Monday, May 9, 2011

Technical Dilemma

So I recently found out I'm going to be able to buy a laptop soon, but I don't know which one I want!  I think I've narrowed it down to two, but I'm open to other options.  I've looked at some Toshibas, but I don't like their style and I can get more for my money with an HP vs. a Dell.  So it's down to an HP or a MacBook Pro.  I want a laptop I can use for a little bit of gaming (online games, the Sims 3, downloadable games) as well as web design stuff for the program I'll be starting this fall.  I also like watching movies, listening to music, general web-surfing, photo-editing, possible video-editing, and general school-related stuff like powerpoint and word documents.  So I'm looking at high-performance laptops, and I will not be dissuaded from this (unless there is a very good argument otherwise).  I want something with a really good graphics card (although I'll admit I don't know much about them), something super fast, and if possible more portable.  I've been looking at 15 inch models, which I think will be fine, but I'm also willing to go with a 13 inch for more portability.  I really don't want anything bulky, so I don't want to go over 15.  Anyway, on with the pros and cons lists!

HP Pavillion dv6t quad edition


  • 2nd generation Intel(R) Quad Core(TM) i7-2630QM (2.0 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) w/ Turbo Boost up to 2.9 GHz
  • 1GB GDDR5 Radeon(TM) HD 6490M Graphics [HDMI, VGA]
  • 6GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
  • 640GB 7200RPM Hard Drive with HP ProtectSmart Hard Drive Protection
  • FREE upgrade to Norton Internet Security(TM) 2011 - 15 month subscription
  • 6-cell Lithium-Ion Battery (standard size) - up to 5.5 hours of battery life
  • 15.6" High Definition HP BrightView LED Display (1366x768)
  • FREE blu-ray upgrade, plus Lightscribe SuperMulti DVD burner
  • webcam, mic, and fingerprint reader
  • weighs about 5.8 lbs

So I really like this computer.  It has a quad core processor for crying out loud.  I'm willing to upgrade the processor, though, if that will make a big enough difference in performance.  The problem is, that's a lot of money and I want to make sure I'm getting my money's worth.  The battery life is really not fantastic and I've heard about problems with the keyboard and touchpad, although I have no problem with using a mouse.  This is such a hard decision!

MacBook Pro 13 inch


  • 2.3GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM 2x2GB
  • 320GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD+R DL/DVD+RW/CD-RW)
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • built-in battery (7 hours)
  • mic and camera
  • bluetooth included
  • weighs about 4.5 lbs

The specs on the mac are nowhere near the level of the HP, but there are other important factors involved here:  I already know that the keyboard and touch pad are comfortable and easy to use.  Actually, the touch pad is pretty much amazing.  I also know that macs in general have less problems with crashing and get less viruses.  So, is it worth sacrificing that much power for more stability?  I have experience using this model, too; in fact, I'm using it to type this post!  So I already know I really like it.  It multi-tasks pretty well, it plays movies excellently, but I've yet to see if it handles the highest specs on my Sims 3 game.

The other problem here is that there are several other HP models that could probably work.  For example, there are other dv6t models, such as the base (which comes in other colors) and the special edition.  There are also some ultra-portable options such as the dm3t, dv5t, and dm4x (an entertainment pc).  The first and third of those have a 7.75 and 8.0 battery life respectively on the 6-cell.  (All of the HPs can also come with over-sized 9-cell batteries).  The bigger, performance computers run about 5.75 hours on the 6-cell.

So there are a lot of different factors here.  I really have no idea where to start in this decision.  Please help!