AFAIK I can only get it with Windows 8 — I would prefer Windows 7
HP has been very good recently at providing Build-to-Order machines that are delivered to you direct from their factory in China with Windows 7.
Apparently business is thriving in that HP division. The company is taking advantage of the market created by very, very large numbers of users who are returning their Windows 8 machines to the store where they had bought them.
I happened to accompany my daughter when she returned her Toshiba Windows 8 laptop at a San Francisco Bay Area "Best Buy" store because Windows 8 turned out to be useless at her work with one of the largest financial and stock broker firms in the USA, and we were told by their customer service there that Windows 8 machines of different brands were being returned at a rate of at least 6-7 per day at that particular "Best Buy" store.
My daughter ordered the Windows 7 laptop directly from HP and it was delivered very, very fast from their Shanghai factory to her door. No hassles of any kind, no customs duties.
I got windows 8 Pro + Start8 (gives you the start button back) and I love it.
About harware I'm not a gamer but I'm mainly a software developer with sometimes pretty heavy compiling tasks plus Photoshop, Premiere, Dreamweaver, used in a daily basis.
I'm very happy with the HP "Elitbook" line 8460p/2560p (there are newers now);
Go with a Quad core i7 2.3 Ghz and up with nVidia or AMD video
16/32 Gb ram, 750GB 7200rpm HDD, if money is not an issue get a Samsung 840 pro 512 Gb SSD instead.
these are powerfull notebooks built to last.
Thanks Station. HP systems were on my list, but the high end ones tend to come with Quadro mobile graphics. You have reinforced my resolve to stay clear of Windows 8. Even if I have to but Win 7 and clean install a new system.
I believe Harm Millaard uses Windows 8 on his 'Monster', and they don't come fussier than Harm about running a stable system. Noel also uses Windows 8 on one of his systems, but that might be because he has to in order to prove his software development.
I'm running all the apps for Creative Cloud and have been for a year now (upgraded to CC last month) on my Asus Laptop. It has 8GB of Ram, Dual Core processors at 2.2GHz and I can render video pretty quickly on it. I've written a few detailed articles and shopping for Photoshop Laptops if you want to check them out:
I had found your earlier blog post while doing my research, but it was useful to read the second post, and I had a look at the Adrian Kingsley-Hughes Ultimate Photoshop PC post. (Is he serious going online with a name like that?!)
So it looks like I am going to fine with a quad core i7 at 2.4Hhz or faster, 16Gb RAM and decent nVidia graphics?
One thing you don't mention in your articles is raid0. I know from experience with my desktop NLE system, that it wouldn't run nicely until I added at least one raid0 as a project drive. I had originally used a single 2nd gen 10k rpm v'raptor to feed the video, and I was unable to scrub the timeline without stutter. Pairing a second identical drive in raid0 sorted that out nicely, and gave me lots of space to use it for current Photoshop projects as well.
So a lot of my thoughts have gone into how a laptop can best manage the multiple drive requirement, and I am leaning towards two SSD in a raid0, plus a larger HDD for data and non speed critical storage. I am up to five USB3 WD MyBook externals on my desktop, and they are surprisingly fast, so I can borrow one of these when travelling with the laptop.
Incidentally, I also have a 500Gb USB3 pocket drive that is powered via its single USB3 cable, and this falls well short of the WD MyBooks performance wise.
All in all, looking at the sort of laptops that come with coloured lights, brightly coloured cases with dragon emblems, and similar, I'd say we have a lot to thank gamers for. I am still unsure about Windows 8 though. It is starting to look like Windows 8 is OK if you stick with nVidia graphics, so my reluctance is just down to learning a new OS. But I see good old Stardock (I love Fences) has produced a Windows 7 like UI for Windows 8.