Buying a laptop for a friend, is this good value?

Discussion in 'Hardware Discussion & Support' started by Calliers, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    Ok, in this crazy market, is this offer on Amazon.ca good value? The prices around these days don't make sense which is why I am bringing this to the community to decide. :)

    • 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) TN 220nits Anti-glare Display
    • AMD Ryzen 5 3500U (Quad Core/ up to 3.7GHz, 2MB L2 / 4MB L3) Processor, 2.1 GHz frequency
    • 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD storage (2.5" SATA 6Gb/s ); Integrated AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics
    • WiFi 802.11ac 1x1 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.2; Webcam; 2x USB 3.1 Gen 1; 1x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1; 1x HDMI 1.4b; 1x Ethernet (RJ-45)
    • Windows 10 Home 64
    I would have liked the WiFi to have been 802.11ax but what can ya do if you're trying for 600 CAD.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Lenovo-L340-R...cphy=9001269&hvtargid=pla-1132161534675&psc=1

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    What are they going to do with it?
    It's pretty good for a basic laptop. But nothing more.
    Can a user upgrade the RAM?
    8GB might very well mean single channel memory, combined with AMD CPU and integrated GPU, this could be the death of the performance of this laptop unless you can increase the RAM.
    The 1.4b HDMI connection would also mean limiting the external monitor to 1080p. Sure the Vega 8 isn't a 4K monster, but connecting to a 4K monitor for movie watching or even productivity would mean working at 30hz. Have you used a modern windows machine at 30hz refresh rate? ? You want to kill yourself.
     
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  3. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    All of ryzen APUs support DP and hdmi 2.0b including freesync/vrr over hdmi. In fact they play 4k content even with hdr quite well.


    regarding the specs.. i still think 600usd is a little steep, but in this market it's not bad either considering i couldn't get a 3500u based laptop for anything less than 900 bucks there last year which is ridiculous. It would be much better to get the newer 4000u or 5000u series. These laptops should be on far more of a disccount due to be technically 2 generations old now too.

    8gb on ryzen isn't bad for a daily driver that isn't doing any serious heavy lifting even if it's single channel, if the intention is to play some games with the 3500u is certianly capable of, well that's definitely going to impact things as with dual channel, things ramp up considerably.

    AX wifi or wifi 6 for the matter is entirely useless for the overwhelming majority of people to the point that it's more of a hindrance. With most households in saskatchewan still eating 5-10mbps connection and only a few people jump to 25 or 50/80mbps... it's still irrelevant.
     
  4. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    The guy might not be in Saskatchewan. Regarding the HDMI standard supported, are you suggesting that the laptop does support HDMI 2.0b even if the manufacturer only declared it to be 1.4b?

    My main concerns would be whether RAM and storage are upgradeable (preferably by user) and whether that screen is ok to look at (it is of TN variety, so a legitimate matter).
     
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  5. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    All the 300 series desktop motherboards, and 400 for ryzen reported only hdmi 1.4 support, but this isn't dictated by the manufacturer, it's dictated by the APU in use, and plenty of them report inaccurately the specs, specially if the specs listed are being listed by the retailer such as amazon or best buy or something.

    I've not seen a single case in which the ryzen APUs couldn't do 60hz 4k out of the box.

    As for modern TN Panels... granted we're dealing with a laptop, a good tn panel is as good as a poor IPS or a midrange VA for that matter.

    lenovos are typically quite good though for displays.

    A little further research into that specific model appears that it's only a single channel configuration and in terms of replacing/upgrading is certainly not convenient. So if the intention is to potentially game on it, probably not going to be a great time and will be serious hampered. Jebus i despise it when they do that crap.
     
  6. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    Firstly, @Judas it is 600 CAD as in Canadian dollars.

    And secondly, he is at a household that has a router which supports WiFi 802.11ax.

    He wants to use it to video chat with people, watch the occasional movie on DVD or Netflix or Prime Video, and browse the internet as well as listen to music through headphones.
     
  7. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    220 nits TN panel for movie watching...no man. I wouldn't suggest it.
     
  8. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    His primary use would be video chatting with family and friends.

    He has a big screen TV for watching shows and movies on Prime and Netflix already, and I was just talking to him - he told me he would use that firstly and the laptop would come as a really far second.
     
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  9. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    It'll do fine for that, surfing and light use of office applications.

    In that case, my concerns would be the webcam, the speakers and the microphone, if he's going to use the built-in ones. Although my recommendation would be to use a headset (could be just a pair of BT earbuds) and for the webcam, if it's decent great, but even if it's not that good, I guess the other side will be able to live with that.
     
