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81 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 129581 20-Sep-2013 13:01 Send private message

Next year I'll be starting a Bachelor of Design, so I'm gonna be needing a laptop! Unlike most design students, I prefer Windows over OSX so that makes my decision a bit harder. With a budget of $2500 max, if I wasn't averse to Mac's I'd just buy a 13" rMBP but that isn't really an option. I want a 13-14" touchscreen, 1080p or higher (with reasonable colour accuracy). Preferably Haswell for the battery life. SSD is a must, I'll get an external HDD for mass storage. I want something ultrabook-ish in size, so say anything under 25mm. Design is obviously important to me ;) Ideally I'll be purchasing around November/December but I could hold of till January if there was something worth waiting for.

The ultrabooks that have grabbed my attention are the Sony Vaio Pro 13, Acer Aspire S7 (Haswell version) and the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus. They all have different advantages & disadvantages over each other. The Vaio's display is meant to have great colours and the Ativ has that crazy 3200x1800 resolution. The i7/8gb configurations aren't available in NZ yet (will they be?) and the S7 isn't even available at all from the normal retailers yet.

My major concern with these laptops is that they're all running ULV processors. I have no idea if the 4200U/4500U are powerful enough to run Creative Cloud well for my needs. I'll probably be using Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign everyday and I don't want to be hampered down. These laptops are all extremely thin, and I'd be happy to go closer to the 25mm mark if it meant a better processor, but there doesn't seem to be much in this range (at least with a 1080p touchscreen display). I should point out I won't be doing any 3D or video work so I don't think I need dedicated graphics?

What say you, Geekzone? Are there any options I've overlooked? Will the ULV Haswell's be powerful for my needs?

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  Reply # 898958 20-Sep-2013 13:06 Send private message

Asus Zenbook UX301 or 302.




Windows 7 x64 // i5-3570K // 16GB DDR3-1600 // GTX660Ti 2GB // Samsung 830 120GB SSD // OCZ Agility4 120GB SSD // Asus PB278Q @ 2560x1440
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Master Geek
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  Reply # 898959 20-Sep-2013 13:07 One person supports this post Send private message

Are you sure you want to continue shunning Macs when they're the standard in the graphic design industry? Or is it not a graphic design career that you plan on pursuing?

Just my two cents anyway. In my 9 years of experience I've never worked at a design agency that has designers working on Windows machines.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 898965 20-Sep-2013 13:16 One person supports this post Send private message

Benjip: Are you sure you want to continue shunning Macs when they're the standard in the graphic design industry? Or is it not a graphic design career that you plan on pursuing?

Just my two cents anyway. In my 9 years of experience I've never worked at a design agency that has designers working on Windows machines.


Will it makes a difference though? As long as I run the industry standard software (Adobe) and I make a great folio of work, why should it matter if I choose PC or Mac? OSX is great but I just prefer Windows, and I'm already somewhat invested in the Windows ecosystem (using WP8, Skydrive and all that). When it becomes time that I'm working as a designer I'll happily use a Mac if that's what's provided, but for my personal machine I may as well use what I like!



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 898969 20-Sep-2013 13:18 Send private message

Inphinity: Asus Zenbook UX301 or 302.


Forgot about that one! There doesn't seem to be much info on availability yet and it's looking quite pricey but I'll keep it in mind!

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  Reply # 898975 20-Sep-2013 13:25 Send private message

thelimoman: 

Forgot about that one! There doesn't seem to be much info on availability yet and it's looking quite pricey but I'll keep it in mind!


I'd expect they'll land around the $2200ish mark (depending on specific spec level) in a month or so.

thelimoman: 
Will it makes a difference though? As long as I run the industry standard software (Adobe) and I make a great folio of work, why should it matter if I choose PC or Mac?


It won't, imo. I've got a number of friends who do graphic design and video editing, and they're a real mixed bag. Some are viciously for or against crApples, and some don't care as long as it runs fast. Some companies use standardised equipment, which in some cases may mean a Mac.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 898987 20-Sep-2013 13:40 Send private message

Inphinity:
I'd expect they'll land around the $2200ish mark (depending on specific spec level) in a month or so.


