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recommendation needed for new laptop

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by high impact, Dec 11, 2010.

  1. high impact

    high impact Very Active Member

    I am admittedly dangerous when it comes to computers and know just enough to get the job done. I have heard a lot of great things about apple laptops but don't know enough to really understand what I am looking at except the price seems to be double a typical windows version pc.

    I am currently taking a full load of online college classes and use my laptop full time at the office as well. I mostly use microsoft office such as word, publisher and excel. I do a ton of internet surfing and research. Once in a while I create some graphics with Flexi-Designer (we cut vinyl at home on my wife's computer with Flexi-Pro 8.5).

    My question is this - With a limited budget (normally spend a little less than 1K on typical laptop) and my need to run the windows office and graphics software. Is this doable on an apple computer or do I need to upgrade the software to operate with the apple system? If it is doable, what is the recommendation? Should I just stick with another windows machine? Where is the best place to purchase? Thanks
     
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  2. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    I'd get a Windows 7 PC, Intel i5 or i7 Processor, 4 gb RAM, 15.6" display, 500gb 7200rpm HDD, DVDRW, 1gb dedicated (not shared) Video RAM, 6cell battery.

    Cost about 850bucks. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834220864

    Less still if you go i3 CPU/
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115805

    I think a budget of $650-900 will get you alot of PC-Based Laptop.

    A 15" Screen i5 Mac laptop with 4gb Ram and a 7200rpm 500gb HDD is $2000. You do get an aluminum chassis and the love and admiration of your iphone toting brethren. http://store.apple.com/us/configure/MC371LL/A?mco=MTc0Njg1OTY

    I'd rather have a roll of hundos in my pocket and a shiny Asus (with the same hardware specs!)

    yes, if you guy a mac you will also need to buy a new MAC version of MS Office, or run a Windows emulator (then you need a license for Windows!) like many people do.
     
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    This is what I use for my laptop.

    http://us.toshiba.com/computers/laptops/qosmio/X500

    I'm usually running Ai and Wings most of the time, but I have CNC CAD software that I'll probably be running just as much. I know it's more then you are wanting atleast as far as price wise, but I would highly recommend it.
     
  4. stickygraphics12

    stickygraphics12 Member

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    I have a Dell XPS 16 with an i5 processor, 6gb RAM, and it is awesome! (my wife steals it all the time when I bring it home). You can find something similar right now on Dells website for about $750-$1000. I have been more than satisfied with the way this thing performs! Any Laptop would work fine with any of the Core i processors! That's what I would be looking for if I was in the market for a new one.

    Another option is the Dell Inspiron Duo. It's a tablet and laptop in one! It's pretty impressive enough I bought one for my wife for her birthday that's coming up. That comes with an intel Atom processor(Dual Core). Check it out at least....
     
  5. Malkin

    Malkin Very Active Member

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    I love my Dell Inspriron 17" with i5 processor & 4GB ram. Cost $800 from Staples last Feb. Then it went on sale the next day for $680, so I got the $120 back.

    I find the 15" too small to work on, only good for portability.
     
  6. high impact

    high impact Very Active Member

    WOW...Over double for comparable apple computing power.

    What is the difference between i3 and i5? That Asus brand looks very interesting. I have become sick of dell. I am on my fifth battery in this laptop and my wifi has been giving me fits for months now. Dell used to be great to work with but the last few years their customer service has become lacking.
     
  7. Mainframe

    Mainframe Very Active Member

    Macbook Pro, nice machine! I love mine. 15"
     
  8. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    I know a ton of businesses out there go Dell all the time for their computers, but I cannot stress heavily enough to any customer I have talked with NEVER go with a Dell laptop! I work on at least one Dell laptop a month, usually more than that, which have had hardware components fail. This could be something as simple as hard drive failing to having a broken video connector on the motherboard between the ribbon cable to the LCD screen, or the power connector on the motherboard coming loose requiring a new motherboard.

    The worse thing is, in a laptop it is much harder (and MUCH more expensive) to replace out failed components and because of their size (and generally cheaper quality in the likes of Dell) they are bound to die quickly. Your warranty from Dell is pretty much good for a year on a standard consumer notebook, but I would be willing to bet money that something requires replacement within the next three years. Even if you purchase a warranty upgrade package from Dell, they have a nasty habit of refusing to honor them. Trust me, it happens about half the time when I have to call into their tech support for other customers.

    If you're getting a notebook to use for graphics work, there's only two things that I would recommend. On the slightly cheaper side would be a decent performance notebook from ASUS. They are known for quality and high customer satisfaction. In fact, in 2009 and 2010 ASUS ranked better than Apple in quality and satisfaction. Their products are well-priced, powerful, and stable. As you might notice in the link posted above, many also come standard with a 2-year - instead of just plain old 1-year - warranty as well as a 1-year accidental damage warranty. That's a $200 add-on you'd have to buy if you went with something else, and you're getting it for free.

