what software are you using? do you have more than one open at a time? i have 3 open at once most of the time. i do photo editing a lot. i started with photo impact, and am wanting photoshop cs2.
this is the little i know:
core 2 duo
1gig of ram, but i want 2 gig as i have problems now.
graphics card, i really think you want a dedicated one. when i first started using photo impact for editing pixel by pixel on a black line jpg, i couldn't even run the software i had just bought. i was told i needed a graphics card!
i hope someone who does more with photos than games, will write in and let you know, as i would like to know also.
I am using Painter 7, Photoshop elements (boo, I want cs2 too), Pixmantec RawShooter, and bunches of other explorer windows open.
So yeah, multi-core and 2 gigs of ram is pretty much essential. A fast-er hard drive, 7200 RPM would be nice, but most of the time I can wait for disk IO since most of my work would be running off RAM, not paging to the hard drive.
What kind of laptop do you have, and also do you take it in the field?
no, i am not a prof photographer, just a hobby.
i have the hp 9000t that i customized.
so far, i can have 2 windows open and edit to my hearts content. i am using photo impact and an old version of photoshop. i also have about 3 windows open accessing pics and what not.
i am running an external wd hard drive on this, so its fine. i am use to waiting for externals.
the 2 gig of ram is wonderful!!! no more out of virtual memory, like on my desktop (but that now has 3 gig in it). i have the faster processor tho, and i wouldn't trade it for nothin!!
i would really get the fastest processor you can. good luck
Just out of curiosity what XPS where you looking at with a 15'' screen? I've never seen one.
On a more serious note, for rendering, avoid graphics cards that were designed with games in mind. I would recommend a GPU that uses Fire/Open GL for rendering. For the processor, definitely get a Core 2 Duo since it will provide the best performance. You want 2 gb of ram minimum.
As far as Dell's screens, I have seen their WUXGA w/ truebright and it is amazing. I have also seen their lowere res screens and they don't stand out from the crowd.
From what I can tell, Dell provides the best solution for mobile workstations. Try others like HP and Gateway though, you may be surprised by what you can find.
Let me share my experience. I just got my new dell 9400 in the mail yesterday: core duo 1.73 ghz, 2 gb ram, nvidia go 7900 gs, 17" wxga+ display. I bought it mostly for photo editing, but wanted the capeability to play games as well. I am impressed with the processing power o f this rig, it has smoked through any thing i have been able to throw at it (photoshop 7 + background virus scan + Mp3 etc). I'm even getting good frame rates in FEAR (much better than my desktop with a 6600gt) however, i opted for the low-end screen in an effort to save 150 dollars and i couldn't be more dissappointed in my decision. THIS SCREEN SUCKS!! For the average user im sure it would be fine, but if you are doing any photo editing/gaming stay away from the wxga+ from dell. 1400x900 seemed to me like it would have been more than enough resolution for this size screen (espically compared to my 30in lcd tv @1280X768) but even the windows desktop looks like crap. It's like there is noise or grain or something, i honestly don't know too much about lcd's but i know this looks bad. In photo editing, forget about it, i cannot tell if the image I'm editing has noise/artifacts or if its just the screen. Also, the viewing angles suck; i am looking at the screen dead-on right now and the white background takes on a progressivly darker tone as it gets closer to the bottom of the screen. Playing Warhammer DOC at native resolution and you can actually see the grain between the pixels!!! The computer runs everything flawlessly, but the end result is less than impressive bc the screen. Anyway not to ramble on and on, but this screen is really terrible. Im curious if anyone has any insight as to how much better the UXGA with true life looks and if this is a result of the higher resolution or the TrueLife technology??? (The brightness and contrast is disappointing too)