SEEKING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEST LAPTOP CONFIGURATION FOR CAD... computer assisted design

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SEEKING RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BEST LAPTOP CONFIGURATION FOR CAD... computer assisted design

  • Greetings,
     
    I am buying my son a laptop for college.   He will be studying architecture and doing CAD.   He also lilkes the latest games.   Is there anyone out there who has a recommendation on Dell laptop configuation for these things?   We have been looking at the E1705 in particular, and are unsure of its capabilities.   
     
    Any input from someone with experience in CAD or high-end gaming would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Thanks in advance!
     
    Chopin
  • For CAD I would double check the requirements of the programs he's going to need to run. There's probably a chance they'd need "pro" versions of the GPU. Not sure how viable that would be in a laptop.

    Assuming they work fine with normal "consumer" GPUs, the e1705 configured with a Geforce 7900GS is a GREAT deal for both CAD type work and games. Cheapest thing on the market with a good GPU.

  • chopin wrote:
    Greetings,
    I am buying my son a laptop for college. He will be studying architecture and doing CAD. He also lilkes the latest games. Is there anyone out there who has a recommendation on Dell laptop configuation for these things? We have been looking at the E1705 in particular, and are unsure of its capabilities.
    Any input from someone with experience in CAD or high-end gaming would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance!
    Chopin




    For real professional CAD work, I strongly reccommend going for something with an Nvidia Quadro. (i.e. look into the Dell Precision series such as the M90)

    That said, the chances your son will actually be running CAD applications on his personal machine are slim to none and he would be running such applications in a lab. Typical pro-grade CAD software costs more per seat than it would cost you to buy an E1705 AND an M90 with all available options.

    Edit: To summarize, the chances he'll actually need the Quadro are slim, so he's better off with the E1705 with an Nvidia 7900GS.

    Message Edited by Entropy42 on 06-09-200601:43 PM

  • I agree with Entropy42.  I work at a University supporting computer users.  Autocad is on all our lab machines.  On occasion, someone will ask me to put Autocad on his laptop.  I point them to vendors who can provide academic single seat licenses, which run about $750 for the LE version , and in the thousands for a full version.  Your kid will appreciate a gaming machine, trust me.
  • I am currently learning and using autoCad and I'm finding that a lot of commands are best suited by typing on a keyboard rather than using the mouse to point and click. A desktop would really be best for this, or better yet, use the computers in the labs as they are usually much more reliable and are usually pretty darn fast.
  • Thanks Tigerwolf.   Any recommendations on speed of the processor?  1.66, 1.83, 2.0, etc.?

    Chopin

  • Thanks to all who wrote:   tigerwolf7, Entropy42, tonebalone and sblive... Very helpful input.

    I can see that the reality is a laptop isn't the right place to expect to do CAD.   So, I'll try and build a good gamer with the best video capabilities and hope it is useful.   I don't know anything about architecture and hopefully after a few years my son will, and he will know what he needs in computer hardware and software.

    Again, is there any recommendation on processor speed?   My inclination is to go with at least 2.0 Ghz dual core, and 2 gigs of RAM, along with the video card you mentioned.  

    Finally, is the E1705 the way to go, or one of the new (expensive) XPS laptops?

    Thanks again to everyone.   I really appreciate it.

    Chopin

    Message Edited by chopin on 06-10-200612:42 PM

    Message Edited by chopin on 06-10-200612:43 PM

    Message Edited by chopin on 06-10-200612:44 PM

  • The XPS line has one major advantage:  U.S.-based customer support.  Configure both the E1705 and the XPS and see if they're close.  Be sure to get the maximum warranty and add Complete Care coverage.  And you might want to check your homeowner's coverage to see if it will be covered against theft, etc. while your son is in the dorm.
  • I'm going to be realistic here (for me anyway). Let's assume you go XPS, or even 1705. Both are big, heavy, and here's what will happen. They will sit on your son's desk, running 24x7, for instant messaging, MP3 downloading, music playing, maybe some videos depending on what kind of TV DVD setup you provided him with, LOTS of surfing, some gaming unless he has XBox or something similar (or his roommate)and some word processing for the occaisional paper. Everything else will be done in labs or the library (which will have hundreds of available machines and are quiet). My son just graduated with a Bach. Science in Mechanical Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. That was what I observed over his four years - both in the dorm the first year and various houses with roommates the next three years. So I would reccommend an inexpensive 1505 with a 256 video card and a big hard drive. If you look for the $750.00 coupons and work with it, you can get the price down to $1250 with a service contract. Best of luck to you and your son!

