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You're a Windows user and my experience is Mac but one thing I'm really glad we went for is solid state drives in our iMacs. They're expensive but one unexpected advantage that has paid for them already is our experience with crashes. They still happen but there's very little down time. Crashes execute much faster and reopening the file is much faster. No going to make a cup of tea now.

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Have one assembled and burned in by people who know CAD and Rendering. I got mine last december from @Xi Computers in California ( check their website ), the guy walked me through my requirements and explained the pros and cons of each components decision very patiently and then when I made up my mind I just called back, gave them my quote number and it was shipped to my doorstep in BC. You can really screw things up by self assembly like not putting enough watts power to feed you big graphics card or not enough fans etc... God is in the detail...I'll stick to learning my CAD software properly!

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That's what I was looking at on the apple end, but my fear is that it lacks any potential for upgrading. I cannot add more RAM and it would probably be very difficult to swap out a harddrive if needed. I also really think having a RJ-45 would be useful. I know I can get adapters with it, but seems silly.

I am leaning toward either a MBP 15" non retina display with a SSD and maxed out on ram for the additional ports, firewire, rj-45 and optical drive.

The PC option is a HP Elitebook 8570w


I like the HP's for the docking features. Having all my ports replicated when I set it on the dock in the morning is pretty cool. Also the familiarity with windows is useful.

It is just a really tough decision for me for some reason.

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That's what I was looking at on the apple end, but my fear is that it lacks any potential for upgrading.

That's what you get if you want longer battery life, robustness, portability, slimness, lightness, etc.

I'd just max it out when you buy it. Make sure you go try them before buying too. If you're willing to spend that on a PC I'd be going for the retina display.

Also the familiarity with windows is useful.

No reason you couldn't run Windows (and OS X) on the Macbook.

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The elite book lets me doing a little more future proofing. I can always swap out a drive to a bigger drive. It will support 4 monitors if I so desire. I still have fire wire and a optical drive. I also will be able to eventually max out the ram at 32GB when I so desire.

I really like the portability, battery life and weight of the mbp, but not sure if that is the greatest selling point for me or not.

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Surely battery life and portability are going to matter more than the ability to connect four displays, no?

In any case you can daisy chain thunderbolt displays, so you'll be able to drive more than one display with the Macbook.

The HD size is a sticking point, but not an issue for us at work as we use a server.

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After my previous HP laptop died and was replaced by HP with a cheaper Compaq as part of a lawsuit, I did some reasearch to buy a new laptop and I opted for an ASUS primarily because I did not want to buy another HP.

The ASUS N53S cost $1000 and I am very happy with its performance and has no major issues so far.

Windows 7 (64 bit)

15.6" HD (1920 x 1080) screen size

Intel Core i7-2720QM @ 2.2GHz

6GB ram (expandable to 16GB/4 slots) I added 2-4GB for $50 = 14GB

750GB HD @ 7200 rpm

Switchable graphics: Intel HD graphics or 1GB Nvidia GPU

Blue-ray drive.

Battery Life: 1.5 hours (full power) to 4 hours (eco setting)

The battery is the only drawback but I do not use it much. When connected and fully charged, the battery gets disconnected to prevent overcharging. By now I have seen other Asus models that have much better battery performance.

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Actually I would say the number of display's matters more then battery life. More often then not I am in my office and I have a few external displays at the moment. I don't need super great battery life to sit at my desk probably 70% of the time.

My current displays are dvi and one is rather expensive. I would prefer not to swap all my monitors at the same time as my computer.

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My previous laptop was an HP, I had a lot of problems with that.

My current setup from 2011 is great, however the SSD is too small which means I need to carry around a small 1Tb USB External HDD, the advantage on the other hand is that I have my Time Machine Backup with ma at all times, (that proved invaluable last week when the latest Apple software update played havoc and I needed to do a full recovery, twice.)

I'm a bit worried that the limited SSD size and 'only' 8Gb RAM won't be sufficient in the next year or 2 and will create memory issues when using VWs so I've been looking to upgrade the HD which is fairly easy btw. and upgrade to 16Gb RAM (which Apple says it doesn't support btw) both which are apparently possible and not too costly.

Edited by Vincent C
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