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Studying MBA? Six laptops under Rs 45k for YOU!

Last updated on: May 19, 2011 18:26 IST

Studying MBA? Six laptops under Rs 45k for YOU!

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Krishna Sheshadri, Pagalguy.com

For those with 'good news' at the end of the MBA admissions season starts an entirely new and bigger phase of money-bleeding -- for paying tuition fees, living expenses and buying that inseparable appendage of business education -- the laptop.

Believe it or not, the laptop will be both the source of stress as well as its antidote at B-school. When you are not using the laptop for rigorous class assignments and presentations, it will be your all-in-one tool for watching movies, playing games, haunting social networking sites and staying in touch with your near and dear ones.

Also read: Start-ups: These MBA grads said no to placements

We looked up some of the best MBA-friendly laptops out there in the market and are briefly reviewing them for you.

But before we begin, some de-jargonising of typical computer terminology is in order.

With important contributions from Prashant Bist and Sarath Kurup.


Image: A collage of six laptops for MBA students

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The processor

It being the brain of the computer, we suggest you opt for the most powerful multiple core processors for the best computing performance. 'The more the merrier' couldn't have been more applicable than while selecting processors. Look out for the generation of the processor as your laptop's efficiency depends on it.

You can find out the generation of the processor by simply looking at its code. A code that read like 2xxx, means that the processor belongs to Intel's latest 'second-generation' of processors. This line of processors offer better graphics and video processing capabilities while consuming lesser power over its first generation counterparts.

Your laptop will thus work for longer hours.

Here is how to interpret a processor's nomenclature. Suppose a processor is named 'Intel Core i3-380M Processor (2.53GHz, 4 Threads, 3M cache)'. Then:

i3-380m is the processor code. This is an Intel first-generation core processor (a second generation processor will have codes along the lines of 2xxx, for example '2130).

2.53 GHz is the clock speed; higher this number, better the performance.

4 Threads indicates the multitasking capabilities of your processor. The more the number of threads, better the processor.

3M Cache: the L3 (Level 3) Cache Memory of the CPU.

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Image: Processor

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Random access memory (RAM)

The higher the RAM, the lesser a computer's tendency to hang while you multitask between multiple software applications. For a new laptop, a DDR3 RAM of 3GB is sufficient for running Windows 7 and other ancillary applications that you will use extensively in your B-school curriculum.

We are talking about applications such as Microsoft Excel, SPSS or Minitab. Make sure that the RAM in you laptop is upgradeable, as you never know when you might want to pimp the machine up.

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Image: RAM

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Graphics processing unit (GPU)

A GPU in a laptop is quite like the power-windows feature in a car: it is good if you have one, but it is not necessary. Most modern processors powering today's laptops have an in-built GPU which allows them to produce decent graphics. But if you would like to use your laptop for high-end gaming or watching high-definition movies, you should consider adding an external GPU. You will have to shell out more, but it will significantly enhance your gaming and multimedia experience.

Oh and yes, GPUs tend to be battery drainers and cause laptops to heat up. So do look up reviews of the particular GPU model on the Internet before buying the laptop.

But if you're going to largely keep your laptop usage limited to B-school-related software and watching standard quality movies, you can give an external GPU a miss.

Make sure your laptop has a VGA-out port. You will need it to connect to projectors for showing those dazzling Picasso-shaming Powerpoint presentations that you will subject your professors to.

After-sales service

To limit the damage caused by malfunctions for a longer period of time, opt for the 'extended manufacturer warranty' at an additional cost. Ask your seniors how good their service experience has been with various brands in the city your B-school is situated in.

Onwards ho to the laptops.

We are suggesting a few laptops priced below Rs 45,000 for:

1. Running academics-related software

2. Watching movies in hi-definition and

3. Playing the occasional game (like Need For Speed (NFS), Grand Theft Auto (GTA), CounterStrike, Warcraft III, etc)

NEXT: Best laptops under Rs 45,000 for B-schoolers

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Are you a gadget/gaming wizard? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: GPU

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Studying MBA? Six laptops under Rs 45k for YOU!

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Acer AS4820TG -- 5463G50Mnks

Specifications:

Processor: Intel i5-460M 2.53 Ghz 3M Cache

RAM: 3 GB DDR3 (Upgradable to 8 GB)

Hard disk: 500 GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen Size: 14" Active Matrix TFT Colour LCD Resoultion: 1366 x 768

GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1 GB

OS: Genuine 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium

Weight: 2.2 kg

Price: Rs 42,500-ish

The good: Fast processor, ample HDD space, very good GPU, Windows 7 home premium (better multimedia capabilities), thin and light form factor.

The bad: Better deals available at lower prices, glossy screen makes it difficult to see in the sun.

Why is it here?

This is a good laptop which can easily transform from a business laptop to a gaming one. However it is a little too pricey for its configuration as you will find out.

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Image: Acer AS4820TG -- 5463G50Mnks

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Dell Inspiron 14R New Laptop

Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core I3-380m (2.53 GHz, 4 Threads, 3M)

RAM: 4GB DDR3

Hard disk: 500 GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen Size: 14" (35.6cm) HD WLED Glossy Display with TrueLife (1366 768)

GPU: Intel HD Graphics

OS: Genuine Windows 7 Home Basic SP1 64bit (English)

Weight: 2.25 kg.

Price: Rs 34,400-ish.

Pros: RAM, and HDD, lower price, easily portable (14'' screen). Accidental damage cover by Dell in the warranty period can be extended to second year at an extra cost of Rs 3,235.

