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Old Jun 12, 2012, 6:46 PM   #11
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You can find less expensive PCs, too. The XPS 8300 is one of their performance oriented models, and they just happen to have a good deal on that particular config right now using a coupon code.

I also see some XPS 8300 boxes in the Dell Oulet listings (refurbished) in the $500s now, with a Core i5 2320, 6GB of DDR3, HD 6450 and 1TB Drive.

But, the Core i7 2600 is a faster CPU supporting more threads, and the video card in that $699 config is also faster (it's an HD 6670 versus HD 6450), and it has a bit more memory in it (8GB versus 6GB, but you could add more to either one). It's also new versus refurbished (but, personally I wouldn't care about that part).

It also depends on what you want to spend. But, that $699 config after 25% coupon code is a pretty good deal for a box that fast (it's got a Core i7 2600 CPU and an HD 6670 video card that's faster than the base configs usually have).

They probably won't have them for long though (the XPS 8300 is being replaced by the new XPS 8500 with newer Ivy Bridge CPUs, so they just have some closeout prices and coupon codes on some of the XPS 8300 models like that right this minute while supplies last). I thought they had already sold out. But, I found one 25% off coupon code linking to selected boxes that still had one XPS 8300 config included (the one I just posted about). So, once that config runs out, you probably won't see any more of the XPS 8300 computers being sold new (although they'll probably be available refurbished for quite a while).

The new XPS 8500 starts out at $749 now for a slower Core i5 3470 config, and $899 and up for the Core i7 3770 configs. See those here:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-8500/pd

So, the XPS 8300 config with a Core i7 2600 in it is giving you more "bang for the bucK" at that discounted $699 price point right now after a coupon code while supplies last.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 8:30 PM   #12
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Hi JimC,
I ended up getting the Dell with a card reader. My son is going to put in an additional drive for backup etc. Thanks again for your help.
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Old Jun 13, 2012, 8:50 PM   #13
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Great, since it looks like they're sold out of the XPS 8300 now. I checked earlier and got a no longer available message when clicking on the config I posted a link to earlier that you could get for $699 after a coupon code:

http://configure.us.dell.com/dellsto...ms5&s=dhs&fb=1

That config at the price they were selling it at has more "bang for the buck" compared to the newer XPS 8500, since the cheapest config they have with the new XPS 8500 is a $749 config with a Core i5 3450 and HD 7570 video card in it (you'd have to move up to an $899 config to get a Core i7 CPU in the new XPS 8500 lineup).

The Core i7 2600 in the $699 config outperforms the Core i5 3450, and the HD 6670 video card in the $699 config also outperforms the newer HD 7570 video card in the $749 XPS 8500 config.

There's not a huge difference for most practical purposes, but the older XPS 8300 at that $699 sale price gives you more "bang for the buck", and if you plan on keeping a system for a while, it doesn't hurt to have one that's faster. So, you got one in the nick of time since it looks like they're sold out of it now.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 3:11 PM   #14
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Well, the new retina display now has me over a fence. I like the clarity of it in the iPad, so I might like even more in the Macbook. I'm going to now wait until it's in stores so I can see it firsthand and then make my decision. Either way I'll be ordering one of them with the lowest available RAM and then bump it up to 16 after it's in my hands.

Thanks for the advice JimC - sound as always.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 3:54 PM   #15
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Yea.. that new Retina display on some of the Macbook Pro models looks really neat. It looks like the "recommended" settings for are only using 1440x900 resolution setting though (as the higher rez setting would make everything look too small on a display that size). You just get more pixels representing that resolution setting the way they're scaling it down. Here's one article on the subject:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-33620_3-57...-pro-displays/

They're also using a really good SSD model in it (mSATA versions of the Samsung 830 series SSDs). One of the Macbook Pro tear down articles said it's Samsung S4LJ204X01 3-core ARM SSD controller chip has a revision that seems newer than Samsung 830-series SSD. It's not. I compared the photos from the Apple teardown to the Samsung 830 SSDs you can buy from vendors, and it's the identical S4LJ204X01-Y040 model CPU used on the standard Samsung and Apple version SSDs.

