Originally posted by: svb3d
i'm looking at buying a laptop that i can use as a extra portable workstation for 3dsmax.
(nice to leave the house once a while)
is there anything that will do the job?
To give you the honest and unvarnished truth, laptops stink at doing intensive work, especially graphically intensive work. They have smaller screens, less and slower RAM, slower CPUs, much weaker GPUs, and smaller hard drives. You're better off just using a desktop for that kind of work. I know- I've been there and done that.
But if you insist on having a mobile workstation, get one of the most powerful 17" or 19" laptops that you can lay your hands on. It will be huge, heavy, and have a short battery life, but it should at least be basically usable for you. If you want a professional-class machine with real support, I suggest something like the Dell Precision M90. Decently equipped to run 3dsmax, it will be the better part of $3000, though, which is really a bit much if you ask me. That's why I'd suggest something more like HP's dv9000z. Configure it with the following:
1. CPU: AMD Turion 64 X2 TL-62 (2.2 GHz, 2x512KB L2)
2. OS: Windows Vista Business would be the best of of the choices offered. If you can, put XP on this instead.
3. Screen: 17.0" 1680x1050 WUXGA+
4. Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 7600 Go 256MB
5. Memory: 2GB DDR2 SODIMMs.
6. Hard drive: Your choice here, although I'd suggest a 7200 rpm unit over a 5400 rpm one.
7. Optical: Basic CD-DVD+/-R/RW will work. Stay away from Blu-Ray or HD-DVD for now.
8. Networking: Standard 802.11b/g will work unless you either have Bluetooth mice or an old 802.11s access point hanging around, then go for the option that suits you best.
9. TV tuner: pass as this is a work machine, not an entertainment one.
10. Battery: Extra capacity 8-cell Li-Ion
11. Productivity software: skip this unless you need it on this machine.
12. Security software: generally skip this as well and go with something free like like AVG or AntiVir.
13. OS and recovery media: spend the $20 and get your actual OS install disk. You'll thank me later.
14. Back up software: just do your own backups and save the $50.
15. Extended service plans: I generally skip these as things generally break shortly after your term expires. Murphy at work
That should bring your total to about $1700, which is not all that bad. The machine should run 3dsmax pretty well as the CPU is the performance equivalent to the desktop X2 4200+, which is a reasonably powerful CPU. If you need 4GB RAM, then you'll have to go with the Dell M90, which will cost you about a grand more than the HP will.