Laptop for graphic design: where to start?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Boppy, Aug 24, 2007.

  1. Boppy

    Boppy Guest

    Hi guys, I have been looking at prices on Pricespy and some laptops
    actually seem quite affordable. The problem is, Pricespy only gives
    model numbers then you have to folllow links and do some convoluted
    searching at individual sites to find the item that matches the price
    you click on.

    I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad, and 2 GB ram.
    It seems I may also need a dedicated video card as I will be dealing
    with memory intensive apps like Photoshop, etc.

    Asking for advice in graphic design circles always gets the response
    to buy a Mac but as I do not wish to purchase new Mac versions of all
    my current software, this is not a real option for me.

    I'd be really grateful if someone could give me a nudge in the right
    direction as to what I should be looking for, so at least I can start
    narrowing down brands, models, etc, on PriceSpy. Recommendations for
    particular dealers would be gratefullly received too.

    Thanks in advance,
    B
     
    Boppy, Aug 24, 2007
    #1
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  2. Boppy

    PeeCee Guest

    "Boppy" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hi guys, I have been looking at prices on Pricespy and some laptops
    > actually seem quite affordable. The problem is, Pricespy only gives
    > model numbers then you have to folllow links and do some convoluted
    > searching at individual sites to find the item that matches the price
    > you click on.
    >
    > I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad, and 2 GB ram.
    > It seems I may also need a dedicated video card as I will be dealing
    > with memory intensive apps like Photoshop, etc.
    >
    > Asking for advice in graphic design circles always gets the response
    > to buy a Mac but as I do not wish to purchase new Mac versions of all
    > my current software, this is not a real option for me.
    >
    > I'd be really grateful if someone could give me a nudge in the right
    > direction as to what I should be looking for, so at least I can start
    > narrowing down brands, models, etc, on PriceSpy. Recommendations for
    > particular dealers would be gratefullly received too.
    >
    > Thanks in advance,
    > B
    >


    B

    Kinda hard to make a specific recommendation as there are so many 'personal'
    preferences involved.
    What I might think is ideal, the next poster might disagree unless you get x
    brand or y operating system, get PC express slot insted of a PCMCIA slot...

    A preferable way would be for 'you' to sit down and list your preferences
    and pretty soon you will be able to narrow the choices down.

    You have already started the process by listing the following preferences:
    17" screen
    2GB Ram
    Dedicated Video card
    Microsoft Windows (by implication)

    Add to that the following
    $$$$ budget. (unless you have unlimited funds, in which case just go buy 2
    or 3 and toss the unwanted one's my way)
    OS Version (XP, Vista)
    Brand preferences. (Acer, ASUS, Dell, IBM, Toshiba, HP/Compaq...)
    (ATI/Nvidia) (not forgetting Intel vs AMD)
    I/O ports. (USB, Firewire, Memory stick slot, PCMCIA/PC Express slot,
    Serial, Vga....)
    Battery Life
    Performance
    CDRW/DVDRW/RAM
    Bundled software.
    Carry bag.
    Mouse included.
    Backup support (phone, physical store, international warranties...)
    etc
    etc.

    Once you have narrowed you choice down to a few candidates 'then' hit the
    web and research the spec's and comments and reviews by real users. That way
    you will get a machine that meets 'your' needs and the user feedback will
    reduce your chances of getting a dog.

    Note many laptops of the same name come in different sub models depending on
    the CPU/RAM/HD installed and it is usually not economic to 'upgrade' the
    Laptop later on to a higher spec.

    As a final comment don't forget to consider Laptop vs Desktop, sure Laptop's
    are sexy and portable, but if your need to edit photo's in Photoshop is that
    important, you're going to get better performance for your $ with a desktop.

    Best
    Paul.
     
    PeeCee, Aug 24, 2007
    #2
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  3. On a pleasant day while strolling in nz.comp, a person
    by the name of Boppy exclaimed:
    > I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad,


    numeric keypad? On a laptop? I didn't think they
    existed.
    You can get external USB numeric keypads however.

    > and 2 GB ram.
    > It seems I may also need a dedicated video card as I will be dealing
    > with memory intensive apps like Photoshop, etc.


    Most laptops now offer the option to upgrade to some
    semi-dedicated (discrete) video card.

    But - to be honest - I doubt Photoshop cares. Unless
    you're doing 3D or video editing any typical built in
    video will be OK.

    Much more serious problem would be finding a good
    screen, as laptops are not good with color accuracy.
    (Traditionally they've been for business users and the
    graphic designers get a big expensive desktop).

    THe people who suggest a Mac are not stupid, because
    graphic designers are one of Apple's main markets, even
    their laptops are probably OK for it.

