2nd Gen Core 14" & 13" Laptops - Sandy Bridge (2011 - 2012)

 Sandy Bridge Laptops, used, parts & refurb'd


This guide started in February 2016 and is finished finally in April!
New format for guide, a lot of info on the bottom of the page, saving that wall of text for you.

2nd gen i5 laptops are a great buy for price per performance!
I highly recommend this era of laptops as most can be had under $200 and work very well!
8GB RAM + 256GB SSD cost maybe $120 and will make your machine damn bulletproof!

Sandy Bridge i5 processors are powerful enough for anyone, and most have equal or better CPU scores than laptops you see at Best Buy, Target, & Apple stores for $500.
As usual the first three laptops will be Dell, Lenovo, HP, Apple in that order unless they didn't make a laptop for that category, 'xxxx' be posted to signify that there wasn't one.
On some models, I may post the Manufacturer name of that laptop at the end.

The market can drop because of newer technology or PR, so you yourself check sold listings too but this is to give a general idea of what you should pay instead of overpaying. :)

Ultrabooks are a new category, but the standard for them have yet to be finalized at this time, some of these might perform poorly or have not as expected battery life due to slim design. Choose tactfully, this is the first generation of Ultrabooks after Intel set the standards.!

Disclaimer: I did not research much about reliability, build quality, parts prices, reviews or common problems on these laptops! Laptops at the lowest price point may/may not come with an OS, BIOS locks, or AC adapter, so you might need to put some work into them if buying the lower priced units!

LISTING FORMAT (colored text emphasizes whats new)

E.G E6420 - $120 - 260 // 370  ~ 1000 v 2900

$120 signifies the starting price I see of a laptop that has been sold with an AC adapter, HDD/OS and (hopefully) good battery.

- 260 signifies the max price you should pay for a used fully working machine that has a good battery, OS installed, OEM AC adapter and not banged up.

// 370 signifies the price I've seen that should be sold with at least one of the following

  • Recognized seller, Microsoft Authorized Refurbishers, Enthusiast, or Original owner w/ original box, manual and/or recovery discs.
  • Top spec'd machines: upgraded/new components, modded, comes with a dock, a badass bag, or extra swag like batteries, hard drives, AC adapters, etc.
  • Manufacturer refurbished or seller refurbished - Your warranty should start the day you bought it.
  • Comes with software that is guaranteed NOT pirated  (price can be more if it has $500+ software loaded)
  • Overnight shipping, local store/ local owner price (just an educated guess)
  • Not gonna lie, I shoot for this price when I list as seller refurbished if I got a damn great machine.

~ 1000 signifies how many laptops are available when I searched for it.
v 2900 signifies how many laptops were sold in the past four months.


  • This number is not necessarily true as some of those listings will include parts/incomplete machines, just laptop part not a whole machine, sometimes laptops are miscategorized (think i5 laptop, no brand or wrong model, or dumb macbook sellers) and some are of lots or multiple quantity.
  • This is essential information to know if you desire to resell it, want to buy a whole laptop to source one part or extra, or just know whats in demand or not popular.
  • If there is a lot listed but not a lot sold for the particular model you want to get, you could nab a good deal w/ a best offer
  • Note, I only can source numbers sold in burger land, international results are not included! :S

With all that said, lets begin! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) 

14"

Mainstream

E6420 - $120 - 260 // 370  ~ 1000 v 2900
T420   - $120 - 240 // 330  ~ 420   v 1700
8460p  - $100 - 190 // 250 ~ 450    v 1200
Tecra R840   - $150 - 180 // 220 ~ 6  v 12  (Toshiba)
14" Vaio - $170 - 250 // 350 ~ 7 v 22
  • E6420 has a touchscreen option available, tis why it is pricier
  • 14" Elitebooks in this and next gen are super cheap to buy
  • See my guide on the T420, it has a dimly lit LCD but I expected worse, didn't mind it at all
  • Sony made so many different Vaios... C/F/S Vaios are all in one bin and all are geared for different people and markets :P
Budget

E5420 - $90 - 220 // 300 ~ 190 v 500 
L420   - $70 - 160 // 190 ~ 12   v 100
6460b  - $80 - 160 // 200 ~ 100 v 166
6465b  - $75 - 110 // N/A ~ 4     v 55 (AMD A4-3xxx, A6-3xxx, E2)
  • I like the E5xx series more than L or Edge ThinkPads as I think they are just thicker plastic shell versions of the E6xxx models rather than redesign, crap by Lenovo, I may be wrong though.
  • Can't comment on Probooks, never had them, supposedly shit displays.
  • Couldnt find Samsung Series 4 or 6 laptops that were considered "business laptops" in reviews lol

