Which laptop (another thread about this!?)

Yeah, I know a lot of people ask “Is this a good computer for blender” and similiar questions. Since I won thisNASA thing, I discussed with my parents what I can do with my reward money (1000$), and they suggested I buy a laptop. So here I am, looking on Newegg drooling and confused. I think that I found a couple that are good? Or do you have any suggestions for a laptop under 1000$?

Some basic questions
which is better, DDR2 ram, or DDR3 (I’m guessing the 3?)
Nvidia or ATI or ? and why? I can’t find many laptops with nvidia cards on Newegg.
I’m guessing SATA drives are good?
should I go for 4gig or 8gig of ram? 8 always seemed like overkill to me.
How big should the graphics card be? (I plan on playing new high quality games)
Preferred brands? I’ve always liked the Toshiba Laptop keyboards and screens.
What should I do when I first get my laptop? Remove bloatware obviously?
I hear a lot of talk about leaving it charged for 24 hours before using it to ‘improve’ the battery, yes or no?
what is i3 CPU? Is it good/bad? What Is a good CPU Speed?
I do not plan on purchasing any monthly payment anti virus or firewall things, so what do you suggest? I am up for one time buys. I plan on running windows 7.

Some laptops that I found and I think I like but I’m not sure:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834115796
I’m not sure about the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650 (1GB DDR3 VRAM) graphics card. It looks fairly new.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114936
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834114907

Which from these? Or do you have any suggestions for any laptops on Newegg? Thanks!

is i7 any good? what is this intel core thing?
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834146613

Congratulations!

I have 512mb nvidia integrated graphics, and it was only that after I bought my laptop I find this out. Apparently you want to get dedicated graphics. Anyway, the only current gen game I have is Starcraft 2 (yea thats right, got the beta :stuck_out_tongue: ) and I can run that on high, however its only a RTS. A lot of current gen games splash something like “nvidia, how its meant to be played” in the splash screen, so if you’re a consumer whore like me, get nvidia ^^

I use Avast (free) for anti-virus on my laptop, it seems pretty good. I tried AVG (also free) which at the time really drained the CPU, Windows 7 had just came out so I’m not sure if it was an issue they have fixed now or not. I am really satisfied with Avast though.

When you get your laptop, remove all the bloatware, there are programs made especially for removing crap from a fresh computer. After that disable some of the Windows 7 features that you don’t need, it will speed your laptop up (the search bar in the start menu is great, just type disable features or something and you should find it easy).

I know not much about hardware though.

P.S, They call them notebooks now because they overheat if you put them on your lap. Voids your warranty if you do.

First of all congrats!

And definitely look into the i7, it is significantly faster than the i5. If you have to save a little before you buy it is worth it.

“Since I won this NASA thing”
Sweet!

“which is better, DDR2 ram, or DDR3 (I’m guessing the 3?)”
It seems like right now, DDR3 won’t speed up your system that much if at all.

“Nvidia or ATI or ? and why? I can’t find many laptops with nvidia cards on Newegg.”

Nvidia is the way to go for me. But whatever GPU you are thinking about getting, do some research on reviews of that particular GPU before buying. Most ATI and NVidia cards are great. But there are always a couple of models that suck. Check this article: http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/mainstream-roundup-2_22.html#sect0

“I’m guessing SATA drives are good?”

SATA drives are the fastest. The RPM of the drive is usually a consideration, faster RPM=faster transfer rate, slower RPM=quieter.

“should I go for 4gig or 8gig of ram? 8 always seemed like overkill to me.”

8 is not overkill for Blender. If you get only 4, then make sure that your computer can be upgraded later. Some laptops do not have extra memory slots.

“How big should the graphics card be? (I plan on playing new high quality games)”

High quality games are going to run the best on a desktop computer. But aren’t you going to get a laptop? If you are getting a laptop, then you don’t need to worry about the size of the graphics card.

“Preferred brands? I’ve always liked the Toshiba Laptop keyboards and screens.”

You should write down a list of things you’d like your laptop to have then see who offers that combination. For example, do you need: firewire port, svideo out, HDMI out for secondary monitor or just SVGA, SD card reader, PCMCIA slot, how many USB ports, etc…

Once you have narrowed down your choices, then do research on reviews of the models you are interested in.

“What should I do when I first get my laptop? Remove bloatware obviously?”

I wouldn’t worry too much about the default setup. Of course, remove any programs that run in the background that you don’t need like Open Office quick starter, Google Chrome quick starter, etc… But more importantly, don’t install crappy programs that you aren’t sure about.

“I hear a lot of talk about leaving it charged for 24 hours before using it to ‘improve’ the battery, yes or no?”

This depends on the computer. You’ll need to read the manual for your computer to find out what they recommend.

Out of time… Hope this helps a little.

