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Art Laptop Recommendations 20090513 (was forum=28)Follow

#1 May 13 2009 at 11:25 AM Rating: Good
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First, let me apologize for what I'm sure is yet another "do my research for me" thread. I am rather far out of the loop technology-wise these days, and I just don't know of any sites that cater to the graphics-design computer field. If there are any such resources, I'd be indebted it someone would clue me in.

My wife needs a new laptop. The old one (specifications below) does the job but somewhat slowly and is suffering from component death. She works in animation, and while this will not be her primary machine, she will need to do some work for business and pleasure on the side. Chief applications are:

Adobe CS3 package, especially
After Effects
Flash
Photoshop
Illustrator
Corel? Painter
And of course, Final Fantasy XI (although she's not too picky about graphics)

---

Old System (wow, it's ancient)
Dell Inspiron 8600
CPU Intel Pentium M @1600mhz
RAM 1G @600FSB
HDD 60GB @5400RPM
GFX ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 Pro Turbo
Monitor 15.4", not sure on max res

New System expected parameters (subject to alteration)
Cost: Preferably less than 2000USD
Brand: ??? Was looking at Dell Precision workstations
OS: XP ideally, not familiar if Adobe has compatability problems. Looking forward to Windows 7, 64 bit environment
CPU: Core 2 @???mhz ? Quads are still a little pricy.
RAM: No less than 4G @???FSB
HDD: Balance of size and speed. Animation projects take up a lot of room, but my understanding is that CPU and HDD speed impact the programs in question more than raw graphics power. It seems SSDs are still pricy, at least for the models reviewed favourably on Tom's Hardware Guide.
GFX: I have no idea, open to suggestions.
Monitor: Wants to keep midsize ~15.4"

If anyone can help out with resources, recommended parts for any parameter, or point me towards a make and model I can check out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

KK
#2 May 13 2009 at 11:28 AM Rating: Good
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Get a good processor with lots of RAM. @#%^ laptop displays, just hook it up to a good external monitor. If she's doing a lot of animation projects, she'll probably want a big external drive anyway.

Most laptops will have easy access to the RAM, so choose the cheapest option for RAM the manufacturer will let you get and replace it yourself. You don't have to take apart your laptop and it's mindbogglingly easy.

Edited, May 13th 2009 2:34pm by Sweetums
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#3 May 13 2009 at 11:34 AM Rating: Good
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Get her an Apple or Ask Soracloud. He's in graphic design.
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#4 May 13 2009 at 11:41 AM Rating: Good
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I don't know much about art laptops, except that they need good graphic card power, lots of ram, and good processors for rendering. HP has a good deal on the HDX 16 & 18. Here's a coupon code for like 30% off NB3857.

http://www.shopping.hp.com/webapp/shopping/series_can.do;HHOJSID=ByKjKLvQNL6dLKTjNQw4TK4sLhnH4sz6z1hKh10h9hdJ6Q8VK2jJ!1618437733?storeName=computer_store&landing=notebooks&a1=Category&v1=Performance%20and%20entertainment

Those things got top ratings on all those fancy internets lists last year.
#5 May 13 2009 at 11:43 AM Rating: Good
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You can't go wrong with the Asus Eeepc.
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#6 May 13 2009 at 11:48 AM Rating: Good
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Thank you, I will check the HPs out and maybe ask Soracloud as well. Macs are out of the question (existing programs are PC versions, she says PC gets first/best versions when specifically dealing with animation, and she's got a vendetta against them for some reason).

Somewhat interested in finding out what a 'good' amount of RAM is for her uses, assuming we're operating in an x64 environment so the 4GB cap doesn't apply. I have no problems doing minor additions and repair, as that hasn't changed much since I got my chops. Also unsure whether to spring for The Good Stuff, as a bit of a gamer my rigs use high integrity low latency sticks but I don't know if non realtime-rendering applications care or even notice.

edit - Wow, if that coupon code is really good for 30% off, you can build a heck of a computer well below our price range. Never ceases to amaze. Now time to check out that Asus, last I saw an Asus was a very uber rig off Newegg...

Edited, May 13th 2009 4:05pm by kskerns
#7 May 13 2009 at 12:03 PM Rating: Excellent
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I would suggest Painter. I've never used it but from what I have heard its a great product (probably the only one from Corel).

I am in the market as well for a new PC though I will not need as many programs as you, no animation here. You can never go wrong with a lot of RAM and make sure its expandable. Also get the fastest ************* processor you can find, **** get a PC that has 12 of them (not really)
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#8 May 13 2009 at 12:12 PM Rating: Good
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kskerns wrote:
Thank you, I will check the HPs out and maybe ask Soracloud as well. Macs are out of the question (existing programs are PC versions, she says PC gets first/best versions when specifically dealing with animation, and she's got a vendetta against them for some reason).

Somewhat interested in finding out what a 'good' amount of RAM is for her uses, assuming we're operating in an x64 environment so the 4GB cap doesn't apply. I have no problems doing minor additions and repair, as that hasn't changed much since I got my chops. Also unsure whether to spring for The Good Stuff, as a bit of a gamer my rigs use high integrity low latency sticks but I don't know if non realtime-rendering applications care or even notice.

edit - Wow, if that coupon code is really good for 30% off, you can build a heck of a computer well below our price range. Never ceases to amaze. Now time to check out that Asus, last I saw an Asus was a very uber rig off Newegg...

