View Full Version : Lightwave Laptop Advice thinger thing... um ... question.

03-12-2005, 04:11 PM
Hi everyone!

I am going to move to the United States in a few months, and in anticipation of this I want to buy a really good laptop that I can take with me. It will therefore replace my desktop systems.
I narrowed my notebook search down to 5 specimens, and I have no clue as to which one might be a lemon, and which a bargain. The notebook will be used for Lightwave, Lightscape, photoshop and as a music and video player, and portability is not as important as performance. Price is hardly relevant as all notebooks are within the price range, but burning money is not the objective. Notebooks were first selected on them having a 17" screen, and further on performance. I honestly really like the reflecting type screen like the sony and Toshiba G10 have.
I prefer Nvidia chips above Ati for Professional OpenGL compatibility reasons.

I was wondering if anyone would have any tips choosing between the following systems. They are all quite close concerning performance but range in price and details.

The selection is:

Toshiba Qosmio g10-104
Dothan P-M 2.0 Ghz
1GB (2x 512) GB memory (max 2GB)
2x 60GB harddisk
Truebrite 17" 1440x900
Nvidia Go5700
Price: 2640 euro

Toshiba Satellite P20-771
Pentium 4 3.4Ghz
1Gb (2x 512) memory (max 2GB)
80GB harddisk
17" 1440x900 (no idea if it is truebrite 'reflecting' screen or not)
Nvidia Go5700
Price: 1820 euro

Pentium 4 540, 3.2 Ghz
512MB (2x512) memory (max 2GB)
80GB Harddisk
17" 1440x900 Brightview
ATi X900
Price: 1570 euro

Sony A397XP
Dothan P-M 2.0Ghz
512 MB memory (max 1GB!)
80GB Harddisk
17" 1920x1200 TrueBrite
Ati X900
Price: 2633

Promedion D900T (Clevo, in the US sold as Sager or Hypersonic)
Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz
1GB (1x 1GB) memory (max 2GB)
2x 80GB Harddisk RAID 0
17" 1680x1050 ExtraClear
Nvidia Go6800
Price: 2854

Now, I realise the Promedion is the best in specs of the lot, and the Satellite P20 the best bang for the buck. But I have no experience with Clevo notebooks, but my old Toshiba satellite has been a buggy machine for a while but after a new mainboard it has worked satisfactory. I guess I am looking for advice in the order of "Don't get XXXX as the failure rate is really high", or something of that order.

My question is also, where on earth is the price difference between the P20-771 and the G10 coming from? I checked the specs on battery life, and they are the same, and the G10 even weighs more than the P20...

Thanks in advance!

03-12-2005, 04:27 PM
Looks like the second toshiba is the winner. I would rather have the higher processor speed than hard drive space. Besides, the hard drive is easier to replace than the cpu.
I see you only mention the one HP, they also offer a better model with 1GB of ram and 100 GB hard drive I beleive it is model zd8080.
HP owns Compaq, so don't rule them out, as they usually are cheaper than HP Pavillion.
I always have beem partial to HP and toshiba anyways, I have seen both run and I like them. I have not seen very many Sonys. Here in the US, Sonys is more expensive than the other two.

03-12-2005, 04:33 PM
Hi Silkrooster, thanks for your info.
I know the ZD8080, but its not available in the Netherlands.

I do like the P20 Toshiba but I have just found out its display is NOT a bright/clear/whatever whiny glossy screen but a standard matte one. Very disapointing...
Also I'm quite taken with the 2x80 Raid striped disk system of the Promedion, which promises real fast harddisk speeds... the promedion can be boosted to 3.6 Ghz if I have the cash to spare...

Compaq doesn't have 17" models here in the Netherlands...
I think the sony will not make the final selection as it has a max of 1 GB of memory... Could need the extra boost later on.


03-12-2005, 05:03 PM
Something else you may want to check on, some models have a hard drive with 4200 rpm speed rather than the default 5200 or 7200 speeds that you find is desktop models. 5200 is required to capture video. Or I beleive that is, as I know there is a limit.
I never heard of a laptop with raid. If you can get that one with a faster cpu, I think that would be better yet. hmmm.... discisions desisions.

03-12-2005, 05:09 PM
Hmm, good one...


Toshiba does not provide info on their harddisk RPM's... the bstrds.
The promedion ix 2x 5400...

03-12-2005, 10:18 PM
I've recently gotten the Sager 4750. It is great with LightWave and has an incredible screen. I wanted the AMD 64 so I'd be ready for LW64. (c'mon Microsoft) ;)

Signal to Noise
03-13-2005, 12:11 PM
I'm surprised you don't have a Dell model listed as a possible choice. Dell notebooks are reasonably priced and offer incredible performance. I've been using an Inspiron 8200 for the last three years and it's still going strong.

Also, take Silkrooster's advice- you want to avoid slow speed hard drives. I ended up replacing the 4200rpm 30GB in my Inspiron with a 60GB 7200RPM and the difference in boot time and application specific performance is quite substantial.

(Oh, and whatever you decide don't get the Sony!)

03-13-2005, 03:52 PM
The only compareable Dell notebook would be the Dell Inspiron 9300. With the same specs and the lowest warranty available the dell would be more than 3500 euro.
these are the specs:

Centrino 2.13 ghz
2GB Memory
17" Ultrabright (1920x1200)
100GB harddisk
Nvidia Geforce Go 6800

Knwoing dell well, as we have had several dells here in the office, all have had problems and none run really well. Dell warranty and service always has small print. This, combined with a much higher price for lower specs made us discard the Dell in the first place.

