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Laptop to buy for media creation

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November 2, 2009 4:54:16 AM

I am planning to buy a laptop to learn Maya 2008 and to create art with PhotoShop CS3 and other graphic programs.

My first cut key specifications are as below.

A: RAM capacity of 6 - 8 GB
B: Screen size of 16.5" to 18.5"
C: Very high quality screen resolution
D: Dedicated video memory of 1 GB
E: Quality design and construction
F: Good battery life (Plan to use mostly connected to power)

This will be a Windows 7 computer. I might want to add Ubuntu
later on.

Thanks very much

Thomas
November 2, 2009 5:10:55 AM

Biggest issue for any content creation rig, WHAT'S YOUR BUDGET ?!?
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November 2, 2009 5:25:51 AM

My budget range for the laptop is $750 - $1,400. I am hoping that the actual cost will be closer to $750 than $1,400.

In addition to the laptop I have read that I SHOULD get a laptop cooling fans device. Do you have any recommendations on this product?
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November 2, 2009 5:51:05 AM

Oooh that's going to be tough with that low a budget. I was expecting like 2+ times the bidget, my favourite being the W700 I worked with.

I'll have to check during the day to see who offers a good balance at the $1000 level, you're likely going to have to give up any notion of a workstation cards, but really DX Maya is fine, and CS3 just uses standard OGL acceleration, even in After effect, so a good standard Geforce or Radeon mobile solution will be fine and little need for a FireGL or Quadro.
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November 2, 2009 6:53:02 AM

Ouch! $3,000!!

Workstation cards? I am not sure of what the "cards" are, or would be used for. At this stage I will be learning and, by looking at Maya, I don't think that I will be knocking out anything exceedingly complex for a while.

A few years ago I saw a rich student with a Windows laptop running Maya 4.5. He said that it worked fine. I was impressed with the demo files he showed. I have the impression that laptops are much more powerful than in back then. I have a 3 - 4 years old Velocity desktop that is using a Core2 with XP. I think that it can be upgraded for rendering of really big files that I hope to created in the future. There will be a while before I reach that stage. The problem is that I may have to buy a second copy of Maya to use two computers. Adobe allows putting its software on more than one computer. Maybe Autodesk has the same policy (BUT DOUBT IT).

The reason for wanting to get a laptop is that I will be transferring to a security guard position that will give me a lot of time to do nothing but be there. This would be an ideal learning situation. The other guys listen to sports and to phone in programs such as Rush Lambaugh and etc., which I would not be interested in. This is also a good time to read (there is also one guy who reads hunting and NRA magazines).

Thanks very much for your attention and advice
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November 2, 2009 6:56:46 AM

Two more things about my interest in getting a laptop.

I was impressed with the Alienware and Saga ads. They make gaming laptops which I could save up more money and buy one maybe by April.

It would be good if Maya came with a separate rendering module that could be put on computers other than where the main program is. The rendering module would do nothing but render (which can take a long time).
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Best solution

November 3, 2009 12:25:45 AM

OK, if you're not overly serious, and you're just starting out, then there are a few options that may fit, but I would recommend getting the memory yourself, because most companies overcharge for the memory.

OK so this would be sort of a baseline for a nice Corei7 (which are a little new to give great options a little low on the graphics side, but fits everything else;
http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/computer_can...

Has an OK CPU, and and a medium-ok graphics card with a high res screen.

Better Graphics card;
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

but you could get better with a Core2Quad, it's just a little hard looking for them.

I'd recommend looking at a Gateway or MSI for good options, but I can't seem to bring them up on the US sites for the models I like so not sure about US pricing.

For MSI Global, this would be my recommendation;

Core2Quads;
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1...
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1...

And depending on pricing, a core i7 solution;
http://www.msi.com/index.php?func=proddesc&maincat_no=1...

That should give you an idea, but it's a little harder than it used to be to find pricing.
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