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Which laptop to buy?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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April 17, 2011 12:43:35 AM

I need a laptop for cad/cam software. Programming for my CNC, software layout for photo rendering and for digital templating and measurement using a faro arm type device.

My current setup is a macbook pro running the following hardware-

Intel Core Duo
Processor Speed: 1.83 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 2 MB
Memory: 2 GB
Bus Speed: 667 MHz

Chipset Model: ATY,RadeonX1600
Type: Display
Bus: PCIe
PCIe Lane Width: x16
VRAM (Total): 128 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)

It runs all the software just fine, but I am tired of dual booting into xp and would like to use this macbook as a backup instead of the main computer. Most of this software was made during the era of single core processors, the digital measuring device has a serial cable, so the software for it is rather simple. My cad cam software doesn't run too well on my old desktop, which is a p4 2.4 ghz with 1.5g of ram. It has whatever onboard video a 500 dollar dell would have come with in 2003.

I am looking into one of the following laptops

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LQ1YNG/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LQ1ZOE/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LS9J5Y/ref=ox_sc_a...

I am open to other suggestions, but will probably buy an asus due to the warranty that includes accidental damage. I will be buying from amazon because I have a gift certificate and store credit there.

Is there a significant difference between the p6200 v i3 v i5?
This will also be a mobile computer for taking onsite digital measurements, so battery life would be nice, but isn't necessary, because all site have some sort of power. I just don't like dragging extension cords.

Thanks for your help.

More about : laptop buy

a b D Laptop
April 17, 2011 8:14:25 PM

This topic has been moved from the section Mobile Computing to section Laptops & Notebooks by Buwish
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April 17, 2011 8:54:12 PM

If money isn't an issue I would go with a newer sandy bridge core i3/core i5.

The two core i3/i5's are good processors, though. Both mobile processors are 32nm and 2 cores and 4 threads and based on nehalem, while the core2duo is based on an older architecture.

Sandy bridge core i3's would consume less power and outperform those processors while still providing better graphics. The downside is, of course, they're more expensive.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ASUS-K53E-A1-15-6-Core-i3-2310M-6GB... is based on sandy bridge architecture and a better overall laptop. Core i3 2310m is the lowest end core i3 for a laptop, but because of the cougar point recall it'll be hard trying to find them for a decent price, or finding them at all :p 

If you can't wait or can't find one for a decent price then either the core i3 or the i5 listed above would suit just fine. But if you find a good core i3-2310m for a similar price then don't hesitate to pull the trigger.
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April 17, 2011 10:09:42 PM

Is this a sandy bridge i5?
http://www.amazon.com/K53E-B1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Enter...

When you say there was a recall, I really want something that is reliable. This will be used for business so if it breaks down, I can't wait 2 weeks for a warranty replacement. I will have to buy a new one right then, which is why I was hoping to find one around 500-600. So if I have to buy a second one, no biggie.

Based on me running an intel core 2 duo, would either the 1st i3 or i5 be a significant improvement? And is the distance between the 2nd gen i3 and i5 that much different?
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April 17, 2011 11:52:09 PM

The recall had to do with the chipset on the motherboards socket 1155. The new motherboards are revision B3. The recall was due to a SATA 3gbps malfunctioning. You can call asus to check if the product you have is a B3 revision or not. As far as i know, asus handled their recalls very very well so there's a very slim chance you'll get a faulty chipset. The OEMs shipped the products back to the manufacturers and Intel reimbursed them for their troubles. They then shipped out the new products. One of the reasons why the sandy bridge laptops are so few in number has to do with the products just hitting the market again after being replaced, and the price has to do with people buying them up rather quickly :p 

Yes that is a sandy bridge i5. The sandy bridge processors have 4 digits, i3-2310, i5-2410, etc. And yes, there is about a 25% increase in processor speed and a decrease in battery usage as well as a boost in graphical performance from the first gen of core i3/i5. Basically, if you can find the sandy bridge and afford it then go for it. The chipset isn't something you'd be worried about.

