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mid-priced (~$1500) laptop options

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    mid-priced (~$1500) laptop options

    I need to get a new laptop to run Revit/Acad 2012 while I learn Revit this fall. I typically work at home with a docked laptop displaying Outlook and a larger docked monitor above the laptop displaying everything else. I am relatively sure I want a laptop, not a desktop, so I can take it with me when I need to work elsewhere and/or go on "vacation". I'm currently a self-employed architect (little to no work) so I am trying to keep the cost around $1500 or less. I would like to have Win7 Professional so I can run XP and use some of my older programs for now, like Acad LT, since the Revit version I'll use will be a student version. I have primarily been considering 15" (15.6") sized since I was avoiding the size/weight of 17" units although I could reconsider that possibility (also won't fit under my upper/main monitor as well).

    Here are the main options I am considering and current prices/configurations. Any input / opinions are very appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    1. Lenovo ThinkPad W520, $1319 thru Lenovo
    i7-2720QM, 2.2Ghz, 6Mb cache CPU
    4Mb RAM at 1333Mhz in 1 DIMM, 4 DIMM total (I would immediately add 2x4Gb for 12 Gb total for ~ $50)
    Quadro 1000M, DDR3, says 2 Gb, or is it really only 1Gb? (Quadro 2000M is + $250, still DDR3)
    500 Gb @ 7200 rpm hard drive
    Win7 Professional (64 bit)
    1600 x 900 anti-glare display (I think this is a good in-between resolution for email)
    basic DVD reader/writer
    Note 1: I'm on my second ThinkPad and have been very happy with them, build-quality and keyboard especially.
    Note 2: The Quadro 1000M is not on Autodesk's 'certified' GPU list; does this mean no Autodesk drivers?

    2. Lenovo IdeaPad Y570, +/- $1000 depending on exact config.
    i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz), 6Mb cache
    8MB RAM (2 DIMM total), this is the max RAM on the unit
    GeForce GT 555M, 1 Gb (DDR3/GDDR5)
    500 GB @ 7200 rpm hard drive
    Win7 Home Premium
    1366 x 768 display, probably glossy (ick)
    (another configuration includes a 64Gb SSD and BluRay for $1100)

    3. HP Pavilion dv6-6190us, $899 at Costco
    i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz), 6Mb cache
    8MB RAM (2 DIMM), expandable to 16MB but only via 8Gb per DIMM = $$$)
    Radeon HD 6490, 1 Gb, (GDDR5)
    750 GB @ 7200 rpm hard drive
    Win7 Home Premium
    1366 x 768 display
    comes with BluRay player

    4. HP Pavilion dv6-6153cl, $849 at Costco
    same as above except:
    RadeonHD 6770M, 1 Gb, (GDDR5)
    750 GB at 5400 HD
    DVD only, no BluRay (I never watch movies on the computer anyway)
    (this seems to have a better graphics card but less on the other two changes)

    5. Dell. I haven't included any Dells here. The XPS series GPUs don't look that great and the Precision Mxxxx series seem expensive for what you get compared to the Lenovo W520 (and I'm already biased a bit toward the ThinkPads).

    Hi Antelope, welcome to the forums!

    Out of those you listed, my first choice would be the ThinkPad W520 + the Quadro 2000M upgrade... the 1000M might be a little weak. I like the better display as well - the extra resolution will come in handy when on the road (1366x768 is kind of small these days... even for Outlook). That CPU is about as low as I'd be willing to go on a new Revit computer.

    Unless you're working on projects much larger than residential/TI/small office kind of stuff, 8 GB will be sufficient for at least the next couple years. I wouldn't recommend an SSD under 120GB for a Revit laptop (and if you did get an SSD, you'll need some sort of external drive storage). GF GT550M and Radeon HD 6770M should be fine - the other two are a little on the weak side.

    Hope that helps.



      Iiru - Many thanks for your comments including the extra details I didn't ask about. That sort of confirms what I was thinking. And thank you for the welcome - I expect to be in here a lot more as I learn Revit!


        I ordered the W520 today with the Quadro 2000M card. After a 2x2 Wifi antennae upgrade and 3-year on-site warranty upgrade that was half-price the final damage was $1666 (I wonder if that is a sign of something to come . . . ). Still need to add more RAM to the 4Gb I ordered it with but doing it myself will be cheaper than Lenovo; should be about $50 to add 8Gb.

        The CPU is 2.2 GHz but maxes at 3.3 Ghz so I'm hoping that will help the performance in normal views (my understanding is that typically runs in single-core which is then more likely to run in turbo mode).

        I did some last minute paralysis by analysis on going to a 17" laptop or even going to a desktop. I decided a desktop was too limiting for me since I need to be able to keep my one-man show going when I'm "on vacation" a few weeks a year. I didn't find the 17" laptop units in that price range any more compelling than the W520 (no W7xx's currently being made).

        I'll try to report back later on the performance.
        Last edited by antelope; September 13, 2011, 07:28 AM.


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