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Looking for a new laptop

The time for a new machine is approaching.  I’ve started researching new computers, because there is a lot of new technology out there my current machine doesn’t have.  This includes more affordable solid state drives, 3D screens, quad core processors, LED displays, gigabit Ethernet and Wireless N.

Things I do on my machine that require horsepower include gaming, Linux virtualization, and application development.  Also, one thing I used to do and would like to get back into is music production.

Docking Station

I have a good number of externals I like to have plugged into the laptop.  It’s currently a pain to plug and unplug these.

There aren’t too many good options out there for docking stations.  I’ve completely shunned the USB ones because the graphics performance is reported to be horrible through them.  HP, Dell, and Lenovo seem to have the best options.  Sony’s options for there Z line seem OK.  Toshiba, Fujitsu, and Samsung seem to have decent docks but their actual laptops don’t allow you enough options.

Another problem here is the only laptops by HP, Dell, and Lenovo that allow for docking stations are the business machines.  So I can’t get an Dell Alienware, XPS, or HP Envy that I can dock and still run high-end graphics to a display through the dock.  This is pretty lame in my opinion.  At first I was set on getting one of these.  Now I am thinking of looking at options that don’t include a docking station.


3D is getting more popular; some games are starting to promote it.  I’d like a card that supports it.  The LCD screens are getting a little more reasonably priced.  HP will have the Envy 17 3D coming out soon (http://bit.ly/b1Zf4L).   Dell is making an Alienware 3D LCD (http://dell.to/56DMCc) and others have screens on the market.

Outlets and Coupons

Since I am looking for something high-end and high-end is expensive I’ve started thinking about buying through one of the manufacturer’s online outlet stores.  Lenovo has the best options for searching their outlet.  HP and Dell’s site have much to be desired but have what appear to be good deals.  The Dell twitter accounts are a good way to keep up on the deals Dell is offering, http://www.dell.com/twitter.

15″  Versus 17″

17″ gives you higher end graphics card options, while 15″ is obviously lighter and easier to lug around.  Still haven’t decided.  Might depend on what particular configurations show up in the outlets or what online coupons appear.

I think if I end up with one of the business workstations I’ll have to go with the 17″ because the graphics options in the 15″ just aren’t good enough.

Solid State Hard Drive

I’ve decided my new machine will have an SSD.  In the outlets these tend to not pop up with the other options I am looking for so I’ll probably have to buy it separately and install it myself.  A 256 GB SSD is running for right around $600.  Pretty salty but my bottle neck often seems to be the hard-drive.  MicronTechnology’s posted a video on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odSSI_9KAkI).   This video illustrates why I’m feeling one of these would be great.

What About A Desktop?

I haven’t waffled away from the laptop too much in my research.  I like my main machine being a laptop.   I’ve checked out desktops recently though.  You definitely get more performance for your dollar.   Still something I am considering but only kind of.  I created a wish list with some hardware I liked, http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=20449088