Re: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun

Subject: Re: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun
From: "Edgar D' Souza" <edgar -dot- b -dot- dsouza -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Sean Brierley" <sbrierley -at- accu-time -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2008 20:23:42 +0530

On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 7:43 PM, Sean Brierley <sbrierley -at- accu-time -dot- com> wrote:
> Also, would you not want to look for a laptop with a graphics card and
> onboard RAM, rather than integrated graphics that might share system
> RAM?

An onboard X3100 is more than capable of running Compiz/Aero
(first-hand experience) and any later-model onboard chipset from Intel
should be able to handle those with aplomb. Even though that means
using system RAM, if Kevin buys 4 GB of RAM, the memory going to the
onboard display chipset doesn't make too much of an impact.

A discrete graphics card with dedicated VRAM is not only more
expensive, it also increases heat levels in the laptop, and chews
battery faster than the onboard models. This isn't important if the
laptop is a DTR (desk-top replacement), but is a big factor if it is
going to be used a lot while travelling. I remember reading about some
new laptop models that can switch between the discrete and the onboard
card, withdrawing power to the discrete GPU when using the onboard, to
save battery - though I don't remember brand and model, or whether it
was on-the-fly switching, or needed a reboot. Google should help :)

My criteria for my (still planned, though not executed... sighh)
laptop purchase:
- L2 cache should be 3 MB or more; 2 MB for a dual-core CPU isn't such
a great idea, IMO. The more L2 cache you have, the better your system
- 3 GB of RAM - I'm currently quite happy with a meagre 768 MB ;-P and
having to go to a 64-bit OS, with the consequent problems of finding
64-bit versions of apps and plugins that I use... not worth it, I
feel. And I don't really run so many heavy programs that I would be
able to fill 3 GB of RAM most of the time - a lot of it would simply
go as disk/system cache
- I intended to buy a laptop with a discrete GPU because I wanted the
ability to play some older games like UT or Warzone 2100 etc (there
are a ton of enjoyable Free/Open-Source games for Linux) and the X3100
and successors have far fewer stream processors than do even older
cards like the ATI HD 3650, for example. Another point - I specified
ATI after the recent wide recalls of failing NVidia GPUs - heating
problems, cards dying early, I believe. There's info all over the news
feeds around a month or two back...
- Higher-resolution display (1440x900 minimum) for more screen real
estate (though this should be on at least a 15" display, preferably a
- HDD - as Jim P says, external storage is widely available, as well
as cheaper than buying it in the laptop, as far as I can see. I
planned on getting a 160 GB hard drive, though if the difference
wasn't much for an upgrade to 250, would take that.
- If you work outdoors or in brightly-lit environments, then of course
the display should not be the glossy variants, which reflect all that
light instead of giving you a good picture :-( That itself reduces the
number of laptops to consider quite a bit :)
- Must have a three-year warranty (I prefer Dell's three-year
accidental damage cover - piece of mind in case I damage the screen,
or the GPU goes bust, or I drop the laptop and have large-scale
- I plan on going for the standard 6-cell battery, but anyone using
the laptop on battery for extended periods of time should investigate
the 9-cell battery options...


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help 2009 is your all-in-one authoring and publishing
solution. Author in Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word or
HTML and publish to the Web, Help systems or printed manuals.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:


RE: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun: From: Pinkham, Jim
RE: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun: From: Sean Brierley

Previous by Author: White Paper "closure"/history
Next by Author: Re: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun
Previous by Thread: RE: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun
Next by Thread: RE: Laptop for graphics, writing and fun

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads