I want to hear some suggestions as I am considering to buy a new laptop computer sometime in Summer 2013. I am a PhD student in math, and my budget will be between $1000 and $2000. I will be using my computer to do the following tasks:
lots of intense calculations for numerical analysis - Lots of graphics for geometry and topology - light programming to simulate mathematical models (usually in C++) - programs like Mathematica and MathLab - LaTeX document editing/PDF viewer - Presenting my research materials using a projector - Editing photos and videos (nothing professional) - The usual stuff like emailing, Skyping, YouTubing, Web browsing, iTunes - Also I really want to play SimCity 2013 (the new version) on my new computer without sluggishness in performance.
In terms of OS preferences, I really don't care. SimCity will be available in both OSX and Windows. Most people in my department use either a mac or a Linux PC for research. Windows is a minority here.
Basically I guess all I want is, regardless of the OS, a fast processor, good graphics, preferably SSD, compatibility, decent screen size (13 inch and up), portable, lightweight, projector-friendly, and excellent battery life.
Also I heard rumors about Haswell; I am not sure if I should wait for Haswell since "rumors" say that it will come out right when I will be buying a new computer.
Answer by trueb · Feb 26, 2013 at 06:09 PM
you should be able to get by with any i5 processor and 4gb of ram 8 to be on the safe side...
being you want to use skype i recommend you get one with a 720p webcam, most laptops have that these days.
Being that you are only doing light programming a windows PC will work fine, but use what you are comfortable with.
Almost all machines you have an option for an SSD, if you get it from the manufacture. I do not believe SimCity is heavy on graphics, But im not sure.
I recommend thinkpad laptops, but if you are comfortable with mac, then do your thing... what you want to do is not too demanding. If you want to get a thinkpad (T430/T530 is what I recommend), get the extended battery.
Answer by avisottda · Feb 28, 2013 at 06:22 AM
I did a little more research and now I am looking at Dell XPS 15 (Hybrid HDD/SSD, Quad Core i7, Nvidia 640M 2GB), Sony Vaio S 15 (SSD, Dual Core i7, Nvidia 640M 2GB), Retina Macbook Pro 15 (SSD, Quad Core i7, Nvidia 650M 1GB), among others. Which one do you think I should get?
As for Lenovo that was mentioned above, I don't think I will get a Lenovo again. I have had three Lenovo Thinkpads for the past 6 years. In fact, I am using a Lenovo T420 right now which was given by my undergrad college (Hybrid HDD/SSD, i5 Dual Core, an Intel graphics card). Although it looks decent on paper, I have never really liked it. It has always been so slow to boot up, it gets super hot, and the fan is really really loud. It barely runs the older version of SimCity. It takes really long to do simple calculations which I never really understood why given its spec. The battery life dropped significantly in a short period of time. I don't really get Lenovo's design language either with its weird red nipple, a separate light for the keyboard, useless ThinkVanage Button, cheap plastic exterior, and a full package of bloatwares from day 1.
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