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Suggest High-End Notebook (Laptop) - $2000+

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 

Well, normally I would be making suggestions in other threads like this and advising friends and family. Didn't really expect to make a thread like this for myself! However, I'm sure there are options and laptop ranges I haven't considered...

Also, I haven't ever owned a laptop and anyone I've advised has had a smaller budget than mine.

I will be at university from next month and because I've been working for the past few months, I have some money to spend. I am in the UK but can import.


My requirements are below. Please make any suggestion you want - whether that's just a range of laptops or a specific model.


I won't consider Acer.

My budget is around £1300-£1400 or around $2100 (no higher).
I want something tough, to last about 4 years.
I will be photo editing, ocassionally video editing but not gaming, unless Civilization V seduces me.
I want something portable - heavy is okay, but not too bulky.

I want a PC.
I want a solid processor, obviously. Any i7 really.
At least 4GB RAM.
15.6" screen, FHD.
64 GB+ SSD.
Good keyboard.
Good, gesture equipped trackpad.
3 year warranty (international).




What I have found so far is quite surprising, to be honest.


First, I won't consider Acer (they offer great spec for the price, invariably). MSI notebooks seem gawdy. Likewise the high-end Asus models (aimed at gamers, designed like fighter jets...), but even so, they're not that cheap or configurable.


I have found a ThinkPad W510 from what appears to be reputable seller on eBay that meets all the above requirements and comes within price range. And it has 8GB RAM (4 slot) and 128GB SSD along with other extras like USB 3.0, reliable fingerprint security etc.



I tried to configure above spec on a Dell XPS machine and it comes out at £1500+, likewise similar Sony Vaio models, HP EliteBooks. To be fair, this has however been on their UK websites. 



This begs the question, for the above spec (note that features like i7 and SSD add hundreds to a customized model), is a ThinkPad actually the best value option. I don't think anyone would choose a normal notebook (as opposed to rugged) if the costs were exactly the same and they didn't have a major problem with bulk.


Me, still a teenager, far from rich, a ThinkPad guy?

post #2 of 36

With specs like those you'll have 2 hours battery life and heat problems.  I'd recommend getting a good desktop for 2/3 the price and a portable, battery-lasting laptop for the 1/3 rest.  If you haven't owned a laptop before, you have to realize the drawbacks of portability over performance.  Can't have both unless there's like 3x batteries stuffed in there and more fans.  By then it's a desktop. :x

post #3 of 36

After my friend's Toshiba screwed up soon after purchase (yet the Compaq we got him before that lasted many years, WTF?) he got a MacBook Pro. Other than Apple (who are now doing the engineering for their laptops internally instead of having Hon Hai do it) I'd probably only consider a Thinkpad, with caveats.  I sure as hell wouldn't trust anything else to last 4 years.

post #4 of 36

get the alienware m15x and customize it. You can also upgrade the battery so that it will last longer and you'll get amazing specs for gaming.


EDIT: They also have a 6 year (or 4 cant remember) optional warranty for only a little less than a hundred bucks.

Edited by beamthegreat - 8/9/10 at 6:32am
post #5 of 36

I absolutely love my W500. It's practically indestructible but still thin and relatively light. It's also user serviceable without voiding the warranty.


When it shipped with a new "lighter" keyboard that had some flex when I pressed on it hard enough. I gave them a call about half a year into owning the unit and they sent me an older solid-backed keyboard for free. It also had a graphical corruption problem out of the box but they took care of it quickly- next day air shipping all ways and they repaired/shipped it the very morning they received it. I called them on a Tuesday, mailed it Wednesday and had it back Friday. IBM handles the support in the US, not sure about the UK.

post #6 of 36

Take a look at the Asus G73. A couple of the guys I work with have been buying them and they are stunning pieces of equipment. I'd have one on my desk right now if I could justify a new laptop right now... :(

post #7 of 36

For laptop computers I will mostly choose Apple since the newer chips will allow the use of Boot Camp.  This piece of software will allow the user to install a Windows Platform operating system into a Mac based laptop or desktop computer.  One can have a high-quality piece of hardware and a Windows OS platform in one package.


And just for sheer clarification.  PC stands for Personal Computer and unless otherwise specified such as Server or Hosting System, Workstation, Client Computer, Client License, Mac, Mac Pro, Macbook Pro, and PC desktop are types that conform to the Personal Computer.  PC is not a platform, but a classification of computer whether it is desktop of mobile computer solution.  If the named computer is used to host a network or act as File Server, then name changes from PC to Server, Host Server, File Server, etc..


Just to clarify.  Get a mac-platform PC and see if you like the quality hardware with a Windows Platform operating system.  As for battery life though, it would be nearly impossible to get a laptop mac or x86 otherwise to have a long life with the gaming-like specs that you have specified.  I own an macbook pro unibody 17-inch and installed the latest and greatest Seagate Momentus-XT 500-GB with an integrated 4-GB SLC SSD for commonly used tasks.  I have to say though the system is nearly as fast as having an SSD but without the cost.  The bare drive is about 150.00 USD. 


Just to shortened this conversation, consider the mac and install either vmware or parallels to allow simultaneous mac and Windows OS usage.  If the Windows platform is the one choice for your mobile computing needs, then please consider HP, Sony, and or Lenovo.  With the last name on that list will incur high cost and not a whole lot of machine, however the longevity of the unit may last more than three years.  Just give a fresh perspective, my first Powerbook G4 Titanium lasted me six years before the unit crapped out. 


