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What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 9:32 AM

Advice/Personal Experience Welcome

I'm in the market for a powerful laptop and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions regarding brands or specs.

Looking around, the most Intel cores I've seen available for a laptop is typically 4. Typically 2.5+GHz with 3.0+GHz turbo. I'd love 6 or 8 cores if it's possible, but I haven't seen that.

I'm gonna want to include a NVIDIA GeForce Graphics Card, solid state drive, and lots and lots of RAM.

I plan on using this for data analysis and some video editing in the future.

Here are my irrational prejudices that you are all welcome to correct

I don't trust Lenovo. They seem like they are cheaply made, and are bundled with junk that is hard to remove and then they also do stuff like this:

http://www.zdnet.com/article/lenovo-used-third-worst-password-in-file-sharing-backdoor-flaw/

Mac isn't an option for me. I appreciate Apple as much as the next person, but what I'm looking for is power for a good price, not elegance. I feel Macs are about 50% more expensive because they are so damn perfect. I'd rather have more computing power for the extra 50%.

I've never owned an HP but I'm willing to look into it. They seem more expensive than they should be for the parts that are in them.

I usually buy Dell. Dells do come with junk software, but you can uninstall it and the computers usually seem well made and at a good price point.

If there is any other brand you want to suggest, I'm definitely listening. Thanks in advance for any help/insight you can offer!

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#1

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 9:42 AM

The computer I'm currently on is a HP inspirion, which was bought when I started working here back in June of 2011, Since then the hard drive was replaced, (first on crashed, then 2 months later it was replaced again (upgraded solid state drive).

It currently gets hot and are having issues with it.

I'd give you more of the particulars but with the exception of the solid state upgrade, the tech is 5 years old.....

But,....

We just requisitioned replacements for the HP lap tops that was just recently approved of which I believe will be Dells, but I don't have the particulars, but there is normally quite a bit of investigation on the up grades. I like that I don't have to do that anymore.

As soon as I get the particulars, I'll discuss this farther.

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#41
In reply to #1

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 6:55 PM

Liked my HP also (17") but it died after several years of hard labor.

We have many here, some Apples Macbook Pros - different years

A Dell Inspiron, A Toshiba - all between 13" and 15" display.

But and believe me one is really a lot better when it come to performance, especially when wireless is involved

The ASUS running on W8.1. One detail, but had no problem yet with it is the battery that is built in inside and needs a technician to have it replaced. In use for 3 years already and bought as refurbished for $299.00. Normally priced $599.00.

They have also a top notch wireless router that leaves competition far behind.

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#2

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 10:47 AM

DELLS are HELL! ----> From my own and others experiences with them.

Nothing is perfect but I have found, from my own experiences, that HP is the most satisfactory for me.

I feel that the limiting factor is not the speed or capabilities of the processor, size of the RAM, hard drive vs. solid state drive or other aspects of the machine. The machine is much faster than I can keyboard it therefor it sits and waits for me most of the time. I prefer the larger keyboard of a desktop and can use it much faster and comfortably.

Good Luck, Old Salt

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:14 AM

In the late 80's, when I spec'd my own computer for CADD, They did not have what it takes. The company where I work, just bought 8 of the dells for CADD, and I shared them my thoughts and information that I found that which amounted to 'they were crap'. The people that spec'd them out were insulted.

I had to admit, they had a lot of options on them that amounted to no more then bells and whistles, Voice recording with a mic, a digital LED message scrolling on the case.

Well, with in the week, they started to fail, Hard Drive, Mother Board, Memory.

Within 2 months, all were replaced. But, that was the 80's (1989 I believe, maybe 1990)

But I didn't spec them out, and with Michael Dell buying and regaining control of Dell, he'd better have something. I'll give you a report after I get mine, and tried it out.

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#6
In reply to #2

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:29 AM

One thing you said and that is .... "The machine is much faster than I can keyboard it therefor it sits and waits for me most of the time."

Reminded me of an incident at the company that bought the dells, there is a story about that.

I was just promoted to launch a new division at the company, was was in charge of the CADD division, which consisted of 'me'.

