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Advice on laptop purchase required

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by JasonB, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. JasonB

    JasonB Guest

    I need to reclaim the space that my current Desktop PC (a homebuilt AMD
    Athlon 64 2800+ with 1GB of RAM) is taking and am looking at selling off
    the PC/LCD and related peripherals and replacing it with a Laptop that
    can used anywhere in the house. We already have Wifi and I use that
    with my current desktop PC and Work Laptop.

    The desktop PC gets used for processing digital photos from my Canon
    350D SLR camera and also the odd video footage from a Sony MiniDV
    camera. Games playing isn't a huge thing for me as I have a console
    anyway, therefore the graphics don't have to be bleeding edge.

    I'm lost amongst the array of choices available to me currently, I mean
    you have Pentium-M powered laptops, Core Duo Laptops, AMD Athlon 64 and
    AMD Turion powered laptops.

    I need this laptop to be capable of running Photoshop Elements V4.0 and
    Premiere Elements V2.0 and would like something reasonably snappy for
    both these tasks.

    On the basis that applications like Elements and Premier both require
    lots of memory would 1GB be enough or should I look for a laptop with
    2GB of RAM as a minimum.

    What about the processor, would a top of the range Pentium-M be ok here
    or should I go all out and get a Core Duo, e.g. the Core Duo T2400?

    Another question that I have is, bearing in mind the activities I carry
    out on the PC would I be better served by looking at an Apple MacBook
    Pro? I have a concern that the screen resolution of all MBP's but the
    high end one are too small for proper photo editing or movie processing.
    I would prefer something with at least a resolution of 1680x1050.

    Finally are there any resources that people can point me to for reviews
    etc on laptops suitable for this kind of work? I've read reviews
    containing Office Benchmarks and graphics benchmarks, however it doesn't
    mean much to me in the context of what I do with the PC.

    Regards,

    JasonB
     
    JasonB, Jun 5, 2006
    #1
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  2. Then you should also consider that the quality of the laptop TFTs is far
    below that of desktop TFTs. For office work this usually does not matter.
    But if you want to image processing a good TFT is essential, especially
    regarding the colors. Of course you can always get an external TFT, but the
    signal quality of many VGA-ports of lapopts is quite poor.
    In terms of high quality TFTs, have a look at the Lenovo Thinkpads with
    FlexView display. IIRC Dell offers something similar.
    I would look for a model with 1GB that offers the possibility of expansion,
    in case you need more memory.
    A Pentium-M model should be sufficient. For image processing you mainly
    need a lot of memory and for video editing the harddisk of the laptop is
    most likely the bottleneck and not the processor speed. For the video
    editing - maybe an internal harddisk with 7200 rpm makes sense. Also it
    might be useful to consider getting a big external harddrive - preferably
    connected via Firewire.
    I heard about some core duo models with noisy fans, but it depends on the
    individual model and it's thermal design. As much as I like the AMD desktop
    processors, I prefer the Intel models for laptops. The Turions can mainly
    be found in cheap consumer laptops.

    Andreas
     
    Andreas Schulze =?iso-8859-1?Q?B=E4ing?=, Jun 5, 2006
    #2
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  3. JasonB

    JohnB Guest


    Jason - can't help directly - but - ask about the MacbookPro on
    uk.comp.sys.mac.

    Lots of friendly folk on there that will give an honest opinion of the
    usefulness of that laptop for your applications.

    Cheers
     
    JohnB, Jun 6, 2006
    #3
  4. JasonB

    JasonB Guest

    I have thought about getting a MacBookPro as many people would say that
    Photo Editing and Video work is where the Mac excels.

    However, when I look at the MacBookPro only the high end laptop comes
    with a high res display which I'd like. The Hard Drives are the 5400rpm
    models, not the 7200rpm models and when you factor in an extra Gig of
    RAM the cost is well over £2000. And that's just for the hardware, at
    the moment I use Adobe Photoshop Elements V4 and Premier Elements V2 for
    Windows, and Adobe don't offer a license swap for these applications to
    move to Mac so I'd have to repurchase the software again.

    I just don't know if there is enough of a justification here to switch
    to a Mac.

    Thanks for the pointer though, I'll see what they have to say in the mac
    group.

    Regards,
     
    JasonB, Jun 7, 2006
    #4
  5. JasonB

    JM Guest

    You don't mention what your graphics card is? Is it a discreet card or
    integrated into the motherboard? While your PC core system is certainly not
    bad, it's not exceptional. In other words, there's no reason you can't get
    same or better performance from a properly chosen and configured notebook.
    (the answer to the g-card question certainly bears heavily on that
    statement)

    Again, this is good news for someone searching for a desktop replacement.

    Don't let this array of choices overwhelm you - or even unduly interest you.
    In my experience, the cpu is well down the list of factors bearing directly
    on system performance, or the way a notebook "feels." I would avoid Celeron
    and Sempron. All of the ones you mention are fine - if they are matched up
    well with the other components and your operating system and other software
    is configured well.

    No problem.

    Not real important - *in MY experience*.

    No way. Too many mitigating factors for someone with an exclusively-Windows
    background, not the least of which is the fact that all your software is
    Windows based.

    What do you mean by "proper photo editing?" Do you mean you're a
    professional or serious enthusiast who currently uses a high-end monitor
    that's carefully maintained, color calibrated and used in controlled
    lighting environments? Then you should stay with what you've got.

