Author Topic: Decent budget laptop for writing, with long battery life? NIB or post-leasing?  (Read 7251 times)

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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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TL;DR: Which manufacturer, brand and line would be best for taking heavy-duty text-editing/research work to the park in summer months. Full HD display and at least i3/4GB power required due to the nature of the work. Battery time a priority. I'm almost clueless because I've never owned a laptop before. Hence no orientation in Thinkpad vs Inspire vs Probook, etc. Dilemmas include normal vs dedicated business or gaming configs, and NIB low/mid-end vs high-end used laptops (like 8th-gen i3 new vs 3rd-gen i7 used).

Longer version, only if you have the time to read:

Here are my current approximate options:

1. Asus ROG GL703 with i5-8300, 8GB, GF1050ti, 1TB hybrid drive, 17'' display. Overkill but can get it for a very attractive price from a telecom in a combo offer.  Beefier GL703 configs are known to not last longer than 3.5 hours under large office loads, but this one is lighter and still has a 64WHrs, 4S1P, 4-cell Li-ion battery. Downside: no SSD, though this can be fixed. This laptop would probably be close to par with my desktop i5-6600/16GB@3200MHz@CL15/SSD 240GB@M.2 PCIE/R9 280X/discrete x-fi/ but not better enough to replace it as my main computer, even after moving the SSD to it. Another downside: some laptops under #2 are known to last for 8 hours.

2. Some variety of new Lenovo Thinkpad, Dell Inspiron or something else like that with 13-15'', i5 7200-7300 or 8200-8300, 8GB, 240GB SSD (or even 480 in some cases), and like 8 hours advertised battery life. The advantage over #3 is NIB + new tech. In the price range I'm looking at they typically no longer have a distinct low-end feel. I do look at low ends too, though, just as long as they meet the baseline. Battery time is a huge plus.

3. Some variety of post-leasing formerly high-end business laptop the first user paid 3-4 times as much some 3 years ago. Typically 3rd-gen i7 with 8GB, 15.6'' and full HD. I'm mostly looking at HP EliteBook 8570w LY559EA. However, some guys here run a reselling company that has tons of them, from pampered CEO's showpieces to reinforced laptops for field engineers, all of which have their own allure.

In any case, priorities are: full HD and legible text with it, long battery time, comfortable writing for many hours sometimes in direct sunlight, and I'm wondering what's the most reasonable path to take here. What's not helping is that I don't have the hands-on experience to get a realistic impression of performance, comfort, durability, effects of aging, etc., from just the stats or years of use.

One idea I'm having is to cut my expenses for now and just buy a strong gaming laptop as my next main computer when the time comes to retire my desktop. However, the i5-8300/GF1050ti could perhaps already be a better gamer than my desktop, and, after taking my PCIE SSD, also a stronger workstation, netting me with a comfortable new main computer plus unlimited Internet access at less than 50 bucks per month for 36 months. And there are always replacement batteries and power banks.
« Last Edit: Tue, 05 June 2018, 08:27:27 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Blaise170

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If all you need it for is writing, then I'd highly recommend not buying a gaming laptop. Instead, get something basic like a Chromebook. I have an Acer CB5-571-C09S, it lasts about 8 hours and it lasts forever in sleep mode. Plus you can also install Android apps to extend functionality or play Android games with a controller.
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Offline Shapey Fiend

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Thinkpads tend to have nicer keyboards, and more options in terms of removable batteries.

Doing a lot of typing on a laptop is bloody uncomfortable whatever the model however. I work away from home a couple of days a week and I now always bring a keyboard with me which sorted out any lingering back problems I was having. I'd love to bring a monitor too but I end up switching location too much. Propping the laptop up on a few big books if they're laying about is a decent compromise. I should probably get one of those stands.

« Last Edit: Tue, 05 June 2018, 09:45:22 by Shapey Fiend »

Offline tp4tissue

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You're not going to get very good battery life using a laptop OUTSIDE in a park, because in order the see the screen, it has to be at max brightness..


But for coffee shops,  it doesn't really matter what laptop you get, if it's just writing,


As long as the battery is new and not worn out, for just writing, all laptops post sandybridge  generation (sandy is 2ndgen i-series) is going to have decent battery life.


