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Old 11-13-2012, 04:54 PM   #1
trippinbillies4
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Shopping for a laptop, need advice

So having started the go-kart track, my focus has been so far off of technology for the past few years now that I feel very un-nerdy on the latest technology. In a nutshell, I'm looking for a pretty powerful laptop that would hopefully have decent battery life. Historically, I've waited for a very nice e-coupon code to come around for HP, and customized a nice one. I've had good luck with every HP I've purchased, the last one made it 5 years before the monitor cable broke and I effed it up trying to fix it myself. Anyways, here's what I'd be looking for:

-Something that won't shite itself when I ask it to do some video editing. This is key for me. Right now both my older laptop (still plug it into my TV occasionally) and my new POS cheapy work laptop cry mercy when I throw a few go-pro videos together. I do a lot of video editing for fun, and a TON of photoshop work for work. Sometimes working with big files.
-I'm not sure how much I'd appreciate higher screen resolution? I've never had anything higher than 1366x768. Is it worth it?
-Are the new SSD computers the ones that boot up in seconds? I would prefer that, but also dig my hard drive space since I will come home from a race with 50 gigs of go-pro footage. If what I'm thinking is correct, maybe find a laptop with a 32gb SSD and a 1tb hdd?
-The better the battery life without having an uncomfortable giant battery, the better.

So, I think Lenovo is a decent brand nowadays, yes? Are they worth it over HP? Can anyone explain the difference between the Y and W series? Here's two I've been looking at:

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/c...U#.UKLN0md2MzA

and

http://shop.lenovo.com/SEUILibrary/c...P#.UKLN1Gd2MzA

Thanks in advance for your help!

Oh, and budget of $1000-1500
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:30 PM   #2
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You aren't gunna get decent space with an SSD in a laptop for <$1500. I'd look for a computer with one of the mini SSD + HDD setups, the SSD usually ranges from 8-64gb to help speed up day to day functioning.

I don't know much about HP or Lenovo and their pros and cons. If you're editing GoPro footage, don't you think it'd be nice to have a 1080p screen?

Lastly, some computer guys will probably roast me for this, but integrated graphics have gotten respectable as of late. The HD 4000 integrated graphics are better than middling laptop graphics cards from a couple years ago.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:57 PM   #3
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You won't get a lappy with both a HDD and an SSD as separate drives. Your best bet is to get a laptop with as much SSD storage as you can afford and an external hard drive for long term storage. Also, a dedicated SSD will give you lots better battery life.

Look into an ultrabook as those are typically high performance and well built.

I've had nothing but good luck with HP computers. My HP business class laptop is now 6 years old and is still going strong with no issues and no failures ever. Granted it was a $3k laptop when new and is built out of magnesium...but still.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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I've got a Lenovo W520 that was $1500 after coupon from rdp330ci (member here on the forum) plus going through a corporate website, total of about 55% off MSRP I think. See what he has to offer.

It's well made, much more so than my previous Acer and better than any other modern Dell/HP I have used. The 1920x1080 screen kicks ass although I usually use a regular monitor plugged in. The keyboard is one of the most popular selling points - it's pretty nice .

Performance wise it doesn't hesitate when doing CAD, video editing on 1080p video or picture editing. I could even play BF3 either 1680x1050 high graphics or 1920x1080 medium/low graphics with 35+ fps but it's not ideal for the most intensive games like that. All this in a small enough 15.6" package. It is somewhat thick and blocky but that doesn't really matter. Also something I find important is that it doesn't get very warm if you aren't doing anything intensive, and stays very quiet. The CPU throttling does a good job of managing it. I've never fully tested battery life, but I could get 6-7 hours without even trying, and that was from a partial charge.

Anyway that's my input. I say go for he W530. I opted for a 500GB HDD with DVD/CD drive but you might look into a 128 or 256 SSD with 1TB HDD in the CD bay.

edit: I should also note that if you're into non-mainstream stuff, something like Sager might be worth looking into. There are other companies that do a similar thing. You basically spec all the parts you want and you can build some seriously powerful laptops, but quality is questionable.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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Just like kuksul08 stated. If you want to have the performance of an SSD and the capacity of an HDD, you may need to sacrifice your CD/DVD drive for the extra space to mount a second drive in there. They make adapters and holders for that exact purpose so in terms of reliability, you should be golden.

As far as screen goes, resolution is king and everyone is going to tell you that based on the needs that you established (i.e 50+ GB of HD GoPro footage) so resolution is a must but also for more usable space. Im sure with those needs, you probably have a higher end program to edit the vids so having more menu bars and such along with a large work area is going to be key.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:46 PM   #6
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Lenovo is a very decent computer.. Hate HPs..too many issues with them.. is apple out of your search?
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:00 PM   #7
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I've had two HPs. One desktop and one laptop. The desktop was much better but the motherboard died right after the year warranty ended. Lost everything. And then the laptop basically slowed to a halt and now takes like 20 minutes to boot up despite it being near 1k with pretty good specs of the time. Then I got a Mavbook Pro, which I assume you're not looking at, but I love it. Albeit overpriced, I think I'll stick with the Mac. Never had a big issue with it that wasn't my own fault. I do have a problem with the company who makes them, though.


