View Full Version : Alienware or HP?

03-10-2007, 06:32 PM
I'm not to familiar with laptops, but in the future I want to purchase one to run mainly lightwave on it. I am debating between these two. Here are the specs.

HP AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core Mobile Technology
Vista Home Premium
2048 MB of Ram
120 GB of Hard Drive space
256 MB nVidia GeForce 7600 GO graphics card
12-cell Lithium-lon battery
15.4 Widescreen
Integrated webcam and microphone

Alienware Area-51 m5550
Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor T5600 1.83GHz 2MB Cache 667MHz FSB
Vista Home Basic
15.4" WideXGA 1280 x 800 LCD
1GB Dual Channel DDR2 SO-DIMM at 667MHz - 2 x 512MB
80 GB Hard Drive space
256MB NVidia® GeForce™ Go 7600

What would you guys suggest. The four biggest programs that I am going to put on them would be Lightwave, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, and maybe After Effects. I am not going to have internet on it though. Thanks for the help in advance.

Captain Obvious
03-10-2007, 06:43 PM
The Core 2 Duo is a lot faster than the Turion, but Alienware are horribly overpriced, and a 15" laptop with only 1280x800 is pathetic. Additionally, 1 gigabyte of memory is NOT enough, and since the Alienware ships with two sticks of 512 megabytes, it means you have to replace both of them.

Plus, I'm sceptical about the "Home" thing. I've had nothing but bad experiences with the "Home" versions of Windows. I'm not sure how Vista "Home" is, though. Perhaps it's not as crippled as XP.

Also, what do you mean by no internet? It's a laptop. If you bring it somewhere where there's wifi, you won't connect to it?

03-10-2007, 06:49 PM
Also, the Hard drive capacities for the apps you intend to use seem to be rather low, I'd be looking at 250GB HD capacity

03-10-2007, 07:42 PM
I'm only a freshmen in highschool, so I have no need for internet on my laptop right now, but when I get into college I will plan on putting it on their. I've been looking around a lot for laptops, but im kind of drawing a blank. Basically I have $1,400, and I want to get the best laptop for running lightwave I can for that amount of money. Can anybody check around and help me out with finding the best one for that price. your help is greatly appreciated. thanks.

Captain Obvious
03-11-2007, 06:34 AM
You don't "put" internet on a computer; you connect to it.

03-11-2007, 07:28 AM
Yeah, sorry about that. "Connect" is what I meant.

Captain Obvious
03-11-2007, 07:34 AM
I still don't understand why you don't need it right now. The internet is a very helpful tool.

03-11-2007, 08:24 AM
Yes. It definatly is. Its just that I don't have a job to get money every week to help me buy stuff that I won't. So sometimes i'll save up for a year until I can finally buy something. I don't want to buy a 1500 dollar laptop, put internet on it and then have it get a virus somehow and collapse on me. Then ill that time spent collecting money is wasted. Plus the internet costs money to be connected, and I dont have it. I run lightwave now on a desktop with no internet, but I connect sometimes do some updates.:D

03-11-2007, 02:30 PM
I've been on the net for 4 years with my current machine and have yet to get a virus. There are some good antivirus progs out there, and the one I'm using is even free [AVG_free Antivirus from grisoft]. Some net connection plans are only $10 per month. The info I get from this site alone is worth the cost!

Captain Obvious
03-11-2007, 03:27 PM
I wouldn't even have my current job if it wasn't for teh intarweb.

03-11-2007, 08:46 PM
You know, if he doesn't want internet then fine. Sure it can be incredibly helpful but a WiFi card is always something that you can get later.

As for me, I would go for a Dell (they own Alienware). I use an Inspiron 9400 Dual Core. My configuration ran about the price you're looking at. Plus I have a good sound card and video card. But if you really want Alienware, then I would recommend it over the HP. I have had nothing but problems with HP.

03-11-2007, 08:53 PM
I couldn't edit my previous post so:

My laptop is this:

Inspiron 9400 Core Duo 1.66ghz
17" UltraSharp widescreen
120 GB HD
256 MB Radeon GFX card
SoundBlaster Audigy Advanced

I run LW, Photoshop, Premiere, Flash 8, AutoCAD, and more fine. Hardly ever slows down. Not very portable though. Probably weighs 8 pounds.

