Laptop for Architecture School

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by WaffleMan149, Jun 16, 2020.

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  1. WaffleMan149

    WaffleMan149 Notebook Enthusiast

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    Under 3500

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    United States

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    I currently have a Dell Precision 7510 from July 2016 that I like a lot. I remember having some issues with it in the first few weeks though, so it is important for me to have robust customer service. I am currently considering upgrading to the 7750 or the Alienware 51M R2 (which a friend has and likes a lot, though I have zero experience with Alienware and have heard that their machines are way overpriced). I've also heard that the 51M is going to drop pretty dramatically in price around the end of the month? I'm not binding myself to either of these, but I was advised to check into these two. It needs to be a godzilla computer.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Potentially. Never done it before

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    I am an architecture student, so I will be probably be using this laptop for hardcore 3D modeling and rendering, likely with enormous models. Needs to be a laptop so I can carry it to and from studio when necessary.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes. TBD with the pandemic, but I would like to be able to carry it on a daily basis

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    No, but I will be doing other very intensive activities

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    I am not sure. I will have it plugged in most of the time, but I might need to use it elsewhere on occasion

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    If it's well-reputed, then I'm fine with reviews

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    Probably the best possible for accurate renderings and photoshop jobs

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Probably non-reflective?

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not so much.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    32+, probably 64

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    In the next few weeks. I need it up and running before school starts at the beginning of September

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    4+ years

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    Not at all.

    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    Need the warranty for sure. Need to have this laptop at all times.

    I don't know much about computers, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. These are the minimum specs recommended by school:
    Quadro 2000 or higher video card (Quadro 4000 for best performance)
    3.0ghz processor with at least four cores (speed is more important than # of cores though) (i9 for best performance)
    32GB RAM (64GB for best performance)
    solid state drive

    It's a big investment, so I want to know that this computer will do its job. Thanks so much!
     
  2. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would stay with the Precision and purchase a next-day on-site extended warranty.
     
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  3. WaffleMan149

    WaffleMan149 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the quick reply! My concern with the Precision is that in going with even the Quadro RTX 4000, that already puts the computer way out of my price range, particularly if I add RAM or spec a different hard drive
     
  4. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The nice thing about the Precision is you can add that stuff yourself. You should also consider a refurbished model as they carry the same standard and optional warranty options as new, and you can save quite a lot of money especially if there's a promo code running.
     
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  5. tmarshallg

    tmarshallg Notebook Enthusiast

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    I got a 7740 with 4k display, xeon 2286, rtx4000, 32 gb ecc ram, and 2 - 1 tb nvme ssd from the outlet for less than your budget amount.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
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  6. WaffleMan149

    WaffleMan149 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I've decided that I want to try something different from the Precision. However, I'm not totally sold on the Alienware due to the sheer bulk and might need to carry it to and from classes every day. Can anyone recommend other reliable laptops that would be able to handle intense rendering (like VRay), parametric modeling software like Grasshopper, or very large 3d models (Rhino)? I would like to shoot below $3000, but the most important thing to me is that this could cut it for probably four years or so. My current specs are Intel Xeon CPU E3-1505M x5 @ 2.80 GHz,16 GB RAM, and Quadro 2000, and I could definitely use an upgrade.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  7. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Do not go gaming if you want to move it alot. They are made to move once a week or so. Why not just load up the ram on your current rig? For rendering 3d, batch photos, etc, ram is the most important thing to have lots of. The xps 17 is always an option as well.
     
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  8. WaffleMan149

    WaffleMan149 Notebook Enthusiast

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    I don't really know anything about upgrading, but my understanding is that you can't really upgrade GPUs. My Quadro 2000 can't handle what I need it to
     
  9. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    The Dell Outlet is the place to get a Precision Mobile Workstation for less. Here's our guide to outlet shopping. Be sure to use Dell's Outlet coupons.
    http://www.notebookreview.com/howto/nbr-how-to-outlet-shopping-for-hp-dell-and-lenovo-notebooks/

    An HP ZBook 17 is another choice. There's one in the HP Business Outlet with a Quadro RTX 4000 for $2,679 as I type this.
    Their ordering process is a little archaic (see the guide I linked). You can add an extended warranty when you order.

    P.S. You are correct that notebook GPUs aren't upgradeable. There are fringe models that have modular GPUs but that is mostly for replacing them, not upgrading.

    Charles
     
  10. kojack

    kojack Notebook Virtuoso

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    Don't forget going through rakuten to get some cash back on either dell or Lenovo computers too.
     
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