$2200 sounds way better than I was expecting! If that's with the high-res display... oooh.


It won't, imo. I've got a number of friends who do graphic design and video editing, and they're a real mixed bag. Some are viciously for or against crApples, and some don't care as long as it runs fast. Some companies use standardised equipment, which in some cases may mean a Mac.


That's what I thought. And by the time I'm in the industry I'll probably be buying another laptop so I can make another decision then!


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  Reply # 898999 20-Sep-2013 13:50 Send private message

The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus (NP940X3GI?) is flashy but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have money to burn.

First, I'd recommend spending as little as possible. For a start, are you certain that you'll finish the course?

Second, only buy what you need immediately. Otherwise you will pay a premium for the new technology when you probably don't need it. Computer prices are dropping by 25% or so each year. That means buy what you need early next year and in a year or two you can buy a new computer and still be better off financially provided you also sell the old one.

You say "no 3D or video work" so you shouldn't be too worried about the processor. While you can get by without dedicated graphics, I would get it because it will contribute to better performance and dedicated video RAM is recommended for Creative Cloud products. Also get enough RAM so you don't thrash the SSD when you have lots of programs or design work loaded.

My daughter is doing a design course with lots of 3D work and using a sub $1,000 laptop: i5, 8GB RAM, 15.6" screen. She was originally looking for something similar to what you want. She had the same $2,500 budget but pared it back when she worked out what she actually needed for first year. She's real glad that she didn't go for a smaller 13" screen. Battery life is not a problem as it only operates on battery while she commutes. But the screen resolution is too low and 3D rendering times are too long as they can take most of a day. Early this year she could have spent $1,500 and fixed both those problems.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 899033 20-Sep-2013 14:35 Send private message

Hammerer: The Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus (NP940X3GI?) is flashy but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have money to burn.

First, I'd recommend spending as little as possible. For a start, are you certain that you'll finish the course?

Second, only buy what you need immediately. Otherwise you will pay a premium for the new technology when you probably don't need it. Computer prices are dropping by 25% or so each year. That means buy what you need early next year and in a year or two you can buy a new computer and still be better off financially provided you also sell the old one.

You say "no 3D or video work" so you shouldn't be too worried about the processor. While you can get by without dedicated graphics, I would get it because it will contribute to better performance and dedicated video RAM is recommended for Creative Cloud products. Also get enough RAM so you don't thrash the SSD when you have lots of programs or design work loaded.

My daughter is doing a design course with lots of 3D work and using a sub $1,000 laptop: i5, 8GB RAM, 15.6" screen. She was originally looking for something similar to what you want. She had the same $2,500 budget but pared it back when she worked out what she actually needed for first year. She's real glad that she didn't go for a smaller 13" screen. Battery life is not a problem as it only operates on battery while she commutes. But the screen resolution is too low and 3D rendering times are too long as they can take most of a day. Early this year she could have spent $1,500 and fixed both those problems.


The Ativ is a bit crazy (and right at the top of my budget), but a super high res screen like that would be pretty awesome so I may as well consider it! I'm fairly certain I'll finish the course, I can't think of any reason I won't. It's about time I got a laptop, anyway. 

My display needs (or wants ) are definitely pushing the budget the most, but 1080p+ would be make a huge difference when working with text. I could go to 15" but I think 13-14" is the sweet spot for portability vs usability. Whatever I get it I will make sure I get an 8gb model or better. I agree the battery won't be an issue while doing actual work, but for general use it'd be nice to have the freedom provided by decent battery life. 

The Lenovo U430 looks like it could be the perfect choice... if only IdeaPad's were sold here!

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  Reply # 899044 20-Sep-2013 14:55 Send private message

I have a Dell XPS 13, i7 8GB Ram and a 512GB SSD. 1080p screen and that size is pretty nice. No touch screen but thats because I'm a "touch screen on laptops" hater. Cant see the point and dont want finger prints all up in my grill.

http://www.dell.com/nz/p/xps-13-l321x-mlk/fs might be worth a look.




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My thoughts are my own and are in no way representative of my employer.

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  Reply # 899046 20-Sep-2013 15:00 Send private message

Benjip: Are you sure you want to continue shunning Macs when they're the standard in the graphic design industry? Or is it not a graphic design career that you plan on pursuing?

