Buying A Laptop, Ideas And Suggestions?

Dear users of the Renoise forums,

I had to work with a macbook for the past two years because we had to use a lot of mac programs (avid media composer, pro tools, etc)
Now, I returned the bloody thing and want to buy myself a new laptop with microsofts OS.

The main purpose will (ofcourse) be composing and playing live in Renoise and Ableton Live, but I also want to be able to play games like Counterstrike; Source and Team Fortress 2.
The last ‘demand’ I have is that I want to be able to use WiFi.
Now for the problem;

I don’t know **** about computer hardware B]

What are the main things I have to watch? Processor (intel i7?)? Ram (4gb?)?
All tips and experiences are welcome here.

Asus + AMD FTW!

New mac + bootcamp? :) might be bit costy though.

I don’t recommend Acer, they are very poor quality mostly. I you’re gonna go with HP, go with the probook series. For that I’ve heard Asus is not as good as you’d believe, but dunno about that, I don’t have any personal experience. Personally I’d go with sony, samsung or something alike, or even with the mac + bootcamp option.

I have an acer as does couple of my friends. By level of quality, like casing and connections, it’s bad. Don’t know about more recent models, but yes they do look better. The samsung models I’ve tried and seen seemed really good and I have heard lots of good about them. Sony and samsung afaik are generally considered the macs of the pc world.

My acer is about 2 years old and the screen is easily the best part of it. I really don’t know about their newer models but I have seen pictures and they seemed a lot more durable and sturdy. Didn’t expect them to suddenly improve their flaws, but it’s possible I guess :)

vaio laptops stay together pretty well but they die dramatically after a few years. i had a pentium M vaio and it held up well, but then the temperature sensor died and the percentage of the time the BIOS would get past POST declined steadily for a month or two…replaced the CMOS battery and everything, knew the inside of that machine like the back of my hand, but in the end…nothing. so sad to see it go. :(

replaced it with a dell latitude e6400, which has, to my pleasant surprise, been a very solid performer. c2d chip, intel graphics (don’t get intel graphics ever, always go for the discrete card), 4gb ram. nice, nice machine. can definitely recommend the new latitudes. do not buy any home/home office dell systems, always go for the small business stuff. makes a world of difference, seriously.

recently got a new thinkpad t410 from work as well, which has been pretty nice too! also 4gb ram, slightly faster core i5, overall a pretty nice system. the trackpad died on me after just a few months, though! got a replacement part in, need to swap that out this weekend.

if I were you, I’d stick to either a latitude or a thinkpad. reputable companies, good quality hardware, good warranties, good support. treat your laptop as an investment and know that, with a good system, paying more means you get more life out of it.

p.s.: pay close attention to how long the base warranty on a laptop is. manufacturers are able to calculate (with scary precision) how long a laptop is going to last, and they set the warranty up so that it will fail after the warranty period has expired. i’ve got a 1 year warranty on my thinkpad and a 3 year on my dell; it will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

p.p.s.: also, learn how to take your laptop apart and clean it regularly (particularly clean the radiators and vents). you will get more life out of it.

I recently bought a laptop, so I shopped them a lot… You simply have to know the specs to compare them.

First of all, you have to know what kind of laptop you want:

10" - 11" - Netbooks, very small, often good battery life, but no specs at all.
12" - 13" - Light laptops… when those have good specs, they cost a crapload because you get specs + portability in the same package.
14" - 15.6" - The usual laptop, those often offer the best specs/price ratio.
17"+ - So large, I’d avoid those.

If you could tell us your budget, it would help a lot too.

Then, let’s take care of the ram, since it’s so simple. You want at least 4gb of ram, I don’t suggest you get more because getting more than that implies that you get 4gb of each stick of ram, which makes it very expensive… 2x 2gb of ddr3 is the standard these days. Also, it often costs about 20$ to upgrade from 3gb to 4gb, you want 4gb of ddr3 ram.

Now the cpu… I use intel… so that’s what I know. The new intel branding is very, very confusing, here’s how it goes:

Core 2 Duo are the last generation of the intel dual cores… they are getting cheaper, they are good, but generally, a core i5 would be better.
The i3 are the low end new dual core processors, they faster than what it used to be, but an older high end Core 2 Duo will probably be faster

The i5-450M, i5-520M, i5-540M and i7-620M are the new high end dual cores, these cpus are the fastest dual cores out there, to give you an example, my i5-540M, 2.53ghz runs about as fast as an older core2duo at 2.93ghz…

The i7-720QM and up are the quad core cpu for the laptops… they run at a lower clock speed, but they are quad core, they often mean the laptop has a very low battery life.

