You guys provided me with a great amount of insight when helping me build a performance desktop for myself; now I'm hoping you can help me choose a performance laptop for a family member!
- laptop will be used at home and at work (transported back and forth each day so can't be too heavy)
- external screen is hooked up at work, while there's no external screen at home. Thus, I think the screen will need to be at a minimum 13", which good resolution
- personal use: laptop will not be used for gaming, mostly web browsing, watching tv (nothing intensive)
- work use: AutoCAD, Rhino, the Adobe suite (illustrator, Photoshop, indesign). The work is pretty intensive and her current laptop isn't cutting it. I'm not sure if these programs require a good graphics card or if it's just the processor which isn't cutting it but I'm thinking it'll need to be a haswell i7.
I've been looking at the yoga 2 pro (http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/ideapad/yoga/yoga-...) and I think that may potentially be a good solution. She doesn't need a touchscreen and would be quite happy with windows 7 as opposed to 8, but it seems like most laptops these days are going with the touchsceen and windows 8.
The Lenovo's Integrated Intel® HD graphics 4400 makes it unsuitable for CAD.....
Adobe Users tend to favor nVidia cards tho mainly for AfterEffects and Premier because of CUDA. AutoDesk apps also favor nVidia GeForce cards.....Maya and Solidworks and other rendering apps either require or work better with workstation class cards (i.e. Quadro)
If rendering is not on the table, I'd recommend the Clevo 150 or 170SM .... Clevo was a a partner with the National Society of Professional Engineers for many years providing laptops direct to members with a substantial discount....program was not renewed as a budget cutting measure because of administrative costs. We use Clevo laptops exclusively in my engineering office and it's also what we provided to our clients for which we perform IT services.