Anything with a dedicated GPU 1050/1050ti is going to have poor battery life, mostly because the software doesn't always clock down/ power gate properly.

iGPU laptops generally have more reliable low power states which gets better run time.

Offline Shapey Fiend

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They've ported Windows to ARM and there's a load of laptops with 25 hour battery life en route. They'll probably be a bit slower than Intel but should be interesting nonetheless.
« Last Edit: Tue, 05 June 2018, 16:43:00 by Shapey Fiend »

Offline Leslieann

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TL;DR: Which manufacturer, brand and line would be best for taking heavy-duty text-editing/research work to the park in summer months. Full HD display and at least i3/4GB power required due to the nature of the work. Battery time a priority.
Before I get into the rest here is the main thing.
I almost always recommend two things to people, buy used and buy Lenovo. You want budget, but budget laptops SUCK. A two or 3 year old Lenovo will be faster and have better quality parts, and why Lenovo? They do lots of leased computers to corporations, corporations take care of the laptops, unlike home users, and corporate laptops are easier to fix and have a large supply of used parts available. Basically you will get FAR more for your money going this route than you will by buying anything new, it will be nice to use, and it is built to last longer, so even though it's a couple years old, it still has more life left in it than that new pile of garbage you got from Best buy and if/when it does break, not only is it cheap to fix, but you can usually do it yourself for cheap. It's easy to think you can live with a cheap computer while in the store, but 6 months down the line your thoughts on it will probably change as it starts to wear out.


Personally, I recommend the used Lenovo X or T series, and I recommend going newer than a 3rd Gen I series, actually, I recommend going newer than 4th gen.
3rd gen was relatively new to USB 3.0, while standard, it wasn't always the most reliable (and not always bootable). That said, 3rd gen was about the end of the non-u series processors in thin and lights and you need a 5th gen before the U series matches the computing power. 4th Gen has another issue and that is that many 4th gen laptops only had a single dimm slot and therefore could only handle 8gigs of ram and 4th gen battery life wasn't as good as it should have been considering the loss of computing power and memory capacity. If you can do it, I recommend going 5th gen I5 rather than 4th gen I7, which while a small loss in computing power you get better battery and more memory which can make up for the CPU.

As TP mentioned, battery will suck in daylight no matter what. It's just how it is, especially on the newer super brights that hit 400+ nits. And gawd forbid you activate that at night just before bed.


If you do want new, I do have a few suggestions
Chromebook. You have a gaming desktop and all you need is word processing, that is a Chromebooks thing. Cheap, easy to repair/replace and long battery life depending on the model. Unfortunately screen res is probably an issue on most cheaper models. The other issue I have here is that it's a Chromebook, which means it's limited in what it can do. I would almost recommend a used Macbook Air instead. While that sounds odd, you can get a used 4gig ram Air for about $300 and that will have an I5 or I7, with similar battery life in a light weight, nice to use package and it can run Mac, Windows or Linux.

Thinkpad - Actually I recommend against this. I love Lenovo, but holy cheeseballs do they overcharge for things on new laptops. Remember (REAL) Thinkpads are geared towards corporate buyers who hand them off to a bunch of ungratefull tools who treat it like a rabid dog so corporations pay extra to ensure they survive and are covered. You aren;t going to treat it like a rabid dog so why pay the Lenovo tax.

LG Gram - best thin and light on the market at the moment, available in 13 and 15in sizes.  This would be my first choice personally, though not exactly cheap.
Dell XPS - This would be my (close) second choice, and again, not cheap.

Arm based Windows device... just say no. Linux Arm devices can run almost anything Linux, Windows based Arm devices are basically like Windows RT, software support is not good and MS rules it with an iron fist, last I saw. A quick search shows this hasn't changed and I wouldn't count on it changing any time soon. Most of these are a fight to run anything but the default OS as well, and in some cases completely locked from doing so.

Personally, go used and use the saved money to fix up your desktop for gaming.
« Last Edit: Tue, 05 June 2018, 19:49:19 by Leslieann »
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Offline tp4tissue

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They've ported Windows to ARM and there's a load of laptops with 25 hour battery life en route. They'll probably be a bit slower than Intel but should be interesting nonetheless.

