Best high-end laptop for performance, battery life and build quality?

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
I'm sure this has been asked before, but I couldn't find a recent thread. I'm looking for the best current Windows-based laptop with battery life, portability, and build quality similar to a macbook pro. I don't want to start any arguments about the quality of macbooks, but in my limited experience with them they have great displays, run pretty cool, and are more portable than most high-end Windows laptops.

I'd love to find something Sandy Bridge i7-based with 3-5 hours battery life, 6gb+ ram, and decent graphics. I work in 3D modeling/rendering and so it's pretty easy to max out processing and ram, so the more the merrier.

The Sony Vaio Z series seems pretty nice on paper, not quite to the above specs but probably would work great anyway, but the user reviews I've seen are conflicted on build quality and nobody seems to like Sony's support. http://www.amazon.com/Sony-VPC-Z133...2ST4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1301448248&sr=8-1

Would a macbook pro be a decent option if I install win7 on it and never use OSX? Any hardware conflicts/problems with that?

A few of you helped when I was building my desktop, so thanks for that! I regularly look here for opinions, I wish I had more to contribute. So thanks for any advice!
 

Tobuk

Limp Gawd
Joined
Aug 6, 2005
Messages
130
For overall quality, my clear favorite is Alienware. They are the only laptops I like to compare to Apple's build quality. They are also very powerful laptops and are a darn good value, IMO. Their M15x would be a good balance of size, power, and battery life.

http://www.dell.com/us/p/alienware-m15x/fs
 

YeuEmMaiMai

Fully [H]
Joined
Jun 11, 2004
Messages
30,691
Inspirion line from dell will work nicely as well. lattidudes have legendary build quality but not much for gfx horse power
 

spiff967

n00b
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Messages
25
Wait for the upcoming M14X by the Alienware if you want to go that way.
I'm waiting for the upcoming Sony Vaio Z refresh. If some of the sorta-rumored-sorta-confirmed specs are to be believed:

Main Unit:
Ultraportable-like, FHD or 1600x900 res screen, i7 (SNB), high battery life, SSD in RAID0, no optical drive, integrated graphics, Thunderbolt (Light Peak) port + smattering of other ports.

Secondary unit (also quite thin, not a dock - looks like an external disk drive):
External 1GB VRAM AMD GPU, BD or ODD drive, connects using Thunderbolt (Light Peak)
 

rhouck

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 15, 2002
Messages
3,597
Vaio Z is great, although I have not had any need to deal with Sony support (/knockonwood). Build quality is very very solid, keyboard is excellent, very light, good battery life, run cool/quiet... the only real downer is the shitty speakers (and the price). I would not go off of Amazon's reviews.
 

alienb21

n00b
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Messages
39
Yeah, amazon's generated reviews.


Honorable mention is the HP Envy line, 14 and 17 are great. Wife owns an original 14, I'm planning on getting a SB 17"
 

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
Thanks guys. I'll take a look at the upcoming Alienware and Vaio Z, along with the other suggestions. Will probably wait to buy for a few weeks at least to see what happens with those.
 

spiff967

n00b
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Messages
25
Envy (14") used to be an awesome choice (17 is still decent at that price point, although I'd probably go for a custom Sager for the high-end desktop replacement)...except they killed off the Radiance Display (1600x900, 400 nits brightness). Without that going for it, it's kinda just an expensive HP...and I'd rather not deal with HP customer service :p

Basically, we're going to have to wait for a few months (late May/early June) for the best new high-end laptops to come out. Pity...cash is burning a hole in my wallet, and so much of my time is wasted looking at new laptops o_O
 

/rant/

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 18, 2008
Messages
384
Envy (14") used to be an awesome choice (17 is still decent at that price point, although I'd probably go for a custom Sager for the high-end desktop replacement)...except they killed off the Radiance Display (1600x900, 400 nits brightness). Without that going for it, it's kinda just an expensive HP...and I'd rather not deal with HP customer service :p

I come here every day - and every single day for many weeks now ve I read exactly that statement, written by somebody else. It is such a shame that HP killed off one of their top products and keeps flooding us with cheap goods. What the hell is wrong with those guys?

