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Notebooks What laptop/tablet pc should I get?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Sneblot, 27 Aug 2010.

  1. Sneblot

    Sneblot Member

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    Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me out with my choice of laptop? I am about to at Nottingham Trent on their Product Design course and I was wondering what type of specs I should be looking out for when it comes to a mobile workstation capable of running solidworks at nearly its fastest (for a laptop that is). Which manufacturers should I be looking at for best build quality/durability at a decent price? Also should I look into getting a tablet for sketching?

    Thanks for any help given to me on this.

    Sneblot
     
  2. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Dell small business (you don't need to be a business to order, yes you can order only1. It's just machines AIMED at business professionals).
    Dell features long warranty on select models (varies based on country), such as the Latitude and Precision (in Canada you have 3 years warranty on the system with 3 year next business day on site service, and local (in the same country) tech support during office hours.. US is similar).
    The next business day service, I find, is important for those who can't not have their system for 1-2 weeks (as you need to ship it for repair, wait for the repair, and repair the system, shipped it back to you, and hope they fixed the right thing when you have it backed). They come at your home (a contracted firm which offer IT support for small business who can't afford a full time IT staff), change wtv part in front of you (assuring that the work is done correctly), that your problem is fixed, and your always have your laptop in you.
     
  3. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Wacom Intuos 4
     
  4. jaydeee

    jaydeee New Member

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    dell is my brand too, I like it.
    its also our office choice of brand.
    I have latitude D610 customized. :rock:
     
  5. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Let me add, Lenovo is a fine brand also. They have a reputation of making solid systems.
    At work we have Dell buisness machines and Lenovo's, even Dell and Lenovo Tablet PC's, and both are equally good. They both have their strength and weaknesses.

    For instance,
    - Lenovo has this completely out-dated designed, but it's difficult to scratch, and care taking of the system is minimal.
    - Dell system usually have the better performance over Lenovo, but they have many parts which makes the system a bit weaker compared to Dell.. you can't toss them around.
    - Dell latest business machine has great professional looks, but again, you want to carry it in a caring case to prevent scratch as they will show.
    - Dell has a better keyboard layout (and now some model even are backlit), but the touchpad is not the best arround (it's not terrible, it's very good, but Lenovo uses better ones). In contrast, Lenovo keyboard put the Fn key where the control key is, making Copy/Cut/Past a frustrating task when you are not used to it, also the keyboard is usually a bit louder.
    - Both offers equally great service
    - Dell Tablet PC's are far more expensive, but the tracking screen (which is also multi-touch), is superior over Lenovo.
    - Both allows you to negotiate a price or free upgrades when you call to order (and free shipping)
    - System fans are the same (for desktops, the fan quality is a direct match... as computer enthusiasts we know they both are mediocre at best fans in the term of noise and durability, but there is no better).
    - Lenovo doesn't seam to care about the ports layout.. they won't hesitate releasing a laptop where the Ethernet plug is in front of you (not saying they did). While many business systems from Dell, they tend to be more thoughtful. The big plugs are away from you, on the back even. From instance, on the Latitude E6400/E6500, Display Port and Ethernet are on the back of the system, making the system easy to plug and remove, and no awkward setup when you plug everything at home. You can easily leave your laptop on the corner of the table, and everything looks professionally and organized. In revenge, Lenovo offers a lower price point for many of their systems.

    If you pick either, you will be satisfied with the machine.

    Here are some important notes:
    - Battery life degrade FAASSST. It starts with 3 hours, 2 month later you are 2 hours. So when you select a laptop battery it's important to consider this. n my case, my, new, battery last 9 hours.. I need 5 hours. After 1 year, my battery offered me 5 hours and half (estimate). Which is perfect. The laptop battery fit my needs for a full year.
    Now, it's 1 year and half, and my battery has only 2 hours and half left. I need a new battery :(
    Laptop manufacture makes big money with laptop batteries. So consider spending 200$ for a new one a year from now. Laptop batteries life is about 1 year to a year and half, until they provide insufficient time of usage for ones needs. And sometimes they die completely at a year and half (depending on their initial capacity).
    Because Lithium is a very unstable material, for some reason, it oxidize itself inside. so when not in use, the battery wear itself. Using the battery, or keeping it at about 50-40% in a cold place will prologue the battery life. Every 30 recharge cycle, it's recommended to do a battery re-calibration, which means put the laptop under idle, fully charged, unplugged, power saver power mode, and let the battery discharge itself, until Windows closes/hibernate on you. Then go in the BIOS and stay there until the system turns off. When it's off DO NOT turn on the computer (this will destroy the battery, as it needs a small charge to recharge itself). Plug-it in and let it recharge (you can use the system at this point). You do this to recalibrate the embedded chip that estimates the renaming power time. If you plug/unplug between 100-90% many many times, you'll end having the laptop saying some crazy time such as 2 hours left, when you really have 5-6-7 hours.