Guaranteed, slow as molasses, also, software Bugs, much Joy

Offline goodman247

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I do think Asus is the better option that you listed, I've bought a couple of lenovo's and I also help my work purchase many, Lenovo's quality is very hit or miss... and not as good for long term use. One place to find the best deal for laptops though is slickdeals.com. Just search that site and find the best laptop deals and read the comments, people will let you know if it's a good laptop and a good price.

Offline Blaise170

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Before I get into the rest here is the main thing.
I almost always recommend two things to people, buy used and buy Lenovo. You want budget, but budget laptops SUCK. A two or 3 year old Lenovo will be faster and have better quality parts, and why Lenovo? They do lots of leased computers to corporations, corporations take care of the laptops, unlike home users, and corporate laptops are easier to fix and have a large supply of used parts available. Basically you will get FAR more for your money going this route than you will by buying anything new, it will be nice to use, and it is built to last longer, so even though it's a couple years old, it still has more life left in it than that new pile of garbage you got from Best buy and if/when it does break, not only is it cheap to fix, but you can usually do it yourself for cheap. It's easy to think you can live with a cheap computer while in the store, but 6 months down the line your thoughts on it will probably change as it starts to wear out.


Personally, I recommend the used Lenovo X or T series, and I recommend going newer than a 3rd Gen I series, actually, I recommend going newer than 4th gen.
3rd gen was relatively new to USB 3.0, while standard, it wasn't always the most reliable (and not always bootable). That said, 3rd gen was about the end of the non-u series processors in thin and lights and you need a 5th gen before the U series matches the computing power. 4th Gen has another issue and that is that many 4th gen laptops only had a single dimm slot and therefore could only handle 8gigs of ram and 4th gen battery life wasn't as good as it should have been considering the loss of computing power and memory capacity. If you can do it, I recommend going 5th gen I5 rather than 4th gen I7, which while a small loss in computing power you get better battery and more memory which can make up for the CPU.

As TP mentioned, battery will suck in daylight no matter what. It's just how it is, especially on the newer super brights that hit 400+ nits. And gawd forbid you activate that at night just before bed.


If you do want new, I do have a few suggestions
Chromebook. You have a gaming desktop and all you need is word processing, that is a Chromebooks thing. Cheap, easy to repair/replace and long battery life depending on the model. Unfortunately screen res is probably an issue on most cheaper models. The other issue I have here is that it's a Chromebook, which means it's limited in what it can do. I would almost recommend a used Macbook Air instead. While that sounds odd, you can get a used 4gig ram Air for about $300 and that will have an I5 or I7, with similar battery life in a light weight, nice to use package and it can run Mac, Windows or Linux.

Thinkpad - Actually I recommend against this. I love Lenovo, but holy cheeseballs do they overcharge for things on new laptops. Remember (REAL) Thinkpads are geared towards corporate buyers who hand them off to a bunch of ungratefull tools who treat it like a rabid dog so corporations pay extra to ensure they survive and are covered. You aren;t going to treat it like a rabid dog so why pay the Lenovo tax.

LG Gram - best thin and light on the market at the moment, available in 13 and 15in sizes.  This would be my first choice personally, though not exactly cheap.
Dell XPS - This would be my (close) second choice, and again, not cheap.

Arm based Windows device... just say no. Linux Arm devices can run almost anything Linux, Windows based Arm devices are basically like Windows RT, software support is not good and MS rules it with an iron fist, last I saw. A quick search shows this hasn't changed and I wouldn't count on it changing any time soon. Most of these are a fight to run anything but the default OS as well, and in some cases completely locked from doing so.

Personally, go used and use the saved money to fix up your desktop for gaming.

I did tech support for years, trust me, corporate users don't give two ****s about their laptops. I'd rather buy a used laptop from a private seller than a corporate seller because private sellers typically take better care of their stuff since they own it. Also, I have terrible experience with Lenovo laptops, and would never recommend them to anyone I know. Business class laptops can definitely be a good deal, but there are sacrifices you'll also be making with them such as portability. You are free to purchase this corporate laptop if you'd like (actual photo from the user).  :-X

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Offline Leslieann

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I do think Asus is the better option that you listed, I've bought a couple of lenovo's and I also help my work purchase many, Lenovo's quality is very hit or miss... and not as good for long term use. One place to find the best deal for laptops though is slickdeals.com. Just search that site and find the best laptop deals and read the comments, people will let you know if it's a good laptop and a good price.

