Staredit Network > Forums > Technology & Computers > Topic: Laptop Recommendations
Laptop Recommendations
Jun 15 2016, 6:23 pm
By: jjf28  

Jun 15 2016, 6:23 pm jjf28 Post #1

Cartography Artisan

Hey guys, my four-year old laptop is dying, sadly, and I'll likely be moving to a job out-of-state soon so it'll need to be replaced.

I'm very partial to my current computer (and honestly will consider re-buying if I don't find an excellent replacement), here is my current laptop - so I'm looking for upwards of these specs (re-posted/altered below).

Budget is $800-

Stretching to $1050 if 8GB+ram, 256GB+SSD, good graphics & processor and has all the below requirements.
(Hard max: $1051.63 including tax)

Requirements:
- 2.5GHz+ processor
- 8GB+ ram
- 256GB+ storage
- 1366x768 or 1920x1080 pixel screen size
- Lasts 3+ years of being ~always on
- Graphics must support med-tier games (LoL, Portal, Halo, SCII on minimum, nothing fancy)
- Supports virtualization (or has strong enough stats for it not to matter)

Strong Pluses:
- 100GB+ SSD
- Windows 7 or open BIOS
- Fan is quiet when at rest
- Light keys (as in easy to press, not necessarily back-lit)


As always I'll be doing my own research but your recommendations are valued and appreciated :)

Post has been edited 7 time(s), last time on Nov 27 2016, 4:00 pm by jjf28.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Jun 15 2016, 7:01 pm NudeRaider Post #2

We can't explain the universe, just describe it; and we don't know whether our theories are true, we just know they're not wrong. >Harald Lesch

Some thoughts for now: (Maybe I'll have specific recommendations later.)

Sounds like you could make due with a skylake integrated graphics. ( http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-520.149940.0.html ) All pre 2014 games seem pretty playable on low settings.

I'm surprised you didn't mention preferred sizes or resolutions, as this is a key point for laptops.

It seems your wish to have both SSD+HDD is conflicting with your budget. Maybe getting something cheap and buying a 512 GB SSD can solve that, or find something that is reasonably below your budget and has an extra mSATA slot or something so you can fit in another drive.

Post has been edited 2 time(s), last time on Jun 16 2016, 5:25 am by NudeRaider.




Jun 15 2016, 7:25 pm jjf28 Post #3

Cartography Artisan

Quote from NudeRaider
Sounds like you could make due with a skylake integrated graphics. (http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-520.149940.0.html) All pre 2014 games seem pretty playable on low settings.

Link has an extra parenthesis on it, otherwise thanks I'll look into it.

Quote from NudeRaider
I'm surprised you didn't mention preferred sizes or resolutions, as this is a key point for laptops..

Good point, I would like approximately my current screen size, and standard resolutions, the unusually wide/tall screen crap has given me hell in the past, will add to the lists shortly.

Quote from NudeRaider
It seems your wish to have both SSD+HDD is conflicting with your budget. Maybe getting something cheap and buying a 512 GB SSD can solve that, or find something that is reasonably below your budget and has an extra mSATA slot or something so you can fit in another drive.

Mm, at this point I could well be considered ignorant about laptops/costs (hopefully to change with my research/help here), SSD would be nice but it's not a game changer for me, especially since I rarely shutdown my computers.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Jun 15 2016, 10:31 pm Lanthanide Post #4



Laptops are where SSDs really shine, because the (modestly) lower power, increased performance and most importantly ruggedness are all areas that are important for laptops.

For me, the ruggedness is really the standout feature. It's pretty easy for a laptop to fall from a reasonable height, and if it does it during disk operation, there's a non-negligible chance of head crash. Especially for repeated falls over time.



None.

Jun 15 2016, 11:05 pm Excalibur Post #5

The sword and the faith

I got my girlfriend something very similar to this model: http://www.xoticpc.com/sager-np7255-clevo-n155rd-p-8671.html
In the customization you can select whatever ssd or other parts you'd like. I've had good experiences with Sager thus far.




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Nov 26 2016, 9:56 am jjf28 Post #6

Cartography Artisan

Got a loaner for short-term work purposes but now I'm out looking for a gaming laptop again, budget is now $800, stretching to $1050 if there's an excellent laptop (16GB+ram, 256GB+SSD, good graphics & processor and has all the listed requirements).

Does anyone have any notes on laptop brands? Typically I favor Lenovo but I'm new to higher-end laptops.

