Advice needed on specs for graphics laptop

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  08 August 2008
Advice needed on specs for graphics laptop

Hello all, I'm in the market for a laptop that I can use as a mobile workstation for doing Photoshop, some After Effects, 3d work, and some digital sculpting in zbrush or mudbox, and I have a few questions to ask before I do any ordering.

These are the specs of a couple of machines that I have narrowed my choices down to
Dell Xps m1710
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T7600 (2.33 GHz, 667 MHz FSB, 4 MB L2-cache)
Windows Vista Ultimate (32Bit)
17.0" UltraSharp™ Wide Screen WUXGA (1920x1200)
4096MB 667MHz Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM [2x2048]
320GB (5.400rpm) SATA Hard Drive
512MB DDR3 nVidia GeForce Go 7950 GTX graphics
Fixed Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive
9 cell Lithium-Ion Battery
£1,103.61 ex VAT

Rock X770-T7800

Intel Core2 Duo T7800 2.60Ghz FSB800 4MB
NVIDIA GeForce 7950 Go GTX 512MB
17” Hi-res WUXGA+ X-Glass rock logo Orange
4GB DDR2 800MHz
200GB 7200rpm SATA HDD
8x Dual Layer +/- DVD-RW
Intel 1GB Turbo Memory
Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit
£1017.21ex VAT

I think they're both good machines, but I need to know if the graphics cards are good enough for the kind of graphics work I need to do. Also should I be looing at DirectX 10 graphics cards (for any future proofing)

Also does anyone have any advice on Vista 32 0r 64 bit for these kinds of machines.

Is Intel's turbo memory anything to write home about?

And lastly any opinions on the manufacturers? They're both pig-ugly machines but i'm more concerned with performance.

Any advice gratefully received.
  08 August 2008
Both of those are nice systems, but they have some flaws:

1. 4GB of RAM and a 32-bit OS is a waste, in my opinion. I've been using Vista Ultimate 64 for about 3 weeks now with no issues, other than some file-sharing hiccups. Ask for 64-bit!

2. A 5400rpm hard drive is slow - don't get anything less than 7200rpm. If it comes down to space vs. speed, take a smaller model (200GB 7200 drives are available) and get a USB external for storage. Avoid 5400rpm hard drives at all costs, especially when you consider that your hard drive is already the slowest part of your computer by far.

3. I've never heard of the Turbo Memory before.

4. The 7950 GTX is a rock-solid card, it's the one that I have in my work laptop. Other than games, no 3D work that I did gave the 7950 a sweat at all. I was limited by my CPU and 2GB of RAM. I would recommend that card.

If you have the money, check out - that's where I got my work laptop from. They custom build them for you, and the options that you have are incredible!

Hope that helps!
World in Conflict Level Designer: Designer of do_Virginia and do_Paradise
  08 August 2008
Thanks for that ThreeDViking, that's kinda what I thought?

I think I'll go for the Rock, they seem to have a pretty good rep, unfortunately the Hypersonics only seem to be available in the US or Canada.

Cheers for the advice.

Anyone know about the 'turbo memory', it's only £25 but I'm just interested to know if it's a gimmic or actually of any use?
  08 August 2008
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