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Caveat Emptor
Earth Orbit
reply to Dissembled

Re: Help Me Spec a Laptop for My Wife

Maybe a custom site like CyberPowerPC, iBuyPower, XoticPC, Falcon Northwest, etc. (I know I am forgetting some) could help, as you can customize almost anything and everything.

I would suggest a 17" laptop capable of holding two drives internally (at least a 120 GB SSD + a 750GB/1TB 7200rpm data HDD). Go for a modest GPU but splurge on 16GB of ram and a good, four-core Ivy Bridge i7 CPU (3000 series, not the 2000 series).

Photoshop gobbles ram and could definitely benefit from a spacious SSD as a scratch disk.

Example: For $1264.88 you can outfit a Sager NP6175 / Clevo W170ER with the following:
• 17.3" FHD 16:9 "Glare Type" Super Clear Ultra Bright LED Glossy Screen (1920x1080)
• 3rd Generation Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3630QM (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel Smart Cache, 45W Max TDP)
• nVidia GT 650M 1024MB PCI-Express GDDR5 DX11 with Optimus Technology
• 16GB RAM - DDR3 1600MHz Dual Channel Memory (2 SODIMMS)
• SSD: 120gb Intel 520 Series Solid State Drive (SSD2 Serial-ATA III)
• HDD: 750gb 7200rpm (Serial-ATA II 300 - 16MB Cache)
• ODD: Combo Dual Layer SuperMulti DVDRW/CDRW Drive w/ Software
• Built-in 802.11 Wireless B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetoothâ„¢ v3.0
• Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit (64&32-Bit CD Included (Supports up to 16GB of RAM)) + MS Office Starter 2010

You can easily get carried away and spend a whole lot more, but given the 17" form factor with multiple internal drives, I think it would be harder to get similar specs for cheaper.
If we lose this freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment, those who had the most to lose, did the least to prevent its happening.