Again, Laptop.

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Ratchet
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Again, Laptop.

Post by Ratchet »

As some of you may (or may not) remember: I made an investment, not too long ago, to get myself a desktop computer capable of handling absolutely anything I throw at it. $1500 later, I'm determined that this mammoth will be a time vampire, and a very worthwhile investment. However, I'm going off to college this September, and it'd be pretty interesting to carry around my monitor and tower and plug it in somewhere in the Engineering classroom to run my CAD software as elegantly as it would notepad :P

That being said, we were informed a capable laptop is mandatory, and we were given a list of minimum specs our laptops should contain, as well as software requirements. I'm going to need:
  • Windows 7 or Windows 8
  • 1.6GHz Processor (minimum)
  • 6GB of RAM (minimum)
  • Wireless networking
  • 120GB HD (minimum)
  • No atom processors
  • 12"+ screen (recommended)
Now, those are the absolute minimum specs. This is what I'm looking for (want):
  • Windows 8 (it'd be very easy & fluent to move applications, data, etc to/from my Win8 desktop)
  • Top end i5 or better. I'm largely impressed with my i7-3770, so I'd like to have something comparable.
  • 8GB RAM or more
  • 500GB or more HDD, 7200RPM is a nice plus
  • GOOD reviews. I need a 4-year laptop.
  • External graphics card. 3D rendering is fairly demanding, and I'd like to have the onboard RAM for the CAD software itself, while the graphics has its' own RAM for rendering
  • 15-16" screen
This is going to be heavily used for Solidworks, so I'm really looking to get a reliable purchase. I would like to spend under $900 with tax and shipping included. I've got a nice break with my schooling being nearly entirely payed for by scholarships, but I do have a few things to buy ($100 for Solidworks, $X for MSOffice2013, dorm furnishings, etc) and I'd like to have the money to do that so my dad doesn't have to.

Understand (respectfully) before responding that if you're aiming to talk me out of something (like spending a few extra bucks for an i5/i7) then you're wasting your energy. :P I want quality recommendations if you have any, please :)
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Fippmam
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Fippmam »

So uh...I guess recommending a tablet is out of the question?

I was never the student to lug around a laptop to class - I write my notes on pen and paper. On the off chance I do decide I need a portable device, my phone or tablet usually suffice.

Anyway: http://www.amazon.com/Toshiba-L855-S537 ... toshiba+i7

Please please please please please PLEASE, do NOT go with HP - They suck! :) gL

edit: wtf do you need 8 gigs of ram on a laptop for? Is CAD some kind of god software that cures cancer or something?

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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by epsy »

I don't know how much tax is where you live, or if they include it in the price, so I'm assuming this comes very close to your budget. It also comes close to your needs/wishes. I've had it(or at least something really similar) for 6 months now and so far it served me well(although I am NOT bothering with AMD drivers for linux), and the cooling works, unlike on my previous laptop. You might have to look into a fix for the wireless on windows though, it kept dropping the connection and failed to reconnect. No issue on linux though. I've had it for a slightly better discount though, at £500 including tax and shipping.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/inspiron-15r-s ... redir=true

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Renegade
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Renegade »

Here you go, closest I could find.

Pretty good one too, on sale for 699.99$, marked down from $929.99

Specs:
  • Intel Core i7-3610M 2.7 GHz Processor
    8 GB DDR3
    750 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive
    15.6-Inch LED Screen, Nvidia GT 610M 2G Graphics
    Windows 8
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kyle
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by kyle »

The only thing i have to say, spend a little extra money on a 17ish inch screen (if it is any more). Larger screens work so much better when using cad software. Too bad you have to use solidworks and not inventor. it is like 2005 software vs 2013 software.
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Ratchet
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Ratchet »

Fipp, I can't see myself doing CAD on a tablet :P

Epsy, that sounds like a bit of a pain to work with. :/

Renegade, thanks, I had looked at that one :P Not sure how I feel about the mocha color haha. Definitely a possibility.

Kyle, 17 inch screens are heavier, though :( I'm already looking at carrying 6-7 lbs of laptop, plus whatever books and notes. I like the idea of a lighter laptop if possible :P plus, the screen money would cut out of processing power!
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Monkey
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Monkey »

You could save money by downloading LibreOffice (open source) instead of getting MS Office. I have converted several people I know from MS Office to LibreOffice already and they are all happy with it.

http://www.libreoffice.org

If there is any other software that you would consider paying for, ask here first because I and other people could usually find you an excellent open source (free) alternative.


