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Best features for laptops, heavy use.

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August 27, 2012 5:55:56 AM

Hello, i'm planning for having a new laptop. but, its hard for me to make a decision. what is the best characteristic for a laptop such the size of memory, type of processor that can support heavy use of it. i'm a user that use a laptop for doing assignments as students, playing games, editing videos&pictures, and sometimes i use to make a heavy downloads for entertainment (movies,dramas). Before this, i faced difficulties with laptop's overheating. broken hardisk & graphic cards. so, what is the best features for my laptop that suit my usage?

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a b D Laptop
August 27, 2012 6:13:59 AM

different usages require different hardware.

Games rely on CPU and GPU
Heavy multitasking relies on having many CPU cores available
General use relies on a high single core clock speed
Video editing relies on HDD throughput, CPU, and having as much ram as you can

With what you have described you would just want a very fast, but well rounded laptop. Look into something like a business or workstation laptop that features a quad core i7 processor, 8-16GB of ram, SSD system drive and a 2nd larger data HDD, and a dedicated (non Quadro) GPU for gaming on.

Obviously the more powerful the laptop, the less battery life you will get, and because you are essentially looking for a portable desktop heat, weight, and price will be concerns.

To me it sounds like you really want a good quality desktop (i5, 8-16GB of ram, SSD+HDD, and dedicated GPU) for doing 'heavy work' or gaming on, and then a much smaller portable machine that has more emphasis on battery life than raw computing power (something in the $2-500 range)

Are there any specific programs or workloads that you intend to use this laptop for?
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a c 463 D Laptop
August 27, 2012 6:58:35 AM

One of the most important spec I am looking for in my next laptop is screen resolution greater than 1366x768. My current Lenovo Y470 has that resolution and it is too small to do any multitasking. I am considering getting a post graduate degree next year which is the reason for a possible new laptop. The laptop will have a mobile Intel Haswell generation CPU which will be released next year.

Low resolution limits the number of windows you have have open for any practical use. So I am looking for 1920x1080 resolution which allows me to have several windows open on screen at the same time so that I can easily cross reference information. This would be quite useful for doing assignments. And it can also be useful for editing video and photo especially if they are high resolution.

The downside of having a large resolution screen is if you want to play games you need a real powerful graphic card to play games at 1920x1080 resolution. However, you can play games at lower resolution and have the graphics stretched to fill the screen. Consoles games are only rendered at 720p (roughly 1366x768), but when played on a HDTV with 1920x1080 resolution, the graphics are stretched to fill the screen.

I will likely opt for a powerful dual core Haswell CPU rather than a quad core. Unless the price difference is not too great between dual core and quad core running at the same clockspeed (I'm pretty sure the price difference will be $200+ though). Not taking in Turbo Boost into account, I would want something that is at least 2.5GHz. Too early to say what the performance difference between ivy Bridge Core i3/i5/i7 and the mobile Haswell CPUs. For your purposes you need to determine if it is worth the price going from a dual core Ivy Bridge i5/i7 CPU to a quad core Ivy Bridge i7 CPU.

The reason why I am considering a quad core Haswell CPU is because video encoding is very CPU intensive. So the higher the clockspeed and the more cores it has, the faster the encoding process. The vast majority of games only use 2 cores. Few games can actually use 4 cores and the number of games released each year that can use 4 cores is very, very small.

As stated before, if you are going to play games on the laptop especially with a 1920x1080 resolution screen, then you need a very powerful graphics card. This means the laptop will be very expensive. But if you are okay with playing at lower resolution, then getting a laptop with a modest graphics card to play games at 1366x768 resolution, then something like a nVidia GT 640m should be fine for medium quality graphics in most games.

I'll probably just go with whatever integrated graphics Intel's Haswell CPU comes with. Some people say it is rumored to be 3x faster than Intel's HD 4000 graphic core in the Ivy Bridge CPUs. If true, then that could mean that Haswell's graphic core will be about equal to a nVidia GT 630m. If true, then that would be impressive.

