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Old 03. Mar 2016, 12:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hello guys, my mom is planning to buy a laptop for me. Can you suggest what is the best specs that is capable for programming, gaming and high end software for video and image editing? Thank you and God bless.
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Old 03. Mar 2016, 02:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Depends of course on what budget your mom is working to but for gaming and high-end video editing there is little room for compromise. My own preference would be for Samsung or Toshiba which fall midway in the reliability tables. Others such as Apple and Dell might be a bit more reliable but IMO you will pay over the top to get it. I would say minimum processor requirement would be an i5 but preferably an i7. Try also to pick a model without integrated graphics. Models like the Toshiba Satellite S55-C5262 are specifically deigned for what you want but the model designation will vary between countries.
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Old 03. Mar 2016, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I guess the first question would be if you want a standard laptop or one of the convertible laptop. The other question is how high-end it should be. If you do a little bit of gaming on the side, and more image and video editing, some integrated GPUs will be fine (I'm on a system with Intel HD Graphics and it's definitely enough to play a little CS:GO or Dota on the side), but if you want a great gaming experience, than you should definitely go with a system with a discreet (non-integrated) graphics card - mind you, in that case it will have to be a standard (non-convertible) laptop.
I would disagree with MC on the Dells (I have experienced too many problems with them) and macs (because of the hugely inflated price and lack of added value... in my opinion, of course - mind you, I am known among my friends to not be too fond of them to say the least, so take that as you wish ). I do agree on the Samsungs and Toshibas, though. A brand I wish I could add without hesitation is ThinkPads, because they are very reliable physically. Mine has taken quite the beating including falls that just about most phones wouldn't survive, and it's still my main machine. The only problem is the problems Lenovo has been having in the last years with preinstalled crapware. ThinkPads, AFAIK, have remained mostly unaffected, but it's still something you do want to look into if they sound interesting to you.
Also, there's the question of if there are any other things you want on there - for instance, do you want a touchscreen? A disk drive, by any chance? A second HDD slot? A hot-swappable battery?
EDIT: when you're looking at prices, you might also want to take a look at the deals that are available from time to time and factor that into the price, as well - since some companies more and better deals more often than other companies, meaning for some computers you will have to pay the list price, and others you will be able to pay a good deal less with a little effort.
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Old 03. Mar 2016, 07:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would just add as an afterthought that the reliability factor can vary dramatically between locations. Both Dell and Lenovo for instance have a manufacturing base here in Brazil but the quality of the Lenovo product is pretty dire. Brazilian made Dell on the other hand has a great reputation and is a firm favorite with business users although you pay OTT for the on site service warranty.

Desktop boxes are an easier option to source because you can get one made to your own specs locally but using branded components suitable for your needs. Bespoke laptops are also possible but to a much lesser degree and the cost is nowhere near as competitive as you can buy a branded model for.

Also, you can't always rely on hardware reliability surveys. Product "A" for instance might have 50% market share so their return rate might look disproportionately bad compared to say product "B" with only a 20% market share.

A good point of reference would be the dedicated forums for the functions you wish to perform such as gaming and editing. Most will have a hardware recommendations section.
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Old 03. Mar 2016, 10:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by frncspogi View Post
... programming, gaming and high end software for video and image editing? ...
A key overall question is what operating system (OS) are you thinking of using, e.g. Windows, Linux, dual-booting Windows and Linux, running virtual machines (VMs), or what? It is usually cheapest to get the version of Windows you want when you buy your computer.

The hardware requirements are largely determined by the game and the level of graphics performance you want: number of screens, screen resolution, frames per second, on-screen level of detail, etc. I use several sites but primarily rely on for checking the likely performance of potential hardware configurations.

Video and image-editing
If you are doing a lot of this then provided you have are getting a system to play mid-range to high-end games (so you have a suitable discrete graphics card rather than integrated graphics) then the only real concern is storage: at least, the speed (how fast can you load and save large amounts of video) and size of it (how much video do you need to store). Some hints are:
  • the more memory (RAM) you have the better;
  • the faster the storage device the better so solid-state drives (SSDs) can be very helpful when editing; and finally,
  • you have the option of reliable long-term storage using high-reliability hard drive configurations or using the cloud, or doing both.
What exactly are you programming with and for? The OS you choose can be important. For example, if you are using Microsoft Visual Studio (Community is the free version) then you should get Windows 10 Pro rather than Windows 10 Home. For example, Windows Home doesn't have Hyper-V which is used to test mobile apps by emulating mobile devices. FYI, almost all gaming computers come with Windows Home because they don't need to work in a corporate environment.
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