You would need to order the new MacBook Pro with the amount of memory you wanted up front though, as the Macbook Pro will not be user serviceable (battery glued in and the memory is soldered onto the logic board). Here's one article on the subject:

http://mashable.com/2012/06/13/new-m...ard-to-repair/

It's also a very expensive laptop. The models with the Retina Display start out at $2199 for one with a 256GB SSD and 8GB of memory.

http://store.apple.com/us/browse/hom...ook_pro/select

If you went with the model that has a larger 512GB drive in it and bumped it up to 16GB of RAM, you'd be at approx. $3K (or even more if you went with the faster CPU they have available or an even larger drive).

As nice as they may be, I just couldn't see spending that much for a laptop. lol

Now, there are some new Windows based ultrabooks coming out with IPS displays. For example, Visio just announced some starting out at $899. They'll have both 14" and 15.6" models with IPS displays. They'll have thinner models more like the Macbook Air, and slightly larger models closer to the Macbook Pro. They'll start shipping early July. Some of the configs also use a smaller 32GB SSD for cache in conjunction with a larger 1TB regular internal drive, where frequently accessed data is cached on the SSD transparently when you use the larger drive.

For example, they're going to get $1199 for a 15.6" model with a 32GB SSD used to cache frequently accessed sectors for fast load times in conjunction with a larger 1TB Drive, 8GB of DDR3 and an Nvidia 640M graphics chipset (and you could replace the 1TB drive with an SSD yourself easily if desired, as they're coming down in price a lot lately at vendors like newegg.com, etc.). Note the IPS display on it's features page:

http://www.vizio.com/notebook/features

More models here:

http://www.vizio.com/computing/

Also, Asus just announced new Zenbook Prime models with IPS displays (and vendors that have tested it and the new Macbook Pro show it has better contrast ratio compared to the Apple Retina display, too). Here's one article discussing them:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/5843/a...e-ux21a-review

Even more vendors should be announcing models with IPS displays soon.
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Old Jun 17, 2012, 6:00 PM   #16
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You might want to look at Wired article on upgrading Macs - http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/...retina-displa/

Almost seems that the retina display is a death trap if you want to upgrade or use the battery very much.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 12:45 PM   #17
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*Update

Milked my laptop along to see the new iMacs come out. I liked what I saw so took advantage of Apple offering me my military discount, another discount on top of that, and a free upgrade of warranty to the 3-year Apple care. Those perks made it easier for me to bump up all the specs to as much as they offered. Can't wait for it to be built and shipped out.

27" iMac with the following configuration:
3.4GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
32GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x8GB
1TB Fusion Drive
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX 2GB GDDR5
Magic Trackpad

I've been using LR3 quite a bit lately as my laptop was finicky when trying to run PSE. Might be time to try it again as I'm sure the new system will run it much smoother.

Last edited by Quadna71; Jan 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 10:36 PM   #18
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Quadna71 -

When I read the specs of the 27" iMac that you've ordered I was overcome by awe - both at the specs and what I imagine it must all cost.

My upgrade is a LOT different. Just before Christmas, I asked a local computer business about Solid State Drives. They assured me that my ancient old HP a1130n with 4gb of RAM and it's 160gb SATA hard drive would work much faster if I installed a Solid State drive.

The cheapest Solid State drive they had was an Intel 60gb one & cost about $100. So I held my breath and bought it. The new Solid State drive now runs my operating systems - and the old 160gb SATA hard drive is my storage drive.

The old 160gb Sata drive had seldom seemed slow, but the new Solid State drive is way faster. I now call my $100 investment The Poor Man's upgrade.......
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Old Jan 31, 2013, 7:33 PM   #19
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Yeah, it wasn't by any means cheap, but since my wife and I both will be using it (she does plenty of work in PS as well for her marketing job) it's easily justified. The computer arrived last night and all I can say is wow. Everything seems pretty much instantaneous in regards to applications starting and processing things. So far I'm very happy with the direction I went.
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Old Feb 1, 2013, 1:17 AM   #20
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Quadna

Thats a really nice mac. I was at the Mac store last week looking at the new iMacs. I was really impressed with the specs and tempted to get one, but then there's the price.

I ended up upgrading my old iMac with some more memory and ML so I should be OK for another year or so or until Aperture can no longer be updated on my mac.

By then, we should know how well the Fusion drive holds up.
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