Is it worth waiting till Monday to buy anything or are deals pretty consistent across this extended weekend?

Gonna copy Roy/Nude links here:
https://slickdeals.net/deals/computers/
https://slickdeals.net/newsearch.php?searchin=first&q=laptop&r=1
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Mobile-Graphics-Cards-Benchmark-List.844.0.html
http://www.notebookcheck.net/Nvidia-GeForce-GTX-960M-Review.137893.0.html

Post has been edited 8 time(s), last time on Nov 26 2016, 1:39 pm by jjf28.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Nov 26 2016, 11:02 am jjf28 Post #7

Cartography Artisan

Currently under consideration (would love feedback):

$550 - i5-7200U 2.50 GHz, 15.6" 1920x1080, 950M 2GB, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD+1TB HDD
$700 - Intel Quad-Core i5-6300HQ Processor up to 3.2GHz, 8GB DDR3, 256GB SSD, Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M
$750 - Lenovo IdeaPad 700 15.6" Laptop: i7-6700, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, 950M
$750 - Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK 15.6 Inch FHD Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD + 8 GB SSD) GTX 960M
$870 - ASUS K501UW 15.6"/1080p/Intel Core i7/Nvidia GTX 960M/8GB RAM/512GB SSD/Backlit KB @Amazon
$900 - Lenovo Y700 15.6" Laptop: i7-6700HQ, 16GB RAM, 960M, 256GB SSD, 4K IPS, Win 10
$907 - MSI GE62 Apache Pro-254 GTX970M Core i5-6300HQ 256GB SSD 8GB RAM

Post has been edited 14 time(s), last time on Nov 27 2016, 4:53 pm by jjf28.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Nov 26 2016, 2:47 pm NudeRaider Post #8

We can't explain the universe, just describe it; and we don't know whether our theories are true, we just know they're not wrong. >Harald Lesch

You'll probably want a 960m graphics (like many of your links have). The 950m might suit your needs now, but in 2-3 years this might look different.

As Lanth pointed out a SSD is not optional. You don't get it "just" for loading you OS, but your programs and temp files as well, and - especially important in times of Windows 10 - your updates.

A closer look on the last 2 options:
Asus: 1080p, matte -> pretty standard and good for outside use, but you need to retain optimal angle towards the screen for optimal picture quality.
Lenovo: 4K, glare -> looks fantastic inside, especially with the vivid IPS. And multiple people can watch the screen at once, with only little contrast loss. But the glare will be a real nuisance outside or in bright rooms. Set to 1080p in games.

The Asus has 0.5TB SSD, which might be enough stand-alone, but if not, you can add a 2,5" HDD.
The Lenovo also has a 1 TB HDD in addition to the listed 256GB SSD. -> ideal storage combo

The Asus is a dual-core (virtual quad).
The Lenovo is a quad-core (virtual 8-core).

The Asus has only 8GB RAM, which is fine for now but you'll probably need to upgrade some time in the future.
The Lenovo features a webcam.

Both have no USB-C.

So between the 2 the Lenovo wins by by leaps and bounds, well worth the $30, but having to use it a lot in bright environments would be a deal-breaker. But remember to read reviews to find flaws that specs don't tell.

Looking at your "strong pluses section" I'd like to point out that both come pre-installed with the Windows 10 malware. And while I can't tell how licensing would work or if there are any BIOS restrictions, Windows 7 will only be supported by another year or half by Microsoft on Skylakes, which all of your listed Laptops have. It'll remain to be seen what this will mean. To avoid that you'd need to resort to 4th Generation CPUs but you'll lose the power savings and other advantages that come with Skylake.

Post has been edited 5 time(s), last time on Nov 26 2016, 3:06 pm by NudeRaider.




Nov 27 2016, 8:12 pm jjf28 Post #9

Cartography Artisan

Thanks Nude! Still going to wait through Monday (edit: second offer ends in 11hrs so maybe I'll decide before that), but at this point my top choices are the Lenovo or the MSI+SSD:

$900 - Lenovo Y700 15.6" Laptop: i7-6700HQ, 16GB RAM, 960M, 256GB SSD, 4K IPS, Win 10 (many reports of fan-noise issues)
$785 - MSI GL62 6QF-627: i7-6700HQ, GTX 960M, 8 GB DDR4, 1 TB HDD, 15.6" 1080p + 250GB SSD

