windows based laptop recommendation for work (coding, algorithms)

spacediver

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I'm about to start a new job, and have only owned one laptop in the past (a cheap second hand one running XP for a specific purpose).

I've been told by a colleague that an i7 quad core processor with 16 gigs of RAM should be more than sufficient for my needs, so I'm happy to go with that.

Other than that, however, I'm fairly in the dark. I live a few minutes walk from Canada Computers, and they have a large selection.

I'm not looking to game on it (though having a decent video card would be appreciated). I'm looking for something that has quality components, and preferably a brand that doesn't have a lot of bloat ware pre-installed.

I'm willing to spend up to $2500, though I'm happy spending less.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to narrow my options? Is there a consensus on what brands or models to avoid?

thanks!
 
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Avoid consumer class hardware, and that retailer has a ton of 'em, aka the plastic shiny shit laptops you can buy at such places or others like Best Buy, etc. Basically that limits you to roughly 3 brands: Lenovo ThinkPads in the T series (X is ultraportable, W is mobile workstation, T is the "standard" ThinkPad business class line), Dell Latitudes or their Precision mobile workstation laptops, and HP Elitebooks and Probooks. I personally don't recommend any consumer plastic shiny shit, ever, because they're just not reliable in the long run.

I don't recommend MacBooks either but that's just me personally, you could find yourself liking them for some odd reason, I can't say. The world does tend to run on Windows and Windows applications vastly more often than anything else so, having a machine that's compatible out of the box already has a lot going for it for that reason alone.

Canada Computers does appear to have some business class laptops, HP Elitebooks and Probooks, and a few ThinkPads as well but the only ThinkPad they have that I'd even consider is the T560 they have (here) but that price is a bit steep in my opinion. You could probably order one of those from Lenovo directly using one of their coupon codes (right now through the end of October you can use the code THINKPADSALE and get 30% off, not sure how that works with the Canadian site for Lenovo however).

I just slapped together a ThinkPad T570 (an improved newer model than the T560 that Canada Computers currently sells) with an i7, 16GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive (because you can buy an SSD for the laptop after purchase and save a lot of money - Lenovo wants $400+ for a 512GB SSD which is crazy expensive), 6 cell battery, and other aspects for like $1318 with the coupon code (that's USD so again, can't speak for Canadian currency amounts) and it would run circles around the T560 that Canada Computers has for basically $2K especially if you got a decent third party aftermarket SSD for it later on. Also that configuration has the 4K aka 3840x2160 matte finish display panel in it which is excellent for coding work allowing more "stuff" on screen but you can drop the price by $150 USD by switching it for the 1920x1080 panel.

I dropped it down to the 1920x1080 panel and then added the 512GB SSD and it worked out to $1428 so, it's still a pretty awesome buy compared to the Canada Computers pricing on the last generation model - I just checked to see what the difference is in US currency and apparently $1999 Canadian works out to about ~$1600 USD so, a more powerful more current machine for less money overall with that coupon code I mentioned.

Gaming on it would be easy because of the Nvidia GPU (in the config that I chose for $1318 because the base model uses the Intel GPU that's part of the i7 chipset) even in spite of it being a Geforce 940MX (still enough to get some gaming on). As for bloat well, that's going to happen on most any brand of hardware and even in the business class models to some degrees. I can tell you that Lenovo does include a lot of ThinkPad specific utilities and tools but most ThinkPad owners do find them useful to various degrees. There's never anything stopping you from wiping a brand new machine of its factory installation of the OS and software and starting fresh with a clean install of the operating system of choice, obviously, and that (typically) results in somewhat better performance but considering the power of today's higher end hardware and super fast NVMe-based SSDs (with potential read and write speeds measured in Gigabytes per second) such issues are rendered somewhat moot I suppose.

Anyway, that's something to start with and then look around for other devices I suppose. Business class models tend to be made of a much sturdier stock, one could say: ThinkPads are made with magnesium shells (lighter and stronger than aluminum) then covered with a body made of high density ABS plastic (yes, plastic, which gives and takes a lot more than aluminum is capable of and doesn't damage nearly as easily with much longer lasting visible effects of such damage, and plastic parts are relatively easy to replace if required).

