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Thread: Laptop advice?

  1. #1
      torstan is offline
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    Help Laptop advice?

    My laptop died recently. It looks like it will be prohibitively expensive/difficult to fix (apparently parts are region specific - what nonsense from a global brand). This has lead to a mapping hiatus - I'm having to fall back on my work desktop this weekend instead. As a result I'm looking for recommendations from people with different brands. Also, if anyone has any must haves in a spec for map design then I'd like to hear them. The highest hardware demand I will be placing on the laptop will definitely be mapmaking. Ideally it should be able to handle an A4 image with many layers at 600dpi. Any suggestions?

    This is of course why I've been a little quiet. No laptop and very limited internet has not made me a very happy bunny of late.
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    Community Leader Facebook Connected Steel General's Avatar
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    I've always had good luck with Dell - and they usually have some kind of specials going on. I just bought a new desktop, granted not "maxed-out" but it is more than good enough for anything I do. I was able to modify the "base model" to something more to my needs, and the price was good.
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      waldronate is offline
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    My new Dell m1530 should be here today. It is probably overkill for most people, though, as I packed it with $2500 worth of goodies (2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo, 3 GB RAM, GeForce8600M GT, 160 GB disk). Sadly it will probably die just after the warranty goes out as there seems to be a thermal problem with the implementation of the NVIDIA 8400/8600 series chips in laptops.
    I would expect that pretty much any modern laptop with 2GB+ and a 7200 rpm hard disk should be able to handle what you ask.

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      NeonKnight is offline
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    Myself, I won't touch a DELL. But that is more because I had a DELL desktop and then found it impossible to upgrade what with all the proprietary stuff in it.

    Also, my work uses DELL, and even though I could likely get a discount, and I have never been impressed with the laptops I have to use for work.

    Personally, I prefer Toshiba (after trying COMPAQ for a few years), and I likely will continue with toshiba. Of course, I also have not upgraded my toshiba in a couple of year, so I am not as hip as to what is good.
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      torstan is offline
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    How much of an priority is the hard drive speed? I realised that it had an impact, but don't really know how much.
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    Guild Member deanatglobe's Avatar
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    I have a Fujitsu Tablet PC that I recently got that I am having a blast using for mapping. It is a Fujitsu Lifebook T4220 and has a nice resolution on the screen(1400x1050). I like the feel of the Tablet much better than the IBM Tablet we have at work, much more fluid response to writing.

    So if you have pondered a tablet at all, I really like this one.

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      waldronate is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by torstan View Post
    How much of an priority is the hard drive speed? I realised that it had an impact, but don't really know how much.
    It really depends on how you use the system, but it looks to be around 10%-50% performance difference based on several benchmarks out there. In short, for things where you're doing stuff that slams the hard drive like Photoshop swap files you should see 25% or more improvement. However, main memory is always better than a disk drive (subject to OS limitations and the like the modern 32-bit OS will let you use between 2GB and 4 GB of main memory; 64-bit OSes will let you use all the memory that you can stuff into the machine).

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      RobA is offline
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    I use a HP/compaq nx6325 running XP.
    -AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core
    -2GB Ram
    -80GB 5400RPM drive
    -1400x1050 screen.

    Love the screen resolution. Wish I had a 7200rpm drive, and wish I had splurged for the extra 2GB of ram.

    I borrowed a friends fire-wire drive for a few days and set it up as my swap drive - performance went up quite a bit with any large images that got into swap space. I would suggest trying that on a permanent basis if you will be editing large images. (I believe Adobe actually recommends that the swap space be on a separate drive from the OS/application for photoshop.)

    -Rob A>

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      Aristotle is offline
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    I build my own desktops, but for laptops: Dell is pretty much the default. Get the better warranty if you can, and (though I've never actually used it myself) I'm told the extra accident care is worth having, especially on a laptop.

    I'm not even a novice mapper, so my best guess would be to go for something with a good resolution and better than basic on-board video. A faster hard drive is usually worth it. Memory is expandable later, and usually at a good price if you wait a year, but make sure you get enough to not be a handicap from the start. When it doubt, look at the recommended specs for the software you use to map and aim to exceed them whenever it isn't cost prohibitive.

  10. #10
      torstan is offline
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    Does Gimp have any minimum specs posted anywhere ?

    That accident care does seem to be a good idea. However I'm in the States next year so there's no point in buying a warranty that can only be used in the UK. I'll have to read the small print. It looks like I'll be picking up a new laptop after I move to the States, so I'll just have to bridge it for the next couple of months. Thanks to everyone for their advice. I now have a much better idea what I'm looking for.
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