Can anyone recommend a good laptop

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  11 November 2005
Can anyone recommend a good laptop

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.
 
  11 November 2005
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 ...
 
  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
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  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
Voodoo 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

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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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)

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.
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  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
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  11 November 2005
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?
 
  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
 
  11 November 2005
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.
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