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Old 12-21-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
eyeheartfrogz
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Default Need advice on laptop

Hi, I am looking to purchase a laptop suitable for getting started in Desktop Publishing, but one thats not too expensive. Any ideas?
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:53 PM   #2
Steve Rindsberg
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I'm sure folks will have lots of suggestions. Help them narrow the focus a bit though:

Are you looking for a Mac or a Windows laptop? What's your idea of "too expensive"? What kind of budget did you have in mind.

   
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:07 PM   #3
Kayza
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Another question - what are your eyes like? You are obviously going to need something with a decent screen, but how critical it is, is going to depend on how your eyes stand up to screen time.

Yet another question: What is you definition of Desktop publishing? What kind of things are you thinking of designing- web sites, basic flyers and newsletters, catalogs with lots of high quality pictures, or ??
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Old 12-22-2010, 01:31 AM   #4
Benwiggy
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If you are really doing "desktop publishing", then you will want to be able to see an entire page (or even a spread) clearly on the screen.
Trying to do a layout on a small laptop screen is much more difficult, and when you do start using today's huge monitors, it is such a joy.

Most laptops are powerful enough to cope with running InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator all at once; but when you say "good for DTP" and "not too expensive", those are traditionally opposing criteria.

Lots of RAM (you may need to add more after purchase); lots of hard disk space; a large, good screen (though don't rely on it for color accuracy -- always use the CMYK/RGB numbers); and a good graphics card.

You can get very cheap laptops, but they often have poor graphics cards, older CPU technologies, lower-spec components and crappy screens. And they tend not to last long.
Buy cheap; pay twice, as my grandmother used to say.

Apple laptops are "high-end", but they are not expensive, in that you get what you pay for. You get high-quality manufactured machines that last a long time, and have high-spec equipment inside. You can say the same for other manufacturers like Sony or Lenovo. (YMMV)
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:08 AM   #5
Steve Rindsberg
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The higher-end Lenovo ThinkPad line is still The Good Stuff but I'd read the reviews on site and elsewhere re their lower-end models. I haven't heard a lot about them one way or the other and haven't had occastion to use any of them.

And tagging on to Ben's comments on large monitors: many laptops today are wide-screen models. These wouldn't be very suitable for DTP work. For the price, you tend to get the same number of pixels on the screen, but arrayed in 16:9 ratio rather than 4:3. In practice, this means that you get lots of pixels across (where you don't so much need them) and not many top to bottom (where you want all you can get).

Look for 4:3 ratio screens and make sure that the graphics card supports an external monitor in extended mode, preferably at higher resolutions than the laptop screen itself.

   
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:49 PM   #6
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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In view of the comments on screensize, it would be a good idea to look at the connection provided for an external monitor and making sure it is the right kind for connecting to an external monitor.

I see some laptops announcing HDMI connection which would be more for connecting to a TV set I imagine.

Lenovo which used to be IBM still has a good reputation.

The other thing to watch out for with a laptop is how your hands react to the keyboard -- are you comfortable using it with the size and spacing of keys. Are there any keys you know you will want to use that are not there or placed where they are awkward for you?

And I'd include a mouse in your budget and disable the touchpad ...... but that's a personal choice.

   
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