The new ultra books look really nice based off of the commercials. Laptop and tablet in one
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:03 PM   #8
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I've had poor experiences with two HP laptops in a row. Hardware problems early on. I'll never buy another.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:10 PM   #9
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If you need reliability and do video editing, why not get a Macbook Pro?

I had an IBM thinkpad before the lenovo takeover and I loved it. I got a Lenovo after that and it was ATROCIOUS. It had an SSD but didn't perform like one. It also made some high pitched whining noise. The build quality was so bad that the keyboard didn't lay flat. These machines aren't what they once were.

Went with a Macbook Pro 17 in 2009 (chose over a Dell XPS 16) and never looked back. I am still satisfied with my macbook. I changed out the HDD for an SSD, put a scratch HDD in the optibay, and I don't see myself changing computers until this one won't boot.

All of my old PCs died within 3 years, but my Macbook is still going strong. No performance degradation thanks to the SSD/HDD combo.

Yes, the mabook was more expensive initially, but when you factor in the extra years you will get out of it, it's worth it. Apple also takes care of you if you are under warranty. Try that with Lenovo...there is no store to walk into, and you will likely deal with their Indian call center (I have nothing against Indian call centers, but Lenovo's sucks). I returned the Lenovo and it took over 100 calls and 6 months to get my money back.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:16 PM   #10
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I Just got the Asus N56VZ. Great for entertainment stuff. Resolution is 1900x1080 750gb hd, 8 gb ram, intel i7, 4 3.0 usb ports, pretty thin etc. So far I'm loving it. Easier on the pockets than a macbook for pretty much the same thing if not better. Just reformat the hd right when you get it so the 750 gb or whatever you chose is in the same drive.

This is the exact one I bought.

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-N56VZ-DS7...op+%28Black%29
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:21 PM   #11
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imo, anyone who spends over a k on a laptop is crazy, they are throw away items, heat eventually kills them

on a desk with proper cooling i could see

i used to build desks , now, i draw the line at $500 for a lap

i have an hp, with no issues

i do like alienwares, but just can't see the price

i think the opinion of computers is tainted beyond belief, most people don't know how to take care of em, or fix em

just like a bmw
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #12
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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You won't get a lappy with both a HDD and an SSD as separate drives. Your best bet is to get a laptop with as much SSD storage as you can afford and an external hard drive for long term storage. Also, a dedicated SSD will give you lots better battery life.

Look into an ultrabook as those are typically high performance and well built.

I've had nothing but good luck with HP computers. My HP business class laptop is now 6 years old and is still going strong with no issues and no failures ever. Granted it was a $3k laptop when new and is built out of magnesium...but still.
That's not what I'm talking about. Seagate makes the hard drive with a sort of SSD+ feature, and I know a few companies sell laptops that use the mini SSD as a massive cache (pretty much). There's no way that he's getting more than a 256gb SSD for $1500.

And Ultrabooks are not primarily focused on high performance.

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imo, anyone who spends over a k on a laptop is crazy, they are throw away items, heat eventually kills them

on a desk with proper cooling i could see

i used to build desks , now, i draw the line at $500 for a lap

i have an hp, with no issues

i do like alienwares, but just can't see the price

i think the opinion of computers is tainted beyond belief, most people don't know how to take care of em, or fix em

just like a bmw
It depends on how well built they are.

I am mostly talking about Mac laptops because that's where the majority of my experience lies.

Out of three PC laptops the longest lasting one made it four years.

I think the new metal laptops (at least the Macs) are way more durable. Powerbooks and the new Unibody Macbooks could easily go 10 years or more- way past their obsoletion dates.

I think the problem is that some PC makers put in what practically amount to desktop processors and GPUs in a laptop, skimp on the build quality to maximize the specs, and then those laptops burn out quickly.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:08 PM   #14
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Sooooooo basically what I'm hearing is that opinions about laptops are about as diverse as they get, lol. I've had very good luck with my HP's, both lasted at least 5 years, and for me that's fine because by that time I would want new technology anyways.

The reviews I read on Lenovo tend to be pretty stout, so that's why I was considering them.

