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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cheshire, U.K
    Posts
    332

    Laptops for Game Design, Editing, Animation etc?

    Hi,

    Looking for some advice. I will be looking to purchase a new laptop around September time. I start my Degree in Game design then and will be wanting a portable solution so I can return my desktop to its sole original function of Music production.

    So far I have looked at the following systems. I would appreciate some feedback from anyone on the mentioned companies support, quality of the systems, value and so on. Anyone that has any of these systems. Any other companies that you would recommend, review sites that are reliable and so on. Some pro advice from any of you guys actually working in the industry would be great-what are you using, why?. As I am looking at spending around £2K + I wanna make the right choice.

    It will be used for Game Editing (and Game playing of course), Design using 3DS Max, Maya, Photoshop and probably a bunch of other software that will be introduced to me throughout the course.

    Below are some specs and prices I have gathered from the companies sites using their custom configuration options.

    MV Ixius 17

    Intel Pentium 4 560 (3.6 GHz) Processor,
    60GB 7200rpm Hard Drive,
    2nd 60GB 7200rpm Hard Drive (Total 120GB), RAID 0- Striped. Hard Drives work together,
    Crystal Screen 17 inch widescreen (1680 x 1050),
    NEC 8x Dual Layer DVD+/-RW,
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Home,
    36 Month Warranty (12 months parts and labour, 24 months labour only- RTB),
    Standard Carry Case,
    1GB 533MHz DDRII RAM,
    Bluetooth, Intel 802.11b/g Wireless LAN,
    NVIDIA GeForce Go 6800 Ultra 256MB - 30% faster!

    £2127.10 inc Vat and Del
    www.go-mv.com


    Dell XPS5 Inspiron XPS Gen 2

    Intel® Pentium® M 760 ( 2.0GHz, 2MB L2 Cache, 533MHz FSB)
    LCD 17" UltraSharp™ Wide Screen WUXGA (1920 x 1200) Display with TrueLife™
    Microsoft® Windows® XP Home SP2 including Media
    Memory 1024MB 533MHz DDR2 SDRAM (2x512)
    Keyboard English - (QWERTY) - Internal Keyboard
    Video Card NVIDIA® Geforce™ Go 6800 ULTRA with 256MB DDR video memory
    Hard Drive 100GB (7,200rpm) IDE Hard Drive 36972
    Network Cards Internal 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
    Modem Internal 56K v.92 Capable Fax Modem
    Optical Devices Fixed Internal 8X DVD+/-RW Drive with Software
    Wireless Networking Intel® ProWireless 2200 802.11b/g Mini PCI Wireless LAN Card
    Microsoft Application Software Microsoft® Works 7.0
    Enhanced Service Packs Upg to 3Y NBD (Next Business Day) On-site
    Power Supply 130W AC Adapter
    Primary Battery 80Whr 9 Cell LI-ION Primary Battery
    Second Battery 9300 second 9-cell , 80 Whr Li-Ion primary battery

    £2,419.13 inv VAT and Del
    www.dell.co.uk

    Area-51m 7700:

    Case: Area-51m 7700 Case with 17" WideSXGA+ 1680 x 1050 LCD Display with Built-in Camera - Xeno Grey
    Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Home Edition UK with SP2 - English
    Warranty: Aliencare Free Phone 1-Year 24/7 Warranty
    Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 530J w/ HT Technology 3.0GHz 1MB Cache
    Memory: 1GB Dual Channel DDR2 PC-4200 533MHz - 2x512MB
    Video Card: Area-51m 7700 NVIDIA® GeForce™ Go 6800 with 256MB of DDR3 memory
    Hard Drive: Extreme Performance - RAID 0 - 120GB (60GB x 2) 7200 RPM ATA100 - Hitachi
    Optical Drive One: DVD-Burner: 8x Dual Layer DVD+/-RW / 24X CD-RW Combo w/Software
    Floppy Drive: USB Floppy Drive
    Sound Card: Intel® High-Definition Audio (24-bit, 192Khz) with 7.1 surround sound
    Modem: 56K Modem with V.92 Technology
    Ethernet NIC: Integrated 10/1000Mb Gigabit Ethernet Adapter (DSL-ready)
    Wireless network: Built-In Wireless 802.11 b/g miniPCI Card
    Additional Battery: Alienware® 7700 series Primary Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack
    Keypad: Mobile Keypad - English
    AlienInspection: AlienInspection - Exclusive Integration and Inspection - £50 Value - FREE!
    Free T-Shirt: Alienware® T-Shirt - Black - XL