    OTOH, if you mean you're a hobbyist who likes to get reasonably accurate
    color reproduction, largely for home use, then you can *easily* find a
    notebook with a display that will do the job. In fact, in my experience,
    you're likely to meet this criteria without even trying.

    Don't get hung up on benchmarks. There is no benchmark made specifically
    for JasonB and what he is going to use his computer for on a day-in/day-out
    basis. Instead, focus on good components and then learn to optimize your
    operating system. More than not, among notebooks (and computers in general)
    performance among similarly-outfitted machines is more a consequence of what
    is right and not right with Windows and other software.

    You'll need:

    A good cpu - 2.0ghz or so Intel or AMD, doesn't really matter.
    Fast hard drive - 7200 rpm, 8mb cache
    1gb RAM out of the box and plan to upgrade as you add programs, utilities,
    service packs, etc.
    Discreet video card with dedicated memory
    **An uncluttered Windows installation** or, better yet, your own copy of
    Windows so you can do a clean format.

    As for the display, I have found no way of choosing a "good" one through
    research. My recommendation is to go look at a bunch of them. And remember
    that technical specs are only part of the equation.

    Good luck, and if I've said anything brash or offensive, please forgive me.
    I'll be glad to help any way I can.

    jm
     
    JM, Jun 14, 2006
    #5
  6. JasonB

    JasonB Guest

    The current graphics card is an Asus 9600XTD (ATI Radeon based) with
    128MB of RAM.
    Really? I guess for photo editing it may have little impact however for
    video editing I would have thought that a decent dual core CPU would
    have been better then a single core at the same clock speed.
    The reason I asked that question is because the only two applications I
    use on a regular basis are Photoshop Elements and Premier Elements, both
    of which are available on MacOS X. I also use OpenOffice V2.0, Firefox
    and Thunderbird with various other open source apps. Moving this
    collection of applications to MacOS X wouldn't be that much of a stretch
    for me.

    Have to admit though, that from other people have said to me and from
    what I've read, there's nothing about what I'm doing with the PC that
    makes it better to run on a Mac Laptop over a Windows Laptop.
    What I meant was that there's a huge variation in color reproduction on
    laptop displays. Some laptops come recommended (e.g. IBM/Lenovo R50 or
    T45, a couple of the Dell XPS models etc) because they have an
    outstanding display, while conversely I've seen displays on high
    performance notebooks that just don't match up in terms of accuracy,
    saturation etc.
    I'm a home enthusiast who enjoys taking photographs and tweaking them on
    the computer. I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a serious or
    semi-pro photographer, at least not yet.
    I've been looking at notebooks with either the Pentium M, the Dual Core
    CPU or an AMD Turion CPU. Something that runs over 2GHz, except the
    Dual Core, as the 1.8GHz T2400 seems to offer the best bang for the buck
    at the moment.
    Seems to be some difference of opinion here, some people say the HD
    speed doesn't matter that much in a laptop, others say it is critical
    and to go for the best speed you can. I have to admit I'm in the faster
    is better camp and would look at spec'ing or purchasing a 7200rpm
    notebook drive.
    Absolutely, I've been ignoring anything that has the Intel GMA graphics
    chipset, ATI Hypermemory or the NVidia shared memory graphics cards.
    I tend to do a clean re-install of my desktop PC every 12-18 months or
    so anyway. It's the only way to keep the thing clean and running
    optimally, and it takes far less time to reinstall then try and clean it
    up manually.
    Nope, you haven't said anything brash or offensive. I thank you for
    your input, it's appreciated!!

    Take care,
     
    JasonB, Jun 15, 2006
    #6
  7. JasonB

    JM Guest

    That's a very good video card for what you do. It won't be cheap getting
    equal performance from a laptop video card.


    Yes, by all means, a dual core processor is faster on multi-threaded
    applications like video editing. And with an unlimited budget, we all could
    get the best and fastest component in every category. However, when
    choosing a laptop, one usually has to give up a little here to get a little
    there. My point is that when deciding where to put your money, the choice
    of processor is down the list, within reason of course. And as far as dual
    core being faster, my experience is that it's a relatively minor difference,
    unless you're a professional where time is money and every minute counts.
    For the home user, for example, rendering a video clip in 5 minutes just
    isn't usually much of a benefit over accomplishing the same thing in 7
    minutes.

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. However, it's been my experience that
    this issue is so subjective that you simply cannot go on others'
    recommendation. What looks "good" or "accurate" or whatever to one person
    might look terrible to you. FWIW, I personally really like Lenovo displays,
    but I also like some that other people don't rank in the same class (Compaq
    and Gateway, for example).

    For most apps, hard drive speed is not a huge issue. However, I put a lot
    of emphasis on how the laptop responds to booting up, shutting down,
    opening/closing programs, switching windows, and moving around during
    multi-tasking. I want the machine to be very snappy, because my laptops are
    a huge part of how I make my living. However, for your needs a slower hard
    drive may do just fine.

    Glad to be of help.


    jm
     
    JM, Jun 16, 2006
    #7
  8. JasonB

    Victor Guest

    This hp is a nice fit for your
    needs-http://h71016.www7.hp.com/MiddleFrame.asp?page=config&ProductLineId=539&FamilyId=2354&BaseId=17991&oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=
    watch the wordwrap


    Go here for all the hp business machines-
    http://h71016.www7.hp.com/SubFamMat...ilyId=1617&LowBaseId=15932&LowPrice=$1,299.00
     
    Victor, Jun 18, 2006
    #8
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