3rd Gen Core 13″ & 14″ Mainstream Laptops – Ivy Bridge (2012 – 2013)

This page is exactly like my blog post, it is added for better site management/integration.

Hello, the prices posted here reflect ‘research’ done from June 13th 2016 to June 28th 2016! 😛

If you are looking to spend $220+ on a laptop, then Ivy Bridge laptop is the way to go! These laptops had started to been released in April 2012 and were the ‘tick’ part of Intel’s CPU models. Sandy Bridge was the new micro-architecture, which means Ivy Bridge is a die shrink which turns out to better efficiency. These laptops will last longer on battery, & HD 4000 graphics just werk. My daily at the moment is a T430s, though hot and boggy I still liked the ChromeBook Pixel, and I just recently had a good time with a W530, it felt like it had a 6 hour battery life, and it was a quadcore machine. (๏ᆺ๏υ)

Now a lot of these laptops had gotten slimmer now, so some of you buyers may take that in consideration. USB 3.0 is almost standard on all laptops, unless you got a cheapie. For the ThinkPad world, Lenovo changed the keyboard design, layout and feel for their ThinkPads. Take them as you will, I like my T430s, though I do note that the backlit keyboard doesn’t feel as nice to type on after I installed it (to me the X300 still holds the best keyboard feel on a dual core ThinkPad). Due to slim designs, ethernet is started to be removed, as well as media bays, obtaining software is integrated online now, and usually software on the disc is already outdated.

(⁎˃ᆺ˂)

I hope you guys like my list, Sandy Bridge machines will still do great but if you got a bit more dosh, Ivy Bridge is great as well for what little bit extra you get. Notebookcheck.net has some of the best and in depth overviews on laptops, check there and notebook review forums for common problems. Love their emphasis on displays and viewing angles.


Note: 13 & 14 inch laptops are integrated together now, due to the big 3 business laptops and MBP always being compared and each manufacturer choosing a 13″ or 14″ computer for their ultrabook, I am just simply going to mix them together for easier comparisons.

Ultrabooks will get their own page, it would compare all ultrabooks together and have some more in depth information about them. IPS viewing angles on a budget!


For those who want a computer that has an operating system, working battery, & generally in good working shape I suggest spending from $220 to $320 if you’re in the US. Typically most systems are ‘good enough’ for anyone are 70% of the high price (not the more expensive “retailer/refurbished/mint/warranty” price). Just make sure when you’re buying a laptop that it comes with an AC adapter, an Operating system installed and good working battery before you buy. Typically you want to avoid laptops that say “its an easy fix” or “touchscreen, keyboard or USB is broken” because they aren’t lying, it can be a pricey part and most likely you could of bought a working system for the same amount!

  • New laptop sales are declining for a reason; people don’t need newer hardware when the laptops in this generation  and last are still good.
  • Since Sandy Bridge, Intel’s tick/tock method hasn’t been all its up to be, only energy efficiency is what you gain with maybe 20% of a performance increase. Does that justify paying six times more buying new than used?
  • Comparing the previous models these laptops replace, there isn’t much of a price difference despite being “better” than them. If you’re gonna be buying a barebones unit, you’re probably going to spend the same amount for an AC Adapter, HDD/SSD, & battery as you would for a Sandy Bridge laptop.

Disclaimer: These prices posted are during the time I did research on current and trending market price! Supply & demand, Moore’s law, exploits, recalls and time will factor changes! I did not research extensively about reliability, feel, Linux/Windows 10 usability, or common problems on these laptops! Laptops at the lowest price point may or may not come with an OS, unlocked BIOS, or AC adapters. You might need to put some work into them if buying the lower priced units!

