Suggest a student laptop

fluidistic

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Hello! I need a new laptop, because my current HP laptop has less than 2 hours of battery life (and is extremely slow due to 5400 rpm HDD and Intel Celeron N2830 processor and has a lot more problems that I won't mention here.) and I need at least 7 hours.

Usually the 1st step is to figure out what one'd do with the laptop. I am not even sure about it! I need it for making presentations and carry it with my in my backpack. When I'm not home, I'd like it to last a full day (so that I don't have to carry the charger with me) of work, i.e. around 7 hours. I am not sure whether I'd run number crunching programs. I guess not, because I have a deskptop pc for that. Maybe I might need to compile Latex docs, but I used to do that with my old Celeron without too much pain (used to take over 40 s to compile a 30 pages doc.)

I do not want a DVD reader/writer slot (I won't buy a laptop that has this hardware bloat since I'll never, ever use it). I do not want a HDD, I want a SSD with at least 128 GB. I won't buy a laptop that has both since I'd avoid to use the HDD like the plague and worry about battery life due to it.

I am located in France, so this discard many US options.
Budget: no more than 800 euros. I'd like around 400 euros if possible.
Processor: I'd like to have at least an i3, unless someone tells me a Celeron or Pentium would be worth considering. I am not sure whether the Celeron or the HDD is the bottleneck in my current laptop, but I find it too slow, it's almost a torture now that I'm used to lightning fast computers. I'd prefer 8th gen's Intel cpu's. They are a massive improvement over the 7th gen for laptops, so much more can be done for the same power consumption.
RAM: I don't care at all about it. 4 GB is already much more than enough. (I use less than 2 GB on my desktop pc, a core i7 7700, even though the cpu is crunching numbers during hours.)

So far I've been looking at Ideapads and Thinkpads. I find both Lenovo laptops rather expensive but maybe I missed some models.

It needs to have a good Linux compatibility but I do not worry too much about that. I'll google about it, before buying it, of course. I will not use Windows.
 
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I don't know much about the specs of specifics laptops on the market right now but I would say that pentium and celeron are in fact NOT worth considering. Also, you'd be surprised at how much memory some programs use up, and a decent cpu is worthless without enough memory. One last point is to maybe consider narrowing your price range to make it easier for people to give recommendations, since 400-800 euros is a massive spread.
 

fluidistic

Gold Member
3,605
90
I don't know much about the specs of specifics laptops on the market right now but I would say that pentium and celeron are in fact NOT worth considering. Also, you'd be surprised at how much memory some programs use up, and a decent cpu is worthless without enough memory. One last point is to maybe consider narrowing your price range to make it easier for people to give recommendations, since 400-800 euros is a massive spread.
Ok about the price, then I'd say no more than 500 euros.
After a bit more thoughts, I think I'll use the laptop mostly for presentations (either PDF or Impress, a Power Point clone). 4 GB of RAM is already an overkill, considering that the Linux thing I'm going to install on it will occupy less than 300 MB of RAM and the thing that will eat up most RAM will be Firefox, but nowhere close to 2 GB.
I think a Celeron or Pentium would be really nice as long as there is a SSD and no HDD.
 

Dr Transport

Science Advisor
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did you try to get a new battery?? I would think a new battery would last at least 7-8 hours, and I agree, more memory would be a good choice also. Studies shave shown that loading up on memory speeds up a machine significantly.
 

fluidistic

Gold Member
3,605
90
did you try to get a new battery?? I would think a new battery would last at least 7-8 hours, and I agree, more memory would be a good choice also. Studies shave shown that loading up on memory speeds up a machine significantly.
No. Actually my current battery is entirely drained after the laptop is turned off for about 2 days. When it is on, it lasts about 2 hours. That is so insane I am not even sure it's a battery problem (yeah, I even went on thinking that HP let a spying device in my laptop... I mean the energy leak is so important, it is very strange, isn't it? It is like so ever since I bought this laptop, so it's not the battery that aged badly.). My laptop model is HP Pavilion 11-n030ar x360, the battery is "2-cell 29WHr 3.82Ah prismatic battery". Is this even Li ions battery? Can I replace it by a "normal" non prismatic battery?
But indeed, replacing the battery and HDD by a SSD would cost around 100 euros and would make the laptop much faster (assuming the cpu isn't the bottleneck, wich I hope is the case). It has 4 GB of RAM and it's an overkill. Linux by default uses swap when the RAM is filled at 70%, which I never reach with the laptop, so it never swaps. And I could disable swap (like I did on my desktop pc) if I want to. Swapping is probably what makes the laptop slow for those for which increasing RAM leads to faster results. But it's not my case.
 

