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View Full Version : Can anyone recommend a good laptop


assistant pimp
11-28-2005, 07:46 PM
I am interested in getting a new laptop, not so much as a desktop replacement but as a portable work source. I am still crawling as far as LW is concern so I am looking a laptop that can run LW 8.5 well enough to work in. PLus run PS and AE as needed. I do mostly web and multimedia design. But slowly am submerging into 3d and putting the 2 together.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. Right now I am looking into Alienware and the new Toshiba.

habañero
11-28-2005, 11:19 PM
It'd be interesting to konw about your preferences? Is it battery life or render power? Weigth? Screen size, can you work on the 12"s? And budget? There's a lot of computers out there ...

blaqDeaph
11-29-2005, 02:41 AM
Yea, what are your preferences, budget etc.

Alienware makes arguably the highest ended laptops, but they come at a large price (really, price).

What do you mean "run LW 8.5 well enough to work in". To physically display the OpenGL etc, a good video card is of the essence, but for rendering, CPU and RAM are more important.

assistant pimp
11-29-2005, 03:28 AM
weight doesnt matter. Looking for a desktop replacement style laptop so I know it would be heavy.. I dont do tremendously heavy scenes mostly product shots for now and minimal animation. SO if I could manipulate my objects well with OGL that would be cool. Render times is not much of a concern, I would just render and let it go. Battery time wont be that big of a issue either since it will be plugged in most of the time but 2-4 hours of work would be cool. Budget is about 1700.00 but could go to 2 if it was a real good deal.

vonLein
11-29-2005, 01:33 PM
All you really need for Lightwave is a decent video card and lots of ram. On the portable side of things, I have a Sony Vaio VGN-S380P with 1.25 Gb of ram. It does LW just about as well as my BOXX workstation, but weighs under 5 pounds.

The only two lightweight laptops I've seen with actual video cards are this one and an IBM. If you're not concerned about weight, take a look at Alienware - they just released a couple new laptops.

Roger Eberhart
11-29-2005, 02:27 PM
I have an Acer Ferrari 4005. It has a 64-bit cpu, although it came with XP pro, not XP 64. 14.2" 1680 x 1050 screen. ATI x700 128mb video card. And it doesn't weigh too much, at least compared to an Alienware or Dell with similar specs. Actually, I'll probably be selling it soon, so drop me a PM if you're interested in a used laptop. I was using it for school, but since I'm no longer in school, it isn't getting used much. Anyway, LW ran great on it, so did XSI, Max, ZBrush, and Photoshop.

habañero
11-29-2005, 02:32 PM
Voodoo (http://www.voodoopc.com/) Seem to make some interesting PCs, though maybe outside what you posted for price. You can get a x2 amd with quadro1400 graphics for 4500 Euros shipping and all to Europe which is actually dirt cheap here for what you get. People pay that or more for thinkpads with crap graphics and a single core. I guess it would be like 35 minutes a battery, but still, that would make leaps on my current desktop. Notice Alienware seem to attack them in their advertising, it's "gift envy. Forget the fruitcake" (the voodoo Pcs are called envy)... Strange ideas, both of them :p

I think the single important thing to look for would be "not ATI" graphics. And I would read up very well on the one I would pick in advance, the manufacturers support forums is a good place to look. 2-4 hours should be possible with 2-4 batteries. I'd look for Turion AMDs myself for battery life and still some render performance, and a 7200 disk is a preference.

I noticed Dell have a mobile workstation that sells for 200 quid with quadro FX go 1400 graphics, intel PM/wireless and a gig of ram meaning probably good battery life. You could or could not be in for some real punishment if you need support or service, and I would be very careful about jumping on any financing offers from them. Still 1K below the closest one with Quadro I could find, Eurocom have far more powerful mobile workstations at around 3000$, though I'm not familiar to that brand. Boxx is above that again. Its good to read tests and so ... Especially issues with heat/batteries/ports and their placement are important for DTR.

