Searching for a laptop (Acer vs Dell)

I’m going to study abroad so I’m searching for a laptop. I was trying to balance portability, price, ability to run some rather CPU/RAM intensive apps including Blender.
I have narrowed down my research to these models:

ACER Aspire 5741G
CPU: i5-430M
Video card: nVidia GT320M 1GB (not sure if shared)

Dell Inspiron 1564
CPU: i5-430M
Video card: ATi Mobility Radeon HD5450 1GB (shared memory)

All other params (price ~900USD, screen size - 15.6, hard drive - 500GB) are identical. At least on paper. The main difference seems to be video card.

Any suggestions which one would be better option? Both are crap? Does ATi still lack proper OpenGL support?

Think about going beyond i5 and look for an i7. You’ll be glad you spent a little extra. I played with a “top of the line” i5 and wound up just taking it back to the store for a refund. Right after that I got an i7 and it was quite a difference.

Del has an offering:

HP has a good offering in the Envy line. I have one myself.

Thank you for reply and links. i7 Dell looks only a bit more expensive. I’m not sure how it becomes much more expensive in the local shops. I think I should check Dell’s website.

You have to do a lot of looking for yourself to find something that will hopefully last.

In general, Acer does not have a very good name in terms of reliability. The demo units in the stores always seem to have problems. Now, I have two monitors that have been fine, but the laptop I’ve used got cracked hinges after a couple of years. Disclaimer: As far as I know nobody slammed the lid or otherwise abused it, but everything I’ve heard says their quality is low.

Dells used to be good, then developed a similar bad reputation for awhile, but seem to have improved a lot in the last couple of years. Even HP has had issues recently on particular lines.

Always search for reviews of specific machines (and companies) at multiple sites, etc.

It will probably scare you at first (I just about didn’t even buy an external HD at all when I went looking), but don’t forget you usually only see the bad news. Look for trends (i.e. ALL bad reports), and also especially - ask the local PC repair departments about what they see and hear are good or bad machines - not so much the salespeople :wink:

assemble your own laptop:


Personal opinion: go with a nvidia graphics card, if possible with at least 1GB ram… the system should have at least 4GB ram…