At one time Asus was my recommendation for new laptops, good bang for the buck while they tried to establish themselves, however these days I would just buy an Acer. While I still like Asus for components, their value has gone down and after what I went through with their support on my Maximus motherboard, no thanks. Let's just say there was no (as in zero) quality assurance done because even the most basic test would have revealed a major problem. Also, I just so happen to have a ROG laptop sitting near me and I'm not impressed,  it's no better made than their non-ROG stuff, it just looks flashier and with dedicated graphics. A LOT of techs used to recommend them, but not these days.


Lenovo quality is good if it's corporate grade, if it's home grade avoid it like the plague unless you do some research first.  They have some good cheap stuff and some great expensive stuff, but the rest is no better than the average Acer. Dell and HP are similar to Lenovo, in that they have a mix. Samsung I won't touch again with a ten foot pole. Apple, let's just say you have to be VERY choosy in what you buy and what you think is good vs what actually is, would surprise most people.

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Offline Leslieann

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I did tech support for years, trust me, corporate users don't give two ****s about their laptops. I'd rather buy a used laptop from a private seller than a corporate seller because private sellers typically take better care of their stuff since they own it. Also, I have terrible experience with Lenovo laptops, and would never recommend them to anyone I know. Business class laptops can definitely be a good deal, but there are sacrifices you'll also be making with them such as portability. You are free to purchase this corporate laptop if you'd like (actual photo from the user).  :-X

They do treat them bad, ever see a home based computer subject to that kind of abuse, it makes that picture look good.
The thing with corporate laptops is they can, and do fix them, which is why they are built how they are, they can take the abuse and when they can't it's an easy fix. Even if you find an issue, it's an easy fix.

And it's not hard to find a good one.
Look for good feedback, but also actual pictures of it on and off. Do not go by a quality rating, you want to see the whole thing and it while on and while off because scratches often do not show while the screen is on. Also, you want to see it running Windows or whatever, not just a bios screen. A good seller will make things right.
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Offline ideus

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Thinkpads, mainly two or three generations back, are awesome writing machines. But they are not budget ones, though.

Offline tp4tissue

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I did tech support for years, trust me, corporate users don't give two ****s about their laptops. I'd rather buy a used laptop from a private seller than a corporate seller because private sellers typically take better care of their stuff since they own it. Also, I have terrible experience with Lenovo laptops, and would never recommend them to anyone I know. Business class laptops can definitely be a good deal, but there are sacrifices you'll also be making with them such as portability. You are free to purchase this corporate laptop if you'd like (actual photo from the user).  :-X

They do treat them bad, ever see a home based computer subject to that kind of abuse, it makes that picture look good.
The thing with corporate laptops is they can, and do fix them, which is why they are built how they are, they can take the abuse and when they can't it's an easy fix. Even if you find an issue, it's an easy fix.

And it's not hard to find a good one.
Look for good feedback, but also actual pictures of it on and off. Do not go by a quality rating, you want to see the whole thing and it while on and while off because scratches often do not show while the screen is on. Also, you want to see it running Windows or whatever, not just a bios screen. A good seller will make things right.

Whatever you do,

DO NOT BUY,  x220, T420..

Offline ideus

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It looks like your users were monkies or something. I have used Thinkpads for years with zero issues whatsoever. Running rock solid all the time. Maybe I was just lucky that my units came from winning batches. I am typing with a T460s now on its dockstation. Cannot speak anything bad about the experience.

Offline Leslieann

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It looks like your users were monkies or something.

What Blaise170 shows is not all that extreme for what you see from kids and adults who don't give two sh*ts about something that isn't theirs, it's to be expected. Not to mention, bad things happen to good laptops, even if you treat them like jewels, and when you get used, you probably won't get a warranty so replacement part cost and availability is important. I have never had a problem finding ANY part to a Lenovo X or T series and certainly never paid a premium for it. In fact Lenovo parts are some of the cheapest and easiest to find among laptops.

