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Purchase Template: New computers for College


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#1 cesarmtkt

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 10:19 PM

I'm starting my second year at Cal Poly pursuing a Mechanical Engineer degree. I bought a good MacBook Pro about 4-5 years ago, but since I used to live with smaller siblings this computer has been dropped and messed with numerous times. Suffice it to say it has been very stressful lately when trying to complete work on my computer such as working with Solid Works, or coding for an Arduino board or other modeling/coding assignments (especially since bootcamp is no longer working properly). Long story short I finally put together about $3000-3200 USD to upgrade my computer. I was originally looking into buying the new 15 inch MacBook Pro with 32GB RAM and 1 TB PCe Flash Storage. However, a friend suggested I buy a slightly less powerful laptop and use the rest to buy a good PC and that way I can take my work wherever I go and use a good PC when I'm home for coding/modeling. I originally intended to buy the laptop as MacBook and the PC windows and just bootcamp the Mac, however all suggestions are welcome (especially if they are from experience).

 

My budget for the new computers is: 

$3000-3200 USD total for both the laptop and PC.

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? 

Mail, web browsing (research), engineering/3D analysis, engineering design, music, movies/videos, coding, storage for MANY pictures, 3D modeling.

What software do you intend on using on the computer? 
Microsoft Word and Excel, Finite Element Analysis software, 3D modeling software ie: SolidWorks, ProEngineer/ProMechanica, Autocad Autodesk 3D etc.
And of course, internet browsing for research purposes.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? 

Very rarely, not a main interest. Sometimes games like Gunz or something around that.

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it? 

Yes, I have ADHD and usually have multiple programs often and keep switching between them.

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer?

Yes, 

Will you be overclocking?

Most likely not.

Location for online shopping/shipment/prices?

It can be in either U.S. (California) or Mexico, whichever is most convenient.

How many monitors are you planning to use?

I would prefer 2, but at this point just one to allow more budget for actual performance, I will probably save up and get another monitor later.

Do you need peripherals? OS?

Yes, I'm starting from scratch, so all the basics (keyboard,mouse,etc..). OS is Windows or Mac OS depending on whether it's the laptop or PC.

Any particular reason why you are upgrading?

My old laptop is basically very close to being useless right about now and I've got a lot of work ahead of me.

 

* I do not mind building the computer from the parts if it is better/cheaper this way.

** As I mentioned above, the laptop does not ABSOLUTELY have to be a Mac, I just prefer it because I would like to learn to code in XCode and because I have been using Mac for the past 5 years so I'm a bit more familiar with it now.

 

Thanks in advance to everyone who took the time to read this and help me out, I really appreciate any help and suggestions I can get.



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#2 Aerys

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 02:56 PM

Do you want to be able to do all the modeling/programming and heavy duty usage on the laptop as well? Or would you do most on the desktop and then use the laptop for just general tasks? You could probably go for the MacBook Air, say $1000, and then use the rest to build a nice workstation. Let me know if this sounds reasonable and I can put together a parts list.


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#3 cesarmtkt

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 03:01 PM

Yeah, it would be better if I could do all my work on the laptop even if I get a slightly lower end PC.. Thanks for the reply!

#4 cesarmtkt

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Posted 19 October 2014 - 11:59 PM

*Bump*

#5 Zerue

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 02:46 AM

Do you want these :

 

Finite Element Analysis software

SolidWorks

ProEngineer/ProMechanica

Autocad Autodesk 3D etc.

 

--to run on your laptop as well?


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#6 cesarmtkt

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 05:05 AM

Yes, if thats possible that would be the optimal
result! Thank You!

#7 Zerue

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 09:16 AM

How does this look? 

 

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ZQjxVn
 
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($289.99 @ Newegg) 
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.SNIPER H6 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($99.99 @ Amazon) 
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($139.99 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($89.98 @ OutletPC) 
Storage: Western Digital Red 3TB 3.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($119.99 @ NCIX US) 
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card  ($349.99 @ NCIX US) 
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ NCIX US) 
Power Supply: Corsair 760W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($139.98 @ NCIX US) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($197.97 @ OutletPC) 
Total: $1487.87
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-10-23 10:12 EDT-0400
 
Picked the red themed parts if you dont mind ;)
 
As for the laptop : I think this should suffice. Imma look for alternatives.
 
Edit: This looks good as well. This and this is a little bit weaker than the earlier ones but is cheaper should be able to handle those apps decently.

Edited by Zerue, 23 October 2014 - 09:31 AM.

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#8 cesarmtkt

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 03:23 PM

Yes, thanks so much! Red looks awesome... 

 

I was wondering if it would be possible to lower the HDD from 3 TB to 1 or 2, in order to get the  32 GB RAM rather than 16?

 

and the "MSI GT Series" laptop looks great!



#9 Zerue

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Posted 23 October 2014 - 11:51 PM

The 1 TB HDD is only about 20$ cheaper than the 3 TB one. Personally I don't think it's worth it (3 TB costs 25% more but has 300% more capacity) , but maybe that's just me :)

 

If you want, then swap that with this (1 TB) or this (2 TB).

 

As for the RAM, I have looked at the recommended system requirements of those software and I think the 16 GB is more than enough for it even if you are planning to run all of them at the same time. I personally don't think you have to upgrade to 32 GB (which is overkill).

