I was just curious how many of you use a laptop as your main graphic design computer? I've always used a desktop for my high performance computer (easier to upgrade, add storage etc.) Currently I just have an Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4600+ with 3GB of RAM. I plan on buying a new computer in the near future and just started looking at the high performance laptops that are coming out (HPs mainly), and was looking to get some inside reviews on laptop vs desktop for Photoshop and video program use.
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Among the laptop limitations.
1. Single disk drive in most cases that must be shared with the OS. Some laptops can use two internal drives or can connect via eSATA to an external drive. USB drives are not high performance.
2. Poor graphics card support and small screen. A large external monitor is probably needed.
3. Inability to upgrade, higher cost and lack of flexibility vs tower.Recommends: Kiva.org - Loans that change lives.
Like edDV says, they're a compromise.
Biggest problem for "serious" PS & graphics work is the screens: just about every laptop now comes with a high-gloss screen, the gloss causes reflections and can affect color accuracy (which is already way off on cheap LCD displays to begin with). Ten years ago most laptops had surprisingly good quality matte screens, today matte screens are a lost art on laptops (the few I've seen on some lines, like midrange Lenovo ThinkPad, are atrociously poor even for word processing- forget graphics). The choice seems to be spend $3000 for an ultra-laptop with a decent matte screen, or less for a shiny screen.
Second biggest problem is the drives. edDV covered the HDD issue, I'll just add that if you work regularly with DVD or BD media laptops are a pain. Laptop burners are not durable, often very slow, and often burn faulty or incompatible discs (I found that one out the hard way, after burning two dozen discs for a project using a new laptop). External USB2 burners are now mostly flimsy crap, older models were sturdier but newer laptops often don't recognized the older, larger USB2 burners due to firmware/BIOS conflicts. FireWire/IEEE1394 external burners and HDDs are hard to find, and laptops with FireWire equally scarce (aside from MacBook Pros). Its possible to add FireWire to a Windows laptop via ExpressCards, but card slots are yet another fast-disappearing laptop feature. We're at a weird stage now where new laptops tops are more powerful than ever, closer to being desktop replacements than ever, but all the features that allowed them to be customized have been stripped. Basically you get a blazing CPU attached to a mediocre screen with USB2 and HDMI your only connections to other gear (eSATA, USB3 and the Intel/Apple ThunderBolt MiniPort are less common and not terribly useful yet).
The HP laptops you mentioned can be very hit-or-miss: seemingly-identical models can show huge differences in durability and usability. HPs are designed to be discounted, so never pay full price unless you're buying one of their "HP Direct" ThinkPad knockoffs.
Last edited by orsetto; 30th Apr 2012 at 13:02.