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Costco Wholesale Discounts, Deals and Coupon Codes

Overwhelmed by laptop choices at Costco - need advice from those more knowledgeable than me...

lizmari 81 33 February 28, 2016 at 08:59 AM More Costco Wholesale Deals
I got 2 Costco gift cards for my birthday, and would like to replace my current Windows laptop with something that can handle multitasking a little better.

Budget is in the $600 range, but can go as high as $700 if it is justifiable. As high as $800 would have to really be a great deal for me to spend that much, but I could do it with a lot of justification.
Prefer 15-16", but have seen a few 13-14" that seemed like they would be okay. I tend to have multiple things going on, but a 17" is too big.
Would like an Intel i5 or i7 processor.
Would like at least 8 GB RAM, but 12 or 16 GB sounds very attractive to me as well.
Hard drive at least 1TB, as my current 500 GB hard drive keeps making me shuffle things off to an external drive...
I definitely want a touchscreen, but do not need a 2-in-1 (in fact, I would worry they would not be sturdy enough over time).

It must be able to support being plugged into a 2nd monitor (Samsung at home, Dell at work, both HD, both HDMI capable).
I carry it back and forth to work/school nearly ever day, so it must be sturdy.

I have liked Dell laptops in the past, but have recently read that there is not much difference between most of the reputable brands in the different categories (i.e., a budget machine of any brand is not going to last as long as a high end machine of any other brand, in general. Please correct me if I am wrong.)

I don't play games, but I do multitask with some pretty memory hogging programs - a typical scene would be having Excel, Access, and Word open, and possibly also PowerPoint (2-4 docs each), along with a statistics program (R Studio), and a molecular genetics program (Geneious, this is the true memory hog), and on occasion another specialized statistical program for population genetics open at the same time as all of that. This is, of course, on top of about 10-20 Chrome tabs, with at least a few of those currently active, including 2 gmail accounts, and frequently YouTube as well. Oh, and bibliographic software running at the same time as well (EndNote).

I can't think of any reason I really need a DVD/CD drive, as I haven't used my current one in at least the past year, so that is probably not a necessity, though it feels weird to get a laptop without one. I'm sure I will get over it though, haha.

I do need at least 3, but preferably 4, USB ports, but only one needs to be 3.0, as the others are typically used only for bluetooth devices or charging.
Lastly, I would like it to last for at least the next 3-5 years (both in terms of capabilities and sturdiness).

I don't think I care whether it is Windows 8 or 10; my current laptop is Windows 8, and I have no experience with Windows 10, but it seems like most Windows machines come with Windows 10 these days, so I don't want to limit myself in that way.

I have looked on Costco's web site, but there are a handful that fall into my requirements, and I don't know how to choose between them. I'm sure there are little things that a more computer savvy person would know about.

I don't need to buy right away - just in the next few months would be nice, as my current laptop frequently slows down enough to completely frustrate me, and has given me the blue screen several times over the past year. My current laptop is a Samsung, with an AMD A8 processor, 4 GB RAM, and 500 GB hard drive. It is fine when I don't ask it to do too much, but it really doesn't like to do any heavy duty multitasking.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

~Liz

4 Comments

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#2
Liz,
I work on a laptop 7-8 hours a day for my job, and I travel for work. I listed several things you should consider. I hope this helps.

- I recommend an SSD (Solid State Drive) drive instead of a SATA drive. An SSD drive will drastically increase performance when working with spreadsheets and databases.
- If MS Office included? If not, Office 2016 will cost you an additional $149.
- Consider if you want an LDC that is a touch screen.
-More memory is always better. You will want at least 16 GB.
-Compare the length of the warranty and if the warranty is return to depot or onsite service.
- If you need to use multiple monitors, consider a laptop that can be used with a docking station.

Carrie
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#3
For $700 you should be able to get just about any decent laptop with an i5 or i7 proc. That said, if you do a lot of real work (i.e. databases, programming, cad, photo or video editing, etc.), then you should get a decent i7 proc with 8 GBs of memory min (preferably 16 GB). If all you really do is ms office, surf the net, email and web browsing, an i5 is fine. Be aware though that not all i7 and i5 procs are created equal and their firepower can vary by quite a bit so if you need firepower, then check out the proc's passmark score on the internet relative to others in its class.

Unless you are into the touch screen metro interface there is no reason to get a touch screen laptop or pay extra for one. As for an SSD, it is a nice to have but not essential, esp. if you are not doing an heavy duty work on it. You can always add it later.

As to multiple monitors and ports, just check the specs.

That said, the best place imo to buy is the Dell Outlet when they have a discount\coupon in play. You can often get a decent machine at a fair discount price if you time it right and are patient. HP, Lenovo and Toshiba are more or less OK but none stands out as superior. Imo, Asus makes junk and I would not buy from them. Check a model's reviews online before you buy.
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#4
Many thanks to both of you! I will definitely look for an i7 with 16GB if memory, and reconsider the touch screen (probably pass with what you have both said).

Is the 6th generation i7 what I should be looking at? I use the Access database quite a bit, and want to branch out into others. A couple of the other programs I use are pretty memory intensive as well.

Thanks again!
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#5
okay, I think I got a good deal at the Dell Outlet... I will save the Costco gift cards for other things.
Dell Inspiron 15 - 7559
Processor: Intel Core 6th Gen i7-6700HQ Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.50 GHz)]
1 TB 2.5 Inch SATA Hard Drive (5400 RPM) + 128 GB SSD
15.6-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) Truelife LED- Backlit Touch Display
Intel HD Graphics
Intel 3165 1x1 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wireless LAN and Bluetooth

It is a refurbished unit that was listed for $1189. I got 37% off (35% coupon + 2% off ordering through chat) = $749.07
+ $178 2 year extended warranty (including accidents)
+ $54.70 tax
= $981.77

Phew - way more than I wanted to spend, but it seems like a really nice computer at a very good price. I hope I am right...
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