Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

More popular than ever, but some are still very noisy.

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dhanson865
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Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:02 pm

I'm looking for Kaveri laptops under $500 US that are available in US retailers online or physical.

any of these APUs would be fine

Code: Select all

A8-7100   1.8 GHz 3.0 GHz DDR3-1600 20W
A10-7300  1.9 GHz 3.2 GHz DDR3-1600 20W
A8-7200P  2.4 GHz 3.3 GHz DDR3-1866 35W
A10-7400P 2.5 GHz 3.4 GHz DDR3-1866 35W
I see

Acer Aspire E5-551-86R8 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) A8-7100
Acer Aspire E5-551-T5SV 15.6-Inch Laptop (Midnight Black) A10-7300
Lenovo Z50 15.6-Inch Laptop (80EC000TUS) Black A10-7300

all on amazon with prices that vary from $300 to 500 (amazon prizing bouncing around from day to day the Lenovo jumped almost a $100 the other day)

I don't care about the HD (I'll swap for a SSD) I do care about reliability, ram, screen (though all these have that less than optimal 1366 x 768 I'd rather have a x 900 screen resolution).

Not looking for Intel based laptops or older AMD APUs.

If you have any thoughts on Acer vs Lenovo or would like to add more choices...

CA_Steve
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:49 pm

I don't have any direct comments...did find a Notebookcheck review of the Lenovo - mixed bag. poor keyboard and display, but very quiet.

dhanson865
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Wed Dec 03, 2014 8:04 am

unfortunately Anandtech posted all of the laptops mentioned in this thread (I'm sure they just found them on their own) but the extra attention sold enough of the cheaper model to make it jump in price from $310 to $406.

dhanson865
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Sun Dec 28, 2014 2:11 pm

I ended up buying a Toshiba right at the $500 mark after reading that the Acer models didn't have an access hatch on the bottom for ram upgrades.

On the Acer you have to take the case apart, remove the motherboard from the case, flip it over, upgrade the ram, then reassemble the whole thing. I wanted to upgrade the HD to SSD and ram from 4GB to 8GB off the bat but not with that much effort.

I went with the Toshiba that already had the 8GB ram and I'll still have to do the HDD to SSD upgrade. We'll see how that goes (will it be a one screw HD tray? Will I have to remove the keyboard to access the HD from the top? Will there be a hatch on the bottom to access the HD from the bottom?). No matter how that goes I won't have to do the RAM upgrade.

If all goes well with it I'll post an update in a week or so.

edit: got the Toshiba not the Acer. The model I got is a Satellite L55D-B5320
Last edited by dhanson865 on Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

CA_Steve
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Dec 28, 2014 4:24 pm

<fingers crossed>

dhanson865
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Tue Dec 30, 2014 8:32 pm

OK Satellite L55D-B5320

Battery has no quick release, is held in place by 2 Phillips screws. Presumably I'll be able to buy a larger battery later but the stock battery is a 4 cell affair that is barely thicker than my index finger 45Wh/2800mAh 14.8V. I'd much rather have a 6 cell battery in it but the OEM battery will serve as a UPS at least.

Optical Drive held in bay by one Phillips screw in center bottom of laptop. Simple enough to remove. HL Multi DVD Writer Model GU90N

Rest of bottom of case held on by an additional 7 Phillips screws meaning a minimum of 10 screws and the bottom of the case before the RAM or HD/SSD is accessible.

Ram is 2 sticks $GB ea Samsung 1x8 PC3L 1280S 11-13-B4

There is a heat pipe and the fan is FCN DC 5V 0.5A DFS541105FC0T

Once the bottom is off the RAM and HDD/SSD are easily removed / upgraded.

OEM drive was Toshiba MQ01ABD100 (1TB SATA) with a nice enough rubber wrap that serves as vibration dampening and pull tab/carrier for the drive.

Put it back together and apparently pulling the case off the bottom reset the BIOS because it complained about low RTC battery first boot after. Maybe there is no battery on the motherboard and pulling the main battery resets the BIOS?

Bios 1.4 on PC and website, nothing to upgrade there.

Doesn't look like any way to backup the PowerDVD software other than the wipe the drive recovery method.

I'll have to kick it around a bit more in the coming days. Thinking about restoring 8.1 to the SSD vs a fresh install without bloatware then installing drivers and apps. I'm leaning towards the fresh install PowerDVD or no.

CA_Steve
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:22 pm

How loud is it?

dhanson865
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Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:58 am

CA_Steve wrote:How loud is it?
I haven't heard the fan yet, the optical drive is quieter than I expected but still obvious on seeks / spin up. I'll put speedfan on it after the reinstall and see what kind of RPMs I'm getting in normal use.

We haven't put it through the paces yet. All we've done is test DVD playback with power DVD and make the recovery disks.

SSD just got here today so I've been letting the laptop sit on a shelf waiting for the part.

I'm guessing the fan will never be an issue but the biggest test will be when summer comes and its 15F warmer in the house. I'm running about 60-65F in the winter and 75-78F in the summer (morning vs afternoon temps).

More to come...

dhanson865
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Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 11:20 am
Location: TN, USA

Re: Kaveri Laptops available in the US for less than $500

Post by dhanson865 » Sat Jan 03, 2015 1:30 pm

speedfan doesn't see the fan speed and doesn't control the fan.

The fan is off or very slow most of the time, it ramps up if the CPU gets pegged but sounds benign like a smooth optical drive would. Just the whir of something rotating.

The fan ran for about 20-30 minutes during the windows install and software setups I was doing and and one point I asked my wife if she left something running in the bathroom across the hall or in the other bathroom 2 rooms away (inside master bedroom). It was faint enough 3 feet away from me that I though the noise was coming from another room.

I had two devices that I couldn't easily install a driver for in the device manager, turns out both come from the AMD video driver installer but only if you run the exact right installer (can't just grab the latest catalyst driver package).

AMD IOMMU Device
ven1022dev1423cc0806
AMD driver 9/30/2013 version 1.0.3.22

AMD AS4 Device
acpi\ven_asd&dev_0001
acpi\ASD001
*ASD0001
AMD driver 10/24/2013 version 1.1.0.22

versions shown above are from the OEM HD image, I was able to use the windows 8.1 driver for the IOMMU device and then figured out later how to install the old AMD driver and then an updated AMD driver for the AS4 device.

I haven't figured out the right installer to get the AMD IOMMU driver to update but at least for now the MSFT driver seems to be working OK.

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