    They are new batteries around that apparently last for 3 years before they are warn out. Dell has one for the Latitude E6400/E6500 laptop, and ASUS has one for it's B model series (B = business). I have no tried those. Their WHr is lower though.. so that means less battery life. They usually follow a 3 year warranty as this a new battery technology, and well they were not tested for 3 years real-world environment. Which is interesting offer. Normally, even if you have a 60 year warranty with your laptop, the battery (and accessories) is still 1 year.. for ANY manufacture.

    It is to be noted, that if you use the laptop everyday, expect the overall system-life to be 3-4 years, maybe 5 if you are careful. Make that 3-4 years for HOME or low end business systems (as they are aimed at cutting cost, so cheaper quality components are used.)

    Another note, we always say avoid extended warranties. I say YES< but it's of if you do it with the manufacture. As for 1: You get the right parts. You get quality service (most of the time), and lastly, it's done properly, and no hidden crap for refusing to repair your system. As a student I can assure you that within the life time of the system something will go wrong with the system... you'll lose pad, a USB port gets lose, the screen hinge will get lose a bit... all valid point to get your system repaired, due to the heavy number of open/close, and that broken USB port due that you use a mouse and always plug it there (and example, did not happen to me.. yet.. no sign visible of this.. but ports have a max number of in/outs that can be performed. I know that DVI plugs are supposed to last only 300-400 in/out's from a plug.. and I am not talking about cheap ones).

    Also, most business machines, are not glossy, which is BIG points for you. Glossy means finger print magnet and dust magnet. Also it will show minor scratch very easily, and be VERY distracting. You'll find yourself constantly adjusting your screen as it keeps reflecting you or the lights, and force you to go full brightness to compensate the reflection, killing battery life.
    Remember, that if you have a valid reason or want to exchange, Dell (I can't comment for Lenovo, and this is in Canada, so I don't know if the policy is different), is that they'll take the system back, free of charge (they pay shipping for you). If you don't have a valid reason, they will charge you some restock fee which is a percentage of the system. Be sure to be nice on the phone and explain clearly, and ask if they would be nice to revoke any fees. Usually you don't need to ask, they do it and tell you... they want to keep you as a customer.
    For Dell you have 21 days to check out your system.. the law in most countries is only 15 days.. so Dell is very nice. I can't comment for Lenovo. please verify before purchase. In fact, very for both, as it might be different.


    If you go with a normal laptop, avoid Intel X4500M HD graphic card. It's on the nortbridge, and is the causes of a throttling problem as soon as you do anything too intensive for the GPU. Such as long 1080p video's, Google Earth (the program), or advance 2D. This is because the north-bridge overheats, and it designed construct is not to sustain heavy heat.

    Remember that a laptop is NOT a desktop. Tablet's are even slower. This is due to their restrictive cooling system, which not only needs to cool off every single process form 1 fan, it needs to be quiet, and save battery life. A laptop should be a companion to your desktop.
    You COULD go with these portable workstations, but expect to carry a thick machine, and a really thick and on the heavy side power brick with you (230-320W.. instead of 65, or 90W).

    Avoid high end processors of the Core i7 series, they heat too much, which means easy throttling in summer. Opt for a mid range Core i5 if you seek performance. It will be slower, but at least it will work well all the time. If you force the system like crazy, no mater the configuration the system will throttle (unless you go gaming or workstation.. but again, expect this super thick and heavy machines). It's a laptop, not a desktop.
     
    Last edited: 28 Aug 2010
  6. Sneblot

    Sneblot Member

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    Hey thanks for all the information. Special thanks to Goodbytes for the indepth information on the battery's at things.

    I will keep looking and if anyone has any more information on things I should look out for when buying a laptop/tablet pc rather then a desktop (as I have never brought a laptop before.) then please let me know thanks.
     

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