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What's a good Industrial Design Engineering student's laptop

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 9, 2011 2:23:17 PM

Hey, I'm an IDE student from the Netherlands, and need a replacement for my current laptop.

First, my answers to the FAQ:

1. What is your budget?
Up to about E1000,-

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
My current one is a 17" beast, weighing in at about 4-5kgs. I don't mind big, if it does its job.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Running at 1680x1050 now, it's nice but more is better if it's not too expensive.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I need it portable so I can use it at home, take it to the library, take it to my courses if needed and use it in long train rides.

5. How much battery life do you need?
The best for my budget, but 3 hours of casual use (browsing, programming, writing papers, not 3 hours of CAD ofc) would be a great improvement.

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)?
Currently I sometimes play Fallout3 and Fallout New Vegas, on low to medium settings. I'd love to be able to run GTA IV though, even at low settings.
Gaming is by no means a priority.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
My main uses for it are:
- Photoshop/Illustrator (Poster design, so sometimes even 3x4 meter posters at 100++DPI)
- CAD, SolidWorks to be exact
- Blender (but that'll run on anything)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
I have 80gb now, Something over 160 would rock.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Doesn't apply to me.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
This one has lasted 4 years now, and is falling apart (literally). I'd like to use the next one 4-5 years too.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD +/- RW is all I need.

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 don't mind brands. Though my current one is a Dell Latitude d830, which is running its 4th (or 5th, I forgot) motherboard now. I'd take lousy customer service but high quality components any day, rather than lose my laptop for months again.

13. What country do you live in?
The Netherlands

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'm quite tech-savvy, I could even assemble my own laptop if possible(ever since the warranty gave up, this one has been taken apart and reassembled quite a number of times, functioning better then before every time). I don't necessarily need Windows to come with it, through university programmes it's provided for me.
Also, the laptop MUST be able to run (Ubuntu) Linux.
Looks are completely irrelevant to me. I'm looking for a functional machine above all.

I've made a list with things I'd like to see in my next laptop:
- USB 3.0
- Either Firewire or a PCI card slot to be able to use it
- VGA output
- I've heard RGB-backlit screens perform better in creating accurate colours, this is of course an issue for me being a design student
- Maybe a solid-state drive

I know this is quite the wishlist, but I'll use the laptop 4-12h a day so I'll basically be staring at it all day ;-)
Thanks in advance!
October 9, 2011 2:40:32 PM

The best I can do is suggest Lenovo Ideapad or Thinkpad, Asus, or MSI. The model depends on prices from your sources.
October 20, 2011 12:23:36 PM

Thanks for the replies! After some extensive digging and budget talk with my parents I've come to select the Lenovo ThinkPad W520 (NY549MH). Quite a bit above my original budget, but this will keep me up to date for a few years.

On a sidenote: To all Dutch laptop buyers:
Maxict.nl may seem to be a nice supplier, but they fail miserably.
They advertised with:
"20-30 in stock" and "Ordered before 16.30, You'll have it the next business day", and also claimed to supply "within 2 business days tops".

By now I've waited 4.5 full business days, and after a few calls I came to find out they cannot ship until the end of next week, a full two weeks(!!) after my order. They kept me in the dark completely, with a service site claiming it was already being shipped to my adress.

If you, like me, do not enjoy taking days off to receive a laptop only to find it won't be shipped for another week, avoid maxict.

P.S.,
excuse my rambling, but I'm quite angry about them costing me so much (precious) time.
!