New Computer Advice Thread

Talk about computers, hardware, applications, and consumer electronics.
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Postby mediate » 2011.07.15 (22:47)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:
mediate wrote:Lenovo T510/T520... pretty good for most games.

I strongly disagree. In my experience, an NVIDIA or AMD card is an absolute must for decent gaming. Intel graphics cards are fine for graphics design and stuff, but they blow mile-long lines of goats at gaming.


It comes with either the intel (low performance as rated by school) or the NVIDIA NVS (high performance as rated by school). The NVS is a low-midrange card, but it'll do the job. Not amazing, not too shabby either. Also, the Thinkpad W series one has a life of (this is Lenovo's rating, not mine; you can find it on the data sheet) 9 hours for a mobile workstation. With that said, it's around 6 lbs not customized. That falls under a normal laptop, IMO. It's not light, but it's not heavy (desktop replacement).

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Postby Apakenua » 2011.07.16 (00:42)

smartalco wrote:
ThisIsApakenua wrote:Old iBook G4
Freezes from overheating
I have the fan set to run at 40 degrees
Fan runs, but it still freezes.
Still gets too hot.
HELP?

o_____O

The G4 laptops were already slow when I stopped using my iBook, in 2007. Also I'm not sure why you have the fan 'set' to run at anything, it should be auto. My best guess is the thing has filled up with dust in its, what, 7 year life span? Open it up and clean it out and see what happens.


I know, I have a pro now. I was just interested in selling it.. Bought it for about 250 used.
Anyhow, I took it apart, no dust.
The hottest part was the hard drive; I hope that's not the problem.
Ah, well, thanks for the help.
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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.16 (01:32)

Gaming desktop computer
Budget: $700CAD - $1500CAD {1500 is unconfirmed, base upon 700}
Video card: preferably nVidia or Radeon
Other: Would like to be able to play Civ IV or V on at least med quality, or possibly Crysis

Looking at 27" monitor, I might buy it with bonds ($500)
http://www.asus.com/Display/LCD_Monitors/VE276Q/#specifications
http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/office/monitors/lcd/LS27EFHKUF/ZA/index.idx?pagetype=prd_detail
http://www.bestbuy.ca/en-CA/product/viewsonic-viewsonic-27-led-monitor-with-1ms-response-time-vx2753mh-vx2753mh-led/10168005.aspx?lang=en-CA&pcname=&sku=10168005&path=dbaab737faabec35d13346a6d2dc16baen02

The $1500 comes from me maybe having $200 in the bank, and I might cash in my bonds. I don't have the money yet, I'll be earning it over the rest of the summer. This has to be Canadian. Preferably able to purchase at Best Buy for the Reward Zone points.

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Postby The Black Lion » 2011.07.16 (09:12)

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:'m less sure about graphics design, but I think 15.6" is a fine size for work and personal entertainment (i.e. gaming, watching movies). 17" is definitely portable so long as you don't have some super-slim notebook case or something. At the very least, you could go for the 15.6" to keep it very portable but use it with an external monitor when you do your graphics work.
smartalco wrote:15". With a decent resolution it can still provide plenty of pixels, and I find a 17" too big to comfortably use in many places (however this is a personal opinion, with size you are better off just messing with a few at Best Buy or the like and seeing what you think will work)
I've read a lot of thing now and I really prefer to have a 17". I will take a 15.6" only if there's no 17" responding to my criteria.

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:You should know that these two things might as well be mutually exclusive. Either drop all expectations for one of these two categories or prepare to pay out the ass.
smartalco wrote:As Tsukatu said, these are pretty much mutually exclusive without paying out the ass. The MacBooks have about the best battery life you can buy, but they're also pricey and you have stated you don't want one. You also seem to be emphasizing performance over general utility, which also hurts both of these, so be willing to take some compromises.
Ok so I think I'll forget the low weight and good battery life and really emphasize good performance.

smartalco wrote:1) What exactly are you doing that requires it to be 'powerful'?
2) Why do you think you need 8gb of RAM? 4gb is plenty, 6 is excessive for almost everyone, 8 is just stupid for all but .1% of people. And given that you mention school, I'm doubting that you are doing excessive editing on 20 megapixel RAW images or editing cinema quality video (I could totally be wrong here, please inform me of such if I am)
Next year I'm going in a shcool (I'm not sure it is excatly the right therm) for 3D works, graphics. They said 4G is enough but 8G is perfect. They also said i7 is preferable. And you know, most of the laptop which cost over 1200$ have both i7 and 8G of Ram.