 

Still, if you want to go with that, you can swap the ram with this.

 

I have made the changes in the list as you requested. Please see below. Enjoy!

 

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ZKkQLk
 
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 3.6GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($298.98 @ SuperBiiz) 
Motherboard: Gigabyte G1.SNIPER H6 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard  ($99.99 @ Amazon) 
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($305.98 @ Newegg) 
Storage: Samsung 840 Series 120GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($89.98 @ OutletPC) 
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($88.97 @ OutletPC) 
Video Card: MSI GeForce GTX 970 4GB Twin Frozr V Video Card  ($349.99 @ NCIX US) 
Case: Corsair 300R ATX Mid Tower Case  ($59.99 @ NCIX US) 
Power Supply: Corsair 760W 80+ Platinum Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($139.98 @ NCIX US) 
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (OEM) (64-bit)  ($197.97 @ OutletPC) 
 
Total: $1631.83
 
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2014-10-24 00:50 EDT-0400

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#10 cesarmtkt

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 12:15 AM

Thank you, I will probably stick with the 3TB and 16 GB RAM then! I appreciate all your help! 

 

Also, anywhere else I can get the laptop you suggested? It's out of stock at newegg.

 

EDIT:

 

I looked at some other laptop options in NewEgg and was wondering if I could get your opinion on them?

 

What do you think of 1, or 2 , or 3, or 4, and not too sure about 5..

 

Which one would you recommend including these and the ones you suggested, if they were to be judged on performance, price, and reliability? 


Edited by cesarmtkt, 27 October 2014 - 01:00 AM.


#11 Zerue

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:54 AM

1 and 4 is the same? :)
 
 
Reliability-wise... All of them came from made by very reputable companies and each of them is one of their higher-tier products. At this price point, all of them should be reliable.
 
According to their specs, all of them should perform toe-to-toe (with the exception of 5... but it is a lot cheaper so that is understandable)
 
So whatever you choose should do the task you are planning to use this laptop for.
 
Things that might help you decide :
 
 
Round 1 : SSD
 
SSDs will improve the overall read and writing speeds of you laptop, provided that the OS and mostly used Apps are installed in the SSD.
 
1 can also have an 256 GB SSD for additional $400. See here.
2 has 128 GB SSD
3 has 2x128 GB SSD on RAID 0. <--- Will improve your read and writing speeds even further, at the cost of reliability. (if you want to know more about RAID 0 as fast as possible, click here)
5 has no SSD.
 
 
Round 2 : CPU
 
1 - 3 all uses the i7 4710HQ as CPU. 
5 uses a lower i7 4700HQ
 
 
Round 3 : GPU
 
1 uses the latest Nvidia GPU series. GTX 970M
3 uses an older gen GPU. GTX 870M (but can also have a GTX 970M for the same price, look here)
2 and 5 uses a lower tier and older gen GPU. GTX 860M
 
 
Round 4 : Optical Drive
 
1 has a built-in Optical drive. 5 has an external DVD Drive.
 
2 and 3 doesn't.
 
 
Round 5 : Screen size
 
1. 17.3"
2. 15.6"
3. 17.3"
5. 15.6"
 
 
Round 6 : LAN Connection
 
2,3 and 5 can use both wired and wireless connection.
1 only uses wireless connection. 

 
Summary :
 
ASUS ROG G751 aka Laptop 1 :  $1,899.00. Lacks Ethernet port / only wireless connection. 
 
MSI GS60 aka Laptop 2 : $1,649.99  A tad cheaper. Has smaller Screen Size.  Uses older gen GPU.
 
MSI GS70 Stealth aka Laptop 3 : $1,999.99. SSDs running at RAID 0. Lacks optical drive.  A little bit more expensive.
 
Lenovo Y50 aka Laptop 5 :  $1,089.99. Cheapest. External Optical drive, a tad slower I7. older gen GPU

 

 

Conclusion :

 

If you want to save some cash, and will mostly be doing your projects etc on your PC, 5 is a decent choice. Sure it is the slowest of these 4 but it does the job, plus you will have an extra $700~ which can be used for... i dunno.. Life savings? Bacon and beer? Maybe flowers for a family member? i dunno lol... ANYHOO...

 

If you are planning to use your Laptop as your main workstation, and wont be using an Ethernet cable for internet, Laptop 1 can't be beat.

 

But if you are a bit of a speed freak, then go for Laptop 3.

 

 

Disclaimer :

 

I am not an expert :) I based all my judgement based on their respective specifications. Hope I helped in any way! Good luck!


Edited by Zerue, 27 October 2014 - 04:55 AM.

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#12 technonymous

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:52 PM

IMO I would say forget about the desktop and get into a nice development workstation laptop. As far as specs go I7 4940 MX, minimum 8GB memory  (ideal 16GB), SSD 250-500GB, Blueray DVD burner (external extra), Quadro k4100 2-4GB vram video card. Price range around $3,075.

 

LInk to the builder.

http://www.xicomputer.com/products/Configure_prof.asp?model=PowerGoIntel154


Edited by technonymous, 27 October 2014 - 05:02 PM.


#13 cesarmtkt

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 09:55 PM

Do you think that if I bought this, with the 2.8Ghz and the 1 TB drive it would suite my needs?

 

Note: I would install windows on it in order to run the modeling programs I use.






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