Recommended if there is almost no need for gaming and/or viewing HD content.

Cons: No GPU, basic 1st generation i3 processor.

Why is it here?

This is a laptop that is purely for people who are looking for something that matches the rigours of a curriculum; nothing more, nothing less. This laptop can easily take the load of the applications needed in the MBA course, but might tire out if used for gaming or extensive multimedia.

Recommended if you absolutely do not need a laptop for gaming or viewing HD content.

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Image: Dell Inspiron 14R New Laptop

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Hewlett-Packard HP G6 1017TU

Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M (2.30GHz, 4 threads, turbo boost up to 2.93 Ghz, 3M cache)

RAM: 4 GB DDR3 (Upgradable to 8 GB)

HDD: 320GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen size: 15.6" (39.6cm) HD LED HP BrightView Display (1366 768)

GPU: Intel HD Graphics 3000 (Internal)

OS: Genuine Windows 7 Home Basic SP1 64bit (English)

Weight: 2.4 kg

Price: Rs 40,500

Pros: 2nd Gen i5 processor (fast, really), decent RAM.

Cons: No separate GPU.

Why is it here?

A very well rounded package for business needs, with a fast processor and ample RAM. Well suited for delivering rich multimedia experience coupled with superb performance in routine tasks.

The lack of a separate GPU means that avid gamers might want to look for some other options, but it can handle casual games quite well with Intel HD Graphics 3000 integrated GPU.

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Image: Hewlett-Packard HP G6 1017TU

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Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 59-067847

Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i5-2410M (2.30GHz, 4 threads, turbo boost up to 2.93Ghz, 3M cache)

RAM: 4 GB DDR3 (Upgradable to 8 GB)

HDD: 640GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen Size: 15.6" HD LED Glare (1366 768)

GPU: Integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000

OS: Win7 Home Premium (64 Bits)

Weight: 2.5 kg

Price: Rs 40,990+tax

Pros: Good processor, RAM and HDD configuration, Windows 7 Home Premium.

Cons: Price, absence of a separate GPU will cause problems for gamers.

Why is it here?

This model has slight edge over the Hewlett Packard HP G6 1017TU as it offers an additional 320GB HDD space and Windows 7 Home premium, which offer better multimedia capabilities over Windows 7 Home Basic. But because of its price the Lenovo ties with Hewlett-Packard HP G6 1017TU.

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Image: Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 59-067847

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Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 59-069600

Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i3-2310M (2.10 GHz 3M cache)

RAM: 4GB DDR3 (Upgradable to 8 GB)

HDD: 640GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen Size: 14" (35.6cm) Widescreen HD WLED Glossy Display with TrueLife (1366 768)

GPU: Nvidia GeForce GT 520M 1GB

OS: Genuine Windows 7 Home Basic SP1 64-bit (English)

Weight: 2.6 kg

Price: Rs 38,990+tax

Pros: 2nd Gen i3 processor, ample RAM and HDD space, and a separate GPU too!

Cons: The processor could have been faster, like a first generation i-5.

Why is it here?

A gaming laptop, albeit with slightly downscaled performance parameters. However, the price is lower as well.

The only difference between this and the the next laptop is the processor. The i3 second generation here, we feel is slightly underpowered. Both of them are at par as far as graphics is concerned with Lenovo's Nvidia 520M only slightly losing out. However with Nvidia's optimiser solution Optimus, the GPU power consumption is regulated for giving an optimum battery life. All in all a very good buy. Let us say Lenovo lost in a photo finish to Dell Inspiron 14R.

Reader invite

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Image: Lenovo IdeaPad Z570 59-069600

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Dell Inspiron 14R

Specifications:

Processor: Intel Core i5-480M (2.66GHz, 4Threads, turbo boost up to 2.93Ghz, 3M cache)

RAM: 4 GB DDR3 (Upgradable to 8 GB)

HDD: 320GB SATA 5400 Rpm

Screen Size: 14" (35.6cm) Widescreen HD WLED Glossy Display with TrueLife (1366 768)

GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 1GB

OS: Genuine Windows 7 Home Basic SP1 64bit (English)

Weight: 2.25 kg

Price: Rs 40,626 for this configuration, Rs 35,400 without Graphics card and 3 GB RAM.

Pros: Everything. Accidental Damage cover by Dell in the warranty period, which can be extended to second year at an extra cost of Rs 3,235...

Cons: HDD space could've been larger.

Why is it here?

An i5 processor with 4GB RAM, coupled with a high-mid range separate GPU we guess that the configuration speaks volumes. And as stated earlier, Dell is known to have a superb after-sales service.

It edges out the Lenovo Ideapad Z570 mainly because of its processor and its graphics handling capabilities are far better than the others in this range. The best laptop at this price, for B-school requirements, high definition movie watching and occasional gaming.

PS: For people willing to put a graphics card in their laptops and run the machine for more than 12 hours a day, you might want to invest in a laptop cooling stand. And if you want to use/play unplugged, a 9-cell battery would take care of the extra power consumption.

PPS: Apple makes excellent laptops. It's just that they never bother to come down to this price range.

Advisory

We have observed some people considering the Apple iPad or other tablet devices as a substitute for a full-fledged laptop. If you ask us, tablets such as the iPad or the Blackberry Playbook have not been designed and are not intended to replace a laptop. So please don't think of the iPad as a substitute to a laptop. Tablets for now are niche media consumption devices not geared up for complex spreadsheet or presentation-creating activities.

Reader invite

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard' and we will get in touch with you.


Image: Dell Inspiron 14R

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