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My Presario CQ56 was a considered choice on heading to university three years ago, chosen largely for affordability and value. One f1 key down, with an M key soon to follow, and the degree, and laptop, are just about done.
The chipset, an AMD Athlon II P320, is a comparatively cheap and feeble option not really capable of playing any game, nor running any film or photography editing software. Having optioned this model I anticipated its use to be mostly academic work and light browsing, but as both a film student and a gamer, Premiere Pro and The Sims 3 soon made their way onto my hard drive. Neither, unfortunately, impressed; crashes with the demanding film software were numerous and my Sims were not pretty. This cannot be complained about, as I knew the card would be inefficient, but I didn't realise how inefficient it would be, as it was only after one sore leg and one google search I realised that other Athlon II P320 users had experienced hotness and overheating issues with theirs. The graphics card has been disappointing, on the whole.
Friends of mine have experienced their laptops falling apart through the university toil. The CQ56 has, f1 key aside, not had this problem. It is sturdy, still fully operational in movement and none of the hardware ports have corrupted or damaged. Although my hard drive is now often almost totally full, slowing its processing time down, its running is as efficient today as it was when I first bought it.
Battery potency is lacking in the CQ56, and must be addressed. Where I once about managed to use my laptop for the duration of my 2 hour train journey home from university, I can now not get to the end of a 40 minute episode of Mad Men before it kicks the bucket. Having to be permanently near to a power socket is not a great issue in the home, but an unfortunate combination of short battery life when new, wear, and poor treatment of battery memory has rendered the machine importible.
This all came in at a very good price, however, and I don't rely on my laptop on the go. The value for money is second-to-none with this laptop and Compaq are a trusted brand in the UK with whom I have had no problems.