You might consider doing a pros and cons list, or at least a list of things you really want in a laptop such as a given number of ports, a given type of ports (Thunderbolt, USB-C, USB 3.0, DisplayPort, HDMI, etc), docking options for either a port replicator or a full on dock for home/office use which allows you to connect more peripherals and things like external monitors and be able to basically push a button and grab the laptop to go, options for accessories (battery slices for longer run-time on the go, extra capacity batteries), and other such things.

My personal preference is for Dell Latitudes and Precision mobile workstations, not that ThinkPads (especially the T series) aren't bad machines. I'm just a fan of what Lenovo has done with the ThinkPad brand since they took over the manufacturing of them years ago from IBM who created them originally. Never been disappointed with Dell Latitudes so far, I currently have an older model, the E6420, and it's rock solid and has never given me any problems personally, the wife has an older E6410 herself and has no issues with it but at some point in the near future I do intend to get us some brand new models when I can finally find ones we want. ;)
 

spacediver

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Thanks for the thoughtful reply, really appreciate it. The one constraint I do have is that I need to have this ready to go by Oct 16th, so if I'm ordering online and adding components (e.g. SSD), I'll have to act fast.

I'm new to this consumer vs. business class distinction - is there a reliable way to determine which class a given laptop belongs to? I imagine they aren't explicitly marketed as business or consumer class (although I do see that the T570 is marketed as "business friendly".).

I also notice that most of these are 14-16 inches, whereas the gaming laptops are 17+. Will 15.6" be big enough for efficient workflow?

I hadn't heard of a docking station before, but upon reviewing the concept, it's something I'll definitely need I think. I'll probably be using an external mouse, display(s), and maybe even keyboard (I can't stand typing on regular laptops), so I think compatibility with a docking station is important. On that note, what exactly do I need to ensure good docking compatibility? I'm guessing USB 3.0?
 
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The easiest fastest way to tell if a laptop is consumer class or business class? You can't buy business class laptops (for the most part) in a retail store except in very limited instances, that T560 sold by Canada Computers being one such instance. Aside from that there are really only the three main brands and about 5 model/product lines of business class laptops as I mentioned earlier:

- Lenovo ThinkPads in the T/W/X series (none of the "Edge" or Yoga models really classifies as business class even though they use the ThinkPad moniker, I suppose it's a personal thing more than anything else, but true fans of the ThinkPad like myself that have owned them since day one 25 years ago with the 700c model, the first ThinkPad, don't consider anything but the X/W/T series as "true ThinkPads")

- Dell Latitudes and Precision mobile workstations (Latitudes are typically cheaper in cost than the Precision models - Latitudes typically suit the needs of business people or professionals at better price points, the Precision mobile workstations are where you can get really large amounts of RAM and storage with multiple drives internally as well as larger screens with better quality panels in them and more port capabilities)

- HP ProBooks and EliteBooks (similar to the Latitude vs Precision situation just mentioned above, the ProBooks are the cheaper option with the EliteBooks offering the best hardware HP can put in a laptop form factor so they tend to be more expensive)

Asus had a "business class" line of laptops for a short period of time but they didn't really work out so they scrapped them for the most part, and nobody else has really stepped into the market that Lenovo/Dell/HP pretty much own.

Yes, MacBooks would be considered business class by many people out there I suppose but not me personally, they're just too limited in scope - can't get customized internal Wi-Fi cards, can't get internal WWAN cards (for cellular connectivity on the go, most people would say they just tether to their smartphones nowadays but even so they don't offer it as a potential option at all), lack of some port functionality, no real docking solutions (of course nowadays with Thunderbolt connections over USB-C that can be alleviated to some degrees), and so on. I'm just not a fan of MacBooks, never have been really and it's not because of the OS, I just have issues with Apple hardware compared to the competition so realize that's my opinion on it and not a statement of fact there with me not liking them at all.

