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The best laptop for architecture

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March 4, 2010 7:16:02 PM

I’m in a dilemma. I have found myself in need of a new laptop and I truly have second thoughts about everything that I like on the current market.

I’m currently using a ThinkPad T60p. I can’t deny the sturdiness and reliability the Lenovo still offers after almost 4 years of extensive, daily use. But lately, I’m noticing some lags when I use it. Also, it heats up pretty easily and it’s rather noisy all the time, from start to finish.

I might have to mention I’m an architecture student. So I usually have to run at least 3 architecture and design focused programs at once...not to mention an internet browser and maybe iTunes. So I’m looking for a laptop that can take all that and work rather decent – it’s too much to ask for perfect?!

In the past, I didn’t have this almost daily schedule, my laptop being used for much less…AutoCAD running once a blue moon. But now, since I have to prepare my school projects on my computer, the Lenovo has reached a point where it simply shuts down in the middle of my work and I have to give it a few minutes to cool down before I start it up again.

I’ve been looking at a MacBook Pro lately since I love its flawless design and I think that its configuration is pretty good. I would be using both OS X and Windows on it since a few of my dedicated programs don’t have a Mac version.

I have to say that most of my friends have Sony Vaios and have been trying to make me choose one, saying that the MacBook Pro is more of a passing fancy than a good laptop…Also, some of my colegues have Dells…although I haven’t seen any that are good enough.

1_What is your budget?

aprox. 2500$

2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

15.4"

3_What screen resolution do you want?

1440x900 or higher

4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

...both... :ange: 

5_How much battery life do you need?

The longer the battery lasts, the better.

6_Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

Um, no.

7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)

Architecture and design focused programs: like AutoCAD, 3d Max, Photoshop, to name a few.

8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?

At least 250 GB.

9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post the links to them.

-

10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?

2 or 3 years.


11_What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?


DVD ROM/Writer clearly.

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 experience is limited to Lenovo, since this is my current laptop - a ThinkPad T60p. But I don't really want to get another one since I've heard the quality isn't what it used to be.

I would prefer to buy a MacBook Pro.

13_What country do you live in?

What does it matter?! Somewhere in Europe.


14_Please tell us any additional information if needed.

-

With that said, I’d like to hear your thoughts and opinions, hoping that you have more experience and expertise than me.

Thank you.

More about : laptop architecture

a b D Laptop
March 4, 2010 8:53:09 PM

Hello Mow

I don't know if you can order Dells but, the Dell Pricision M4400 Mobile workstation is a decent laptop.

Dell Precisions M4400: ~2200 bucks.

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

4GB Ram

NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M, 512MB (Great for Autocad type stuff)

128GB Encrypted Mobility Solid State Drive (can be changed to other hard drive)

8X DVD

Im sure someone else can reccomend something better - but the precisions laptops are of decent build.

Take care.
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a c 244 D Laptop
March 5, 2010 9:56:06 AM

That would be good ^
Another good and cheaper 15" option would be Dell studio 15
March 5, 2010 6:02:59 PM

Thanks for the responses.

But as I said earlier, it's really not about money. If I spend a lot on a laptop, at least I want to invest them in a purchase that is worth its money, buying one of the best laptops on the current market for my requirements.

That's how it was with my Lenovo and I still love that laptop, although sadly it hasn't been performing at it's best in the last few months.

Is it true what I've heard from a few friends that are in editorial and graphic design...they all told me they usually have Macs as the work computer. Probably that's how i got stuck with the MacBook Pro fascination...

:) 
a b D Laptop
March 5, 2010 6:06:34 PM

As you might infer from my name, I own an engineering consulting business and we all use AutoCAD. Just bought our 6th of these:

W870CU $ 1,534 (base price) http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm?mainpage=productdetai...

17.3" 1920 x 1080 Full HD (16:9) LED Backlit GlassView LCD
Intel Core i7-820QM Processor, 1.73 GHz, 8MB Smart Cache [add $325.00]
IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU [add $40.00]
4GB Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285M w/1GB GDDR3
500/7200rpm GB SATA-300 (SATA II 3GB/s) with G-Force Protection [add $55.00]
Windows 7 Professional Edition 64-bit [add $130.00]
4x Max. Blu-Ray Reader/8x DVD±R/2.4X +DL Super-Multi Drive [add $115.00]
Li-ION Battery
Intel Ultimate-N 6300 Wi-Fi
Internal Bluetooth V2.1 + EDR Module
3 Year Premium Parts and Labor Warranty [add $249.00]

I wouldn't have gotten the 820 but laptop was provided as an $2,500 "allowance" under a capital project. The total came out to $2,503 ..... minus 5% ($2,377) which all members of NSPE get. PM me and I will tell you how you might be eligible :) .

As a little background, were looking for CAD laptops for our field crews and engineers abs found the Dell stuff anting and the boutique stuff all overpriced. When I noticed that all the laptops from these outfits looked the same, found out tat they were all made by an ODM named Clevo.

http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=91510

CLEVO is a large Taiwanese computer company specializing in laptops. While the Clevo brand name is perhaps not widely known, their products are re-branded and sold by known boutique brand OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers)… notably Sager, VoodooPC, Falcon Northwest, Eurocom, etc They are also considered (by whoever knows about notebooks) to design and manufacturer the best of the best notebooks in terms of superior build quality and innovative designs.