Both of those are great, but will you need the turbo boost on the laptop? These will be much faster than your old laptop, so whether or not you need the computing power, and consequently the extra $100, will depend on how much you value the extra bump in clock speed. If you opt not to spend >$700 then go for the sandy bridge core i3-2310m as it's a rather significant improvement over the last gen of core i3/i5's.
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April 18, 2011 12:19:02 AM

get an i7 for programs like that. you will not regret it. also those programs normally like a lot of ram.
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April 18, 2011 12:24:13 AM

cbrunnem said:
get an i7 for programs like that. you will not regret it. also those programs normally like a lot of ram.


True... the problem, though, is the price :p 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Bridge
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April 18, 2011 2:55:28 AM

I am trying to stay in the 500 to 600 range, but you guys might have talked me into the new sandy bridge. Not the i7, because I really don't think I will benefit from it. The programs run great on my core 2 duo listed above. I might add rhino cad for 3d dxf drawing, but that is months away and won't need to be on a portable computer. I can do the 3d stuff in the shop for architectural drawings and detailed .dxfs to be machined.
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April 18, 2011 3:03:48 AM

I am searching through amazon now, looking for an asus. I need to order it asap so I can hook it up to the faro arm that I am getting on wed.
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April 18, 2011 3:48:53 AM

So I am between this
http://www.amazon.com/A52F-XE4-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ente...

This
http://www.amazon.com/K50IJ-XA1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ent...

and this
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LUU8WU/ref=ox_sc_a...



The pentium (Intel Pentium Dual Core P6200) vs the core 2 duo I am running now?
I need to stress that the software I am running now runs fine on the core 2 duo I have listed above. So it is not super software or anything. I don't want to take a step backwards, but I also don't want to have an overpowered computer for the task at hand (for software that is not going to be updated)
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April 18, 2011 3:56:39 AM

I had that i5 in my cart at amazon, then they sold out. So now, I will just get the nicest i5 I can find which I listed above (with the new sandy bridge)

Or one of the more basic ones also listed above.

I know you guys (and me, on most things) like to overbuy on awesome stuff you have alot of interest in. But this software is rather archaic and will not be updated. And as much as I want an awesome lambo of computer, I would rather save the money and buy an awesome lambo of a desktop computer for the 3d modeling in rhino cad.


Here is the required and recommended hardware for the software.

Required configuration

Processor: INTEL PENTIUM IV

Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7

RAM: 512 MB

Graphic card: nVidia geforce serie 8 GTS

Free hard disk space: 40Gb - 7200 rpm

Mouse: required

Monitor: Monitor 17" with 1280x1024 resolution

Hardware: CD-ROM Reader


Recommended configuration

Processor: INTEL Core duo 2

Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7

RAM: 4 GB

Graphic card: nVidia geforce serie 8 GTS

Free hard disk space: 40Gb - 7200 rpm

Mouse: required

Monitor: Monitor 17" with 1280x1024 resolution

Hardware: DVD-ROM Reader
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April 18, 2011 5:28:40 AM

coolhandchris said:
So I am between this
http://www.amazon.com/A52F-XE4-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ente...

This
http://www.amazon.com/K50IJ-XA1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ent...

and this
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004LUU8WU/ref=ox_sc_a...



The pentium (Intel Pentium Dual Core P6200) vs the core 2 duo I am running now?
I need to stress that the software I am running now runs fine on the core 2 duo I have listed above. So it is not super software or anything. I don't want to take a step backwards, but I also don't want to have an overpowered computer for the task at hand (for software that is not going to be updated)


do yourself a favor and do not invest in old technology. i didnt even know they still sold pentium 4 cpu's. that means an i series processor minimum. you will see a increase in performance with a quad core i will tell you that much right now especially with larger files and drawings. another thing with autocad a good gpu is inportant and normally good gpus get put with quad cores.

but i would atleast try to get a second gen i series and a faster hard drive ie 7200 rpm
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April 18, 2011 5:51:35 AM

I want to buy the laptop version 1501 inspiron i like this version.He looks very good and give a good speed when u working on it.
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April 18, 2011 6:54:53 AM

Buy a MBP. It just works.
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April 18, 2011 1:05:30 PM

If you're not putting a lot of stress on CPU horsepower than any of those will suffice and would be an upgrade, but the sandy bridge i3/i5's would be more significant. The i5 is great, but personally don't think it's worth the money. An i3-2310m would be more than enough for what you're looking for and would still fetch around the same price tag as the older core2duo's and first gen i3/i5's.

Bear in mind that quad core CPUs mean more TDP, which on a laptop that's not being used as a main workstation simply isn't worth it. Laptop is about mobility and good battery life should be one of the main benefits.

Imo, that core i3-2310m is the best price:p erformance you can get. The http://www.amazon.com/K50IJ-XA1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ent... wouldn't be much of an upgrade at all and definitely not worth buying. http://www.amazon.com/K50IJ-XA1-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ent... would be in the same boat. If you're going to buy a new laptop it should at least be noticeably better than your previous/current one, otherwise what's the point of investing in it in the first place? Doesn't have to be uber expensive or a supercomputer, but you're looking for something that you can use for years down the road and not one that's already outdated.

Will it be an upgrade as well? or just a replacement so you don't have to quit dual-booting into windows? Would I benefit from a significant increase in performance? or is what i have more than enough? Do i need something beefier for the future that can step up to the plate? or will i just buy another when the situation calls for it?

The way you answer those questions should determine whether or not you want to splurge on a new gen sandy bridge or simply go with a replacement to the mac.

If it's just a replacement then buy something with similar specs and go for the cheapest, but if you'd like a significant performance increase then for ~600 you should get an i3-2310m. If it's not the time to upgrade and you'd like to wait it out a bit then that's not a bad idea either :p  dual-booting for another month or two until more while sandy bridge platforms hit the market would also be another option, and you'd certainly see more availability and the prices drop.
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April 21, 2011 3:17:33 AM

I've been looking at laptop myself. I'm leaning towards one of the new HP ProBook models (the 4430s 14" for me). These are a line of their business models which I prefer since they are available with matte ("anti-glare" not glossy or "BrightView") displays. They have the new i3 2310m in them. Looks like the 4gb models come configured with a single DIMM which is great if you ever want to upgrade to 8gb. They also come with 72k rpm HDs instead of the 54k's in the consumer models. Now I just have to wait for a deal and talk myself into parting with my $$$...
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April 21, 2011 11:04:27 PM

I advice to you can buy a Dell Latitude E6410 laptop. This is good and best laptop. The Latitude E6410 is the latest in a continued long life of business notebooks from Dell. This is a superb screen, awkward that begin on costlier models on rivals with its brittle argument definition, top best brightness level and good colour spread.
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April 25, 2011 11:05:17 PM

Any tips on installing xp on the k53eb1?

I am trying to find drivers for xp, without much luck
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 26, 2011 12:22:45 AM

If you had gone with the K52 you would have found XP drivers.

It doesn't seem Asus (& many other MFGRs) are not writing XP driver software for the new crop of H67 motherboards and associated hardware.
If Asus isn't writing the XP drivers it's going to be a long shot finding anything that works.
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April 26, 2011 12:51:55 AM

I didn't even think about it, I just assumed that I would be able to install xp on it.

$#$%#$% I just opened the box earlier today and some of my software didn't work, but I think it was the 32 vs 64 bit foul up. I don't think I can return it now.

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a c 571 D Laptop
April 26, 2011 12:55:06 AM

You might be able to an 'Anytime Upgrade' to Win 7 Pro and run a Win XP virtual machine and load your software that way.

You'd want to try and check to make sure others have been successful doing that.
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April 26, 2011 1:12:23 AM

Doesn't the virtual machine run the programs reallllly slowly?

One of the programs I run is pretty demanding. My mac core duo 1.83 runs it well, if ac power is plugged in.(bootcamp, xp)

I bought this machine as an upgrade to my MBP(for strictly business programs, no screwing around, my old one is good at that) guess I should have just got a new MBP, since it is easier to run xp on it.
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April 26, 2011 1:31:54 AM

Well, amazon said I could return it. Sweet. I was prepared to eat the stupid thing, but amazon will let me return it.

So here are the new criteria:

XP drivers available, from amazon, preferable asus, I guess the best model available that allows me to install xp on it.
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 26, 2011 1:40:02 AM

An Asus K52F with Core i5-480M won't be far off the performance mark of the K53E and i5-2410M Sandy Bridge.
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 26, 2011 1:57:26 AM

ASUS K52F-E1 $711
Core i5-480M 2.66GHz (Turbo up to 2.9 GHz) 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD
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a c 571 D Laptop
April 26, 2011 1:58:40 AM

Did Amazon say anything about a 15% restocking fee?
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April 26, 2011 5:07:37 AM

coolhandchris said:
They told me I could just send it back, no fee.


