I love my reliable Toshiba laptop (Vista 64-bit, Core Duo, 4GB (shared video) memory), but it is going on 5 years old and is just not cutting it anymore. (Too slow, too hot, not enough memory.) As I look for a replacement, I realize that I haven't kept up with knowledge about current hardware technology.
I'm looking for help spec'ing an off-the-shelf (Windows) laptop. This will be my only computer. (Once I get it running, I'll be donating my current laptop to a friend who needs one, and I'd like to do that before Christmas.)
I'll use it on the road for work on average 2 days/week as well as all work (and non-work) at home, so reliability
is very, very important to me. Like a lot of people I do some of a lot of things, though I have been doing more graphics work and video/audio editing lately. As a secondary requirement, I would like a laptop good enough to allow visiting nephews to play games for a bit. (Not necessarily at the high level settings--I can't afford anywhere near Alienware gaming rig prices, and this is primarily a work laptop.) I only watch DVDs occasionally, so that is not a priority.
These are my current thoughts:Budget:
I'm hoping I can stay in the $1000-$1200 area. (I can nudge a little higher. Please tell me if I'm smoking something.
I was thinking I'd need an i7, but another topic here leads me to believe that i5 has 4 cores and that's the sweet spot. Also, there are so many versions of each, my head hurts trying to follow them.Memory:
min. 8 GB (expandable to at least 16 GB?)HDD:
at least 500 GB, 7200 rpm (I have external HDD for more storage.) I can't afford an SSD right now.Optical drive:
standard dvd/cd recorder/player (Blu-ray not important)Video:
separate card w/ separate memory (Not sure what is good/good enough. It seems that NVida 650/660/670 are popular.)Resolution:
I'd like 1920x1024 (Is that overreach? I see many don't go that high.)Size:
Prefer 17", but can work with 15". (I use 2nd monitor at home)Weight:
prefer less than 9 lbs, but this is not that importantOS:
I think I'd prefer Win7 as my software/tools will run on that, and I don't know if they'd run on Win 8.
What is important that I missed? Sandy Bridge vs Ivy Bridge? Hyperthreading? Cooling?
Did I mention that reliability is important? I can't lose it for 4-6 weeks to get it fixed; I'd have to buy yet another one. (Which I know is a possibility no matter what I get.)
Recommendations for specific models that meet these are welcome.