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The lounge Relax, take a break from photo and camera talk - have a chat about something else for a change. Just keep it clean and polite!

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Old 16th July 2012
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Speccing a laptop

I'm finally retiring my current laptop (well, my 14 year old daughter, Lara, who has coveted it for ages, well inherit it). It's over 4 years old and was for the time small and lightweight with above average performance and, unusually, a Wacom digitiser touch screen; the HP Pavilion tx2130ea (2GHz AMD Turion x64 TL-60 and nVidia GeForce Go 6150 graphics, 1280x800 12.1 inch screen).

I have steadily upgraded it from 2GB RAM to 4GB and a 250GB hard disk to a 120GB SSD. It came with 32-bit Vista and now it runs 64-bit Windows 7 Professional. I even have a USB3 port via the PCIe slot(and FireWire 800 via the same slot). Actually for routine things like email, Office and web browsing it is absolutely fine, but it struggles with processor and graphics-intensive tasks like HD video, video rendering (Adobe Premiere CS6), and Lightroom 4 is noticeably slower.

So! This is what I am aiming for:

Absolute must-haves:

nVidia dedicated graphics with 1GB DDR3 (DDR5 preferably) RAM and at least 96 CUDA cores.

2nd generation Intel Core i5 Sandy Bridge CPU (both these and and the graphics spec. boost Adobe Premiere CS6 Mercury Engine performance considerably. Aiming for a Passmark CPU benchmark of about 4000 compared to under 1000 for the old laptop's TL-60 processor.

8GB RAM minimumn upgrade capacity

At least 1 USB3 port

A decent quality display (smaller the better -13.3 inch ideal, 14.1 inch OK, 15.6 inch acceptable but not ideal). Not too bothered by resolution but 1366x768 is the minimum.

I don't want a heavy unit either.

So, do any of you have anything to recommend - budget is only about 600 inc.VAT. Will consider refurbs -am keeping an eye on Dell's Outlet site, for example It's a tough spec. for the price I know!

Ian
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Last edited by Ian; 20th July 2012 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

http://www.simplyacer.com/Acer_Aspir...G_1068071.html
I've got one of these and CS5 absolutely flies and the screen is brilliant
Mine has a 1Tb HDD and it didnt cost as much as this.
Best regards Ian
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

This Lenovo Ideapad Z580 looks interesting although I haven't heard of 'Very' before:

http://www.very.co.uk/lenovo-ideapad...0&%20UGC-_-0_0

Thanks Stryker - Acer does have some tempting spec. offers but after a very poor experience with broken hinges on an Aspire 9300 a few years ago my estimation of the brand suffered. I won't rule them out but I'd want to exhaust the alternatives first.

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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

I have just purchased a HP Pavilion G6 Notebook http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/reviews/l...ion-g6-review/

Intel Pentium CPU B960 @2.20 GHz

6gb Ram 750 gb Hard Drive

with Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit

I have also just received copies of Lightroom 4 and Photoshop Elements 10 and Office 2010 all for free from a friend in the software business

havnt had time to put it all onto machine yet

so still using my old Dell Inspiron 6400 with 2 gb ram and Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit and only 120 gb hard drive
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Old 16th July 2012
Ulfric M Douglas Ulfric M Douglas is offline
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Re: Speccing a laptop

It might be a bit of an side but are there commonly available laptops with Llano processors available? Their GPU integration seems ideal for this kind of spec.
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

For Acer refurbished laptops also try:
http://www.acerdirect.co.uk/box_opened_laptops/prod.asp

Just bought a refurbished Aspire from them and very pleased.
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulfric M Douglas View Post
It might be a bit of an side but are there commonly available laptops with Llano processors available? Their GPU integration seems ideal for this kind of spec.
I'm an AMD backer, but in this instance AMD can't deliver. although their later desktop CPUs (Bulldozer and later FX parts) have the extended instructions that can accelerate Adobe's Mercury engine, their laptop CPU equivalents are not yet available.

The Llanos solution doesn't embrace nVidias CUDA core technology because nVidia is a competitor to AMD/ATI. Adobe is starting to support AMD/ATI GPU parallel processed graphics rendering but so far the support is limited to Apple OSs and only a very small selection of ATI GPUs (which are used by Apple).

Ian
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by cariadus View Post
For Acer refurbished laptops also try:
http://www.acerdirect.co.uk/box_opened_laptops/prod.asp

Just bought a refurbished Aspire from them and very pleased.
Thanks - I had already looked there but only the Acer Aspire 5750G fits the bill and although cheap, reviews suggest it is cheaply built and after my experience with an Aspire 9300 which broke both the screen hinges, I would probably avoid a cheaper build Acer.

Ian
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

The new Acer 5750 is a lot better built than my previous Acer that I bought 4 years ago. I got my recent one from Comet so it is worth popping in having a look. At least you can see for yourself and touch and feel. It is probably better built than my rather expensive Asus netbook that goes everywhere with me and I love to death, but hasnt been treated all that well! it has been dropped twice but has survived!!
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Ian, I am afraid as a serious Business user you require robust build quality ! and high Spec ! I only have Toshiba (BT engineers are Tosh (because Tosh have far lower errors rates) and BT Spec includes high impact foam from 2m drop must protect the Tosh and Data.

My 22 year old WIN 97 Tosh Satilite still works ... but I need a hand to speed up processing but it does photos in Coral Paint Shop and puiblishing in CoralDRAW 4 STILL ! it wa shigh spec then ...

Tosh service Dept is at Weybridge in Brooklands Road and 20% of my friends or their children or grand chidlren work there ... turn around for repairs is something else - I have worn out 2 x ribbons from HDD to screen and 3 x keyboards in the past ...

we have 3 at the moment (plus the semi retired old one )
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

One of these is my next buy - I just love the 14" screen size, and my current 13.3" XPS has done me sterling service over the past four years, so no hesitation about buying another one. I just extend the warranty for an additional two years with Dell when the one year is coming to an end for around 100..... a very good saving with the eBay resellers as well, although most won't have the full 1 year warranty.
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Quote:
Originally Posted by DekHog View Post
One of these is my next buy - I just love the 14" screen size, and my current 13.3" XPS has done me sterling service over the past four years, so no hesitation about buying another one. I just extend the warranty for an additional two years with Dell when the one year is coming to an end for around 100..... a very good saving with the eBay resellers as well, although most won't have the full 1 year warranty.
The Dell almost fits the bill but the graphics card only has 48 CUDA cores and I need 96 It's a very nice looking unit though!

Ian
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

I've had problems with Acer (fried itself after 2 years) Toshiba and Dell.

Currently on Compaq (aka HP - but on my wife's presario most of the keys are now blank as the writing's worn off after 3 years!).

I never had any IBM laptop cause a problem (now Lenovo?) and had a fair few. Fujitsu are well regarded I believe.
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Old 16th July 2012
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Not only did the Acer hinges break but the several keys broke (not only did the key tops pop off but they wouldn't go back on securely). No problem at all with the HP I'm replacing.

I have had a look in Currys/PC World and Comet and Asus and Acer models with the spec I'm looking for had the best screens.

Ian
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Re: Speccing a laptop

Ian, www.novatech iswhere I buy desktops amd a laptop for the children here

very reasobale - I have always had excellent sewrvice (retn by courier and back 2 me by courier)

or APPLE I love |Apple except .... the prices but 4 quality ...
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