Oh, and use a small USB extension cable to attach your dongle. That way it will not break. :)

assistant pimp
11-29-2005, 03:39 PM
Thanks alll for the info. It seems it is hard to find a good laptop with a good vid card in it. I was told to avoid dell like the flu, but it seems they are not that bad. Reading through cnet now to get some reviews and ratings.

vonLein
11-29-2005, 03:49 PM
Especially for Lightwave, just go for a good GeForce FX. There's no point in getting a Quadro, it's really not going to do anything for you.

Try this: Area-51® m5700 (link) (http://www.alienware.com/product_detail_pages/Area-51_m5700/area-51m_features.aspx?SysCode=PC-LT-AREA51-M-5700&SubCode=SKU-DEFAULT)

As configured:
Pentium M 1.7 (good processor)
1 Gb Ram (2 would be better...)
80 GB 7200 RPM drive
17" screen @ 1920x1200, $150 less for 1280x800
Windows XP Pro
GeForce 6800 256 MB (plenty of power!)
$1,709

That should fit your budget, do everything you need, and be more reliable than a Dell.

habañero
11-29-2005, 03:54 PM
The quadro Go looks like a really sweet deal though, it is rated over desktop Cards that are much more expensive. I figure on a laptop I would mostly do modelling and rigging, and so it makes sense to spend on graphics.

Also Hypersonic has computers with this, they are actually inbetween dell and the others and seem to be maybe more specialized then Dell towards DTRs. I think sites like anandtech and hardforum.com could be good places to get a general idea about this type of thing.

toonafish
11-29-2005, 04:00 PM
Bought a Dell XPS M170 with a geforce 7800 XPS some time ago and all I can do is recommend it, it's blazing fast and rock steady and I can work for about 2 to 3 hours on the battery! The 7800 is even faster then the Quadro FX 3400 on my desktop. I'd advise you to call Dell instead of ordering online, very often there's room for negociation and you can get it a bit cheaper. Especialy if you want to add some gadgets, a better screenerez or up the insurance.

assistant pimp
11-29-2005, 05:21 PM
I am leaning hard towards a alienware Area51. But then again the dells are catchng my eye as well. Next I am going to go to a few stores and just play around with whats there. I wish bestbuy or someone sold Alienware stuff, so i could try it in person.

Any others? More advice is greatly appreciated. Also how reliable is the cnet reviews? ANy other review sites out there?

habañero
11-29-2005, 05:43 PM
I got lots of viruses in a download from their download site a coupla years ago. What U-mpressed me alot was that it took them well over a month to remove the culprit, serving it to an additional 500 people that I am pretty sure got the same repeated mails about "false positives" as me. There was like 10 reviewers trying to warn other people, several of them had formatted their drives, etc. Also the "safe download" feature that would (will?) install fileshare software on peoples machine is a favorite scam of mine. Just don't much trust that company about anything. :hmm:

habañero
11-29-2005, 06:55 PM
I got lots of viruses in a download from their download site a coupla years ago. What U-mpressed me alot was that it took them well over a month to remove the culprit, serving it to an additional 500 people that I am pretty sure got the same repeated mails about "false positives" as me. There was like 10 reviewers trying to warn other people, several of them had formatted their drives, etc. Also the "safe download" feature that would (will?) install fileshare software on peoples machine is a favorite scam of mine. Just don't much trust that company about anything. :hmm:

vonLein
11-29-2005, 08:12 PM
Boxx Technologies is my favorite 3D computer hardware place. They've got a nice "GoBOXX" laptop, but it's a monster! Must weigh over 10 pounds, and it's high end - pretty expensive. I've had good and bad experiences with Dell. In the past, every system I configured on Dell's site was a good bit more expensive than Alienware or Boxx, but laptops might be different.

