Advice on laptop options (brand/model)...

Discussion in 'Which Laptop should I buy?' started by sona, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. sona

    sona

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    Hello, forum members,

    This is my first post, and I apologize for any specifics I leave out of my query.

    I have been spending the past month researching options for an appropriate laptop to replace my current Dell Inspiron 15R N5110. It isn't dying, and it has served me well. But my work as a publishing copy editor is now forcing me to carry a unit when I'm out--say, waiting 1.5 hours in a doctor's office--and it must have a screen larger than 10 to 13 inches, to make it easier on my eyes as I work on whatever assignment I have at the time.

    I do no gaming and I'm not a graphics artist. I would need reliable access to the Internet for research and fact-checking, a good clear screen for the copy I'm editing, and enough memory for the few apps I need to put on it (certain dictionaries, etc., nothing major); however, since I don't want to have to go through this every four years, I'd like to make sure the unit has more than the memory I need now, so that I have plenty for future requirements. Speed is also a requirement.

    The Inspiron I have now (which uses Windows 7) is simply too heavy/bulky for hours-long lugging (it has a DVD drive in it).

    So I'm in search of a lighter (3 to 4 pounds) and more powerful replacement for travel use. I will have to get used to Windows 10, I realize, and I'm resigned to that.

    I have compiled a list of my ideal laptop's specs, and I'm providing them below. I'm sure I've forgotten at least one or two items, so apologies for that!

    I would very much appreciate suggestions from the experts on this forum. Thank you!

    Configuration of my ideal laptop:

    Weight: between 3 and 4 pounds, if possible
    Fanless, if possible--or reviews indicating no fan or coil whining constantly!

    8th generation Intel i7, quad core

    14" screen, but with narrower bezels to create a larger screen appearance (I originally had been researching 15.6" screens)

    FHD 1920 x 1080 anti-glare screen

    Full-size, backlit keyboard

    Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated)

    RAM: 16GB DDR4 (preferably dual channel, 1x8 1x8)

    512GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD
    OR
    1 TB 7200 rpm SATA + 256 GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD

    Intel® Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2x2) WiFi and Bluetooth® 4.2 - For displays with 2 antennas

    Integrated HD 720p webcam with dual-microphone array (I won't be using the webcam that much)

    Ports: 3 USBs (2.0 for 1 of them is fine; 3.0 or 3.1 is fine, for data transfer and charging; thunderbolt would be nice); HDMI; ethernet (RJ-45); earphones jack

    Excellent tech support reputation!!

    Price range (unrealistic, of course): $1,200 to 1,650

    ------------------------

    And that's all I can think of for now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, all!

    Best,
    Sona
     
    sona, Jan 11, 2018
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  2. sona

    something back

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    Welcome to the laptop forums site

    Well you seem to have a very good list of requirements.

    It's going to be a gaming laptop with that level of graphics card.

    The only thing is that it will require a fan as it's going to run warm,
    and it will be a little heaver that the 3 to four pounds.

    I would suggest that you look on pc mag sites, and do a comparison
    on gaming laptops.


    Here's a site for doing a cpu comparison,just type in the C.P.U
    number in the search section.

    Http://www.passmark.com

    Here's a mag site to get you started

    http://www.pcworld.com
     
    something back, Jan 11, 2018
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  3. sona

    sona

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    Thank you for the sites to check out--I have accessed pcworld, but I'll go in there more thoroughly to see if I can find something close to my needs.

    As for passmark, I'll try to do what you said, but I'm not sure if I'll understand the results sufficiently to make good use of what I see. I'll try, though! :)

    A last question would be: What is making my specs force the unit to be heavier than 3 to 4 lbs? Is it the graphics card? the RAM? the SSD? the processor? That's something I haven't been able to "get"--I understand how a CD/DVD drive would make a unit heavier, but what else affects the weight, other than what the shell is made of (metal vs. plastic, etc.)?

    And again, thank you!
     
    sona, Jan 11, 2018
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  4. sona

    something back

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    I am a one finger typist so you will have to bear with me

    A ssd drive is going to save quite a lot of weight as opposed to a 2.5” hard drive.

    A M.2 SSD is similar to a ram card in weight but would be very expensive.

    You can always take out the dvd drive, and refit it when needed it's held in by one screw
    again to save weight.

    The passmark site will help, you only need to know that a higher number is better.

