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Dell Precision line

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June 14, 2011 11:42:24 PM

As a gift for college, I am receiving a new laptop, and I had a few questions before it was ordered.

So, for starters, the giver is recommending a m4500 1920x1080 with the works (internally at least) and I had a few questions.

1. What is the effective difference, if any, between the m4500 & the m4600?
2. Is it worth it to get a fingerprint/fob reader?
3. Is it worth $20 to get a slot DVD drive (rather than a tray)
4. How will this system do with gaming? (I am a big gamer, but I am entering engineering, so I do expect to use cad and the like)

Time is limited for me to give input, so any quick help would be appreciated.

Thanks for the help

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a c 572 D Laptop
June 15, 2011 1:19:26 AM

Hello raffiy;

In a nutshell the 4500 is a 2010 model with first gen Core i CPUs (Arrandale/Clarksfield)
and 4600 is a 2011 model with second gen Core i CPUs (Sandy Bridge).
A small difference between the two models is the 4600 also has USB 3.0 ports.

Dell Precision M4500 Review
Another Dell Precision M4500 Review

The M4600 is 'new' enough that reviews from the usual sources don't seem to be available yet.

2&3 limited utility a student and don't affect performance

4. Gaming: with Quadro 2000M should be very good. FirePro M5950 would get a good rating with Quadro FX 1800M slipping just below a good rating. And the Quadro 1000M/Quadro FX 880M are only really suitable for light gaming.

NVIDIA Quadro 2000M review M4600
AMD FirePro M5950 review M4600
NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800M review M4500
VIDIA Quadro 1000M review M4500/M4600
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June 15, 2011 1:25:18 AM

Thanks for the help.
With regards to 2&3, I meant in general, not just performance wise.
It seems that the fingerprint would help with basic security & the slot drive would be less prone to damage.
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a c 572 D Laptop
June 15, 2011 1:30:49 AM

raffiy said:
Thanks for the help.
With regards to 2&3, I meant in general, not just performance wise.
It seems that the fingerprint would help with basic security & the slot drive would be less prone to damage.
Your analysis is about right. You can decide if it's 'worth it' to you.
Your biggest security challenge will be in keeping the laptop from being stolen.


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June 15, 2011 7:00:38 PM

I raised my concerns about gaming power and have been given a few more options;
the Alienware m14x and m17x r3.
I feel that the 17 is to bulky to carry around campus. So, can the m14x serve as both a good gaming PC and satisfy the needs of college engineering classes?

As a note, the other option is the m4500, not 4600. Also, how noticeable will 1600x900 be to 1920x1080 at a 14"-15" screen size
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June 15, 2011 8:04:28 PM

Hey Raffiy,

I am a current college student and have a bit of experience with laptops and what is good and abad about them. I think, with the fairly large budget it seems you have, you might want to do something different. I would suggest a small laptop/ultraportable and a desktop instead of a high powered laptop. You can spend the same ammount of money and get much more bang for your buck. there are a few reasons for my opinion.
1. a laptop is a laptop, and a high spec laptop=a hot, heavy laptop. It has been my experience that reguardless of the brand, if you ask a laptop to do some tough work (read 3d solid modeling or gaming) it is going to get pretty hot and be pretty uncomfortable to use on your lap. Also, the 15.4 in hp laptop that i picked up upon entering college has just been too heavy and large to make it off my desk often.
2. Your engineering college will have a lab with desktops powerfull enough to run all the necessary software comfortably.
3. it gets annoying/uncomfortable to play games or do CADD work on a laptop.

so, i would say go for a cheap 13" laptop and spend the leftover $$$ on either a desktop of your choosing.

just my opinion for you to consider.
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a c 572 D Laptop
June 15, 2011 8:58:33 PM

A lot of your classmates will have a successful 4yr run with 1366x768 resolution work space.
As far as I know there aren't any mainstream or custom 14" laptops with 1920x1080 resolution. The text is getting too tiny to be useful. Even a 15" screen pushes 1920x1080 to just about the limit. I think 1600x900 will be fine and the 1600x900 vs 1920x1080 difference will be more psychological than practical. That's not to say 1920x1080 isn't great or that it isn't useful, but neither is 1600x900 a bad resolution.

Apart for a tendency to get a bit loud while gaming the M14x has a lot going for it.
Check out these reviews and see how close it comes to matching your expectations.
Alienware M14x Review
another Alienware M14x Notebook review
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June 16, 2011 1:29:56 AM

Thanks for all of the advice.
I came to a similar conclusion & opted to get the m4500 since it seems to best fit my school requirements and will make an excellent general purpose system.
Additionally, I will take my current custom gaming desktop with me. This seems to meet all of my requirements rather well.
Now, to convince my parents that I can get upgrades for my desktop...
To the building forums!
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June 23, 2011 12:17:46 AM

Best answer selected by raffiy.
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