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Looking for help w/ a new laptop for design work

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  • Laptops
  • Product
Last response: in Laptop Tech Support
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August 25, 2010 3:45:02 PM

Hello folks,

Any recommendations are very much appreciated.


1 - What is your budget?
About $2500, including extended warranty

2 - What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15 to 17"

3 - What screen resolution do you want?
At least WSXGA+, prefer Full HD

4 - Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement, looking for an I7 840 QM based system.

If it can accomodate more than 8 gb of RAM, that'd be a plus but not necessary.

5 - How much battery life do you need?
2 hours or more would be ideal.

I know the I7 series is a power hog, but even though I can usually be plugged in, I can't imagine being happy with not being able to spend at least two hours untethered.

6 - Do you want to play games with your laptop?
Yes, but I'm not hard core by any means. I guess I'd just like a smooth framerate w/ at least medium detail to play the occasional game that doesn't make it to the PS3

7 - What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Photo & video editing, graphic design w/drawing tablet, web development, light 3d rendering, movies, media server.

8 - How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
500 gb or more

9 - If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Dell
HP
Sony
Xotic PC
PC Torque
Other Sager, MSI, ASUS builder/resellers

I've heard good things about Toshiba but haven't been able to find one that meets the specs I'm looking for.

10 - How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3 years +

11 - What kind of Optical drive do you need?
At least DVD writer, BluRay ROM would be nice

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.
Have a Dell, it's been fine overall, so I'd consider another although I'm always hearing that their components are mediocre.

Will not consider a Mac because most of my clients use a PC environment and much of my software is PC only, or at least the PC version is better.

13 - What country do you live in?
US

14 - Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Might be moving abroad next year, so the availability of an international warranty and support would be a big plus. Otherwise, I'm putting a premium on build and component quality, but there is so much conjecture out there concerning this issue, it's hard to know who to believe. At the very least, I want a company that backs their product with little BS.

More about : laptop design work

a b D Laptop
August 25, 2010 7:25:12 PM

ironyisoverrated said:
Hello folks,

Any recommendations are very much appreciated.


1 - What is your budget?
About $2500, including extended warranty

2 - What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15 to 17"

3 - What screen resolution do you want?
At least WSXGA+, prefer Full HD

4 - Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement, looking for an I7 840 QM based system.

If it can accomodate more than 8 gb of RAM, that'd be a plus but not necessary.

5 - How much battery life do you need?
2 hours or more would be ideal.

I know the I7 series is a power hog, but even though I can usually be plugged in, I can't imagine being happy with not being able to spend at least two hours untethered.

6 - Do you want to play games with your laptop?
Yes, but I'm not hard core by any means. I guess I'd just like a smooth framerate w/ at least medium detail to play the occasional game that doesn't make it to the PS3

7 - What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)
Photo & video editing, graphic design w/drawing tablet, web development, light 3d rendering, movies, media server.

8 - How much storage (H.D.D Capacity) do you need?
500 gb or more

9 - If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Dell
HP
Sony
Xotic PC
PC Torque
Other Sager, MSI, ASUS builder/resellers

I've heard good things about Toshiba but haven't been able to find one that meets the specs I'm looking for.

10 - How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3 years +

11 - What kind of Optical drive do you need?
At least DVD writer, BluRay ROM would be nice

12 - Please tell us about the brands that you prefehttp://www.tomshardware.com/forum/message.php?config=to... to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
Have a Dell, it's been fine overall, so I'd consider another although I'm always hearing that their components are mediocre.

Will not consider a Mac because most of my clients use a PC environment and much of my software is PC only, or at least the PC version is better.

13 - What country do you live in?
US

14 - Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Might be moving abroad next year, so the availability of an international warranty and support would be a big plus. Otherwise, I'm putting a premium on build and component quality, but there is so much conjecture out there concerning this issue, it's hard to know who to believe. At the very least, I want a company that backs their product with little BS.


Hi there,

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

What do you think?

