Are these specs enough for good performance gaming and rendering?
Operating system Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium 64 Processors
Intel® Core™ i7-3610QM Processor
- 2.3GHz, 6M Cache
- Max Turbo Frequency 3.3 GHz Chipset Mobile Intel® HM55 Express Chipset Memory
Memory, standard 4GB DDR3 1333 MHz SDRAM Storage
Hard drive description 750GB-5400rpm HDD Graphics
Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GT 630 with 2GB DDR3
Ports - Three USB 2.0 ports
- USB 3.0
- HDMI™ port with HDCP support
ODD 8 x Super Multi-Dual
Speaker Altec Lansing® Speakers Dimensions and WeightWeight 2.2 kg (with 6-cell battery 5200mAH) Display 14" HD Color Shine (LED) Dimensions 34.8 x 24.2 x 2.95 ~3.48 cm (W x D x H)
RAM - Good choice on the 4GB only. That should be plenty enough for your purposes.
HardDrive - I would look at getting a SSD for your next upgrade on your laptop since they will increase your performance by a huge amount. Though realize that unless the laptop supports 2 bays for hard drives you will have to give up that 750GB of storage for the SSD. If you choose to do this you might wanna look at the 250GB or even the 500GB SSD's though they are quite spendy.
GPU - I agree with computerquip it might be on the low side, but considering you aren't really going to be playing any graphics intensive games (At least it didn't sound like it) it should be able to handle most things just fine.
Misc. - Good number of USB ports is nice (1 USB 3.0 and 3 USB 2.0), HDMI so you can plug in a monitor to it.
Screen - You didn't provide much information on the screen, but I would recommend going with a IPS display and make sure you have a good resolution! Anything below 1600x900 I wouldn't touch though ideally you will want 1920×1080.
Other things to think about - Some other things to consider when you are buying is the build quality. Does it use good materials? The keyboard. How does it feel and what is the spacing like? Keyboards are important specially for programmers like us. Weight and battery life specially if you are going to be lugging it around everywhere.
4gB in this day and age is laughable, 8gB should be minimum -- and I would go 16. I have 8gB in my iMac at work, and 16 in my personal Macbook Pro and the difference is significant.
I see really no need for him to have more then 4GB of RAM. I currently have a game like minecraft running, chrome with about 6 tabs, sublime text, GIMP editor and my IRC client running and I am sitting at a steady 1.2GB RAM used... Hell I could probably open another game and not top 2GBs.
With 16GB your most likely will never come close to using that much and it would be just overkill and a waste of money in my opinion since most laptops will charge you anywhere from a extra $250 to $400 bucks just for that 16GB of RAM.
I can maybe agree with 8GB but definitely not over that. The point is he wouldn't really see much of a speed increase for the money and it could be much better spend on other aspects of the laptop to give a much greater speed increase (Like a SSD, or a better CPU or GPU). Also RAM is very easy to swap out even on laptops so it wouldn't be that big of a deal to plop in two 4GB sticks instead of the 2GB ones if he found he was maxing out on RAM later on and it would be much cheaper then buying it direct from the laptops manufacturer.
I have only 5 GB of RAM (1x4 GB and 1x1 GB) and I can run games like The Witcher 2 with the graphics on the highest settings with no trouble. Funnily enough I actually get a better framerate in TW2 with the graphics on maximum than I do on Skyrim with the graphics on High (the next setting up being Ultra High). There's Bethesda QualityTM software for you...
I am intending to replace the 1 GB DIMM with a 4 GB one eventually, but there's no rush, and I can't see it making all that much difference, honestly. I already close most programs when I play hardware-intensive games anyway, both to save memory and processor time.
I'm probably I'm just jaded from my personal experience.
At work I have full build-processes and test suites that take more than 4gB on their own. I even on occassion have to do database queries and process records that large. Factoring in all of my VMs,usually 3 or more running at once, IDE, my web browser with 20+ tabs and 8gB just barely gets me by on most days. More often than not, I'm hitting my swap. I'm getting a new iMac at work when Mavericks comes out, and my boss is splurging on 32 gig workstations and investing in a couple 64 gig Mac Pros to offload some of those test suites and larger builds.
My wife is a 3d animator, and when she's rendering things at home 8gB she says is her prefered bare minimum -- at work they have a render farm though.
I'm personally the same way with my desktop I went all out with 32gb of 1866 RAM not to mention a bunch of other things on that computer that I went overboard with lol. But oh well everyone got a hobby I guess that they spend money on and one of mine just happens to be building powerful computers.
But usually for everyday use most people will get by fine with 4gb. But as you have mentioned it really all comes down to what you will be doing and running.