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Overwhelmed with laptop choices, please advise

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 30, 2012 6:07:41 AM

1. Budget:
<$1,250, prefer $1,000 or less

2. Size:
14"-16" (I currently have a 15.6)

3. Resolution:
1920x1080, possibly 1600x1900

4. Portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Prefer power over portability. This will be my main computer, but I would like to use it in a cafe or on a plane somewhat comfortably..

5. Battery life:
3hrs+ This is not too important.

6. Games:
No

7. Tasks:
Photo editing, web design. Rarely some video editing.
Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks, Visio, MS Office
. I did just get a Canon D60, and it takes video at 1920x1080, so I might start doing some more video work as a hobby.

8. HDD capacity:
300GB+, prefer 500GB+

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Amazon, Newegg, Microcenter, manufacturers site, any suggestions?

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3yrs

11. Optical drive:
Not needed

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.
Don't really know enough about the manufacturers.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Processor:
I was looking at an i5, would I see any real improvement from an i7? I don't know enough about AMD.

Graphics Card:
I don't do much video editing, gaming or 3D rendering, so I don't think I need a discreet graphics card, but i am tempted to get a NVidia card, as I think I would see a performance boost in Adobe CS5 from CUDA.

SSD and eSATA:
I want SSD, but if I can't find what I want (or think its cheaper) I would buy the laptop with a mechanical drive and swap in an aftermarket SSD (plus I get the bonus of putting a fresh install of windows on the drive, so no bloatware, would the aftermarket ssd be better than one that came from a manufacturer? ssd suggestions?), and use the mechanical drive as an external in which case I would want to hook it up via eSATA (which I hear is faster than USB 3.0 for this kind of thing). Although I'm also wondering if I could put in a SSD and HDD in the same laptop. Saw that you could do that by swapping out the optical drive, or the cellular antennae on some models. Feedback here is greatly appreciated, looks like SSD is one of the best things you can do to speed up your laptop.

Screen:
Good picture quality is important to me

Numpad:
I would prefer a keyboard with a number pad

Contenders:
HP DV6, Envy 15/14
Samsung Series 7
Lenovo u400, t420, y520
Sony Vaio

I'm a bit overwhelmed with all the stats. Any help is appreciated!
a c 571 D Laptop
February 10, 2012 11:00:49 AM

Still looking? Or did you pick one out?
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February 10, 2012 9:25:01 PM

Haven't sealed the deal yet, but right now i'm looking at the HP Dv6te Quad edition. Found a coupon that brought this config to about $1,000

i7-2670QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz
2GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7690M GDDR5
8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
750GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
High Capacity 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
15.6" Full HD HP Anti-glare LED (1920 x 1080)
Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
Bluetooth

Then I would buy an SSD and caddy, and throw the ssd in for the blueray drive.
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a c 571 D Laptop
February 10, 2012 9:32:45 PM

It's a pretty good choice. I like the anti-glare LCD and 7200rpm HDD options.
So you'd put the BluRay drive in an external USB housing?

Im sure you know with the 17" model that larger chassis would let you put in a SSD without losing the internal optical drive? It has 2 HDD/SSD drive bays.

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!