03-12-2007, 07:15 AM
Yeah. I will go with getting a WiFi card later on. I noticed you just have a Core Duo. Shouldn't I try to get a Core 2 Duo? I heard the run a lot faster than just Core Duo, but if your saying that LW runs just fine on a Core Duo, then maybe I will go with that. thanks for the help guys

03-12-2007, 07:18 AM
Im in the same boat. Im looking to up sticks and move to another country so its time to sell the new rig i just bought 2 months ago.

I was looking at the dell and i aso bought last months 3d world which has a good thing about 3d computers.

My budget is around £1500 so about $3000. I looked at Rock laptops but they are pretty expensive.

I would say that the minimum i would ge these days is a

Core 2 Duo
2gb Ram
512 7900 or 7950 graphics card
120 Gb Hd or if you get a big lapop then get one with Raid0

03-12-2007, 08:33 AM
Right, Core 2 Duo is better but when I got this one it either wasn't available or ridiculously expensive.

Of course, (here I try to save my pride) this is only my laptop. My desktop is speedier and is mainly what I use for multimedia work. Though I must say that a laptop is much handier than a desktop.

03-12-2007, 01:06 PM
Well, I was checking out this one that I found searching the web.
It is from Cyber Power PC. It looks really good. What do you guys think? Anybody have one before? Should I try to upgrade anything?

03-12-2007, 02:27 PM
looks quie good for the money but i would still upgrade to 2gb and maybe take a cpu speed boost.


i dont know what your budget is but i like the look of this one.

03-12-2007, 03:24 PM
The Cyber Power PC looks extremely capable for the price, but that's what kind of turns me off of it. Actually, speaking for myself, I would never buy a PC from a manufacturer that isn't well known: if I couldn't find what I was looking for from Dell or Voodoo or Alienware, I'd build it myself. I would stay with a well-known company.

Is there any particular reason you don't want a Dell? When you have problems with it you'll have to learn to understand the Indian guy on the other end of the phone but besides that they're pretty reliable/cheap.

By the way, the Cyber Power PC website has a Google PageRank of 2. My website also has a PR of 2. My website gets about 12 hits a day. That sounds bad to me :)

03-12-2007, 10:47 PM
Not voting either way :) but the Cyber Power PC website indicates that this model is actually an Asus S96J Notebook.

03-13-2007, 07:34 AM
My budget is around 1400-1500 dollars. I have nothing against Dell. I think they make great notebooks, it's just that the XPS are more than I can afford right now. or else I would go with them. I have never heard of Cybe Power before, but if you click on their awards they seem to have a lot of them, and the notebook does come with a warranty. If I would go with that one would you reccomend going up to 2.00 GHz processor? Or more?

03-13-2007, 07:44 AM
Also, I noticed that the graphics card is an ATI Radeon x1600. I'm not familiar with graphic cards, but shouldn't I try to go with nVIDIA? And is 256 MB video memory going to be enough? I'm not sure if it has open gl 2.0 support either.

03-13-2007, 08:29 AM
I configured it, and by upgrading the RAM to 2 gb, and bringing the processor up to 2 ghz, I arrived at a price of $1432.

Since the laptop is really an Asus, it sounds good to me. I haven't really seen a difference between ATI and nVidia. I think nVidia just has a better marketing campaign (i.e. ''to play Half-Life 2, you need nVidia'').

03-13-2007, 09:07 AM
And the fact that ATI is notorious for having conflicts with LW.

03-13-2007, 11:19 AM
And the fact that ATI is notorious for having conflicts with LW.

I've heard that, but never had problems. The reason I like my ATI card is because it seems so much more configurable than the nVidia on my other computer.

03-13-2007, 12:45 PM
That's perfectly valid. Purely from a curiosity standpoint, what type of stuff can you configure on your ATI that you can't on an nvidia?

03-13-2007, 12:54 PM
On my desktop now I have an ATI Radeon x1300, but the only reason I went with that one is becuase my computer only has a PCI slot, and it was the best one that I could find for just a PCI. I don't even know if it has open gl 2.0 support, prabably not since it is only PCI. Anybody know if a video card with 256 MB and 512 MB will make a big difference? Becuase the cyber power card is 256 not 512?

03-13-2007, 04:25 PM
what type of stuff can you configure on your ATI that you can't on an nvidia?

