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Laptop Choice Help!

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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January 16, 2013 10:49:34 AM

Hi Guys, :hello: 

I've been searching around for a couple of months now trying to replace my ageing and dying MacBook Pro. I've thrown in the towel after searching various places and trying various sites but not finding anything that i liked. So I've decided to come to you guys! I've looked through and answered you're FAQ bit to try and make it a little easier, but i don't think its going to be an easy task! :??: 

1. What is your budget?
£700 - £1200

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15” – 17”, less than 2.9kg in weight and less than 30mm thick at its thickest point with the lid closed.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1920x1080 or 1920x1200 (would consider 1600x900 on a 15”)

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
Portable with Desktop power (Not fussy am i?)

5. How much battery life do you need?
3 hours minimum on light usage

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)?
Not Many games, Sims3 at native res maybe a couple of others.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photo Editing (Photoshop Extended), Video Editing (Premiere Pro), Programming(Visual Studio & SQL Server), web design(Fireworks)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
256gb and up (preferably SSD) 2 drives would be fantastic but not essential.

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

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
2-3 years

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
DVD writer (Blu-ray a bonus)

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: HP (don’t trust their build quality)
Toshiba (Again build quality and performance issues)

13. What country do you live in?
UK (England)

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
The size requirements might seem a bit specific but I come from using Mac Laptops for the last 6 years and so size and design is just as important for me as parts and performance. The ideal machine would have an i7 quad core (not ULV), ideally an i7 3630qm, with at least 8gb RAM and a full HD screen. These are the absolutes. DVD drive i can do without and I’m not fussy in terms of the ports on the laptop. Oh, and it must be cheaper than a 15” MacBook Pro which retails at £1500 in the UK for the basic model.


These are some of the models I've looked at and why I've discounted them.

15" MacBook Pro - Too expensivehttp://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/non...
Lenovo Y580 - Great Power and Decent size but flimsy screen (major flex when opening and shutting)http://img.tomshardware.com/forum/uk/icones/smilies/pff...
asus u500vz cn046h - Beautiful design, Great Specs but just as pricey as MBP

Ones I'm thinking of but havent played with

Dell XPS 15
2013 Samsung Series 7 Chronos (the one announced at CES 2013)
Sony Vaio E-Series 15" Custom
Asus N56VJ

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in Advance!

More about : laptop choice

January 16, 2013 10:54:13 AM

discount samsung series 7 chronos (CES 2103) it be the same price as the Asus u500.

*consider samsung series 7 ultra (CES 2013)
January 16, 2013 11:04:31 AM

I'd consider a 15" notebook because it's more portable and not heavy to carry.. Mac is not a good gaming platform as windows beside they have overpriced hardwares ripping us off but the advantage of it is that you wont get Virus that easy on mac but lack of lots of stuff..
I'd search for a Quadro GPU based laptop because it'll help a lot with your adobe software and also look for high end CPU...
Something like this is more ideal for you but not sure if you'll spend more just to get this one http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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January 16, 2013 12:01:35 PM

I would normally recommend the XPS15 but Dell still hasn't quite figured out how to resolve the issues they're having with the wifi adapters in their newer models.

If you've been using a MBP, I am surprised you wouldn't want to spec it within your budget. I personally don't like Mac OS but everyone I know prefers a Mac for graphic design.

ASUS is pretty good bang for your buck and they have good resources online for support/troubleshooting. I am intrigued by Samsung's new series 7 offerings.

Why photoshop on the go - photographer/graphic designer? If you don't need photoshop to run on a laptop, I would build or buy a desktop - much better performance for your dollar and you could get by with your MBP if you swap out the HDD for a SSD.

Just my thoughts.
January 16, 2013 12:38:11 PM

game junky said:
I would normally recommend the XPS15 but Dell still hasn't quite figured out how to resolve the issues they're having with the wifi adapters in their newer models.

