Покупаем ноутбук дешевле 30 000 рублей: есть ли в этом смысл и можно ли таким устройством вообще пользоваться

is there any sense in this and is it possible to use such a device at all / Laptops and PCs


On our site there are many reviews of laptops, but baboutmost of the studied devices can be described with the epithet “dear”. It is not surprising that in the comments to an article about another laptop worth 100,000+ rubles, there is criticism in the style of: “But is it possible to be closer to the people and talk about something more affordable? We live in Russia.“The criticism is well-founded, and we ourselves constantly ask representatives of leading companies to give us for testing not only the top versions of their devices, but also more affordable options that will be in great demand among buyers. Vendors can also be understood, because they want to present their product to the readers in the best light, and in the case of the same gaming laptops, “better light” means the highest possible performance. And we get a vicious circle.

Meanwhile, it is obvious that in Russia inexpensive models are most in demand. In connection with the latest events, sales of laptops in our country, according to the M.Video-Eldorado group, grew by almost 70%, and the largest growth was shown by the group of devices worth up to 45,000 rubles. Including this is why I decided to look at what some of the most inexpensive mobile computers are capable of, the price of which does not exceed 30 thousand rubles. It is this amount – 30,000 rubles – in 2020 that we consider small for a laptop, and devices for this money – respectively, inexpensive or cheap.

We buy a laptop for less than 30 000 rubles: is there any sense in this and is it possible to use such a device

We buy a laptop for less than 30 000 rubles: is there any sense in this and is it possible to use such a device

⇡ # Is there a choice?

In this article, I will not focus on specific laptop models. I propose to approach the issue more plastic and consider the main features of cheap laptops – believe me, no matter which manufacturer you choose a laptop in the end, devices in this price category will have a lot in common. And this “common” has a perfectly suitable synonym – “compromises”.

There are many compromises, and you will have to put up with them if you buy such a device. You know, it’s naive to seriously complain that low-cost laptops, for example, use mediocre quality TN- and IPS-matrices. Yes, they are mediocre. Only here laptops with screens of even average quality are, unfortunately, already quite different money – and such are the realities of the market. In such a situation, you either compromise or save up for a more expensive model – there is no third.

The table below shows the various components of laptops that satisfy our main criterion – price. Devices were selected according to the proposals of Yandex.Market, relevant in early June 2020.

What components are found in inexpensive laptops
Up to 20 000 rubles
CPU Graphic arts RAM Display Storage device
Model Frequency Kernels / Threads Model Type, volume Resolution A type Diagonal inches A type Volume
Intel Celeron N3350 1.1 GHz 2/2 Intel HD Graphics 500 3 GB, DDR3-1600 1920 x 1080
1366 x 768
TN / IPS 11.6
fourteen
15.6
SSD / HDD 32 GB
64 GB
AMD A4-9125 2.3 GHz 2/2 AMD Radeon R3 4 GB, DDR4-1866 128 GB
AMD A6-9225 2.6 GHz 2/2 AMD Radeon R4 256 GB
Intel Celeron 4205U 1.8 GHz 2/2 Intel UHD Graphics 610 4 GB, DDR4-2133 500 GB
Intel
Celeron dual core
5205U
1.9 GHz 2/2 Intel UHD Graphics 4 GB, DDR4-2400
AMD A9-9425 3.1 GHz 2/2 AMD Radeon R5
Up to 30 000 rubles
Intel Pentium 4417U 2.3 GHz 2/4 Intel HD Graphics 610 4 GB, DDR4-2133 1920 x 1080
1366 x 768
TN / IPS 13.3
15.6
SSD / HDD 128 GB
Intel Core i3-6006U 2 GHz 2/4 Intel HD Graphics 520 4 GB, DDR3-1600 256 GB
Intel Pentium 5405U 2.3 GHz 2/4 Intel HD Graphics 620 4 GB, DDR4-2400 500 GB
Intel Core i3-7020U 2.3 GHz 2/4 Intel UHD Graphics 8 GB, DDR4-1866 512 GB
Intel Pentium 6405U 2.4 GHz 2/4 AMD Radeon Vega 3 8 GB, DDR4-2133 1 TB
AMD Ryzen 3 3200U 2.6 GHz 2/4 AMD Radeon Vega 3 8 GB, DDR4-2400
Intel Core M3 7Y30 1 GHz 2/4 NVIDIA GeForce MX110
AMD Athlon 300U 2.4 GHz 2/4
Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5 GHz 2/4

It’s hard to look at laptops costing less than 20,000 rubles without tears. It’s hard to believe, but in 2020 you are still selling a computer with 2 GB of RAM. What about processors? Dual-core models, such as the Celeron N3350, were not considered productive in 2016 either.