LISTING FORMAT (colored text emphasizes whats new)

E.G UX31A – $250 – 400 // 600  ~ 19 v 87 — Model Maker (Specifics & Info)

  • UX31A – The model name most people know it by (except for idiots)
  • $250 – This is the lowest price most people should get these. Sometimes its based off it totally working w/ AC adapter, othertimes it may need a battery, ac adaptor and OS.
  • 400 – This is the high price I see this trending for, it could be just as good as the lowest price
  • // 600 – This is the max price you’d pay for a laptop with a great warranty, new/flawless condition, upgraded and/or max specs. Its up to you if you want to pay this price rather than the high price.
  • ~ 19 – This is about how many I saw available online thru eBay at the time of searching. More numbers means more of a selection to choose from, which would hopefully mean better price selection, specs and conditions.
  • v 87 – This is how many items were sold within the past 3 months using the search term on eBay. With more numbers I can get a more accurate number for prices, but with lower numbers, sometimes estimate what it can be.
  • The information after the numbers is usually the specific model, year/quarter released & certain specifics I try to explain.

Standard / Mainstream

E6430   – $140 – 280 // 380 ~ 449 v 1401
T430     – $150 – 250 // 350 ~ 358 v 1123
8470p   – $140 – 220 // 280 ~ 348 – 562
MD101LL/A – $400 – 550 // 700 ~ 309 – 1240 (2.5GHz i5-3210m, Mid 2012, 13″ MBP 8,2)
E 14P   – $200 – 360 // 480 ~ 3 v 14 — Sony Vaio E Series 14″ (SVE14xxx)
Fit 14A – $200 – 280 // 440 ~ ?? v 30 — Sony Vaio Fit Series 14″ (SVF14Axxx)

  • Although the average ‘best’ T430’s are $30 less than a E6430, there were more top shelf i7 T430’s were sold at $600 than E6430’s at $500. i7 8470p prices are laughable at $350 & $420, not many of them, searching for an 8470w didn’t make much of a difference either.
  • Not many T431s laptops, this machine uses a different shell design and the ‘clickpad’ that recieved big criticism! I’ve heard but cannot verimid 2012 macbook retina screen upgradefy that you can upgrade to an IPS panel similar to the T440s/p.
  • T430u has a different design as well, it looks a bit similar to an S Series ThinkPad. Some were higher priced than $330 but honestly 720p display is not worth that IMO.
  • Arrow Direct has a few 8470p laptops for $250 w/ warranties, other sellers want more but honestly there’s no point in paying more unless you really really need top specs w/ warranty
  • You can still buy this MBP base model for $1100 from Apple as new, w/ that said, people sell them for that much or more on ebay w/ upgrades or extra software. Prices are everywhere on this laptop.
  • You’re going to pay a LOT for the mid 2012 i7 MBP, but it doesn’t even come with a IPS display.
  • Late 2012 rMBPs arent as common as the former unit (or I messed up on my research) But I guess because soldiered RAM and somewhat picky mSATA SSDs make them kinda unpopular.

Slim / Ultrabook

E6430s  – $145 – 260 // 350 ~ 102 v 171
E6330    – $120 – 280 // 420 ~ 224 v 360
T430s    – $220 – 330 // 460 ~ 165 v 344
9470m   – $200 – 360 // 500 ~ 148 v 259
MD212LL/A – $480 – 670 // 840 ~ 12 v 163 (2.5GHz i5-3210m, Late 2012, rMBP 10,2)
U47A     – $200 – 300 // 400? ~ 2 v 5 — Asus
SVS13S – $250 – 500 // 500? ~ 4 v 19 — Sony Vaio S Series 13″ (SVS13A2APXS)

  • The E6430s is basically a 14″ display on a 13″ E6330 chassis
  • T430s is damn pricey, I paid $165 for mine with a broken display and crab battery
  • Technically the HP Folio is an ultrabook, but I didn’t want to put it in the ultrabook class. 😛