Edited, May 13th 2009 4:05pm by kskerns



That coupon is all over this page:

http://www.dealigg.com/cat-best-price-ComputersLaptop

Basically anything over 999 is 30% but it expires on the 17th, or 2500 uses.
#9 May 13 2009 at 12:12 PM Rating: Good
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Soracloud wrote:
Also get the fastest mother@#%^ing processor you can find, **** get a PC that has 12 of them


It never seems to be a good idea to buy the tippest-top of the line because of the amount you pay just to be the best and the rate at which being 'the best' depreciates. For that reason I haven't even looked at the offerings from Alienware/Monarh/VooDoo/whoever makes 'l33t' PCs these days. With these prices it might be possible to get a quad core, though. {Hmmm}

By the by, congratulations on cute baby Jillian. Haven't had the occasion to mention it in the General forums.

K

(P.S. - The EEE's look like netbooks, but I'm going to see if Asus has anything on their website proper)
#10 May 13 2009 at 12:33 PM Rating: Good
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His Excellency Soracloud wrote:
I would suggest Painter. I've never used it but from what I have heard its a great product (probably the only one from Corel).
I'm not much of a digital illustrator, but to be honest, I think Painter is a bit expensive for what it is. I think it's fun to play with, but I don't know if I'd spend $400 on it.
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#11 May 13 2009 at 12:56 PM Rating: Good
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It's a program Bunny already uses, though rarely. She likes the linework and tools better in some of the other programs but really likes the colouring and mixing that can be done in painter.

I suspect her version may have been an educational copy when she was still in college or that it fell off a truck, I know she hasn't spent that kind of money on it.

Have priced some out and gotten pretty reasonable numbers, but I'm struggling with graphics cards now. Some companies want to give a standard/gaming card (Nvidia GeForce GT 130M for example) and some want to sell me a Workstation card (Nvidia Quadro series, such as the FX 1700M). Can't find charts for notebook cards anywhere =/
#12 May 16 2009 at 2:10 PM Rating: Good
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Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit)
– Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P8700 (2.53GHz)
– FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)
– FREE Upgrade to 320GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive from 250GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
– 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 130M
– 16.0" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1366x768)
– FREE Upgrade to Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer
– Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid)
– Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card
– No TV Tuner w/remote control
– HP Color Matching Keyboard
– 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
– System Recovery DVD with Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit)
– No Productivity Software
– Norton Internet Security(TM) 2009 - 15 Month Subscription
– HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope

Pretty good deal w/the coupon on this one. Vista hate aside, any bad experiences with HP/these components that I should not consider this setup?

Thanks,
KK
#13 May 22 2009 at 3:15 PM Rating: Decent
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17 inch Macbook pro, dual boot xp/run xp in parallels. Unless there's some really good reason (like you don't have to pay for software with a PC) this is one of the relatively rare occasions where it would be stupid not to buy a mac.

Good luck.


Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium with Service Pack 1 (64-bit) - junk
– Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo Processor P8700 (2.53GHz) - fine
– FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) - fine
– FREE Upgrade to 320GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive from 250GB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive - fine
– 1GB Nvidia GeForce GT 130M - fine
– 16.0" diagonal High Definition HP Ultra BrightView Infinity Display (1366x768) - far too low

– FREE Upgrade to Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD+/-R/RW Double Layer - junk
– Webcam + Fingerprint Reader with HP Imprint Finish (Fluid) - junk
– Intel Next-Gen Wireless-N Mini-card - fine
– No TV Tuner w/remote control - Not sure what this means
– HP Color Matching Keyboard - junk
– 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery - probably junk
– System Recovery DVD with Genuine Windows Vista Home Premium (64-bit) - junk
– No Productivity Software - ok?
– Norton Internet Security(TM) 2009 - 15 Month Subscription - junk
– HP Home & Home Office Store in-box envelope - junk
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#14 May 23 2009 at 2:04 PM Rating: Good
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Quote:
– FREE Upgrade to 4GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm) from 3GB DDR2 System Memory (2 Dimm)


Isn't this kinda misleading?

They aren't really giving you anything, your system is just able to use all 4GB of the System RAM with the 64Bit OS, where as with a 32Bit OS, it'd only appear as 3GB because of the 1GB video card...
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#15 Jun 08 2009 at 12:09 PM Rating: Good
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Still haven't bought a lappy. I really hate to sound like a PC vs Mac vigilante, but I need to bug on some of your points.

Mac Software: She's already running PC versions, so yes, she'd have to buy mac versions to run optimally. Additional cost of tracking down a copy of XP.
Screen size: As mentioned in the parent post, need to keep it portable - a 15.4" or 16"-wide screen. Specifically don't want to go up to the 17, which does mess with our options somewhat.
Price/Performance, components only: For ~300$ more than I would spend on the HP, I would have a smaller HDD at a slower rotation speed and a slower graphics card (a GForce9400M versus a 1G faster-clocked version of the 9650M). The next step up brings me closer in line component-wise, but costs ~600 more than the PC.

Hidden costs: Emergency room visit because I bought her a mac when she specifically stated she doesn't want one =p See above post:

I wrote:
Macs are out of the question (existing programs are PC versions, she says PC gets first/best versions when specifically dealing with animation, and she's got a vendetta against them for some reason).


I know there's more than components in the platform breakdown, but if we're locked into a PC I can't afford to go down a list noting how 'junk' everything is. Might not have an alternative =/
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