smartalco wrote:I'm curious though, why not split it up in to a desktop to do graphics work and gaming on, for which you can get a lot more performance for cheap, and then carry a cheaper laptop other places? A $1000 desktop and $500 laptop sounds like it'd be within your price range, and might match your usage better than just a high powered laptop.
As I've said, I need a powerful laptop to use it AT school, work on project, etc.

smartalco wrote:Why Nvidia? (I agree with the other part of this, I'm all for more pixels)
T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:Fuck Apple and fuck AMD.
Hum... I don't really know why I prefer Nvidia. Every "very good" laptop I've seen had the Nvidia Geforce or Quadro, or an Ati Firepro.
But for the AMD Radeon I've actually no idea if it's as good as a Geforce and I'm thinking it's anyway less good than a Quadro (but I can be wrong). I've seen a nice laptop with a Radeon 6850M. Does somebody know its equivalent in Geforce or Quadro?

T̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư wrote:I bought a Lenovo Y570 recently that meets most of your specs (minus battery life) and ran me about $1400. I wouldn't buy something like it again, but you probably have different expectations from your laptops than I do.
It has 8 GB of RAM, a stupidly good NVIDIA graphics card (at least I'm impressed by Assassin's Creed 2 running smoothly at max settings on a laptop), a quad-core Intel i7 (which, with hyperthreading, is effectively 8 virtual CPUs), an HD screen, etc.
...buuuut it's got a heavy air of cheapness of quality to it. It's mostly a combination of little things, like the fact that the keyboard is total crap and no OS I've installed on it seems to like its USB 3.0 ports. Also, the network card likes to make the computer randomly crash horribly, but I'm not allowed to complain about it because I only seem to trigger that when I'm, er, doing things I shouldn't. I also have a personal gripe with this NVIDIA Optimus thing (dynamically switching to the Intel graphics card to save battery life) because the CUDA development kit won't install on it (which was half the goddamn reason I sprang for a machine with such a powerful graphics card in the first place), but that probably means very little to you. Optimus won't fuck your shit up when you do graphics work.
When I bought it, I was torn between it and a W-series ThinkPad, and if I could make that choice again with the experience I have now, I would go for the ThinkPad. The IdeaPad Y570 was the only machine Lenovo sold with a quad-core CPU and its graphics card beat out every other offering by quite a wide margin, so I sold out and went for the non-ThinkPad.
Thanks for this very helpful comment man! The Ideapad Y570 seem to have the same general specs than the Thinkpad w520 but the Thinkpad is at least 500$ more expensive... I guess it is because its a lot more professional. I mean better general quality, more port, better screen and a Nvidia Quadro instead of a Geforce. But the Thinkpad w520 had few thing which make me not sure to buy it:
- No keypad...
- I heard that the general sound quality of the w520 is not really good.
- I would really prefer a 17" screen, so sad they don't make thinkpad in 17" anymore...
- and...
mediate wrote:Again, OEM OS blows so prepare to reinstall.
l'oeuvre wrote:OEM = Original Equipment Manufacture. What he's saying is install your own copy of Windows 7 when you get it.
[/quote] Ok just a question and sorry if it sounds stupid but why does the OEM OS is not good?

Some people have said me to take a the HP pavilion 6180 or HP Envy 17-2050. They seem quite good and they are 17" but again it's a AMD Radeon graphic card and I'm like :-/ (Am I wrong?).
A lot of people said me the Sony Vaio F serie are shit, it's quite sad because It seemed perfect for me...
There's also the Elitebook 8760w in HP but they're really really expensive...


Anyway thanks for all those who've helped me. I went on many forum and they said me nothing really constructive. You guys are the best...
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2011.07.16 (13:17)

What's your deal against AMD/ATI gfx? They're decent and the 68x0 series is awesome.
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Postby mediate » 2011.07.16 (14:27)

EDIT: I just realized this is a towerpost. ADHD version: Go for the Elitebook with a quadro card.

The Black Lion wrote:I've read a lot of thing now and I really prefer to have a 17". I will take a 15.6" only if there's no 17" responding to my criteria.

Really, all the 17 offers extra is a full keyboard, heavier weight, and lower battery life. It looks really nice, but for graphics work, you should be fine with 15". The 17s will also generally be a bit more expensive than their 15" counterparts.
Ok so I think I'll forget the low weight and good battery life and really emphasize good performance.