Is there any that have upgradeable video?


This one appears to have the similar specs, but is like 60 bucks cheaper, with 2 gb more ram.

http://www.amazon.com/A52F-XA5-15-6-Inch-Versatile-Ente...


that laptop has no dedicated gpu. so that is why it is cheaper. i would advise not getting one with integrated graphics(intel hd graphics) as they are not as good and when you have a ton of lines from your drawings it will slow down the display
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April 26, 2011 1:37:42 PM

the k52f one doesn't have integrated graphics?
I couldnt find them listed.

actually, I found them listed at buy.com
Tech Features Graphics Controller Manufacturer Intel
Tech Features Graphics Controller Model Graphics Medeia Accelerator HD
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April 26, 2011 3:01:23 PM

So if I scrap asus from the list, does it open up the options a little more.


Subquestion- Is it better to order an slower processor with a good graphics card? I will probably just trash the Win 7 os and run xp on it.
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April 26, 2011 3:15:02 PM

coolhandchris said:
So if I scrap asus from the list, does it open up the options a little more.


Subquestion- Is it better to order an slower processor with a good graphics card? I will probably just trash the Win 7 os and run xp on it.


no, programs like what you want to run love in order of importance, cpu cores, cpu clock speed, faster hard drive, and ram.

the laptop that you linked has an integrated intel hd graphics card built into the cpu. it is not as fast as most dedicated cards such as an amd(formerly ati) or a nvidia.

here this is what you need for your price range. it should get 5 hours plus on battery. let me know if its a little to much money
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April 26, 2011 3:18:10 PM

Thanks for the run down.

I am about to order a new mbp and just be done with it, but I don't want to spend 2k on a laptop that will just be used for business/mundane tasks. But it sure is easy to run xp on macs. The irony.
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April 26, 2011 3:18:48 PM

Oh, you didn't post a link to your recommendation.
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April 26, 2011 7:49:43 PM

coolhandchris said:
Oh, you didn't post a link to your recommendation.


http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
my bad i thought i had.

if you dont have a budget anymore id recommend something along the lines of these laptops
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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

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

they all have workstation graphics cards which are much better for cad programs

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April 26, 2011 11:51:40 PM

I looked on the acer website and they don't support xp for the model number of your first suggestion.
Does this mean I have to dig for all the drivers or that they dont exist.
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April 26, 2011 11:56:32 PM

I found them for the 2000 dollar hp, but for 2k, I am buying a new MBP.

I really just need a basic laptop that will run xp. My MBP runs the software just fine, so anything better than a core 2 duo with RadeonX1600 and 2gb of ram or better will run it just fine.
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April 27, 2011 12:36:29 AM

can i ask why xp? all three laptops i have had in the last few years have supported xp but you might want to look at this xp will stop being supported in 2014. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/windows-xp-desktop-gad...

so you might take that into consideration. the HP EliteBook 8740w would be better than any mac book pro you could buy as it has a workstation gpu that excels in cad programs unlike gaming gpu's. they are made for cad programs. also that gpu has better gaming performance too.
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April 27, 2011 1:56:05 AM

My main software is expensive and it is made for XP. To update it is really expensive and I don't need or want to update it( I have a very new version of it, just prior to 7 release). Some people have been able to install it on Vista, no one(except me, we loaded it on a backup computer and were able to get it to work, but it is a major pain. It was 32 bit win 7 ultimate) has been able to do it on Win 7.

It doesn't work on 64bit win 7. The company will have a release for that later this year, but I don't want to spend money to upgrade it to an operating system I have no interest in using. These computers are just for work, I really don't care what the newest OS has, because I am not going to use them.

The other software for controlling my faro arm device is only for xp. Maybe they will update it, maybe they won't. If I get a couple years out of the device, I will be happy with the purchase since I bought it for pennies on the dollar.



Cliffs: Software compatibility issues
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May 6, 2011 12:29:47 AM

I got the 1st i3 and it runs everything smoothly. Had to change the hard drive mode for xp to work, but it works.
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May 6, 2011 12:30:40 AM

Best answer selected by coolhandchris.
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a c 244 D Laptop
May 7, 2011 8:15:12 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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