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Started by machiavelli on 28-Dec-2016 11:56:13

Looking for a new laptop with an eye to using it for processing gigibytes of image and 3D point (XYZ) data.

I'm tempted by an Asus with i7 chip and 12GB RAM. It's HDD though, so I'm wondering if I'd be better off with a SDD machine. In the same price bracket I see SSD machines with i5 and 8GB.

Does the extra speed of the SSD make up for 4GB less of RAM and a lower spec chip?

TommyDCMBR8 - 28 Dec 2016 12:03:22 (#1 of 144)

I'm no expert (several will be along later) but are the images so big that the computer uses the drive during processing?

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 12:10:48 (#2 of 144)

The data derived from them could be in the order of gigabytes. It's the generation of that data that is the hungry part.

Winterborne - 28 Dec 2016 12:11:26 (#3 of 144)

I am no expert but do have experience of an Asus laptop, and I'd say avoid if you can. Mine was always clunky and died after just over two years. That was about 3 years ago so it's possible that newer models are better, but I bought it on the recommendation of a PC world adviser and always regretted it.

Sorry for the negativity - maybe others have had better experiences?

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 12:13:48 (#4 of 144)

I've always found Asus to be bomb-proof but I've not had one since 2010 so the quality may have dived.

I avoid HP on principle, Dell aren't too bad, longevity-wise. A friend is going on about Microsoft laptops but they seem, like MacBooks to cost the earth for little spec.

MoominChristmasMadness - 28 Dec 2016 12:18:49 (#5 of 144)

Have had two Acers which have been acers. I don't do much of any size or complexity on them, mind. I'm not sure whether my latest one is HDD or SSD though, sorry.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 12:23:34 (#6 of 144)

Were they acers and skills? ;-)

MoominChristmasMadness - 28 Dec 2016 12:25:23 (#7 of 144)

I guess it depends on how much you are worried about speed and how much data you need to store vs cost.

PC Mag say the following:


• Enthusiast multimedia users and heavy downloaders: Video collectors need space, and you can only get to 4TB of space cheaply with hard drives.

• Budget buyers: Ditto. Plenty of cheap space. SSDs are too expensive for $500 PC buyers.

• Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Video and photo editors wear out storage by overuse. Replacing a 1TB hard drive will be cheaper than replacing a 500GB SSD.

• General users: General users are a toss-up. Folks who prefer to download their media files locally will still need a hard drive with more capacity. But if you mostly stream your music and videos online, then buying a smaller SSD for the same money will give you a better experience.


• Road warriors: People who shove their laptops into their bags indiscriminately will want the extra security of an SSD. That laptop may not be fully asleep when you violently shut it to catch your next flight. This also includes folks who work in the field, like utility workers and university researchers.

• Speed demons: If you need things done now, spend the extra bucks for quick boot-ups and app launches. Supplement with a storage SSD or hard drive if you need extra space.

• Graphic arts and engineering professionals: Yes, I know I said they need hard drives, but the speed of an SSD may make the difference between completing two proposals for your client and completing five. These users are prime candidates for dual-drive systems.

• Audio engineers and musicians: If you're recording music, you don't want the scratchy sound from a hard drive intruding. Go for quieter SSDs."

MoominChristmasMadness - 28 Dec 2016 12:26:01 (#8 of 144)

Sorry, I forgot the "and skills" bit.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 12:29:26 (#9 of 144)

Thanks for that list Moomin. It sounds like I could get away with HDD and may be better off with it. Mind you, the one i'm looking at is 5400rpm, which strikes me as a bit low.

YuleCunt - 28 Dec 2016 12:49:19 (#10 of 144)

Faster HDDs are rare nowadays. Everyone is going for SSDs if they want speed.

What's your budget? John Lewis have a tasty looking Lenovo at the moment with a good screen, the latest generation i5, and an SSD for 600 quid. I'm rather tempted.

Irgalmatlan - 28 Dec 2016 12:54:59 (#11 of 144)

You might want to look at an SSHD, the hybrid that gives some, if not the best, of both worlds.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 13:13:09 (#12 of 144)

The heavy stuff would be work-related. Home stuff would be light. I thought of buying heavy duty to handle work stuff and in case my job gets Brexited and I need to go solo. However... for my present job, it's not for me to spend money on hardware for them. And I'd probably be better salting away money to buy something work-suitable should I go solo rather than mixing home computing with work.

I'd rather like an integral CD drive (to watch movies on - I have no TV) and there is a Dell Inspiron that comes with one, as does the ASUS. From what I read, Asus customer service sucks while Dell's is very good.

Still, I like the idea of SSD...

tasselhoff - 28 Dec 2016 13:31:11 (#13 of 144)

On my desktop, BIOS to login screen went from 21 to 7s after changing from a hybrid drive to pure SSD.

I'd go for the SSD and maybe have some form of NAS or cloud storage if you need extra space.

toffle - 28 Dec 2016 13:34:56 (#14 of 144)

It shouldn't be difficult, even for a non-technical person, to swap a spinny disk for an SSD.

But any machine with a genuine claim to high performance should be coming with an SSD these days.

MoominChristmasMadness - 28 Dec 2016 13:39:39 (#15 of 144)

SSD sounds a bit more 'future-proof', or 'future-resiliant', at least. I believe you can buy traditional additional storage fairly cheaply anyway. You can get a 3TB hard drive for £75 or fewer.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 13:43:37 (#16 of 144)

Currently looking at the Dell Inspiron 15 7000. 16GB, i7, Nvidia geoforce 940mx, £795. Reviews say, shit colour, dark display and not great keyboard.

toffle - 28 Dec 2016 13:52:30 (#17 of 144)

In any case, due to the laws of physics, a laptop really isn't what should be used for actual number-crunching activities. Get your workplace to sort you out with a suitably powerful desktop; a mobile i7 is not the same as a real one.

As you're dealing with images you'll be needing a huge monitor (or several) as well.

Then, with your work needs sorted out, you can choose a laptop to sort your own personal requirements. It should definitely come with an SSD though.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 13:57:15 (#18 of 144)

If I discount work needs altogether, something with decent sound and battery life and an integral DVD drive would suit me.

invicta - 28 Dec 2016 15:28:51 (#19 of 144)

My 2011 MacBook Pro was transformed by the addition of an SSD, and it will happily do video and audio editing. Don't scrimp that side of things, it's worth so much more than processor or gpu power, only RAM comes close in terms of effect on performance.

machiavelli - 28 Dec 2016 15:36:05 (#20 of 144)

I'm now focussed on SSD machines, only question is which.

  • HP I used to hear get dsiplay problems quite quickly
  • Lenovo - I know they were IBM but are now Chinese
  • Asus, I have an old fondness for but customer service not great
  • Dell, I'm typing on one and its not been too bad


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