My nVidia and ATI cards are not really equivalent, as far as I can tell, and therefore not easy to compare, but my ATI (on my laptop) is an 256mb ATI Radeon x1400. Under the 3D configuration panel I can set the level/quality of antialiasing, mipmap, anisotropic filtering, Z-buffer, triple buffering, and a lot of other stuff that I have no clue what they mean and really don't want to know :). That's just the 3D tab. It also has settings for video (like interlacing, gamma) and a lot other stuff. I don't know a lot about it but it works for me. Plus I've had compatibility issues with nVidia on other programs.

Anybody know if a video card with 256 MB and 512 MB will make a big difference?

I use three computers. Two of them very often, one of them here and there for networking. One has 128mb, another 256mb, and another 512mb. The difference isn't striking at all. Actually I can tell only a little bit of difference between the 128 and the 512.

What really makes the difference is RAM. My old computer first had 256mb of RAM. Then I upgraded to 1.2gb and the thing was probably twice as fast. I need to buy about 4gb of RAM. Then I'd really be set! I would go for RAM over a graphics card anytime.

03-13-2007, 06:36 PM
Look at Sagers - Alienware used to be rebadged Sagers, not sure if they still are. You'll save money over the Alienware price.

03-14-2007, 08:46 AM
Can still recommend a Dell, you can get a damn good Dell for the price you are looking for. Stable systems and good support.

The Internet is great, and I would not be without it.... however, I would not be with it on any Productive Systems...... Use a seperate system for internet with virus software on it, do not allow any slow downs to my productive systems at all.......... not a good thing.


03-14-2007, 10:16 AM
I would not be with it on any Productive Systems

That's more of an end-user thing than anything else in my opinion. I do web design/multimedia design for my job, and have only had 3 viruses within the last 3 years, and my antivirus (AVG) caught all of them within hours. Nothing was ever affected on my computer. Ever. And I download literally gigabytes of stuff. It's the emails you open and stuff you download that gets you viruses. No Ubuntu distros are going to have viruses. No Dreamweaver updates. No LightWave tutorials.

Can still recommend a Dell

I agree there. Look at either an Inspiron 9400 or an Inspiron 6400. Don't go with the Latitudes because they're not as configurable for memory or multimedia.

03-15-2007, 04:47 PM
Have you taken a look at Gateway? As far as configurability goes they are definitely worth a look. Personally I have had many bad experiences with both Dell and HP. The thing I see commonly in HP laptops, is the power supply mainly the connection point becomes very weak. Every one at my work was given an HP laptop about a year ago and on everyone of them the connector has become, weak, corroded, or broken altogether. And the Screens are easy to come loose. Altogether they seem poorly built. And as far as dell I have received crappy support time and time again. and they have had a bad track record for batteries lately.

I have had a Fujitsu Laptop for 5 years now and It still amazes me how long its been running. I have abused the snot out of the thing and the only thing to go bad so far was the power supply because I backed over it with my truck (don't ask). The hard drive is still in top condition and the screen tight as the day it was built. But after looking at their latest laptops I'm not as impressed for the price... but they are still worth a look. You have to love Japanese workmanship.

And Gateway has always given me great support. I have a 12 year old Pentium III desktop and the other day I wanted to look up some info on the motherboard and they still had my exact computer in their system and told me exactly what I needed.

Vista home basic will be great for you. You don't need premium and don't think about putting ultimate on a laptop for 1,400 bucks. I was a beta tester for Vista and the differences are mainly GUI based. For light wave you will get the best response from a smaller vista install. And Vista runs a lot faster than XP ever did.

For the Graphics card make sure and go with an Nvidia based chip. I dislike their support and actually its been downright piss poor... but their cards are stable and reliable as long as you don't go bleeding edge. STAY MAINSTREAM. ATI cards have let me down a lot.

2 GB memory is a must for light wave.

The faster the processor you can afford the better. Dont skimp out on the processor. The only time you would want to skimp is if you are worried about having lots of battery life. If you are going to be by an outlet all the time - Go for the gusto.

I never look at weight for a laptop... If I could afford a rack mount case with wheels I would buy a 1 space LCD keyboard tray and have my monitor, desktop and keyboard/mouse, all in one box with wheels.