Good afternoon. First, I'm a cryptographer. Second, I'm in the market for a notebook that meets a fairly basic set of requirements. Primarily, this machine will be used for preparing research papers via a typesetting engine (i.e., LaTeX), which isn't CPU-intensive by any means. Consequently, because of this use, other subordinate uses come into play, such as sharing this research at conferences, in briefings, and so on and so forth; as such, having an ample supply of the right ports is important (i.e., HDMI, VGA, et cetera). Obviously, a lot of web-based research will take place, so being able to multi-task is important, which is why I would prefer no less than 2GB of RAM, which isn't asking more than what's already standard these days. A Windows 7 environment is important, as I'll be testing quite a bit of security hardware and software implementations, so the notebook should be able to handle such an environment conservatively and with ease. Core 2 Duo or i3 would be more than enough, with a little extra horsepower if I need it.
I have various Macs and Linux-based machines for various other purposes, so I'm looking for a Windows-based PC this time around. As for brands, I'm open and not exclusive to any in particular, but I have been considering a ThinkPad -- however, I'm uncertain as to how their reliability has transitioned in parallel to the transition from IBM to Lenovo. Understanding that comparison metrics should be taken with a grain of salt, I've read that Asus, Lenovo, and Apple are the poster children for reliability; is this something that would hold true across the board, for the most part? If yes or no, I'm all ears for your thoughts as to why or why not, along with any suggestions you might have. Oh, and price-wise, I've been able to configure machines to my liking that average around $699, but I might be willing to go up another $100. Finally, to throw in the rest of my requirements, battery life is important, gaming is not, screen real estate should be in the 15" range (not much more, and certainly not less), and the keyboard should be a pleasure to type on.
A huge thanks, in advance, and I look forward to your advice. Cheers!
Well you certainly know what you want to do with your new laptop. It seems like all the wants and details are getting thrown it at once all together. To stay focused, figure out which apps you'll be using the most and what kind of CPU power they need. If they're very CPU intensive that'll use all available cores, then consider something like a Core™ i7-720QM Processor. It sounds like you're the type who constantly multitaks and doesn't want to be waiting around for an application to finish so definitely consider a top-end CPU and raise the budget.
I should have specified the types of applications I'll be using. To be honest, I seriously doubt any of them would even utilize two cores, let alone four. However, I would like to be a little conservative, just in case; with that in mind, Core 2 Duo would suffice -- perhaps even i3, if the difference in price can be justified.
At the moment, I'm looking at Asus and Lenovo (ThinkPads, in particular). I've had experience with almost every brand out there (Toshiba, Acer, HP, Compaq, Apple, Asus, et cetera), with no issues to report with any of them, so I'm open to suggestions. If it helps, a writer's keyboard and sturdy chassis goes a long way with me.
Oh, believe me, I've exhausted newegg.com's every nook and cranny; it helps, along with YouTube videos on different models (e.g., unboxing videos and professional reviews). Thanks, though!
I do multi-task, but I must say, I'm not running any CPU-intensive applications -- no audio or video editing whatsoever, or even DVD-watching. A decent display is important, as I type a lot (e.g., research papers), which also implies a good, tactile keyboard. An overall sturdy build is nice, although I'm not talking ToughBook sturdy.
I'm a security guy, so a built-in fingerprint reader is nice -- more out of convenience really, as this isn't the most robust form of biometric authentication, to say the least. However, hit or miss, some notebooks out there have face recognition software, which is nice x 2. Not a must, however, and I can always buy a third party authentication device.
I'm going to be testing a lot of security software, which pushes me towards Windows (7, in particular), and while a Mac, which I've owned and loved, can certainly run Windows, I can't justify paying the cosmetic premium for a machine that's going to run Windows more than OS X.
So, as I narrow things down, I arrive at Lenovo's ThinkPad line, which I used and loved during the IBM days, and whose reputation for not only a sturdy build, but dream-of-a-keyboard, has sorta won me over. There's even the new ThinkPad Edge, which might be worth considering -- however, I'm wanting more than 13" of screen real estate, and they have released the 14" and 15" models yet. And then there's the T Series, which might be my best bet, for the most immersed ThinkPad experience.
Any ThinkPad owners (preferably Lenovo-era T Series and/or Edge) who can lend their thoughts?