Please Help! I Need Laptop Advice!

Alright readers!  I need some advice.  Permit me to ask for some personal advice from the more knowledgeable of you out there.  My laptop will be 2 years old soon and instead of having a birthday cake with 2 candles for my laptop, I am thinking of replacing it with a newer one.  The dilemma I’m having is what laptop I should replace it with.

I’ve loved my laptop dearly.  It is a Dell Studio XPS (pictured here) with an Intel Core 2 Duo (2.4 GHz), 4 GB RAM, 500 GB Hard Drive (@ 7200 RPM) and an ATI 128MB graphics card.  I realize that these specs are still pretty good and that my laptop can still handle its fair share, but what can I say.  I’m a techie nerd with a constant hungering for upgrades.

I’ve pretty much narrowed my choices down to 2 options, but am open to more suggestions.  On the one hand is the new Dell XPS laptop with a 3GB NVIDIA graphics card, an Intel i7 processor, 1 TB hard drive and 8GB RAM.  On the other hand, I’ve been looking at the new MacBook Pro laptops with similar hardware specs.  I am in college and do not have tons of money to throw around, but a large part of me wants to be persuaded to go Mac and never look back.

I love fast computers with powerful graphics capabilities.  Let me know what you guys think I should go for, as I am in a bit of a quandary.  Feel free to take sides in the PC vs. Mac debate if you feel you need to as well.  Any advice you can give would be much appreciated and I will write later about what decision I made!  Thanks again!

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  • Christophé Blythe

    I, too, have a Dell Studio XPS, 16″. Mine was bought around mid-last year.

  • Flores4461

    Go for the new Macbook Pro. I recently got the new Macbook Pro 13″ Core i7 model, and it works AMAZING. I do not regret making the purchase. If your planning to use it for hard-core gaming or intense video editing, then I would go for the 15″ Quad-core processors. They are pretty expensive, though. The 13″ Macbook Pro seems to be what your looking for, and it is at a great price.

    • Joshua

      I’ve had both the Dell Studio and the MacBook Pro and as a developer, gamer and recently graduated student I definitely recommend my experience with the MBP. I had a 15″ and just bought the new 13″ and swapped out the drive for a SSD. It has been the most amazing computer experience I’ve ever had.

      • Joshua

        I also had a windows XP partition. Thought I’d need it for class and then I never used it.

      • Flores4461

        Does the SSD make a huge difference compared to the 500GB 5000rpm HDD?

        • Kyle Bashour

          not noticeably. only if you’re working with very big files.

  • Vinko

    Given that you’re in school. I also presume you’re not studying Computer Science or any program that requires programing classes.

    Your daily computing needs are fairly standard: web surfing, emails, IM, Skype, photo storage and music management, producing word-processing and spreadsheet documents.

    If these assumptions are correct your computing needs do not require much resources. Although I am a long time Mac user, I suggest you try to upgrade your existing computer, by increasing RAM and purchases of external Hard Drives for storage and backup instead.

    • Christophé Blythe

      I agree. Like you said, you’re computer’s still quite capable. And, like you said also, you don’t have a lot of cash to throw around. I think it’s best to just go the cheaper route and upgrade your current hardware.

      The money you save may come in handy for something else. I’m a student and extra cash is ALWAYS welcome.

  • Josh A.

    I guess I should have specified my uses! I use my comPuter for heavy gaming, regular school stuff (like web browsing. word processing, and I use programs like Illustrator and photoshop quite heavily as well :)

    • Christophé Blythe

      I updated my answer, hope it”s convincing.
      And, there ya go. If you use it for gaming, WIndows is prob’ly more compelling. It’s been a debate for the longest while, but I don’t keep up with games so I don’t know if that’s a non-issue now.

      • Kyle Bashour

        it’s usually not an issue anymore, especially with the recent processor/graphic sandy bridge updates.

        • Christophé Blythe

          Ah, I see.

  • Flores4461

    The Macbook Pro 13″ Core i7 should be your best bet. You don’t have to worry about viruses, and they only start at $1,400. To be honest, I’m not a hard-core gamer, but I know that the Macbook will not break a sweat playing intense games. The battery life is great, too. It lasts me up to 7+ hours of normal use.

  • Draigg Phillips

    I had/have a Dell Inspiron 1505 that I got many years ago and recently beefed it up with more RAM and a new 802.11n card. It’s hella fast now! However…. I do a lot of photo and video editing and it’s just not keeping up. I have an iPod Touch 4th gen and recently got an iPad 2 and plan to get the iPhone “5″ when it comes out. Therefore it just seemed to make sense to me to “keep it in the family”. I got the 13″ MacBook Pro with the 2.7 i7 duo core & 500gb hard drive. I got the starter 4gb RAM, but plan to go to 8gb as soon as I find it cheaper than Apple wanted. Expensive? I suppose that’s relative. I’ve been using computers in one way or the other for over 40 years and have always had PC’s. I always bought into the mantra of “it’s a PC world”. That and the expense of a Mac kept me away from what I knew was the better computer.

    This time I said to hell with it and spent the money and have NOT looked back! This computer is amazing in it’s power, speed & simplicity. For example, it literally takes less than 25 secs from pushing the power button to being fully booted. What PC, even the most powerful out there, can say that?? If you’re looking for my advise, get a Mac and be done with it.

  • ickyob

    Dude go with the MacBook, I got one 2 years ago and I’m still in love with it! By far the most enjoyable, user friendly experience available on any laptop I’ve ever tried. After being on a windows 7 desktop PC at work all day, I can’t wait get home and use a real computer! :)

  • Kyle Bashour

    Definitely macbook, much better computer overall. It’ll last a lot longer than two years if you take good care of it. but the rumors are hinting that the next update will have a new body design, so if you can wait, wait. ALSO buying refurbished directly from apple is a GREAT way to save money. the products are tested to make sure they’re like new, and you don’t have to worry about getting an old computer because you have to return within 30 days, and thats where the refurbs come from. they also come with the same warranty as the new one!