Have a great week and weekend.

post #8 of 36

well, not what the OP aims at, but I would suggest that it's not always worth spending as much on laptops, depending on use. OP mentions university, which to me means the main use will be note-taking, web browsing, maybe a few math apps or some basic programming, nothing that requires the kind of graphics prowess or processing power that one expects from, say, a gamer laptop. so, stop reading here if the main use of the laptop will be gaming.


if it's a general use laptop, which may get banged about a bit in classrooms, lecture halls, study rooms, backpacks, etc - and if you want to use it to listen to good music of all sorts - then all you need may be found in a cheap netbook like the dell mini and so forth. their atom processor is sufficient, their memory and HD is sufficient. spend the difference on good music, and on good food - I feel like there's never enough of the latter, near universities. ;-) if like some posters here you want the option of running mac os or linux, again that's possible on a netbook. I own two, and installing snow leopard is a cinch, even on a dell. sure, neither dell nor apple want to hear this, but so there.

post #9 of 36
Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post

get the alienware m15x and customize it. You can also upgrade the battery so that it will last longer and you'll get amazing specs for gaming.


EDIT: They also have a 6 year (or 4 cant remember) optional warranty for only a little less than a hundred bucks.



Alienware makes the best laptops in the world. Or you can check out Origin Computers. I think Origin is a spinoff from Alienware.

post #10 of 36

With PC laptops, I have had the best luck with Asus and Lenovo.  HP bought Voodoo, which is pretty cool, their high-end computers have become a bit more respectable.  I have no complaints about the HP I bought on deep discount 2 years ago, as my home desktop.  Always works well.  My dad's HP laptop has held up very well.  Dell works well as long as you get their upper end computers, such as XPS or Alienware, although some pretty scary stuff has come up about them:



To the above few posts: Alienware was bought by Dell.  In response, the former executives of Alienware launched Origin.  It's a standard practice in business, build up your name until a large company really wants it.  Also, once Dell acquired Alienware, they kept the bleeding-edge performance, but scaled back the customizability of their computers.  I would definitely consider an Origin computer, or an Alienware right now.


About using the term "PC" as Windows-based offering:  sorry man, it's how the public has chosen vernacular.  Even Microsoft and Apple go along with it, just look at their commercials.  It's the same thing as calling all personal watercraft jetskis, or going jetskiing.  Technically, only Kawasaki are jet ski.  Yamaha are waverunner, bombardier are seadoo, etc.  But no one going "waverunning" or "seadooing."  While it isn't technically correct, it is publicly acceptable to use "PC" to mean a non-Apple computer.  We understand that technically Macs are PCs as well.


To the original poster:  Do you really want a core i7 laptop?  That will be a tank, so annoying to carry around.  My roommate in college got a present from his dad, a top of the line, 17", decked out Dell XPS.  It cost over $3,500 and it performed awesome.  By the middle of junior year, we were talking about computers, and he said if he had to do it all over again, he'd have gotten a great desktop for serious work, and a more portable laptop that wasn't such a burden to carry around.  That's what I had at the time, and he decided to copy me.  I helped him build a desktop, and he eventually used his laptop just as a home server.  I had my desktop that I built and modded for my big stuff, and then I got myself a 13 inch Macbook (because of the UNIX-based OS) to carry around.  I'm an amateur photographer (amateur meaning that less than half of my income comes from it), and I have photoshop cs4 on my mac.  It runs pretty decently.  You will spend much less this way, and you will have much better performance out of a desktop.  If you spend $800-$1,000 on a desktop, you can get probably 70-80% of what is out there in terms of performance.  Then, $700 on a portable laptop, and you're good to go.  You mention that you want to do video and photo editing anyway.  Well, even the crappy mass market 19'' desktop screen is better than the screen in a $2,500 computer.  The colors are deeper and more saturated, and more accurate.  Go plug in a second monitor into your laptop, and mirror the screen.  You will see the difference.  If you are serious about photo and video editing, you will want an IPS-technology panel, or at the very least PVA, instead of the common lcd, which is TN.

post #11 of 36

i7 computers dont have to be tanks. For the price your looking for, I would suggest the Sony Z Series. You can pack so much power in such a small laptop. That should be ideal...surprised no1 said sony yet...

post #12 of 36
post #13 of 36
Originally Posted by appophylite View Post

Take a look at the Asus G73. A couple of the guys I work with have been buying them and they are stunning pieces of equipment. I'd have one on my desk right now if I could justify a new laptop right now... :(

The G73 has some major quality control/ graphics driver problems. He said the most gaming he plans on doing is Civ 5, so a gaming laptop isnt necessary.


I really like the envy 15 (i5 version only). You can get a refurb through HP with a 1 year warranty, 320gb SSD for ~$1200.

post #14 of 36

A Macbook pro 15 or 17 inch will be the best mac or windows you can get. They dual boot, so there's no point in getting a windows computer.

post #15 of 36
Originally Posted by Cymbal Monkey View Post

A Macbook pro 15 or 17 inch will be the best mac or windows you can get. They dual boot, so there's no point in getting a windows computer.

That's really not true. While I don't dislike Macs (anymore), there are certainly PCs that offer features not found on Apple computers. Lots, in fact.

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