Just because it's a popular brand doesn't mean you can find parts easy or cheap, I can list off a few notebooks from Samsung, Asus and even Lenovo that you would be hard pressed to find the parts for, sometimes at any cost. I've been looking off and on for 3 years for one of 6 Lenovo motherboards (or complete notebook), and just as long for 3 Asus motherboards (or complete notebook).  Admittedly, the Asus  are a bit long in the tooth and not worth finding these days, but the Lenovos are just for giggles, I mean who in their right mind wants to put 16gigs of ram and a 1tb ssd, into a small Chromebook chassis with a 3rd or 4th gen Core I7? Me! And apparently Lenovo, since they offered it. :))
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 June 2018, 07:49:33 by Leslieann »
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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Hi again, guys. I've done some reading meanwhile and also considered your graciously shared insights here, and here's a rough coupla points of a summary of what I've got:

— really need more horsepower than the average Office user due to the editing software I use and the large/complicated/buggy files clients send
— i5-8300 is one heckuva nice CPU, and pretty much the only one I'd care to purchase NIB
— anything older than 7th gen, I'm heavily biased toward i7 and 4 physical cores
— I'm not buying anything used without rigorously verifying the specs and reading the reviews, especially for noise, temps and keyboard comfort but also because there is so little consistency between performance steps from 200 to 300, 320 to 340 etc. across generations
— I want no discrete GPU (battery life, reliability, price, temptation to play games at work, etc. — so many reasons)
— I'd like 17'', but it's so overpriced and battery-hogging that I can live with 15.6'', I guess, but 14'' and less would be too little at FHD, which I actually need most of the time
— I really dig secondary batteries, especially if it means you can juggle spare batteries indefinitely without powering off or plugging in
— I'm leaning Lenovo, Dell or perhaps HP for the ease of finding spare parts, replacements etc. without paying a premium several years down the road.
— I'd probably like something a clumsy newbie could fix or clean with relative ease if need be (especially replace fans for better cooling)
— no telecom offers for the time being, maybe with my next upgrade in 2–3 years; my smartphone will be enough for whatever little and light Internet connectivity I need in the field
— I don't really feel comfortable exceeding $1000 much due to how quickly stuff loses value and how absurdly stronger rigs are overpriced compared to the price of e.g. just buying more RAM or a better SSD separately

I've also found a dozen post-leasing Fujitsu Siemens machines with i7-4702 / 8 GB DDR 3 / 128 GB SATAIII SSD / Windows 10 Pro / IPS screen for the equivalent of $300 (in PLN), with the option to fork out +50 to upgrade to a 250 GB SSD, presumably new and presumably system-cloned by the reseller, which would be well worth it. Battery is probably half-dead, though, and replacements are extremely expensive, like 2-3 times the price of Dell or HP or anything else. I guess I could try it out and at worst just sell it off to a family member or friend who doesn't need battery mode. Otherwise the difference in battery prices pretty much evens out the laptop price. But there are still plenty enough old Dells and Lenovos around with 4th-gen i7s. OR NIB Inspirons, ProBooks, etc. Still haven't decided yet.

So some more questions perhaps? Or more suggestions?

For starters, are the casings, component and execution quality, etc., really better on business models than consumer versions? For example I've been thinking about grabbing a new low config like i5-8300 / 8GB RAM / Intel GPU / IPS or VA screen / Win 10 Pro and just adding on an SSD.

And would you try out the Fujitsu Siemens given how expensive any battery replacement would be? Like >$100 for main and $200 for secondary, which ironically still leaves me with a good bang for the buck in terms of processing power and battery life.

Are there any other non-ultras (15'' and up) that could be fitted out with 12K MAh, especially with less hassle?

However, jobs are flowing in, so my budget is growing faster than my mind is being made, apparently, so let's perhaps move closer to $1000 range. I have other uses for the money (seemingly endless supply of pressing expenses), but being able to spend a whole day working in a park or forest is great for my work comfort and motivation.
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 June 2018, 08:24:46 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Kyi195

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When I (or my boss for that matter) need a new computer we usually go through Dell Refurbished.  I just checked and they have some decent mobile Precisions if you NEED that full workstation build (assuming you're good with a 4000 level i7).  Personally I prefer the Latitudes but I think KiCAD is the most taxing thing I run on this.  Also I don't know what OS you will be using but if you need Win10 you'll have to source that yourself (I throw Debian on my laptops so I don't have the ability to play games).

Also one final thing, if you check on RetailMeNot they usually have some good deals for Dell Refurb too.  Got my laptop for $300 off with free shipping.  Ended up with a Latitiude E7450 w/ an i5, 8 GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD for just over $300 shipped.

