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Laptop time!

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 1, 2010 10:04:50 PM

1_What is your budget?
Up to $1,800
2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I don't really care about this, I would prefer something under 17", but I'm not too picky about size.
3_What screen resolution do you want?
I'm not too picky about this either.
4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Ideally a laptop that satisfies both.
5_How much battery life do you need?
The more the better! 5+hrs would be amazing.
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)?
I won't be using the laptop for gaming.
7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
It needs to be able to run all of the Adobe programs ( PS, Premiere, AE, etc.) smoothly and of course internet browsing, word processing. Also 3D and CAD programs. Sometimes watching movies.
8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
At least 500GB
9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
http://www.newegg.com/
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/
10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Hopefully for all 4 years of college.

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

I've never purchased a laptop before so I have only a slight idea about which brands are good. I heard ASUS laptops are good, I've heard good things about macbooks before, but other than that I have no idea. I would rather buy a PC than a mac for financial reasons, but if a mac fits all of these requirements better than I guess I'll buy one.

13_What country do you live in?

USA

More about : laptop time

a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 3:06:43 AM

Well the absolute best laptop in that price range is an ASUS g73 - its loaded to the core... but it's a gaming laptop. Top of the line everything, including build quality and features. However, it also has a top of hte line video card which means battery life will be arounnd 2hrs.
There is a best buy model (doesnt have 1080p screen or bluetooth) for $1200.
The loaded ASUS model is around $1500
It's also not very lightweight. I'd still say buy one of these... it will still be solid 4 years from now.
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August 2, 2010 4:45:27 PM

Thanks for the suggestion. I found this one on newegg:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It seems to be extremely powerful. It doesn't say how long the battery life is though. It's probably only 2 hours or so like you said, considering all the things inside of it.
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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 5:47:46 PM

tesp said:
1_What is your budget?
Up to $1,800
2_What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
I don't really care about this, I would prefer something under 17", but I'm not too picky about size.
3_What screen resolution do you want?
I'm not too picky about this either.
4_Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Ideally a laptop that satisfies both.
5_How much battery life do you need?
The more the better! 5+hrs would be amazing.
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)?
I won't be using the laptop for gaming.
7_What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
It needs to be able to run all of the Adobe programs ( PS, Premiere, AE, etc.) smoothly and of course internet browsing, word processing. Also 3D and CAD programs. Sometimes watching movies.
8_How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
At least 500GB
9_If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
http://www.newegg.com/
http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/
10_How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Hopefully for all 4 years of college.

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

I've never purchased a laptop before so I have only a slight idea about which brands are good. I heard ASUS laptops are good, I've heard good things about macbooks before, but other than that I have no idea. I would rather buy a PC than a mac for financial reasons, but if a mac fits all of these requirements better than I guess I'll buy one.

13_What country do you live in?

USA


Hi there,

You should check out the Asus UL50Vs-A1B. It has switchable Intel GMA 4500MHD and NVIDIA GeForce G210M graphics. It is a great size (15.6" screen) but unfortunately only has 160 GB SSD. You may want to consider getting an external hard drive in order to satisfy all your specs.

What do you think?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
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August 2, 2010 9:41:38 PM

Thanks for the suggestion, Isabella. I looked at the laptop on newegg. I'm not sure if it's what I'm looking for. It's only got a core 2 duo, isn't that a bit outdated compared to the "i" series? I'm not sure if it will be able to run Adobe Suite programs as good as I need. I would also prefer to not have to use an external hard drive. Portability is extremely important to me right now and I don't want to have to lug another thing around. I hate to be a pain in the butt, but I just want to make sure I get the best laptop for the money that suits my needs. I'm willing to raise the budget up to $2,200 if I need to. Thanks guys for the input.

What about this computer?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's a bit bigger/heavier than I'd hoped for but it seems to have a lot of power as well almost a 4 hr battery life?Is Toshiba a good laptop maker?
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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 10:03:46 PM

You're paying alot for the GPU end of it and YOU DON't Game. Down grade your graphics and with the savings buy an SSD. Verify the laptop will allow for two HDD, One for the SSD (performace) and one HDD for your work. The biggest bootleneck is the HDD performance. If you want that Laptop to fly, pay about a grand, then buy a 256 GIG SSD (about $600 - > $700). For your normal work it would out preform many of the higher priced Laptops. I was looking at the Tosibia P500, But it comes with a 18 in screen.