If you can walk into a Best Buy or some other retailer that sells laptops and buy a given model/product line of laptop, there's a 99.9% chance it's not going to be a business class product. All the major brands nowadays like Lenovo, Dell, HP, Asus, Samsung, Acer, and the more customized online shops like CyberPower, MSI, Gigabyte, XOTIC PC, Maingear, Origin PC, iBUYPOWER, and of course Alienware (owned by Dell for years now) and Razer as well as several others have their consumer class "pretty shiny plastic shit" laptops that just don't qualify as business class. But as noted, the basic distinction is business class hardware has to be purchased from the vendor directly either by calling in an order or ordering from their website.

15.6" diagonal isn't that bad I suppose, depending on the resolution as you do not want to get anything that's 1366x768, it's just too small in terms of the diagonal vs the size of the fonts/text/objects on the screen and a waste of that potential diagonal space. 1600x900 is better but for 15.6" diagonal the sweet spot is typically that 1920x1080 resolution, and as I noted in the post above that ThinkPad T570 does offer the option of getting that 3840x2160 (4x the resolution of the 1920x1080 panel) and that helps with not only image clarity but it makes the fonts displayed much easier to read I suppose, some people care about that to some crazy extreme levels. I know people that constantly are on the lookout for "the best programming font" and there are forums that exist where people discuss such things to incredible lengths - seems like they focus more on what the fonts look like for coding than the coding itself sometimes. :D

I'm not saying you HAVE to have the super high resolution display, but it's not that much of a price increase overall and might be something to consider since it's optional. 1920x1080 on a 15.6" is generally considered "standard" nowadays. As for the larger 17" laptops for gaming, that tends to be the norm to give people bigger displays to see more of what's going on with higher resolutions I guess, I'm not a gamer so that aspect is lost on someone like me. I personally have a workflow that rarely uses apps full screen, I prefer actual windows stacked on top of each other so I can get things done, it's just my particular way of doing things. I have one friend that has a 27" 2560x1440 resolution display and he runs his web browser full screen all the time and whenever I see it I can't help but laugh because web pages are typically designed for a width of around 1280 pixels so, on his display the actual page is like 90% blank space because of how the content doesn't fill out the page).

And realize with a docking station or a port replicator you will have the option to use a full size display at home, or at the office, or perhaps both locations so that when you want to switch from one to the other it only takes a few seconds to release from the docking station or port replicator and move the laptop to the new location without having to disconnect all that hardware and take it with you.

That's another aspect that business class models tend to offer (with the docking ports built into the underside of the laptops) that consumer class models don't. Many companies use such docking stations for their fleets of personnel that are at the office working with their laptops attached to the docking station, with everything plugged into the docking station itself (monitor or monitors, keyboard, mouse, printer, hardline network, external storage, etc) and then if they need to go out and be truly mobile they can simply push the button to release the laptop from the dock, close the lid to put it into sleep/standby mode, and they're off in a matter of seconds without having to disconnect all those cables attached. It's one of the things I love about business class models and I have just such a docking station for my Latitude (and so does my wife, for that matter).

There are some port replicators - which is not the same thing as a true docking station where the laptop is mounted on the station dock itself and locks into place as a mount until it's needed for mobility - that can duplicate or replicate (hence the name) of the ports on the laptop so that you only have to use one single connection to attach to the laptop and get that extended functionality for various peripherals. ThinkPads, Latitudes/Precisions, and EliteBooks/ProBooks all offer both alternatives, actually, docking stations and port replicators so it's something to do research on and see what might be best for you and the way you'd like to use this new hardware.

I'm sure if you do some research you'll find something you like without too much trouble. Hope this info proves useful.
 

spacediver

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Thanks Tiberian, this is extremely helpful information. And I'm with you on macs, never liked the fact that they don't play well with the rest of the ecosystem.

I may well go with the ThinkPad - my other laptop that I mentioned is a ThinkPad T400, and it has served me well, even though I only use it occasionally.
 
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The ThinkPad T420 is considered by many ThinkPad fans and users to be "The last best ThinkPad..." and the T400 is a nice one as well in many respects. Anything after the x2x series (meaning T420/W520/X220 models and variants) is not really thought of as true ThinkPads anymore because of all the changes Lenovo keeps pushing: different keyboard layouts, different form factors, designs, funky clickpad crap with integrated button functionality and not discrete buttons, various crap that just goes against the ThinkPad style.

