Help choosing laptop for 3d modeling and rendering

I'm a digital animation major who will be starting her first Animation classes this next fall semester. From what I've heard, the main program my school teaches on is maya and our art department only uses mac computers. These past two years I've had to practically live in our art department building, spending many more late nights that I would have preferred.

So I'm hoping to buy a new computer specifically for college that would allow me to work from my dorm and not have to trek literally all the way across campus and back nightly, but I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to computers (hence I don't trust myself with building my own) so I was wondering if anyone would mind steering me in the right direction. Currently, I have a Dell Inspiron N4110 (64 bit, 4 GB, 2 GHz) that I tried using a trial version of maya on. Needless to say, it didn't work very well.

On a side note, does anyone know of any problems that might come from switching between OS when working on a project? Say, starting on a Mac then finishing/rendering on Windows or viceversa?

1. What is your budget?
$1,500 (not including tax)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Anything with a 15" screen or bigger

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1920 x 1080 or better if possible

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
either would be fine, but a laptop is much preferred

5. How much battery life do you need?
5 hours or more

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop?
wouldn't hurt I guess, but not the main focus (still have other laptop for that)

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop?
Possibly Photoshop, Adobe Indesign, Illustrator, Maya, any other 3d modeling programs, Final cut Pro,

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
at least 2-3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Anything would be fine, but I don't think I need to have Bluray

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
My brother recommended ASUS and Alienware, while I also like the idea of a Lenovo. Just definitely not a Mac or Dell

13. What country do you live in?
Kansas, US
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  1. Best answer
    Have one custom built for you here:

    I use Clevo laptops exclusively in our engineering office.
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