EDIT: Also, regarding their cosmetic grades, I have a very slight scratch on the left side of my lapotp.  Like, small enough that you won't see it unless you're looking for it, and that gave it a B grade so don't worry too much about their grades.  Also they have a 100 day warranty (my boss' info not mine so double check that) so if you do go that route make sure you check everything when it comes in.
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 June 2018, 08:54:43 by Kyi195 »

Offline Blaise170

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Business class laptops can be better in terms of build quality, but higher end consumer models can easily be just as good. I would've recommended Best Buy's auction site a few years ago but they recently shut it down for good, so no more good laptop deals from there.  :(

Changing your needs and budget drastically changes any previous suggestions you got.
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Offline tp4tissue

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However, jobs are flowing in, so my budget is growing faster than my mind is being made, apparently, so let's perhaps move closer to $1000 range. I have other uses for the money (seemingly endless supply of pressing expenses), but being able to spend a whole day working in a park or forest is great for my work comfort and motivation.


You should not spend $1000 on a laptop unless you need heavy lifting done like solidworks/cad/maya/video encoding.

It's not worth it.. you're better off going home, and using a desktop because a $300 desktop is faster than most $1000 laptops.



I really think you're overestimating how much processing power you need for your applications..

Anything with 4 cores, goes to 2.6-3.0 ghz and above,   AFTER 2nd gen i-series sandy bridge,  should be plenty fast enough for ANY Application that's practical for a laptop..



Offline Kyi195

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However, jobs are flowing in, so my budget is growing faster than my mind is being made, apparently, so let's perhaps move closer to $1000 range. I have other uses for the money (seemingly endless supply of pressing expenses), but being able to spend a whole day working in a park or forest is great for my work comfort and motivation.


You should not spend $1000 on a laptop unless you need heavy lifting done like solidworks/cad/maya/video encoding.

It's not worth it.. you're better off going home, and using a desktop because a $300 desktop is faster than most $1000 laptops.



I really think you're overestimating how much processing power you need for your applications..

Anything with 4 cores, goes to 2.6-3.0 ghz and above,   AFTER 2nd gen i-series sandy bridge,  should be plenty fast enough for ANY Application that's practical for a laptop..




I mean this would all be a lot easier if we knew what programs were being used exactly because text editing can be done on an old P3 box w/ 512 MB RAM running Arch.  I don't know what the research aspect uses though so it's hard to pinpoint.

tbh, it reminds me of the new faculty that are comming in saying they are doing work in SAS and therefore need 128GB of RAM and a 12 core Xeon.

Offline Blaise170

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Also keep in mind that for many people, they have a choice of a desktop OR a laptop and not both.
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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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You should not spend $1000 on a laptop unless you need heavy lifting done like solidworks/cad/maya/video encoding.
It's not worth it.. you're better off going home, and using a desktop because a $300 desktop is faster than most $1000 laptops.
I really think you're overestimating how much processing power you need for your applications..

Trados worked mostly just fine on Core2Duo with 4 GB DDR2, but larger files are a problem due to how the software isn't optimized too well. I distinctly recall .docx's of like <10 pages full of macros saved by memoQ making my i5-6600 CPU and 16GB of 3400/15 (or 3200/14, or whatever) RAM crawl. If it loads at all, you're mostly going to be fine, but sometimes it doesn't due to timelines, or there's so much typing lag you can't work. AMD A6 laptops, for example, are way underpowered, while modern i5 is admittedly somewhat overkill, most of the time, except for those occasional bumps on the road and bottlenecks. Which I won't normally be tackling with the laptop, but it may happen if I stay somewhere for a month. But apart from when something does actually crash, it does in fact mostly come to perceived comfort.

… Which is why I'm leaning $500-$750 still, just not sure what exactly.

And obviously I'm pretty sure any Bridge or 'Swell i3 with 4GB RAM would probably be fine 90% of the time, I'd rather pay some extra up front to avoid bad surprises.

A little above $500 mark old Latitudes start, and before it reaches $750 you can already get i7-4700 & 250GB SSD, not like I'm going to need that. But part of the problem with this purchase is I don't want to buy SSDs old enough to die. Or any parts old enough to drop dead on me all of a sudden (for all my dislike of low-end NIB products when compared to the high-end feel of aged titans).

