Considering this spec from PCSpecialist...

ginjaninja

Standard Member
Hi all,

I've been researching laptops for months now and decided on PCSpecialist. The build that I'm considering is detailed below. This is the top end of my budget at £1400 (I was hoping to fall closer to the £1000 mark), but I'm not sure about two aspects:

1) The Hard Disk. I'm not too up on these.
2) Wireless card. I need bluetooth, but again I'm not very familiar with wireless cards.

Could anyone off any advice on this spec? I'm mainly going to be using this for 3D modelling (ZBrush),
photoshop and designing. I will also be watching a lot of movies and playing some games
(mostly 1st person shooters).

Many thanks

Jon

Chassis & DisplayVortex Series: 17.3" Matte Full HD LED Widescreen (1920x1080)
Processor (CPU)Intel® Core™i7 Quad Core Mobile Processor i7-4800MQ (2.70GHz) 6MB
Memory (RAM)16GB SAMSUNG 1600MHz SODIMM DDR3 MEMORY (2 x 8GB)
Graphics CardAMD® Radeon® HD 8970M - 4GB DDR5 Video RAM - DirectX® 11
2nd Graphics CardNONE
Memory - 1st Hard Disk1TB SEAGATE HYBRID GEN3 SSHD Drive, SATA 6 Gb/s, 64MB CACHE (5400 rpm)
2nd Hard DiskNONE
RAIDNONE
SSD CACHE DRIVENONE
2nd mSATA SSD DriveNONE
1st DVD/BLU-RAY Drive6x BLURAY WRITER, 8x DVD ±R/±RW & CYBERLINK SOFTWARE
Memory Card ReaderInternal 9 in 1 Card Reader (MMC/RSMMC/SD: Mini, XC & HC/MS: Pro & Duo)
Thermal PasteARCTIC MX-4 EXTREME THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY COMPOUND
Sound CardIntel 5.1 Channel High Definition Audio + SPDIF/MIC/Headphone Jack
Wireless/Wired NetworkingGIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® N-7260 (300Mbps, 802.11BGN) + BLUETOOTH
Wireless Router/HomePlugsNONE
USB Options3 x USB 3.0 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT AS STANDARD
Firewire1 X 1394a FIREWIRE PORT
BatteryVortex Series 8 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (5,200 mAh/76.96WH)
Power Cable1 x UK Power Lead & 230W AC Adaptor
Operating SystemGenuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit w/SP1 - inc DVD & Licence
DVD Recovery MediaWindows 7 Home Premium (64-bit) DVD with paper sleeve
Office SoftwareFREE 30 Day Trial of Microsoft® Office® 365
Anti-VirusNO ANTI-VIRUS SOFTWARE
Laptop Cooling StandsNONE
Carry CaseNONE
MonitorNONE
Keyboard LanguageINTEGRATED BACKLIT UK KEYBOARD WITH NUMBER PAD
Keyboard & MouseNONE
MouseINTEGRATED 2 BUTTON TOUCHPAD MOUSE
Gaming Mouse PadNONE
SpeakersNONE
WebcamINTEGRATED 2.0 MEGAPIXEL WEBCAM
HeadsetsNONE
Surge ProtectionNONE
PrinterNONE
External Hard DriveNONE
Warranty3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
Home InstallationNONE
Dead Pixel Guarantee1 Year Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs
Insurance1 Month Free Laptop Insurance inc. Accidental Damage & Theft
Data Recovery1 x Hard Drive Data Recovery Service - Protect 1 Hard Drive Against Fail.
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
1) The seagate hybrid drives are one of the most popular implementations of a flash memory cache. Compared to a normal setup it can provide speed advantages for repetitive workloads, such as booting windows or loading a large program (such as a game) but lacks the instant responsiveness of an SSD.

Given how much you're spending on the machine and the empty hard drive slot then if it was me I'd consider an SSD essential - it only needs to be a small one for the OS and smaller programs, big amounts of data can be left on a HDD (hybrid or not) without losing most of the benefit.

2) AC is the new version of the wi-fi spec, given it's £6 more on the Vortex IV I'd definitely go for it.

3) Are you sure about Windows 7? It's mainstream support only continues for another year (until January 13th 2015).
 

ginjaninja

Standard Member
Brilliant. Thanks, Endless Waves for your advice.

I hadn't even taken on board that it was Windows 7, that's now 8.

I've also gone for the N7260 AC card. Someone did advise me to go for the Killer 1202 card as people were reporting problems with the Intel, but looking at it the AC is more future proof if I'm not mistaken?

With regards to the SSD/HDD debate, I am a total noob when it comes to them. I have read up a lot, but if I was going to go for a small SSD:
a) What kind of size is enough for the OS etc.
b) PCSpecialist allow you to configure the 2nd hard disk, or go for the mSATA. I know this is mini-SATA, but not sure if there are any benefits to one over the other?

Any advice appreciated, I'd like to get this ordered for Christmas!

Many thanks

Jon
 

EndlessWaves

Distinguished Member
a) My five year old Vista install uses 70GB for OS and (non-games) programs, Windows 7 and 8 apparently use similar or less amounts of space. I guess photoshop and designing programs are larger than most but you can probably manage with 100-120GB.

b) It's the same connection so speeds are the same. mSATA is a smaller form factor so it's theoretically slightly lighter and potentially lower power but on a 17" machine the difference will be unnoticeable so the main difference in practice will be that it frees up the second 2.5" slot for a second hard drive.
 

ginjaninja

Standard Member
Dude, you are a legend. That's a massive help.
Thank you.
 

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