I've also heard a lot of complaints about Dells floating around, so that's why I reccommended Alienware. They're a smaller more focused company. Admittedly focused on gaming, but with Lightwave's OpenGL, the hardware goals are the same: good video card (NOT ati or quardo), lots of ram, decent screen. And make sure you get XP Pro, not Home, with Service Pack 2.

assistant pimp
11-29-2005, 08:33 PM
yea XP Pro is a must. I need IIS for my web work. BUt most of these laptops are coming with some media center crap. Is that on top of XP pro or another style op sys??

heynewt
11-29-2005, 10:11 PM
Look, I'm using LW 8.5 (when I'm not in front of my workstation) on an HP ZD8000 (3.0ghz INtel) I bought at Sam's Club for $1650. 1Gig RAM. IT works GREAT! Also Runs MAYA 6.5 perfectly as well as VUe 5. The great thing about this laptop is that it has a built in number pad and a 17" widescreen. I can't stress how great this number pad thing is for a laptop.

It runs pretty hot and it only runs on AC and the fans are a bit loud when it's rendering, but gosh, I really love it.

Did I mention it was only $1650? I saved about $1400 over the other laptops listed here.

Robert

Shaun_michael
11-29-2005, 11:08 PM
Running an Alienware Area51m 7700 here. 2Gig Ram, twin Raid 0 hard drives, full keyboard, 17" widescreen, the usual DVD & CD writers, nVidia 6800 GO 256MB gfx card and 3.6GHz P4. I'm running LW8.5 without a hitch, Combustion 3, Particle Illusion 3, Vue 5I, Realflow, ZBrush2, Avid Xpress HD Pro, XSI etc, and it hasn't let me down once. Added a soundblaster soundcard and I'm perfectly happy with the system. Cost a bit because I went for a fully loaded version, and UK prices aren't cheap but it does exactly what I wanted it to do.

Would recommend them, but dont know much about the competition.

Cheers,

Shaun

PS - its a desktop replacement so is heavy, approx 12 pounds, and it loves using battery power so total portability is limited I'd say for high power-usage operations.

assistant pimp
11-29-2005, 11:48 PM
shaun
Sounds like your setup would run about 3k or more here in the states.

I forgot about Walmart, gonna go check out what they got there too. Alienware stuff just looks so damn cool...lol. I almost fell in love with a Toshiba at Circuit City, but gonna shop around a lil more.

proton
11-30-2005, 12:13 AM
My GoBoxx has been nothing but a dream to use. It has totally replaced my dektop system and I use it at Work, Home, and traveling. I can't think of a better company to deal with.....give them a cal and let them know what you are after....they can work with you to get you exactly what u need.

vonLein
11-30-2005, 01:41 AM
I guess it just depends on your priorities and needs. If you need a real powerhouse, go with the BOXX desktop replacement.

For me, I like have a portable system that's quiet. My Sony VGN-S380P has a 1.7Ghz M processor, 1.5 GB ram, and a GeForce Go 6200 128 MB (half-shared). I was just running Firefox, IE, Outlook, Word, Excel, Photoshop, Modo, Lightwave Modeler and World of Warcraft at the same time (yeah, I tend to multi-task a lot). It's never crashed, runs ~4-5 hours on the extended life battery, about half as loud as my quiet BOXX workstation, and weighs about 4.5 lbs. Only thing I wish for is a bigger screen (13.2"), but it's useable.

My only point is that you probably don't need a huge desktop replacement - if I was in the market right now I'd probably snap up that Alienware I mentioned earlier myself (not sure how heavy it is though). That's a steal at $1700.

Oh, and I'd avoid the Media Center Edition. Windows is already bloated enough as it is. That's one nice thing about the BOXX systems - they configure it nice and lean for you.

assistant pimp
11-30-2005, 04:20 AM
I may roll with this laptop. It is on sale at best buy right now.

http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cmod.to?seg=SMB&coid=-29488&sel=0&rcid=-26367&ccid=1291021

Shaun_michael
11-30-2005, 07:20 AM
shaun
Sounds like your setup would run about 3k or more here in the states.

I forgot about Walmart, gonna go check out what they got there too. Alienware stuff just looks so damn cool...lol. I almost fell in love with a Toshiba at Circuit City, but gonna shop around a lil more.