    The second option would be an HP ProBook or EliteBook notebook. These are considered by many businesses out there the best business notebooks available. They are built just as tough as the Mac computers (aluminum chassis and VERY high quality and solid structure) and many come with a standard 3-year warranty. They also offer some of the most powerful components in a business notebook while remaining at a very respectable price.

    I've purchased four ProBook notebooks and 3 EliteBooks in the last year for customers and they have loved them. I'm saving to purchase one for myself as well, as they are perfect for travel since they are built as solid as a tank while still being light enough to easily throw in a bag and carry around.

    There isn't too much difference between some of the models of the i3 and i5 processors, usually the real difference being the performance capabilities of the integrated graphics on the processor. If you are needing to have a longer battery life you might stick with a Core i3, but otherwise I would advise a Core i5 for a bit extra horsepower!
     
  9. smdgrfx

    smdgrfx Member

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    I'm a firm believer in "you get what you pay for" when it comes to computers and especially laptops. My last laptop was a Compaq/HP that I paid a good chunk for and it lasted me 3+ years before deciding it was time to buy another. So, last month I started looking really hard and figured out that a really nice high end machine (true business class) was going to be $2k+. Anything you find at a retailer is really just consumer grade, hence the reason they all come with Win 7 home premium. Fujitsu is what I really wanted. Fujitsu is a really strong brand and you can get some awesome machines from them, but they are not readily available through retailers and they are very pricey to custom build on the net. I settled for a nice Sony from BestBuy that was a good compromise. The fastest i7 you can find through retailer and upgraded to Win 7 Pro for another $70. Why Win 7 Pro? So that you can run older sign software (or any other old program) in XP compatibility mode and remote in to other machines. You can do neither with the Win7 Premium version. I hope to use this machine for another 3 years.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/Sony+-+VAIO+Laptop+/+Intel%26%23174%3B+Core%26%23153%3B+i7+Processor+/+16.4%22+Display+/+6GB+Memory+/+640GB+Hard+Drive+-+Black/1245308.p?id=1218240958342&skuId=1245308&st=sony%20laptop&cp=1&lp=1
     
  10. wetgravy

    wetgravy Guest

    I have to agree with this. If you don't have a large user work load or use it for more than once a week at a time .. Dell's are fine. Anything else I normally go with HP or Asus. Macbooks are fine, but the price and lack of open source never does it for me. Pretty much with a laptop you want to find a decent monitor size with a quick refresh and of course plenty of ram, the rest are all just toppings on your potato.
     
  11. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Fujitsus are nice Plasma TVs especially. My dad has 3 of them, 2 40"s and 1 58". Good picture quality, however, they are a bear to get anything worked on.

    Even that Toshiba that I mentioned that I use, you can't really take it into Best Buy(nor would I want to) to get it worked on. One of the big flaws of going with the higher end machines. I'm all for it as it's cheaper in the long run, because there is a long run with these machines, but if you do have a pickle of a time with one, it costs.
     
  12. Brandon708

    Brandon708 Very Active Member

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    I was thinking about selling my laptop that I just bought a few months ago. I still have all the receipts and boxes.

    ill pm you
     
  13. Malkin

    Malkin Very Active Member

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    I hear ya on not wanting to try to deal with the manufacturer's warranty, I got a 3yr warranty from the retailer (Staples) that covers everything including accidental damage & spills.
     
  14. schramm

    schramm Member

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    Get a macBook, you cannot go wrong with Apple! I have a 27" iMac with all the bells and whistles and I LOVE IT. I just got into Mac last year, a lot more costly but they are so much faster, better at design and really aid you in business. I think of it as an investment.
     
  15. saktrnch

    saktrnch Member

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    I have:
    Acer- real work horse all of the time
    Toshiba- Nice screen, but hates the cold, gets real slow below freezing
    HP- nice computer, works all of the time. Today was -11F and it didn't miss a beat.

    And a side note, I have a HP 4100 cheap printer in my shop trailer. That is one tough printer, anything above -10F and it prints. At -15F I have to run the job 3 or 4 times and then it will print. At -20F I don't try anymore, it just can't see working when it's that chilly outside.
     
  16. choucove

    choucove Active Member

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    I don't wish to start another Mac vs. PC controversy here, but it is very false to say that the mac is so much faster and better at design than a PC. I guarantee you my one year old desktop cost probably the same but will defeat it in every single benchmark or performance comparison there is, and the same can be said from just about any PC configured at the same cost as a Mac computer. It is pretty much impossible to say that you will get more performance from a Mac than you can in an identically priced PC, the PC will always offer better performance bang for your buck.

    To say that any computer is easier to design on than another is completely founded on opinion from one person's preference over another. I don't have any real design experience but I can tell you designing will be 10 times easier for me on my PC because that is what I am used to, that is what all my software is designed to run on. If you know how to use the OSX interface better, then you may find designing on a Mac better but again it is solely opinion and has no basis on the physical computer hardware or software alone.