Workstation / Gaming

E6430   – $230 – 400 // 480 ~ 20 – 63 (i7 quadcore nVidia)
M14x    – $300 – 500 // 700 ~ 12 v 83 — (Alienware M14x R2)
T430     – $236 – 425 // 560 ~ 12 v 44 (i7 nVidia)
Y480     – $300 – 370 // 450 ~ 2 v 5
8470p   – $200 – 350 // 500 ~ 3 v 17 (i7 ATI)
8470w  – $140 – 250 // 350 ~ 10 v 60
MD102LL/A – $470 – 800 // 1200 ~ 66 v 400 (2.9GHz i7-3520m, Mid 2012, 13″ MBP 8,2)
BTO/CTO – $600 – 900 // 1050? ~ 1 v 24 (2.9GHz i7-3520m, Late 2012, rMBP 10,2)

  • The T430 doesn’t come standard with quadcore, must upgrade it, however the Dell E6420 had a QC cooling error, no info on the 8470p but it seems to be cheaper
  • Priciest 8470p w/ i7 and ATI graphics is 280… lol
  • I lumped gaming at the end because there were only two units and searched specifically for i7 & discrete graphics for the mainstream models.
  • HP doesn’t have a good gaming laptop, just buy a 2x DV6 if you need a space heater

Ultrabooks

XPS 13  – $200 – 400 // 520 ~11 v 70    — Dell L322x
XPS 14  – $160 – 370 // 500  ~ 14 v 29  — Dell L421x
X1C       – $200 – 420 // 600 ~ 60 v 160? — Lenovo (unsure of inventory accuracy)T431s     – $180 – 340 // 500? ~ 9 v 21    — Lenovo
XT13      – $170 – 260 // 400? – 3 v 7      — HP Envy Spectre
XT14      – $180 – 380 // 450 ~ 0 v 1       — HP Envy Spectre (unsure of price)
MD231LL/A – $370 – 550 // 680 ~ 44 v 290 (1.8GHz i5-3427u, Mid 2012, MBA 13 5,2)
MD846LL/A – $540 – 670 // 750 ~ 27 v 71 (2GHz i7-3667u, Mid 2012 MBA 13 5,2)
UX31A    – $250 – 400 // 600 ~ 19 v 87   — Asus Zenbook
UX32VD – $170 – 400 // 480 ~ 4 v 12   — Asus Zenbook
S5            – $200? – 320 // 420 ~ 2 v 5     — Acer Aspire
S7            – $230 – 380 // 440 ~ 3 v 35?    — Acer Aspire
Z935        – $140 – ??? // 300? ~ 0 v 5      — Toshiba Protege
Z930       – $200 – 300  // 330 ~ 10 v 28  — Toshiba Protege
U845W   – $180 – 240 // 320 ~ 3 v 7        — Toshiba Satellite 21:9 Display
U772       – $260 – 380 // 520 ~ 2 v 5        — Fujitsu LifeBook
UH572    – $150 – 330 // ??? ~ 0 v 2        — Fujitsu LifeBook
540U3C  – $170 – 280 // 340 ~ 9 v 24     — Samsung Series 5 Ultra
SVT13    – $200 – ??? // 500 ~ 0 v 1        — Sony Vaio S Series (SVT1312V1ES)
SVZ13    – $220 – 700 // 900 ~ 0 v 7?      — Sony Vaio Z Series (SVZ131xxxx)
Pixel      – $250 – 420 // 530 ~ 6 v 37     — Google Chromebook 2013 (1st Gen CB001)

  • I will make a special more in depth page for all ultrabooks which will include all screen sizes
  • For the most part, ultrabooks need 4 hour battery life, about .8″ thick, & usually ULV processors
  • I’m totally biased to the Pixel, just nabbed a ‘new’ UK unit for $400 w/ 1TB cloud drive.
  • The FHD XPS 13, Z930, T13 & XT13 are the ones I wouldn’t mind trying out if I found a good deal that I could flip.
  • The XPS 13 & X1 Carbon are sort of hard to pinpoint due to various predecessors
  • RAM cannot be upgraded on MacBook Airs, you have been warned. HDD can be upgraded. i7 has a super high price for about maybe 13 to 20 percent better performance (from what I could tell). Best to just get 8GB i5 IMO
  • All MBPs and rMBPs are technically ultrabooks but whatever, didn’t want to cram them all in one unit.
  • Good luck if you get the 1TB Google cloud drive from a Chromebook Pixel. I paid $400 for new UK model. It just werks.

