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I am thinking about upgrading my laptop and I cannot decide between the two following Lenovo laptops:

Both laptops are priced at £499. One contains an AMD FX-7500 APU, an R7 dedicated graphics card, an SSHD and a 1080p screen. The other contains an i7-5500U without an SSHD or a full-HD screen. Both come with 8GB of RAM.

The laptop will be used for video editing, work (Word, PowerPoint, etc.) and some occasional casual gaming (not as important). Any advice or help would be appreciated.

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Note that I don't have personal experience with either laptop, but I do have experience with the kinds of information you're using to make your decision.

I would definitely go with the Z50 here. To enumerate the pertinent specs:

  • The Z50 has a better display than the G50 (1920 x 1080 vs. 1366 x 768). To put that in perspective, my (non-Retina) 13" MacBook Pro has a 1280x800 display, and it's 13". The 15" G50 has a lower vertical resolution than my 13" laptop, and barely beats it horizontally. Not good.
  • The Z50 can actually be cheaper than the G50, from a cursory glance at the prices (£449.95 - £499.95 vs. £499.95)
  • Both have 8GB RAM, which is decent.
  • The Z50 has an "SSHD", basically a 1TB HDD with an 8GB SSD on top of it. That 8GB SSD, if the software running it is built correctly (it probably is) will store your OS and most frequently used documents, improving performance drastically. The G50 doesn't have this.
  • See a comparison of the processors - the G50's i7 5500U vs. the Z50's AMD FX-7500. In my opinion, the G50 actually wins out here.

    However, computers, especially laptops, are almost never limited by their CPU in real-life tasks. You'll see much more benefit from that SSHD than you will from a marginally better CPU. Even as a developer, the only time I max out my processor (2.5 GHz i5) is when I'm transcoding audio with ffmpeg, or, rarely, when compiling code. In other cases, my mechanical hard drive just can't keep up, and the processor has to wait to get data from it.

    Also, you mention video editing. The graphics card (AMD Radeon R7 M260DX) in the Z50 will likely win out over the G50's Intel HD 5500. I'm not an expert on graphics cards, though - see this comparison for more information.

Either of these machines would be absolute overkill for Word / Excel / PowerPoint. For video editing, I would expect the Z50 to beat out the G50.

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A lot of points listed below are coming from personal experience due to me having a very similar laptop to the one I recommmended. Lenvo z50-70

  • First of all I think it is very important to have dedicated graphics card for heavy graphics load like video editing and gaming. In this use case the graphics card is the most important part of the laptop. Also Nvidia has very good technology called prime. The model I recommended has this technology, it uses your integrated intel graphics when not needing graphics performance like when browsing the web. If you need your graphics power like when editing video, the nvidia driver automatically kicks in with your powerfull nVidia card to get the performance needed. With this it is possible to save a lot of power (battery life). I personally love this feature and it works without problems on my lenovo with windows 8.1 and various Linux distros

  • next up the display is better than on the i7 model but has the same resolution than the g50. Personally I like the full HD screen, it is very sharp and colors are good as well. A good display is also extremely important in this use case especially video editing.

  • The 256GB SSD makes your whole OS faster and is these days a must. It makes your programs faster and also your editing workflow more fluent.

  • The processor is very decent and good enough for this use case.

  • the nVidia GPU is slightly better than the AMD one (http://gpuboss.com/gpus/Radeon-R7-M260DX-vs-GeForce-840M) and I think prime technology just isn't a big plus.

  • Depending on which OS you want to install nVidia and Intel is the way to go. I personally am not a fan of AMD Hardware because I'm a Linux user, I won't go into detail with this just know AMD can be a giant pain when using Linux. If using Linux, the nVidia drivers work perfectly with ubuntu/debian based distros and are very easy to install.

  • The only minus is the 4 GB of ram that normally should be enough, if not you can easily upgrade to 8GB for about 30€ (http://www.amazon.de/DDR3L-1600-SO-DIMM-1600Mhz-PC3L-12800S-Voltage/dp/B00IIRSIK6/ref=pd_sim_147_7?ie=UTF8&refRID=1E7S7EWFK87F1EMHJJ1W)

So if you can spend a bit more go with the z50-70 I linked above to get better performance, if not your next best call probably is the AMD model z50. I would not recommend the i7 model g50 because it does not suit your needs at all.

I hope I could help, Tanonic

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