Aside from that, going to a Mac scares me because I know windows so well. Video editing is a fun thing for me, so it's not a primary huge concern. I do enough of it, but it's nothing majorly technical. I just got really frustrated when I tried to make a half hour long video of my 24-hour go kart race out of a bunch of little clips and it ate every machine I owned for lunch. What I do take seriously is Photoshop because I work in large formats sometimes, and it pisses me off at work when I'm trying to design a banner or something and I have to wait a minute for each little thing I click, haha. For Photoshop, I really don't see the benefit of going to a Mac because it's the same damn program.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasp9166 View Post
imo, anyone who spends over a k on a laptop is crazy, they are throw away items, heat eventually kills them

on a desk with proper cooling i could see

i used to build desks , now, i draw the line at $500 for a lap

i have an hp, with no issues

i do like alienwares, but just can't see the price

i think the opinion of computers is tainted beyond belief, most people don't know how to take care of em, or fix em

just like a bmw
There is some truth to this. The heat pipe in my Acer broke which cause the CPU and GPU to overheat. After about 3 years (max warranty) they stop supporting laptops so it's nearly impossible to get parts. So I had to hack it up and attach a fan just so the thing wouldn't shut down on its own. Not to say this is a common failure, but goes to show that a small issue like this could make the laptop completely useless with no way to fix it.

Alienware used to be sorta cool, but its just a Dell now. The ones I have used feel cheap and are overpriced.

I too considered the MBP for quite a while since the quality is hands down awesome, but they are not worth the price. Sure, the aluminum case is nice, but then the initial awe wears off and you're left with an awesome case with the same or lower level parts inside that you can get in a PC, and you paid more for them. The ThinkPads (not all Lenovos, the other models are cheap feeling) have a magnesium frame and billet hinges. Its very solid feeling.

Now here's another option you may not have considered... Get a simple 12 or 14" laptop that you can carry around with you and then dock it at your desk where you will do the majority of your work. You can use an eGPU to do graphics processing/gaming and plug into a large monitor. It's a bit of a compromise, but saves you the hassle of dealing with two machines a laptop and desktop, different files, etc (unless you have a network server). That's just my opinion. That depends on how much you want to carry it around.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:44 PM   #16
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Sooooooo basically what I'm hearing is that opinions about laptops are about as diverse as they get, lol. I've had very good luck with my HP's, both lasted at least 5 years, and for me that's fine because by that time I would want new technology anyways.

The reviews I read on Lenovo tend to be pretty stout, so that's why I was considering them.

Aside from that, going to a Mac scares me because I know windows so well. Video editing is a fun thing for me, so it's not a primary huge concern. I do enough of it, but it's nothing majorly technical. I just got really frustrated when I tried to make a half hour long video of my 24-hour go kart race out of a bunch of little clips and it ate every machine I owned for lunch. What I do take seriously is Photoshop because I work in large formats sometimes, and it pisses me off at work when I'm trying to design a banner or something and I have to wait a minute for each little thing I click, haha. For Photoshop, I really don't see the benefit of going to a Mac because it's the same damn program.
The one consensus here is don't buy an HP, an Asus, or anything similar.

Buy something with above average build quality- like maybe a Lenovo.

Also the MBP hardware is top-class even if you run Windows, which they can easily accommodate. Whether or not the hardware quality is worth the price is totally up to you.

My MBP is abused and has been incredibly bulletproof.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:48 PM   #17
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MacBook Pro or go home. I used both Dell and HP laptops for years before I got my first MacBook. The Dell was a nightmare and the HP was marginally better. I purchased my latest MacBook pro in April of 2010 and I still have AppleCare remaining. I spent close to $3k and I don't regret it one bit. I love this computer. The build quality trumps anything else on the market and almost 3 years later, mine is going strong. Not to mention if I ever experience any issues, I can take it straight to the Apple store for help in any major mall near me. Can't beat that. The anodized aluminum unibody design is incredible.

Edit: I forgot to mention, I paid $3k for my MBP in 2010 and the going price for my model is still $1200 or so. No other computer manufacturer can match that.

What it comes down to for me is very simple. I use this device almost every single day of my life. Why wouldn't I want it to be the best available?
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:52 PM   #18
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I'd get a macbook air.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #19
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Dell Precision M4700
4 ram slots, and you can add a PCI Express Mini Hard drive and install the OS on that if you are savvy.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820167040
http://www.cdw.com/shop/products/Tra...d/2420679.aspx
(I have never tried one though, and the specs aren't as good, but I am sure some better stuff will be coming out eventually)

The consumer grade Dell laptops are not that good (Inspiron), but the Optiplex and Precisions (and some XPS) laptops are built really well as they are designed for business travelers who transport them constantly.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:56 PM   #20
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only laptop I've owned that wasn't a POS in one way or another


Case isn't some crappy plastic - it's unibody aluminum that doubles as a heatsink, it doesn't get embarrassingly loud, great battery life, one of the best screens (not your average / cheap TN panel)

edit: and I can dual-boot Windows / OSX
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