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#1 Wisart  Icon User is offline

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Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:21 PM

I will be buying a laptop (notebook/ultrabook) and would like your input:

1. Since 1080p laptops seem to be somewhat standard when it comes to real-estate in graphic design:
--> Do you feel like 1080p on 13" is subjectively too small to effectively work on?

2. For those that do their work on laptops:
--> Is 4 hours battery life (productivity, not idle) considered too short?

I am stuck in choices between something portable (13-14") and slim (and more expensive) with a longer battery life (5-6 hours productivity) ; or more powerful (quad-core) and heavy (5-6lbs) with a shorter battery life (3-4 hours productivity).
I will include some of the laptops I am considering:

Sony VAIO Pro 13
13" touch IPS
1920x1080
Haswell i5-4200U Low Power(Dual Core, 1.6Ghz, 2.6Ghz Turbo)
HD 4400 Graphics
8GB RAM (max 8GB)
256GB SSD
Standard battery - up to 12.5 hours
1.06 kg / 17 mm (2.34 lb / 0.68 in)
$1250 +tax


Acer V7-482PG-6662
14" touch Glossy IPS
1920x1080
Haswell i5-4200U Low Power (Dual Core, 1.6Ghz, 2.6Ghz Turbo)
Nvidia GT750M
8GB RAM (max 12GB)
500GB 5400RPM + 24GB SSD
4 Cell - up to 8 Hours (6-7 hours productivity)
2.10 kg / 23 mm (4.63 lb / 0.9 in)
$850 +tax


HP Envy Touchsmart 15-j000 Quad Edition
15" touch Glossy TN?/IPS?
1920x1080
Haswell i7-4700QM (Quad Core, 2.0Ghz, 3.2Ghz Turbo)
HD 4600 Graphics
Beats audio
8GB RAM (16GB max= +80$)
1TB 5400RPM
6 Cell - up to 9.5 hours
2.55 kg / 30 mm (5.62 lb / 1.18 in)
$1000 +tax


Lenovo Thinkpad T530
15.6" Matte TN (95% Gamut)
1920x1080
Ivy Bridge i7-3520M (Dual Core, 2.9Ghz, 3.6Ghz Turbo)
HD 4000 Graphics
8GB RAM (16/32GB max?)
180GD SSD
6 Cell - up to 9 hours (9 Cell - up to 12 hours / up to 24 hours with 9 Cell + bottom battery slice <-adds a shit ton of weight)
2.52 kg / 35.5 mm (5.56 lb / 1.40 in)
$1000 +tax


Galago UltraPro (Clevo/Sager-based)
14.1" Matte IPS
1920x1080
Haswell i7-4750HQ (Quad Core, 2.0Ghz, 3.2Ghz Turbo)
HD 5200 Graphics
8GB RAM (16GB max= +90$)
500GB 5400RPM (swap my own 250GB SSD)
6 cell - up to 6 hours (4 hours productivity)
1.7 kg / 19 mm (3.8 lbs / 0.75 in)
Keyboard not backlit :(
$1050 + tax


Lenovo Ideapad Y510p
15.6" Glossy / Matte? TN
1920x1080
Haswell i7-4700QM (Quad Core, 2.0 Ghz, 3.2Ghz Turbo)
Nvidia GT750M + Intel HD 4600 power save
8GB RAM (16GB max)
1TB 5400RPM + 24GB SSD (as cache, can add on my own 250GB SSD via ultrabay, i.e. optical drive)
6 Cell - up to 5 hours (3-4 hours productivity on Intel graphics)
2.8 kg /39 mm (6.37 lbs / 1.41 in)
$950 +tax



I will be using Adobe Suite, text editors for code. Perhaps a few of you would like to chime in. Ideally I'd like to know what kind of environment you use your laptop (park, coffeeshop, school) and your configuration, mainly the processor and graphics (is dual-core + intel graphics enough for you, and if not, why?) I appreciate your input :)


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Replies To: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

#2 creativecoding  Icon User is online

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Re: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:41 PM

Jesus christ, never understood laptops. Those specs at those prices? Yikes!