That's ... even that is somewhat exclusive. The desktop replacements (really friggin heavy) have GREAT performance, but will set you back quite a bit (and next to no battery life). The Lenovo W series still meets this criteria though.
Next year I'm going in a shcool (I'm not sure it is excatly the right therm) for 3D works, graphics. They said 4G is enough but 8G is perfect. They also said i7 is preferable. And you know, most of the laptop which cost over 1200$ have both i7 and 8G of Ram.

You prolly mean university. And you're prolly going to use CAD software, in addition to other modelling softwares. For this, you don't need a great video card, any low-midrange NVIDIA or ATI would do the job. If you're not sure, download a test version of AutoCAD and see how it runs and if you can model. That should be a good indication.
Hum... I don't really know why I prefer Nvidia. Every "very good" laptop I've seen had the Nvidia Geforce or Quadro, or an Ati Firepro.
But for the AMD Radeon I've actually no idea if it's as good as a Geforce and I'm thinking it's anyway less good than a Quadro (but I can be wrong). I've seen a nice laptop with a Radeon 6850M. Does somebody know its equivalent in Geforce or Quadro?

Because NVIDIA is well known and pays for real advertising. Because you see NVIDIA's logo attached to games and you think "Oh. They must make really good graphics cards then" whereas I have not seen many games that showcase ATI/AMD (RCT3 comes to mind, and that's it). Even though, like pavel said, they're pretty good. I actually use both (NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT and ATI Radeon HD 6870 and NVS 3100M and ATI Radeon 4300) and both graphics cards. are. virtually. the. same. There is little difference between them. Don't hate on ATI, they're quite awesome.
Thanks for this very helpful comment man! The Ideapad Y570 seem to have the same general specs than the Thinkpad w520 but the Thinkpad is at least 500$ more expensive... I guess it is because its a lot more professional. I mean better general quality, more port, better screen and a Nvidia Quadro instead of a Geforce. But the Thinkpad w520 had few thing which make me not sure to buy it:
- No keypad...
Spend the $20 (max) to buy a USB attachment if you really need it :/
- I heard that the general sound quality of the w520 is not really good.
That's somewhat true. You need to disable all enhancements on windows 7 to get rid of some of the auto vol limitation, however the sound card itself is great. Does the job. If you really need to listen to music/games plug in a set of headphones.
- I would really prefer a 17" screen, so sad they don't make thinkpad in 17" anymore...

... ok sure
- and...
Ok just a question and sorry if it sounds stupid but why does the OEM OS is not good?

They load windows 7 with a ton of unwanted software. EVERY manufacturer does this to windows. It's just a question of how hard is it to take out. You're gonna get it and it will have around 70-80 processes running which will bog down a usually fast computer, as each needs to do their shit and waste resources.
Some people have said me to take a the HP pavilion 6180 or HP Envy 17-2050. They seem quite good and they are 17" but again it's a AMD Radeon graphic card and I'm like :-/ (Am I wrong?).
A lot of people said me the Sony Vaio F serie are shit, it's quite sad because It seemed perfect for me...
There's also the Elitebook 8760w in HP but they're really really expensive...


HP Pavillion 6180 seems to be a really old computer.

The graphics card in the Envy 17 is pretty much the same as the one from the thinkpad. I'm just saying. You're not losing or gaining anything there. Battery life however ... you're not gonna get much out of a 9 cell. You should upgrade it to a 9 cell battery, but you're not gonna get much more than around 3-4 hours.

VAIO = shit is quite accurate. They are expensive and overbloated, and the OEM OS is the worst by far. Also, you're paying for a card that's somewhat worse than the one from the thinkpad, yet it's about the same amount ... think about that for a sec.

What I don't like about the Elitebook is the inability to customize, because the Graphics card lineup is awesome. Not the Firepro there, if you can, go for the quadro 4000 or 5010. The firepro is on par with the thinkpad graphics card and the envy one. The quadro ones though are well overpowered. Go for it, if you can.

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Postby The Black Lion » 2011.07.16 (17:38)

mediate wrote:EDIT: I just realized this is a towerpost. ADHD version: Go for the Elitebook with a quadro card.
Ok I've read everything. Thanks a lot, it was very useful.
But just few last questions came to my mind...
The thinkpad w520 also has a Quadro. So what's better between those 2:
- the Thinkpad w520 15.6" with Quadro 2000M.
- the Elitebook 8760w 15.6" with Quadro 2000M.
I'm thinking it's the Elitebook but it cost 500$ more so I want to be really sure and know why.