If you've been using a MBP, I am surprised you wouldn't want to spec it within your budget. I personally don't like Mac OS but everyone I know prefers a Mac for graphic design.

ASUS is pretty good bang for your buck and they have good resources online for support/troubleshooting. I am intrigued by Samsung's new series 7 offerings.

Why photoshop on the go - photographer/graphic designer? If you don't need photoshop to run on a laptop, I would build or buy a desktop - much better performance for your dollar and you could get by with your MBP if you swap out the HDD for a SSD.

Just my thoughts.


Speccing a 15" MacBook Pro with an SSD and 8gb or Ram is crazy money! (a 256gb ssd from apple is £400!) I toyed with the idea of buying an SSD and 16gb of Ram after buying the laptop and fitting it myself, but that still adds an extra £300 to the asking price! That pushes the total price closer to £1800.

I'm a programmer by trade, but i'm a hobbyist photographer and do a lot of photoshop work.

I don't really want another mac as i feel like i can get a lot more value for money from a windows laptop, plus they are a lot easier to work on if a part goes wrong!

I currently have an iMac that is my main machine and i want to replace that and my current laptop with one new powerful laptop so i can do all things in all places so to speak.

Thanks for the replies guys!
January 16, 2013 5:40:59 PM

I am not going to disagree that Macs are expensive - one of the many reasons I will never purchase one. :)  Those unibody designed laptops can be a real pain in the tail to work on so I totally understand wanting to spec it with the parts you need. I envy the Retina Displays they have been deploying but I know someone else will step into that space eventually, just have to be patient and wait for it (Samsung...I'm looking at you).

If I were buying a laptop for portable performance, I would select the UX51VZ - 1080p screen, thin/light, good build quality and can be spec'd with a quad core processor and Nvidia 650 GPU.

January 16, 2013 7:10:55 PM

game junky said:
I am not going to disagree that Macs are expensive - one of the many reasons I will never purchase one. :)  Those unibody designed laptops can be a real pain in the tail to work on so I totally understand wanting to spec it with the parts you need. I envy the Retina Displays they have been deploying but I know someone else will step into that space eventually, just have to be patient and wait for it (Samsung...I'm looking at you).

If I were buying a laptop for portable performance, I would select the UX51VZ - 1080p screen, thin/light, good build quality and can be spec'd with a quad core processor and Nvidia 650 GPU.


I've done a bit of research on the retina display and it really isn't all its made up to be. It's a 1440x900 native panel, but the software and os introduce pixel doubling and sub-sampling to give the impression of twice the sharpness and 'resolution' of the regular panel. This coupled with a superior panel to begin with in terms of colour reproduction and contrast make it look brilliant. But to take advantage of the resolution, apps need to be coded in such a way.

The unibody design makes the laptops look incredible and has really spoilt me because now I expect the same level of attention to detail in every laptop.

If I could play with an xps then I would be able to make a more informed choice. I think the Asus is beautiful but looking at the internals, you can't change the hdd as it is a pair of proprietary drives in a raid array (not 2.5" sata as is the norm) and one of the ram slots is soldered off so you can only replace one stick and so there is only a theoretical maximum of 12gb on offer. Plus after reading some reviews, there are some cooling issues that come with those components in such a small chassis!

If the new series 7 chronos is going to be as expesnsive as people think then at the moment it seems like a 2 horse race between the y580 and the xps15
January 17, 2013 5:47:01 PM

That's my biggest complaint about most ultrabooks - to shrink them down, they made them almost impossible to open up. Most Best Buys have the XPS 15 available so you can get a feel for the keyboard and judge the weight/look in person.

For performance laptops, I really like OriginPC and the Razer Blade. They tried to make them asthetically pleasing without short-changing performance. Razer's new tablet concept is very intriguing because it has several docking options but the screen is garbage for the price point.

Guess we will have to stay tuned for the 7 chronos and Ultra to see if it can make a niche for itself in that performance but slim market.
!