4 Gig of ram is enough

If you go with the i5 or i7 chips I would als use DDR3 ram because the new intel chips can access
the memory directly and thus would not be so fast incase you put in older ram chips.

720QM is a quad core CPU, thus you can run Blender with 8 threads.
It is a good option for running on the AC adapter.
However I do not know if the system slows down the cores to conserve power when
running on battery.
But I do not assume that you really are going to render scenes on battery anyway.

The AMD options you listed are only quad core and not the new phenom II x6 six core.

Thus to be honest price wise the i7 model is what I would choose.
Only the GT 240 card is to be honest very weak.

Maybe you can get a similar system with a GT 330 M. I have it as well and I cannot complain
playing with it in high res my games.

I would anyway go with NVIDIA because of CUDA and GPU based rendering.
OpenCL is not so much supported by others besides SmallLuxGPU which can also use the NVIDIA card.
But CUDA does not run on ATI.

Check out sagernotebook.com if you would like something customizable.

I don’t have the fastest notebook in the world but it works well for blender.

You will need to know what you want though. I have the NP8662 Clevo- 2.9 ghz x64 Centrino 2- 4 gigs ram duel channel and a GTX 260 1 gig ddr3. I play all my games maxed at 1920x1200 no problem. Oh it is all aluminum chassis but I’m not sure if you can get them like that anymore.

OS is Windows 7 pro 64 and I love it. Just wish 2.49 had a 64 bit installer.

I think I found a decent notebook, the Acer Aspire 5645g:(Newegg Link)

specs:

it’s got an i5 450m processor
the NVIDIA GT330M graphics card, which is dedicated (is that obvious, whats the difference? andrew said it was better)
4gb DDR3 ram
SATA Hard drive with 500gb

my gripes are that the hard drive is only 5400rpm, nobody has reviewed/bought it, and newegg doesn’t have a picture. However, youtube does have some videos of it which is cool, it looks like it can play new games in medium detail quite well: (Crysis Warhead on notebook) I think this guy has the acer with the i7, which is too much for me. (Newegg Link to version with i7) I’m glad that the screen is smaller too and it’s quite light. I don’t want something too bulky.

so what do you guys think?

I looked into avast, and I am probably going to use it, a lot of anti-virus comparisons recommended it.

Save your money for avast.
Just go with Panda CloudAV. It is free and the pro version is very cheap.
It has a very different approach to virus detection and data base updates.

I would actually rather go with the 200 $ more expensive i7 model.
It has 4 cores while being fe MGHZ slower per core.
But the i5 cannot do hyper threading.

Dedicated means it is build in, you cannot take it out and put a new card in.

5400 RPM is not a big issue today. The hard disks are pretty modern compared
to 5400 RPM years ago.

I also only have a 5400 rpm disk and I feel that nothing is slow, but much faster than
the 4 year old 5400 disk I have.

Save your money for avast.
Just go with Panda CloudAV. It is free and the pro version is very cheap.
It has a very different approach to virus detection and data base updates.
Avast is free. I’ll look into Panda too, but I don’t want to pay yearly/monthly.

I would actually rather go with the 200 $ more expensive i7 model.
It has 4 cores while being fe MGHZ slower per core.
But the i5 cannot do hyper threading.
It sounds like the i5 does hyperthreading from all the specs I’m reading. Resources from intel: (link) here is another link with the specific processor, the i5 450m (link) I don’t know man, it cost a lot more, and I think the i5 is still a hefty processor. I don’t want to spend all of my reward money in one spot, gotta save some for college. That’s a 200$ gap.

Dedicated means it is build in, you cannot take it out and put a new card in.
cool, I would most definitely not do that for a laptop anyway.

5400 RPM is not a big issue today. The hard disks are pretty modern compared
to 5400 RPM years ago.

I also only have a 5400 rpm disk and I feel that nothing is slow, but much faster than
the 4 year old 5400 disk I have.
ok, I just saw a bunch of comments on other similar hard drives about the same speed.

Thanks for your reply! I really want to make sure I get the right laptop. Here is another video showing the graphics of this laptop (a slightly different model, still has the i5 processor)

In reality the i7 is much faster, it is a better quad core technology. I don’t know the reason because I am not a techie. You know, I read stuff and understand what they are saying but I could not repeat it. However I can tell you I have played with the i5 and the i7 with my own benchmark tests and it is a much faster chip for 3D. I’d say it is worth it for the extra cash.

to be honest if you save the 200 bucks you wasted them.

The i5 CANNOT do hyper threading. It can only power up a core
meaning increase the MGHZ when other cores are resting.

The i5 is only a dual core the i7 is a quad core.

AVAST and all those other free Anti Virus programs are crap.
They can disinfect or scan but they do NOT have a realtime protection.

Panda is in that regards different. It does that what commercial programs do
protect realtime check and disinfect for free.

Panda also has a pro version which is only 29 dollares a one time fee not a
monthly subscription. But you do not need that one. The free version is already
good.