I was required to spec out a new (Table Top) computers for Justifications, back in the late 80's The were very expensive with the 21" monitor. $25,000.00

That's were I found out about the Dells on the poor performance. Anyways, I had my justified and approved, and the bastards from the division where I left, where jealous and did everything they could to sabotage.

When they found out, one fellow when right to the VP who was in charge of the final approval and told him that New computers for me wasn't necessary, The reason he gave "You can only type so fast'.

That killed my justification, and it was canceled. Of which I was PO'd and bought my own and had it shipped to work on the basis that I wasn't home. That rattled a lot of cages, and woke the VP up that he was taken in.

One VP, gave me permission and bought a seat of software (AutoCAD) for home use.

Lets just say, the divide between divisions in the company increased drastically.

And when they purchased Dells, soon after I purchased my own (And later my justification for a new seat reinstated and bought) I hate to see bad things happen to people, but It was rather satisfying to see those Dells do what I predicted.

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#13
In reply to #2

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 8:29 PM

My wife won't ever buy another HP. She bought a nice machine for her business as an independent insurance adjuster and it worked fine for about a month or so and then it would simply shut down cold with no warning, maybe once or twice a week. There seemed to be nothing common about the sudden shut downs. Sent it back to HP and they returned it saying they couldn't find anything wrong with it. Their customer service was the suckiest I have ever dealt with. She can't risk using it for her business because if it crashes in the middle of a report preparation (hosted on software on the client's server) she loses ALL her work and must start over since there is no save before submit. For her, she has an expensive paperweight suitable for only websurfing and other 'low risk' activities. Just one data point.

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#22
In reply to #13

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 7:28 AM

Well, I hear it doesn't matter the brand named because there all made in Taiwan

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#29
In reply to #22

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:22 AM

ASUS is made in England.

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#30
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:22 AM

party pooper.

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#31
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:54 AM

I'm not saying that's a good thing. ASUS has some of the top rated powerhouses for gaming laptop and are sort of pricy. I bought a 552 series ASUS that was under $500 because my HP dv7 Laptap crashed and was told that it wasn't the hardrive. The ASUS I have has shared RAM with the Video card. It came with 4gb RAM but supposed to be upgradable to 12gb RAM. I've put in more RAM but it doesn't read the extra RAM. I've read the reviews and that seems to be a common problem. I had to contact ASUS customer support, which is in England. That sucks and all they wanted to do was sell me a RAM card from them. It runs fine except for on IMVU, it won't play music tracks in IMVU and it won't show pictures. Whereas it does everywhere else. So something is blocking that function within IMVU. It doesn't really matter at this point anymore, I'm in the market for getting a new laptop, now that I can afford better.

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#32
In reply to #31

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 11:10 AM

My post of Taiwan was a tongue in check quip.... we all know they are made in China. .

As far as Ram, I purchase a desk top (HP) back in the late 90's, can remember the platform 95 or 98, and the Big Box store you could configure it right there, and I loaded it with ram, I later discovered as it turns out, that platform only recognized about half the ram I configured it for.

And thinking about the personal computers I've bought.... I spent a fortune on PC's. I wonder if I'd be in the same place if I had saved that money instead and just used the company's.

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#36
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 2:16 PM

It wasn't so much that she was having hardware problems, we get that. Sometimes very sophisticated machines are going to have issues. What torqued her off was how HP customer support just totally blew her off, gave her the royal run-around and she finally gave up after they wore her down when it was "costing" her more to fight with them than the laptop was worth. They lost these two customers for LIFE.

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#37
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 2:31 PM

wow, when I called HP customer service back then.... I gave up because I was on hold.

Unfortunately today as mentioned before, whether its parts, quality or customer service, it seems like its cyclic.

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#38
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 6:06 PM

The one-hour holds were part of that process too. Then get some boob-head who has you re-boot and a bunch of other asinine things you already did weeks ago, but they insist that you do it again with them on the phone ad nauseam. There is so much Dilbert fodder from the turds who create these customer help (?) centers that appear to be designed to get rid of you, not help you.

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#42
In reply to #38

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 2:21 AM

If not us, then who?

But answer came there none.