    £2,155.20 inc DEL and VAT
    www.alienware.co.uk



    Rock Xtreme Ti:

    P4 3.8GHz, 1Gb
    17" WSXGA+ X-Glass TFT Screen (1680 x 1050 Res)

    RAM - 1Gb DDR2 533MHz RAM,
    HDD - 2 x 60Gb (7200rpm) HDD in Raid 1 (120Gb Total),
    OS - Windows XP Home,
    WARRANTY - 3 Years Collect & Return,
    CASE - Standard Case,
    OPTICAL DRIVE - 8 x DVD Dual Layer (-/+) Writer
    WIRELESS - Internal Wireless LAN, OPTION -
    Graphics Card - nVidia 256Mb GeForce Go 6800,
    OPTION - Additional "Smart" Li-ION Battery)

    £2312.40 inc Delivery and VAT
    www.rockdirect.com
    I'm always on crunch.

    http://www.stuartdeakinberry.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Calgary, Canada
    Posts
    7,089
    Well, personally, I would throw all Pentium 4 based laptops out the door. I prefer laptops with real battery power, and the Pentium 4 just sucks the battery life from your laptop quickly.

    Second, I wouldn't go with any of those laptops. My reasoning is because they are only gamer class video cards in those laptops. I prefer workstation power. My QuadroFX 3400 benchmarked very very high compared to a GeForce 6800 Ultra. Now, you can't get a 3400 in a laptop, however, you can get the QuadroFX 1400 Go in a laptop, which will give you exceptional performance in your DCC applications compared to the GeForce models. It will still be great for gaming as well.

    My recommended laptop is one that I wish I had kickin around with my Powerbook. The Dell Precision M70. Powerful processor (up to 2.13GHz Pentium M), high resolution display and of course, the QuadroFX 1400.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    6
    Of course prices will vary for region - but it strikes me that those quoted are rather high.

    It's also probably a fact that you will never get in a laptop anything near the power anyone reasonable would be happy with when it comes to rendering.

    Specifically to Pentium/Mac = Buy what you know.

    I go for AMD, since I found price/performance/battery to be considerably superior to Pentium.

    ~Today's cool is tomorrow's SAD~

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Calgary, Canada
    Posts
    7,089
    I go for AMD, since I found price/performance/battery to be considerably superior to Pentium.
    Do you have any resources to support that? I was still under the impression that even though AMD still owns when it comes to desktop performance, the Intel couldn't be beat in terms of mobile performance in all aspects, which is why there is a demand to bring the Pentium M processor to the desktop market.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cheshire, U.K
    Posts
    332
    thanks enygma I'll check out the Dell precision.

    I not too bothered abot battery life as I will be buying a second battery. Also I want a portable option to move between uni and home but it'll still be plugged in. I have no preference between Intel and AMD. I have AMD 64 in my desktop and Intel P4 in my current laptop. As long as it works and does the job that fine for me.

    I was looking at 6800 cards in the laptop as that is what I have in my desktop. I have been very happy with but then again I'm not not a pro (yet). Wasn't aware you could get laptops with Quadro cards.

    The prices are high but I'm in the U.K and they are the top specs for each model.

    I would interested to know what portable systems are used in the industry.
    I'm always on crunch.

    http://www.stuartdeakinberry.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    The Land of the Hand
    Posts
    7,779
    check out this beasty from Boxx Technology:

    Boxx - GoBoxx 2300
    Aint that some ...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cheshire, U.K
    Posts
    332
    What about this one.

