HELP!!!!! Looking for Best Laptop for extensive use of excel

vanitapatel

New Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
2
I know many of you areusing "laptops" to work on excel extensively. So, I am posting myquestion here.

I am looking for a new laptop that I am going to use heavily for datacrunching, financial reporting and analysis. Can someone please guide me whatbrand and what hardware configuration do I look for in a laptop?

My work involves staying out of my office at different job sites and, that iswhy I need a laptop and NOT a desktop.
I use excel extensively and many times, my computer is too slow to respondduring my calculations/analysis.
If you need to know what type of task I deal with, I have tried to explain thatin brief in the later part of this post.

There are some programs I might be using simultaneously like Outlook 2007, Word2007, Adobe acrobat, and the custom reporting tool (which might take as muchprocessing and memory as MS word).

I am currently using an early 2010 Dell machine. Processor: Intel Core2DuoP8600 @ 2.40GHz, RAM: 6 GB DDR2 SD, OS: Win 7 ultimate 32bit (with classictheme, no Aero for me), Office 2007, HDD: 350GB 7200RPM SATA-II, GraphicCard:nVidia Quadro FX 770M (512 MB).

I am planning to go with the following on my new laptop: Win7 (32-bit)pro/ultimate for better compatibility and, I might install Office 2010 (notsure if it has any real processing speed benefits). Any suggestions in thismatter are welcomed if that can help me perform my tasks faster and better.

If someone from MrExcel team is reading this post, I would like to request theteam as follows:
The computer hardware resources are growing but, they are consumed equally fastby softwares with increasing performance and features and, ever increasing sizeof data to be analyzed.
BEING ONE OF THE WIDELY USED WEBSITE FOR EXCEL AND RELATED SOLUTIONS, IT MIGHTBE GOOD TO HAVE A PAGE THAT UPDATES USERS ON COMPUTER REQUIREMENTS FROM TIME TOTIME BASED ON LEVEL OF EXCEL USAGE (like, Level 1 to 5 as described in thelatest book: Dont fear the spreadsheet).

NOW, WHAT MY TASK INVOLVES:
I work with huge excel files and many times, these files/reports are around20-50 columns by 500,000-800,000 rows. These are raw reports and we do allkinds of calculations and analysis that involves:
a) Creating 10-20 calculated fields (ie. columns), EACH calculated field hasformulas ranging form basic SUM, AVERAGE, % calc of multiple column ranges fromthat or other similar worksheets (around 10-30 columns) toformulas with lookup, Vlookup and other custom and UDF functions(statistical,mathematical,text,lookup,etc) , 8+ nested IFs (with complex logical conditionsand functions) and other formulas that deal with cumulative ranges (usuallyfrom 1 or 2 columns) containing constant values or suchcalculated values (resulting from and, resulting in Date, numeric, logical andtext values).

b) Creating pivot tables from report with above mentioned calculated fields(sometimes these reports are used as lookup reference in other worksheet(s)that involves similar calculations and analysis as mentioned above).

It also involves sorting and formatting the data (static, conditional andnumeric), usually before calculations and pivots.

These reports are related to different business and to Different Companies so,there is no fixed set of calculations and analytical steps or templates (all ofthat depends on what level of information the company able to provide and howmuch more I need to work on it to get the analytical results).

I do know some of the benefits of "manual calculation" but, I seldomuse that option as sometimes, my analysis/calculation is by trial and errormethod which is based on immediate results from my calculations. Also, theseworksheets are at times referred by other co-workers and if I forget to set theworkbook option to automatic, they might update/further analyze these workbooksand report wrong results.

I also use other custom programs for data mining and financialanalysis/reporting but, they do not require as heavy use of my processor andRAM as excel does.

I cannot afford to sit for 5-10 minutes till the time excel copies/updatescalculations or, creates/updates pivots. I am always running against time tocomplete my tasks and turn my analysis and reports in time.

Sometimes "each" step in my analysis takes 2-5 minutes to update(either my calculations are complex or my files are huge).

I hope the detail provided by me is clear and in enough detail for you tounderstand my requirements. If not, then please let me know what else I need tospecifically mention here and I will do that.

Thanks in Advance for all your help.
 

xenou

MrExcel MVP, Moderator
Joined
Mar 2, 2007
Messages
16,576
Office Version
2013
Platform
Windows
For "heavy" data crunching 64-bit Excel will allow more data to be stored in RAM which will significantly increase processing power. The drawback is that 64-bit Excel will often be incompatible with third-party software. I'd probably want a better processor than Core2Duo - four cores might help but this is dependent on the actual structure of the files you are working with (i.e., whether or not the calculation can be split up among multiple threads or not).

If you want to use more than 4 Gb of RAM you must use a 64-bit system (and, presumably, a 64-bit Excel install). 32 bit systems cannot "address" memory beyond approx. 4 Gb.
 

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