Dr Transport

Science Advisor
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OK conspiracy theorist, HP put spyware on your machine..... If the machine is off and the battery is drained in 2 days, I think the battery is bad and needs to be replaced.
 

fluidistic

Gold Member
3,605
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OK conspiracy theorist, HP put spyware on your machine..... If the machine is off and the battery is drained in 2 days, I think the battery is bad and needs to be replaced.
It is a weird machine! For one, the firmware (BIOS) checks for /boot/efi/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi on the hard drive before anything else, so it is impossible to boot Linux once installed. One has to trick the system by copying a Linux.efi over the bootmgfw.efi file so that the laptop can boot into something that's not Windows. And Windows by definition, is a spyware. I'm not saying there are high chances there's a spying device inside the laptop, but I considered it, based on all this, and on the fact that the battery has always behaved that way.

Anyway, can I replace the battery by "anything that fits with the same size"? Or do I need to have the same capacity and Ah? Because 3.82 Ah doesn't look like easy to find. I can't find that on amazon.fr
 

Dr Transport

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2,211
384
It is a weird machine! For one, the firmware (BIOS) checks for /boot/efi/EFI/Microsoft/Boot/bootmgfw.efi on the hard drive before anything else, so it is impossible to boot Linux once installed. One has to trick the system by copying a Linux.efi over the bootmgfw.efi file so that the laptop can boot into something that's not Windows. And Windows by definition, is a spyware. I'm not saying there are high chances there's a spying device inside the laptop, but I considered it, based on all this, and on the fact that the battery has always behaved that way.

Anyway, can I replace the battery by "anything that fits with the same size"? Or do I need to have the same capacity and Ah? Because 3.82 Ah doesn't look like easy to find. I can't find that on amazon.fr

you need the same capacity battery, just fitting into the slot won't work, you might have to order it thru the manufacturer.

As for your other issue, it sounds like a machine that was designed for windows, almost like a chrome book, if you have to alter the bios to install another operating system, most likely the machine is optimized for windows.

I had a laptop years ago which wouldn't turn off using the power feature in Windows, you had to cycle the switch. It was quirky too, but after a while the battery just plain was useless and needed to be replaced. After I replaced it ran like a champ, still wouldn't turn off via windows command, but it lasted 10-12 hours before I put the machine to pasture. It almost acts like you kept the machine plugged in all the time and when you really need the battery, it has a memory.
 

fluidistic

Gold Member
3,605
90
you need the same capacity battery, just fitting into the slot won't work, you might have to order it thru the manufacturer.

As for your other issue, it sounds like a machine that was designed for windows, almost like a chrome book, if you have to alter the bios to install another operating system, most likely the machine is optimized for windows.

I had a laptop years ago which wouldn't turn off using the power feature in Windows, you had to cycle the switch. It was quirky too, but after a while the battery just plain was useless and needed to be replaced. After I replaced it ran like a champ, still wouldn't turn off via windows command, but it lasted 10-12 hours before I put the machine to pasture. It almost acts like you kept the machine plugged in all the time and when you really need the battery, it has a memory.
I see, thank you and indeed, the laptop was apparently designed and optimized to run on Windows only. I think I'll be better off buying a new laptop then. I've been reading about the discharge problem and several people reported similar problems (though not with the exact same model than mine), it could be due to "wake-on LAN" feature, which maintains a network card powered on all the time to be able to turn on the laptop remotedly. I'd have to check if I have this feature enabled. I couldn't find it in the BIOS.
 
ASUS laptop is great,i've always thought asus laptops are for students,inexpensive and capable.
 

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