just got this today and i think for a non gamer this is a great buy. I was at bjs and almost missed this as it was by the tablets, but my brother, who the laptop was for, came across it. And looking at the other computers everything was pretty much crap and was taken by surprise they had something with ivy bridge with a 2Gb graphics card to boot (more on that later). And the price was great. We were planning on spending around 500-700 for a laptop this summer for college for my brother, but everything else in that price range is either an i7 dual core, or i3-i5, all sandy bridge. So a top of the line ivy bridge quad core and 8GB ram for this price, we decided it was worth the price to at least give it a 14day look during the return period. I have been doing a lot of research on computers as i too am in the market for a new one, so recognized the part number right away. Now if you do a search for anything else with the 3610 or the equivalent 3615, they are all at least $1000 and up to $2000. Now yes, they have better video cards and resolutions, but if that stuff is something not useful to you, like a college kid mostly writing papers and watching videos, then this is good buy.
Now i almost got two of these bad buys thinking the video card might be decent, i work with autoCAD and adobe CS a lot and some 3d programs, so I was planning on getting a 17" Samsung with the 3615 and the geforce 650m with 8gb memory that costs $1399 to finaly upgrade from my 6 year old core duo with 7900gs. 3615 is just a smaller size 3610, so for half the price and just a smaller screen i thought it would be a good compromise. However that is not the case, as others have said the hd 4000 is the better card in this computer. Luckily it has optimus so you can easily switch it to only use the better hd4000. But yeah, the nvidia 610m is crap, it was meant to be entry level to provide better performance over the hd3000 in sandy bridge at a low price, but with all the improvements in ivy bridge with the 4000, the 610 is just not necessary for this computer. Its only a small upgrade over my current gpu that is 6 years old and only has 256mb vram. However, as good as the 4000 is compared to the 3000, it still is not as good as a higher end card, so if you need that kind of power you will need to spend the money on a higher end computer, like this one from hp that is $276 more, but comes with a higher res screen and better gpu (650m). But again, if you don't work with graphics or play high end games, this computer is a great price, the cpu is the most important part and anything else at this price range will only get you a last gen sandy bridge dual core (i3,i5, or i7) and no dedicated gpu, and with sandy bridge you are better off with one as the intel hd3000 is not very good. What i have read about the 3610 is that it is comparable to the last gen Extreme addition cpu (Core i7-2920XM), which are much more expensive, so again, this cpu at this price is a great deal. For instance, at bjs the hp's were $700-800 with sandy bridge i5 dual core and only 6gb memory and same hard drive.
So to wrap up, great laptop for the price if you want a nice ivy bridge quad core cpu with its added power savings and performance but not the big price tag. If you need graphics performance don't get it, i am not, and the screen is not great, poor viewing angles but that is something i really don't care about, as from the main users view it looks fine, but low res. but again, it depends on what you will use this for that will make that a deal breaker or not. And for a college student it will be fine. And even with the poor dedicated gpu, anything else at this price range[bestbuy.com] will get you the same low res screen with a much slower processor, less to equal ram, and integrated gpu only. And just turn off the 610m gpu if you don't want to use it in this computer, it should run faster and save even more power.
On the ticket it said the manufactures instant coupon of $120 was only good till 6-10, just a heads up if you are thinking about getting it.
Which laptop do you recommend if this isn't that good in the same price range?
this is the best laptop you will find in this price range, for instance look at another slick deal for a dell that is i5 dual core, and same res screen for $645. This Asus has a much better cpu for only 35$ more. To add a sandy bridge core i7 quad core to the dell, which you can do, its $300-500 more. This one has a better ivy bridge cpu. To add 8GB ram to the dell its $100 more. It does have a little bit better video card (525m), but again,with ivy bridge you can get along without one easily if you don't do a lot of graphic intensive things, it does have one but the integrated is better, sandy bridge really needs one to preform to par. So to be on par with the Asus the dell will be $1,045-1,245 ($366-566 more). So yeah, if you are looking in this range grab this one up, because the 3610 is much better than the options available for the dell one too, so the difference is really the high end of what i quoted.
forgot to mention, this computer also comes with an included 1 year Accidental damage coverage from Asus for free. So it covers drops, spills and anything of that nature which is a great value for a laptop that will be lugged around.
that's a lower power unit, so it will run a little slower. Also only half the ram. however, they have a 4gb stick in it, so it will be easy to upgrade to 8gb since a slot is free. tossup really, the asus does look better.
well i just tested the gpu and it is a benefit to have the 610m. the hd4000 in it is supposed to be better than the nvidia in it. Well, just tried loading up this big skecthup file i have of downtown providence that i worked on for my thesis in grad school, has topography, all the buildings and my own design in it. It brought the computer to a crawl with only the hd400 enabled and cpu. Everything would wireframe while panning, and so slow to regenerate the rendering. So i tried with the 610m and it is working much better, so its not absolutely horrible or a waste to have it in there, lol, but still only as good as my current gpu that is 6 years old.
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