Anyhow, right now I only see the new MacBook Pro series delivering exactly what you're looking for, assuming that you want to go Sandy Bridge. If you're not looking for Sandy Bridge, i'd put my hand into a fire for the aging Sony VAIO Z. Make no mistake, but that device is incredible. Aluminum Unibody loses against a carbon fiber body. Also the 13" full HD screen is absolutely gorgeous. And the quad SSD option destroyed anything I have seen in a mobile device so far.

Besides that, the price tag looks like a joke. I'll be waiting for the refreshes.
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
One of the new ThinkPads would be my recommendation, actually. Get it maxed out if you can handle the price, with Sandy Bridge providing the raw horsepower, toss an external battery slice on it if you can afford it, and don't look back.
 

Lysdexik

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
348
Do yourself and your pocket a favor and buy a Sager.

www.XoticPC.com

I just ordered a 5160 with a quad core i7 Sandy Bridge + GT 540m +1080p matte screen for $1000 shipped. I've never owned one but from everything I hear and was told they are of top notch build quality.

I don't know how soon you need one but ill have mine in about two weeks and I can report back.

Also, the more expensive models are actually upgradable and the company encourages you to take it apart and know the inner workings / clean and maintain it without voiding the warranty.
 

Jon55

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 7, 2008
Messages
2,349
What of the ASUS laptops? Anyone own one or could vouch for them?

I couldn't buy HP on principle alone. I've heard great things of Alienware though.
 

pwrusr

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
3,116
I'm with the others suggesting the thinkpads. Spcificly the W520...
It sports everything you're looking for. Check out the youtube vid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Mk25pxQ3E8

From what I've read online it also offers 8-10 hours of runtime. It also offers up to 32GB of ram. Seems like its just what you're looking for :D
 

Abula

Gawd
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Messages
1,002
I would suggest to wait for Lenovo T420, its their new refresh of their mighty 14'' thinkpad, should be a really good quality buisness class laptop. But if you like more mac looks, wait for the Envy 14 refresh should be out in a month or two, but i would take the T420 over any consumer class laptop. In case you want something smaller, also check the X220 probably one of the most portable laptops atm with good power for being so small. Also second the pwrusr suggestion, the W520 is a great laptop if you need a quadro gpu.
 

Cyberdemon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
356
If you have the money and don't want to have to lug around a cinderblock worth of laptop that only achieves 3 hours of battery life, get the Macbook Pro. Even if you're running it in Windows comparing the build/design of a MBP to an M15X isn't even a comparison. The Sagers, Alienware, Asus's are all massive things.

What 3D Apps are you running? The only con I could see on the MBP would be the ATI graphics which in certain 3D Apps will have less than stellar driver support. But in most mainstream programs (Max, Maya, Etc) you'd probably be fine.
 

Trepidati0n

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Oct 26, 2004
Messages
9,248
The word Inspiron should NOT be used in this thread...especially when the OP indicated he wanted something near a macbook quality.
 

Lyric Suite

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2010
Messages
273
Do yourself and your pocket a favor and buy a Sager.

www.XoticPC.com

I just ordered a 5160 with a quad core i7 Sandy Bridge + GT 540m +1080p matte screen for $1000 shipped. I've never owned one but from everything I hear and was told they are of top notch build quality.

I don't know how soon you need one but ill have mine in about two weeks and I can report back.

Also, the more expensive models are actually upgradable and the company encourages you to take it apart and know the inner workings / clean and maintain it without voiding the warranty.

Damn, those look very juicy. I'm not a fan of the way the MSI or the Alienware look, Its a matter of fact i've never been a fan of blocky, gaming designs (even on desktop i prefer Lian Li over other case manufacturers). Those Sagers look really slick.
 

spiff967

n00b
Joined
Feb 19, 2010
Messages
25
I've been looking around, but I can't find any really reliable benchmarks/review of the Quadro 1000 vs 2000's in the new Lenovo W520. They'll probably use something similar in the T420s, right?
 

nightwalker

2[H]4U
Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Messages
2,555
I was in the same predicament as you, i decided instead of getting stressed about finding something near enough like a macbook, i would just buy the real thing and be done with it. Yes it is a lot more money than a pc laptop with the same specs but i'm just not satisfied with anything else personally (and this is coming from somebody who does not buy Apple stuff EVER)
 

Lysdexik

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 26, 2006
Messages
348
If you have the money and don't want to have to lug around a cinderblock worth of laptop that only achieves 3 hours of battery life, get the Macbook Pro. Even if you're running it in Windows comparing the build/design of a MBP to an M15X isn't even a comparison. The Sagers, Alienware, Asus's are all massive things.

