Suggestions? Replacement 3D design Laptop 2K USD budget.


Oct 13, 2012
Trying to find a replacement laptop, primarily used for 3D design. Note all my software runs under windows.

Should I go the gamer machine route with a hefty machine or do I go with a less powerful ultrabook?

1. What is your budget?
$2000 USD

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Most fall in the 17” range due to the intel 3rd gen i7 processors. But fine with smaller designs.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1920 x 1080, looking for a dedicated video card.

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

5. How much battery life do you need?
Usually plugged into the wall so no issue.

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)?
Not so much games, but because I use 3d applications I tend to look at high end gaming laptops.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
3D design, modeling, texturing. Photo editing, video editing, video compositing. So think Rhino, Zbrush, 3DSM, PhotoShop, etc...

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
150GB+ Right now a 250GB SSD sounds good.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
Not so much

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
At least 4+ years of active service then will be retired to specialty use.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
Just need to read CDs DVDs. Sure reading Blu-Ray would be nice but not a requirement.

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 current failing machine is an alienware laptop; the left hinge has issues, and the video card just went up. And all of a sudden I can't replace (4 year old) video card without paying handsomely.

At this stage I’d rather sidestep Dell’s Alienware, besides the current alienware case aesthetics would just make me feel embarrassed.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Based on software specs I need a 1920 x 1080 screen, at least 6GB RAM, quad core.

I’ve been looking at machines with an 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM processor.

Not that I have my heart set on it mind you.

As far a memory, I’d like to shoot for the max the system would allow in many cases that is either 8 or 16GB

I do like backlit keys.

As far as keyboards go I do prefer the older style as opposed to the new chicklet keys.

I realize that getting decent processing power means compromising form factor. Still having a solid case with flawless hinges would be nice. Aluminum or at least a rugged plastic.

My workplace does have an employee purchase discount on Dell machines, so I did spend some time trying to find a decent value.

For example this number is well under budget, and the HD could be swapped out with a SSD, but the memory limit is 8GB
SYSTEM Inspiron 17R Notebook (Inspiron 7720) - EPP discount $1248
PROCESSOR 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM processor (6M Cache, up to 3.3 GHz)
OPERATING SYSTEM Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64Bit, English
DISPLAY 17.3" 3D Full High Definition (1080p) LED Display with Truelife
MEMORY 8GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 Memory
VIDEO CARD NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M GDDR5 2GB w/ 3D Glasses
INTERNAL OPTICAL DRIVE Blu-ray Disc (BD) RE with Cyberlink Power DVD 9.6 (Blu-Ray)
SYSTEM COLOR Stealth Black Anodized Aluminum 3D
BATTERY OPTIONS 48 WHr 6-cell Lithium Ion Battery
WIRELESS CARDS Intel® Centrino® Wireless 2230, 2x2 bgn + Bluetooth
SOUND Skullcandy Speakers with WaveMaxx 4.0
NETWORK CARD Integrated 10/100 Network Card
KEYBOARD Dell Backlit Keyboard with Multi-touch Touchpad, English-Int'l
POWER CORD Power cord, 125V, 3.2 Feet, US
ADOBE & ENTERTAINMENT Adobe Elements 9.0 Photoshop and Premiere Bundle
DATASAFE DataSafe 2.0 Online Backup 2GB for 1 year
WIRELESS DRIVER Intel® Centrino® Wireless 2230, 2x2 bgn + Bluetooth
SHIPPING MATERIAL Shipping Material, Direct & Retail 3D
OPTICAL DRIVE SOFTWARE Cyberlink Power DVD 9.6 (Blu-Ray)

Another attempt
Samsung Series 7 Gamer - Newegg $1750
If I wanted to do a SSD I’d have to swap out a 750GB drive. Many reviewers don’t seem to like the plastic casing. I like the style of the keys.

And another
ASUS G75VW-DS72 - B&H $1,879.00
This level of crazy gets 3GB of video memory, 16GB ram, 750GB 7200RPM + 256G SSD


Apr 5, 2011
A competitor to Alienware is Clevo, if you don't mind how unknown they are there are quite a few sites/resellers for Clevo laptops. Here are a couple examples

Those are links linking to a model called the Clevo P170em(called NP9170 by Sager).
I've linked that model since it's 17 inches, is perfectly customisable to your budget and isn't as aesthetically embarassing as an Alienware.