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#4

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:16 AM

I've been using an HP G-60 for about 5 years, it's been good....one thing I like is the brushed aluminum finish, no fingerprints....one thing that could be better is the weight, it seems a little heavy....I just upgraded my desktop (acer aspire i5) so I'll wait a while on the laptop upgrade....both win 10....I think a laptop is a hands on decision...

http://www.laptopmag.com/best-laptops

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2369981,00.asp

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#5

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:23 AM

Scan these links

Gaming laptops often have the highest performance as to video card and high speed gpu processing ability

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#7
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:30 AM

Those gaming laptops are so dam heavy as well as big.

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#8

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:57 AM

You'll have to define your performance and personal requirements better. I've had a series of HP laptops that date back about twelve years; quad, six, and eight cores, with 4, 8, and 16 Gigs of RAM, dual drives (SSD and HD), plus 17" HD graphics and screens. I doubt that I ever bogged the machine down, but you need to determine exactly what features and conveniences you want, because the price rises much faster than the incremental performance/convenience gain.

I've also worked on similarly configured ASUS machines where the price/performance/convenience factors were about the same. Bottom line, if you want high performance, choose the biggest highest resolution screen, an equally rated graphics subsystem, highest rated 8 core CPU, minimum 16GB RAM (with expansion capability to 32 GB), Dual drives (10,000 RPM Hybrid HD, SSD), High performance comms and audio, lots of USB3.0 and HDMI ports, and don't forget the backlit keyboard. Depending upon your credit card limit you can scale back as necessary.

A gym membership is optional, but it will help you schlep that 14 pound laptop on your travels and travails.

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#9

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 1:48 PM

I read all of the comments and a lot of you agree that I should probably look for the best gaming laptop I can afford since they tend to be pretty powerful (and heavy). I think that makes sense and don't mind getting a heavier laptop if it does the job.

I appreciate the lists you all provided too. I looked at them all and they each gave me some ideas. I'll give HP another look and see what they have and I think I'm going to look at Alienware as well. However, I'm open to all suggestions. I'm probably not gonna sit down and decide till tonight at the earliest.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far!

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 3:45 PM

Roger,

You may want to give a few more of the folks here a chance to chime in, if you have the time. There are quite a few here with a broad range of experience.

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 6:22 PM

I have to get it soon, but I think you're right and I'm gonna wait another day to see what people think.

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#10

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 2:08 PM

For my current role as automation engineer, my employer has provided me with a HP Elitebook which has 8 x i7 cores, 32GB of ram, and a 500GB solid-state hard drive. OS is Win 7 Pro.

This has been completely reliable in all the time that I have had it, despite having to handle a large variety of often-heavy tasks and frequent trips to industrial sites.

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#14

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 9:37 PM

Brands - No. Unfortunately, all companies go through "poor management decisions" at times. So a brand that was good 5 years ago, might suck eggs today. You would do better on that front to look at current ratings (consumer reports...).

Specs - not specifically. However, my formula has always been to ignore CPU speed as any criteria for buying a computer. Why? Because having a 50 terahertz processor doesn't do you any good if the memory, bus, and hard drive speed is operating at a snails pace.

Look for CPUs that have large L2/L3 caches, a fast front side bus, a lot of memory (in the computer), and fast hard drive throughput. The hard drive speed is especially important if you are going to be crunching big blocks of data. The CPU speed is what a lot of people look at, to the exclusion of all other factors, but IMHO CPU speed has not been the bottleneck for a very long time (think late 80s).

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#15

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/26/2016 11:37 PM

I can't advise from experience but my gut feeling is you'll be rolling the dice no matter what, though with what look like some pretty good suggestions so far.

Maybe you could search advertising copy for " turn your astrophysics presentations from dull-and-dry to WOW!! with the new ... " (hahaha)

I am personally biased against Lenovo as I picked up information from somewhere that there are structural elements that you don't want to tolerate.

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#16

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 12:24 AM

Sheldon Cooper uses Alienware.

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#18
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 2:55 AM

And a wheelbarrow to haul it around?