Strictly speaking, I obviously don't need the SSD or >4GB RAM, I guess. Gotta keep in mind this really is going to be a working mule for taking uncomplicated work to the park in the warmer semester. For which I guess any $150 laptop would suffice but for its battered battery. ;)


tbh, it reminds me of the new faculty that are comming in saying they are doing work in SAS and therefore need 128GB of RAM and a 12 core Xeon.

Lol, no, nowhere near that bad. But braving it with an A6 laptop tends to lead to a lot of frustration. I5 provides a distinct but pleasurable sensation of overkill, except for the occassional resource hog that would put even 120 cores back in stone age. Even if not, significant typing lag does tend to result from larger files in Trados/memoQ and similar TM software (XML-based, compiled in Visual Basic, and so on), as well as good old Office, not to mention any more than 5 browser tabs (my desktop begins to choke on 20 in Firefox).
« Last Edit: Wed, 06 June 2018, 14:12:39 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Blaise170

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Something to consider is that even if you get an i7, it won't necessarily be what you expect. I had a Dell with an i7 (which I have since gifted to my SIL) but even it choked on basic tasks sometimes and that was a 4000 series. To get a "real" i7, you'll probably be getting into at least the upper $800-900 range. Also, there's absolutely nothing wrong with old SSDs. My Dell was a refurb and the SSD is still going strong even today. That's one of the advantages of SSDs over HDDs anyways, they should be more reliable long-term. Unless the previous owner absolutely thrashed their PC (running write-intensive applications 24/7), there's no reason to be worried.
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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Thank you.

Ironically, I've just checked, and the desktop I'm typing on right now is an E6500 Core 2 Duo with 4GB RAM. This means way weaker than my previous desktop, which I ultimately regret not having kept for keeping's sake (plus Xeon mod, plus SSD for the LOLz; I saw people on Youtube run multi-GPU 280X setups off of it). Normally it's more than enough for my daily work, along with browser tabs, Office windows, Acrobat and whathaveyou, it only takes forever to process certain tasks and needs several minutes to fully boot up, but that's hardly a good reason to retire a faithful companion. ;) Obviously, plenty of older i3 or even i5 laptops would be less powerful than this old but hey.

I suppose if I just liked the typing experience and overall UX plus some experience of a sturdy feel like it won't be crashing or dying on me any time soon, I could get used to some Sandy i5 plus 4GB after a day or two and love it for the cash it did not cost me. I could easily replace them every two years if need be, I'd just need a power bank to avoid batter hockey.

Speaking of which, how (un)practical are cheap mainstream power banks (the USB kind) with laptops? They nominally go up to 20K MAh for a very affordable price, which is like 3 times the volume of a decent laptop battery, so I guess I could brave the cheap Fujitsu with it and stop caring about the outrageous price tags on FS batteries/replacements. Or pretty much any other old laptop for which you can't find a battery and if you do, it costs through the roof.

How about $500 for:

i7-4810
8GB
SSD 256GB SATA III
Win 10 pro
just integrated Intel 4600
97 Whrs battery, so probably using the optional batter replacing the 2.5'' drive/discrete GPU

The problem: Just $50 or at worst $100 extra, and there's plenty of NIB 7500U configs with like 3 years of warranty that are just marginally weaker (or not at all if you account for performance loss due to aging), or an i7-6850 Thinkpad with a SATA SSD swapped in for the original M.2. But also just $50 less, and you've got the same config with i7-4600 for a really unbeatable price.

« Last Edit: Wed, 06 June 2018, 15:39:46 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Leslieann

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I think I found the problem.

NewbieOneKenobi,
I'm not trying to sound harsh, but you are not the power user you think you are or you lack an understanding of modern systems. Things ran slow on a C2D and an AMD A6 with 2 or 4gigs? I don't think you understand just how far behind the curve those systems really are, those specs are barely enough for a good experience running Chrome or Firefox.  A 2nd gen I5 with 8gigs of ram and an SSD will run utter rings around those with one core tied behind it's back, and you can get those laptops for $140.

But this is a good problem to have.
You don't need half the power you think you do.  I would bet any modest 3rd gen or newer I5 with 8gigs of ram and a decent SSD will blow you away and anything more is just icing on the cake. What you are looking for is almost childsplay on modern system.