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  10. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    In that case, what IvanV said. Check to see if the webcam is good enough if he is going to use it and not an external one. Reviews of it if possible.
    As long as they are not going to want to plug it in a monitor/tv to use it as the player for 4K content, due to the hdmi 1.4b, it should be fine.
    Technically even with 1.4b it should be fine if JUST to watch movies as almost all movies/tv is around 24 fps, but not for anything else.

    Now as for the price, I can't really comment on that as I am not paying much attention to prices for laptops lately. But if the price looks right to them, the laptop for the specific job should be fine.
    Again though, if they decide to do more with it, check the RAM and possibly storage situation. The laptop can and will lose even 40% of its potential performance due to the single channel memory.
     
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  11. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks guys for your feedback, I passed it along to him and he will let me know if he decided to go with this laptop. His budget could change and he might go with a more expensive one, in that case we'll come back to the drawing board again.

    Once again, thanks a tonne to all of you. :)
     
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  12. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    one does not need AX wifi to do anything of the sort, even half AC is overkill. Shit even B is sufficient for the majority of needs be it watching 1080p content and streaming and screwing around. A/G standards pretty much hits the limits of internet connections around here, with N secureing the most you'll ever get out of it. AC is as i said already overkill at half rate, full AC let alone AX doesn't really exist as a requirement for anyone or anything it'd be used for unless you're transfering raw data to NAS drives or something absurdly unlikely.
     
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  13. Calliers

    Calliers Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for that note @Judas. :)
     
  14. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    I've only ever touched the Intel version of the laptop which came with the GTX1650 graphics, so I can only comment on that one. Personally I liked it, but I wouldn't buy it for myself (ThinkPad or nothing, fms).

    From what I recall all versions come with 1 RAM slot (the entire underside comes off, and the RAM is sitting under a metal shield). If you get the SSD version the mounting area for a 2.5" drive will be empty. If you want to fill that slot you'll need to buy the mounting kit, which includes the bracket, and special SATA to ribbon cable adapter (like THIS kit). As I said though this is based on the Intel version, so I'm not sure if it's the same for the AMD model.
     
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  15. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    Wait...the laptop comes with a free RAM slot, or with one RAM slot in total? If it's the second, that's insane! Especially for an AMD system.
    Well, if it is the same system of course.
     
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  16. Tipstaff

    Tipstaff Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the model. All models I bought had just a single RAM slot with 8GB or 16GB of RAM. Plus the board design has changed a couple times (and the battery). All models were Intel i5, so they all have the IdeaPad 15-IRH model number (AMD should be 15-API), some with a GTX card (either 1050 or 1650 with 4GB dedicated RAM soldered onto the board) or Intel HD Graphics. I've never touched the AMD models. Googling pointed me to THIS image of an AMD board which follows what I remember about the Intel versions (the RAM slot is under the shield).
     
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  17. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    Well then, if there is no second slot on the other side of the motherboard, it's a stupid design.
    Thanks for the info.
     
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  18. IvanV

    IvanV HH Assassin Guild Member

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    It makes this low margin product $1 cheaper to manufacture and limits it somewhat (artificially) so as not to undercut higher priced models.
     
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  19. Trusteft

    Trusteft HH's Asteroids' Dominator

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    The more I think of this, the more I wouldn't want to spend that money on it, surely there must be a better solution out there.
     
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  20. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    a ton of low cost intel and ryzen models only have the one ram slot.... but as i said, if the system isn't being used for anything that doesn't remand/require heavy ram bandwidth/utilization and since the slots are designed to support 16gb modules (with the likely possibility of 32gb modules)... it's not like physical ram will necessarily be a limitation being worried about at the moment.

    I do agree though under no circumstance should dual channel functionality be left out. I'm A-OK with companies selling single channel out of the box due to only having one module installed, but i refuse to buy laptops without the ability to upgrade and ensure dual channel is a functional thing. I also dislike any laptop that doesn't have easy accessible ram and 2.5/m.2 without having to tear it apart. Acer usually seemed to do it right and far less money. I can still get the E5 575 laptops which have a single removal cover on the bottom that gives you access to 2 so-dimm slots , an m.2 slot and the 2.5" sata. The only caveat of those laptops was the m.2 was sata only. But nothing stopping them from using newer chipsets that provide 4x pci-ex while still allowing for a 2.5" sata. And you know what, for $350 USD shipped to canada, i was making pretty good bank by selling a superior laptop to customers for basically matched cost of what they were selling them without what i changed in them, in canada.
     
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