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cdetland.to?poid=48...
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August 2, 2010 10:11:30 PM

I was told by someone to get a computer with a higher grade of GPU to edit higher quality footage, is that true? The advice was from a best buy guy so I assumed he knew what he was talking about. I will be editing some short films up to 10 minutes max that will be in high quality video. I hadn't considered buying a computer with a smaller SSD and a larger HDD... to be honest, I didn't know they made such laptops haha :D  Thanks for the suggestions.
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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 10:34:58 PM

Don't buy a laptop with a PREINSTALLED SSD, they typically use a low end one. Buy your own. same-same if you want a blu-ray drive. I've replaced both my laptops DVD drives with Blu-ray Rom/DVD-RW drives for about $100. That was almost a year ago, they were jacking the price up by 200 then. That has come down as I noticed that toshibia only jacks the price up $125. AT the resolution of most laptop, you do not need the HIGH end GPU. Resolution for the 18" is 1680 x 945 and for a 15" less than that Just checked 15.6 In equals 1366 x 768. Compare that to my desktop which is 1920 x 1200 (HD is normally 1080).

As to Best Buy, They are going to try to sell you what makes THEM the best commision/profit. Most (not all) are just not that knowlegable. I had a "Minor" discussion with the manager about the knowledge level. A few are pretty knowlegable, But with knowledge comes pay, and best buy sells reps (for that matter) their technicians are not getting $30 - $40 per hour (They may charge That for their time, but the tech only gets about half that.)

Added HP quad core: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/vizio-logicbuy-deals-c...
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August 2, 2010 10:47:52 PM

If you seriously plan on doing some real CAD and/or photo/video editing work, than an improved graphics card would be a good investment. The integrated intel graphics can run photoshop and the other adobe programs, but i'm not so sure about CAD programs. You don't have to get a high end graphics card, but a good mid-range dedicated gpu would really be an improvement over integrated.

The SSD option RetiredChief proposed is a good idea too, you just have to make sure the laptop has 2 hard drive bays (unless you go with a very expensive large ssd).
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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 11:02:23 PM

tesp said:
Thanks for the suggestion, Isabella. I looked at the laptop on newegg. I'm not sure if it's what I'm looking for. It's only got a core 2 duo, isn't that a bit outdated compared to the "i" series? I'm not sure if it will be able to run Adobe Suite programs as good as I need. I would also prefer to not have to use an external hard drive. Portability is extremely important to me right now and I don't want to have to lug another thing around. I hate to be a pain in the butt, but I just want to make sure I get the best laptop for the money that suits my needs. I'm willing to raise the budget up to $2,200 if I need to. Thanks guys for the input.

What about this computer?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It's a bit bigger/heavier than I'd hoped for but it seems to have a lot of power as well almost a 4 hr battery life?Is Toshiba a good laptop maker?


Hi there,

You should try out the Toshiba Satellite A665-3DV. It has a 1.73 GHz Intel Core i7-740QM processor, NVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 350M, and 640 GB hard drive space.

What do you think?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
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August 2, 2010 11:17:28 PM

tesp, your posted Qosmio definitely looks like a solid choice to me.
its got a stronger gpu than Isabella's above Satellite with the same processor. I don't know the rest of Isabella's specs, but that Qosmio looks really good.
6 gb of ram with an ssd/hdd combo

It will have no problem running the Adobe Suite and your CAD programs
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a b D Laptop
August 2, 2010 11:23:08 PM

toolinthemist said:
tesp, your posted Qosmio definitely looks like a solid choice to me.
its got a stronger gpu than Isabella's above Satellite with the same processor. I don't know the rest of Isabella's specs, but that Qosmio looks really good.
6 gb of ram with an ssd/hdd combo

It will have no problem running the Adobe Suite and your CAD programs


toolinthemist,

The largest advantage of the Satellite over the Qosmio is that the Satellite is lighter and more portable. The Qosmio will be quite bulky, which is fine if he is planning to leave it at a desk for the majority of the time since he can take advantage of the better CPU.

Here is the link to more information about the Satellite: http://www.microsoft.com/Windows/pc-scout/laptop-detail....

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
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August 3, 2010 12:35:26 AM

I really like the Qosmio a lot now that I look at it more, the only con in my opinion is the size of it. But, I also like the Satellite, and the smaller size of it. The only difference between specs on the two is that the Satellite has 2GB less RAM and the graphics card is a NVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 350M instead of an NVIDIA® GeForce® GTS 360M, and the Qosmio's has both the SSD and the HDD. Does the 2gigs of RAM and the extra 10M on the graphics card (what does this even mean?) justify the extra $100+ for the Qosmio? Will 2gigs of RAM and +10M on the graphics make a big difference when running Adobe Suite, 3D, and CAD programs? I guess there has to be a trade off between performance and portability somewhere... Thanks so much guys for the help. With university less than 1 month away I'm glad to finally be working on finding the best laptop for me.