Interesting laptops start with a budget of 20,000+ rubles, but basically you have to choose among the 2-core platforms AMD and Intel – we will talk more about them in the next paragraph. Now it’s worth recognizing that even the cheapest laptops use mainly SSD (albeit small) and 4 GB of RAM, and the devices themselves mainly have 15.6-inch TN-displays with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels – these are the realities of 2020 .

Laptops with 4-core Ryzen and Core chips are already noticeably more than 30 thousand rubles. For example, for the Lenovo IdeaPad L340-15IWL (81LG00N0RU) model, a review of which was published not so long ago on our website, they are asking for more than 40,000 rubles. These words are also valid for models with NVIDIA graphics class GeForce MX 150.

To write this article, I managed to get four inexpensive laptops:

  • Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV (AMD Athlon 300U, 4 GB DDR4-2400, 128 GB SSD) – 24-29 thousand rubles (average price – 26 500 rubles).
  • Acer Extensa 15 EX215-51K323K (Intel Core i3-7020U, 4 GB DDR4-2133, 128 GB SSD) – 28-34 thousand rubles (average price – 31 000 rubles).
  • Acer Aspire 3 A315-53-P93E (Intel Pentium Gold 4417U, 4 GB DDR4-2400, 128 GB SSD) – 29 thousand rubles.
  • Acer Aspire 3 A315-22-937C (AMD A9 9420, 4 GB DDR4-1866, 128 GB SSD) – 16-34 thousand rubles (average price – 22 000 rubles).

I would like to get more copies, but such a number of devices, I think, will be enough to get a clear picture of what we are dealing with. What is noteworthy, all models use a similar set of accessories (4 GB of RAM and a 128 GB drive), therefore, a comparison of the current AMD and Intel platforms can be considered quite relevant. All devices were controlled by Windows 10 with the latest updates for the 1909 build; the latest driver versions.

⇡ # CPU and memory

As we have already found out, the cheapest laptops use the oldest Intel chips, such as the Celeron N3350 and Atom Z8350, introduced back in 2016. Obviously, they have an extremely low level of performance, and therefore laptops with such CPUs cannot be called … acceptable. Go around them. This also includes laptops based on 4-core Gemini Lake processors, such as the Pentium N5000. The budget representative of the Whiskey Lake family, the dual-core Celeron 4205U, looks much more interesting – it even uses the Skylake microarchitecture, and a TDP of 12.5 W allows the chip to operate at a frequency of 1.8 GHz.

A rival to the Celerons and Pentiums is the A-series of AMD processors – 2- and 4-core chips introduced in 2017. Models of class A4, A6, A9 and A10 differ from each other in the frequency formula, as well as the capabilities of the integrated Radeon graphics. They were produced using the 28-nm process technology, they do not have a third-level cache, and the crystal itself is based on the Excavator microarchitecture – you can read more about it in this article. The integrated graphics uses the third generation of the GCN architecture.

Last year, when the Ryzen 3000 4-core chips (Picasso) for laptops were introduced, the AMD Athlon 300U dual-core model also appeared. The processor is manufactured according to the 12-nm process technology, so we are dealing with the Zen + microarchitecture. This means that the mobile Athlone supports SMT technology, with a TDP of 15 W, the core frequency can reach 3.3 GHz. At the same time, the integrated graphics Vega 3 has three GPU cores (the “red” still have not transferred their integrated GPUs to the RDNA architecture) and operates at a frequency of 1 GHz.

The competitor of the Athlon 300U is relatively modern models, such as the Pentium Gold 4417U, Pentium Gold 5405U, Pentium Gold 6405U and Core i3-7020U. Based on 14nm process standards, these processors use the Skylake microarchitecture and they support Hyper-Threading technology. Interestingly, a person who is not interested in computer technology may, excuse the pun, get lost in three stumps. Comparing the characteristics, we will see that the Pentium Gold 4417U in some aspects looks even more preferable than its older and more modern “brothers”, although in general all four chips have a plus or minus a similar level of performance. In particular, it uses faster HD 610 graphics, not UHD. And the Pentium Gold 4417U has four PCI Express 3.0 lanes, although the 5405U and 6405U are content with only the second version of this interface.

Finally, the Core i3-7020U from the Pentium Gold 4417U differs in graphics (HD 620 versus HD 610) and a slightly increased third-level cache (3 MB versus 2 MB). Also, chips support a different set of instructions. Let’s compare processors in real tasks.