Knowing what I will do with my future laptop, I think 4GB of RAM would be sufficient. As for you, depending on what you are doing while editing pictures you may benefit from having 8GB of RAM. Games will not be affected by 4GB or 8GB.

If you are going to be carrying your laptop around with you, then weight would be an important consideration. Weight is basically determined by the size of the screen, the larger the screen, the larger the laptop so... the heavier it will be. Personally, since I am considering a 14" or 15.6" laptop I would want something that is relatively light for a laptop, but the laptop must have a traditional hard drive (SSD capacity is too low for me) and I want my laptop to have a DVD drive. So weight wise, I would like a 14" laptop to be less than 4lbs. and a 15.6" laptop to be less than 4.5lbs.
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August 27, 2012 1:22:17 PM

For me, i don't really mind with the resolution screen. As long as i can play the games, no interruption in movements of the characters of the games.. its ok. But i'm worried enough with overheating problems that may caused by the size & type of processor. (i guess, am i right?) so, the best processor you suggest is dual core Ivy Bridge i5/i7 CPU to a quad core Ivy Bridge i7 CPU.. alright :)  if i choose Core i7, is it same with dual core Ivy Bridge i5/i7 CPU?

Having big size of RAM, 4-8GB.. it cost a lot of money.. but to have efficient & good performance, i still need to have it right? Does this 4-8GB help to support heavy downloads too? like movies & dramas.

Then, yes. Im seriously take weight into my consideration. So, 14" is good enough for me as student. thank you for your explanation.. your answer help me alot. :na: 
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August 27, 2012 1:36:29 PM

I don't have any specific programs @ workloads that i intended to use for this laptop. A student, im not bother much with heavy workload, excepts using photoshops, corel (video editing) that may need lot of spaces in the laptops.

I just use microsoft office for assignments. for games, i dont really mind if its in low resolution. (perhaps). is it ok for me to have Intel Core i3-2330M @ Intel Core i3-2350M as my processor? or is it may cause overheating problem again?

Im really thankful with your answer. But if you can help me with further explanation, it would be awesome :) 
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a c 463 D Laptop
August 27, 2012 7:17:44 PM

The only thing that matters for downloading is your ISP connection. That's it. A more powerful CPU, better graphics card, more RAM does not affect your connection speed.

As for the CPU, I would go with a Core i5 Ivy Bridge CPU. The difference between a dual core i5 and i7 CPUs is the amount of cache. I believe Core i7 CPUs have 4MB of cache instead of 3MB. That extra cache can help a little with things like video encoding and photo edits, but doesn't do anything for games. Therefore, a Core i5 CPU should be fine for most people.

Regarding RAM, I think you will be fine with just 4GB. 8GB will be helpful if you do a lot of photo editing, but a lot I mean enough to justisfy spending the extra $$$. Since you are a student, I would just stick with 4GB.

If you want, you can drop down to a Sandy Bridge Core i3 CPU. The performance difference between Ivy Bridge CPUs and Sandy Bridge CPUs is small; assuming the same clockspeed, Ivy Bridge CPUs have on average 5% more performance. The biggest difference is the integrated graphic core. The HD 4000 is roughly 40% more powerful than the Intel HD 3000. But if you are going to buy a laptop with a graphic card, then this more or less means nothing.

The basic difference between Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs is Turbo Boost (TB). TB acts like an automatic overclock as long as the temperature is not too hot. For example, the i5-2410m has a standard clockspeed of 2.3GHz, with TB the clockspeed is 2.9GHz if one core is being used, or 2.7GHz if both cores are being used.

Overheating depends a lot on how the inside of the laptop is designed and parts like the CPU and GPU which tends to give off a lot of heat. It is generally difficult to know if a particular laptop is going to overheat or not, but generally the larger the laptop the better the airflow and the larger the heatsink. However, this can be offset with having parts that generates more heat like a quad core CPU and a high end graphics card.
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September 7, 2012 12:14:05 AM

Best answer selected by aqilah.
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