I don't need to play games on my laptop since I have a decent desktop, so my requirements are fairly minimal for a laptop. If somebody who is a computer nerd doesn't pop up here, I usually just go to Google and start typing in things like "laptop specs for playing games" etc....and various other wording to see what is needed. Sites like CNET, expertreviews laptop uk, Techradar, PCmag UK, there are plenty more. A decent gaming laptop will run up in price very quickly.

That is my issue, I do not want it running the latest, all signing, all dancing graphic intensive games, I have a PS5 and series X for that, but would like to be able to play some strategy titles that I already get on my Gamepass subscription with Microsoft.
 

jim8flog

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I do not know a lot these days but a £500-£700 budget seems high for what you want from a laptop.

The first place to start is what screen size are you happy to put up with? Then does it have HDMI out so you can connect to a larger screen.

I have not done any computer buying for years but most of my stuff came from

ebuyer.com
 

GB72

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I do not know a lot these days but a £500-£700 budget seems high for what you want from a laptop.

The first place to start is what screen size are you happy to put up with? Then does it have HDMI out so you can connect to a larger screen.

I have not done any computer buying for years but most of my stuff came from

ebuyer.com

It is high but I am paying a bit more just to get some basic gaming capabilities. I know I could pick up one for work, net surfing and the odd film for a couple of hundred less than that
 

Wabinez

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You can usually spec something pretty handy from pcspecialist. Might require a teeny bit of IT knowledge, but a few upgrades here and there and you can have something pretty handy
 

GreiginFife

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My advice is always the same. Don't buy a laptop unless portability is THE number one requirement. Laptops offer little to no longevity, constrained by thermals, SO-DIMM memory and out date quickly.

Gaming laptops are, IMO , a bit of a con as they almost always thermal throttle under load. And if you are not running GPU intensive applications as a use case then you are wasting money on mGPU that will only add to the thermal issues.

Again, just my advice, but if you can go desktop then I would recommend it. More power for your pound and more upgradability and future proofing options.

Even a small form factor with a Ryzen 'G' series APU and a decent chunk of memory will come in much lower than your budget. Look at self building a mini ITX system or even a micro ATX "mini tower" system if you have the space.

At £700 you could build a reasonable low end 1080p gaming machine. But as that's not your primary goal, spending more on the APU and RAM would be a better use of budget than a GPU of any sort.

Caveat: It does depend on what you mean by "non graphical intense" as there are some games that on the surface are non GPU bound but do still require some hootzpah.

Edited to add: I would always recommend self build over pre-built as, invariably, the component quality isn't the greatest. Usually the PSU is the main cost cut as you never see it, but it's also the one area that you don't want to skimp on or get the requirements wrong on. Used to get many pre-built systems in for repair and the issue was a fried mobo or GPU because the 12v rail on the PSU was completely unstable or wasn't rated for the system's power draw.
 

GB72

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My advice is always the same. Don't buy a laptop unless portability is THE number one requirement. Laptops offer little to no longevity, constrained by thermals, SO-DIMM memory and out date quickly.

Gaming laptops are, IMO , a bit of a con as they almost always thermal throttle under load. And if you are not running GPU intensive applications as a use case then you are wasting money on mGPU that will only add to the thermal issues.

Again, just my advice, but if you can go desktop then I would recommend it. More power for your pound and more upgradability and future proofing options.

Even a small form factor with a Ryzen 'G' series APU and a decent chunk of memory will come in much lower than your budget. Look at self building a mini ITX system or even a micro ATX "mini tower" system if you have the space.

At £700 you could build a reasonable low end 1080p gaming machine. But as that's not your primary goal, spending more on the APU and RAM would be a better use of budget than a GPU of any sort.

Caveat: It does depend on what you mean by "non graphical intense" as there are some games that on the surface are non GPU bound but do still require some hootzpah.

Edited to add: I would always recommend self build over pre-built as, invariably, the component quality isn't the greatest. Usually the PSU is the main cost cut as you never see it, but it's also the one area that you don't want to skimp on or get the requirements wrong on. Used to get many pre-built systems in for repair and the issue was a fried mobo or GPU because the 12v rail on the PSU was completely unstable or wasn't rated for the system's power draw.

I am pretty much looking at Xcom 2 and Civ Vi. Anything else is a bonus.

Desktop is an option but I really have none of the skills or knowledge about how to build one. Any decent online options you know where perhaps I can let them know my thoughts and see what they come up with. Would like to go down the route of self build built by someone else if you get what I mean.
 

GreiginFife

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I am pretty much looking at Xcom 2 and Civ Vi. Anything else is a bonus.

Desktop is an option but I really have none of the skills or knowledge about how to build one. Any decent online options you know where perhaps I can let them know my thoughts and see what they come up with. Would like to go down the route of self build built by someone else if you get what I mean.
Self building is a lot easier than you think. Parts are all keyed these days so it's much harder to foul up than it was 20 years ago.

Happy to offer advice as I have done for a few on here in the past if needed.

If you do go to shop for a custom build then just make sure that the PSU is of good repute. It used to be just as easy as Bronze, Silver or Gold rated = good. But nowadays there are more PSUs in those categories on the 'naughty list' than there are not.

It's really tough in the prebuilt market now. You used to have AMDI, Cyberpower and a few others that stood out but even now their quality has nosedived as the seek profit over quality. My mate bought a pre-built for his son's Christmas despite me advising against it (and even saying I'd build it for him gratis). Lo-and-behold in March the PSU popped and took the mobo and the hard drive with it. But even when it was running "ok" it's performance was way below what would be expected of a machine of that spec. A combination of poor build, bloatware and default settings being left in BIOS.
 

RichA

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I've had a few laptops through work and at home. I'm not a gamer - just use them for home IT stuff, browsing and a bit of Sky Sports and YouTube.
The last 2 that I've spent my own money on have been Asus. A cheap and cheerful one that lasted 5 years and a Zenbook for the last couple of years.
I wouldn't hesitate to get another Asus.
I've had poor experiences with HP and Lenovo. MrsA's MacBook Pro was a great bit of kit, but if you've spent most of your life using Windows it's difficult to really get used to the annoying little differences for the added expense.
I love the idea of a self-build but don't love trying to fix the glitches without support.
 

Mandofred

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My little Lenovo has really started to tick me off, so I ordered a cheapie (£380) 15.6" Vivobook through Scan. Ordered yesterday and just setting it up now. All we need it for is internet and some typing.
 

BiMGuy

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Just get an official refurbished Dell.
I know they’re not cool, but in my experience they just work.
 

Beezerk

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Sorry small hijack.
I’ve got a new work laptop and I want to copy all my files, passwords,
Webpage bookmarks etc across. How do I do this?
I know how to copy all the files over it’s the passwords etc I’m worried about.
 
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