    > I'd be really grateful if someone could give me a nudge in the right
    > direction as to what I should be looking for, so at least I can start
    > narrowing down brands, models, etc, on PriceSpy. Recommendations for
    > particular dealers would be gratefullly received too.


    Dell Precision laptops? They are basically intended for
    graphics, to be a portable workstation.

    If you want to get a "graphic design laptop" on the
    cheap, you're being silly. Just buy any old laptop and
    make do, it costs money to get quality.

    --
    aaronl at consultant dot com
    For every expert, there is an equal and
    opposite expert. - Arthur C. Clarke
     
    Aaron Lawrence, Aug 24, 2007
    #3
  4. In message <>, Aaron Lawrence
    wrote:

    > On a pleasant day while strolling in nz.comp, a person
    > by the name of Boppy exclaimed:
    >
    >> I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad,

    >
    > numeric keypad? On a laptop? I didn't think they existed.


    Funny you should say that (second-last picture):
    <http://theinquirer.net/default.aspx?article=41862>.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 24, 2007
    #4
  5. Boppy

    Dave Taylor Guest

    Aaron Lawrence <> wrote in
    news::

    > Much more serious problem would be finding a good
    > screen, as laptops are not good with color accuracy.
    > (Traditionally they've been for business users and the
    > graphic designers get a big expensive desktop).


    Maybe some Colour calibration would help?
    Colour Copier people should have access to this but it might cost:
    http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/print_profiler.html

    --
    Ciao, Dave
     
    Dave Taylor, Aug 24, 2007
    #5
  6. Boppy

    Richard Guest

    Dave Taylor wrote:
    > Aaron Lawrence <> wrote in
    > news::
    >
    >> Much more serious problem would be finding a good
    >> screen, as laptops are not good with color accuracy.
    >> (Traditionally they've been for business users and the
    >> graphic designers get a big expensive desktop).

    >
    > Maybe some Colour calibration would help?
    > Colour Copier people should have access to this but it might cost:
    > http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/reviews/print_profiler.html


    No, because unless you view an LCD from the exact same position, then
    the colors will shift.

    Also there is the inherent gradient from top to bottom because of the
    different angle you are seeing it which doesnt seem to bother most people.

    The number of times I see people tilt their tft a little to get some
    more contrast on letters... usually the same people that go on about how
    wonderful and bright their new screen is at the same time.... lol
     
    Richard, Aug 24, 2007
    #6
  7. Boppy

    Greg House Guest

    On Fri, 24 Aug 2007 06:47:15 -0000, Boppy <> wrote:

    >Hi guys, I have been looking at prices on Pricespy and some laptops
    >actually seem quite affordable. The problem is, Pricespy only gives
    >model numbers then you have to folllow links and do some convoluted
    >searching at individual sites to find the item that matches the price
    >you click on.
    >
    >I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad, and 2 GB ram.
    >It seems I may also need a dedicated video card as I will be dealing
    >with memory intensive apps like Photoshop, etc.
    >
    >Asking for advice in graphic design circles always gets the response
    >to buy a Mac but as I do not wish to purchase new Mac versions of all
    >my current software, this is not a real option for me.
    >
    >I'd be really grateful if someone could give me a nudge in the right
    >direction as to what I should be looking for, so at least I can start
    >narrowing down brands, models, etc, on PriceSpy. Recommendations for
    >particular dealers would be gratefullly received too.
    >
    >Thanks in advance,
    >B




    Laptops are far to slow have have small slow Hard Drives..
     
    Greg House, Aug 24, 2007
    #7
  8. Boppy

    Murray Symon Guest

    Greg House < wrote:

    > On Fri, 24 Aug 2007 06:47:15 -0000, Boppy <> wrote:
    >
    >>Hi guys, I have been looking at prices on Pricespy and some laptops
    >>actually seem quite affordable. The problem is, Pricespy only gives
    >>model numbers then you have to folllow links and do some convoluted
    >>searching at individual sites to find the item that matches the price
    >>you click on.
    >>
    >>I am seeking a laptop with 17" monitor, numberic keypad, and 2 GB ram.
    >>It seems I may also need a dedicated video card as I will be dealing
    >>with memory intensive apps like Photoshop, etc.
    >>
    >>Asking for advice in graphic design circles always gets the response
    >>to buy a Mac but as I do not wish to purchase new Mac versions of all
    >>my current software, this is not a real option for me.
    >>
    >>I'd be really grateful if someone could give me a nudge in the right
    >>direction as to what I should be looking for, so at least I can start
    >>narrowing down brands, models, etc, on PriceSpy. Recommendations for
    >>particular dealers would be gratefullly received too.
    >>
    >>Thanks in advance,
    >>B

    >
    >
    >
    > Laptops are far to slow have have small slow Hard Drives..


