Laptop purchase questions

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Apr 7 2011 5:53 PM

I hope to buy a laptop soon. HP is having a 25%-off sale this weekend, but I may hold off to see what Lenovo debuts in May.

I want 2nd-generation Intel quad-core, USB 3.0 (Lenovo doesn't seem have that yet, but will soon), and figure from what I've read here that I should get 8GB RAM and a 7200RPM HDD, even though I can get a bigger 5400RPM drive.

I'm not sure what to look for in a graphics card, which is apparently important, and I'm not sure what to look for in terms of GPU memory versus just the simple designation of a 1GB graphics card. And is it worth it to pay more for a faster CPU than the 2.0 MHz (?) i7 Sandy Bridge quad-core?

A big question I have is screen resolution. I will most likely get a 15.6" screen - 17" would be too big for my train commute. The standard screen resolutions are 1366x768. Lenovo offers options for 1600x900 and 1920x1080. Which would be the screen resolution to get for a 15.6" laptop screen so icons aren't too small, yet text in Logos looks really, really good?

Any help with these questions, esp. the screen resolution to go with (which could affect which manufacturer I'm limited to)? Is 1366x768 perfectly wonderful for Logos as well as HD movies (I'll probably get a Blu-Ray drive).

Thanks!

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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Allen Browne | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Apr 7 2011 7:13 PM

Hi Eric

What you propose sounds great: Sandy Bridge quad-core i7, 7200rpm HDD, and 8GB RAM. (Make sure you get the 64-bit Windows so you can use that RAM.)

The faster CPU probably isn't value, e.g. a 2.2 is only about 10% faster than a 2.0 -- barely perceptible.

1366x768 is common for 15.6" screen. Any more dots and everything gets too small IMHO. (Ok, you can change the percentage in Windows, but not all software works well with that. If you are only concerned with Logos, you can change the percentage there also of course.) I'm using a 16" screen at this resolution for Logos, and find it quite readable.

If you do get a BluRay drive, be aware that Windows Media Center can't play BluRay disks! (IMHO, this makes Windows Ultimate the ultimate marketing con.)

I'm not full bottle on the video cards, so will let someone else comment on that. AFAIK, provided you get a 1GB graphics card in the laptop, you're going to do well. If you do get a really fast graphics card, it will probably drain your batteries faster.

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 8 2011 4:45 AM

Eric Weiss:
A big question I have is screen resolution. I will most likely get a 15.6" screen - 17" would be too big for my train commute. The standard screen resolutions are 1366x768. Lenovo offers options for 1600x900 and 1920x1080. Which would be the screen resolution to get for a 15.6" laptop screen so icons aren't too small, yet text in Logos looks really, really good?

Suggest visiting computer store to visually compare laptop screens with different resolutions for comfortable reading.  HD 1080p resolution is 1920 x 1080.

Web site has laptop graphics benchmarks => http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html and processor benchmarks => http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Processors-Benchmarklist.2436.0.html

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 887
Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 8 2011 4:55 AM

It's not so much about comfortable reading - I'm sure I could read any of those three resolutions comfortably - but about default resolutions. I have a 24" monitor at home, and the default resolution setting is 1920 x 1200, because that's what the fixed-pixel LCD screen best displays at, but that means other resolution settings can be problematic.

This may not be an issue with Logos - i.e., if I set the laptop to whatever its native resolution is, whether 1366x768 or 1600x900 or 1920x1080, I can enlarge or reduce text in Logos as I please and can still read it well.

It seems to me that a 1600x900 panel would give me a sharper image than a 1366x768 panel, but 1920x1080 on a 15.6" screen might be too small - I don't know, and without being able to load and run Logos on an in-store laptop, I'm not sure I could test what I want to test.

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 8 2011 5:26 AM

Eric Weiss:
It seems to me that a 1600x900 panel would give me a sharper image than a 1366x768 panel, but 1920x1080 on a 15.6" screen might be too small - I don't know, and without being able to load and run Logos on an in-store laptop, I'm not sure I could test what I want to test

Option: at home, compare some web pages with Logos 4 for readability.  In store(s), look at same web pages.  Have read about one store chain blocking access to Logos.com web site.  One web site for comparison could be http://www.notebookcheck.net (also good for looking at computer hardware benchmarks).

Also suggest comparing LED backlight with CFL along with comparing viewing angles.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 887
Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 8 2011 6:16 AM

Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :):

Eric Weiss:
It seems to me that a 1600x900 panel would give me a sharper image than a 1366x768 panel, but 1920x1080 on a 15.6" screen might be too small - I don't know, and without being able to load and run Logos on an in-store laptop, I'm not sure I could test what I want to test

Option: at home, compare some web pages with Logos 4 for readability.  In store(s), look at same web pages.  Have read about one store chain blocking access to Logos.com web site.  One web site for comparison could be http://www.notebookcheck.net (also good for looking at computer hardware benchmarks).

Also suggest comparing LED backlight with CFL along with comparing viewing angles.

Keep Smiling Smile

That was moi who posted here that Best Buy's internet blocks access to Religion sites.

Thanks for the laptop review site!

 

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 449
Bill Cook | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 8 2011 11:42 AM

Have a friend with a Sony 16.4" doing 1920x1080. It is very sharp. And Logos looks beautiful. What I think think gives the impression of sharpness is dot pitch - the distance between dots, not necessarily the resolution. A 15.5" screen pushing 1366x768 can look as sharp as a 17" screen pushing 1600x900.