I'm still pissed that newer models nowadays are in a puke off-shade of dark gray instead of being black like they used to be but still using solid black keys on the chiclet keyboards, it's just wrong. :)
 

spacediver

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That's a shame. Maybe one day they'll release a retro model (with modern hardware). Guess it would depend partially on how many vocal and passionate ThinkPad users there are.

I've been looking a bit more closely at the available ThinkPad models - hard to find ones that have an i7 quad core that's 6th gen or higher, and the shipping times mean that it's very unlikely I'll get one by the 16th.

On the other hand, Best Buy seems to have some ThinkPads that may fit the bill (see here and here)

There's also this

(all three of these options involve shipping, but the shipping may be fast enough, I'll have to check).
 
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I'd buy the Dell, personally, without even thinking about it. :D
 

spacediver

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good to know. Also found some newegg deals for some ThinkPad P50's. And I might be able to get buy for a few days with my old laptop at work, so might not absolutely need to arrive by 16th.

Thanks again for all your help, I'll update the thread once I make a decision.
 
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Just so you know, the Dell Precision will have 3 years of on-site warranty included, pretty sure the ThinkPads only offer 1 year warranties and they don't do on-site work if needed. Dell's warranty service is pretty tough to beat in my experience, I've only had to call them twice in the past 15 years but the work was done within 72 hours (both times I ended up calling for support on a Thursday afternoon and the local tech contracted to work for them came out on a Saturday for one call and a Sunday for the other).

So, it's not just the hardware itself, it's the warranty potential if it's needed (wherever you might be located) as well that keeps me sticking with Dell for all these years.
 

KarsusTG

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I am looking for a laptop for similar needs. I am almost sold on this Aero 15. Awesome non glossy screen, two m.2 drive slots, full 4x thunderbolt 3, and 94wh battery. The ultra small bezel gives you more screen space too. Desktop 1060 chip as well so should push autocad no problem.
 
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I love my Thinkpads, but have no qualms with recommending the Dell Latitudes either. Really, I'd just recommend a docking station, although a USB 3 one is adequate any more. Thunderbolts are even better. I highly doubt you'd need a quad core i7...but at least watch out on what you're buying. A -U CPU is a dual core, -HQ are the quad core. I don't know what that quad will get you for coding. I definitely use the power for virtualization, but that's up to you.

Hit up the outlets. Dell and Thinkpad routinely have perfectly good systems for much cheaper out there. That's how I picked up my P50 for about 700 off new, then used the money I saved to upgrade to 64GB of RAM, additional SSDs, and a docking station.

Also, Lenovo did release a Retro T470 this week. Too expensive, if you ask me.
 

spacediver

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I am looking for a laptop for similar needs. I am almost sold on this Aero 15. Awesome non glossy screen, two m.2 drive slots, full 4x thunderbolt 3, and 94wh battery. The ultra small bezel gives you more screen space too. Desktop 1060 chip as well so should push autocad no problem.

does that laptop support docking? And if so, how are you able to tell?

edit:

Ok I just did some more reading, and it seems that if you have a USB C or Thunderbolt 3, you don't need the E-port docking connector on the bottom of the laptop.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, if a laptop doesn't have an E-port, USB C, or Thunderbolt 3, it doesn't support docking?

2nd edit: nm, it seems that there are docking options for USB 3.0, although I gather it isn't as powerful as the other options.
 
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spacediver

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I love my Thinkpads, but have no qualms with recommending the Dell Latitudes either. Really, I'd just recommend a docking station, although a USB 3 one is adequate any more. Thunderbolts are even better. I highly doubt you'd need a quad core i7...but at least watch out on what you're buying. A -U CPU is a dual core, -HQ are the quad core. I don't know what that quad will get you for coding. I definitely use the power for virtualization, but that's up to you.

Hit up the outlets. Dell and Thinkpad routinely have perfectly good systems for much cheaper out there. That's how I picked up my P50 for about 700 off new, then used the money I saved to upgrade to 64GB of RAM, additional SSDs, and a docking station.