Just my two cents anyway. In my 9 years of experience I've never worked at a design agency that has designers working on Windows machines.


I work in design and have only used windows PCs. I think some of these design agencies only use macs, because they look nice on their desks, so is a bit of a status symbol thing.  They all run the same adobe software so I can't really see it being an issue as to whether they choose a mac over a pc. Although I would suggest getting a PC with windows 7. As you will be using the desktop there is no reason to go with windows 8 which has downgraded the desktop component, and I find flip 3d and transparency really useful, which is missing in windows 8.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 899055 20-Sep-2013 15:09 Send private message

mattwnz: 
I work in design and have only used windows PCs. I think some of these design agencies only use macs, because they look nice on their desks, so is a bit of a status symbol thing.  They all run the same adobe software so I can't really see it being an issue as to whether they choose a mac over a pc. Although I would suggest getting a PC with windows 7. As you will be using the desktop there is no reason to go with windows 8 which has downgraded the desktop component, and I find flip 3d and transparency really useful, which is missing in windows 8.


Macs are definitely popular for the image more than anything, at least in this field.

To the contrary I think desktop is exactly the same if not better in Windows 8. Combined with all the other performance benefits, not to mention the 8.1 update, I can't wait to move to Windows 8!

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  Reply # 899066 20-Sep-2013 15:22 Send private message

thelimoman:
mattwnz: 
I work in design and have only used windows PCs. I think some of these design agencies only use macs, because they look nice on their desks, so is a bit of a status symbol thing.  They all run the same adobe software so I can't really see it being an issue as to whether they choose a mac over a pc. Although I would suggest getting a PC with windows 7. As you will be using the desktop there is no reason to go with windows 8 which has downgraded the desktop component, and I find flip 3d and transparency really useful, which is missing in windows 8.


Macs are definitely popular for the image more than anything, at least in this field.

To the contrary I think desktop is exactly the same if not better in Windows 8. Combined with all the other performance benefits, not to mention the 8.1 update, I can't wait to move to Windows 8!


I've got pcs running both 7 and 8 and 7 is my preferred one when running 3 screens on it for productivity use. 8.1 may fix this. But I find 8 is used more for consumption activities, and it is a pita when it flicks to a full screen start menu to open programs, if they aren't pined on the task bar.

Many people do go for apple because their hardware quality is good. but I have heard it is expensive to repair, while PCs are cheap to get parts for. Is probably a different story with laptops though.

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  Reply # 899092 20-Sep-2013 16:05 Send private message

Hi, have you contacted the course tutor, as I'm hoping to begin a Diploma in Digital Photography with SIT next year, and the tutor said they prefer student to have iMac, less problems maybe the main reason, ( but as I have Windows 7, will stay with that) and he/she should be able to give you all the necessary requirements, and, a thought, if you can afford to get more RAM, and anything else for your dollars, I would go for it. Portability, great, but will you have a larger monitor to work on? That was suggested to me, also to get it calibrated. Where is your University/Institute/ do you have to find accommodation, and will your own room be available? Will you have to travel by car?bus? walk? to go each day? Good luck with your new purchase, cheers from NancyJ

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  Reply # 899102 20-Sep-2013 16:18 Send private message

Nancyjj:
Diploma in Digital Photography with SIT next year, and the tutor said they prefer student to have iMac, less problems maybe the main reason,


The main reason is simply that's what the tutors use and what they provide screenshots and instructions from (and Windows confuses them greatly because they really don't seem very technical when it comes to not-Photoshop). So when they say "Press the fubar wacky key and L" they mean "Ctrl L" for example, or "Quadruple-triple click while holding A, V, and T" they mean "Right click". Adobe have commented on several occasions there is no functionality difference between Photoshop CS6 on Mac OS vs Windows - the only differences are in the UI, in terms of shortcut keys etc.




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  Reply # 899117 20-Sep-2013 16:40 Send private message

Hi, and thanks for your reply with all interesting info, that explains it so much better, and I realise now why the tutors say they prefer iMac. They wouldn't explain any of that to me at all I'm sure. Regards, Nancy J

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