    1. The latest Intel core 2 duo chips give surprisingly good performance.
    2. The disk drives have to be small to fit in the smaller case dimensions.
     
    Murray Symon, Aug 24, 2007
    #8
  9. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 10:09:32 +1200, Murray Symon wrote:

    > 1. The latest Intel core 2 duo chips give surprisingly good performance.
    > 2. The disk drives have to be small to fit in the smaller case dimensions.


    All this begs the question: Why would a person want to use a *laptop* to
    do graphic design work?

    Surely the resources possible in a desktop PC would be the better option
    over any laptop.

    Also, aren't CRT monitors (with wider gamut and dynamic range) still better
    for graphic design than LCD monitors?


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 24, 2007
    #9
  10. Boppy

    Richard Guest

    Greg House wrote:


    > Laptops are far to slow have have small slow Hard Drives..


    Core 2 duos work quite nicely, and ram being so cheap means that the
    days of having to have massive scratch areas for photoshop are largely
    gone, so drive speed is less relevant.

    People want laptops so they can work from different places, some people
    have a life and leave there house you know woger?
     
    Richard, Aug 25, 2007
    #10
  11. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 13:46:51 +1200, Richard wrote:

    > Core 2 duos work quite nicely, and ram being so cheap means that the days
    > of having to have massive scratch areas for photoshop are largely gone, so
    > drive speed is less relevant.


    Actually, that depends on the size of the image that you are wanting to
    produce.

    If, for example, you're talking about an image 5-floors high to go on the
    wall of a 10-floor building, then you'll be needing plenty of swap space
    and plenty of time even on a desktop box, letalone a laptop.


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 25, 2007
    #11
  12. Boppy

    frederick Guest

    Jonathan Walker wrote:
    > On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 10:09:32 +1200, Murray Symon wrote:
    >
    >> 1. The latest Intel core 2 duo chips give surprisingly good performance.
    >> 2. The disk drives have to be small to fit in the smaller case dimensions.

    >
    > All this begs the question: Why would a person want to use a *laptop* to
    > do graphic design work?
    >
    > Surely the resources possible in a desktop PC would be the better option
    > over any laptop.
    >
    > Also, aren't CRT monitors (with wider gamut and dynamic range) still better
    > for graphic design than LCD monitors?
    >
    >

    Some LCDs are getting very good. Most CRTs are shadow mask
    consumer models. Pro aperture grill (trinitron /
    diamondtron / whatever Viewsonic called theirs) are probably
    still better than the best affordable lcds.

    The only half decent laptop LCDs I've seen (and I haven't
    done an extensive search) are Macbook pro. The standard
    macbooks are no good.

    If you want to see how bad many LCDs are, here's my "gamma
    chart":
    http://i14.tinypic.com/627vgow.png
    Must be viewed at 100%, and with native resolution set on an
    lcd screen. There's much more to monitor calibration than
    gamma, but if the center strip of the grey/red/green/blue
    appears significantly darker or lighter than sides, the
    monitor isn't anywhere near calibrated.
    Even if you can adjust your laptop or typical el-cheapo LCD
    so that it looks okay when looking straight on (many can't
    even get that close), try looking at an angle from top to
    bottom or side to side. Most fail that test miserably.
    On my diamondtron CRT, it looks perfect at any angle.
     
    frederick, Aug 25, 2007
    #12
  13. Boppy

    BTMO Guest

    "Aaron Lawrence" <> wrote

    > Most laptops now offer the option to upgrade to some
    > semi-dedicated (discrete) video card.


    Do you know if IBMs have the capacity to do this?

    I have an R60 (9456-DRM) and would *love* to be able to play some of my high
    end games on it - esp C&C 3: Tiberium Wars - but it simply crashes after
    about two minutes. It seems the chipset emulates a proper video card, but
    the game doesn't like it...

    Yes, I can run it on the desktop - but I would like the option of taking it
    with me when I travel.

    Cheers,

    Brenton
     
    BTMO, Aug 25, 2007
    #13
  14. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 15:38:41 +1200, frederick wrote:

    > If you want to see how bad many LCDs are, here's my "gamma chart":
    > http://i14.tinypic.com/627vgow.png
    > Must be viewed at 100%, and with native resolution set on an lcd screen.
    > There's much more to monitor calibration than gamma, but if the center
    > strip of the grey/red/green/blue appears significantly darker or lighter
    > than sides, the monitor isn't anywhere near calibrated. Even if you can
    > adjust your laptop or typical el-cheapo LCD so that it looks okay when
    > looking straight on (many can't even get that close), try looking at an
    > angle from top to bottom or side to side. Most fail that test miserably.
    > On my diamondtron CRT, it looks perfect at any angle.