    I think I'm gonna have to sacrifice pentium m for pentium 4 as the dell doesn't offer the drive storage i need for some of my audio work with out having to worry about external drives etc. Also I want the 17" screen (just a personal preference)You could say I'm looking for a portable desktop or as close to as possible. I can handle a shorter battery life if the rest is up to par.

    Alienware-MJ-12m 7700

    Operating System: Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional UK with SP2 - English
    Warranty: Aliencare Free Phone 1-Year 24/7 Warranty
    AlienRespawn: Alienware® Respawn Recovery Kit
    Case: Alienware® MJ12m 7700 Case with 17" WideSXGA+ 1680 x 1050 LCD Display with Built-in Camera - Xeon Grey
    Processor: Intel® Pentium® 4 Processor 530J w/ HT Technology 3.0GHz 1MB Cache
    Memory: 2GB Dual Channel DDR2 PC-4200 533MHz - 2x1024MB
    Hard Drive: Dual Drive Configuration - Non RAID - 120GB (60GB x 2) 7200 RPM ATA100 - Hitachi
    Video Card: Alienware® MJ12m 7700 NVIDIA Quadro FX Go 1400 with 256MB of DDR memory
    Optical Drive One: DVD-Burner: 8x Dual Layer DVD+/-RW / 24X CD-RW Combo w/Software
    Floppy Drive: USB Floppy Drive
    Wireless network: Built-In Wireless 802.11 b/g miniPCI Card
    Modem: 56K Modem with V.92 Technology
    Ethernet NIC: Integrated 10/100Mb Ethernet NIC
    Digital Audio Hardware: Intel® High-Definition Audio (24-bit, 192Khz) with 7.1 surround sound
    Additional Battery: Alienware® 7700 series Primary Lithium-Ion Smart Battery Pack
    Keypad: Mobile Keypad - English
    AlienInspection: AlienInspection - Exclusive Integration and Inspection - £50 Value - FREE!
    Automated Support: AlienAutopsy: Automated Technical Support Request System
    Free T-Shirt: Alienware® T-Shirt - Black - XL

    £2,508.87 Inc Vat and Delivery

    This around the top end of what I will be budgeting for price wise

    With regards to to Quadro fx go 1400 over the 6800gt or ultra. Will it still be high quality for general gaming and editing(Unreal ed, Doomed, Hammer etc)?
    I know i'll probably be using 3DS Max/Photoshop most at University is this the best mobile card option for that? Will it be good with Maya too? as I want to personally study maya and learn it.

    thanks
    I'm always on crunch.

    http://www.stuartdeakinberry.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    6
    Quote Originally Posted by enygma
    Do you have any resources to support that? I was still under the impression that even though AMD still owns when it comes to desktop performance, the Intel couldn't be beat in terms of mobile performance in all aspects, which is why there is a demand to bring the Pentium M processor to the desktop market.
    I don't have any resources to support.

    My impression is based on desktop experience - which may or may not be valid with regard to laptop.

    Since price is a big issue for me, I currently have the impression that price difference between AMD and Intel in laptops is considerable - at least locally. For me, since that difference can see an Intel processor at twice the price, but approximately equivalent speed - even 20% speed difference becomes irrelevant.

    Again, my personal experience is to desktop - and I make assumptions as to laptop.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Calgary, Canada
    Posts
    7,089
    I can easily agree with you on the desktop side of things. On the laptop side, Pentium M just proves to be a very effective processor. Benchmarks show that a 2.13GHz Pentium M processor can be as effective as a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 in some cases, or a 3.2 GHz or 3.0 GHz P4 in other cases. Really depends. Intel seemed to have really changed how they view processors with the Pentium M based line, which seems to have put benchmark results all over the map. On the desktop front, I would still choose AMD over Intel, but I still believe that Intel is actually much stronger than AMD in the overall picture when looking at the Pentium M series. It basically provides a processor that could potentially be a desktop replacement processor, because it does provide so much power per Watt. In the end, this leads to much better battery life compared to a power guzzling P4, or a not quite so power guzzling AMD Athlon64.

