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Is this horrible?

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Hi Brian (and anyone else smart enough to help with this) -

I'm in the market for a new laptop.  I have a pretty limited budget (staying close to $1500).  I'm at the  Dell website simply because it's what I've used for the past three computers and I've had no issues.  I'm a gramma who edits her personal photos and scrapbooks (creates personal digital scrapbook pages) on said laptop.  I am hoping to upgrade to IPS for my display and I NEED 17" because I'm blind.  Like seriously.  Small screens and photos make me nuts.  I don't open a lot of windows at a time while I'm editing and scrapbooking (also in photoshop).  My main programs I use are Photoshop, Bridge, Firefox and occasionally one of the Office products.  That's pretty much my computer life.  I've been eyeing this one and just want some input before pulling the trigger.  There is an Alienware one that hits my two priorities (17" and IPS) that has 16G ram (which I think is about as low as I should go?) but I'm not sure I need all the "gaming" stuff.    I AM reading through posts and checking out other advice to members here, too :)



Thanks for any guidance you can give :)


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"Meh..." Is how I feel about the 2-n-1 laptops. Touch Screens can be a real P.I.T.A. to calibrate. Plus, I've held 2-n-1 units, it's a laptop that is pretending to be a tablet. It's still not a iPad or Samsung Tablet and they aren't as light as one either. If you want a tablet, get an actual tablet. LOL!!

Spec-wise, it's not THAT bad. It hits a lot of the marks, though you are locked in at 16GB of RAM. Now, while that is perfectly acceptable for what you want to do, being locked in might have consequences a few years from now. That said, you are still using CS5, and 16GB is fine.

My recommendation: You are "THIS CLOSE" but I feel you need to keep looking. The good news is that $1500 is a healthy budget for the laptop you are after and I feel that you can get one for less than $1200. Yes, you are looking at "Gaming" laptops. I know you aren't going to need all of the stuff that they come with but Photoshop and Bridge will like those features. ;) Of course, if you go with a Alienware Laptop, $2000+ isn't out of the question.

Key Things to look for:

  • Intel i5 or i7 (Since you are running CS5, a i7 will only make a 5-7% difference in terms of speed.)
  • 16GB RAM (Minimum) with the ability to upgrade to 32GB. Granted, 16GB is fine for you but I like options.
  • 1TB HD - Going forward, Windows 10 is going to grab a chunk of HD space in order to have room for upgrades / patches. Do not be tempted by small 128GB / 256GB Main Hard Drives. These days 500GB HDs is pushing things and I feel 1TB at a Minimum is your best bet.
  • Video Card with dedicated Video RAM. 2GB or 4GB is fine. Of course more is better.
  • Windows 10 Home is fine for you. Power / Advanced Users should get Windows 10 Pro.
  • 1920 x 1080 IPS Screen with a Matte Coating / Non-Glossy Finish or a true Matte Display. The reason I'm recommending 1920 x 1080, is that if you cram 3800 pixels into the same physical area, things are going to be smaller which defeats the purpose of a 17" screen for you. Of course some may suggest for you to lower your resolution, but why bother wasting all that money for a 4K screen if you aren't going to use it?

So as you can see, you are headed in the right direction. Thanks for taking time to look at other threads.


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Oh!  When you talk hard drives ... I’ve never bought a system with two. Is 

256GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive (Boot) + 1TB 5400 rpm 2.5" SATA Hard Drive (Storage)
ok or does the boot boot drive need to be minimum of 500G with a preference toward 1T?  I swear I’m too old to keep up.  (I seriously remember one of my first systems and being told I would never EVER fill a 1G hard drive. HA!!)
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Yeah, I like a bare minimum of 500GB on a main HD. (Boot / OS Drive) Going forward, Windows 10 will be reserving a chunk of space to push downloads and updates to. So in addition to what the OS and programs take, there will be a reserved section AND we also have the Windows Swap File / Adobe Scratch Disk to deal with. So you don’t have as much space to work with as you think you do. Watch out for the 128GB / 256GB SSD and 1TB traditional HD. If you do get something like that, you will need to be ANAL on what is installed on a SSD that small plus you will need to do a custom install on each program do that it gets put on the D Drive. 

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The reason we have those type of combos, small SSD and larger traditional HD, is manufacturers have a boatload of them and they are trying to get rid of them. Which is both good and bad. SSD drives are FAST and their power requirements are less than a traditional HD, which results in laptop batteries lasting longer between charges. These are all good things. That said, a fancy SSD Drive will not do you any good if it’s full. 

Bottom Line: I personally like a 1TB for my main HD. Less headaches down the line. 

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Great.  I’ll keep that in mind.  So far, that 256 is the highest I’ve been able to go (looking at the G series now) and haven’t been able to customize that particular element.  :( IF I had to end up with that, would it be safe to say that windows only on it and everything else I install on the D drive?  I’m hunting!   

Thanks, Brian!  I do appreciate being able to pick your brain :)

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Currently in my cart - 

Alienware 17 R5
8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8750H (6-Core, 9MB Cache, up to 4.1GHz w/ Turbo Boost)
Operating System
Windows 10 Home 64bit English
Video Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 with 6GB GDDR5
Color Choice
17.3 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 60Hz IPS Anti-Glare 300-nits NVIDIA G-SYNC Enabled
16GB, DDR4, 2400MHz; up to 32GB (additional memory sold separately)
Hard Drive
512GB PCIe M.2 SSD + 1TB 7200RPM HDD
Power Supply
180W Power Adapter
Killer 1435 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
4-zone, multi-color RGB, keyboard with AlienFX lighting control
I think the only thing I may regret is the colorful lights.   I’m hoping I can tone it down with that fancy software alienfx lighting control :/
I spent the extra money to add the space on the SSD drive instead of the memory.  I can add memory later based on that “up to 32G” phrase in the memory spec, yes?
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You should be able to turn off the lights via some sort of control software.

That was smart to increase the size of the SSD Drive. 16GB is fine and you can always upgrade it later. Upgrading a SSD after the fact is a bit more of a P.I.T.A. RAM is easy. Couple of screws, remove access panel, unplug battery, wait about min, install new RAM, hook battery up and put access panels screws back where they were. Total Time: about 10-15 min Max. New HD? That's a whole other ballgame.


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