If they're a must though... Graphic design can be done on pretty much all modern hardware you find in a store now. I'm sure all of these choices will have no problem running something like Adobe Photoshop. I personally would ditch the dual core <2GHz (especially ones prices at over 1k - wow).

Pretty much what it boils down to is the price and how much battery life you'd like. I'd say you can safely assume you're only going to get maybe 75% of what they advertise. Also be sure to be kind to your electronics. Letting batteries die all the way hurts their ability to hold a charge. And really, things like a backlit keyboard and more than 8GB ram are pretty needless. You're really never going to use much more if you're mobile/on battery - I rarely pass 4gb's on my production + gaming desktop, and that's without concern of battery life). Not to mention Beats Audio - that's a joke.

IPS screens are much better than TN screens so if you are looking for graphic design I would make that a big thing.
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#3 Wisart  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 13 August 2013 - 09:56 PM

Thanks a lot for your reply! I am a seasoned desktop veteran and have a beastly desktop + 1440p IPS at home. I just want something mobile as well. Beats Audio is really the last thing I'm considering, haha. You do bring up some of the points I wanted clarification on - ditching dual cores. I also understand the battery life I'm going to get out of these. I just have no idea if 3-4 hours will be good enough for a developer (an aspiring one! you all work for me now, LOL (: jk), since I have zero laptop experience. I don't want to be that guy in the cafe who is sitting next to the outlet all the time.
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#4 creativecoding  Icon User is online

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Re: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 14 August 2013 - 12:59 AM

Ah yeah I see. And yeah to me the price is already super high for what you're paying for. Buying a dual core, well, you should just send the money to me :P

Well it really depends on what you're doing. I personally just develop at home but I would absolutely love to be able to sit down at a shop and do some work there. I do have a netbook (gets about 3 hours due to the battery being neglected) that I use when traveling and that works on it's own.

It really depends on what you need. If you're planning on being out and about all day then yeah you'll want something that'll last long. I'd recommend buying an extra battery and just carrying that around with you and use it if need be.
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#5 Wolfride  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 30 August 2013 - 04:01 PM

Personally, as a graphic designer of nearly a decade I've used library computers, home desktops, "dinosaurs," and a netbook with no tablet to finish commissions on the go.

I'd say that the actual internal specs should match the size of the canvas you're going to be working on. My netbook can barely fill a 1800 pixel canvas on GIMP. The outdated desktops can't handle anything beyond 2300 pixels. If you need to kick out professional prints for posters, magazines, or retail, this isn't going to cut it if you need to hit 300 DPI. So the processor (CPU) and graphics card (GPU) should be some of your main concerns, hardware speaking.

As for the monitor size.. I can't stess enough that bigger is better if you work on large images or edit photos from a camera. You may want to purchase a stand alone monitor separate and plug it into your laptop. Kind of defeats the purpose of a laptop, but you must be packing a tablet with you..

For the professionals, we don't worry about battery life. Most of us can work for hours at a time, or like to be able to jump up and eat between steps to refresh the eyes. So the lappy is either plugged in, or I use my desktop as a primary go to rig for graphic design. On the go, well.. It's kinda weird to work on graphic design on the bus or at the park. I've had to do both of these things, unfortunately, but it really is cumbersome. Kind of anti productive.

If you actually want your programs to perform well for you and use them efficiently, a bigger screen is much more important than battery life. If you'll be using your laptop everywhere, then DEFINITELY go with battery life. A lot of my projects had to get delayed during long trips due to short battery life, while as my husband's lasts for up to 8 hours and covered many states before we got to a hotel to charge. Lost maybe 2 hours of work, while as I lost 8 with the other laptop.
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#6 james blake  Icon User is offline

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Re: Laptop Requirements for Graphic Design

Posted 12 September 2013 - 01:19 AM

its like any of the not that much high requirement
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