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ASUS X550LB-NH52 Notebook Intel Core i5 4200U (1.60GHz) 8GB Memory 750GB HDD NVIDIA GeForce GT 740M 15.6
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: - 8GB of memory and 4GB of dedicated video memory make this laptop zip right along. Installing a solid state drive would make it fly even more.

-The built-in Smart Gesture works quite well, for the most part.

-Plays games smoothly and hassle free (For example, do not have to disable threaded optimization in some games to get a lag-free experience)

-Sound can get surprisingly loud, very nice audio quality in the mid+ ranges. (It's a laptop, can't expect it to be very bass-y)

-So far it's been a very quiet computer as well, fan-wise.

Cons: A few issues resulting in -1 egg:

-The Smart Gesture software seems to have a "phantom click" when I am using gestures. When 2 or more fingers are used, the cursor will disappear, and sometimes it registers a click near the center or left-middle side of the screen. Annoying on the Start screen.

-Screen looks a little grainy, and for some reason bright colors (purple especially) look a little white-washed.

-Touchpad is a single piece of plastic, no separation for left and right mouse buttons leading to more effort to put into clicks.

At first I was concerned over the fact that there was both Intel integrated graphics as well as the Nvidia GPU, but I didn't know this was a Windows 8 thing. Windows 8 is another can of worms, but it does not warrant any more loss of eggs, since it has little bearing on the actual computer's performance.

Other Thoughts: The design seems heavily inspired from Apple and HP laptops, what with the gaps between keys and the solid piece of plastic touchpad. Could be better (made of metal, actual mouse buttons), could be worse (I won't name names). It took a long time fussing around in Windows 8 before I realized I needed to go to the Store app to get Windows 8.1. Would have saved me 5 hours of changing settings, only to have to change most of them back again.

Anyway, good laptop for the budget, I'm pretty happy with it. If I could fix all of the issues in the cons section I would give it a 5/5, but alas and alack, not this time.

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ASUS EN9500GT/DI/1GD2/V2/A GeForce 9500 GT 1GB 128-Bit DDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: I bought two of these cards for a new rig I was making with the intention of SLIing them together. I plugged them in, installed the SLI bridge, and booted up. It immediately recognized the cards and offered to enable SLI. The setup was quick and painless, and I'm loving it. It's rocking the Counter Strike Source stress test at about 260 FPS for me. The fans aren't too loud either. In addition, I was surprised to find that Audio worked through this card through the DVI port while using a DVI to HDMI converter to my monitor. It was surprising hearing noise come from my monitor's speakers when I didn't think it would even detect the audio cable.

Cons: Only two that I can think of... first off, if you couldn't tell by the pictures, the fans make the cards very wide, and will crowd out any PCI slots directly below them on the motherboard. If you don't need your PCI slots though, then this isn't a huge deal. Secondly, the little audio cable that attaches the video card to the motherboard was not the right type for my motherboard. After a bit of guesswork, I ended up plugging the cable into what I thought were the right jumpers (which fortunately I did). In the case that your computer has a 3-prong 1394 port (I think that's what it is) it will go on the right two prongs. That's all I can think of.

Other Thoughts: This card is the first major upgrade in a video card I've had in a while, so I suppose I'm easily impressed. However, in doing the windows experience rating, this configuration easily scored in the mid 7's range on a windows 7 64-bit system. Everything I have done that requires video has rendered flawlessly, and using SLI on these cards can probably rival a single high-end video card.

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ASUS Intel Core 2 Duo 2GB Memory 120GB HDD 13.3
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: I'm very impressed with this notebook. The screen turns very easily and can lock into place, as well as being very sturdy. It's about the size and weight of a standard textbook (maybe a bit thinner) and fits perfectly into a backpack. The processor and Ram are fast and almost necessary for the Operating system. Hard drive is split into two partitions, adding up to about 110GB (Remember, a few gigs of data are already being used on this computer). The tablet function works almost flawlessly, and adds a little more convenience into normal computing on a laptop. The hotkey buttons and fingerprint reader on the screen really do make things faster, too. All around excellent machine. I'd buy another if I had the funds.

Cons: The first thing that really bugged me was the fact that Vista is so random on booting up and shutting down. For the first few times I started up, the OS was extremely slow to load. It would even take minutes to shut down. However, after playing around with a few settings, things seemed to improve. There are a lot of processes running, and a few of them are completely unneeded. If you have a more advanced knowledge of computing, removing some of these things would be wise. There is also an option somewhere where you can test your computer's capabilities, on an out of 5 rating. The diagnostic rated the computer 3.1 performance-wise, based on how well it handled Vista and how well it could handle advanced graphics. Other areas were fine though (high 4's). Also, the fingerprint reader is still a bit buggy, since it isn't able to read a few of my fingers.

Other Thoughts: I got this notebook in the interest of being able to do some college work. I was thinking of getting a different laptop, but this one was the most versatile. I came in sort of jaded in regards to Vista, after all of the bad things I've heard... but I think I'm warming up to it. I really wish this laptop had a dedicated video card, as it might help with performance a bit, since the tablet functions require more processes. But as long as you're not expecting a graphical powerhouse, I think that this computer is excellent for school, work, or just an all-around good personal laptop. Just make sure to run it for a while and play around with settings in Windows and in programs, since the first few times the computer may act very slow (also due to the Vista Sidebar, which affects startup performance). I find it much more convenient than a regular laptop.

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Matthew K.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew K.

Date Joined: 07/19/05

  • Reviews: 6
  • Helpfulness: 2
  • First Review: 07/22/05
  • Last Review: 03/14/14
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