Thanks for the info. I'm assuming outlets have refurbished models?
 

KarsusTG

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does that laptop support docking? And if so, how are you able to tell?

edit:

Ok I just did some more reading, and it seems that if you have a USB C or Thunderbolt 3, you don't need the E-port docking connector on the bottom of the laptop.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, if a laptop doesn't have an E-port, USB C, or Thunderbolt 3, it doesn't support docking?

2nd edit: nm, it seems that there are docking options for USB 3.0, although I gather it isn't as powerful as the other options.

It has a 4x thunderbolt 3 port. So you can use a thunderbolt docking station for full 10g networking and/or an egpu station to hook up full size desktop cards.

I was looking at something like this: https://mymantiz.com/products/mz-02-venus

It gives you a full 16x desktop gpu slot, 5 usb 3.0, usb-c, gigabit ethernet, and a sata port for a 2.5" ssd/hdd. I am not sure what else you could want.

Edit: That laptop has a 7700HQ which is only ~12% slower than a full desktop 7700k. Slap a 1080ti in that thunderbolt egpu enclosure and you have a pretty friggen respectable gaming computer for your desktop and still have a full 1060 on the laptop while you are away, which is perfectly capable of 1080 gaming with pretty much any game by itself.
 
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But but but... the OP said he's not that interested in gaming. ;)

I wish people could get off that focus of gaming especially when someone says "gaming ain't important" because it really isn't for the majority of users. Yes it's entirely possible to have a decent eGPU nowadays, I won't deny that but even so that much focus on it seems kinda pointless. I'd rather spend the money on upgrades to the laptop's internals than focus on externals any day of the week and twice on Sunday (and it's Sunday as I'm typing this so...) :D
 
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Thanks for the info. I'm assuming outlets have refurbished models?

Refurbished, new, and scratch and dent. I've only bought new and refurbs, personally. But, unless you're buying a scratch and dent, you'll never be able to tell it's not new

does that laptop support docking? And if so, how are you able to tell?

edit:

Ok I just did some more reading, and it seems that if you have a USB C or Thunderbolt 3, you don't need the E-port docking connector on the bottom of the laptop.

So if I'm understanding this correctly, if a laptop doesn't have an E-port, USB C, or Thunderbolt 3, it doesn't support docking?

2nd edit: nm, it seems that there are docking options for USB 3.0, although I gather it isn't as powerful as the other options.

We've switched from the proprietary docks at work to the USB 3 / thunderbolt Dell ones. The Lenovo and Dell docks have always works perfectly, but the Surface docks were just absolute shit. By buying the Dell USB 3/Thunderbolt docks, we can have one dock usable on multiple models instead of having to buy proprietary devices. I'm pretty sure we're using mostly USB 3, and we're outputting multiple monitors (some 2560x1440, but I think those are the TB docks).
 

spacediver

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After learning more about thunderbolt, I think I definitely want a laptop that has thunderbolt 3. Thing is, it's proving tricky to find out whether any given laptop does indeed have this port.

The amazon link for the Dell Precision M7510, which i linked to earlier, doesn't indicate the listed ports. Also, it's basically half the price of the M7510 that's listed on the dell website (although the one on the dell website has a 4K display, whereas the amazon one is just FHD), yet apparently isn't refurbished, like this even cheaper one. The dell website doesn't mention thunderbolt ports in the specs, although it does have an optional USB C port. Yet this site indicates that the Dell Precision 15 7000 series laptops (which I believe the M7510 is part of) has four thunderbolt 3 ports.

Anyone know what the real deal is here?
 

KarsusTG

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After learning more about thunderbolt, I think I definitely want a laptop that has thunderbolt 3. Thing is, it's proving tricky to find out whether any given laptop does indeed have this port.

The amazon link for the Dell Precision M7510, which i linked to earlier, doesn't indicate the listed ports. Also, it's basically half the price of the M7510 that's listed on the dell website (although the one on the dell website has a 4K display, whereas the amazon one is just FHD), yet apparently isn't refurbished, like this even cheaper one. The dell website doesn't mention thunderbolt ports in the specs, although it does have an optional USB C port. Yet this site indicates that the Dell Precision 15 7000 series laptops (which I believe the M7510 is part of) has four thunderbolt 3 ports.