Edit:
$719 - ASUS 15.6" K501UW-NB72 Intel Core i7 6500U (2.50 GHz) NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 8 GB DDR4 Memory 128 GB SSD 750 GB HDD Windows 10 (2 core)
$974 - 970M/3GB, i7-6700HQ, 12GB DDR4, 256GB (separately purchased, price included) SSD, 1000GB HDD, 1920x1080 15.6" Matte, 35dB at rest - we have a winner (at least till tomorrow)

Post has been edited 5 time(s), last time on Nov 28 2016, 1:22 am by jjf28.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Nov 29 2016, 12:16 am jjf28 Post #10

Cartography Artisan

Locked in my order at $989.74 for the MSI GE62 Apache Pro-239.

Picked "i7-6700HQ|GTX970M|12GB|1TB" then "Used - Like New; Item is in original, pristine packaging." at $924.99 w/ tax became $989.74.

Stats: GTX 970M/3GB, 2.6 GHz/4 core/8 thread/6MB cache, 16GB DDR, 1000GB HDD, Open SSD Slot, 1920x1080 15.6" matte, solid layout & look (windows key placement being the only notable fault), 35dB at rest.

There is a slot for installing an SSD, I may purchase one yet tonight if I find a great deal and can confirm it'll work in my machine (m2 B&M, compatible sizes 128, 256, other sizes unknown); otherwise I'm very comfortable going a few months without - since I would have less chance of violating my warranty early :P



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Nov 29 2016, 5:08 am bowen Post #11



Lenovo Y700
15.6 inch IPS
Intel Core i7 6700HQ 2.6 GHz
1 TB 5400RPM
8 GB DDR4
GeForce GTX 960M
4GB DDR5

http://gaminglaptopunder1000.org/best-gaming-laptop-under-800-dollars/



None.

Nov 29 2016, 11:35 am NudeRaider Post #12

We can't explain the universe, just describe it; and we don't know whether our theories are true, we just know they're not wrong. >Harald Lesch

Quote from jjf28
There is a slot for installing an SSD, I may purchase one yet tonight if I find a great deal and can confirm it'll work in my machine (m2 B&M, compatible sizes 128, 256, other sizes unknown); otherwise I'm very comfortable going a few months without - since I would have less chance of violating my warranty early :P
The deal is apparently over, but I'm assuming yesterday you still had the chance to get 1TB HDD + 128 GB SSD. Why didn't you?
Also the SSD storage size is unlimited, but the board size is important. Those m.2 SSDs are only small board but as PCI cards they come in different lengths. So ofc your SSD board can't be longer than the bay.
See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M.2#Form_factors_and_keying (2nd paragraph, last sentence)




Nov 29 2016, 12:11 pm jjf28 Post #13

Cartography Artisan

Quote from NudeRaider
The deal is apparently over, but I'm assuming yesterday you still had the chance to get 1TB HDD + 128 GB SSD. Why didn't you?

970m --> 960m + ~$100 for the 128gb SSD

It woulda given me less graphic stats, and a small SSD for more money (considering all buying options), my current program files + windows files on my current laptop take up 146gb; I didn't want to have to be super conscious of what I'm storing where... and ofc I can easily install a better size SSD now at my leisure.



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Dec 3 2016, 2:38 pm jjf28 Post #14

Cartography Artisan

For SSD's I'm planning to purchase either...

$115 (w/ my personal amazon promo code) - Crucial MX300 525GB M.2 (2280) Internal Solid State Drive (CT525MX300SSD4)
or
$140 - SanDisk SD8SN8U-512G-1122 X400 M.2 2280 512GB Internal SSD

My laptop takes M.2 2280, B & M connectors, 22x80mm SSDs which I've confirmed these both are. If you have any further insight as to whether these should work/which is the better deal/whether these are the best deals I'd appreciate it :cube:



TheNitesWhoSay - Clan Aura - github

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Dec 3 2016, 9:10 pm NudeRaider Post #15

We can't explain the universe, just describe it; and we don't know whether our theories are true, we just know they're not wrong. >Harald Lesch

Since you already have 1 TB storage you don't really need a large SSD. Data other than OS and programs usually benefit only very little from SSDs. Right now (and likely also in a couple of years) you probably have no use for more than 250 GB of fast storage. Unless you go full flash to get rid of HDDs entirely you can look at SSD like RAM: Having more than you can actually use meaningfully does you no good. (As long as you have enough cheap HDD storage)




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