Author Topic: Looking For Some Objective Opinions  (Read 1239 times)

Offline CK9

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Looking For Some Objective Opinions
« on: September 19, 2012, 11:16:35 PM »
My current laptop has been giving me a s***-ton of fits from day one, and I'm on my last nerve about it.  So, I've been looking around at some that I am considering saving up to buy.  The one that has stood out to me the most is the Acer Aspire AS8951G-9630 because:
 1) the specs look good from what little I know about computer hardware
 2) the only negative reviews I have found on it thus far are complaints about mounting a second harddrive (which really isn't that big of a deal to me)
 3) last I read, Acer is currently one of the most reliable windows-based laptop brands.
 4) I want a laptop that will be able to handle rendering/simulation software (if I get a job in chemical engineering, there will be a lot of simulation software and one in biotech would often require protein structure rendering.  Two degrees and keeping my hopes up still, heh).

If anyone could give me an objective view of things (since many people here are more experienced with this stuff than me) I would appreciate it.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 11:19:37 PM by CK9 »
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Offline Freeza-CII

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« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 04:12:31 AM »
rendering would probably require a heavy vidcard. thats going to be more money.  

Offline CK9

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« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 09:54:08 AM »
I got one of the protein renderers running on my current laptop, it was just VERY slow to respond to image changes. GeForce 240 with 128 megs RAM...I get a lot of people saying they are surprised I can do half the stuff I can on this thing, lol
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Offline Savant_Ace

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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 09:23:05 AM »
If Windoze is not a requirement, as much as I hate to recommend this, you should look into Macs. They have a long history of being superior in the graphics handling field. Most laptops just don't have the video hardware to handle heavy lifting with regards to GPU power. It tends to come at a severe cost to both unit size, weight,  and battery life. Whatever you do end up with, I recommed you get a SATA 6 capable machine with a SSD that is capable of effectively maxing out the 6GB/sec bandwidth. Taking out the HDD as a bottle neck will improve any situation, including the response time of graphics rendering.  

Offline Spikerocks101

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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 01:52:05 PM »
Asus G75WV, very nice laptop, probably 10 times more then you need XD
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Offline CK9

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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2012, 11:34:49 AM »
Okay, from spike's recommendation I found this one:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/Se...5975&CatId=4935

Everything I'm reading on it looks good, but does anyone who knows more about this than me see any major hardware conflicts that could have really bad results?

BTW, please don't suggest a mac ever again :P  I want a single laptop for everything, not one that can do one thing well and then another to do everything else :P
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Offline Hooman

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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2012, 10:58:47 PM »
Curious: Are you interested in the Blu-Ray feature, or was that just something those models had? I've noticed a lot of computers don't even have optical drives anymore. I suppose it makes sense though with the rise of high speed internet, flash drives, and portable hard drives with many times the capacity of an optical disc. It's been a long time since I've really used any optical disks. Maybe occasionally for movie watching, but even that seems to be getting rare.


As for advice on what computer to buy, I'm somewhat doubtful about any advice I can give. I've bought a total of 1 computer in my lifetime, from a second hard store. I bought it more for the price than the specs. Mind you, the specs were quite a bit better than my previous computer which was probably about a decade old. I also haven't been keeping up with much lately, other than perhaps hard drives.


I do have an Acer laptop. It's probably better than my desktop, and I've been reasonably happy with it. I don't much like using laptops though, so I hardly ever use it.  I much prefer the mouse/keyboard/monitor setup of a desktop, and I worry less about leaving a desktop running all day. The laptop is the only computer I have that can handle "newer" games (like say Warcraft III, or Star Wars Battlefront). The one major downside was terrible battery life. I can maybe get about 1 hour out of it, depending on what I'm doing. I've tried switching modes between performance, balanced, and power saver, but I'm still unlikely to get 2 hours out of it. Not too big of a deal though, since I rarely ever use a laptop away from a power source.

I also have an old Dell laptop where the optical drive can be removed and a second batter pack can be plugged in. I've managed to get that thing to run for probably about 12+ hours on battery once. I was programming at the time though, so that was basically just word processing. Plus, it had a hotkey to turn the screen off if I needed to step away for a couple minutes or do some extended thinking. You'd be surprised how much such a simple feature can stretch your battery life.


In the absence of intense computational need, I would generally recommend something cheap. I find most computers out there today are pretty adequate for most uses. If you're heavy into gaming, or doing scientific computation, you may need to spend a little more though. I'm not sure how intensive those models you mentioned are. Do you know if they are multithreaded? If the models you need to run are multithreaded, having extra cores can really help. If they're not multithreaded, than all you can do is find a faster CPU. Unless the models can run the computation on a graphics card, then you're often best to get a good GPU. The parallel processing powers of a good GPU can apparently outperform some multicore CPUs, provided you believe some of the stuff I've read. I don't have any experience with GPU processing for scientific needs though, so I can't really say personally. I do often see lots of reference to this sort of thing though, so it might be worth looking into. You'd have to check with the models you want to run though to see what can be done with them.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 10:59:48 PM by Hooman »

Offline Spikerocks101

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« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 10:10:24 AM »
Just to be clear, I think the Asus laptop I showed you is just retarded (powerful, but expensive). I don't know alot about what is good and bad for graphic design (A, I don't do graphic design often, B, when I do, I use paint :P). Asus did release a bunch of older models at are pretty nice: G73JH, G73SW, G74SX, ect. Here is a $700 G73SW (Ebay link) but I'm sure you can find cheaper using sites like Ebay, Shopbot, and basic google. Anyways, here you goes.
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Offline CK9

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« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 11:29:16 PM »
I'm not doing graphic design, I will be needing something with enough umph to be able to run protein rendering software (it shows a 3D molecular model of the protein based on specific input codes that identify the protein structre in order to visualize the points of activity and see the impact of mutations) or process simulation software (software that creates an interactive 3D model of a chemical processing system in order to run worste case scenario simulations).

After looking more into the hardware (and asking the IT guys at work a few questions) I think the TS will be great for my intentions (and maybe a few games too :P)

Hooman, in general I agree with you.  Getting a cheaper machine for general use is usually the better way to go.  However, my experience with general purpose laptops thus far (Dell Insperon 1000 and the hp pavillion dv6000 I am typing on right now) has shown me that my needs exceed what these machines can provide.  Jmol, while able to run (slowly) on my computer, takes up a lot of graphical resources.
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