03-13-2005, 06:00 PM
I had been looking into laptops too.
What do you guys think about laptop screen aspect ratios?
Shouldn't a display be a certain number of pixels across and down in order to avoid things like numerically perfect circles and boxes from appearing oblong and such?


03-13-2005, 06:10 PM
Toshiba Satellite P20-771

I got it months ago (dunno if it's the same, but the specs are). Superb design, great performance.
I work mainly in VIZ area, i leave this little monster at rendering for even weeks and it never had a heat/noise problem. I must say HD is slower than common PC's ones, but i think it's the same on every laptop.

If you want the very top of the line, look also for an "Idea Progress". These are hi-performance laptops, i think they have some RAID/SCSI combo on board.
commonly, they're known as the very top-line concerning laptops. They're quite costly too.

Paolo Zambrini

03-13-2005, 06:17 PM
If I understand correctly you plan to buy the laptop before you move.

I'd suggest waiting until after the move for several reasons:

1 - you'll probably have to pay US Customs when you brimg it into the country

2 - There are plentiful deals at good prices within the US

3 - Any warranty issues will be much simpler to resolve - especially if they involve returning the laptop

4 - Laptops may be on the prohibited list of items allowed on foreign flights landing in the US

Other than that - I'd sacrifice a little cpu speed in favor of more ram - 1 gig is about the minimum practical limit for Lightwave and most other 3D apps

Go with a fast drive - the biggest, fastest that also incudes the above. Or - plan on swapping to a bigger, faster one later.

A laptop as secondary is one thing. A laptop as prime/only system is something else. Plan accordingly.


03-14-2005, 12:02 AM
Hello all...

Ok, I just purchased HP's new "ZD8000" which you have listed as the "ZD8045ea"... These are the specs of what I purchased in the end...

Windows XP Pro with a free upgrade to Media Center 2005 (which also gave me a "Duel" tv tuner card that works Awesome,..for free!)

Pentium 4 3.4 Ghz proccessor
2 Gigs of DDR2 Sdram
100 Gig hardrive (running at 5400 rpm... can be upgraded once faster drives are on the market other than the available 60 gig hardrive that runs at 7200 rpm)
256 Mg ATI x600 video card
17.0" WSXGA+ High Def BrightView Wide Viewing (1680x1050)
Duel Layer DVD/CD burner

I managed to get this setup an purchased for a total of $2375.

*And as for "Signal to Noise", when it comes to Laptops of any kind, Dell is a complete joke when it comes to price & what you get comparisons... In some cases Dell is almost 1/3rd to 1/2 times "More" money for 1/3 to 1/2 "Less" offerings. Do the research.

Anyway, as for my perticular Laptop when it comes to operations... These are the current programs that are on my Laptop...

Lightwave 3d 8.2
Photoshop 7
Illustrator 10
Premier Pro
Half'Life 2
Nascar Chase for the cub 2005
Microsofts Combat Flight Simulator 3

As for Lightwave... I works Awesome on this Laptop... Not once has it crashed on me...!
As for Photoshop & Illustrator... Sweet is all I can say...!
As for Premier, nice...!
As for Half'Life 2... "WOW!" When you first install HL2 it does a system check to get a default setting when you start out. My system check set everything to its highest setting!!! Other than the sound where as I'm on a 2 speaker Laptop. However I purchased the new "Soundblaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook card" for when I'm using my Notebook via my Desktop Expansion Base thats loaded with its own 160 Gig hardrive & Harmon Kardon speakers... (although they get muted out when I have my 6.1 surround hooked up via my Audigy card...) Anyway... HL2 plays unbelievably smooth...! With, as I said, "All the eye candy turned up to the max..."

In the end its going to be what "You" feel is decent, not what everyone else tells you, is... If you have the money, check out "www.boxx.com" for Killer Laptops...!

Good luck..



03-14-2005, 01:58 AM

The Zd8045EA is the highest model available in the Netherlands. It will be a while before the better models appear here, so those are not an option for me. Its a shame though, they should get their international logistics on rails...


I had considdered this, however I have chosen to buy it here. The reason being that I have to sell all my belongings here, and I don;t want to be without a computer for a reasonable amount of time. therefore I want to buy the laptop now, install it with the luxury of having a desktop next to it, sort out what data I want to keep (Im getting an external harddisk too) at leasure, and then sell the desktops.

Steven_DS: that is a good question. Would be a pain if everything was oval... does anyone know this?

03-14-2005, 06:50 AM
Those "Idea Progress" notebooks, as listed on http://www.notebookprogress.it/store/default.asp look to me as the same as a Clevo notebook.
That store also looks like a normal reseller, and the website is atrocious...

03-14-2005, 07:53 AM
Those "Idea Progress" notebooks, as listed on http://www.notebookprogress.it/store/default.asp look to me as the same as a Clevo notebook.
That store also looks like a normal reseller, and the website is atrocious...

uhm.. dunno about this, i preferred a brand one, but here in Italy it's the "default" high-end choice for professionals.
I've seen them working and they seem to be really fast and good, but i dont own one. As i stated, i've a Toshiba Satellite and i'm pretty happy with it.
Quite performing... and my clients are always surprised about how good it looks ;)

Paolo Zambrini

03-14-2005, 12:04 PM
get security. I've read that some laptops these days come with gps type technology that will tell you where it is if stolen. Also, make sure your dongle is safe. It'd suck if someone just swiped your laptop, dongle and all and you had no way of getting it back!