EDIT: When I was reading some reviews USB 3.0 was mentioned. Is it a big deal if a computer doesn't have a 3.0 port? The only thing I can find on the Satellite is that it is capable of playing 3D movies. Is there a laptop with the same specs, but without the 3D? I don't care about being able to watch movies in 3D and don't want to pay for a feature I'm rarely going to use.

EDIT 2: What do you guys think of this one?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
It's a bit smaller than the satellite and has the same amount of RAM as the Qosmio. The difference is the Qosmio has the Intel Core i7 740QM while the Vaio has the Intel Core i7 720QM. The Vaio also has the NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M compared to the Qosmio's NVIDIA GeForce GTS 360M. But I'm not sure what the difference means in terms of performance.

Here are the links for all 3 laptops:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cdetland.to?poid=48...

I was playing around with the customizable options of the Satellite A660-BT2G22 and was able to get the following specs:
# Intel® Core™ i7-740QM processor (1.73 GHz (2.93 GHz with Turbo Boost Technology), 6MB Cache
# Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64-bit
# 8GB DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM (4096MBx2)
# 500GB HDD (7200rpm, Serial-ATA)
# DVD SuperMulti (+/-R double layer) drive
# Glossy Black LED Backlit Tile keyboard
# High Capacity Lithium Ion Battery (12-cell, 98Wh)
# Broadcom Wireless LAN (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth® Version 2.1 +EDR
#1GB NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 330M graphics

All for $1,597.20 including warranties and shipping. Is this a good deal? The only thing I'm worried about is the graphics card. The Qosmio is 360m and this is only 330m, but again, I have no idea what this means in terms of performance. Sorry I've made this post so long.
Thanks again.
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August 3, 2010 2:29:34 PM

I was playing around with some more customization options on some laptops. Right now I have the option to pick an i7-740 qm or an i7-840qm. Will getting the 840 help considerably with running the programs I want? It's considerably more expensive. The difference is that the 840 has 2mb more of cache memory and a .3ghz faster turbo. Also, do I even need an i7 to run Adobe Suite and 3D/CAD programs smoothly?

Also what is the difference between a 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 Graphics [HDMI, VGA] - For Quad Core Processors and a 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 switchable graphics [HDMI, VGA]. They both cost the same. Are these graphics cards strong enough for what I need?

Yet another question; should I get 8gb of RAM or 6gb RAM? Is 8GB overkill for what I need?

Thanks.
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Best solution

a b D Laptop
August 3, 2010 9:45:11 PM

First, on the 3 choices youl listed (Not in your order.
1) The sony, only one HDD bay, no Expresscard slot
2) the i7-740 you listed is the same as I listed, but with higher end graphic (1 Gig dedicated memory GTS 360M vs 512 megs 310M) and they threw in a 64 Gig SSD.
3) 15.6 " - only one HDD bay

I wish I could answer your question On Video requirements, I know that when you start to Play 3d games at 1680 x 1080 and all the "Eye candy" at Max settings you need a high end video card w/1Gig dedicated VRAM. An 18" laptop is 15% lower resoloution. I do know that my 15.6" laptop plays Blu-ray video with no problems, and that is with a 128 dedicated Vram and an Pis*^^* poor video chip.

(a) Remember the biggest bottleneck when your looking at high end laptops is the storage device, and a GOOD SSD can make a big difference when loading programs and files. With a big enought SSD you could set aside a scratch directory (Partition) when working. The Intel 160 Gig G2 is $429 and Good 128 gig SSD about $300->$350. What Are the specs for toshibia 64 gig SSD??? compared to what YOU can buy and what is there markup?

(b) on Ram, good question - The answer is amount that can be used before the program has to start using virtual memory (Swap in/and/out of Page file). I have a feeling that 6 Gigs would be OK, but probably play it safe and go with 4. Here a lot depends on what they charge for the Extra ram vs What I would pay to upgrade. In both my laptops, I upgraded the ram.
(a) Tosibia jumps the price by $220 to go from 4 gigs -> 8 gigs, Which is about what you would pay for 2 x 4 Modules at BETTER specs, Tosibia's is 1066 @ unk CL ratings. DDR3-1333 @ CL 7 is $240 - Heres the Kicker, They get to keep the 2 x 2 Modules and Charge you full price to replace. Me, I'd do my own swapout and Keep the 4 Gigs as a spare!!

Added
Isabella, The Toshiba Satellite A665-3DV is a single bay laptop Big disadvantage if you want to run a SSD and a HDD.
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August 10, 2010 12:11:33 AM

Best answer selected by tesp.
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
August 10, 2010 5:21:33 PM

Hi...which one did you finally end up buying? i have the same questions as you and im going crazy deciding on one. your suggestion will help. i plan to work on most of the applications you mentioned. Thanks for your help
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