I, too, am toying with purchasing a 1920x1080 15.6", but it seems like it would be a bit tight. The Sony above in a web browser looks small. And these 50 year old eyes could strain at an even small dot pitch...

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 10 2011 7:04 AM

Bill Cook:

Have a friend with a Sony 16.4" doing 1920x1080. It is very sharp. And Logos looks beautiful. What I think think gives the impression of sharpness is dot pitch - the distance between dots, not necessarily the resolution. A 15.5" screen pushing 1366x768 can look as sharp as a 17" screen pushing 1600x900.

I, too, am toying with purchasing a 1920x1080 15.6", but it seems like it would be a bit tight. The Sony above in a web browser looks small. And these 50 year old eyes could strain at an even small dot pitch...

I thought "dot pitch" was only a factor in CRT displays, but not fixed-pixel displays like LCDs. Yes? No?

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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Mark Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 10 2011 10:57 AM

Eric Weiss:
I thought "dot pitch" was only a factor in CRT displays, but not fixed-pixel displays like LCDs. Yes? No?

Perhaps the term is wrong (I don't know) but the real issue is pixels per square inch/cm. The more you have the better the resolution from normal viewing distance. Of course this figure depends on how many pixels there are and how much physical area they cover. A 1920x1200 pixel panel that measures 17 inches diagonally must have larger pixels than a 1920x1200 panel that measures15 inches diagonally.

As to the problem of eye strain, the more pixels per square inch the better. Just take advantage of text scaling. Scaled up text on a pixel dense screen has greater smoothness of the curves (or more print-like appearance) than unscaled text in a less dense screen. A pixel dense screen is easier on the eyes.

I love my 1920x1200 Dell 17 inch monitor screen as the text is tremendous at all readable sizes. I do work on computers with less pixel density and they are not as easy on my eyes as this one is. My eyes are a bit older than 50 years, too.

Pastor, North Park Baptist Church

Bridgeport, CT USA

Posts 449
Bill Cook | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 10 2011 11:35 AM

Well, the 50 year old eyes won the argument. I ended up going with 17.3" 1600x900 laptop from HP instead of the 15.6" 1920x1080 from Sony.

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 10 2011 2:02 PM

I have older eyes than you, but I think I'll hold out for the 1600x900 15.6" display, versus the 1366x768. Which means Lenovo, instead of HP's great 25% off sale that ends today.

I'd love 17+" for working with, but I intend to transport this to church and back and on the train to and from work, and when I compared 17.3" and 15.6" at Best Buy, the larger one seems too large for easy lap holding and using on public transportation.

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 11 2011 5:46 AM

Sounds like you are describing a MacBook Pro. Load Book Camp and Windows and you have a great Windows 7 machine.

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 11 2011 6:17 AM

Kevin A. Purcell:

Sounds like you are describing a MacBook Pro. Load Book Camp and Windows and you have a great Windows 7 machine.

Perhaps. But for $1,999* I can get a Lenovo Thinkpad W520 with 500GB 7200RPM HDD, NVIDIA Quadro 2000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory, USB 3.0 (no Firewire, though), 15.6" screen 1600x900, Intel Core i7-2720QM Processor (2.20GHz, 6MB L3) - won't that run rings around the MacBook Pro, esp. in terms of graphics?

* $1,749 if I opt for the standard NVIDIA Quadro 1000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory video card - which would still beat the MacBook Pro for graphics, yes?

 

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 449
Bill Cook | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 11 2011 12:08 PM

I have read many laptop reviews. I don't know of many manufacturers who have yet to conquer the heat generation of the Mobile i7's. So, am a bit wary. Went with an i5...

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 11 2011 12:43 PM

I hadn't considered that. I know the fan on my wife's low-tech laptop (provided by her employer) is obnoxiously loud.

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 13 2011 7:52 AM

It looks like HP is coming out with comparable laptops next month, incl 1600x900 15.6" screens, enhanced video cards, etc. So I'll wait till May to choose and buy. Thanks, everyone!

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 71
Paul Buckhiester | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 13 2011 8:10 AM

Eric,

Recommend you look at the new Dell XPS 15. It has the second gen quad core and USB 3.0. Video is blazingly fast and brilliant. Machine is pricy but well worth it so far.

Paul

Posts 47
Rev. Patrick Carty | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 13 2011 8:26 AM

I have a 6 month old Dell Studio 15.  I maxed everything that counts out when I got it, CPU is an i7, 8 RAM, etc.  It is awesome, cuts through Logos, which really loaded down my former dell, "like it was butter.  I can recommend it, though the XPS is next Gen (I hate being obsolete after 6 months, but that's life, sigh).

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Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 13 2011 9:50 AM

For you Dell 15" (15.6" I assume) owners:

How do you like the 1366x768 screen (versus a 1600x900 screen on a 15.6" laptop)?

How hot/noisy is the i7 quad core (versus an i5 quad core)?

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 2815
Kevin A. Purcell | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 13 2011 2:12 PM

Bill Cook:

I have read many laptop reviews. I don't know of many manufacturers who have yet to conquer the heat generation of the Mobile i7's. So, am a bit wary. Went with an i5...

Funny that this was below the person who said a Lenovo beats the MBPro when the MBPro has an Intel Core i7 and very little heat issues.

My MBPro is easily the best computer I've ever owned or used by a wise margin. In my position at Notebooks.com I've had a chance to play with quite a few of them. It is the best windows machine or mac available.

And if you look around even in these forums you will find that I was an ardent PC guy until 6 months ago and still really like Windows 7 a lot.

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