Decent Budget Models

E5430  – $110 – 200 // 260 ~ 218 v 353
3360     – $110 – 180 // 230 ~ 4 v 12 — Dell Vostro
3460     – $115 – ??? // 250  ~ 5 v 5 — Dell Vostro
3330     – $95  – 160 // 220 ~ 10 v 29 – Dell Latitude 13″
T430u  – $170 – 230 // 320 ~ 14 v 27
E430    – $110 – 220 // 360 ~ 17 v 48
6570b  – $110 – 190 // 260 ~ 25 v 11
34540s   – $120 – 200 // 270 ~ 27 v 125
MD628LL/A – $275 – ??? // 520 ~ 2 v 14 (1.7GHz i5-3
317u, Mid 2012, 13″ MBA 5,2)
P845    – $130 – 200 // 280 ~ 9 v 14 — Toshiba SatelliteSC400A – $200 – 270 // 350 ~ 5 v 10 — Asus Vivobook

  • Heads up, the E5430 had about 10+ one bids auctions by OEM Dell refurb outlet that sold for like $190
  • T430u uses a different frame than the T430, looks similar to an Edge
  • Sellers trying to make people spend $350+ on Probooks, but no one is dumb enough to buy those overpriced units
  • These were all marketed as business, professional and ultrabook laptops on a budget.
  • Vostro’s probably have the worst display out of everything ever here.
  • The Latitude 3330 uses a 2nd gen i3 but was released in summer 2013
  • MBA posted here is the educational model only available in bulk, not necessarily ‘budget’ but for the Mac it is. 🙂

Convertible

Yoga 13 – $220 – 400 // 600 ~ 22 v 83

  • Asus Taichi 21, Dell XPS 12, & HP Split X2 are the competitors for the Yoga 13 but they are not 13 or 14 inch laptops so they will be included in the Ultrabook page.

Rugged Machines

E6430 ATG  – $200 – 450 // 600 ~ 20 v 50
CF-19 MK6 – $550 – 800 // 1300 ~ 286 v 86

  • Some Dells are w/o TouchScreens and/or carrying handles. New/Unused can be $1000
  • Toughbooks are kekworthy, some two people bought a lot of 5 for $4250 total or $850 each.
  • To point out on the rugged hype, I saw the top 5 Dell D630 XFR models sold for $300+ while the mid price is $120 out of 59…

Consumer / Cheap / Garbage / Craptop / Buyer’s Remorse / the-office-no-meme.mp3.avi.exe.zip

Inspiron – heh this guide is for good laptops only   (^;

S405     – $110 – ??? // 230 ~ 4 v 4 — Lenovo IdeaPad
Envy 4  – $90 – 180 // 220 ~ 3 v 10 — HP TouchSmart
P243     – $90 – 150 // Don’t ~ 5 v 12 — Acer

  • Okay these aren’t shitty but they arent good either
  • These were lower priced machines, so who’s to say they were built well unless extremely taken care of.

And there you guys go! I hope you like the information I provided. If you have a laptop here that isn’t posted, let me know. Sometimes I can’t find sold listings so it won’t be here.

At the time of this posting I own a Chromebook Pixel, Lenovo ThinkPad T430s. I have the FHD mod on the T430s, which cost me $70 for the chip due to buying from a  ThinkPad Forums member. I got a 1080p IPS display from a Dell E7440.

I have a Pixel because… its 3:2 display. Also I feel like I just do more work on it. This is my fifth one. Third working unit though…

I did buy a E6330 i7 for $100 and flipped it for $260 after getting an AC adapter and installing Windows 7. 🙂

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