IMO, I would probably advise getting a desktop. I made a mistake of buying a powerful laptop (i7, 16" screen) but ended up using my desktop at home for virtually all my work, or the studio computers. There was really no need for me bringing in my laptop from home and using it, since it wasn't needed in tutorials or lectures etc.
13 inch you will require an external screen to do cad / photoshop etc unless you want to have severe eyestrain. 13 inches is hardly any screen estate when you factor in the space consumed by menus, etc. i wouldn't dream of working on anything less than 17 inch screen for standalone cad / graphics on a laptop.
You could always zoom in and reduce or remove menus in CAD and Photoshop which will probably make 13" just about ok. You will probably want a larger screen at home or in your studio room so either use the 17" laptop you already have or a desktop. Desktop's are good if you live at home if in uni halls, etc then your 17" laptop is handy as you can leave it there and its quite easy to move out at end of year and won't take up much space. A larger screen where you live would be handy as it means you will probably be able to pick up bleamishes/problems easier without having to print it out first. To be honest you need to have a fair amount of spare time in tutorials, communting on trains or even at work (if you have a quite number) to make it worthwhile but if your stcuk in tutorials all day while the tutor just prattles on about other students work which you have seen enough of then you could make a fair amount of headway using a laptop there if tutor is ok with it. Actually looking into a 13" a bit myself as I fall into the quiet can use on the job/commuting section (currently have an old 15" laptop and a cheap year old Dell desktop) but will wait to see how much drawing or laptop there will be in first year of course I may of may not do as it varies. I would personally look at Sony for a 13" laptop, they do quite a few and the spec is good, price varies depending on spec, don't think Dell do any 13" laptops, its what I'm looking at anyway.
My only problem with that, is I need to take it too and from university. It's not always possible to get a PC with the software I require on it, so I need to use my laptop. If it wasn't for that, I'd definitely opt for a desktop.
Aye, see my 17" one at the minute is great, however I've faced the same problem with it as my last laptop. Long periods of work lead to overheating, which further lead to a broken hard drive. After looking into it, I now look to get a laptop with a SSD (Solid State Drive). The problem with them, is the fact you only really get them in Ultrabooks at the minute, which are 11" or 13", unless you're a millionaire. The new MacBook Air, although still expensive, appears to have the capability to run the software I require, with less chance of overheating.
Yeah, that was my thought. The menu's are fairly simple to fidget about with, so it's possible. I still hopefully will have my 17" one, if I can get it fixed, up and running for home use.
The 13" would be a lot more portable, especially looking into ultrabooks. They're a lot more powerful than I had expected, although if you're looking for one with an SSD (Solid State Drive) you'll need a portable hard drive to save your files. As they are only really around the 128GB mark, as opposed to general 500GB laptops.
The new MacBook Air, although still expensive, appears to have the capability to run the software I require, with less chance of overheating.
I'd stick to PC I think for software - SketchUp and Layout runs like a DOG on macs vs. PCs, largely due to apple installing many year old components / outdated graphics cards in their machines to max out their profit margins.
macs really don't play well with SketchUp, you are forever watching the spinning ball in anything with any complexity. For Revit you will be in Bootcamp or virtual partition, in which case you will be consuming resources. Bear in mind 3DS is PC only also and you really don't want to run that virtually. If you're going to be booting up into Bootcamp half the time, you might as well go totally PC. I've got macs and we use them in our office but I and my colleagues know full well if we were starting a practice then we wouldn't buy apple computers.
I agree, macs are a poor choice for architecture and therr overpriced for what they are. Sure they've released updated versions recently but there expensive and still have issues when comparing to pc spec particularly price wise. Also, as jrhartley says they have problems running some CAD programs, just looked up Rhino and you need to run that in bootcamp for the mac, there developing a version for the mac but they don't tend to be quick on the development stuff so it could well be a long time or most probably never. Worth noting that the new Rhino version 5 looks like it may come out soon and from what i've seen on their website it looks much better on the user interface, more sketchup like push pull functionality. On my 5 yr old laptop pc sketchup started to work slowly (even with shadows off) once the building started to get a bit complex, it was a real pain, but old components by then so not the fault of going pc but it more like you get in macs, outdated components. Rhino still works well on it though even with more complex stuff, it won't take any Autocad stuff though, too old for that. Yeah, I would go with a PC laptop for sure if only for range of software that's easily available/assessible. You say you are looking at Ultrabooks, are you going to get an external dvd drive for that rather than a built in one that some 13" laptops come with?
New plan as opposed to the Ultrabook, however I need to get a bit of feedback first. I've recently looked into custom made laptops from www.pcspecialist.co.uk. They appear to have plenty of good reviews, and seem legit. What are your opinions on them?
The price is unreal, there has to be a flaw somewhere.
I'm looking at £700 laptops, which have better spec than £800-1000 laptops from shops such as PC World... I just can't see how this is possible, without them cutting corners somewhere...
Although, I suppose with the others........I'm paying the extra for the brand?
(Original post by SandyN)
Although, I suppose with the others........I'm paying the extra for the brand?
What you're not paying is the 15-20% profit and overhead of shops that PC World need to factor into their retail prices would be my guess. I'd never buy a laptop from a retailer like PC World when you can spec directly from the manufacturer.
Looks quite decent spec, maybe consider uping the Ghz of the processor to 2.6 if you have the money for longevity. Not sure about the graphics card, is one integrated and the other one you've gone for dedicated as it seems you get more GB on the integrated one i.e 1.7 and as you probably know you tend not to be able to upgrade graphics cards in laptops easily once in place. I think Autocad stuff may specify professional edition for Windows, not sure on this, but I don't see why you can't use home edition. Think the 14" one could also be worth looking at.
(Original post by yeahyeahyeahs)
I suggest going for 13inch or 15 inch, then getting a bigger monitor separately to link it up.
you cannot work on 13 inch alone! its too small, i mean what would you do if your plan was A0 in size and you had section drawings 3 meters long?!
Thanks. Opted for the 15" as 13" was definitely going to be too small after having a quick trip to PC World. Ended up going for a PC Specialist laptop, so it should be here in around a week. There is an old PC in the house, with a large monitor, so if needs be I can link the laptop to that.
As for what I'd do in that situation? Panic, and possibly have a break down.
i bought one from pc specialist and it's amazing, 15inches, i7, gt 555m, 4gb ram and cost about £500, so i highly advise buying there, i haven't start my architecture course yet (sep) but do use photoshop cs5 fairly extensively for digital art (brushes tons of layers etc) and it works fine, great screen too
Although the second one comes with one extra year warranty and beats headphones..so really not sure. Does anyone know whether the second one would be sufficient for an architecture course (screen size is 14" plus its only i5 and 4gb) ?
IMO this screen is not big enough. For autocad / revit / 3DS you need a bigger screen. As I said in a similar post you may find that one screen is not enough either so with an additional screen of bigger than 20 inch you should be fine and you can pick up fairly cheaply. You will realise this once you start having to use these programs and most people I know use at least 2 screens one being bigger than 22". You could probably make do with this laptop for first year though, just bear it in mind