Laptop Buying Advice - Suggestions & Doubts.

Zerosleep

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Jan 3, 2014
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Hey Guys,

I am looking to buy a new laptop and have a budget of around $900 (Rs. 50000 - 55000)

A friend suggested me to buy a mid ranged laptop for around $600 and buy a 500 GB SSD separately for $300 to replace it with the laptop's HDD. Is this a good idea?

My laptop usage generally consist of Photoshop, Outlook (loads of work on outlook), multi-window browsing on Chrome (15-20 tabs open at a time)

I am thinking of taking his advice and buying a laptop (haven't found one yet) with the following specs - Intel i5 (4th gen), 4 gb RAM, 1-2 GB graphics and buy a Samsung Evo 840/850 SSD for $300.

Now, I have heard that SSDs are not good when it comes to longevity. Is this true?

What do you guys recommend -

1. Spending $900 on a High-end Laptop
2. Spending $600 on Laptop and $300 on SSD.

Please advice.

Thank You :)
 

flamefire999

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Nov 9, 2013
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For Photoshop I would get the high-end laptop with a hard drive. You will need the extra power > speed. Besides it's almost impossible to find a laptop with dedicated graphics and an i5 under $600.

And btw if you write about 50gb to an SSD per day it will last around 10 years so what you heard is wrong. SSD's will last longer than most HDD's.
 

For Photoshop, I'd say the things you want in the laptop are, from most to least important:

    ■Screen. 1080p or higher and IPS or equivalent (PLS, AVHA). Browse the reviews at notebookcheck.net and make sure the screen scores over 80% sRGB color gamut.
    ■Screen. See above.
    ■Screen. See above.
    ■RAM. 8 GB minimum. 12 GB is comfortable if you want to leave other programs running so you can multitask with Photoshop. 16 GB is nice, but probably excessive.
    ■CPU. Quad core i7 if you can, but the dual core mobile i5s are plenty fast enough for most uses. Avoid the i3s - they lack turbo boost so are about 30%-40% slower than an i5 with the "same" clock speed.
    ■SSD. Helps load and save files quicker, that's about it. The SSD is much more important for overall system responsiveness than for Photoshop.
    ■Dedicated GPU. Photoshop only uses the GPU to speed up some little-used filters. Unless you know you're going to be using those filters a lot, you can skip the dedicated GPU and just rely on Intel's integrated GPU. OTOH if you're also planning to do video editing, a dedicated GPU is very important.


$300 for a 500GB ($0.60/GB) is excessive. SSD prices are down to about $0.33/GB right now, with only the larger 1 TB models commanding close to $0.50/GB. The smaller capacity budget SSDs are coming in at $0.25/GB, with some showing up on sale for $0.20/GB.

Yes you can spend extra and get a top of the line SSD, but that's wasted money IMHO. Unless you're working with very large files all the time (e.g. real time video editing), there's very little speed difference between the high-end SSDs and budget SSDs. The drives spend most of their time bogged down on reading/writing small files, and the 4k speeds for most drives are still in the 30-70 MB/s range. The big sequential speeds everyone obsesses over don't really make that big a difference because they're so rare and finish so quickly when they do happen. It's the tasks your SSD is slowest at which makes the biggest speed difference, and right now that's 4k read/write speeds.

So if your budget is $900, I'd go with about $700 for a good laptop with a nice screen (or an external monitor - good color reproduction on those are a lot easier to find than on laptop screens). And $200 for a budget 500GB SSD. If you can find a laptop with space for two drives (e.g. mSATA SSD + HDD), I'd change that to $800 for a good laptop screen, and $100 for a 250 GB SSD.

Now, I have heard that SSDs are not good when it comes to longevity. Is this true?
Irrelevant unless you're doing something crazy like running a corporate database on one. If you write 50 GB of files to a SSD every day, it should last you about a decade. Most people write less than a few GB per day, so the SSD will last longer than their lifetime.
 

Zerosleep

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Jan 3, 2014
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Thanks for your excellent advice buddy. I don't use photoshop on a very advance level. Just some basic banners and some editing here and there. I should have mentioned this in the OP.

I am from India and the cheapest 500 GB SSD I was able to find (Samsung Evo 840 ) costs ~$300 (Rs. 17,000). So, that would be a basic SSD I guess.

I liked your idea about finding a laptop with 2 bays for hard drives. How do I find these, I have no clue. Can you help me with that ? A laptop with 2 hard drive bays would be perfect.



 

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