What 3D Apps are you running? The only con I could see on the MBP would be the ATI graphics which in certain 3D Apps will have less than stellar driver support. But in most mainstream programs (Max, Maya, Etc) you'd probably be fine.

Are you serious? Massive? No.. not at all.

Compare what you get from an Apple vs Sager or any other PC brand for that matter and you will see how overpriced they really are.
 

Cyberdemon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
356
How are they not massive? Most of those machines are 50% thicker and anywhere from 1-4 pounds heavier, not including the power bricks, but when the M15x is brought up as a good alternative I just can't buy that.

Portability was in his list of concerns - and if a 9 pound desktop replacement is "good" on the criteria of portability than I commend you.

You won't get a more solid machine then one that is a solid hunk of aluminum, and none of those other laptops will hit 7+ hours of battery life even when you add another 2 lbs worth of extended batteries.

You're right the Mac's are the most expensive. But that's also like starting an argument over how a Honda Accord is better than a Mercedes Benz. You may be right, but design and engineering command a premium, and plenty of people are willing to pay for the design, portability, and battery life over having the latest GPU in a machine that is much bulkier.

The name of the thread was "Best high-end laptop for performance, battery life and build quality"

Not "Best value for high end performance"
 
Last edited:

Aurelius

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 22, 2003
Messages
3,855
It's always funny how people will claim a Mac is overpriced, but they're almos always cherry-picking what they count as meaningful specs.

The point of the MacBook Pro is to have a reasonably fast portable that's also light, thin, and gets good battery life. Sager and Alienware are counting only on how much performance they can stuff into a vaguely portable shape, to hell with how long it lasts away from AC or how much strain it puts on your shoulder.

Performance matters, but the call put out originally was not just for performance but for battery life and build quality, too. I don't even see how the M15X or any Sager notebook belongs in this conversation!
 
Last edited:

jalaj

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
179
If you're looking for a true workstation then check out the Lenovo Thinkpad W series, Dell's Mobile Precision series, or HP's Elitebook W series. They have the GPU optimized for rendering 3-D and such. The 17" models also have four SODIMM slots. Unfortunately, the workstation classed laptops are typically 2x to 3x more than the high end consumer laptops.
YMMV with the consumer line laptops, as consumer support could pale in comparison to the support for business sector. Not to say that business support divisions can't suck, but it's way less frequent.
 

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
Thanks a lot for the discussion (and arguments) here. So for a little more background, I currently have an Asus from a couple years back that has done alright but I really hate the poor battery life and the fact that it burns my legs off if I actually try to use it on my lap. For my new laptop, it will probably spend 80% of its time stationary, but I like the idea of portability similar to a MacBook Pro. With that in mind, it sounds like some people disagree about the Sager/Alienware recommendations. From what I've seen of Alienware, they're pretty bulky and tend to run hot as well, is that a fair assessment?

The new Thinkpads look nice, thanks for that suggestion. I do 3D stuff professionally but haven't ever really had a need for a Quadro. In fact, I've heard they're pretty overpriced for what you get. I work in games, so compatibility with game engines is generally as important as it is with 3D programs. I use several major 3D packages regularly (Maya, Modo, Max, etc.), along with UDK and other game SDKs. While both ATI and nVidia occasionally break things in those programs, I've never had too much of a problem finding solutions online or reverting to older drivers. I also play games regularly so a decent gaming GPU would be nice, though I'll most likely keep most gaming to my desktop.

Price is not a huge issue, but obviously I'd like the best deal possible without sacrificing performance or build quality. I really do like MacBook Pros for build and battery, but customizing one on their site causes a lot of, "they want that much for that?!?!" I can justify it a bit better if I just tell myself I'm spending $1,000 on an aluminum case and a good battery, but the cost still messes with me some when looking at comparably spec'd laptops from other companies.

So do I just say screw it and get a MacBook and install Windows, wait a bit for something that may be coming out soon, or go for a Vaio Z or Thinkpad (or something else)?

Thanks again!
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
You say you do "3D stuff professionally" but then kinda waffle on a Quadro - that kinda jumps out at me for some reason, most notably in the sense that if you're serious about 3D, you don't use a standard desktop (or even mobile) Radeon or Geforce GPU as the FireGL or Quadro versions (they're the same GPUs, btw) allow for more functionality when it comes to using the exact 3D applications packages that you specifically mentioned - Maya, Modo, Max, etc.