    Don't be taken in by C.P.U. Numbers like i3,i5,i7

    There is a site that will identify the rating of all the cpu's including amd ,intel and others

    You can find yourself going for a higher number cpu like i3,i5,i7 that you think is better ,when a lower number cpu can be more powerful or visa versa it's a minefield .
     
    something back, Jan 11, 2018
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  5. sona

    sona

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    Aha...there's a lot of helpful information in your reply!

    A ssd drive is going to save quite a lot of weight as opposed to a 2.5” hard drive.

    So theoretically, it would save me a few ounces if I went with a 512GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD rather than splitting the power between SSD and HD. More expensive, but lighter in weight (by a few ounces). Would that be correct?

    You can always take out the dvd drive, and refit it when needed it's held in by one screw again to save weight.

    I would not have the courage to do that! It might save money to do it that way, but that money would go to the tech person I took the unit to in order to have it done. :) But I thank you for the suggestion!~

    The passmark site will help, you only need to know that a higher number is better. Don't be taken in by C.P.U. Numbers like i3,i5,i7.
    I have already begun to recognize that there are many different ID numbers attached to the various Intel cores--and that some are dual core and some quad. That was one reason I decided to look for an 8th-generation Intel quad-core processor, and I believed that if the generations remained the same, an i7 would have more power than an i5.

    And you're right: it's a minefield. Even worse, the major brands don't consistently offer all the information on a processor one would need to make an informed decision--and customer/sales reps rarely have the specifics on the info (sometimes they even have the wrong specifics).

    Also, I've been looking ahead to all the tweaking and patching Intel, Microsoft, and others will be providing over these next few months/years to deal with the Spectre and Meltdown issues. If productivity and speed will be affected, I'd prefer to start off with a speedier combination of quad core 8th-generation processor, dual channel RAM (which I read, but do not have experience with, can enable a swifter dissemination of information), and as much PCIe SSD as I can afford.

    That, as I understand it, all works together to create greater speed in a unit. So I thought that if a unit will be compromised with a speed drain (5 to 30 percent or so) once the patches and updates begin to flow--or if they are updated from the start, at a new purchase setup--then seeking out a swifter combination to begin with may help mitigate the effect. At least, that was my (admittedly tech-challenged) thinking.

    It's a lot--and it's not my area!

    Thank you!
     
    sona, Jan 11, 2018
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  6. sona

    something back

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    To answer some of your questions further

    Here's some links for you to understand the differences between
    ssd, m2 ssd, and a standard hard drive

    Here you can see that a METAL HARD DRIVE with internal platers/discs
    and a plastic all chip ssd drive.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?tbm...VCL8AKHWFWDv0Q4lYIKSgA&biw=1280&bih=884&dpr=1

    Here's photo's of the different types of m2 ssd drives.

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?biw.......0...1c..64.psy-ab..0.0.0....0.N3rE4T26ZJc

    Don't be afraid removing the dvd drive, just so you understand how easy it is,turn over your laptop
    looking from the middle of the front dvd door/flap at about four inches you should see a screw
    it's just a case of undoing that screw and gently pulling out the dvd drive reverse to refit.

    Answer to

    So theoretically, it would save me a few ounces if I went with a 512GB PCIe® NVMe™ M.2 SSD rather than splitting the power between SSD and HD

    You can just replace the mechanical drive with a 2.5”ssd drive it will fit in the space where mechanical drive fitted. You can then use the mechanical drive as a new backup drive.

    It may be cheaper than a m2 drive.

    Why not buy a laptop with a bigger ssd drive

    If productivity and speed will be affected, I'd prefer to start off with a speedier combination of quad core 8th-generation processor (no one know the affect on even the 8th-generation processors)
    regarding the Spectre and Meltdown issues .
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
    something back, Jan 11, 2018
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  7. sona

    sona

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    Those pictures are amazing--there are so many choices! I'll have to study them, both webpages. It's easy to see that a metal HD will be heavier/bulkier than an SSD. As for the types of SSD--replacing an HD with a 2.5" SSD instead of going full on with an M.2--that's also something to think about.

    The only thing I won't be able to do--to check out how simple it would be for me to make that kind of switch--is to go through a DVD drive. Unless you meant that I could experiment with my current Inspiron, just to see what it was like to make a switch. See, the laptop I'm expecting to buy, whatever it turns out to be, will not have a DVD/optical drive. It appears they don't come with the lighter-weight laptops, since they add too much weight. I'll probably end up buying an external DVD/CD drive.

    So I won't likely have one to go through in order to make the kind of switch you're talking about.

    I'll study the two webpages, though--for which thanks!--and I'll check out a YouTube video or two where someone makes that kind of swap.

    Again, thank you!
     
    sona, Jan 11, 2018
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