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Laptop for Engineering (Lenovo T400/500 vs. Dell Studio XPS 13/16)

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  • Dell Studio Xps
  • Lenovo
  • Dell
  • Laptops
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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July 9, 2009 3:40:52 AM

I need to buy a computer for when I start college in the fall. I am going to be an engineering student at UVA. It's between the Lenovo T400/500 (13" vs 15") and the Dell Studio XPS 13/16 ( 13" vs 15"). The Lenovo's are identical to each other besides the screen side, while the Dell's have different video RAMs (256 MBs vs 512 MBs).

Comparing the two brands: Lenovo has a higher processing speed than Dell (2.8 GHz vs. 2.53 GHz), and the larger Dell has more vRAM. Everything else is pretty much equal (although the Dell is a bit nicer on the eyes with a higher quality screen and design, while the Lenovo appears to have better battery life).

Do you think it'd be better to have faster processor or more vRAM if I'm doing all of the engineering stuff (AutoCAD, etc.) plus some gaming (mostly strategy, so nothing too intensive, but I would like it too run as good as possible)?

Lenovo:
http://www.uvastudentcomputers.com/shop_matrix_undergra...

Dell:
http://www.uvastudentcomputers.com/shop_matrix_undergra...

Engineering Requirements:
http://infotech.seas.virginia.edu/firstyear/

More about : laptop engineering lenovo t400 500 dell studio xps

July 16, 2009 6:57:24 AM

Go for the better battery life. For applications like autocad, the more processor power the better, so go for the Lenovo. They did a good job with the recommendations btw.
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July 16, 2009 2:20:51 PM

Thank you. That's actually where I am leaning. Now I'm trying to decided between the Lenovo T500 and a 15" MacBook Pro. The main issues I see with the MacBook is some compatibility issues with the engineering software (even when running Boot Camp) and the decreased battery life in Boot Camp while running Vista (because of power management problems).
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a b D Laptop
July 16, 2009 4:08:04 PM

I agree that the Dell XPS 16 looks nicer, but the T500 is going to be where the performance is at. The GPU's in the T500 and XPS are the same and unless you are running high res with tons of filtering, you aren't going to notice a difference.
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July 16, 2009 4:15:36 PM

Just out of curiousity, what type of applications use "tons of filtering"?
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a b D Laptop
July 16, 2009 5:39:39 PM

EclipseGreen said:
Just out of curiousity, what type of applications use "tons of filtering"?


That was mostly a gaming reference (ie Anti-alias and Anisotropic Filtering). I'm not really good with professional apps, autocad is the only one I've used, so i couldn't really tell you, lol. Sorry I'm not much help here.
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July 16, 2009 5:46:39 PM

No, that's helpful becuase I might do some gaming. What sort of gaming performance could I expect out of the HD 3650 256 MB?
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a b D Laptop
July 16, 2009 6:19:42 PM

I wouldn't expect it to play Crysis all that well, but games like COD4 or Left4Dead should play ok.
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a b D Laptop
July 16, 2009 6:28:07 PM

For engineering (and really any scientific work that means something...) there is no alternative to a PC. I wouldn't even consider a mac.

Lenovos are solid machines, and I see them in labs often.
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