Laptop upgrade: Potentially Dell XPS 16"

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Laptop upgrade: Potentially Dell XPS 16"

Postby pgtips » Fri May 21, 2010 12:23 pm

I'm looking to upgrade my from my Acer Aspire 5920G to something a little more beefy and suitable for photo editing. I've found that a lot of the photos I shoot these days get processed in DXO which is far from being the fastest RAW converter, so a fast CPU is a necessity.

I'm looking for a laptop that has the following:
15" or 17" screen, 1920x1080 resolution
Core i5 or i7 CPU
Decent GPU
500+GB hard drive

I've found a Dell XPS 16" that looks like it fits the bill for £999. ... &cs=ukdhs1

I'm looking for recommendations of any other laptops that I should be looking at.

Postby Victor Hoffmann » Fri May 21, 2010 3:27 pm

Dell's support service in Denmark is rubbish but i don't know about the UK…
I love my new MacBook Pro and it is fast as he** It open up Photoshop CS5 in 4 sec!
The 15.4" does not have a 1920x1080. 1440x900 as standard and an optional 1680x1050. The 17" = 1920x1080
I know it is very pricy, but I would defiantly recommend it!

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Postby Victor Hoffmann » Fri May 21, 2010 3:40 pm

What about a Sony Vaio F Series?

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Postby Citruspers » Fri May 21, 2010 4:11 pm

Sony Vaios are great laptops, but they are mighty expensive. I personally like Dell, and they have some good offers.

I would skip the i7, and go for the i5 processor. You pay a 50% premium for a 10% increase in speed, so to say. Put the saved money towards a nice SSD, and buy an external eSata harddrive to store images you're done with. Don't forget to check the laptop for esata compatibility though :)
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Postby pgtips » Fri May 21, 2010 5:06 pm

The Macbooks are nice, but IMHO they are too pricey for me and I'd struggle to justify it. Same with the Sony Vaio's.

As for the i7 vs i5, I'd value the i7 because of the integrated memory controller and the actual quad core support. Remember my main reason for wanting an upgrade is to run DXO properly and having 4 cores (8 with HT) means that I can batch process 8 images at once. Compared to my current dual core setup, this is a quadrupling in productivity!

I'm keen to see if there are alternative to the Dell as IMHO it looks like a very good deal, but then again I've been so far out of the loop when it comes to hardware that I'd be wary of my judgment in these matters.

Postby popo » Fri May 21, 2010 5:35 pm

i5 also has IMC doesn't it? It's just a cut down i7. Doesn't have the HT but I'm not sure how much that really gains you anyway as usually other bottlenecks will creep up first. In the P4 days HT got a maximum of 50% more throughput than without, but that was under best case situations. Typically it was much less and I wouldn't worry about it.

Work uses Dells as standard and I find their design unremarkable. How about another Acer? I can't suggest any specific model though as I'm also out of the loop... I have got two and a half of the things now (one laptop bought without screen). They seem to do well generally on value.
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Postby AnderssonPhoto » Fri May 21, 2010 10:10 pm

You could pick Asus laptops as well, they perform nicely and also nice design too..

Or you could pick Acer Asipire TimelineX series (I picked 3820TG, awesome notebook)

If you want to check out a detailed notebook review site, go to

Acer Aspire TimelineX 3820TG Spec:

Screen size: 13,3"
CPU: Intel i5 430M 2,22Ghz (with HT)
RAM: 4GB DDR3 1066Mhz
Graphics: ATI Mobility Radeon HD5650 1GB GDDR3
Switchable Graphics: Yes
Battery 6 Cell / 9 Cell: 8hr / 12hr
Weight: 6 Cell / 9 Cell: 1,8kg / 1,97kg

Price: 8990 SEK (9 Cell price)
Equipment: A blend of Canon, Nikon, Yashica, Leica, Voigtlander, Samyang and Sigma. All of which you can see on my website!
Wishlist: Leica M 240, Summilux 50 ASPH, Summilux 24 ASPH
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Postby grahamnp » Sat May 22, 2010 8:07 am

I don't know if you factored it into the price but the Dell has that RGB LED screen which is supposed to be among the best you can get in a notebook. Would be nice to have I think. Is battery life a concern? The quad core i7s perform quite poorly in that area.

Have you considered the HP Envy? Specs are about the same but the price seems to vary a lot outside the US. It is a lot smaller than the XPS 16.

Postby pgtips » Sat May 22, 2010 8:46 am

Thanks for the suggestions.

Battery life isn't really too much of a concern. I'm satisfied if it does 2 - 3 hours on a single charge. It would be nice if there was a 10 hour Core i7 laptop, but I don't think that's realistic at this time :). I saw the RGB LED thing, but wasn't sure what it meant. Good to know that the screen is going to be fantastic for photo editing. This all really weighs in favour of the Dell. I'll continue looking as I'm in no immediate hurry to buy as my current laptop still works, albeit slowly.

Postby grahamnp » Sat May 22, 2010 11:31 am

Well the RGD LED screen is an option, I'm not sure if you get to choose anything else if you go with the 1920x1080 screen. Basically it's got one LED for each colour channel instead of a single white LED that most other LED backlit laptops use. To be honest I've never seen one in practice but the test results look good and impressions sound good too.

Postby pgtips » Sun May 30, 2010 5:31 pm

Acer appear to have done what Apple said was impossible. See the Acer Aspire 3820TG. Core i5, dedicated ATI graphics card, 13.3" form factor and a battery life of 8 hours. And it's still cheaper than the Macbook :D.

Suddenly I'm not so sure about the Dell XPS 16".


Postby july8185 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:34 am

Just because someone doesn‘t love you the way you want them to, doesn‘t mean they don‘t love you with all they have. 

Postby thelostswede » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:51 am

I have an Acer 3820TG and in all fairness, the screen is not fantastic as it's not only incredibly glossy, but you're of course stuck with 1366x768 resolution. It's also quite cheaply made, but not terribly so. You'll never get 8h of usable battery life out of it unless you get the extended 9-cell battery, but 5-6h is doable.

If you want something that small, have a look at the HP DV3, or if you have money to burn, the smaller Envy models. Both models are available with a quad core mobile CPU and discrete graphics. The 14.5-inch Envy does have the advantage of being available with a 1600x900 screen, something that is still fairly rare considering its size.

Postby pgtips » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:35 pm

Just saw this thread pop-up again.

I ended up buying the Acer Aspire 4820TG and I'm not complaining. It's a very decent laptop and it came with the high capacity battery, so I'm enjoying decent battery life.

The Core i5 is a dual core CPU with HT so it appears as a quad core. This was a bit of a bummer as I had mistakenly assumed that the i5 had 4 real cores and no HT instead of 2 cores with HT. Nevertheless, the good news is that I can process 4 images in parallel and each image takes about 30 seconds to process :D. DXO is now usable for large projects!

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