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 Post subject: Laptop under £400 ?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 12:42 pm 
I'm starting a photography course next month where we'll be using CS5 Extended edition. As I'm clueless about laptops at this stage, I was wondering if there were any fairly decent ones out there for under £400 that would be suitable?

As I'll be away from home I'll only be using it for photo editing, e-mails and watching movies on. Nothing major!!

Can any kind folk please help :D

Thanks
Aimy


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:48 pm 
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Location: UK
Laptops are an area where there is simply "too much choice".

Some quick general considerations within that general budget:
* make sure it has adequate ram, as that will impact performance particularly if you're working on bigger files. In that budget it shouldn't be a problem to have 3GB or 4GB, and I'd avoid anything with less.
* The screen is quite personal and important. There are two styles, matt or gloss. Gloss can look nicer, but is prone to reflections. This alone is probably worth getting down to a store to check out. If there is a choice, higher resolution models can be easier to work with in terms of screen estate.
* Processor wise, anything with at least a dual core running say 2GHz+ will do.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:54 pm 
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Hi Aimy,

As you are UK based then PC Pro's laptop reviews may be of interest. As you'll be running CS5 you'll want to avoid anything with a low powered processor (IMHO anything with an "Atom" processor is an absolute no-no) and make sure you get plenty of RAM.

I've had a few Thinkpads in my time, though none were used for photo-editing, and I've been pleased with them. With that in mind I note that PC Pro gives the X100e a generally positive review but I'm not sure that having a "single-core 1.6GHz Neo processor" is going to be quite up to the job. However, if you check out the Lenovo Offers website then, as I write, they are offering the X100e with a dual core processor for £414 including VAT - hopefully this link will get you to the right page. This still isn't the fastest machine on the planet but for the price it seems to have a pretty reasonable screen compared to some of the opposition at that price point and might do providing you don't expect miracles. If you are tempted by this machine then an extra £25 buys you 3GB of memory (default is 2GB) and an extra £12.38 ups the HDD from a lowly 160GB to a more reasonable 320GB.

If you shop around you might find the same machine for a similar price but you'd need to be very careful about what upgrades, if any, have been specified. For example, the single core CPU version is a lot cheaper but it will run CS5 a lot slower as CS5 is one of those programs which will actually use all the cores (and memory) you can throw at it.

I'm sure you'll have other suggestions but I'm very concious that at your budget there's a significant danger of either compromising the screen quality to get the processor speed or vice versa. I've not used the X100e (in either version) so if you do think it's a posiblle solution for you I'd still urge you to do some more research on the Net and try and find some reviews, particularly group reviews of laptops at that price point. Another possibility might be the ThinkPad SL510 with discrete graphics - it has a larger screen but I get a sense from a quick scan of the reviews that the image quality isn't quite so good as the X100e. But it does have a faster processor, you can opt for a 64 bit version of Windows 7 at no extra cost and that would allow you to fully use an expansion to 4GB of memory (only £33) and an upgrade to a 320GB hard disk drive only adds another £6 to the bill. Certainly worth another search for some reviews, I think. 8)

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


Last edited by Bob Andersson on Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:07 pm 
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Ooh, the X100e looks like something for me :) I've been debating getting something to replace the ubiquitous 15-ish inch bigger laptop and my netbook. But in the original question, there's a tradeoff for size, spec and portability here. Generally there will be a premium cost for smaller size.

The laptops I was thinking about are the 15-ish inch models that everyone does which sit in the value spot. For example, a quick trip to Ebuyer lists as many as you can be bothered to go through. They in general will give you most performance for the cost, although you don't find something too compact to carry around a lot there.

_________________
Canon DSLRs: 7D, 5D2, 1D, 600D, 450D full spectrum, 300D IR mod
Lenses: EF 35/2, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 135/2+SF, 28-80 V, 70-300L, 100-400L, TS-E 24/3.5L, MP-E 65, EF-S 15-85 IS
3rd party: Zeiss 2/50 makro, Samyang 8mm fisheye, Sigma 150 macro, 120-300 f/2.8 OS, Celestron 1325/13
Tinies: Sony HX9V.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:09 pm 
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Hi popo,

I just updated my post to include a 15-incher while you were composing your post above.

Bob.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:54 am 
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Location: Hanoi, Vietnam
I just recommended a computer to my sister who lives in Oz. I live in Korea, but we can both get the following for under 400 quid. Mine is a Dell N3010 and it runs CS3:

Monitor: 13.3 - 15.6" (depends how portable you want)
processor: Intel i3 avoid ones with "U" in the name (slow but efficient)
Memory: 2GB (1x2GB chip)
HDD: 250/320GB
Graphics: Intel HD (integrated) is fine
OS: Windows 7 home premium
Integrated webcam
optical drive: I don't need/have one. Do you?

I run CS3 with 2GB, but you'd probably need more really. An extra 1 or 2GB from www.crucial.com (click on the UK website) is inexpensive and easy to plug in.

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Panasonic G3: 9-18mm, 14mm, 20mm, 45mm


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 11:12 am 
After chatting with many people, I've realised that I will have to pay more so that it can cope well with the CS5 Extended edition.

I've found an Acer Aspire 5742, which has Intel Core 5.... 2.55 GHz... 4GB RAM and 500GB - £549...... Any good!!

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/acer-aspi ... 5-pdt.html


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:14 pm 
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Hi Aimy,

You might want to consider editing the thread title (edit your first post) if the budget has been increased.

I can't really comment on the Acer but on the face of it the price looks good. And it would look even better if you visited our affiliates page and clicked on the Amazon UK link and then searched for B0045UBCU8 (copy and paste it into the Amazon search bar). So far as I can see it's the identical machine and Amazon ships it for free for a grand total of £509.92. 8)

Bob.

P.S. If you follow the link above you pay the same price but Gordon gets a small commission which helps keep the lights on here at the CameraLabs forum.

P.P.S. No, I'm not on commission!

P.P.P.S Don't forget that VAT goes up on January 1st.

_________________
Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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