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grad student seeking performance

by notocivilization / June 7, 2007 4:37 PM PDT

Hi everyone!
I am a new graduate student and have been looking for a good laptop for a while. Btw, I especially want a Dell laptop as I read good comments about it everywhere.
My primary requirement is a powerfull laptop since I will be working on school projects requiring many computational resources. For now, I am comsidering the Dell Latitude D830 or the Dell Precision M90 laptops.
Any comments on these models or any other brands will be appreciated.
Thanks to everybody in advance.

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Re: computational resources.
by Kees Bakker / June 7, 2007 5:06 PM PDT

Meaning: fast CPU? Maybe some RAM to keep all the data? And no need to pay for a big screen, high-end video card or big and fast hard drive?

Dell lets you configure their machines according to your wishes. So that surely will be possible.

Can you tell more on the class of problems you're going to attack? I think that some people would be saying that a 100x100 spreadsheet requires a good computational resource, while that's not exactly the same as simulating an atomic bomb, running a climate model or a model of the universe or comparing 200000 samples of DNA to find differences in a gen.
What programs are you going to use? Mathematica or so? Then check their system specs and recommendations.


Kees

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fast CPU+HD - large RAM
by notocivilization / June 7, 2007 10:19 PM PDT

I think I will need particularly a fast CPU and a large RAM. Actually I will be working with large datasets (therefore a fast hard drive, too.) and will be doing simulations on them. I will also use a lot of mathemetics.
Yes, Dell provides an opportunity for configuration. I wonder if it is really the right choice. Sony is too expensive, and there are some brands that I have not ever heard of before.
Also, do you think I need MS Vista installed or XP Pro would be enough?
Thank you.

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Supposedly strong points of Vista are:
by Kees Bakker / June 7, 2007 10:28 PM PDT

- better graphic experience
- more secure on the net
- better for media consumption
- better search functions integrated in the OS

Those don't really seem the most important things for you. But it won't be easy to find a laptop with XP at the moment. The most discriminating factor for you: does the application software you plan to use under Windows Vista?

Hope this helps.


Kees

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My feelings on XP versus Vista
by orlbuckeye / June 8, 2007 12:28 AM PDT

are that Microsoft will concentrating it's support on Vista. They won't leave XP users out to dry but their resources will be directed towards Vista. Supposedly they will release sp3 for XP later this year. Some people consider Vista's increased security an issue not to get Vista. The example of UAC (user access control) which prompts you to allow a program to execute (Y/N) eventhough you have executed the application or an instruction for the internet started the app. Also in 64 bit Vista does a quality check of drivers by not allowing unsigned drivers to be installed. Vista has all security built in except Anti-Virus. The firewall is bidirectional while the XP firewall will only stop intrusions trying to enter your machine. XP security does prevent malware or other programs sending your data from inside your computer to outside on the internet.

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