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PC Laptop Advice for a Digital Photog/Graphic Designer

Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
edited July 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'd really love a little advice regarding a new lap top. I'm relatively tech savvy when I have a device, however, choosing something like a laptop always feels so. freaking. difficult.

My elder Dell laptop's video chip is failing. With integration into the motherboard there is an option to replace the entire MB, but I really just want to be rid of this POS. It has barely worked since I originally got it, having come out after Dell went quality ass-up. The cost of a new board seems as though it'd be better served going toward a new, better machine.

I was hoping for some opinions on where to get a decent system. I'm not capable of building one myself. I simply don't have the skill set, so it would need to be some place I can select and have built or they come prebuilt. Anything from, "Maybe if you looked for this," to, "Go here, they're awesome," or hell, I'd even take, "Here's my website. I DO this shit on the daily!" would be helful. Also, any thoughts on the SSD vs HDD would be awesome. Peer reviews especially loved.
  • I would like a processor with some power
  • A 17 inch, colour true display (I can't do Mac though, to much of what I have is PC only)
  • I'll want to maximize my RAM to better handle multitasking between Adobe applications
  • I know I want a lot of hard drive space (duh.)
  • A better graphics card to handle video editing (I don't do it often, but I hope to get into it. It would be nice to purchase beyond my goals. Also, I do stream video onto it/watch DVDs sometimes.)
  • I'm waffling on the hard drive. Do I want an SSD? Do I even NEED one with the price tags they carry? I'm a frequently mobile user, but my laptop is usually powered down when I'm moving. Would I be better served with a higher speed HDD, or a variable speed even to save on power consumption when I'm unplugged and using less power needful aspects of the laptop?
  • Most importantly, price-tag. Or not, really.. I mean, it IS important, but I'm a graphic designer by profession. This little guy will be deductible at least in part.

I'm of the opinion that I may have researched so much that I've bogged myself down in the details of it.

It comes down to a need for decent speed to handle multiple high powered programs working at the same time. A sharp, true coloured, largish display. The ability to run/edit video. Still be able to get me my email...

And my paper and coffee.

Menolly07 on
Still PAXing strong. [E] for lyfe. ELand forever.


  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    You might be better off running an external display for the sake of color accuracy and such.

  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Ah, yes. I actually do that when I'm at home. I have an extra large, widescreen format monitor as well as a mouse/keyboard. I do need something that'll work on the run as well tho.

    Still PAXing strong. [E] for lyfe. ELand forever.
  • JacksWastedLifeJacksWastedLife Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I'm a Interface Designer/Engineer. I don't do much print work these days but I rigorously abuse my machines with Photoshop, Fireworks, 4 or 5 browsers, several virtual machines, outlook, and my IDE all at once. So I think I understand what you're looking for in a laptop.

    I have a Dell m6500 with a SSD and the fancy 100% Adobe RGB gamut display. This thing is a monster and handles it all effortlessly. I'm really happy with the SSD as well. It was a bit more expensive, but working with multiple PS files and huge fireworks PNGs is snappy as hell.

    It IS heavy, but it is a desktop replacement. My co-workers who all have 15" MacBook Pros all say "damn that's huge" like it is a bad thing, but I adore the extra screen real estate.

    I should also mention that the battery is pretty impressive. I like my display at max brightness and I still get 3 - 4 hours out if it depending on the load I'm putting on the processor.

  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    That's awesome. That is a LOT to throw at a machine, program wise. Usually I have Photoshop, PageMaker (which I know is less intensive than Fireworks), browser tabs and Illustrator open. I'm a print media graphic artist. I do a LOT with weddings and real estate, so very graphic intensive. And real estate agents canNOT take photos to save their life. They always need fixing. I also draw in Photoshop, that is to say I take a layer and drop it over a photo and "trace" primary lines. Like it better then filters. It sounds like you're handing just slightly different usage at yours but of a similar weight, probably even heavier than I would toss at it.

    I'm super Dell phobic because Hubby and I have both just come off awful experiences with mid/low range laptops. Both of ours had to have just about all their guts replaced, down to MOTHERBOARDS. However, what I'm getting from a lot of people, on here and offline, is that the higher end Dell laptops are troopers. It would be nice to replace my desktop with my laptop finally. Or at least have them work well in symphony. The idea of having both lap/desk with the same programs and projects on them is pretty sweet.

    I like the extra space. At home I'm hoping to attach to a monitor. I have a massive wide screen that I love for homework. It's awesome to be able to see my work 1:1 scale.

    ~ Jacks, do you know how much your beast weighs in at? When I'm mobile I carry in a case. When I'm REALLY mobile (travel), it goes in its case and into a roll-aboard so I can pull it fast if they make me check.

    Still PAXing strong. [E] for lyfe. ELand forever.
  • JacksWastedLifeJacksWastedLife Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    I don't know the exact weight, but I would guess around 8.5lbs total weight.

    I had the same reservations with the Dell brand that you did, but their small business and enterprise level offerings are solid machines.

    I also have an external. I have a 31" Apple Cinema Display at the office and a 27" LG at home. Connecting to the ACD was a pain in the ass though. I had to find a special adapter that converted my full size DisplayPort connector to the Apple miniDisplayPort for the ACD.

  • Menolly07Menolly07 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Ah, cool. Good to know. Do you feel that one of those plug in set-ups would be something you'd like to have or totally unnecessary? You know those bars that the laptop slides into and instantly connects to a standard mouse, keyboard and display? I'm debating between a few pads, Wacom, and am wondering if maybe that might be something I should splurge for to make life easier.

    Still PAXing strong. [E] for lyfe. ELand forever.
  • corky842corky842 Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    The dock seems a bit unnecessary. You can just get a good USB hub so there's just one USB cable and the monitor to plug in.

    Darmak wrote: »
    Something is wrong with me
  • JacksWastedLifeJacksWastedLife Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    The idea behind the dock is that you have power/usb/ethernet/external monitor, all just by snapping in your machine. I don't use one myself, but that may be because I only need power and monitor ports.

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