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Laptop for Photoshop, Animation/design, Programming, and streaming videos/shows?

aonoshonenaonoshonen Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
edited April 2013 in College Computers
Recently, I've been considering getting a new computer for college, and my classes in the future will probably use a good bit of:

-Animation/graphics (Maya Autodesk, InDesign, Photoshop, probably other software I'm not aware of)
-Programming (not sure if this matters as much but it'll be mainly C++, Python, Java, and I'm taking at least one class on Unix/Linux)
-and I suspect I'll be running game software or game engines to like Unity or something (clueless on this one)

This list isn't exhaustive since I don't know what other softwares my class will use, but my ultimate goal is web design and development, animation, and game design and development. Lastly, I want to take online courses at Coursera and watching a lot of videos in my spare time and such so I want good video/show quality in my laptop.

What technical specifications should I look for in particular? (<- #1 question and concern)
Any laptops you would recommend? I'd get a desktop but I'm on the go alot.

Budget ideally <=$500
Post edited by aonoshonen on

Replies to: Laptop for Photoshop, Animation/design, Programming, and streaming videos/shows?

  • psydentpsydent Registered User Posts: 307 Member
    That's the general area I'm in. You should be concerned with the things that will be 3d, i.e. Maya, Unity, gaming. If you're getting a laptop as a long-term investment (like to use for 4 years of college) you'll need to increase your budget. Otherwise this is a good place to start: Laptops (Dell laptops on Costco). Other sites like Newegg are good too.

    Spec wise, you're going to want at least:
    - A current generation i5 processor (I don't know the AMD equivalent). i7 can be better but can use more battery.
    - 4 GB of ram minimum. Unity can eat it up when working with lots of assets or large scenes. More ram is better!
    - "Intel HD Graphics 4000 512 MB graphics" or better. copied from my system :)
    - At least 250 GB of HD. I don't think you could find anything smaller these days anyways.
    - Get whatever screen size you want, just make sure it has a good resolution and looks sharp (to your taste).
  • aonoshonenaonoshonen Registered User Posts: 48 Junior Member
    Hmm, so I have three more years of school left, and I want my laptop to last those three years at least. I figure after I get a job, I'll be able to buy a better, legit high-end laptop.

    Would my budget be enough for a laptop of that quality and for that laptop to last 3.2 years +?

    EDIT: Oh, and are there any other forums you would recommend I look on/ask on?
  • psydentpsydent Registered User Posts: 307 Member
    Makes sense. Watch out for it dying because then you'll be screwed unless you have it covered. Something people can do is add the laptop onto some home insurance policies for ~$30/year. Look into it.

    You get what you pay for. If you can increase your budget to $600 then you'll be in a better position.

    There's tons of other places, NotebookForums.com - notebook and laptop forums and reviews was good. Google for more.
  • HalogenHalogen Registered User Posts: 1,199 Senior Member
    You should plan on dual-booting Windows and a Linux distro. Lots of 3D and gaming software only runs on Windows, whereas Linux's Unix environment for programming is far superior to that of Windows and the vast majority of educational materials for programming assume you're using a Unix shell. With that in mind, some considerations:

    Dual hard drives, or maybe an SSD and a hard drive, are a major asset. At least get a pretty big hard drive, like 320 GB+.

    Integrated graphics, e.g. Intel HD Graphics, will hold you back in games unless you don't mind getting 10 fps. Get a laptop with a GeForce card. The reason I recommend GeForce over Radeon is because I've generally known Nvidia to put more effort into their Linux drivers and AMD cards have caused me a lot of grief when I tried to run various software on Linux.
This discussion has been closed.