Anyone know what the real deal is here?

The usb-c is either a 5 or 10gig connection. Thunderbolt 3 is 40gb. A 4x thunderbolt 3 is a full 4x pcie 3.0 or 8x pcie 2.0 or 16x pcie 1 which virtually no gpu can saturate by itself atm. The confusion seems to be that thunderbolt 3 can be found via a usb-c or displayport.
 
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I did some research and found a post or two at the Dell support forums where some users asking about Thunderbolt 3 support on the 7xxx models of the Precision laptops were told that the Thunderbolt 3 eGPU support would only be enabled on Alienware laptop models from Dell, but then in the same thread in one instance one Precision 7510 owner showed success an eGPU and provided a link to his info:

https://egpu.io/forums/pc-setup/dell-precision-7510-akitio-node-galax-gtx-1080-hof-its-working/

Note that his success was conditional on using an external display attached to the eGPU - the internal laptop display did not benefit from the eGPU "back up the chain" so to speak but for most folks using eGPUs I would presume they're doing it to attach larger external displays anyway so that might not be a big concern at all to begin with.

The Thunderbolt website lists the Precision 7510 as having Thunderbolt 3 support (when it's added as the option):

https://thunderbolttechnology.net/product/dell-precision-15-7000-series-7510

And if you want to delve into it more deeply (given you need to order a machine soon), there's always the information filled NotebookReview.com forum thread for the 7510:

http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/precision-7510-owners-thread.783108/

I did a search of that thread for "thunderbolt" and it's mentioned many many times so, that's where the info will probably be that you're looking for. By default that forum software there provides search results by relevance, so you have to click the "Search again" link, then have it sort the results by most recent to get info in that order.
 

spacediver

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Thanks Tiberian, I went through every single post in that thread that had thunderbolt in it. Looks like dell only started adding thunderbolt option in Feb of 2016. I'm guessing that the cheap links on amazon and newegg (which also feature the older 1920x1080 display, rather than the premiere 4k display found on newer 7510's) do not have the thunderbolt port, e.g. see the specs in this newegg link.

I may end up going with this ThinkPad P50 found on best buy for business, but it is pricey and at the upper end of my budget.

I'm also gonna scour the options at canada computers. There may be a more affordable option that isn't "business class" but still has good specs, and thunderbolt (and if it has thunderbolt, my docking needs are met by default).
 

spacediver

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It has a 4x thunderbolt 3 port. So you can use a thunderbolt docking station for full 10g networking and/or an egpu station to hook up full size desktop cards.

I was looking at something like this: https://mymantiz.com/products/mz-02-venus

It gives you a full 16x desktop gpu slot, 5 usb 3.0, usb-c, gigabit ethernet, and a sata port for a 2.5" ssd/hdd. I am not sure what else you could want.

Edit: That laptop has a 7700HQ which is only ~12% slower than a full desktop 7700k. Slap a 1080ti in that thunderbolt egpu enclosure and you have a pretty friggen respectable gaming computer for your desktop and still have a full 1060 on the laptop while you are away, which is perfectly capable of 1080 gaming with pretty much any game by itself.

missed this post earlier. Thanks for clarification, and that venus looks pretty cool (though yea, my laptop is decidedly not going to be used for gaming - I have a desktop with an FW900 monitor for that :p, though the only game I play is quake live, so my GTX 660 serves me well )
 

KarsusTG

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missed this post earlier. Thanks for clarification, and that venus looks pretty cool (though yea, my laptop is decidedly not going to be used for gaming - I have a desktop with an FW900 monitor for that :p, though the only game I play is quake live, so my GTX 660 serves me well )

Ya, I don't do much gaming either. I plan on getting this laptop, probably w/in the next two months. Just waiting to see if they release an 8700hq version by the time I have to pull the trigger. That eGPU enclosure can push external monitors too. I am most likely going to put a quadro in mine to push my 2 4k monitors for cad and solidworks projects. That 1060 is plenty sufficient to push Civ 5 when I am out and about.