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#17

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 12:47 AM

And I have the same Alienware M14X that Sheldon Cooper has. It's 3 years old and has been lugged around the world to a variety of oilfield environments with no major issues and it hasn't been treated with kid gloves.. it's currently happily sucking in dust in the Sahara desert and handling some heavy graphics when it has to.

And since you like Dell, it is also a Dell.

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#23
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 7:30 AM

For Alienware,.... They really should incorporate shoulder straps for that.

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#19

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 4:48 AM

We are a small civil engineering firm. Over the past 30 years we've had Gateway, HP and Dell desktops and laptops.
We've had issues with all of them at one time or another.

The ones that seemed to last the longest and have the least issues were the Gateways.Their service was great.

Gateways are still available at box stores but they aren't built like they used to be.

Last year we just upgraded all our computers. Our IT guy and I pushed for HPs but the deciders went with the Dells. We've had some problems with them but for the most part they seem to be working well. Seems to be a hit or miss as far as quality goes with whatever brand you chose.

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#20

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 6:59 AM

Simply go out to the computer shop, give them your spec and they will build the laptop to your requirements and you will get what you want. Look a Kingston, ScanDisk II and Samsung SSD drives, and currently the biggest drive I could locate is a 240MB.

Otherwise you are stuck with an off the shelf unit which you need o adapt.

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#21

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 7:12 AM

My computer magazine (PC Pro) maintains an A-List, "the ultimate guide to the very best products on the market today". The top laptop is currently the Dell XPS 13, this month edging the Macbook Pro 13" from top spot.
As for irrational prejudices, have you actually looked at your core usages? Even with intensive data crunching I doubt you will fill up 4 cores, let alone 6-8. For video editing the key features are a fast processor, lots of RAM and a large solid state drive. The power of the graphics card does not contribute to the speed of the editing workflow.
Mac computers are not just beautiful, they are reliable. I am on my second MacBook Pro since 2008, having dropped the first one. The current one is the late 2011 model, upgraded with a solid-state drive. I am on my second desktop Mac Pro since 2008, upgraded because the previous model could not run Adobe CS6. I fully expect several more years out of it, while I turn the previous one into a server.
The only argument I can think of for running a Windows computer is the existence of specially written programs which have no Mac equivalent. Most of those can be dealt with by running a virtual Windows computer inside a Mac host anyway.

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#24

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 9:56 AM

I caught up on the comments this morning. Thanks again for everyone's input! I especially appreciated the tip on bus speed and cache and SSD. Makes sense and I'm paying more attention to it. If anyone else has stuff to add, please do. Another day of comments and I should know exactly what to get (maybe) .

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#27
In reply to #24

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:15 AM

I am curious, how much is MacBook Pro 13" in the USA. The basic laptop here is approx US$1700.00 from an Apple store which is rather rare to find.

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#33
In reply to #24

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 11:22 AM

Those powerful game laptops are pretty pricy and from experience, I've been able to game on a dv7 i3 Core laptop just fine and I purchased mine off of someone used. Don't get too caught up with all that "Power" hype because for the price, they might not really be worth it. Especially if things start to go bad after about 2 years. Those $2900 gaming laptops are for people like Tim "the Toolman" Taylor. I'm sure you can find something to meet your needs for less that $1000.

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#25

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:09 AM

I recently purchased a refurbished Dell that came with Windows 8. I was able to get the free upgrade to Windows 10, which I like a lot more than Windows 8. Windows 10 has more of the Windows 7 feel and is very reliable and fast. The price of the laptop was around $300 and came with the latest processor and 4 GB of ram. I know this might not meet your processing needs, but it seems to be working out for me.

I mostly run web browser apps and MS office apps on it. The computer boots up very quickly and I haven't had any issues with it to date. The reason I like the refurbished one is the low price point, which takes away some of the worry if something was to go wrong or get lost or stolen.

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#26

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:14 AM

I have had high end HPs, SONYs and TOSHIBAs, i would have to recommend the TOSHIBA. If you spec your own build you can get a lot of power for your money. I just purchased a Satellite S70-B and couldn't be any happier with the machine. I would suggest that you go to the TOSHIBA web site and browse through the customizable Satellite series and build several to compare what you can get for your money.