    Ditto for my Philips Brilliance 109 (which has a trinitron tube).


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 25, 2007
    #14
  15. In message <>, Jonathan Walker wrote:

    > On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 13:46:51 +1200, Richard wrote:
    >
    >> Core 2 duos work quite nicely, and ram being so cheap means that the days
    >> of having to have massive scratch areas for photoshop are largely gone,
    >> so drive speed is less relevant.

    >
    > Actually, that depends on the size of the image that you are wanting to
    > produce.
    >
    > If, for example, you're talking about an image 5-floors high to go on the
    > wall of a 10-floor building, then you'll be needing plenty of swap space
    > and plenty of time even on a desktop box, letalone a laptop.


    No reason why you should. The important factor isn't the physical dimensions
    of the printout, it's the number of pixels.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 25, 2007
    #15
  16. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 15:57:16 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    >> If, for example, you're talking about an image 5-floors high to go on
    >> the wall of a 10-floor building, then you'll be needing plenty of swap
    >> space and plenty of time even on a desktop box, letalone a laptop.

    >
    > No reason why you should. The important factor isn't the physical
    > dimensions of the printout, it's the number of pixels.


    Yes - and an image that large will require more than 768*1024 in pixel
    dimensions - that is if it is to have pixels smaller than 1 square inch!


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 25, 2007
    #16
  17. In message <46cfaa09$>, Jonathan Walker wrote:

    > On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 15:57:16 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >>> If, for example, you're talking about an image 5-floors high to go on
    >>> the wall of a 10-floor building, then you'll be needing plenty of swap
    >>> space and plenty of time even on a desktop box, letalone a laptop.

    >>
    >> No reason why you should. The important factor isn't the physical
    >> dimensions of the printout, it's the number of pixels.

    >
    > Yes - and an image that large will require more than 768*1024 in pixel
    > dimensions - that is if it is to have pixels smaller than 1 square inch!


    Depending on how you expect to view the image, why shouldn't the pixels be
    larger than a square inch, or a square foot for that matter?
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 25, 2007
    #17
  18. Boppy

    frederick Guest

    Jonathan Walker wrote:
    > On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 15:38:41 +1200, frederick wrote:
    >
    >> If you want to see how bad many LCDs are, here's my "gamma chart":
    >> http://i14.tinypic.com/627vgow.png
    >> Must be viewed at 100%, and with native resolution set on an lcd screen.
    >> There's much more to monitor calibration than gamma, but if the center
    >> strip of the grey/red/green/blue appears significantly darker or lighter
    >> than sides, the monitor isn't anywhere near calibrated. Even if you can
    >> adjust your laptop or typical el-cheapo LCD so that it looks okay when
    >> looking straight on (many can't even get that close), try looking at an
    >> angle from top to bottom or side to side. Most fail that test miserably.
    >> On my diamondtron CRT, it looks perfect at any angle.

    >
    > Ditto for my Philips Brilliance 109 (which has a trinitron tube).
    >
    >

    It looked pretty good an a 30" Apple cinema display too. I
    understand that some more affordable Samsungs are pretty
    good. But there is a big caution with LCDs - many
    manufacturers treat the panels as commodities, and will
    change panel supplier without changing model number or any
    other obvious way for you to tell. As such, reviews are not
    very reliable.
     
    frederick, Aug 25, 2007
    #18
  19. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 16:07:24 +1200, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    >> Yes - and an image that large will require more than 768*1024 in pixel
    >> dimensions - that is if it is to have pixels smaller than 1 square inch!

    >
    > Depending on how you expect to view the image, why shouldn't the pixels be
    > larger than a square inch, or a square foot for that matter?


    Perhaps you don't expect to see smooth unpixelated lettering. However, I
    DO expect to see smooth lettering when viewed from a reasonable distance.


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 25, 2007
    #19
  20. On Sat, 25 Aug 2007 16:08:44 +1200, frederick wrote:

    >> Ditto for my Philips Brilliance 109 (which has a trinitron tube).
    >>
    >>

    > It looked pretty good an a 30" Apple cinema display too. I understand
    > that some more affordable Samsungs are pretty good. But there is a big
    > caution with LCDs - many manufacturers treat the panels as commodities,
    > and will change panel supplier without changing model number or any other
    > obvious way for you to tell. As such, reviews are not very reliable.


    Best way to decide on a monitor is to take with you several images that
    you are very familiar to you, including a test for gamma, and then check
    out the individual monitors that you are considering to buy.


    --
    Jonathan Walker

    "The IT industry landscape is littered with the dead
    dreams of people who once trusted Microsoft."
     
    Jonathan Walker, Aug 25, 2007
    #20
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