Edit: That thinkpad is only that expensive because of the m1000m card. A 1050ti or better would easily out perform that card for pro tasks unless you need the signed drivers. Also, 4k on a 15" laptop is a problem for coding because of windows scaling sucking so bad. I don't even run my 28" monitors at full 4k because I can't read the damn text in netbeans...
 

spacediver

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Ok, I've narrowed down my options to these:

They all have quad core i7 processors, most of which are 7th gen, they all have 16 gigs of RAM, and they all support Thunderbolt.

ThinkPad P50 ~$2500

Lenovo Legion Y720 ~$2100

Dell Alienware ~$2300

Asus Zenbook Pro Ultrabook ~$1900 (seems to be sold out)

ASUS ZenBook UX550VE-DB71T Ultrabook ~$2300

MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro ~$2500

MSI GT62VR Dominator Pro ~$1850 (although this seems to be completely sold out).

Are there any obvious winners here, or any ones I should steer clear of? Again, gaming is not important, but clearly I don't mind having an overkill GPU if it turns out that the value of the rest of the hardware is worth it.
 
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spacediver

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Edit: That thinkpad is only that expensive because of the m1000m card. A 1050ti or better would easily out perform that card for pro tasks unless you need the signed drivers. Also, 4k on a 15" laptop is a problem for coding because of windows scaling sucking so bad. I don't even run my 28" monitors at full 4k because I can't read the damn text in netbeans...

good call, didn't even click in my head that the m1000m is a quadro. As for scaling, wouldn't that only be an issue when you're scaling down from the native resolution? So if you're coding in 4k that should be fine right? (although I do hear that 4k eats up more battery). fwiw, the thinkpad p50 is FHD not 4K
 

KarsusTG

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good call, didn't even click in my head that the m1000m is a quadro. As for scaling, wouldn't that only be an issue when you're scaling down from the native resolution? So if you're coding in 4k that should be fine right? (although I do hear that 4k eats up more battery). fwiw, the thinkpad p50 is FHD not 4K

Not only does 4k eat more battery, but if the program doesn't scale well you will need a magnifying glass to read anything. Mac OS actually has the best/most consistent scaling. Followed by Linux, then windows ironically.
 
D

Deleted member 245375

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I'd still pick a Dell Precision but that's just me as already explained. ;)

Of the ones you posted above I honestly wouldn't buy any of them myself but again that's my own personal choice/opinion. The ThinkPad P50 comes with just one stick of RAM in it, 16GB in size according to Lenovo so that means you'll lose a chunk of performance from it not operating in proper dual channel mode and it can be a pretty big chunk depending on things, having 2x8GB would be better for that reason but with the Best Buy model it's pre-configured.

I went to Lenovo's Canadian site and configured the P50 with 8GB of RAM (since they only offer the 8GB and 16GB as one DIMM unfortunately, you're better off buying RAM yourself but they did offer 32GB as 4x8GB for $370 more and yes those are Canadian dollars) and just the 500GB hard drive (because you could save a lot of cash getting a third party SSD yourself) and it runs like $1853.10 - just that one stick of 16GB DDR RAM increases the price by $270 CAD which is fucking insane to me but I can't speak for how things work up in Canada I suppose. I know if I still lived in Las Vegas I could drive to Fry's and get a 16GB DDR4 SODIMM for a helluva lot less. :)

Anyway, you'll figure out which one to get I'm sure. If I were offered the choice of those laptops you listed, I personally would choose the Alienware myself since it is a Dell machine nowadays and it will have great support if needed. It won't have a lot of bloatware on it but then again it's easy to install the OS clean on those if you want anytime anyway. And if they have it in stock at the Canada Computers down the street from you, hell, that's even better. ;)