The processor and memory performance was measured using the following software:

  • Corona 1.3. Testing the speed of rendering using the same renderer. Measures the speed of building a standard BTR scene used to measure performance.
  • WinRAR 5.40. Archiving a folder of 11 GB with different data in RAR5 format and with a maximum compression ratio.
  • Blender 2.80 RC1. Determining the speed of final rendering in one of the popular free packages for creating three-dimensional graphics. The time taken to build the final model from Blender Cycles Benchmark rev4 is measured.
  • x264 FHD Benchmark. Testing the speed of transcoding video to H.264 / AVC format.
  • x265 HD benchmark. Testing the speed of transcoding video to H.265 / HEVC format.
  • CINEBENCH R15 and R20. Measurement of the speed of photorealistic three-dimensional rendering in the animation package CINEMA 4D, CPU test.
  • Fritz 9 Chess Benchmarks. Testing the speed of a popular chess engine.
  • JetStream 1.1 and WebXPRT 3 (browser – Google Chrome). Performance testing when working with Internet applications built using HTML5 and JavaScript algorithms.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro 2019. Rendering a project in 4K resolution.
  • PCMark 10. A comprehensive benchmark that determines the speed level of all components of a laptop.

The results give a lot of food for thought. Firstly, we see that dual-core chips based on old microarchitectures and lacking additional virtual threads are very far behind modern budget CPUs for laptops. Models such as the AMD A9-9420 have a very low level of performance – I did not even add the results of this CPU to the graphics in Adobe Premiere Pro 2019, since the render of the test video was completed in … 6 hours and 40 minutes. Such “agility” is no good. Against the background of the A9-9420, the new Athlon 300U looks just great – it turns out that AMD has taken a huge step forward. Again.

Secondly, even without tests it is obvious that the modern Athlone will be faster than the quad-core A10-9620P, because the representatives of the Bristol Ridge family are based on the same Excavator architecture. And between her and Zen + there is a huge gap in speed.

And it doesn’t matter that the market has just one model of the budget mobile Atlon. Our tests show that it successfully makes competitor chips from Intel – this is the third. It turns out that if you don’t have certain “religious” beliefs, then there’s no point in sorting out the dual-core Pentium and Core i3 grades – in terms of performance it’s easier and better to take a laptop with Athlon 300U. In addition, we found out a little earlier that on average laptops with a “red stone” cost less, which is also an important factor when choosing an inexpensive laptop.

A small opinion poll showed that users know little about the Athlon 300U and its capabilities. As you can see, in vain – including for me, this chip has become a pleasant discovery.

It is unfortunate that I could not get any computer with the Ryzen 3 3200U – some models with this chip also cost less than 30,000 rubles. True, in this case, the performance difference between this chip and the Athlon 300U will be small – the chips are built on the same microarchitecture, have the same cache volume in the third level, but operate at different frequencies, however, they are quite similar.

The performance of test systems severely limits the availability of only 4 GB of RAM – in addition, it works in single-channel mode. I will try to fix the shortcomings of the RAM system myself, read the paragraph “Upgrade possibilities”.

In general, the performance level of notebooks with Athlon, Pentium, and Core i3 pleased me – the performance of these chips is quite sufficient not only for solving undemanding home tasks, but also for performing some demanding projects.

⇡ # Graphics Features

All four laptops do not have a discrete GPU – you will encounter this situation in 97% of cases when choosing a device cheaper than 30,000 rubles. At the same time, the capabilities of the “built-in” HD 620 and HD 610 are well known, and there are no surprises here. Without any tests, it is clear that such laptops cannot be called gaming – you cannot comfortably play the so-called AAA projects even with the inclusion of the minimum graphics quality in the resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. But this does not mean at all that you cannot play with such a laptop at all.

* Games run at 1366 x 768 pixels using the minimum graphics quality

Something iGPU mobile dual-core can – it shows the graphs above. “Contra” and “tanks” at minimum wage, for example, work, which is already good. Do not forget that the limitation in Acer laptops is also slow RAM, the volume of which is not enough, and the operating mode is limited to one channel. Built-in GPU is very sensitive to such things. As a result of the test, the Athlon 300U system performs better in comparison with its rivals – however, this situation is not surprising.

On sale you will find notebooks with discrete graphics class GeForce MX110 and Radeon 530. These chips are noticeably faster than the Radeon Vega 3 used in the Athlon 300U. So, in the 3DMark Time Spy graphic test, the Lenovo IdeaPad L340 model with MX 110, gaining 450 points, outperforms the Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV with Vega by 45%.

Recently, an article was published on our website, “10 old, but interesting games that will run even on a very weak computer.” I hope she inspires you to play the old, but insanely interesting games. And there will always be a congenial hit of the past, which will work fine even on a very slow PC.

