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Which non-gaming laptop for $1000-1300

December 11, 2012 3:32:33 PM

I was wondering if anyone can recommend a laptop for my needs. I don't play any games, but my wife, being a beginner photographer, will need to use Photoshop/Lightroom. Also, will need to stream/watch/transcode movies sometimes.
I really want an Asus. I found several reputable companies that create custom built Asus'es.
I guess the ones I'm considering are: N56VM/VJ, K55A/VM/VJ. Substituting their HDD with SSD and maybe upgrading to i7-3720QM.
Thus, the price will be about $400 more than the price for the stadard models.

Right now I'm trying to figure out whether Intel Graphics HD 4000 will be enough for my needs (for 3-5 years ahead) or should I go for a dedicated card (GeForce GT 630/635/650).

Thank you in advance.
Here is the completed questionaire:

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Only 15.6 (not less not more)

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Hopefully full HD, but not a must (as long as it's good for Photoshop)

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Desktop replacement, but very lap friendly :) 

5. How much battery life do you need?
Not important

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)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photo editing using Photoshop/Lightroom. Video transcoding.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
At least 750GB. As I said above: I'm planning to get 128GB SSD and 500-750GB HDD.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-5 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None. (Replacing it with HDD)

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.
Probably only ASUS, because somehow got a persistent impression that they make very reliable, quality laptops.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.