3K? US Dollars? Geez, I'll have two! Just so our American cousins can have a chuckle at "Rip-off Britain", my system cost over 3K - STERLING, at the time I bought it! Today's U.S./Sterling exchange rate is 1.71 Dollars to the Pound. I'll let you guys work out how much cheaper things are in the U.S.

must... earn... more... sleep and eat... less - my country demands it!

anostudio
11-30-2005, 02:45 PM
Hi
If you want to suffer a lot, and if you like the problems ....if you have a lot of extra moeny... if you dont care about support

buy Hypersonic !

one of the sadest HyperSonic's EX7 buyer

assistant pimp
11-30-2005, 02:56 PM
uuuuhhh.....I wont be buying hypersonic...lol.

Anythoughts on this laptop? I will be buying it this weekend. With so many choices out there, I still feel like I am missing out on something..
http://www.toshibadirect.com/td/b2c/cmod.to?seg=SMB&coid=-29488&sel=0&rcid=-26367&ccid=1291021

vonLein
11-30-2005, 03:58 PM
Obviously it's your choice, but that laptop is $800 more than the Alienware and has a considerably lesser video card (6600 vs 6800, half the ram), slower hard drive, XP Media Center Edition (you said you needed XP Pro), probably much heavier with two hard drives, etc. Seems like the Alienware is by far the better deal.

assistant pimp
11-30-2005, 04:46 PM
Obviously it's your choice, but that laptop is $800 more than the Alienware and has a considerably lesser video card (6600 vs 6800, half the ram), slower hard drive, XP Media Center Edition (you said you needed XP Pro), probably much heavier with two hard drives, etc. Seems like the Alienware is by far the better deal.

SOrry forgot to state, but that laptop is on sale at bestbuy for 1699 plus a 150 dollar rebate. That was the bad thing about shopping at stores. I could not find a laptop with a 256mb vid card. They all had 128... I am going to try frys and one other store today. But I was impressed by the display on this toshiba model.

vonLein
11-30-2005, 04:52 PM
Ah - so it's the same price but still inferior? :) I'd still go for the Alienware....

assistant pimp
11-30-2005, 05:03 PM
Ah - so it's the same price but still inferior? :) I'd still go for the Alienware....

Good Point...lol..Yea thats the bad thing about Aware.....You cant go in and test drive it because no stores carry them (that I have found). Plus the reviews have been real mixed on their stuff. I may re-evaluate....

MikeMD
12-01-2005, 12:19 AM
Check out http://www.gamepc.com/Ptreferably you want nVidia card, and pentium M if you want the best balance between battery life, decent Lightwave OPenGL and 6-7 lbs thing you can easily carry around.

I got this one:http://www.gamepc.com/shop/systemfamily.asp?family=noteb7

added 1GB of ram to that middle configuration. I think this is less money and better specs than that Toshiba ( also 1680 x 1050 resolution ).

vonLein
12-01-2005, 12:44 AM
That one is ok, but if you look carefully at the specs the Alienware comes out ahead, though I'm not sure about weight and size. Configured as similar as possible, the Gaming PC is $100 more, but has 2" less screen size and half the video ram.

Note: I'm following this one closely because I'm thinking of getting one of these myself in the future - just for a bigger screen size over my current laptop. And I'm not an Alienware salesman, never owned one (a friend has one), just seems to be the best deal. I wish this model had been available 3 months ago.

MikeMD
12-01-2005, 01:32 AM
Alienware with same processor comes out to $2164, so $300 more than game pc I configured, but Alienware gets you nVidia6800 v 6600 and larger screen, so I guess that may be worth $300.

In any case both of these are better than that Toshiba, so go with either Game PC or Alienware, not much difference there in price vs performance. I considered Alienware too, but I went with game PC because it is lighter, smaller and pretty much the same power wise. ( mine is 1.86 ghz and nVidia go 6600 1GB ram and 100GB HD, less than 7 pounds, still 1680 x 1050 res.)

vonLein
12-01-2005, 01:46 AM
Ah, that's true. But unless you're animating a lot of multiple IK rigs or rendering the processor speed isn't a big factor. That's why I left it lower when I did the config.

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