/me scratches his head over that one...

I'll stick with the ThinkPad recommendation: they are workhorses, and I wouldn't spend my own money on anything else if the uses that you specifically mentioned (and others) were the basis for the purchase. If your intentions are to use this machine for professional level work and making money from that work then invest in a top of the line ThinkPad outfitted to your requirements, and again I will say getting a secondary battery (a slice if possible) is highly recommended just in case, and run with it.

No, not literally run with it, but you get the meaning... :D

Here's one reason I would always choose a ThinkPad because I've had direct firsthand experience with this exact situation. This involves the "extended" warranty service available for Apple products (AppleCare) or from Lenovo (ThinkPlus On-Site Services). Yes, both come at additional expense, but that's where things become significantly different.

Say you're out someplace doing work, on location, etc, and the laptop chokes and dies on you - what do you do?

- if it's a MacBook, put it in a case or something until you get back to town or someplace with an Apple Store for in-store service (if you're lucky) or someplace you can pack it up and ship it out to Apple from.

- if it's a ThinkPad, you put in a phone call and a) they send someone to fix it within 2 business days, on location pretty much wherever that happens to be (and I've been in some pretty "boonie" places in my career), or b) they ship you a replacement within 2 business days (which is typical although I've had some instances where it arrived within 24 hours, even once on a Sunday morning)

I'm not saying that you will or you won't ever require such service, I'm simply stating that in my own experience, that is a significant part of the reasoning behind my choice and my decision to buy, own, and work with ThinkPads almost exclusively over the past 15+ years.

I've never owned a ThinkPad that has failed on me personally, but I have worked with clients where the situations I just mentioned came to pass: on location, on-site service showed up or a replacement was delivered with no further action required on the client's behalf except a phone call. I've owned a few MacBooks since the Intel switchover - with AppleCare - and they up and died on me and a phone call didn't do anything for me: I was still required to take the hardware into an Apple Store. Needless to say I'll never buy another MacBook/MBP, ever.

Sometimes, as a professional, you simply don't have the time to do such things as go out of your way to drop off a busted laptop at a retail outlet or even box one up and ship it out, and even if you did, the time to do a repair or wait for shipping makes almost all the difference.

Just more info to digest and consider before you make your final decision, but I'm only one person with unique experiences probably. ThinkPads have their reputation for a reason, and it's not because they're sleek, pretty, shiny, and all the other things that MacBooks/MBPs tend to get noted for first before someone takes note of them being somewhat decent machines underneath all that pretty shiny casing. They're not bad machines, but they're not all that and the kitchen sink either.

That's my final $.02... ;)

(Disclaimer: I'm known as an "Apple basher" around here because I don't often hold my tongue as I should, but that comes from direct first-hand personal experience of using specific products from Apple that they themselves claim as "the best <whatever>" and my direct first-hand personal experience - including dead MacBooks/MBPs, iPhones that don't work as phones, and some other issues - have apparently tainted me. That's just how it goes - you recommend what has never failed you or caused you the least amount of trouble, and you rail against the products or companies that do. Go figure.)
 
Last edited:

Cyberdemon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
356
You say you do "3D stuff professionally" but then kinda waffle on a Quadro - that kinda jumps out at me for some reason, most notably in the sense that if you're serious about 3D, you don't use a standard desktop (or even mobile) Radeon or Geforce GPU as the FireGL or Quadro versions (they're the same GPUs, btw) allow for more functionality when it comes to using the exact 3D applications packages that you specifically mentioned - Maya, Modo, Max, etc.

/me scratches his head over that one...

It may jump out at you, but as another 3D professional (Industrial Design) I spend all day pumping CAD (Maya, Alias Studio, Pro E, Solidworks, Showcase) and the reality is that most software, especially animation packages like he named run fine on gaming hardware. Showcase for example (a real time rendering app by Autodesk) runs far better on my $200 GTX 460 than it does on my $1500 year old Quadro FX4800. (I'm aware of the Fermi difference, but the point being that driver support isn't everything).

