Need help choosing a laptop.

Hey guys,

I've gotten into a situation where I'm going to be looking to buy a new laptop soon. I bought a Dell XPS 16 last August with a quad core i7 and a 128 gig ssd. I'm a graduate student and got $1500 of grant money to buy a new laptop. I deal with very large data files like Excel files that are nearly 1 gb and will be dealing with files well over 1 gb for other software packages in the next couple years. I would really like to be able to take advantage of USB 3.0 when transferring such large files so I'm thinking about going ahead with the upgrade mainly for that reason and because it's paid for. I also have a family member that wants my current laptop. I'm thinking about just having them pay the difference of 1500 and whatever the new laptop costs and just letting them have mine. With that said, I'd like to be in the 2000-2100 range when I'm done.

I want to buy the laptop with a hard drive in it and purchase my own ssd and install when it is brand new. That is my first question. Can laptops use full blown desktop ssd's such as the Vertex 3 at the full Sata 3 connection? If so, the Vertex 3 is what I'm going to buy. So with 300 for that I can spend basically max of 1800 on the laptop itself. I just don't know much about what brands are good and what aren't. I thought the MSI GT683R would be a good buy because it has the Sandy Bridge quad core, 12 gb of memory, and has a number pad on the keyboard which is a requirement for me (my XPS doesn't have that and I hate that). It's available for 1600, but then I read that MSI was by far the worst laptop brand by a article.

So I come to you guys and hope that you guys can point me to some good models on some basic specifications.

- Quad Core Sandy Bridge processor. Either the 2630QM or more preferrably the 2720QM.
- At least 8 gb of ram. 12gb may be even better.
- 1920 x 1080 screen
- 9 cell battery (or higher if there is such a thing)
- USB 3.0
- Must have 10 key number pad on the keyboard

I'm not going to game on it so I don't need a fancy GPU, but I fear that I'm going to have to buy a gaming series to get everything I want.

If you guys could toss out some models or point me somewhere to look I'd really appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
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  1. Hello and welcome to the forums.

    There are a few options out there for you. I wouldn't discount MSI just based on one review article, do some more research, I'm sure they won't be in business if all their laptops were ***.

    Another few brands to consider are Asus, Sager, Toshiba and Dell (i think they offer full keyboard with numpad now).

    Have a look on the websites for Toshiba and Dell first, but
    Since you want to buy your own SSD, I think you should go with a custom boutique vendor, since you can call them up and tell them that you don't want an HDD in your laptop.

    That said, according to originpc website, their 15" model does offer the possibility of vertex3. I don't know if the price is around the same for what you'd get when buying it yourself (I haven't been looking at SSDs myself yet) or whether it's the same size as the desktop model vertex 3 (I imagine it is though).

    so depending on where you live: - CA - NE - FL

    I recently purchased a Sager laptop, it's a gaming laptop, but I can tell you for a fact it has got a USB 3.0 on it.

    Alright, so have a look around, there's plenty of expensive toys out there, if you got any more questions don't hesitate to task.
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