The graphics card in the Envy 17 is pretty much the same as the one from the thinkpad. I'm just saying. You're not losing or gaining anything there.
You're saying that the AMD Radeon 6850M is as good as a Nvidia Quadro 1000M/2000M or did I misunderstand you?
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Postby smartalco » 2011.07.16 (23:29)

Graphics card clarification:

(Unfortunately all of this information is in relation to desktop cards, I would imagine the mobile variants follow the same divisions, but someone with more experience in such may correct me. I also haven't been paying attention to this nearly as much for the last 2 years, so I could be passing you super outdated information. That being said...)

Both Nvidia and AMD (whose cards were formerly under ATI) have two separate lines of high end cards, the two categories being gaming cards and professional cards. Hardware wise, they are actually nearly identical. The difference is in the firmware/drivers and such. On the Nvidia side the GeForce is the gaming series and the Quadro is the professional series. In AMD's camp you have the Radeon series for gaming and the FirePro series falling under the professional category.

Now if you want to game much at all, you don't want a 'professional' card, because gaming performance with them blows. So from your above post, I'd be picking the one with the AMD 6850 over anything with a Quadro in it. You'll still get plenty of performance in your graphics/modeling applications, but you'll actually be able to play a 3D game as well. The 6850M is on the high side of AMDs mobile parts, so it should perform about as well as anything for you.
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Postby mediate » 2011.07.17 (03:10)

The Black Lion wrote:Ok I've read everything. Thanks a lot, it was very useful.
But just few last questions came to my mind...
The thinkpad w520 also has a Quadro. So what's better between those 2:
- the Thinkpad w520 15.6" with Quadro 2000M.
- the Elitebook 8760w 15.6" with Quadro 2000M.
I'm thinking it's the Elitebook but it cost 500$ more so I want to be really sure and know why.


Your choice. The Thinkpad has a 15" screen and a 1 year warranty. The Elitebook has a 17" screen, a full keyboard and a 3 year warranty. Is that worth $500 (or is it euro?) more? Do you plan on upgrading it after around 2 years and don't really care about repair that much (you should have no issues if you maintain your laptop properly ... unless the build is complete and utter garbage and falls apart the minute you turn it on; not the case here) or do you plan on using it for another 5-6 years beyond the length of the warranty?

You're saying that the AMD Radeon 6850M is as good as a Nvidia Quadro 1000M/2000M or did I misunderstand you?


6850M is 1 GB memory and 2000M is 2 GB memory. Other than that, they perform nearly identically.

smartalco wrote:I'd be picking the one with the AMD 6850 over anything with a Quadro in it.
... except the really high end quadro cards (4000M, 5010M) which are designed for both gaming and professional work. I was under the impression that the elitebook had that option (the 4000 and 5010 since they ARE on the specs sheet) but w/e.

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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2011.07.17 (06:50)

ThinkPaaaaaaaad. Buy the ThinkPaaaaaad.


And for your future graphics card comparison needs, I usually use these pages to learn about specific differences between cards:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... sing_units
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison ... sing_units
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Postby The Black Lion » 2011.07.17 (15:05)

I've finally chosen the Envy 17-2050.
The best was the Elitebook but it's VERY expensive and I'm even not sure to use its full potential. In fact It will be me very first laptop.
I don't really know why I've not chosen the Thinkpad, it also seemed perfect for me. Maybe it was the screen, maybe the design, maybe the lack of a keypad, maybe the poor audio quality, maybe the OEM. I really don't know. I know it's better than the Envy 17, I know the Quadro 2000M would be better. Oh shit I really don't know why I've chosen the Envy, I've the feeling to have make a mistake now... Fuck it's so hard to decide.
Anyway it's too late now.
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Postby mediate » 2011.07.17 (16:25)

The Black Lion wrote:I've finally chosen the Envy 17-2050.


Hope you enjoy using it. Remember to buy a bigger battery for it as well. The 6 cell won't last very long. 2.5 hours is really low life.

Also, the envy is really similar to the thinkpad (performance wise) so it's not a bad choice. Don't worry about it. By comparison, how much was the thinkpad and the elitebook?

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Postby The Black Lion » 2011.07.17 (17:02)

mediate wrote:By comparison, how much was the thinkpad and the elitebook?

