Need a new notebook

Hi, an age old question going back to the dark ages...what notebook to buy....

I have a new job which means I will get all the IT kit I will need but will probably get a desktop and not a notebook.  My aging laptop needs replacing so I think now is the time and Im looking for advice.

I will be using the notebook mainly at home for the moment but in the future will take it out and about.  At home I am planning on on hooking up a second screen so that I can horizontally span them for doing things like comparing an excel sheet to something else.

Im not a gamer but do use Autocad and in 3D so im guessing that shoves me into that market.  I dont need Bluray but a DL CD/DVD combo is useful.  I need a decent screen and oddly a backlit keyboard (I often work in low light).

Im thinking that an i7 x64 based machine with a fist full 6Gb? of Ram is what im looking for and have been eying up Dell.  Sony seem to be trying to mimc mac so they seem style over substance.

Let the debate begin!

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Mohammed RahmanCommented:
As this is not for Gaming and will be used for Autocad 3D. The first preference should be the Video Card, then RAM and processor.

The Video Card has to be Nvidia Quadro or the AMD FirePro.

The video card above and high speed RAM will be able to handle all rendering job easily. (Try to spend more on Video rather than the processor)

If you compromise on the video card and opt for a high end processor, it might not be as good as the combination above. (The processors cannot render as good as the Quadro and FirePro can)

If your budget is $ X.
My suggestion is to get a better video card (the best possible) in case you have to decide between a processor and a video card.

Try customizing the Dell Precision M6600 Mobile Workstation

If you plan use acad and other 3d software, then choose between laptops with decent VGA adapter like NVIDIA Quadro.
Here you have some models of "mobile workstations" to look at:

Well, I'm HP fan and happy user, so I would choose
simonwaitAuthor Commented:
Cheers for that.  Oddly the Dell website didnt include the M6600 when i selected the items i needed.  I thought HP were starting to get abit flimsey but if you rate them then maybe I should look again
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HP Elitebook 8xxxW series has external VGA connector and displayport and have better display than other HP series. Some models have back-lit keyboard, some small light at the top of display that iluminates the keyboard.
Today practically all laptops have cd/dvd burner. Some of top models of Elitebook have also Bluray.
You will hard find processors that are not x64, but be sure to install also x64 OS. Ram is expandable to 32GB.

With other manufacturers I'm not so familiar, but Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, Sony are trademarks to also look at.
Sony products have always been stylish and of great quality. It is hard to say that they mimic Apple, but it is true, both companies are putting a lot of effort to style and perfection. You can also find Sony Vaio with top tech specification, but it will cost you a fortune.
My opinion is that all manufacturers have become flimsey, because they all are cutting costs on materials and workship.
From my experience the best bang for your buck will be with Toshiba, Acer, or Asus.  All three are well known for their endurance both in functionality and dependability. Good luck and I hope you find what you need.
simonwaitAuthor Commented:
Acer?  They used to be shocking (everyone who I knew who had one complained all the time) - are they any better now?
simonwaitAuthor Commented:
Im thinking Toshiba Asus & Fujitsu at the moment as I have a thing for companies who actually manufacture the components knowing more about what they are doing.  Having said that Dell are a contender.  Some people complain about Dell and they had the difficulties but I think most people who complain now actually have one from their IT dept and it seems to be more a frustration at the IT policies.  Someone tell me Im talking cacka
If I recall correctly Dell Inspirion D620 had problems with graphic card overheating and high percentage of them ended burnt. HP 8510p were noisy,... Every brand has some model with problems.

Some things that buyers normally ignore, but I thing it is quite important - availability of quality service and support, replacement parts, ease to find drivers, knowledge base, warranty...
Frequently this things make the difference between good and not-so-good brand.

For Fujitsu I had problems finding divers in the past.
Asus I put in lower cost class, but you normally get great value for the money you spend. Their support web site had frequent problems and I'm not familiar with the quality of repair service. Users I know don't have problems with them, and they make great motherboards, which was enough to recommend it to my mother.
Toshiba was always known by good laptops, but I think they have lost lots of users because of high price.
Acer - I don't know this brand, but I have no confidence in it and I even don't want to try it.
simonwaitAuthor Commented:
Thank you I will have a think and let you know what and why later
simonwaitAuthor Commented:
I actually had a financial issue which has meant this has shot to the bottom of the list but will bear in mind your comments when I get back to it.
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