Originally Posted by 04LTtacoma
I don't want something cheap though. I need a long lasting durable computer. I plan on using it to edit videos and download CAD software.
I've been in the computer business since before I graduated college. Not that it was that long ago, but I'm no novice.
Just because it is an expensive computer, doesn't mean that it is going to last. Just because it is inexpensive doesn't mean that it will be crap.
Are you most familiar with Windows or Mac? I have always been a PC guy, so I am a little biased against Macintosh. However, the line separating them is getting narrower and narrower by the minute. Whichever you are more comfortable with is the way you should go.
Based on the link you posted, I assume that you are looking to get a PC. I highly recommend this route, as MOST businesses use Windows. It is also a lot less expensive to have a PC repaired in the event that you need something done.
If you are going to be doing any CAD, video editing, or even some gaming, you want to pay attention to the video card. Many laptops do not have a dedicated video card, or even dedicated video memory for that matter. When it comes to graphics, you want to have at least dedicated memory if not a dedicated video card. Trust me on that one.
Next, the more memory the better. Get as much memory as you can afford. However, this is the most easily changeable part on the laptop, so as long as your computer supports more memory than you have, you can always upgrade in the future for very little money. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy a computer with less memory and then swap it out from the get go.
Processor is important, but it's not the end-all-be-all. It can be upgraded, but it's difficult and not recommended. Most motherboards are designed for a specific processor. Check your curriculum at school. Honestly, any dual core processor (and many of the latest single core) *should* be able to run whatever software you will need. However, sometimes you get into the cutting edge stuff (especially at accredited universities) where you just need to fork out the extra money to get the higher end processor. You will be happy you did in the long run.
If it comes down to awesome processor/little memory or decent processor/max memory, get the better processor. Memory (RAM) is easy to swap. (newegg
is your friend
Hard drive space to me is a joke. A TB of HDD space is absolutely unnecessary unless you plan to store a ton of HD movies on there. 500GB is still a LOT of hard drive space. A lot of people don't realize what a drain on the battery a hard drive can be. If battery life is less important, get a 7200RPM drive. You WILL notice the speed difference. Otherwise, 5400RPM is the standard speed. It's not bad, it just isn't as fast (but also doesn't drain the battery as much).
Get an external hard drive for storing information. I can't tell you how many times people would leave the store crying (mostly girls, but some guys too
) that they lost ALL of their data. Movies, music, school projects....EVERYTHING. Keep a backup of everything important.
Battery can be important. If you can get a 9-cell for a few bucks more than a 6, get it. You will be happy.
With all that being said, I tend to stay away from tigerdirect, newegg, frys, etc. for purchase of a new computer. They are awesome for parts, but not for the whole system. Also, stay away from Walmart, Sam's, Target or anywhere else that isn't specifically a computer/electronic store. Stay away from discount stores too. As much as I hate Best Buy, you can get some really good deals on quality computers. I honestly recommend buying direct from the manufacturer. I have had really good luck with Dell
and HP. I know there are horror stories out there, but I've had my HP Pavilion dv8000 since February of 2005. I upgraded the RAM on it and it is just as fast if not faster than most of my friends with brand new systems. I recently got my wife a Dell from BB, and we couldn't be happier with it (or the deal i got on it
i know this is getting long winded, but you asked. So I'll try to sum it up:
get a dedicated video card
get a good processor, but don't break the bank and do check your curriculum
RAM is important, get as much as you can afford
hard drive size is not important, but RPM is
get an external drive and backup everything important
more cells is better when it comes to battery life
let me know if you have any questions, or want my opinion on a specific setup.