    In the end I return to the original question posed above which is what options are available given a limited budget of around or under $1000. You cannot buy a mac laptop really capable of design work in that price range. But there are many PC laptops out there that are definitely capable of handling design work such as the ASUS notebooks mentioned above as well as from several other brands like Acer, HP, or Toshiba.
     
  17. schramm

    schramm Member

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    Being fixated on a PC is cute and if you have never tried a Mac, then you have no real clue of what you are talking about, your basing all your knowledge on the fact that you know PC. I do not want to start a mine is bigger then yours competition but considering I have designed stencils for furniture on a PC for better then 15 years and just within a year went over to Mac I do know both. Now there are many things that are true about PCs having some advantages as much of the software is designed around PC as there are that many more users of PCs over Mac. However with that said Mac for design (which is what I do) is top of the line and I do care how much money you drop in a PC there 2 are not comparable! With a Mac you can dedicate 25-60% of your harddrive space to be used as a PC and still have all the benefits of PC and all the quality of a Mac. AppleCare is 2nd to none and if you need help with just about anything that is installed on a Mac there is a video available to purchasers of a mac to get used to using those features. You can pull a iMac out of the box and be online literally in 5 minutes with a iMac and you could never do that with a PC, not to mention that Mac doesnt short change you with software, if it comes with a Mac it is the FULL version and you dont get a stupid pop up every other day saying pay for the full version - Apple gives you everything. Built in cameras, mics, mega bright screens and so much more....

    Then you next statement was you cannot get a MacBook for $1000??? Go to Apple.com as it is $999 loaded with top of the line full version goodies! PCs are fine if you want to update, click out of 100's of pop ups, have no real customer service, have to buy the short changed software they add to it, and the list goes on and on!

    Before you give me another opinion about how great PC is (which I am not saying it is bad), stop into a Apple Store 1 time and I bet you leave with a Mac!

    Enough said.... Not trying to insult your knowledge of PC but dont down a Mac without owning one as you have no clue how great they are til you own one!
     
  18. heyskull

    heyskull Very Active Member

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    I have just binned my girlfriends laptop after two and a half years of use!
    Annoying as it cost over £600.
    It will cost more to repair than it's worth (motherboard fault)!!!
    On picking it up from the service guy he reckoned laptops last between 2-3 years then something goes seriously wrong.
    He recomended a cheap laptop and buy a proper PC which is more repairable.

    SC
     
  19. jiarby

    jiarby Major Contributor

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    Top of the line goodies?
    Core2Duo CPU, 2.4ghz
    250gb HDD
    13" display
    2gb RAM.

    A PC Laptop with these specs would be ALOT less...
    Check out the HP dv6t series...

    Here is what you get for $550 (almost half the $999 MAC)
    i3 processor (not older core 2 duo)
    500gb HDD (twice as big)
    4gb RAM (twice as much)
    15.6" display (not 13" like the Mac..)

    So you get alot more computer power for half as much money.

    For the record, an Apple Mac Book Pro DOES have specs like these... except for one.
    15" display... HP is 15.6... we will call it a push
    2.4ghz i5 processor. HP is i3. i5 is available. Advantage Apple
    320gb HDD. DOH! HP is 500gb. Advantage HP
    4gb Ram... Another PUSH.

    So, the BIG difference is that the Mac Book Pro costs $1799. The HP is $550. I am sure the Mac is a great machine. I am sure Apple fan boys love them to death.

    But, it costs THREE TIMES as much money. 3x!!

    It is up to the buyer to decide what their money is worth to them.


    The HP dv6tse model has the i5 processor, 750gb HDD, 6gb RAM, 15.6" display.
    It costs $800. Same processor as MAC Book Pro, 50% more Ram, 130% more HDD and it still costs $200 less than the $999 cheapie Mac Book, and $1000 less than the i5 MBPro!
     
  20. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Well, I'm a Mac user, and I do have P.C.s too.

    My opinion is, you probably need to have a better reason to switch over to a Mac than what the original poster has stated. I run PC on my Mac, it's just as fast AND just as buggy as my PC. but to get a Mac for just internet, when you also have to invest in a copy of Windows to run on Bootcamp, seems like your gonna blow your 1000 budget. I would not get the MacBook, I have one, and as nice a machine that it is, its still plastic. though I hear the new ones are built a little tougher. Not impressed with the new Airs.. especially when they have no drive or ethernet built in. I do like my MacBookPro and that is my main machine, but that was 3000+ bucks fully loaded and add the 1875 for the 30" monitor... it better be nice.

    I would only recommend a Mac if you were going to, or have already invested in any combination of IPad, Ipod Touch, Iphone and/or Apple TV

    The Asus machines look good to me and if I was going to get a notebook PC, that would be the one.
     
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