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High performance laptop decision

segamil

OSNN Addict
#1
I value your suggestions so here's the situation:

A friend of mine (a professional photographer) is preparing to spend some serious dollars on a high performance workstation laptop.
He's trying to decide between a Lenovo T61p mobile workstation or an HP Compaq 8510w Mobile Workstation.

He works with some very large files on Adobe Photoshop and Premiere. He needs speed, reliability and durability since he takes his laptop along on photoshoots.

I have a feeling prices are going to drop on dual core chips. In your opinion, which of these two is better, and should he wait a bit? His budget is just under $4000. Any thoughts? Thanks!


http://www.degadget.com/laptops/len...-the-highest-performing-notebook-pc-by-lenovo

OR:

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF25a/321957-321957-64295-321838-3329741-3369263.html
 
#4
What he will need is a 64 BIT operating system that relaibly runs his prefered editing software. The reason for 64 BIT OS is to access all the RAM he can load into a system. 32 BIT OS will only allow 3 GB of usable RAM. 4 GB or more is recommended (the workstations laptops I could find seem to max at 4GB).

Maximum RAM is crucial because LAPTOPs use 5400 RPM HD instead of 7200. The more RAM the less HD access will be required making things run much faster and use less battery.

Next make sure that his photo software actually uses dual core CPUs or it is a waste of time and battery life buying one.

Check the benchmarks. Intel should have the faster dual core chips but I saw a recent set of benchies that says the AMD CPUs are matching the Core Duo for memory intensive applications because the Intel FSBs result in running the DDR2 non synchronous by default. Since you can't tweak a laptop bios this means AMD may be a better choice depending on the CPU clock and FSB. Note that HP you linked uses 667 RAM and 800 FSB, this slows memory utilization. Unfortunately nobody seems to make an AMD workstation laptop... So try for a core duo running ram and FSB at synchronous clock speeds. Thsi gets messy with intel because of their weird FSbs.

On reliability...
Lenovo is not IBM. They are cheap chinese replacemenmts for the rugged, reliable IBM laptops. Do not get confused. Compaq made rugged laptops but that was before HP ruined them. That leaves Dell as the only brand that I know of who designs and tests their laptops for ruggedness.
 
Last edited:

segamil

OSNN Addict
#5
Reps to you LeeJend! That's exactly the kind of real world advice I wanted to hear. I will pass this along. My notebook-shopping friend thanks you!

Segamil
 

Sazar

F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
#7
The Dell Precision notebooks are ISV certified, if that matters to him.

The M65 is EOL but the new one should be present on the consumer/business site soon (if not already).
 

Sazar

F@H - Is it in you?
Staff member
Political User
#8
What he will need is a 64 BIT operating system that relaibly runs his prefered editing software. The reason for 64 BIT OS is to access all the RAM he can load into a system. 32 BIT OS will only allow 3 GB of usable RAM. 4 GB or more is recommended (the workstations laptops I could find seem to max at 4GB).
Not all applications are able to run smoothly, properly (or sometimes at all) in a 32-bit environment. But it would be the recommended route to go.

Maximum RAM is crucial because LAPTOPs use 5400 RPM HD instead of 7200. The more RAM the less HD access will be required making things run much faster and use less battery.
Incorrect, notebook drives these days range between 4200RPM and 7200RPM. 7200 RPM is most definitely available and has been so for a long time.

Faster spindle speeds == higher battery consumption/more heat but this is not a big factor honestly.

More RAM simply helps with memory intensive applications. Large files that require a lot of sequential disk access will benefit from a 7200RPM drive.

Next make sure that his photo software actually uses dual core CPUs or it is a waste of time and battery life buying one.
Dual-core is suggested regardless of the application simply because of the nature of the load-balancing. If the purchaser were to use Vista, for example, the multi-threaded nature of the OS will allow for easy use of the OS and provide maximum performance.

If anyone is still buying a new system with single-core procs, they shouldn't :D


Check the benchmarks. Intel should have the faster dual core chips but I saw a recent set of benchies that says the AMD CPUs are matching the Core Duo for memory intensive applications because the Intel FSBs result in running the DDR2 non synchronous by default. Since you can't tweak a laptop bios this means AMD may be a better choice depending on the CPU clock and FSB. Note that HP you linked uses 667 RAM and 800 FSB, this slows memory utilization. Unfortunately nobody seems to make an AMD workstation laptop... So try for a core duo running ram and FSB at synchronous clock speeds. Thsi gets messy with intel because of their weird FSbs.
Core2 procs are superior in pretty much any setting.

Take a random sampling of 20-30 benchmarks and you will see an average performance delta of 15-20%.

You are correct re: memory. Most companies (including Dell) should be offering you 667 and 800 MHz DDR2 modules. 533 is dead, please don't acquire that if possible.

On reliability...
Lenovo is not IBM. They are cheap chinese replacemenmts for the rugged, reliable IBM laptops. Do not get confused. Compaq made rugged laptops but that was before HP ruined them. That leaves Dell as the only brand that I know of who designs and tests their laptops for ruggedness.
They all make decent parts m8 :)

Remember, the majority of all notebooks are made at the same plants, it's just the parts that are a little different.

The Dell notebooks are solid because of the chassis construction, I can vouch for that from all the demo's I have seen. My brother had a lovely Lenovo when he was at his other job and it did the job well. They are not as cheap as you suggest, although, admittedly, I have not experienced their lower-end consumer products. I will leave that to you to discuss if you have experience on the product :)

Cheers
 

segamil

OSNN Addict
#9
Thanks Sazar,
good solid, no nonsense advice.. I think my friend is currently leaning towards a Dell with a 64 bit OS. He considered getting the Macbook Pro but realized he would have to buy new software and changed his mind. Thanks to all of you! I will let you know what the final decision is!
 

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