Workstation/Gaming

xxxx
xxxx
8460w - $130 - 240 // 260 15 v 55
MC724LL/A - $400 - 500 // 600 ~ 38 v 220 (2.7GHz i7-2620m, Early 2011, MBP 8,1)
MD314LL/A - $400 - 550 // 650 ~ 40 v 180 (2.8GHz i7-2640m, Late 2011, MBP 8,1)
M14x - $250 - 500 // 650 ~ 7 v 66 (Alienware i5/i7)
  • Most of the available 8460w are overpriced, or parts machines starting at $100. Honestly was not impressed with an 8470w, I would probably skip, pretty thick machine and unsatisfactory display. :x
  • An Alienware and MBP are here because, its relevant.
  • "Late/early 2011 MacBook Pro 13 i7" yielded less results but searching for the identifier number had higher priced sold listings, like $800+, yet parts MacBooks get to $400 range due to bidding wars.
  • Currently eBay seller poweron.com has a lot of inventory, not to shill but a lot of computers I search to flip are listed by them, very accurate descriptions, I've yet to buy one from them.
  • Not much 14" set alone workstations, arguably a quadcore T420 or E6420 w/ discrete graphics can be considered a workstation as well, but there wasn't a specifically made model.

Twatty/Schmanchy/Bougie

XPS 14z - $220 - 325 // 400 ~ 6 v 25
U400      - $120 - 160 // 200 ~ 2 v 16
Envy 14 - $120 - 260 // 300? ~ 20 v 8?

  • XPS is borderline gaming machine, but shit, same with U400, both want to be "ultrabooks" but aren't considered workstations or gaming machines because subpar Subaru performance, hence its Schmancy
  • Couldn't pinpoint the Envy 14, I had gotten 1st gen Core and 3rd, 4th & 5th gen machines in search... pricing is a guess.

Ultrabook

xxxx
T420s - $145- 225 // 330 ~ 135 v 424 420 BLAZE IT
xxxx
xxxx

  • Ultrabooks barely started to be produced around this time, most were 13.3" or 11" machines. Yet arguably the T420s is an ultrabook and the only business one at that.
Gutter Trash

V3450 - $100 - 170 // 240 ~ 13 v 10
E420   - $80 - 150 // 200 ~ 16   v 56
4430s - $100 - 160 // 180 ~ 17 v 65


  • Not many Vostros but I've seen 5 listed and 2 sold with broken hinges! Must of been a design problem. These ask a high price, for some reason, but I've not used one so I can't be the judge of that... No trackpoint, so its shit
  • Dunno if the Edge or L series should be here but E series are the lowest price despite them asking for more money than the $100 more L series at launch
  • Couldn't find any other ProBook model lol, also these 4430s seem to be equipped with Celeron processors, you can upgrade them but I would not even try a quad i7 after seeing their heat sinks

13"

Mainstream

E6320 - $100 - 220 // 250 ~ 265 v 700
xxxx
xxxx
MC700LL/A - $300 - 450 // 560 ~ 90 v 950 (2.3GHz i5-2415m, Early 2011, MBP 8,1)
MD313LL/A - $300 - 500 // 600 ~ 80 v 700 (2.4GHz i5-2435m, Late 2011, MBP 8,1)
CF-31 MK2 - $490 - 660 // 1000 ~ 26 v 9 (ToughBook)
  • I like the E6320, especially if you don't need a discrete GPU E6420 but you get stuck with 720p screen
  • These Early 2011 MBPs seem to have faulty DVD drives, a lot listed with that in description.
  • 'Late 2011 Macbook 13 inch' are less yielded in results and have arguably lower value than posted 'MD313LL/A' Macs. Parts MBPs can still go up to $400 depending on spec/condition. Immaculate Macs go for $600+, but there are fakes and bots who bid past $700.
  • Quite a few $1700 'new' CF-31 MK2s.... Doubt any of toughbook buyers are here but hey you could be.

