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Old 03-01-2009, 06:03 PM   #1
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Default Laptop Advice

Howdy,
WARNING: Wall of Text. (I wanted to be thorough).

Background: I am going to be buying a laptop within the next year as I will be moving out and going to college for a music tech (recording) program. I also like to play games on my computer. I play MMOs (Everquest II, Age of Conan, etc...) on and off and play games like Dead Space, Fallout 3, Assassin's Creed, etc... I like to be able to play my games on at least a medium graphics setting, and prefer a high to max setting.

The point:
This laptop will be used for gaming and music creation/recording/editing and of course, everyday computing. My computer is my journal, my game platform, my work place, my recreation, my library. My life basically, haha
What's important to me:
I need to be able to multi-task like crazy. Partially for the music recording end of my usage, but I also like to run itunes, aim, email, firefox, all at the same time most of the time I'm on the computer.
I don't want to have to upgrade for as long as possible. So having longevity in mind would be nice.

The mobility of a laptop would best fit my life after high school...commuting from home, etc...
BUT
I understand that a desktop would be cheaper and ideal for gaming. A thought that came to mind was getting a laptop with a good processor and RAM (3 or 4 gigs for multitasking and audio creation/editing) and not paying extra for any other upgrades and then building a desktop with gaming (and audio creation/editing) in mind; which you can cover by building it for gaming.

What my question is:
What would you recommend I purchase for a laptop (or laptop, desktop setup, but keep in mind if i did a laptop and a desktop the laptop budget would be right at or around 1000 and the desktop budget would be no more than $1500)?
I am currently looking around at HP and Alienware systems (for the desktop, buying from TigerDirect and building. Alieanware desktops are ridiculously priced. )
I have a personal preference for Intel and nVidia, but am going to be open to suggestions of anything.
Price is, but isn't an object...My mom and I have a deal that she is willing to pay up to $1k and I'll cover anything over that. That being said I'm prepared to dish out ~$1500.


What I already know/Have:
Building is an option and it will be cheaper. But I have very limited knowledge about building a laptop...I have a basic knowledge about the various components that make up a computer and know a little about the process of building your own desktop PC.
Alienware "is overpriced" (yeah maybe, but from the parts available and features it seems like they would be worth it..??) I've also heard bad things about their support...but I've heard amazing things about the support and their products. Also, Alienware has a discount program for college students. I looked around and I've seen people claim it's a 5% discount.)
I have recording software.
Sound card is not so much an issue, because I will be using an external audio interface to be my sound card so I can connect microphones/instruments to the computer.
I have a 500GB external HD.
There most-likely will be heat issues when gaming with a laptop, but I know there are cooling platforms(idk if thats the right word for them) with fans that you can buy to keep your laptop cool.


I know I rambled a little bit, but I wanted to be thorough and get a second, third, etc opinion about this from some people who (hopefully) know what they're talking about :-)

Thanks in advance to anyone who actually read all of that.
And thanks again if you reply, haha.

----JClark
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Laptop Advice

going to college? only get a laptop. you really only need that.

I'll suggest HP because I am a fan of their computers, and the core 2 duos are nice processors. I'd go with 4 gigs of ram, and then I'd stay with 32 bit because currently it is still the most supported, but if you know for a FACT that every app you will use is 64 bit compatible then you could get the 64 bit to take advantage of all the ram, but I'd stay with 32 bit if it was me.

you also need to make sure it has a firewire port as well. And you can't really build a laptop, and defiantly not for cheaper.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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Default Re: Laptop Advice

I agree with rubberchicken. I really like HP lappies, along with Gateway and Toshiba...Sony if you can afford them. I'm sorry to all who like them, but I strongly urge others to stay away from Dell and Compaq (yes I know they are linked to HP but they are just crap IMHO) because they are the most frequent brands I get in for repairs...but then again, that could be because they are most popular.

As R.C. has said, building a lappy is possible but not a very cost effective solution...which really sucks. Basically the only thing I can suggest is to not worry about the amount of RAM installed or the speed...that's the cheapest thing to upgrade later on, so if you can find a good deal on a lappy with one 1GB or 2GB or RAM..upgrade to 4GB and speed 'er up. HDD's are also doable, but require a bit more skill. RAM is simply [usually] 2 screws, remove plate, pop out sticks, insert new ones, put plate back on, screw the screws back in and off you go.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:15 PM   #4
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Sony loads their computer with tons of crapware.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:17 PM   #5
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^ Every manufacture does. The only exception would be from Dell, HP, and Sony's business line. Apple is the only manufacturer I know that doesn't load their computers with bloatware.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01001010 View Post
^ Every manufacture does.
Yup. If I ever buy a computer from a manufacturer (probably will have to for college; laptop) I'm just going to reformat and reinstall before I even begin. I like to have a data partition anyways...it's just stupid how some manufacturers set their crap up...ugh.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:26 PM   #7
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That's why you don't purchase consumer machines. Always aim for their professional and business products.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01001010 View Post
^ Every manufacture does. The only exception would be from Dell, HP, and Sony's business line. Apple is the only manufacturer I know that doesn't load their computers with bloatware.
Sony is supposed to be the worst, though. Did they ever make their "fresh start" (or whatever it's called) free?
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevermind1534 View Post
Sony is supposed to be the worst, though. Did they ever make their "fresh start" (or whatever it's called) free?
I know there's a program like that offered, but I'm not sure which manufacturer offers it.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01001010 View Post
I know there's a program like that offered, but I'm not sure which manufacturer offers it.
Sony started offering it, but was charging money for it.
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