Need a mid-range laptop for school & graphic design

vicimgd

Honorable
Aug 22, 2013
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10,510
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I'm looking to replace my old HP netbook (which has finally given out on me) with a much better (relatively speaking) laptop I can use for drawing and casual gaming in addition to my usual schoolwork.


1. What is your budget?
about $700 (total budget minus cost of Photoshop)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
13-15"

3. What screen resolution do you want?
between 1024x800 and 1208x1024 (or whatever it should be in relation to that ^ size)

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

5. How much battery life do you need?
4-8 hours (again, I can sacrifice battery life for cost if necessary)

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)?
mostly MineCraft & League of Legends; might eventually play Portal 1

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photoshop CS6 - drawing and photo manipulation

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
320GB+ (prefer HDD to SSD)

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I'm short on time, so if possible I'd like to pick it up direct from a store, but I'm flexible.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
It should last at least the 4 years I'll be in college. Longer is better, of course.

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

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.
I don't have enough experience with computers to have a favorite brand yet. I was mildly annoyed by my HP netbook's drivers, but that's likely because I loaded it with Window 8 after they'd stopped selling it.

13. What country do you live in?
USA

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I checked out Fry's first for advice and the sales person recommended I get a laptop with a dedicated graphics card and an i5 processor. The i5 I definitely need but I'm a bit clueless as to how necessary the graphics card is.

My father will install LogMeIn so he can deal with any software failures, but I'm not sure what kind of hardware support will be nearby after I move to Arizona.

I have a Wacom Bamboo tablet (so I don't need a touch screen) and use memory sticks frequently, so the more USB ports, the merrier!
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
Here are some that would fit your budget from Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006740%204021&IsNodeId=1&name=%24500%20-%20%24750#). All the ones listed have a dedicated graphics card. The dedicated graphics card should help with Photoshop. The integrated graphics processors often share memory which means if you have 4GB of RAM that some of that RAM will be used by the graphics processor. A dedicated graphics card will take some of the load off of the CPU.
 

kenrivers

Splendid
Moderator
Here are some that would fit your budget from Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=100006740%204021&IsNodeId=1&name=%24500%20-%20%24750#). All the ones listed have a dedicated graphics card. The dedicated graphics card should help with Photoshop. The integrated graphics processors often share memory which means if you have 4GB of RAM that some of that RAM will be used by the graphics processor. A dedicated graphics card will take some of the load off of the CPU.
 
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