Feeds

Buyer's Guide: 15in Notebooks

How to select the machine that's right for you

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Group Test In this group test I'm comparing six models that have a 15.6in screen with a decent, 1366 x 768 resolution that supports HD video - look for an HDMI port if you want to hook it up to a telly.

A mid-size 15.6-inch chassis gives you free rein to choose either a dual-core or quad-core CPU. Intel rules the roost with its Core i3 and Core i5 processors, which are both two-core parts with HyperThreading to make them appear as four to the host operating system - handy for a small performance boost.

Core i3 runs at a fixed peak clocks speed, but Core i5 uses TurboBoost to up the clockspeed if it can do so without overheating chip and system. Having said that, the AMD Phenom II has decent performance too, and shouldn't be overlooked, but it is unlikely that you will see any significant benefit from having four CPU cores instead of two.

Dell Inspiron 15R

When it comes to the choice of graphics chip, most Intel CPUs come with the chip maker's GMA HD graphics built in. These cores deliver enough grunt to power the Windows Aero desktop and HD video but not serious gaming. If your play is more casual, the Intel silicon will stand you in good stead and will help deliver the best battery life - though, to be honest, if it's battery life you're after, a 15.6in machine may not be for you.

If you are going to play the latest games, you'll need a proper GPU under the bonnet and that means a member of the AMD's DirectX 11-enabled Mobility Radeon HD 5000 family. At present, AMD's graphics rival, Nvidia, has very little to offer that can match Radeon in the mobile market.

You can expect that your mid-sized laptop will come with a multi-format DVD writer as standard, but Blu-ray is often provided as an option, though it'll push up the price if you take it - more if you want to write BDs too.

Windows 7 is the OS of choice for any new laptop. Reg Hardware recommends the 64-bit version of the OS, and all the machines I've looked at here come with that release. If you buy a machine with 32-bit Windows, bear in mind that the OS will only be able to access up to 3GB of memory.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.