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Mark Kyrnin

Mark's PC Hardware / Reviews Blog


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Changes are Coming But Without A Blog

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Sometime in June, About.com will be changing the look and feel of the various sites on the network including the PC Hardware / Reviews site. The blog that was the main avenue of promoting new and updated articles on the site homepage will be removed in favor of an automated process. Don't worry, new and updated reviews, best of lists, buying guides and PC technology articles will still be written by me and posted to the site but without a more personal introduction that the blog provided.

If you enjoyed the more personal aspect of the blog, you can continue to follow me either on Facebook or Google+ where I will continue to comment about updates to the PC Hardware / Reviews site and regarding my other work. You can also follow my other writings about technology at Tech For Anyone.

Best Laptop PCs for Under $500

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Normally summer is when a lot of companies refresh their budget laptop lineups in preparations for the back to school sales. This year it looks like the companies will be pushing the Chromebooks heavily and ignoring or doing minor refreshes of their current budget models. The result is fewer options for those wanting a traditional Windows based laptop for under $500. If you are in the market for a new low cost laptop, find out what laptops I think are best for a variety of different uses or tasks in my updated Best Budget Laptop PCs.

Toshiba Refines Old Design With New AMD Quad Core CPU

Monday May 19, 2014
Toshiba Satellite C55
Image Courtesy Toshiba

An easy way for a company to produce a new low cost laptop is to essentially take an existing design and tweak it. This is exactly what Toshiba elected to do by taking the previous Satellite C55 chassis and putting the new AMD low power platform inside of it. One would expect that because it has low costs to adapt an existing design they might be able to improve some of the internal components. But was the choice to use an older and larger chassis a good one for a chip designed for smaller and power limited situations? Find out in my review of the Toshiba Satellite C55Dt-A5148 laptop.

A Compact Laptop Using AMD's New Low Power Quad Core CPU

Friday May 16, 2014
Image Courtesy MSI Computer Corp.

It is interesting to see a large number of laptops being released with AMD's new low voltage mobile processors but it is surprising that the majority of them are large screen laptops. The purpose is primarily for compact, low power requirements such as ultrathin and compact laptops. Thankfully companies like MSI are actually providing some options that the platform was originally designed for. But can the 11-inch laptop using the new AMD quad core low voltage processor compete with entrenched offerings based on Intel processors? Find out in my review of the MSI S12T 3M-006US laptop.

Lenovo's Powerful $500 14-inch Laptop

Wednesday May 14, 2014
Lenovo G410
Image Courtesy Lenovo

One of the reasons that computer sales have been lagging lately is that many people find that their old computers are good enough. This is also one of the primary reasons that many new computers are looking to use more energy efficient processors that provide enough performance but can help them reduce costs by using smaller batteries or extend their running time. But what if you want a low cost computer that also offers some good performance and doesn't skimp on features? Find out in my review of the Lenovo G410 might be the kind of laptop to fill that role.

HP's $500 Laptop With Windows 7

Monday May 12, 2014
HP 15
Image Courtesy HP Inc.

Let's face it, consumers just did not find Windows 8 that appealing. There are a large number of consumers out there that would rather have Windows 7 instead. HP decided to do something about this by offering a number of new desktop and laptop computers that would come with the old OS. This includes a low cost 15-inch laptop that doesn't go with the trend of touchscreen displays. But is this $500 laptop able to compete with features and performance or did HP just try to use Windows 7 to sell some PCs? Find out in my review of the HP 15-d090nr laptop.

Gateway Adds A Touchscreen To Its Low Cost 15-inch Laptop

Friday May 9, 2014
Gateway NV570P
Image Courtesy Gateway

Gateway has very much focused on the low end of the computer pricing for many years. Touchscreens were originally destined for the most expensive systems when Windows 8 was released but the cost of adding the screens has dropped dramatically. Now the company has taken their venerable NV laptop design and added a touchscreen display to it while keeping the price under $500. Does the addition of the screen make this a better system or does it really need a bit more of a cosmetic update? Find out in my review of the Gateway NV570P04u laptop.

Dell's Slightly Older Low Cost 15-inch Touch Laptop

Wednesday May 7, 2014
Dell Inspiron 15 (3537) Touch
Image Courtesy Dell

Dell has redefined their consumer laptop lineup in the past year and with that came a number of updates. This includes a revamp of their 3000 series models that are considered the entry level laptops. They just released a new 15-inch Inspiron 3000 laptop that includes touch features but they continue to sell there past model. Interestingly, the redesign is more about the exterior look than the internals as the features are very similar. So is it worth considering the previous but still available version of the Inspiron 15 Touch or the new redesigned model? Find out in my review of the Dell Inspiron 15 (3537) Touch laptop.

A Quad Core 15-inch Laptop For $400

Monday May 5, 2014

Budget class laptops generally do not see many major advancements in terms of features. Quad core processing can greatly benefit some applications and are generally reserved for high performance systems. It is interesting then that ASUS has created a 15-inch laptop that manages to use an AMD quad core processor and price it for roughly $400. Now, AMD has generally had to add extra processor cores to their products to try and compete with Intel's performance but do the extra cores really make much of a difference or is this system more about other features? Find out in my review of the ASUS X522EA-DH41 budget laptop.

A Laptop With Some Unique Features For Its Low Cost

Friday May 2, 2014
Acer Aspire V5-561
Image Courtesy Acer

Finding a laptop for under $500 is not a big deal these days. With the competition from tablets, more and more companies are looking to produce low cost basic laptops. Acer is one company that has generally focused heavily on low cost options. The Aspire V5-561 is one such system that takes a design they have used for years and make some modifications to it. Now, this laptop lists for around $600 but can be found on occasion for around $500. Is the slightly higher cost worth the extra features for someone shopping for a deal on one rather than buying a laptop they can easily find for $500? Find out in my review of the Acer Aspire V5-561-6607 budget laptop.

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