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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 05 May 2011 (Thursday) 12:29
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Help Picking A Laptop!

72 posts
Joined Sep 2006
May 05, 2011 12:29 |  #1

So I believe I am in the market for a new laptop as my HP TX1220 while still useful is starting to feel a bit archaic. I *think* I've got my choices narrowed down to 3 different laptops and want to hear people thoughts.

#1 Lenovo X201
Price: ~$900 lightly used from a local dealer
Intel Core i5 Dual Core running at 2.67 GHz
4GB DDR3 Ram @ 667 MHz
Hitachi 320GB Hard Drive (7200RPM / 16MB Cache)
Fingerprint Reader
12.1" WXGA Display
Spill Resistant Keyboard
HD Audio
Docking station DVDRW/CDRW Optical Drive (in the docking station)
Cheapest of the group by a large margin
Great battery life
Can pick up today ( Have a trip coming up at the end of the month that I would like to take my "new" laptop on"
Includes Docking station with DVDRW drive
I5 instead of I7 (and I think this is probably not a Sandy Bridge Chipset)
4GB of Ram (Can upgrade to 8 for ~$100 or so)
Not a Tablet
No IPS panel

#2 Lenovo X220t (Tablet)
Price: ~$1700 with student discount (~$1300 without upgraded RAM and SSD)
Intel Core i7-2620M Processor (2.7GHz, 4MB L3)
8 GB PC3-10600 DDR3 SDRAM 1333MHz SODIMM Memory (2 DIMM)
Camera, HD 720p
Intel 160 GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA
Bluetooth 3.0
I7 System (Sandy Bridge)
8GB Ram
Great battery life
I believe it is an IPS panel
3-4 week delivery time (Would definitly not be able to go on the trip with me)
Does not include docking station
No Optical Drive at all

#3 MacBook Pro 13-inch
Price: $1579 with student discount
2.7GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7
8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
Quick delivery (1-4 days, perhaps sooner if I pick one up from the Apple store locally)
I've never owned a Mac before

Main uses for the laptop will include:
-General graduate school school work (word Processing, excell, etc.)
-Lightroom V3.0 & Photoshop CS5 (Bulk processing as my wife coaches volleyball teams and I take pictures for the parents and her)
-Internet surfing
-VERY light gaming (mostly limited to interent style flash games that my wife might play), I mostly stick to consoles
-Battery life is important as I will use this whenever I travel (and we are fairly frequent travelers)
-I also would like some longevity as I generally try to keep computers and laptops for 3-4 years (if not more)

Photography Gear/Info:
- Canon 40D
- 70-200 2.8f
- 55-85mm (I think this is the right lengths)
- 50mm 1.8
I shoot alot of personal family stuff, urban/landmarks while traveling, and sports

1. Coming from the HP TX1220 tablet, I'm assuming that I will notice a significant performance increase with any of these units, but is there enough of a difference between these units to justify the higher costs of the 220t or MBP over the X201?
2. Will a SSD in the X220t provide a noticeable increase in performance with regard to photoshop and lightroom? (If not removing this option will knock ~$300 off of the price of the tablet)
3. Will I need to upgrade the RAM in the X201 and how will it effect LR & PS? And subsequently if I do not, is 4 gb of ram enough for the X220T or MPB? If I can scale back the RAM on the 220 it will knock off another ~$100, and on the MBP its a $180 savings
4. Any advice on investigating using a Mac for the first time?
5. I've never used the tablet function for photo editing on the tablet (it seemed too slow), is this an advantage for the 220 or just a novelty? (Note I do us my current tablet for taking notes in class, but I can either go back to typing them or pad and paper).

I know this was a small novel, but I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts or opinions.

Gripped Canon 7D with a 70-200mm f/2.8, nifty fifty & a 18-55mm IS, what should I buy next?
My Smugmug (external link)

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2,554 posts
Likes: 5
Joined May 2007
Location: Sydney Australia
May 07, 2011 05:24 |  #2

i dont think you can beat the Mac book pros they leave windows for dead IMO

1D MK111 , 5D Classic,24-70F2.8, 16-35F2.8, 70-200F2.8 IS a 430EXII 2x 580EXII and a Mac...:cool:
http://s229.photobucke​​eey/ (external link)

72 posts
Joined Sep 2006
May 07, 2011 10:43 |  #3

Another item I forgot to include is that for the price of the X220 or MBP I can essentially buy the X201 AND build a decent desktop rig too (which I also need to update at some point).

Anybody have any thoughts on my specific questions? I don't really want this to turn into an Apple/Windows debate....

Gripped Canon 7D with a 70-200mm f/2.8, nifty fifty & a 18-55mm IS, what should I buy next?
My Smugmug (external link)

Senior Member
768 posts
Joined Sep 2010
Location: Alabama
May 07, 2011 18:10 |  #4

Yeah just remember that even though a PC may have the same or slightly better specs, OS X is still the leanest mainstream OS on the market. I have had no problem with my 2009 MB pro running anything besides the most daunting video rendering. The newest model you described is leaps and bounds faster than what I have. Macs just last. No questions about the quality, they are just solid machines.

For me, the tablet machines are gimmicks. Yes a Desktop could be added to the mix, but in reality you will not want to chose what to use. One fast laptop that has the specs of the mb pro you described will be all you need.

Senior Member
461 posts
Likes: 8
Joined Feb 2009
May 07, 2011 19:46 |  #5

Go with the MBP.

Canon born and raised, future Sony-convert?
Managing Editor in a village in the middle of nowhere.

1,191 posts
Gallery: 3 photos
Likes: 21
Joined Sep 2010
Location: The Colony-- texas
May 12, 2011 20:00 |  #6

Ok this may sound like a silly question, but..
if you are currently not running a mac and you are now using CS5 and lightroom. Do you have to rebuy those since you are switching from a PC to a Mac? Or do you just go to and re download them for your current Operating system?

---------------Camera, Lens, Flash stuff.. but still wanting more

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Help Picking A Laptop!
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