Cheers,
Isabella
MSFT Windows Outreach Team
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August 27, 2010 5:24:56 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. Besides these, I've also looked at Falcon, cyberpower and ibuypower over the last couple days. In the case of Falcon, all of their options are either well under the specs I'm looking for, or way over. The other two have some solid offerings, but I'm not sure what to do about their warranties. They only seem to offer one year.

As for the recommendations, the Toshiba is frustrating because on one hand, it's compact, has good battery life, and seems like an overall nice value but on the other hand it only has 4 gb (though I'm assuming it can probably upgrade to 8 or more) doesn't offer a full HD screen or the I7 840 as an option. I've been thinking that the 740 might do, but I definitely want a good screen for work. I don't get why Toshiba offers customized builds but then leaves huge gaps in the options on offer. I also tried to customize an A660 (with 8 gb & I7 740), but still no full HD screen available.

Likewise, the Dell Latitude doesn't offer more than 4 gb of RAM because it only offers builds with Windows 7 32 bit, which I find bizarre. I'm assuming this has something to do with enterprise security? If not for this, it could be up for serious contention.

On the other hand, the Lenovo is intriguing, though pretty expensive once I plug in the options I want. Still, I think you may have uncovered a real contender, sidewinder. I had forgotten about Lenovo before. Thanks!
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a b D Laptop
August 27, 2010 5:53:57 PM

ironyisoverrated said:
Thanks for the suggestions. Besides these, I've also looked at Falcon, cyberpower and ibuypower over the last couple days. In the case of Falcon, all of their options are either well under the specs I'm looking for, or way over. The other two have some solid offerings, but I'm not sure what to do about their warranties. They only seem to offer one year.

As for the recommendations, the Toshiba is frustrating because on one hand, it's compact, has good battery life, and seems like an overall nice value but on the other hand it only has 4 gb (though I'm assuming it can probably upgrade to 8 or more) doesn't offer a full HD screen or the I7 840 as an option. I've been thinking that the 740 might do, but I definitely want a good screen for work. I don't get why Toshiba offers customized builds but then leaves huge gaps in the options on offer. I also tried to customize an A660 (with 8 gb & I7 740), but still no full HD screen available.

Likewise, the Dell Latitude doesn't offer more than 4 gb of RAM because it only offers builds with Windows 7 32 bit, which I find bizarre. I'm assuming this has something to do with enterprise security? If not for this, it could be up for serious contention.

On the other hand, the Lenovo is intriguing, though pretty expensive once I plug in the options I want. Still, I think you may have uncovered a real contender, sidewinder. I had forgotten about Lenovo before. Thanks!


Np, but... huh... i could've swore that Precision was 64 bit... *goes to check* Yeah there's definitely a 64 bit option on the "Pick one to customize" page... the Middle one is 64 bits... odd.

EDIT: just played around with configuring that 64 bit one for a sec: core i7 820QM, Quadro FX 1800M, 8 GB ram, 1920 x 1080 screen, with everything else unchanged comes out to 1% over $2500.
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August 28, 2010 7:30:25 AM

sidewinderx2 said:
Np, but... huh... i could've swore that Precision was 64 bit... *goes to check* Yeah there's definitely a 64 bit option on the "Pick one to customize" page... the Middle one is 64 bits... odd.

EDIT: just played around with configuring that 64 bit one for a sec: core i7 820QM, Quadro FX 1800M, 8 GB ram, 1920 x 1080 screen, with everything else unchanged comes out to 1% over $2500.


-facepalm- Gah, I totally missed the 64 bit option. I just made a beeline for the build on the right since it was the most expensive. I just assumed it had the most advanced options.

You're totally right, the Dell Precision series has pretty much all my bases covered. I've priced out the M6500 64 bit series (17 inch) too, and it might work even better, though it's a heavy bugger. I wonder if the battery life is any better than the ASUS and Sager/Clevo builds I've looked up (1 to 2 hours). Dell also has a business version of the Studio 17 that offers an I7 840 that could work (though its graphics card is middling), given the budget I had in mind. I guess the main question becomes whether the better graphics card, build quality and upgrade-ability of the Precision series is worth additional $1200. Is there any consensus on whether the Precision justifies its premium price build-wise?
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