Advice required: Safari Laptop

Miros

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Dec 25, 2010
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Hi all,

I'm going to be heading down to the wilds of Africa this coming summer, and will be down there for the better part of a year. I'm currently an avid desktop gamer (custom built my own rigs for the past 10 years), and am finding myself at a bit of a loss when it comes to navigating the complexities of laptops.

I was hoping I could get some advice on what I should be looking for. While I've built my own desktops and have fair experience there, I'd prefer something more 'off-the-shelf' for this laptop so that I can take full advantage of warranties etc should the dust/heat prove too much for the hardware.

First 3 months I'll be city-bound, so would like something that can handle a couple games (ie: starcraft 2) - though I'm not going to care if it's not running them at Super-Ultra-Ridiculous visual settings.

For the year following that, I'll be in the middle of the African desert with limited power (6 hrs/day on a generator) and no internet. At this point, I'll really only be using it to download and edit pictures off my dSLR camera, with occasional check-ins via skype/facebook.

Specific questions:
- This thing will be hiked around a fair amount, so should I spring for a SSD? I'm unsure if solid state drives are more durable/robust then their counterparts, or only for the speed-freaks looking for maxing out their gaming systems.
- Daytime temps can break 40oC (104oF) during the day - should I even bother turning the thing on, or will it just go meltdown and start boring towards the centre of the earth?

My requirements:
Need to have:
- decent graphics / processing power (mild gaming / med-high photo editing).
- heat-resistant (if this is even possible for laptops)
- durable / portable
Like to have:
- long battery life / easily swapped battery with external charging system
- built-in mic / camera

And stuff from the "read-this-first" post:

Budget: Pref. <$1.5k, but will go up to $2k if it makes a big difference.
Size: 14-17 inch
Battery life: I know this depends on graphics settings, etc, but I'd like closer to the 4-6hr range then the 2-3 hr range once I'm in the field (ie: during non-intensive work)
Storage: I will be taking an external drive for backup / storage, so 250g should be more then enough. Smaller, if going for an SDD to keep cost down.
Expected Lifetime: 2-3 years, then it's back to a desktop.
Optical Drive: Could care less, I'll transfer things using the External drive. Though an SD reader / CD/DVD reader would be an epic bonus.
Brands: If you suggest a Dell, I'm skipping to the next post. =P
Country: I'm in Canada atm
Sites of Interest: I've purchased most of my desktop equipment from Memory Express (http://www.memoryexpress.com/) which is local and fairly cheap (when compared to Big-Box). I'm also fairly sure that I can get discounts on IBM / HP / Acer through my workplace, but I'm not fussy about going for something else if it will get me a better laptop.

Thanks for any help you can give me!
 

radium69

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Jul 12, 2007
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Safari laptop? Just get a barebone laptop, add the parts.
Buy a can of gold/orange spraypaint.
Or just buy a huge safari sticker and cover your laptop with it.
Bam! done!
 

Miros

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Dec 25, 2010
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Thank you =)

I was looking at that, but once I customized it, it seemed to be significantly more expensive then this rough equivalent:
http://www.memoryexpress.com/Products/PID-MX30551%28ME%29.aspx


I set up the envy as follows:
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-740QM Quad Core processor (1.73GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/Turbo Boost up to 2.93 GHz
Graphics : 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon(TM) HD 5650 graphics [HDMI] - For Quad Core Processors
Memory: 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
Hard drive: 640GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
Office: N/A
Battery: Two 8 Cell Lithium Ion Batteries (standard)

Which came to: ~$1700 USD
Whereas the Acer is ~$1290 USD (ignoring sale price)

Am I missing something, or is the Acer a much better deal of the two? Any reason I should avoid it?

 

warezme

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Dec 18, 2006
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Well I suggest a Dell...., oops almost forgot,

an Alienware (thin veil of disguise), m13x because it is built tough, small portable lots of power and decent price to tout around on the Serengeti. Just ignore any references you will encounter to Dell as Alienware is still its own company, just owned by dell.
 

Miros

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Dec 25, 2010
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Thanks Warezme, I'd considered Alienware, but I've always found them to be overly flashy and overly priced.

I had a friend suggest looking at a toughbook, but I've not really heard too much about the brand.
(http://www.panasonic.com/business/toughbook/laptop-computers.asp)
They look like something that could handle basically everything I could throw at it - but are they actually decent machines?
 
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