⇡ # Cooling and noise

While laptop manufacturers are racking their brains on how to effectively cool the new 6- and 8-core AMD and Intel processors, a real idyll is observed in the budget segment. There are no hot processors – and no problems. And test laptops do not make much noise – for an efficient and comfortable computer operation, a cooler with one fan and one heat pipe is enough.

The cooling system in the laptop Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV

The cooling system in the laptop Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV

⇡ # Solid State Drive

The fact that solid-state drives are used without exception even in inexpensive laptops is good news. Moreover, in three of the four test models installed NVMe SSD – albeit a small amount. Test results, for example, in the PCMARK 10 benchmark, clearly show how fast laptops work with a pre-installed SSD – you can judge this by the high scores in the Essentials subtest. Indeed, on any of the four tested laptops, Windows loads very quickly, programs start instantly – the same browser, for example.

The issue of volume is solved, in principle. Yes, mostly laptops cheaper than 30,000 rubles are equipped with 128 GB SSDs, but there are models with 256 and even 512 GB SSDs on sale. I believe that a fast SSD is always better than a larger, but slower HDD.

Naturally, cheap laptops use inexpensive and slow models of solid state drives. And this is justified, because the AMD and Intel platforms themselves (more precisely, test laptops) do not support SSDs with four PCI Express 3.0 lanes. For example, the Kingston RBUSNS8154P3128GJ1 model in the Acer Aspire 3 A315-22-937C works in PCI Express x1 3.0 mode, although this drive has two lines. It does not matter, of course, since even in this case, the SSD works much faster than the HDD.

⇡ # Upgrade options

I am firmly convinced: we need to take a laptop that is easily disassembled and allows you to easily get to replaceable components. Almost all laptops are cheaper than 30 000 rubles. The term of free warranty service is only 1 year. So you can safely violate warranty seals, if any.

Crucial BLS8G4S240FSD memory module was installed in the laptop

Crucial BLS8G4S240FSD memory module was installed in the laptop

In budget models, 4 GB of RAM are either soldered to a printed circuit board or installed as a single SO-DIMM. In any case, the manufacturer leaves at least one SO-DIMM slot free, which allows you to increase the amount of RAM – you can install a module with a capacity of 4, 8 or 16 GB. What I used in the case of the Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV. How much the system has become faster in various tasks, you can see in the table below. In some, the difference is quite noticeable.

After upgrade

After upgrade

Naturally, you can replace the SSD. In view of the above, chasing fast solid state drives does not make much sense – take a maximum of gigabytes for a minimum of rubles. Some laptops have the ability to “squeeze” and 2.5-inch memory.

Upgrading RAM in a laptop (Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV)
Before After Growth
Corona 1.3, s (less is better) 797 757 5%
WinRAR 5.40, с (меньше — лучше) 1005 905 10%
Blender 2.80 RC1, с (меньше — лучше) 469 469 0%
x264 FHD Benchmark, FPS (больше — лучше) 9,37 9,68 3%
x265 HD Benchmark, FPS (больше — лучше) 5,75 6,33 10%
CINEBENCH R15, баллы (больше — лучше) 285 289 1%
CINEBENCH R20б баллы (больше — лучше) 627 635 1%
Fritz 9 Chess Benchmarks, knodes/s (больше — лучше) 5144 5201 1%
Adobe Premiere Pro 2019, с (меньше — лучше) 4434 4003 10%
PCMark 10, баллы
Общий балл (больше — лучше) 2817 3123 11%
Essentials 6351 6887
Productivity 4801 5560
Digital Content Creation 1990 2161
3DMark, баллы
Sky Diver (больше — лучше) 3376 4060 20%
Nigth Raid (больше — лучше) 3670 4279 17%
Игры, FPS
World of Tanks (больше — лучше) 119/73 141/77 5%
Dota 2 (больше — лучше) 46/25 60/33 32%

⇡#Дисплей и звук

А вот что расстраивает в недорогих ноутбуках, так это поголовное использование низкокачественных дисплеев. И черт с ним, с разрешением 1366 x 768 точек — при диагонали 14-15 дюймов пользоваться устройством с таким разрешеним оказывается вполне комфортно, хотя местами и непривычно. Все дело в качестве изображения, и даже если вы найдете за 30 тысяч лэптоп с IPS-матрицей, то это все равно будет посредственная IPS-матрица.

Я больше ничего не буду говорить про используемые в таких компьютерах экраны — это данность, с которой, увы, придется мириться. Ниже в таблице приведены результаты тестирования некоторых матриц, используемых в дешевых лэптопах.