Most of the tools he listed I've run on both platforms and they run fine on consumer grade hardware. There's usually only a very small amount of functionality afforded by the Quadro's, most of the money you spend is on the driver support and I can tell you that even that isn't that good. My Quadro card will cause artifacting in Photoshop CS5, but if I upgrade the drivers it ruins Alias because their certified drivers are never a catch all.

He also said he games, and while the Quadros can also do gaming the support can be a bit mixed and you're always going to be running a slower GPU than the counterpart. As long as you know the potential risks and compatibility issues going in, consumer hardware is fine for 99% of 3D users.

If that was the biggest criteria, I would say to look at some of the professional workstations like the Dell Precisions or HP Elitebooks.

Your points about Lenovo service is certainly a valid experience. If this machine is your life blood then I would say it's worth considering, but at the same time you can always have an old machine as a backup if something goes down and you need redundancy.
 

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
Awesome, that's all very informative, thank you.

I've worked professionally doing 3D for games for almost 6 years and have never used a Quadro, but I think it may just be because my company was cheap! I was always told that standard nVidia cards could be modified pretty easily to perform close to a Quadro and that they had less issues with actual games. Do you have experience with Quadros for playing games or working with game SDKs? I'm moving for a new job with a larger developer soon and I'll let you know if they use Quadros or if all of us in the game industry are stupid.

It sounds like a ThinkPad is probably what I'll go with, so do you know if it's due for an upgrade soon or is the latest generation pretty new? It looks like you can only get 8GB ram in the 15" version, which I think I'd prefer over the 17", so I was hoping they'd have a 15" with 12GB soon, but 8GB would be fine. I'll almost always be using it with a second monitor, so the portability of the 15" would be a little nicer when I'm lugging it around.

Thanks again, you rule.

Edit: thanks for the further info on Quadros, Cyberdemon. I am still a bit worried about compatibility.

Edit 2: a little more info. The machine will mostly be used for random trips/commutes, and to work at a friend's house where I'll be working on a side-project (I'll have a second monitor there). My main workstations will be desktops at home and work.
 
Last edited:

Cyberdemon

Limp Gawd
Joined
Oct 7, 2003
Messages
356
As far as I've seen from the few people I know in the industry (gaming and even marketing/ad agencies), most game companies are using gaming cards for that same reason - if you are testing on the same machine you are developing on, you want the video hardware to run the engine. Thats the reason Maya and Max are pushed very heavily to run smoothly on consumer hardware. Usually it's the engineering software like Pro E or Solidworks that wants a higher end card, because there's usually a lot more tessellation going on if you're building up a car. I've always had really good luck with Nvidia consumer hardware and 3D tools. ATI on the otherhand has given me issues with selection/redraw at times. That may be one strike against the Macbook since the current gen switched back to ATI.

I play Starcraft 2 on my work machine every now and then, it's an older Quadro card though so it works on low but that's about it.
 

Joe Average

Ad Blocker - Banned
Joined
Apr 6, 2008
Messages
15,459
What you technically get with a Quadro are certified drivers and the support that comes with those drivers, and of course additional functionality (and sometimes performance because of that functionality) provided by the slight differences between the Quadro version (commercial or business class) of a Geforce GPU vs the consumer version, aka your typical Geforce card, etc.

If you took an out of the box Quadro and installed the latest drivers for it, then did the same thing with a Geforce GPU of the same class (again, same GPUs, basically) with the latest drivers and you did something to compare them, notably a test like SPECviewperf which is considered to be the "industry standard" for professional 3D application benchmarking and performance testing, you'll find that the Quadro - because of its additional functionality - will stomp the shit right outta the same class of GPU in its consumer form on most of the testing.

Now, I'm just saying this because I've been using Quadros for a decade now, and I also have used Geforce cards where I was able to "soft mod" the drivers so it unlocked some of the functionality that was being restricted by the drivers themselves (anti-aliased lines, for one thing, and some other aspects). Having said that, I am not a gamer - I stopped caring about or playing games around 2002-2003 or so when Quake III just got boring overall and I haven't mucked with games since.

That's not to say that Geforce (consumer) hardware hasn't improved because it has, but when someone says they're going to be doing pro-level 3D work of most any kind, my first "knee-jerk" reaction is to recommend a Quadro, either for desktops or for laptops. That's about as simple as it is with me. :D

Quadros can play the same games because they're the same GPUs, but the drivers - the certified drivers for Quadros don't support the full API that most games take advantage of, hence you either get some missing features, you get some artifacting because of those missing features, or you get sub-par performance compared to the same Geforce GPU in the consumer cards/products. You can still game with a Quadro, but they're not designed for that purpose so you pay some penalties.