Budget

xxxx
E320    - $80   - 180 // 230 ~ 1 v 0
5330m - $115 - 160 // 230 ~ 7 v 19
6360b  - $105 - 150 // 180 ~ 40 v 24

  • Only one listed Edge series E320 here... and it was for $300! just don't bother :) Price is guesstimate, I dislike them til the haslel time, so I'm heavily biased.
  • Either you get a barebones ProBooks that start at $50, or you get a BIN unit priced past $200
  • Yet the 6360b loads cheaper, a lot at $130 mark. It looks like the 'm' series probook has an aluminum and magnesium frame, so it asks for a little bit more, not too shabby.

Ultrabooks


XPS 13 - $230 -350 // 420 ~ 10 v 51
X1        - $200 - 350 // 400 ~ 5 v 37
U300s  - $??? - 330 // ???  ~ 2 v 1
Folio 13 - $180 - 300 // 350 ~ v 53
MC365LL/A - $300 - 550 // 650 ~ 150 v 700 (1.6GHz i5-2557m or 1.7GHz i7-2667m, Mid 2011, MBA 4,2)
UX31   - $220 - 340 // 400 ~ 7 v 31 (Asus ZenBook, also called UX31E)
S3-951 - $150 - 250 // 300 ~ 11 v 63 (Acer Aspire)
Z835    - $140 - 280 // 300 ~ 3 v 20 (Toshiba Portege)
Series 9 - $160 -260 // 320 ~ 5 v 16 (Samsung, also named NPX300X3 or NPX300X4)
Z 13"    - $300 - 500 // 900 ~  2 v 20 (Sony Vaio, aka VPC-Z21... something something)
  • First off, a lot of these laptops in the top tier price category don't come with warranties but are in excellent or new condition, at least said by the seller.
  • L321X is the XPS 13" model for 2012, results are better but still can get other XPS in the mix.
  • Same with the original 13.3" X1, funny thing the X1C2 sometimes sells for under $300, dat keyboard
  • The ceiling of the Folio 13's seems to be at $300 shipped,
  • I searched "Macbook Air 13" for pricing, "A1369" fetches more results, "2011 Macbook Air" brings a shit load, some even classify the processor as a 4th gen i5 or even a Core 2 Duo... bahaha. Units sold/available is a guesstimate due to mislistings.
  • i7 and i5 models for the MBA, dont want to differentiate, a lot of these get sold for parts at $300, most units sell at $420 mark ≖‿≖ (spark it!) so its dank . But in all serious some can be bought under $400, good luck if you want to flip them!
  • Lastly on the MBA is that, the 13" has a 16:10 WXGA+ LCD while the 11" is garbage 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • I believe I read a review of the UX31 and wanted one because it sounded so cool. This was years before I knew about ThinkPads or the lucrative off lease laptop market.
  • Holy shit the Sony Vaio Z is expensive as shit. Like two sold past $900!! Some 1st gen i5 units sell past $500, it was hard for me to pinpoint the price but the Z series is just as pricey as Apple.

Netbooks...?

  • I've glanced that there are some but looking for accurate prices proved to be too much of a challenge.

Guide Information:

Macbooks are posted here, please read the following if you are interested in them!
  • They will be based upon processor speed/type that equates to the identifier/model.
  • Some might be posted in the workstation/ultrabook/pleb categories instead of all being posted on the same one.
  • Apple releases the same laptop under the same model number (A1xxx, 8,1 5,3 7,2 etc)
  • The identifier will be more accurate of its specs: (MC700LL/A and MB540LL/A, whatever),
  • Basically they release 3 different models in one year early, mid and late as they are called in the 'about this mac' section.
  • Supposedly Apple will fix any GPU issue MBP of this time at no cost, I've seen a few sellers who advertise this and sell at a premium. Perhaps a lucrative opportunity for buying a used macbook pro with faulty GPUs?
  • Pricing may not be accuratet because there are about 4 different terms people use to sell macbooks, "MD300LL/A Macbook, Late 2011 macbook, 2.2Ghz macbook, apple laptop etc)
  • Some people might mislist these damn computers because they arent geniuses, always go by 'about this mac' specifications, if they don't post it, then it might not be that hardware spec!
"But Saucey, why are you so mean to them? What did they do to you? They just want a good laptop! D:"
They are probably the worst (dumb, can't read a description, don't pay, buyers remorse, complain about no AC adapter being included) buyers I've dealt with on eBay and the some of the worst sellers as well when it comes to it. Most are "educated" college students that are geniuses but lack common sense. You could milk some of these buyers so fucking good its unbelievable.

With all that said, there sellers who are diamonds in the rough that I respect.

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.

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