Need a new laptop, please weigh in…

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION Need a new laptop, please weigh in…

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    Melanie Reber, RLA

    I am changing jobs this week and am losing my current laptop TODAY. The last 3 days have been spent searching for all possibilities for a replacement, but at this point, I am pretty much glazed over with information overload.


    Could really use some input, please!!!


    I really don’t want to spend more than necessary as I realize today’s machines are made to be disposable. (my previous comp., a Dell, lasted for 10 years)  I also don’t want to overload the machine and purchase more than is necessary for my purposes.


    I run AutoCAD 2010, some SketchUp, InDesign, Photoshop and a few other obvious programs. I also keep a large amount of image files.


    So, I am thinking somewhere along these lines:

    i3 processor

    4GB mem

    500GB HD

    15.6″ – 17″ screen

    Toshiba or Dell have been recommended


    Am I over or under equipped? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!

    Jonathan Smith, RLA

    Look for a refurbished Dell.  Got mine for 1200.  Runs great.


    Here’s the specs:

    Vostro 3700 Laptop
    Processor: Intel Core i7-740QM Processor (6M cache, 1.73 GHz)
    Certified Refurbished
    8X DVD +/- RW w/dbl layer write capability
    Processor Label
    Palmrest W/O Finger Print Reader
    Back-lit Keyboard
    DigitalPersona software
    Genuine Windows 7 Professional
    Win7 Starter Software
    1 GB  NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M
    4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz (2 DIMMs)
    17.3 inch Full HD WLED
    Roxio Creator 10.3 DE
    Software CD
    Operating System DVD
    Integrated 2.0 Mega Pixel Web Camera
    Power DVD Software
    6 Cell Lithium-Ion Battery
    64BIT Operating System
    Resource DVD
    500 GB SATA Hard Drive (7200 RPM)
    125V Power Cord
    Shipping Material
    Dell 1501 Wireless-N
    Dell Wireless 365 Bluetooth Module
    130W A/C Adapter, 3P
    Windows Live
    Service Software CD
    Dell Data Back-up and Recovery Manager for Win 7
    Jonathan Smith, RLA

    I HATE looking for new computers on a budget…but I’ve only had good luck with Dell.

    Melanie Reber, RLA

    That looks like a really nice machine… but, aren’t you a little ‘iffy’ about a refurb unit at all? I am also really HATING this process, but it must be done!

    Thomas J. Johnson

    Here you go… these should suit your needs…;116_35_41237_42734,Detail;98_266_9898_49588,Detail;112_458_10937_14910

    I’d look for at least a 2.0Ghz processor, 4GB of Ram and a 500GB HD. 64 bit operating systems seem to be the way things are going but if all of your software is 32 bit, you might want to stick with 32 bit systems, otherwise you’ll have to purchase all new software for your new laptop.

    I’ve had my MAC Powerbook G4 since 2005. I love it and it’s still in great shape but it’s hard to justify the cost of MAC stuff… The computers above are all under $700 and have a comparable spec to a $2400 MacBook Pro. That being said, if you’ve got money to burn, buy the bling. PCs can’t compete with the styling of a MAC. Just look at the ports/drives/chargers of a MAC and you’ll see the difference. Everything has been thought out and refined.

    I’d stick with a 15″ screen. 17″ becomes cumbersome. Also, get an external hard-drive, if you don’t already have one, slightly larger than the laptops hard-drive to back up your data. That’s about it… Hope that helps.

    Jason T. Radice

    If your drawings have any complexity (or x-refs/blocks), you will need a beefier processor than the i3.


    Also, make sure the laptop has a SEPARATE graphics processor AND separate memory, many of the i3 models (since they are the the least powerful) do not have this. They share the graphic processing on the main CPU and share the 4gb memory,

     I really like my HP I bought 5 years ago with an AMD processor ( I only buy AMD), and it was a great price, even though it is quite powerful for a laptop (especially of its vintage) it is not a desktop replacement for serious CAD or 3D work.  There is no way not to spend money if you want a decent machine in lieu of a proper destop workstation.

    Heather Smith

    We have had nothing but luck with refurbished Dells. Someone told me that they manually rebuild them.

    david maynes

    Thinkpad (use to be IBM, now Lenovo). Very solid laptop. Always reliable.

    I’ve been using a T60 for a few years. Never had a problem with any of the afore mentioned software…even Sketchup is smooth navigating high MB files.

    The other nice thing is you can customize each component (give and take) to help balance the price-to-performance ratio for your application.

    Good luck


    Melanie Reber, RLA

    THANK YOU each so much for the valuable input! I ended up with an ASUS G73Jw!

    Frank Varro

    Asus is a great company, and that looks to be a really nice setup!


    I just picked up one of those about about a month ago and I’ve been thrilled with the performance thus far.

    Melanie Reber, RLA

    Thanks for the encouraging news Frank & Fremont!

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