Good Laptop for ID Students (OCAD student)

(apologies for crossposting, posted accidently in General Discussions)

Hi all,

I was wondering what kind of laptops you guys currently
use for coursework, and if you could suggest a competent
machine to purchase. I’m starting an ID program (at OCAD)
this coming year, and am told that laptops will be mandatory starting
in second year.

Price is an issue of course, but it’s more important that
the machine can run most 3d design software fairly smoothly.
I anticipate having to use Solidworks, Formz, and Alias
on this machine. Screen size isn’t a huge deal, since
I have a nice 22 inch monitor at home. I’ll also be using
the laptop for the next 4 years or so, so it should be
something powerful enough to keep up with any
software advances, as well as take a reasonable beating.


i’m in their program right now, whatever u do, don’t let the laptop admin talk u into using a mac. They’re trying to get a cross platform going (both pac and mac) but it’s a lost cause. A PC is your best bet, they’re trying to mobolize apple in the i.d. field and hoping that by training designers on mac will change the i.d. scene. While that’s a noble undertaking (I love and own a Mac) , I feel they’re doing it on the expense of young designers who are trying to break in the field. I am currently looking for a PC as well, and I suggest looking at what the folks at Carlton are using. of course, suggestions for professionals are always nice.

*suggestionss FROM professionals

You want to find any old laptop with separate Video.
It will cost you around $1800-2000.

A separate 19 LCD would be worthwhile.
Would feel like a 20 inch CRT without the eyestrain.

You are looking around $2500.

If you get more firepower—it’s not worthwhile as your 3D models
won’t be killing the computer.

It’s the graphics/video that will kill you on a laptop, NOT the cpu.

Look for 128 mb of video, the slowest cpu, smallest screen, least ram.

Get the ram aftermarket.

You don’t want to do design work on a 17 LCD—you could but I suspect it’s painful. You will always feel like you need more space.

18" LCD is the bare minimum for design work.

:smiley: Hi

i’m a product design masters student

  1. as large a screen as possible
  2. lots of memory (ram)
  3. lots of speed

I am an avid user of 3d studio max and maya, so if you intend to do 3d graphics you don’t need a graphics card unless you intend to create games or videos, 3d graphics only use up memory and time in rendering.

good luck

If you go to they have a section of their website that gives performance ratings for recommended video cards. Check that out before selecting a video card.

just to add, solidworks is the least of your worries if you are using alias, alias will to crazy things to the best of laptops - though it will work

This damn question has been posted a million times.

Here is the quick answer:
HP 7000 or 8000 series notebook.
Pentium 4 chip, not an M or the other crap.
1gig of RAM minimum
128 or 256 Nvidia card

One other way would be an AMD 64 processor.

Well said Rick.

I currently have an alienware P4 with a gig of ram but I am thinking I want more ram. I may have to spring for one of the newer ones the head north of 2 gig. I run solidworks and proe.

Here are three revious discussions from the “Software & Tech” forum.

I don’t know the tech stuff, but for ID, you’ve got to go with the ACER that pivots so you can sketch on it, we have three of them at work. they run Solidworks just fine and the cost is around $2500 I think. All the “cool” kids at the Art Institute have them. :sunglasses:

I posted as Sammy Sosa in your last link Guest (or whoever).

Don’t get an Acer, and surely not for $2500. You can get a blazing notebook for $2500 that would run about any software you put on it.

I like the HP’s because of their high-res screens.
Sony’s are nice, but way too expensive for the money.
Dell are reliable, but big and the screens are weak.

Alienware and GoBoxx (from BoxTech) are great machines, but also too much $$$$ for what you get with them.

“Don’t get an Acer, and surely not for $2500. You can get a blazing notebook for $2500 that would run about any software you put on it.”

The acer rocks because you can sketch on the screen, I don’t know of any others with that feature, prob. are a few. I think this feature trumps most performance numbers of the other laptops.

You can get the Acers for under $2K now.
1 gb of Ram
80 gig HD

14.1 " pressure sensative screen. Good sensativity. Nice to draw on the screen.

You can get a new Toshiba R15 Tablet for under $1500 that does the same thing as the Acer. The graphics card is a bit weak for 3D though but I will probably be doing heavy 3D work on a desktop workstation and some general modeling in Rhino on the laptop Tablet PC.

I run a fair amount of programs, including 3D and it work very nice.
How big is the Toshiba screen on the $1,500 unit?
I know that they just came out with a 14". There is a big diff in 2" if it is an older unit.