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High end laptop (music/web design)

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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November 2, 2011 10:33:32 AM

1. What is your budget?

£1000 - £1500

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

~13.3" - 15.6"

3. What screen resolution do you want?

1920x1080

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

portable

5. How much battery life do you need?

1-2 hrs is enough as I will be powering it direct mostly. 4hrs+ would be excellent

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)?

No interest in laptop gaming. I will use Adobe CS (especially After effects for video editing) and do 3D modelling. For this a reasonable GPU will be required.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo / Video editing,watching movies, Etc.)

Music production/Web design/Video editing/Photo editing/watching tutorials

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

500GB+ - or more if it isn't expensive (1TB would be good)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

amazon.co.uk, ebuyer.com, ebay (for used) but I will buy from any reliable retailer

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

~2 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

none, unless necessary.

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.

Not interested in Macbooks the interface would be a burdon. I have always used windows OS

13. What country do you live in?

England

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I have researched but I am overwhelmed by the selection. If a ~£1000 laptop can match my aging desktop (Q6600 @ 3.0GHZ/6gb RAM) then I'll be very happy with it. Intel i7 range seems most suitable and 8gb RAM will be optimal for music/video editing. I do not want to pay significantly more for a small performance increase.

Settled on the following:

8GB RAM/i7 2630QM/1920x1080

The economy for computer hardware goes back and forth and there is always better technology on the horizon. Is now a good time to invest in a laptop or should I wait until the new year? I ask because the 2630QM has been around for quite some time now.

Thanks for the support
a c 572 D Laptop
November 2, 2011 11:23:47 AM

Hello WP;

Your spec'd i7 2630QM will outperform a stock Q6600.
And it's roughly on par with a Desktop Core i5-750 quad core CPU
I don't think you'll be giving up much, if any, CPU power.
The Dell XPS line (my recommendation) had refreshed it's standard CPU to the 2.2Ghz Core i7-2670QM - at no increase in cost.

In the Big List of Mobile Processors (CPU Benchmarks):
Core i7-2670QM is ranked #17
Core i7 2630QM is ranked #21
and for comparison a few desktop CPU:
#22 Intel Core i5 (Desktop) 750
#69 Intel Core 2 Quad (Desktop) Q6600

You're correct that a CPU upgrade for ~£100+ is not a good value. You'd need a stop watch to notice the difference in performance.

1920x1080 LCD resolution is mainly in 15" chassis.
And a GT 520M / GT 525M would do nicely for GPU support.
a c 572 D Laptop
November 2, 2011 11:38:43 AM

Dell XPS 15 £829 base price
750GB (7200RPM) SATA hard drive is standard - very nice. 6GB is also standard - upgrade to 8GB @ £70 is a bit high - but you'll probably want it.
Standard GT 540M graphics card is more than you need and even not shabby at some light to medium 3D gaming if you ever choose (and a bonus come time to re-sell to the next owner).

1920x1080 LCD screen is a £170 option and puts the price right at £1000.
Skip the offered anti-theft protection and use PREY instead.
You might be interested in the backlit keyboard option. And you definitely want the Bluetooth option.
The upgraded (but bulky) battery is good for 5+ hours for idle tasks and 4.5hrs for light duty WiFi surfing. The 3.5hr movie watching rating is probably about 'average'.

The rest of the accessories are up to you (and your budget)

Dell XPS 15 L502X (Sandy Bridge) Review



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November 2, 2011 11:39:38 AM

Thank you WR2

Exactly, I considered the 2630QM offers the best price/performance.

Dell XPS 15z:
http://www.dell.com/uk/p/xps-15z/pd?c=uk&cs=ukdhs1&l=en...

Can be configured for 8gb RAM within my budget. Also meets all of my other requirements. I am also now inclined to go for an SSD drive (128 or 256 depending on costs) and use a portable HDD for data storage.

Do Dell offer good price/performance? For desktop computers I am aware how much brands like Dell/Alienware/Sony charge compared to building manually. I realise laptops are usually bought prebuilt though, just wondering if there are better value competitors out there. For instance Kobalt Computers as a less mainstream brand offered great performance for money before they went out of business.
a c 572 D Laptop
November 2, 2011 11:51:18 AM

15z has a dual core i5-2430M or dual core i7-2640M - going to fall off in matching your desktop.
But make no mistake - it WILL get the work done - just maybe not quite as fast.
The SSD will be a luxury. It's not required.
And I think you'll be hard pressed to find equal value for money.

Dell XPS has a reputation for having slightly better LCD screens.
Dell XPS is a huge step up from the budget Dell lineup.
And I think that just about any laptop in the same price range is going to be roughly equal in reliability to any other in the same range. A 2630QM is a 2630QM, and the motherboards to different brands might even come from the same ODM.
November 2, 2011 3:54:35 PM

Regarding RAM:
6GB vs 8GB memory - the 6GB is significantly cheaper (I see it should be 4GB but it is on offer) and will not be "£70" worse than 8GB so I'd go with 6GB

After the extra insight you have provided, I am now considering:
SSD?
Ultra thin design?

90% of the power hungry video editing/extreme multitasking will be done on my main desktop, (which is actually an i7 2600K @4.4ghz/16gb RAM/560ti SLI) the Q6600 build is currently not in use.

With this in mind, maybe the added portability/extra battery life of the 15z will better suit the more common tasks I'd use it for:

FL studio/Music production
Web browsing
Emails
Watching videos (youtube/tutorials)
Image editing

In rare occasions, I'll use it for more intense tasks such as video editing or 3D work - but almost all of the time, I will have my desktop computer to work on.

After considering these factors the 15z seems to be a better option. It's a macbook air, with windows platform. It'll be agile and I'll be able to use it anywhere. The main content on it will also be project files and such, with this said 128gb/256gb SSD seems worth considering. My rendered files will be stored elsewhere.
a c 572 D Laptop
November 2, 2011 6:12:13 PM

Since you will do 90% of the heavy lifting on your desktop the Z model is going to 'fit' your requirements a lot better.

And like I mentioned, the dual core CPU WILL get the work done - there is no limitations there - it will just take a bit longer.

There are no issue with the excellent dual core in the Z doing any of the work you want and it's great for multi-tasking - again no limitations there either.

And with external mass storage (desktop) or USB external hard drive you can get by, very easily, with the 128GB SSD.

The same is true for 6GB vs 8GB of RAM. If the 6GB option is getting you closer to a SSD Im in favor of that. I'd take 4GB+SSS over 8GB+HDD anyday.

You could get a SSD in the standard XPS, along with a dual core CPU and spend less.
But you do have a generous budget and it will stretch easily to cover the Z configured how you want it.

!