New Laptop Question

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Postby SkaBob » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:09 am

Parks wrote:Being used mostly for Photoshop and Dreamweaver just screams Apple. Macs are generally the best for graphics and audio applications.


Sorry, but this just isn't true anymore. The reason Macs got used so widely previously was that they were using processors that were more capable for graphics calculations, and more (most) importantly that Photoshop, Illustrator and Pagemaker were ONLY available for Mac OS.

These days, all the hardware inside your Mac is the same stuff other than the BIOS that's in a PC. Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs, ram and drives are the same as PCs, the graphics cards are the same, nothing's different about a mac anymore other than the case, the firmware that tells MacOS it's OK to run on that system, and the extra $1200 on the price tag.

Parks wrote:Macs are also very secure


Security through obscurity is the term used. Macs aren't inherently all THAT much more secure than windows (to the extent that their permissions systems and basic structure is unix-like they are), the crackers just haven't bothered with them much, because the tiniest percentage of people are actually using them, and the point of all the virus infections and such is to get massive numbers of computers infected.

Parks wrote:Get the second level support option (i.e. Gold Support if you got through Dell).

The lowest level support that you get with laptops will be some phone number where you'll sit on hold for 30 minutes for the pleasure of speaking with an English-as-a-second-language rep that is just going off a script and can't actually help you with real problems.


Excellent, excellent advice.

Also, when purchasing a laptop, do note that the manufacturer's warranty DOES NOT COVER SCREEN BREAKAGE. I never buy extended warranties on anything computer related, unless an LCD screen is involved. Replacing the screen on most laptops costs as much if not more than the laptop itself. Buy a warranty with screen coverage, because even if YOU don't drop it, someone else will, or they'll drop something on it, or run into it hard with something...anything. It happens, and it sucks to be out $1200 for a screen when you could've spent like $200-250 on a warranty that gets it replaced free.

Judging by the video card he got quoted, I'm assuming he IS going to be gaming with it, because that card is about 10-20 times the horsepower needed to run photoshop and such. That's a gamer's card, in fact it's desktop counterpart is the card I use in my game rig at home. If this isn't what you really plan to use the laptop for, tell the sales guy to step it down several notches because he's overselling you, and that's probably adding at least $200 to the price. And if it IS what you want it for, frankly, get a better one... the 7600's pretty old, and the second generation past it is already on the shelves. It's not DirectX 10 compliant, so fewer and fewer new games will look as they should on it.
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Postby domromer » Fri Aug 24, 2007 1:46 pm

Thanks for all the feedback.

I might have another option. I have a buddy who goes through computers like I go through socks. He has a http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/e1405.ars

which he might be willing to give me..Free!!

Seems pretty decent. I'd put another gig of ram in and maybe overclock the processor.

I guess we will see what happens.
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Postby SkaBob » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:43 pm

You really, REALLY don't want to overclock a laptop. To properly overclock ANY system, you need better cooling, and a laptop provides VERY substandard cooling as-is. The heat sink isn't put on with good thermal compound, the fan runs hardly any of the time, and the heat sink is very small, and made only from aluminum.

But for free, that's a fine laptop for what you'll need in class. Enjoy!
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