Most of these boutique shops have expanded their sources adding other ODMs, most notably Compal. Here's a bit outdated list of who makes what:

The vast majority of laptops on the market are manufactured by a small handful of Original Design Manufacturers (ODM).[3]

Major relationships include:

* Quanta sells to (among others) HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, Sony, Fujitsu, Acer, NEC, Gateway and Lenovo/IBM - note that Quanta is currently (as of August, 2007) the largest manufacturer of notebook computers in the world.
* Compal sells to Toshiba, HP/Compaq, Acer, and Dell.
* Wistron (former manufacturing & design division of Acer) sells to HP/Compaq, Dell, IBM, NEC, Acer, and Lenovo/IBM.
* Flextronics (former Arima Computer Corporation notebook division) sells to HP/Compaq, NEC, and Dell.
* ECS sells to IBM, Fujitsu, and Dell.
* Asus sells to Apple (iBook), Sony, and Samsung.
* Inventec sells to HP/Compaq, Toshiba, and BenQ.
* Uniwill sells to Lenovo/IBM and Fujitsu.


I figure why not cut out the middleman and buy direct from one of the ODM's distributors. I saved about $1200 on my 1st Clevo laptop purchase compared to other offerings with exact same components....just had that one repaired by the distributor 3 months after the warranty expired (no charge)
March 6, 2010 3:34:30 PM

If you are running Cad programs etc, shouldn't you aim for a laptop with a pro video card?
a b D Laptop
March 6, 2010 7:58:58 PM

Do you mean like a rendering card such as the Quadro or Fire series ? AutoCAD uses vector graphics and the Quadro's really aren't needed for that. Once you take it to rendering an animation, the Quadro is better suited.
March 6, 2010 9:33:43 PM

JackNaylorPE said:
Do you mean like a rendering card such as the Quadro or Fire series ? AutoCAD uses vector graphics and the Quadro's really aren't needed for that. Once you take it to rendering an animation, the Quadro is better suited.



Now I'm no expert when it comes to this, so correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't vector graphics (as opposed to raster graphics) one of the things workstation cards are designed for? Nvidia is at least advertizing improved performance for autocad, of course - that might just be marketing:

http://www.nvidia.com/page/partner_certified_drivers.ht...

In any case, since autocad is not the only application he's planning on using, he would still benefit from a workstation card.

Wikipedia also states that workstation cards are made for use with CAD applications, among other things:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATI_FireGL
March 7, 2010 4:23:30 PM

Hello!

Wow...thank you for all your responses. I just read them :) 

What you might need to know is that I'm a girl and although I'm a little technology savvy...Processors and video cards are a little out of my league. I usually take the specifications of the newest and best laptops and choose one by comparison.

But now thanks to you I understood a little bit about the graphic cards and their difference.

Thanks again!
March 7, 2010 6:43:09 PM

Mow said:
Hello!

Wow...thank you for all your responses. I just read them :) 

What you might need to know is that I'm a girl and although I'm a little technology savvy...Processors and video cards are a little out of my league. I usually take the specifications of the newest and best laptops and choose one by comparison.

But now thanks to you I understood a little bit about the graphic cards and their difference.

Thanks again!



You're welcome. :) 

You should really look at Nvidias Quadro or ATIs FireGL/FirePro cards. Those are especially made for use with 3dsmax, autocad and similar applications. They do come with a rather hefy price tag though.

Low/medium end workstation cards will however perform better in many of these tasks than high-end "normal" consumer cards.
You will also receive extended support from ATI/Nvidia.

It's all up to you, the consumer cards can do the same things, just much slower - but if you can find a good deal for a workstation card, then go for it!

HP have a few pro lappies with workstation graphics:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF04a/321957-32...

Good luck!

March 13, 2010 2:56:58 AM



W870CU $ 1,534 (base price) http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm?mainpage=productdetai...

Hey,
I'm looking for a new laptop for architectural purposes too to be able to work from home too. Pro star and SAGER seem to be best although Sager seems a little more expensive. they're both Clevo.
I wonder dough how's customer support and warranty service? other than that, have you had any problems yet with the machines? how's the graphic card working so far?
Thanks
March 13, 2010 4:35:16 AM

W870CU $ 1,534 (base price) http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm? [...] del=W870CU

Hey,
I'm looking for a new laptop for architectural purposes too to be able to work from home too. Pro star and SAGER seem to be best although Sager seems a little more expensive. they're both Clevo.
I wonder dough how's customer support and warranty service? other than that, have you had any problems yet with the machines? how's the graphic card working so far?
Thanks
March 27, 2010 12:06:21 AM

Chainzsaw said:
Hello Mow

I don't know if you can order Dells but, the Dell Pricision M4400 Mobile workstation is a decent laptop.

Dell Precisions M4400: ~2200 bucks.

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

4GB Ram

NVIDIA Quadro FX 770M, 512MB (Great for Autocad type stuff)

128GB Encrypted Mobility Solid State Drive (can be changed to other hard drive)

8X DVD

Im sure someone else can reccomend something better - but the precisions laptops are of decent build.

Take care.



Do they still have Precision for sale now?
a b D Laptop
March 29, 2010 9:36:20 PM

Yes definately. The dell precision line is one of Dells more - main products so they probably won't be going away for a while. Apparently Dell has recently upgraded their precision line so you may want to check them out!
!