I have a Sony vaio CW, I like this machine… they stopped making it really fast… they replaced it by the EA I think, they are 14" machine… These are like the home versions of sony machines… they aren’t as great as the Sony Vaio Z, but at least I could afford it.

By the way, if your budget hovers in the 2000ish… consider a Sony Vaio Z, they are really nice machines… 13", great specs, great build.

About the brands, I’d say away from gateway, acer and toshiba. I heard Asus is pretty trustworthy… Buy a laptop is a hard choice, so many choices, yet none of them will fully satisfy your needs, you have to set your priorities.

Wow, thanks A LOT guys! This really helped me. About my my budget… I’m actually pretty broke but I need this thing for my new study so I’m prepared to use my savingsmoney :D Big thanks anyway, especially visinin, JBL and tehnik.

So what’s your budget?

If your budget is low, I strongly suggest aiming at those 15’6" machines they will get you the best specs for the price… If possible try to get a screen resolution higher than 1280x800 or 1366x768 on such screen.

try to get an i5 dual core cpu and 4gb of ram…

My budget is around €1000,-
i7 is better than i5 right? I think I’ll check some local stores next week (dour festival, whooh) to see some in real life :lol:

Through a Dutch comparisonsite I got to this one. Seems nice

i have that laptop for work. it’s fine. the trackpad is a bit wonky on that model though, apart from that no problems…

Yeah I noticed it afterhand too… Ill keep looking

It’s not like you need high graphical performances to make music though. Or do you need good graphics for something else? (edit: I just saw the video game part in the initial thread… well those games are old… but yeah you might want a real gpu… be aware that this will greatly reduce your battery life though)

I’d go with the i5-540M one and upgrade the ram to 4gb and the screen resolution to 1600x900 because 1366 x 768 is not much for a 15.6" I tell you… I’m stuck with that on my 14" and I really wish I had 1600x900, the option wasn’t offered on my model.

Seriosly dont buy anything with seagate harddrive. In my laptop 3 of them has died, last of them few days ago. Not that i am bitter or anything :D . Also if i was you i would get harddrive that is 7200rpm or (damn expensive) ssd-drive, because slow harddrive is going to get to your nerves sooner or later. Sure that shortens battery life, but things actually happening in realtime is worth it. Just my 2 cents.

I’m looking at the Sony Vaio models now but the thing I don’t get is that the z-series are incredible expensive while if I put an e-series together with almost the same specs I spare almost 1000 euro’s. Wheres the difference?

If you saw them in a store IRL, you would see it right away.

I went to a store while passing by a few days ago to see the new EA and EB series since the EA replaces the CW that I own… surprisingly, has a feel a bit cheaper than the CW (I thought it would have been the same quality or the opposite (EA being better than my CW)

As for EA, EB and Z, the EA and EB are cheap plastic and big, while the sony Z is sleek and with a much better build… also, it stacks similar specs in a 13"… it’s much smaller than those huge 15.6"

If you can afford a Sony Vaio Z, go for it, they look completely awesome.

Yeah it’s mostly about the overall quality of the components, like casing, connections, screen, etc. I recommend the most well built stuff available if you can, I have such bad experienses with bad-quality laptops.

Hmm yes I noticed the F-series are biiig (16 inch) A friend of mine has one but he uses it as his main pc… But that one is 1050 euro’s and the Z is more than 2000…
2000 is just way to much, I’ve got about 1000 euro’s… I tried the toshiba site but I can’t find S*** on there, no prices, no handy lists, just a few weird brand names which don’t mean anything to me… Same goes for HP, they seem expensive in comparison to the Vaio.
Maybe I should really check some of them out IRL…

Hoi td6d!

I also went laptop hunting the last months.
I had to replace my Quad core desktop, not an easy task.
If you want much CPU power, you will probably end up with gaming laptops.
There are some “serious” models out there, but most of them are quite costly.
I would not recommend dell Studio or Studio XPS laptops, The xps is a lot nicer in build quality but has a very weird heat issue.

It’s just what you want. I thought I read you were Dutch so I think you can go here
They surely helped me out. If you go to pricewatch, you can click and search easaly till you find your best laptop.
and the forum is very helpfull and rapid.

My thoughts, you will always spent more if you want all the compromises out of the way.
I overshot my target with 500 euro’s but ended up with a beautifull Asus I7 8GB blu-ray and other beasty specs.
because of it’s gaming capabilities, I sold my Playstation 3 so it was justified overal :)

Thanks Drips!
This one seems nice. Tho’ I don’t know how good Radeon chips are. Anyone?