I can only tell you the "true" prices in euro.
HP envy 17 : 1525
Thinkpad w520 : 1600
Elitebook 8760w : 2100

Edit: I just want to say I didn't take the envy instead of the thinkpad for the price, I'm not that stupid ;)
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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.18 (02:03)


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Postby Vyacheslav » 2011.07.18 (02:47)

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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.19 (01:44)

I would prefer to have the monitor be 27".

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Postby Tanner » 2011.07.19 (01:54)

Slayr wrote:I would prefer to have the monitor be 27".

I don't want to be "that guy" but have you considered getting a TV instead of a monitor? A 1080p television with HDMI inputs might be a reasonable (and perhaps less costly) alternative to a giant monitor.
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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.19 (02:17)

I have actually, didn't really look for one though. I'm open to suggestions.
EDIT: Would a television be as good for gaming?

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Postby t̷s͢uk̕a͡t͜ư » 2011.07.19 (05:54)

Slayr wrote:I have actually, didn't really look for one though. I'm open to suggestions.
EDIT: Would a television be as good for gaming?

They do have this little niche in gaming when it comes to the entirety of the console video game market. So yes, I'd certainly say it's workable.

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Postby smartalco » 2011.07.20 (04:59)

Why do you want a 27"? I'm using one at work (because apparently they wanted to blow money on student workers, but refuse to give me a raise?) and it is enormous beyond the point of being useful. You can't physically focus on more than maybe half the screen at once at any sort of normal viewing distance for a monitor. Not to mention that about any 27" is going to be beyond 1080p, requiring a pretty beefy graphics card to run games at decent settings at native resolution. If you're intending on sitting this on a relatively normal desk/office chair type setup, I'd recommend dropping it to a 24" and limiting your resolution to 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. If this is going to be sitting at a greater distance, go with a TV and go 27" or up.
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Postby Vyacheslav » 2011.07.20 (15:25)

smartalco wrote:Why do you want a 27"? I'm using one at work (because apparently they wanted to blow money on student workers, but refuse to give me a raise?) and it is enormous beyond the point of being useful. You can't physically focus on more than maybe half the screen at once at any sort of normal viewing distance for a monitor. Not to mention that about any 27" is going to be beyond 1080p, requiring a pretty beefy graphics card to run games at decent settings at native resolution. If you're intending on sitting this on a relatively normal desk/office chair type setup, I'd recommend dropping it to a 24" and limiting your resolution to 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. If this is going to be sitting at a greater distance, go with a TV and go 27" or up.


Seconded. Bigger isn't always better... it's resolution not size. Remember the other day when you sent me a link to that really cheap 27"? 1366x768 resolution. Blasphemy.
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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.20 (23:05)

l'oeuvre wrote:
smartalco wrote:Why do you want a 27"? I'm using one at work (because apparently they wanted to blow money on student workers, but refuse to give me a raise?) and it is enormous beyond the point of being useful. You can't physically focus on more than maybe half the screen at once at any sort of normal viewing distance for a monitor. Not to mention that about any 27" is going to be beyond 1080p, requiring a pretty beefy graphics card to run games at decent settings at native resolution. If you're intending on sitting this on a relatively normal desk/office chair type setup, I'd recommend dropping it to a 24" and limiting your resolution to 1920x1080 or 1920x1200. If this is going to be sitting at a greater distance, go with a TV and go 27" or up.


Seconded. Bigger isn't always better... it's resolution not size. Remember the other day when you sent me a link to that really cheap 27"? 1366x768 resolution. Blasphemy.


I hadn't looked at the specs for that TV, if I had seen that res I wouldn't have sent you the link. Found a 24" monitor though: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236049&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL072011CA&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL072011CA-_-EMC-072011-Index-_-LCDMonitors-_-24236049-L04A

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Postby Vyacheslav » 2011.07.20 (23:55)

Very nice. I like ASUS, good reputable brand.
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Postby mediate » 2011.07.21 (02:21)

Slayr wrote:I hadn't looked at the specs for that TV, if I had seen that res I wouldn't have sent you the link. Found a 24" monitor though: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824236049&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL072011CA&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL072011CA-_-EMC-072011-Index-_-LCDMonitors-_-24236049-L04A


This is better. Cheaper, same res, and LED. I think I bought this one for a friend, though it was a bit more expensive. Still ... I used it and can safely say that IT IS BRIGHT. Very friggin bright monitor (without a setting change, that is. Changing settings is highly recommended), however, everything is crystal clear on it. All games worked awesome on it.

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Postby Slayr » 2011.07.21 (03:06)



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