As for the Quadro aspect, it's NOT a negative, seriously. It's the same GPU as a Geforce, they're made on the same product lines, and in fact Quadros are MORE capable of more things, especially in the 3D rendering roles, because it has more options enabled in the GPU core itself than the Geforce counterparts built on the same dies. The drivers for Quadros are certified, they're more stable, and offer better performance in every day use - Geforce drivers are tuned towards gaming so they offer slightly better performance in most games but the difference is like 5-10% at best in the most extreme rendering situations. Also, Quadros - if needed - come with support 24/7 where you can call Nvidia directly for problems and get help anytime whereas Geforce owners have to call in certain periods of the day/evening and only get so much support if needed.
 

spacediver

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Not only does 4k eat more battery, but if the program doesn't scale well you will need a magnifying glass to read anything. Mac OS actually has the best/most consistent scaling. Followed by Linux, then windows ironically.

right, I keep forgetting that unlike in gaming, where the size of objects are constant across different resolutions, when it comes to text and toolbars etc. in windows, higher res means smaller objects. So I'd need to use scaling to make things large enough to be readable.
 

spacediver

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I'd still pick a Dell Precision but that's just me as already explained. ;)

Of the ones you posted above I honestly wouldn't buy any of them myself but again that's my own personal choice/opinion. The ThinkPad P50 comes with just one stick of RAM in it, 16GB in size according to Lenovo so that means you'll lose a chunk of performance from it not operating in proper dual channel mode and it can be a pretty big chunk depending on things, having 2x8GB would be better for that reason but with the Best Buy model it's pre-configured.

I went to Lenovo's Canadian site and configured the P50 with 8GB of RAM (since they only offer the 8GB and 16GB as one DIMM unfortunately, you're better off buying RAM yourself but they did offer 32GB as 4x8GB for $370 more and yes those are Canadian dollars) and just the 500GB hard drive (because you could save a lot of cash getting a third party SSD yourself) and it runs like $1853.10 - just that one stick of 16GB DDR RAM increases the price by $270 CAD which is fucking insane to me but I can't speak for how things work up in Canada I suppose. I know if I still lived in Las Vegas I could drive to Fry's and get a 16GB DDR4 SODIMM for a helluva lot less. :)

Yea, things are pretty fucked up in Canada when it comes to pricing.


Anyway, you'll figure out which one to get I'm sure. If I were offered the choice of those laptops you listed, I personally would choose the Alienware myself since it is a Dell machine nowadays and it will have great support if needed. It won't have a lot of bloatware on it but then again it's easy to install the OS clean on those if you want anytime anyway. And if they have it in stock at the Canada Computers down the street from you, hell, that's even better. ;)

thank you :)

As for the Quadro aspect, it's NOT a negative, seriously. It's the same GPU as a Geforce, they're made on the same product lines, and in fact Quadros are MORE capable of more things, especially in the 3D rendering roles, because it has more options enabled in the GPU core itself than the Geforce counterparts built on the same dies. The drivers for Quadros are certified, they're more stable, and offer better performance in every day use - Geforce drivers are tuned towards gaming so they offer slightly better performance in most games but the difference is like 5-10% at best in the most extreme rendering situations. Also, Quadros - if needed - come with support 24/7 where you can call Nvidia directly for problems and get help anytime whereas Geforce owners have to call in certain periods of the day/evening and only get so much support if needed.

good to know.
 
D

Deleted member 245375

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I'm guessing you meant this one as your link is borked and that's the only UX550 I could find at Newegg's Canadian site. Looks OK to me, sorta has a style like the Dell XPS models have nowadays - maybe I should have mentioned those but what's done is done, hope it works out and you're happy with it.
 

spacediver

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Yep, that's the one, have fixed my link, cheers.

I just did a search for Dell XPS 15 laptops on newegg.

There were 8 listings (XPS 9560's) that had 1920x1080 displays, at least 16 gigs of ram, and an i7 quad core processor, and five of them are refurbished (which I'm not against in principle). They all range from $1650 to $1800, which is very decent.

However, none of them list Thunderbolt (even though the XPS 9560's are configurable with Thunderbolt). So it's not clear that they do have Thunderbolt. And even if they do, it looks like it's 2x instead of 4x, whereas it looks like the ASUS supports 4x.
 

KarsusTG

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That is a fantastic choice honestly. A bit overpriced imo, but the build quality on those is pretty damn solid.
 
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