Help! Dell or Lenovo CAD Laptop??


Feb 9, 2009
I'm having trouble trying to decide between a Dell Precision series,
or Lenovo W series,
I'm an engineering student who uses AutoCAD/Inventor, and some Soildworks applications. A 512Mb Quaddro card will be sufficient for quite a while, but I do need a laptop with some beef. After I'm done customizing any one of the Dells, they are usually ~1k more than their base price if I'm lucky. The Lenovo's are even worse. I really don't know much about laptop compatability or how to modify their components later, as I assume it must be more difficult than for a standard desktop. My price range is about $3500 (cad), and I would prefer the 17" screen if possible. I know it may take some time, but if anyone could throw out some possible builds for laptops or opinions on one/type may be better cost/performance wise that would be great. I'm pretty lost here, so any help would be appreciated. Thanks.


Feb 9, 2009
I just read the FAQ for buying a laptop,, and here are some of my criteria:

Budget ~$3500 (cad)

From what I have read, the 17" WUXGA (1920x1200) display is the best, and would prefer this. If I am wrong then a different model would be fine.

Portable laptop, I already have a desktop that I built. If laptop proves to be powerful/useful enough, may consider getting rid of desktop.

As much battery life as possible! IE. 9 cell at least, more if possible (haven't found any more than 9 yet though)

I would play some games with this, but nothing hugely demanding. Maybe starcraft II/D3 whenever they come out :D. most games i'd play on it would most likely run fine i'm hoping though.

I'd like the laptop to be able to do almost everything my desktop can. reason being i spend so much time at school i do need it to have video editing/photoshopping/multimedia (to an extent) capabilities. CAD applications come first, however.

Thinking around 250-320Gb storage. 160 if money ends up tight, and depending on how difficult it may be to increase storage space in a laptop - of laptops i have really no idea how hard this may or may not be, especially with Dell or Lenovo.

I'm hoping to keep this for at least about 5 years, as I have another 3 to go for school and would like to continue to use it through industry. Any longer than that would be great, but 5 years is the minimum.

I'm really only looking at Dell and Lenovo laptops, as they seem to be the only ones who produce serious business laptops. If there are others then i'd be happy to look at them as well.

-I'll need an accidental protection plan of 5 years (i think about +~500 for Dell, ~700 for Lenovo), because i tend to break stuff and i don't want this breaking without replacement :D.
-I'm fine with vista I have it on my desktop and have worked around a lot of it's gimmicks, so i'm fine with vista buisness 64bit.
-4 gigs ram would be nice, but if it isn't too hard to upgrade on a laptop, then 2 gig would probably be fine, especially if sorted into 1 DIMM. again i don't know about upgrading laptops in the future...
-If, in your opinion, a 15.4" screen would be sufficient, please let me know. I prefer 17" of course but there is quite the price difference, and there may be considerations with different screen sizes regarding laptops that I may not be taking into account.

Thanks so much for your help, hope I'm not being too picky or have too much information up here!
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