Looking for a well rounded budget laptop for school

Bakuryu42

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1. What is your budget?

Preferably less then $1k

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

15.5 seems like it makes sense, small enough to keep the laptop itself small, big enough for video if needed.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

Ideally 1080p, but slightly less will probaby do.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

Definitely portable I want to be able to take this around with my with little effort and also without always needing to be near an outlet.

5. How much battery life do you need?

As stated before as much as I can possibly get preferably at least 5 hours.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

I do play games, but I do not want to make it a priority, that being said I do plan on doing game design so it might not have to play Crysis on ultra, but it should be able to handle some graphical programs and games

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

I do own the Adobe Creative Suite so ideally I would like it to work with those programs and function correctly.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

As much as I can get, minimum 500GB, ideally 1TB

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

Newegg and Amazon are always prefered, but I'm open to any place if the price is right

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

As long as possible, I want this to last past my two years in school

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

It would be nice to have a Bluray drive, but it is not a priority a DVD r/w would suffice

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

My last laptop was an Asus, it wasn't horriable, but it was bulky had a low battery life, the harddrive died and had to be replaced and now it wont turn on. My mom has a HP and it seems nice and we haven't had an issue with it yet. I tend to stay away from Dell just from the long term stigma, but I haven't really kept up with current company trends for about a half a decade.

13. What country do you live in?

USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

Going to school for computer science, looking to get into game design. I work with programs such as Maya, Unity, Gamemaker. Games I have played recently: Ghost Recon Phantom, Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2.
 

bob hays

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Thanks for following the post, i know it's a pain and personally I don't but it helps a lot. ok now for recommendations: There looks like 2 classes of laptops that would suit you.

1. ultrabooks - these are very thin, light, portable. Use low power parts but with smaller batteries so battery life is about the same as normal.

2. standard laptops - thicker, heavier than ultrabooks, but still not too large. Parts use more power so perform better, certain models might have more upgradability (ram and hard drives) depending on which ultrabook you compare it to.

Out of these I generally find that for a student the portability is much better than more power (average users don't need much performance), but for your case it's kinda interesting cause you do use heavy applications.

This laptop is in between a standard laptop and ultrabook.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834257913

Pros: Full mobile i7 (faster than low power version) 8gb ram, 1tb hard drive, 1080p touchscreen 15.6".
Cons: no dvd drive (you can use a usb one)

There is also the asus vivobook : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834231410
Has a dvd drive and rest of specs except: lower power i7 and 720p screen.
 

Bakuryu42

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Sorry for the late response, finals came up and then the reason I'm kinda in a rush for a new laptop needed to be settled (summer program at new school).

Both of these computers are pretty good suggestions. The first one doesnt seem to mention battery life anywhere, also no DVD drive is kinda a drag. Also do you think the Intel HD Graphics 4600 chip inside will be enough to handle Maya/Unity/mild-low gaming?

The second one is has a lot of ups and downs, not as nice of a resolution screen or processor, but a dedicated graphics card and a cd/dvd drive is a plus. Its also now out of stock so... yea. 5.5 hour battery life although I tend to round down and maybe take an hour off since I feel those estimates are like best case scenario, nothing running, screen brightness zero, etc.

If you have any other recommendations please let me know. The first one isn't bad except it doesn't have a cd drive, unsure of battery life, and not sure how good the graphics chip is.
 

bob hays

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Approximately how much battery life are you looking for? and yes the hd graphics should be able to handle low end gaming (actually high if its games like LoL). I'm not so sure about maya and unity because I don't know how they scale off of graphics.
 

Bakuryu42

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I guess 5.5 isn't terrible, but ideally I'd like 6+ or something I want the highest I can get, but it seems more likely that I'll need to buy another battery because most laptops that gave high specs tend to have lower battery life.

The recommended specs for Maya 2015 are

64-bit Intel® or AMD® multi-core processor
Graphics Hardware
Windows 8 Recommended Graphics: Graphics Cards
Windows 7 Recommended Graphics: Graphics Cards
RAM 4 GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
Disk Space 4GB of free disk space for install
Pointing Device Three-button mouse

Unity's requirements are

Windows XP with SP2 or later; Windows 7 with SP1 or later; Windows 8; Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
Graphics card with DirectX 9 level (shader model 2.0) capabilities. Any card made since 2004 should work.
Using Occlusion Culling requires GPU with Occlusion Query support (some Intel GPUs do not support that).

 

bob hays

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You are easily covered with those requirements with new laptop processors. I can't right now but i'll look for some other laptops that fit your needs better. I think the best option is a full standard laptop which is more powerful, but also has a larger battery, but sacrifices a bit of the portability.
 

Bakuryu42

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How much portability are we talking in terms of sacrificing? My last laptop was 8.79 lbs and was 17.2" needless to say it was less then portable. It got the job done, but I really need to find a good happy medium of portability (size/weight/battery life) and power (CPU/GPU/RAM/HD Size and Speed) It seems like an impossible task one that I took on the first time a bought a laptop and still ended up with a clunky gaming laptop -_-.
 

Bakuryu42

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It's so close, but according to these testimonies:
Review
Customer Review

The battery life is on par with my previous laptop which means practically none existent :(.

Other then that yes it does fit my needs, but a laptop is only as portable as its size and battery life and size wise its not bad, but it seems like 3 hours or less which is ridiculous for a laptop.

 

Bakuryu42

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An update for anyone that cares I'm currently looking at a refurb HP Zbook 15

Specs
HP ZBook 15 W8P/W7P-64 i7 4800MQ 2.7GHz
750GB
8GB
DVDRW
15.6FHD
WLAN BT BL FPR
K1100M
Cam Rmkt
NB PC

It's way over budget though.. and that's without a extended warranty. Been told workstations last longer so I've been looking at those.
 
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