I would also recommend AMD CPUs over Intel and AMD GPUs over Nvidia but it looks like you may have already made your mind up about those.
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Ratchet
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Ratchet »

Monkey wrote:You could save money by downloading LibreOffice (open source) instead of getting MS Office. I have converted several people I know from MS Office to LibreOffice already and they are all happy with it.

http://www.libreoffice.org

If there is any other software that you would consider paying for, ask here first because I and other people could usually find you an excellent open source (free) alternative.


I would also recommend AMD CPUs over Intel and AMD GPUs over Nvidia but it looks like you may have already made your mind up about those.
I have LibreOffice on my desktop already. I also have it on my Linux side.

<brag>
However, I am (actually) business certified by Microsoft in MS Office. It even shows!
</brag>

I'm just not as impressed by LibreOffice as I intend to be, plus I'm spoiled to some of the features that MSOffice has that Libre doesn't.

In regards to free alternatives to the CAD software I'll be using, it's probably not a good idea. If we're going to be taught using specific software, I want the advantage of being able to follow along. Not spend an unneeded amount of time searching for the same functionality in an open source application.

I appreciate it, though :P
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Monkey
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Monkey »

Ratchet wrote:In regards to free alternatives to the CAD software I'll be using, it's probably not a good idea. If we're going to be taught using specific software, I want the advantage of being able to follow along. Not spend an unneeded amount of time searching for the same functionality in an open source application.
Yes I agree with this, I just meant more general purpose software. Anyway, I didn't realise that you were aware of open source. :)

Hopefully, in a few years time, open source will be the norm.
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Phytotron
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Phytotron »

AMD's open source performance is by all accounts awful, though. Proprietorship isn't an inherently bad thing, nor is open source inherently good.

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Ratchet
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Ratchet »

I should point out, Kyle informed me that Autodesk gives "students" free full versions of their software. Thus, I've signed up with my university email and I have access to AutoCAD 2014 and Inventor Professional 2014. So, I'll get to poke around with those things when I get around to downloading them (hopefully I remember tonight!)

I'm still in need of a decent laptop, though. I made a trip today down to Best Buy, and I didn't care much for their selection. I've scoured the internet for some good choices, and some slim-fit possibilities I'm skeptical about because no one has reviewed them. It's a big conflict with me, my dad's also convinced that I'm wasting money if I spend anything over $500 on a laptop. "It's just for school" "My laptop can run all that stuff fine and it was $300!"

Typical dad, though. I want something with a competitive processor and GPU so I don't have future issues with bogging-down and bottlenecking while trying to use CAD software. I've got about $1900 to budget around in total, but I do have to pay about $500 for books, another $450 for engineering supplies (autocad, engineering kits, tools, etc), at least $250 on dorm supplies/regular school supplies. That's throwing numbers around, and it'd put me paying about $1200. That leaves me with a literal $700 left over in total.

I've bumped down my expectations a bit, looking for a processor with:
Passmark score of at least 3100

Graphics still non-dedicated with:
Passmark score of at least 500

Resolution:
1600x900 or better

Screen size: 15.6"

It's getting harder and harder to meet those specs in $700 or less, that's for sure.
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Monkey »

Phytotron wrote:AMD's open source performance is by all accounts awful, though.
  • 1) I take it you mean open source performance for GPUs; open source performance for CPUs is excellent.
  • 2) Ratchet will be running Windows, using closed source, proprietory drivers.
Phytotron wrote:Proprietorship isn't an inherently bad thing, nor is open source inherently good.
We will have to agree to disagree on this. Hopefully, in a few years time, open source will have shown itself to be a better model than closed source/proprietorship.
At the moment, we do have a lot of crap open source software (including Linux) however, quality will improve.
As for the open source performance of AMD GPUs, this is improving and, I believe, will one day be at least equal to that of the closed source drivers. A good example of where this happened is with the Gutenprint open source drivers (for printers). The quality of their printing is often better than that of their closed source, proprietory rivals.
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Vitalit »

http://www.razerzone.com/gaming-systems/razer-blade-pro

I think they do some kind of discount for graphic designers too

quite out of your price range without a discount though but it is light and as powerful as you want.


edit: ah yeah looked 999 with the discount http://www.razerzone.com/creativepro
maybe your school is signed up ^^

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Ratchet
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Ratchet »

^ notttt quite looking to spend that much :P
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Re: Again, Laptop.

Post by Hoax »

Why doesn't the minimum specs include any kind of graphics?
They recommend a laptop but for what exactly, hardcore rendering in class?
You don't want to be talked out of spending more for better specs but you also care about money...I'd see if I could find out exactly how much it would get used first or you could end up with a really cool paperweight (presuming you'd have your desktop there as well)

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