In addition Panda is very light on your computer in contrast to Avast and others.

But at the end it is all up to you. We just think to go with the i7.

Yeah, the i7 is a ton better… I don’t know, my parents would never allow me to spend it all on the laptop though. I really do wish for the i7, but I just don’t see a laptop in my price range with it.

Ohh, I thought you had to pay for panda, I didn’t know there was a free version. Which is the one you suggest? (from the list on the bottom of this page).

Perhaps educate your parents on the difference between the two. And the fact that spending money on something else is pretty much wasted money.

And here is a look. The money you spend on the wrong lap top is money you’ll never get back. You can always make more money if you spend on the right machine. It will last you much longer. Also if you are serious about 3D enough to win a contest then, well, perhaps it is worth the investment.

Just a thought. :slight_smile:

Good luck in any case.

dmills

200 dollar for college is not doing much.
And I strongly agree withRichard.
The i7 will since it is faster get your work done quicker.
Most non-3D people do not understand that 3D work is
painfully time-consuming and having a 2 times faster
machine can cut a 10 hour rendering into 5.

If you parents would like to get more insight I could
send them an email from a 3D professors position.

Also what most dont know the i5 is that chip where hyper threading
is turned of because it runs not so well. Basically it is a chip of less
quality.

Talking about PandaAV here is the link:

It is a cloud approach - radically different to a local virus definition.
If you download a file, PandaAV checks it, if it finds something strange
in marks the file and uploads the file to Panda mainframe. It is being
analysed. And incase it is harmful declared a virus and this new information
is then instantly released to all PandaAV clients.

For them the free version is a cheap way to get harmful files identified and build
a strong virus and maleware database.

So you get it for free, they get for free the database.

Here for example you can see all incoming files and from which country and what the issue is:
http://www.cloudantivirus.com/en/threat-information/

Plus this is again in realtime.

The pro version one time fee 29 US $ adds customer support and behavioral analysis
of running processes. But the free version alone has realtime protection which non
of all other free anti virus apps offer.

So to be honest just go with the free version and enjoy the light weight of Panda.
All my students to be honest switched to it after having again and again issues
with virus definitions with symantec products or slow pc performance with AVG.

Also if you are into using any windows XP programs the Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit is going to be problematic. Even though it is 64-bit it has very little compatibility with XP programs. Windows 7 pro or higher will do XP programs np http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/campaigns/campaigntemplate.asp?CampaignID=1101

For the money you have, have you thought about building a desk top instead. You can build a pretty powerful system for 800$. Here is a AMD bare bones only needs a few items for peek performance. http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4360083&Sku=V133-97100

I have avast, and it has realtime scanning. I am usually safe in what I download however it did stop a trojan once.


For anti-virus, I really like Microsoft Security Essentials. It works well and doesn’t drain a lot of resources in the process.

Also, unless you have an application that you know Windows7 wont support, I wouldn’t be too worried about the lack of XP Mode. It essentially just runs a virtual machine with XP installed in it. I haven’t used XP Mode and I’ve been using Windows 7 since the Beta. :stuck_out_tongue:

A dedicated graphics card is one which has it’s own video RAM (ie, doesn’t have to leech off of the slower system RAM).

Also just make sure the graphics card is not integrated that means it is not separate and it uses system resources.

Also I have a question about surfing though the “Cloud”. Does that not make your surfing experience slower? And does this cause problems? Not really sure how that all is supposed to work. And ultimately, do we trust these guys and their security as all of our information passes though their “cloud”? If the cloud should receive a breach, then what? That is a lot of information available to a hacker and a lot of damage could occur (in 6 minutes as per their example) before anyone knew. Correct?

I am sure I don’t understand it all technically but I think these sound like legitimate questions - I am sure have been asked before.

Thanks for the plenty responses. I will have to test out both anti-viruses and do some performance checks! The cloud method is interesting, I have never had any major issues with viruses anyway, as I’m usually careful. On a side note, I am going to install crap cleaner (ccleaner), wonderful program.

I do not plan on rendering on this laptop. The laptops I have looked at are already 4 times better than my desktop, which I used to render my NASA animation. I am going to have to stick with the i5, it is still a hefty processor. I also want to clarify that I’m not going to college for 3d art/animation.

The laptop I was looking at (link) just dropped a bit in price, they also added some photos of it. I really like how it looks. I will probably not get my money until august, so that means no laptop until august. :frowning:
Maybe an i7 will pop up somewhere for cheap during that time. Looks like they dropped the price of the i7 AS5745g as well by 50 bucks (link), that one also has bluetooth, which means bluetooth mice, which means they don’t need a usb port.

The i 5 is a quad core, it is the i 3 that is only a dual core. The space where the other 2 cores would have been is occupied by a crappy integrated graphics processor. Personally I feeling Hyperthreading is an overrated function.