Need advice on shopping for a new notebook

Started Jan 6, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Bob Mittelman
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Need advice on shopping for a new notebook
Jan 6, 2007

I’ve never had a notebook, but I’m going to Hong Kong and China for several weeks this spring, with my Canon 5D, and also need to conduct some business over the internet while I’m there. I’m not a pro photographer.

My current set up is a desktop running an AMD Athlon 64 3200+, 1 gb of system RAM, a Radeon x600 video card with 256 mb, a 160 gb 7200 rpm 8mb s.ata hard drive, a 17 inch 4/3 aspect LCD monitor, all running under Windows XP Home ed. I mostly shoot landscapes and architecture RAW and edit using either Canon’s DPP or Photoshop Elements 3 and ACR. Unless I have a lot of programs and files running simultaneously, I find this set up to be quite adequate in terms of the speed at which operations are executed and the screen refreshes.

Since I’m not a pro and can’t write the cost of a new computer off, cost is an issue. As I see it now, my dream machine would be the customized MacBook Pro that B&H has for $2,598.50. But that’s really too much to swallow. One other significant consideration is that I plan on carrying the computer (in a backpack) when I’m out and about all day, every day on the China trip, so weight is important. I’d like to keep it to no more than 6.0 lbs. (2.73 kg) with the battery installed. In addition, I anticipate that I could shoot as much as 65 GB when I’m in China and I anticipate taking ~ 40 GB of files and programs, so I think the smallest hard drive I should get is 120 GB.

The main reason I’m having a problem with this is that all the computers I’ve seen for less than $1500 that fit the above specifications use shared memory for video RAM. How likely am I to be dissatisfied with that? What if I get 2 GB of system RAM – how much (if at all) might that help? Given how much I plan to shoot, do you think a 120 GB drive is enough? Do you think I’d be greatly dissatisfied with a 4200 rpm drive, as opposed to one that spins faster? Will a dual core processor make a really noticeable difference?

If you think there are other important considerations that I’m overlooking let me know (e.g., waiting to see what the computer makers offer when Vista hits the shelves on Jan. 30). Btw, does anyone know how much disk space Vista Home Premium will take?

Thanks for your help,
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Bob Mittelman

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