Traditionally, laptops weren’t viewed as powerful work machines, but things started to change a few years ago with the development of mobile workstations – a new class of laptops that combine the highest performance components in a relatively compact and light chassis, making them perfect for business users who want to have one portable computer that can do everything. These laptops can be used for any kind of intensive work and can easily compete with powerful desktop towers in benchmarks and overall performance.
The latest models are especially powerful, with quad core processors and graphics adapters that can rival and even outperform some desktop computers, while consuming much less power at the same time. Here is my top selection of mobile workstations for business users who need all the performance they can get at a moment’s notice and don’t want to be tied to a desk:
HP Elitebook 8560w. The 8560w is the latest in HP’s Elitebook line of business laptops, and it brings along a great design and some very powerful internal hardware. The housing has a retro styling and is very sturdy thanks to the all metal build – it will definitely last for years to come. The laptop comes equipped with Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge quad core processors, up to 32 GB of DDR3 RAM, an SSD, NVidia’s professional Quadro 1000M or 2000M graphics adapter and a very nice Full HD display.
Dell Precision M4600. The Precision M4600 is Dell’s top of the line 15.6 inch business laptop, and it has had quite a few changes since the last model. It now sports a new design, with a metal shell on the outside, a metal frame on the inside and plastic parts around the keyboard and display. The M4600 is a very versatile laptop – it uses the latest Core i7 processors, supports up to 16 GB of RAM, NVidia’s Quadro 1000M or 2000M graphics adapter, and more importantly, has a slot for mSata SSD’s, so you can have an SSD as the main drive, a hard drive for storage and still keep the optical drive (it can easily be replaced with a third hard drive, though).
Lenovo ThinkPad W520. The ThinkPad line of laptops is probably the most well known in the business world – after all, IBM was among the first companies to start producing business class mobile workstations. Even under Lenovo’s tutelage, the like has kept the best qualities, and the W520 is no exception. It uses the tried and true roll cage design with rubbery plastic on the outside and offers a wide range of hardware on the inside – from the cheap dual core Core i5 processors to the most powerful Core i7-2960XM, up to 16 GB of RAM, NVidia’s Quadro video adapter and an SSD or hard drive for storage space.
Dell Precision E6520. The Latitude E6520 is another great laptop from Dell, and it has everything you might need to run any kind of software. It’s not as high performance as the Precision M4600 above, but it’s still good enough for most tasks. The housing is made out of metal, and it’s very durable, plus it’s pretty stylish, too. As for the tech specs, you have the choice of two dual core processors and one quad core, up to 8 GB RAM, NVidia’s business class NVS 4200M graphics adapter and a good choice of displays, among which is a 1366×768 unit with touch screen capabilities.
Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch. While all of the above laptops are specialized business machines, the MacBook Pro is more of a general purpose laptop series. However, thanks to the unrivaled build quality and the unique Mac OS X operating system, the MacBook Pro is worth of consideration by any business users, especially if they’re doing any creative work or coding. The latest models are also pretty well equipped, with quad core processors, powerful graphics adapters, 256 GB SSD (in the top configuration) and even Thunderbolt ports.
There aren’t that many great workstation-class laptops around, and the above five are pretty much the best you can find at the moment. If you need the best performance and reliability for your next work laptop, you should definitely start by checking these models out – they’re the most recommended by business and corporate users, after all.
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