View Full Version : Laptop recomendations?

04-12-2006, 05:00 PM
I'm currently considering getting a laptop as my main work station, I'll be moving around a lot so a laptop will be best.

My problem is I know next to nothing about them, have always used dekstops. Does anyone have any recomendations for a good laptop? Weight isn't an issue, I mostly need one to run photoshop, 3ds max, zbrush, and a few other minor progs all at once. So I need a good multi tasking machine.

I realize prices are a good bit higher than desktops, I'm trying not to break the bank but realize I'll have to shell out more for the easy of mobility. And how difficult is it to upgrade laptops? I've always assumed you can't, or atleast not without having to take it all apart and whatnot.

I'm a bit concerned it would be a waste of money if I'm not able to upgrade the parts later and the hardware becomes obsolete.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

04-12-2006, 11:55 PM
Well there are really two ways you can go here.

The first is more portable, with decent battery life and uses a modern dual-core processor. These laptops will be faster than single-core models provided your applications can utilize dual-cores. Most 3d apps and photoshop can use multiple cores. I would recommend this category. Also, dual core processors are the best at multitasking, as the load is shared between two separate processing centers and can handle more tasks at once.

The second is the 17-inch 9+ pound category, which will have battery life measured in minutes and generally a single-core high frequency processor, usually a P4 or opteron. You can also get these with dual core processors like the amd x2 but they are less common. They are also expensive.

I would recommend the <a href="http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/">Macbook Pro</a> with windows installed using <a href="http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp">Bootcamp</a>, as it is the fastest windows XP core duo notebook, has a decent graphics card, and you will have 2 operating systems, one of which (mac osx) is virus-free. It is also very portable and very well built. 3dsmax has been reported to work fine on some, and not install on others, I'd say the jury is still out, so you might want to wait a week or so (bootcamp has only been out for about a week)
Here is my recommended configuration:
Apple macbook pro 2.16Ghz intel core duo
15.4" widescreen high brightness anti-glare 1440x900 display
2GB 667Mhz DDR2 (one stick from here: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other%20World%20Computing/5300DDR2S1GB/)
100GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive
ATI x1600 pci-express with 256MB GDDR3 and dual-link support
slot-loading dvdrw/cdrw drive
wifi and bluetooth with EDR + gigabit ethernet
optical audio in/out
firewire 400 and usb 2.0
isight webcam
remote with frontrow software (OSX only)
backlit keyboard
extra-large touchpad with dual-finger scrolling/panning
one inch thick
5.5 pounds
3.5 hour battery life

Now for the other end of the spectrum, let's look at the alienware aurora. This one i've configured to run an amd x2 dual-core processor, which will probably be slightly faster than the macbook, but will render the laptop completely unportable (as if its size and weight did not already do that)
Here's the config I came up with:
Alienware aurora m7700 with amd X2 4400+ dual core processor
17" widescreen 1440x900 display
2GB ddr RAM (400mhz)
256MB nvidia geforce 7800 gtx
100GB 7200rpm sata drive
dvdrw/cdrw combo drive

If you want the fastest you can get in a laptop and truly don't care about portability or battery life, than the second choice is for you. But if you want good performance in a more portable form factor than the first choice is more suitable (and a lot cheaper). I'm not super knowledgeable about the desktop replacement laptops and as such have just used the alienware as a point of reference, and cannot recommend it as I know nothing about it besides its specs and price. I have used several macbooks in the past months, and thus I can give them a solid recommendation.

Anybody else know about desktop replacements?

04-13-2006, 02:07 AM
As much as I think running Windows on Apple machines is a fantastic idea, and as much as I love OS X, I can't recommend using Boot Camp and Windows to solve your problem. First of all, the Mac Book Pro does not have a right mouse button for the track pad, and currently there is no alternative workaround, so whenever using Windows you will have to plug in an external mouse. Second, Boot Camp is very new and probably not all hardware connections are present or functioning completely. If OS X is really desired, might want to try hacking it up (there are guides) to get it working on a non-Apple notebook. Regardless, there will still be the problem of fussing with data between the two filesystems (NTFS and HFS+).

For performance with decent battery life, I would have to recommend either a Dell Latitude D820 or a model from Lenovo's Thinkpad T series. Both feature Centrino Core Duos, and both can come installed with the mobile versions of either the FireGL (for the Thinkpad) or the Quadro (in the Latitude). So you can render 3D in good time and have your mobility, too. They can be had for about six pounds, which isn't too bad, and both can have two batteries. They are constructed well, also, as I think they are both made out of magnesium alloy (the Thinkpad is for sure, not clear on the Latitude, but it's still made out of some metal).

Whatever you do, do not purchase a consumer model of any laptop brand (if they make a distinction). Business lines all the way; they tend to be far more durable and will have the professional video cards to boot. Expect to spend somewhere between $2000 and $3000.

04-13-2006, 03:33 AM
yeah i would recommend a lenovo thinkpad second to the macbook.

I would also wait for the macbook until everything is fully up to snuff with bootcamp. It is still a beta release and as such there are bound to be issues, which you may or may not be up for dealing with.

Mathew Everett
04-13-2006, 03:36 AM
HP 8000 series with CORE DUO

$1,899 it has nice graphics a 17" screen and runs with the best.. dual HD's 3 gigs of ram and tons more....

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04-13-2006, 03:36 AM
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