    Message Edited by parkerti on 06-11-200610:06 AM

    Message Edited by parkerti on 06-11-200610:08 AM

  • tonebalone,

    thanks for that.   It does make sense to go with XPS support.

    I'll run a price check, as you suggested.   I suspect they'll be pretty close, and end up going with the XPS.   Definitely will get maximum warranty coverage.

    chopin

  • parkerti,

    thanks for the input.   You're probably right about the basic usage.   My daughter has already had a laptop in college 3 years as an English major, and she uses it primarily for writing, of course, and the internet.   

    I expect my son indeed will do alot of gaming, and maybe the best laptop is overkill.

    This whole thing with the dual-core versus single-core processor is annoying, as there is uncertainty about the programs/software applications.

    I'll probably just get the XPS and have done with it!

    Many thanks for your input,

    chopin


  • chopin wrote:

    parkerti,

    thanks for the input. You're probably right about the basic usage. My daughter has already had a laptop in college 3 years as an English major, and she uses it primarily for writing, of course, and the internet.

    I expect my son indeed will do alot of gaming, and maybe the best laptop is overkill.

    This whole thing with the dual-core versus single-core processor is annoying, as there is uncertainty about the programs/software applications.

    I'll probably just get the XPS and have done with it!

    Many thanks for your input,

    chopin





    Things to definately get:

    When I bought by E1705, the T2500 (2.0 GHz) had the best price/performance.
    GET the highest end screen available (the UltraSharp 1920x1200 resolution version, not the 1440x900 or whatever)
    Purchase the GeForce 7900GS
    All of the above are very difficult to upgrade, so you want the best you can get (within reason) here. The T2600 is only marginally faster and MUCH more expensive though.

    RAM: Feel free to skimp and get only 1 gig of 533 MHz RAM - RAM is easy and cheap to upgrade, FAR cheaper than if you max out the RAM in the initial configuration.
    Hard drive: Same as RAM. Easy to upgrade.

    Edit: BTW I strongly suggest the Targus XL backpack (not available from Dell, but available elsewhere) for the E1705. It's around $70-90 and worth every penny. If you don't get it the laptop WILL sit on his desk and never move. :)

    Message Edited by Entropy42 on 06-12-200608:08 AM

  • The XPS 1710 is nice, although from what I've seen it has about a 50% price penalty (when configured with the Geforce 7900GTX).

    In either case, 2GB of RAM, a 2GHz CPU (or faster), and the most powerful GPU offered for the system is good.
  • I study mechanical engineering so I also use CAD...

    Autocad is the typical program for CAD and will run without any trouble in a E5150 (I use it so I know)...friends of mine use the newer CAD programs wich are 3D and need more power...but im pretty sure the XPS is a good choice and i wouldnt hesitate in going for the duo core... I can see my computer uses both CPUs most of the time...and CAD software is often build to perform on those kind of platforms as far as I know...

    The programs will work on slower notebooks then the XPS or the E1750 but it will take lots of time to load when youre working with big drawings... I know a friend of mine uses one with a Pentium M1.5Ghz but when he makes a change the the whole drawing it can take I think he said like 30 sec to load...so my recomendation XPS will be a good machine for your son and I even think that (if he can get the software) he will surely use it to work I know 2 weeks ago I was praysing God cause I have a laptop and didnt have to work on the lab cause I wouldnt have been able to finish my work:smileyhappy:...

  • Thanks to all for your informed input.

    The result has turned out to be that we ordered an E1705 with the T2500 processor, 2MB RAM and the GeForce 7900 GS card, which was the best Dell offered, along with the pre-packaged (best available) ultrasharp wide screen UXGA display panel.   The XPS does have a little more appeal, but the special pricing lately on the 1705 was just too good to pass up, and I'm sure the gaming on it will be fine with this configuration.  

    Yes we could have added RAM later but actually this was so easy, doing it now...

    It is encouraging to know CAD is doable on one of these, so thanks very much for that input.

    Best regards to all,

    chopin