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#28
In reply to #26

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 10:20 AM

My last two personal laptops were Toshiba.

I purchase my last one in 2010-3011, and when I got my iPad, my time diminished on it considerable and only use it for CADD and to slave my 3d Printer.

Which by the way is unbelievable reasonable.... I think I may start a thread for 3d Printers

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#34
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 11:31 AM

I got my son a Toshiba laptop for Christmas about 3 years ago. He's still using it and it was a last years model at Best Buy and paid $299 for it. He uses it for gaming as well and he likes things like Battlefield 3, and the like. It could probably handle Solidworks.

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#35
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 11:36 AM

Yes, it depends on your usage.

I have a Toshiba satellite 70 I believe... (can't remember) which handled Inventor (2014 Student version) and I believe I had Solidworks 10 on it when I first bought it. I was contemplating buying a upgrade laptop for CAD, but could not justify it. Until I purchased the printer.

Still its hard to justify it, I may just buy a 24" monitor.

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#39

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 6:07 PM

Lenovo Z70 w/16gig Ram i7 1TB Hard drive and Nvidea 860 video card. Get for around $900 and it's all the power you need. Keyboard even lights up.

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#40

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/27/2016 6:40 PM

Why not build your own, or have your local computer guru build it for you? Then you're not stuck with someones junque software. Of course the OS is an issue. If you're satisfied with the OS your using, get an MS download using the code on your computer. You will have to call MS to activate it. Obviously, if you choose Linux, you may need some extra help to get started.

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#43

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 10:37 AM

You all have helped me a lot, I really appreciate all of your suggestions. Here's what I ordered:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015PYYDMQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s01

I'm adding 8 more GB of RAM and another 256 GB of SSD so it came in just under $1000 after taxes. I think it's a pretty good laptop for its price.

Things I focused on:

  • Definitely wanted a Quad Core
  • Wanted to have a decent size cache and decent processor speed - 6 MB and Processor Speed of 2.3 GHz Base with 3.2GHz Turbo
  • Wanted a Solid State Drive for quicker read and write
  • Didn't want to worry about RAM - 16 GB is plenty
  • Wanted a decent Video Card - Nvidia GeForce GTX960M - Not too shabby

I went with Dell because it's what I'm familiar with and there didn't seem to be a very compelling consensus for any other brands in this thread. If anything, some of the comments actually steered me away from HP. Went Windows 10 cause I like it (I hate Windows 8 and love Windows 7 but 7 is getting older and 10 seems pretty good).

Your comments played a large role in this decision. The case for solid state drives made by some was rock solid and knocked me off the fence. The cache wasn't even on my radar before this thread and my god I know more about graphics cards than I ever thought I would - http://www.geforce.com/hardware/compare-buy-gpus

So thanks! I will give you an update down the line whether I like my new laptop or you all have steered me down the path of buyer's remorse.

PS - I recommend others still offer advice if they want. I'm all set but I'm sure others have the same questions I did and this thread really did help me a lot.

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#44
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 10:46 AM

Good for you Roger.

When I look at upgrade for myself in the past whether its a laptop or tablet, it seems I torture myself trying to get what I need.

But after the order has been placed, its like a weight lifted off ones shoulder.

good luck with your new laptop.

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#45
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 11:07 AM

lol, exactly. I definitely felt relieved once I made the purchase. I look forward to forgetting everything I've learned and having to learn it all again in 4-5 years.

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#49
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 4:38 PM
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#46
In reply to #43

Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 11:41 AM

Nice! Yes, you will pay more upfront getting the extra goodies, but it will be usable for a lot longer.

I think I paid ~ the same amount for my laptop 6 years ago (Lenovo Thinkpad), it has been through XP-W7-W10 now with no problems. And it still kicks ar$e compared to my wife's 2 year old ($400) laptop with W8.

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#47
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 1:20 PM

It's funny you mentioned Lenovo Thinkpads, that was definitely my second choice after the laptop I bought. Basically I went Dell cause it's the devil I know, but I was impressed by what you get in a Thinkpad.

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#48
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Re: What Laptop Do You Recommend?

01/28/2016 4:37 PM

No, really sir,

tanQ

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