    I can come up with multiple scenarios I've been in where battery life has been critical for me... which IMO, can justify costs if the processor does not perform as well as you like.

    Air travel is one big area. Being able to watch DVD movies... almost 4 hours worth of video on a single battery was helpful on 2 round trip occasions. Calgary to San Francisco and Calgary to LA. Again in the future to LA at the end of July.

    At home is also another big area. Sometimes, I don't mind laying on the couch while surfing the net and not have to worry about having to plug the laptop in soon. Combine that with sleep mode when I am not using it and the battery can easily last a couple days without having to charge.

    At conferences. Well, anyone that has been to a conference can attest to that. At GDC, it seemed that everybody had a laptop. One problem I found though is that there were a lot of people that were crouding the walls for power. I had found that 2 batteries does perfect in this case, because even if a battery can last up to 4 hours, depending on the sessions you go to and how many, you may not have a chance to utilize sleep mode as much as you would like. I did a full day tutorial and used sleep mode when I could, and only had to replace the battery with about 1 hour left in the tutorial. Didn't lose any time on taking notes either. Would have preferred an iBook instead mind you as they are smaller and easy to handle in large venues, and have up to 6 hours of life, but the time I got would have been much better than having only 1 or 2 hours of battery life.

    Now, not everyone would be in situations like mine, other than home, so it may really depend on how much you may think you wil value battery life. Even with 2 batteries. A laptop can hardly be a desktop replacement if you have to keep it plugged in a lot. With me, I almost never plug it in at home. I plug it in when I get to work. Depending on my home usage, I might be almost dead, or I might still have 60% battery life left. I use my laptop on the couch, kitchen counter, dining room table... wherever I want. If I am busy doing something, I won't let cooking get in the way...

    Yes, this post seemed more like a push to appreciate battery life, but honestly, it is something you need to consider when it comes to the value of your notebook. I probably get more life out of 1 battery in my powerbook, than some would get out of 2 in a P4 based notebook. And I have a spare battery to boot. What kind of value is that to you? Battery life and performance are 2 reasons why I personally believe that Pentium M is the best when it comes to notebooks. It is why I am happy for this Apple/Intel deal. As soon as Powerbooks are available in the Pentium M variety, I will most likely be upgrading without question.
    With regards to to Quadro fx go 1400 over the 6800gt or ultra. Will it still be high quality for general gaming and editing(Unreal ed, Doomed, Hammer etc)?
    I believe for gaming, you will still get excellent performance, but I don't think the performance will be up to that of the GeForce 6800 chip.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    In a Subtracted Cube, NC
    Posts
    272
    Ouch! - When I saw your post - I thought I must be going mad - The prices you have there are in pounds Sterling - I think you can head over to www.hp.com and select one of their top rated laptops with 17" screen for under $US2000. 1 GB memory P4 3.4 Ghz, 256MB Video card type spec. I had also looked at the M technology verses the P4 specs, and I was of the impression that as I needed a laptop that it's primary task was CPU intesive and memory intensive apps like 3dmax, photoshop, "Unreal Tournament" (hehe) that it was better to go with the P4 architecture for raw processing rather than the M technology for power usage.
    You could even purchase it while on the 3dbuzz camping trip and take it back with you for less than you are going to buy one where you are. (Including flights) .
    IMHO - for 3d, graphics and games - I would rather go for P4 3.? GHz machine rather than a mobile chip for power savings. in my case there is always power somewhere or battery power long enough to last.(even aircraft have power these days and cars have power inverters)

    Does intel have a push for the Mobile processor and all marketing for it as it will allow them to become more like AMD pricing and less like the performance pricing thay had in the past? i.e. tying prices to the performance of the chip - rather than the features attainable by the processor.

    BTW - once you have your ideal machine in mind head over to web sites like www.mysimon.com and see what are the best prices you can get - They REALLY do vary tremendously.
    Last edited by Charkra; 06-13-2005 at 04:22 PM.

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