Was this laptop a good buy for me?
Now that you worded the question properly, it is a decent performance for schoolwork.
To see the games it handles, here is the page with reported results:
About the laptop industry, I was a Procurement and Component Engineer and other assignments in IBM and Lenovo Thinkpad for 30 years. I trained some former employees of various laptop companies, and worked with the contract manufacturers and parts of computer producers.
Asus laptops are produced by Asustek.
MSI laptops are produced by MSI.
Samsung laptops were assembled by Samsung and they exited the industry to focus on tablets and phones. They still sell a few ultrabooks and chrome books.
Sony worked very closely with specifications and product testing and they exited the laptop business.
Lenovo Thinkpads are co-manufactured, partially internally.
Toshiba business line laptops copied Thinkpad attributes.
HP does configuration on 20% of their laptops - the customized ones. They buy partially assembled shells. 80% are sub-contract.
Dell is becoming less and less involved.
Lenovo brings some Thinkpad design work into the Ideapads.
Acer-Gateway only sells laptops. They design and produce nothing.
Most of the industry is sub-contract.
Clevo, Flextronics, Wistron, Quanta, Foxconn, Asustek, MSI, Compal, Mitac, Arima and Inventec are the main design and production of the industry. Toshiba is not in the list.
People talk about their limited experience with a laptop produced a few years ago. The reviewers see early features only. Overall, Toshiba with their business and consumer gets a C-
They are above Dell and HP and Acer. Lenovo Essentials G series is the same consumer crap.
Whether you get Inspiron, Satellite, Pavilion, Acer, Lenovo G, or a cheap Asus, they are all close to the same thing with variations in the LCD and keyboard. History says the HP and Dell with the choices of CPU and graphics are usually overheating in the higher end models because they are slapping in higher wattage parts.
Now, you are not an idiot. You related the term "gaming" and an Intel integrated graphics laptop. That is the same as "gaming" and "Macbook". It gets a chuckle first, and hard to provide a serious answer. You see, gaming by computers is mostly for tower pcs, especially custom made ones. Then comes the $1000+ gaming laptops. Under $1000 to $700 you are choosing as what are you seeking.
$690 for a quad core i7 laptop is OK. 12GB ram is an odd amount. 4+4 and 8+8 in dual channel. You get an 8 and 4 so it is unpredictable how much better than a 4+4 it is. Please do not join Apple and people that know nothing about CPUs by stating a clock speed and family (i7 2.5GHz) as it says little.
Your CPU is i7-4710HQ, just like Lenovo Y50.
It is here:
7970 score here:
4710HQ vs MQ
HQ is motherboard soldered instead of socketed.
Graphics clock is raised from 1150 to 1200 (4.3%)
So, the laptop you ordered has a strong CPU. The LCD screen is standard x768. The battery is integrated instead of a pluggable one, so eventually to replace it you need to open the laptop. It is a 45 watt-hour lithium-polymer (Lenovo Y50 has an external-cartridge 54 watt-hour). The laptop has no optical drive. The battery life shown as 5.75 hours is like a car rolling downhill. That is screen low brightness, wireless-off, simple task, new fully charged. It is 4.85 pounds in weight. It has a nice aluminum shell.
For $690, it is a good deal for what it is.
Lenovo ThinkPad E540 20C6008QUS 15.6" Notebook Computer (Black)
$629. 8GB correct RAM stick is $72 to $74 at best price
Sales tax in NY State only.
About the same price.
Essentially, same CPU, equal ram after upgrade. Smaller HDD. Has DVDRW. Has Windows 7 Professional. Is a business line laptop in quality and features such as advanced Trackpoint for a mouse, fingerprint reader, robust design, better keyboard, high security features, superior battery management, superior wireless, 48Wh 6 cell removable Lithium ion battery. It is heavier and a little thicker at 5.4 pounds 1.1" thick
Now, is the sleek aluminum Toshiba BETTER than a Lenovo business laptop of more plastic when CPU, ram, graphics are the same? I don't think so, but that is a matter of opinion. There is a lot of garbage on the market. You have a good choice. Neither are for gaming.
I am very good at finding best deals, and I think an HDD size and thinner aluminum profile and weight of the Toshiba and possibly a brighter appearing LCD does not weigh against the advantages of the E540, but as a school laptop, you have one of the best choices at the price point.
The E540 doesn't rate highly against expensive business laptops
but against a consumer Toshiba, you decide.
There are lower quality with better graphics and slower CPUs out there for the price, but that is about choices.