And yes, I should note that I do favor Dell Latitudes and Precisions and HP EliteBooks with a ProBook thrown in for good measure as those are again the business class products. I don't recommend consumer grade hardware for professional folk... ;)

So, honestly, any of those 3 brands with respect to the specific product lines would make excellent "workstation" laptops. Those models typically come with FireGL or Quadro GPUs since that's what they're designed for: true workstation capabilities in a portable format. It's possible you can or could find the lower end of those models with a typical consumer class GPU in it (Radeon/Geforce) but I doubt it.

Lots of research to do... and if you can wait, definitely give it some time so the newest models appear with Sandy Bridge ready to roll: there's a significant chunk of power gained by that platform over the previous Core stuff, and some improvements in battery life as well (but I'll still recommend the battery slice if the model you opt for has one available). If you start doing some serious computing and crunching on the go, that extra battery will pay for itself with a job or two...
 

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
I must have clicked on the wrong ThinkPad model, but the W520 has more ram, so that issue is taken care of. I appreciate the further info on Quadros, but I'm still a little worried about gaming compatibility. I need to be able to accurately test things in-engine, and playing games occasionally would be nice too.
 

pwrusr

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
3,116
<snip>...It sounds like a ThinkPad is probably what I'll go with, so do you know if it's due for an upgrade soon or is the latest generation pretty new? It looks like you can only get 8GB ram in the 15" version, which I think I'd prefer over the 17", so I was hoping they'd have a 15" with 12GB soon, but 8GB would be fine. I'll almost always be using it with a second monitor, so the portability of the 15" would be a little nicer when I'm lugging it around.
As I said earlier in the thread, the W520 (15" model) offers 4 memory slots and upgradable to up to 32GB of ram. Granted I'm sure actually getting the full 32GB of said ram would be quite pricey. But 16GB would be very doable and much less price wise :)
 

pwrusr

2[H]4U
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
3,116
www.XoticPC.com

custom build yourself a G53SW when it's available in a few weeks, it doesnt run hot and is of top notch quality
Great laptop, not so good battery life. Defiantly will not get 6 or more hours the OP asked for.
Anandtech did a recent review of the 17" version (G73SW) and while it's performance was indeed quite nice, the battery didn't last that long:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4207/asus-g73sw-third-times-the-charm/4
I wouldn't expect the smaller screen would help battery life that much. At best 15-20 minutes extra for the smaller screen.
 

Gator Face

n00b
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Messages
38
So I think I'm going with the ThinkPad W520, but I had a couple questions.

Is the Quadro 2000M worth $200 over the 1000M? No idea what the practical difference would be. If i'm having compatibility issues I'll be soft-modding with GeForce drivers. I've read up on that and it sounds pretty reliable.

Out of the 3 proc options, which is the best option (the XM seems crazily priced)?
- Intel Core i7-2720QM Processor (2.20GHz, 6MB L3)
- Intel Core i7-2820QM Processor (2.30GHz, 8MB L3) [add $200.00]
- Intel Core i7-2920XM Processor (2.50GHz, 8MB L3, 1333MHz FSB) [add $750.00]

Is the 1920x1080 resolution screen worth $200 over the 1600x900 at 15.4"? I'm assuming they're using the same panel type because it doesn't mention any difference other than resolution.

Is one SSD better than the other besides capacity? Also, I don't see an option for a secondary HD which worries me. Getting by with 160GB and external storage would be kind of a hassle for me. Would I have to jump up to the 17" model for an additional drive?
- 128 GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA
- Intel 160 GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA [add $80.00]

I'm thinking about a 2 year warranty, but could go 3 if necessary I guess. Since Joe Average has some experience with their warranties, which do you recommend most?
- 2Yr Basic Warranty Extension [add $69.00]
- 2Yr Onsite Warranty Next Business Day [add $139.00]
- 2YR Onsite + 2YR ThinkPad Protection [add $249.00]
- 3Yr Basic Warranty Extension [add $119.00]
- 3YR Onsite [add $219.00]
- 3YR Onsite + 3YR ThinkPad Protection [add $349.00]

Thanks a lot guys!
 
Top