Экраны, используемые в недорогих ноутбуках
Название CNM15E6 NT156FHM-N61 BOE06F3
Разрешение 1366×768 1920×1080 1920×1080
A type TN TN IPS
Яркость 191 201 270
Контрастность 345:1 212:1 800:1
Гамма 2,14 2,22 2,15
Цветовая температура >9000 K >9000 K 7500 K
Среднее отклонение по шкале серого 25,19 25,82 6,85
Среднее отклонение в тесте ColorChecker24 10,57 10,85 5,81

⇡#Качество сборки и функциональность

Масса большинства ноутбуков дешевле 30 000 рублей не превышает 2 кг. Например, 15,6-дюймовый Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV при толщине в 20 мм весит всего 1,9 кг, и еще на 250 граммов утяжелит рюкзак внешний блок питания. Считаю, что с таким лэптопом спокойно можно ездить на пары в университет — ну или отправить дочку решать задачи для онлайн-олимпиады на кухню.

Корпус у таких ноутбуков, естественно, будет целиком выполнен из пластика. Все четыре модели Acer выглядят очень опрятно и собраны качественно: детали корпуса хорошо подогнаны друг к другу, крышка дисплея и область с клавишами прогибаются несильно.

Лично мне очень не хватает подсветки клавиатуры, так как довольно много приходится работать в полумраке. В остальном же функциональность таких устройств меня устраивает вполне. Конечно же, в дешевых лэптопах вы не встретите разъемы USB C-типа, DisplayPort и Thunderbolt 3 — но без всего этого вполне можно прожить и не испытывать дискомфорта.

⇡#Автономная работа

Наши тесты показали, что три из четырех ноутбуков при яркости экрана в 150 кд/м2 проработали больше шести часов в режиме просмотра видео. При этом дешевые ноутбуки комплектуются, как правило, батареями малой емкости — на 30-40 Вт⋅ч. И все же при таких характеристиках высокая живучесть изученных моделей закономерна, ведь в подобных устройствах применяются низковольтные центральные процессоры и TN-матрицы с низким разрешением и яркостью.

Время автономной работы, 150 кд/м2
Acer Extensa 15 EX215-51K323K 7 ч 50 мин
Acer Aspire 3 A315-53-P93E 5 ч 24 мин
Acer Aspire 3 A315-22-937C 6 ч 14 мин
Acer Aspire 3 A315-42-R0JV 6 ч 46 мин

Время работы ноутбука от аккумулятора проверялось при воспроизведении видео формата .mkv в разрешении Full HD во встроенном плеере ОС Windows с активированной функцией повтора. Во всех случаях выставлялась одинаковая яркость дисплея в 150 кд/м2, а также отключались подсветка клавиатуры (если таковая имеется) и звук.

⇡#Выводы

Если честно, я думал, что будет хуже. Однако знакомство с недорогими моделями ноутбуков оставило в большинстве случаев хорошие впечатления. Оказывается, такими устройствами очень даже комфортно пользоваться.

Вот возьмем модель с Athlon 300U. Мы увидели, что такой ноутбук обладает хорошим уровнем быстродействия и достойно проявляет себя при выполнении повседневных задач. Подобной конфигурации (двухъядерный современный ЦП и быстрый SSD) вполне достаточно для интернет-серфинга, просмотра видео и работы в офисных программах. При желании можно повесить на нее и что-то более серьезное — 4-поточные «Атлоны» сильно опережают двухъядерные чипы A-серии, а также устаревшие «Пентиумы» и «Селероны».

Для современных игр класса AAA такие ноутбуки не подходят. Придется баловать себя хитами прошедших лет, а то и десятилетий. Или же развлекаться популярными многопользовательскими тайтлами, такими как CS: GO и WoT, а также нетребовательными казуальными онлайн-играми. Вам в любом случае потребуется подбирать такие игры, которые, с одной стороны, заинтересуют вас, а с другой — нормально запустятся на слабенькой встроенной графике. К счастью, сейчас выходит все больше ремейков и ремастеров, а любимые старые проекты обзаводятся поддержкой современных разрешений и операционных систем.

Вообще, я не просто так выделил Athlon 300U. Приятно наблюдать за конкуренцией между AMD и Intel. На нашем сайте вышло несколько обзоров новых 8-ядерных Ryzen 4000, но в то же время и в бюджетном сегменте продукция «красных» выглядит очень интересно. Это значит, что в скором времени домашние ноутбуки станут еще привлекательнее во всех смыслах этого слова.

Общее впечатление от знакомства с недорогими лэптопами подпортило только повальное применение низкокачественных дисплеев. Увы, но используемые в современных моделях TN-матрицы не выдерживает никакой критики. Но с этим придется мириться.

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