When searching for a new computer for my wife I had to decide between AMD and Intel. Although the new Intel processors are generally the more favorable option, when looking at a bunch of laptops under $400 I had to also take into consideration a number of laptops with AMD processors that were more powerful for the same price point. I always search for the best bargain for my dollar, and search spec by spec when making my final decision.
To keep things simple I was looking primarily for a video card and the most processing speed I could find. Most laptops will have 2+ GB of ram and 160+ GB hard drive – that or above should be more than sufficient for her needs. The biggest difference that stood out to me is on the AMD side is that most laptops have a dedicated video card with it’s own dedicated memory. On the Intel side, the video card is integrated with the motherboard and shares memory with the RAM your computer has. This makes for less video processing power for games and media and this way the video card isn’t borrowing from the CPU’s power. The video card can be upgraded on most laptops, but the price is extremely high and normally isn’t worth it in the long run in my opinion.
I finally chose an HP 650. It seems to be the perfect blend of everything! It has a dual-core E-300 (1.3 GHz) processor, a 15.6” lcd screen, 4GB DDR3 1333 MHz ram, 320 GB hard drive, DVD+/- RW Supermulti DL drive and a ATI Radeon HD 6310 video card. The price brand new out the door kept my wallet and wife happy! Luckily for me laptops under 400 are a reality, and amd laptops under 400 pack the necessary components and software to make any computer enthusiast happy when getting a gift from a husband that is sticking to a very tight budget! Disclaimer: Parts of this post were written with the help of LaptopNinja’s guide to laptops under $400.