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Need new CG/gaming laptop up to $2000

December 15, 2012 8:51:31 AM

Hello all, new here to the forums but have been frequenting the site for many years. I'm in the market for a new laptop so I need some advice and suggestions. I have a capable gaming desktop PC already but I need a work/some gaming laptop also.

1. What is your budget?
Up to $1500-$2000 USD.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Around biggest I can get basically. It will be carried around but I do not want to compromise screen size for weight and portability.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Not sure yet. I used 1360x768 on a 4-year-old laptop but I use 1440x900 on my PC. So somewhere around there probably. I usually have trouble seeing things like text at 1080; but would like the option for it still.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable but as I said, I value performance and usability over portability.

5. How much battery life do you need?
At least 2 hours of battery life for general usage/some CG work would be great, but planning on being near an outlet at almost all times using it. The more juice, always the better though.

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)?
Secondary use but yes. Games will vary but let's say Planetside 2 (which is a bad example since it's very poorly optimized at this point), Battlefield 3, Skyrim, Diablo 3. All at medium to high settings. Keep in mind that I only shop for computers once every 3-4+ years so I want this machine to last me a while. For example my desktop PC is 3.5 years old and still runs games like BF3 on high settings great.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Primary usage of this laptop will be CG work: Adobe Master Collection including, but not limited to, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, After Effects, Media Encoder, etc; as well as 3ds Max and Maya. I also run a lot of these at the same time and multitask a lot. A great quad+ core CPU for such work and a decent amount (8-16GB) of RAM is a must.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Best-case scenario would be a 120+GB SSD. Total space needed will probably not exceed 120GB in the near future, especially with periodic backups via external drives.
If it's an HDD, it needs to be at least 7200rpm.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Primarily: ;
Would love to use those but not completely against using something else as long as it's reputable.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Forever! :D 
But assuming the question is how long I want it to last me before I need to upgrade, at least 3-4 years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Plain ol' DVD-R drive would be just fine. I barely use disk media these days.

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 buy computers; I build them. That's why I need advice here. My last laptop was an Asus TabletPC that was great but nothing special in terms of hardware.
I'm probably mostly going to be looking at Asus, MSI, and Alienware. Open to any suggestions though. Brands that I don't like, there's really only one... crApple.

13. What country do you live in?
United States. So I need it to be available with a US-based retailer with full warranty support.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
-Again I want to note that the primary usage of this laptop is computer graphics work, NOT GAMING.

-A pleasing look is important. I don't want something that looks like a Macbook. I don't need a fancy light-up keyboard but if I'm buying a 2000-dollar laptop, I'd like to it look a little cooler than your average everyday laptop. Alienwares, high-end MSI laptops look very cool.

-Windows 7 much preferred. No 8 please. A win7 laptop might be a bit cheaper for the value anyways by my understanding, no?

-Normally I'm a die-hard AMD fan, but since this is a laptop with relatively tough to replace parts and for work as opposed to gaming, I am willing to go with Intel/Nvidia if it provides a much better value.

-If it doesn't have discrete graphics, it damn well better have a very good APU. Prefer discrete graphics.

-I don't even know if overclocking is even done with laptops, but just in case, I do not plan on ever OCing this.

-Preferably air vents not stupidly placed on the bottom of the laptop.

-Preferably a matte/non-gloss screen. However I don't know if they even still make laptops with matte screens.

-Preferably a touchpad that's in the dead center of the laptop. I don't understand why some come with it off to the left where it's retardedly uncomfortable to use.

-Gigabit Ethernet and N wireless is required.

I know it's very detailed but I wanted my requirements and preferences to be clear. Hopefully it helps. I appreciate any and all advice, suggestions, and direction. Thanks a lot!

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