By the way, you are greatly undervaluing ram (a common thing for people to do).
4 gigs will straight up bottleneck any Core I series and a modern browser, 8gigs is pretty much the minimum even for just browsing today (Chrome and Firefox can chew through 8 gigs easy). Working with RAW you should consider sacrificing a bit of cpu if you have to in order to prioritize more ram. While I think you would be perfectly happy with 8gigs considering what you are coming from, get 16, you won't regret it.


Edit:
Forgot to mention, Fujitsu, while they usually look tired before their time, they are well made products. Unfortunately, the reason batteries are expensive is because support for them is abysmal. You can find systems, but no parts. I believe you can find parts overseas, but not in the US.
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Offline tp4tissue

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I think I found the problem.

NewbieOneKenobi,
I'm not trying to sound harsh, but you are not the power user you think you are or you lack an understanding of modern systems. Things ran slow on a C2D and an AMD A6 with 2 or 4gigs? I don't think you understand just how far behind the curve those systems really are, those specs are barely enough for a good experience running Chrome or Firefox.  A 2nd gen I5 with 8gigs of ram and an SSD will run utter rings around those with one core tied behind it's back, and you can get those laptops for $140.

But this is a good problem to have.
You don't need half the power you think you do.  I would bet any modest 3rd gen or newer I5 with 8gigs of ram and a decent SSD will blow you away and anything more is just icing on the cake. What you are looking for is almost childsplay on modern system.


By the way, you are greatly undervaluing ram (a common thing for people to do).
4 gigs will straight up bottleneck any Core I series and a modern browser, 8gigs is pretty much the minimum even for just browsing today (Chrome and Firefox can chew through 8 gigs easy). Working with RAW you should consider sacrificing a bit of cpu if you have to in order to prioritize more ram. While I think you would be perfectly happy with 8gigs considering what you are coming from, get 16, you won't regret it.


Edit:
Forgot to mention, Fujitsu, while they usually look tired before their time, they are well made products. Unfortunately, the reason batteries are expensive is because support for them is abysmal. You can find systems, but no parts. I believe you can find parts overseas, but not in the US.



well e6500 might not be so gud''

But I'd argue c2d  e8400,  e8600 or e8700 overclocked to 4.0, 4.2ghz still keeps up.

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Working with computers daily for the past 12 ish years,

The opposite of me, as Leslieann rightly picked up. ;) In short, I've slept through the Core i era until Skylake, bought a non-K Skylake and fell asleep again. And never owned a laptop to boot. The mental consequences are quite obvious to the eye. ;)

As for the rest (but this is also in reply to everyone else, just to avoid quoting and nesting), the laptop really is meant to just let me work on my text documents in the park for hopefully a decent number of hours, followed by moving around the apartment without having to carry cases, monitors and cables around several times a day and being able to work when I go live with friends for a month in different surroundings like home-working freelancers are wont to do lest they lose the last shreds of sanity, or just visit them for a week without being able to cancel or delay all of my projects. (The problem with direct clients, as opposed to agencies, is they might as well stick with the new provider once they have an opportunity to look for one.)

And thus, in terms of moving around the flat, short trips and so on, only the battery really matters, as most of the work could probably be done, with some pain, on a Pentium IV with 2 GB RAM or even Pentium III. Obviously, for cafes, trains, and especially train stations, airports, hotels and so on, even the batter doesn't matter. And with some pain I guess one can put up with having to save the work and shut down for a 30-second pit stop every 2-3 hours.

The problem is large and often complicated or outright bad files running on underoptimized software, which like I said, does have the potential to make A6 laptops keel over. It didn't make my Core 2 Duo desktop keel over, but my C2D desktop was more powerful than a good deal of desktop i3s/low i5s. But MS Office did make my C2D keel over and choke to near death on some files. Sometimes either in Trados or in Office I theoretically could work, but the unpleasant feeling of typing lag was there or the slowness when confirming segments — translators confirm segments pretty much after every sentence. It's kinda like pressing enter to start a new paragraph instead of a full stop when typing. So you can imagine it cuts into my nerves — and income, and thus nerves again ;) — because of the microwaits™.

I got a Skylake with fast RAM and M.2 PCIE4 NVM SSD basically to eliminate all the microlag I possibly could without utterly breaking the bank mostly for the flow, and comfort, and thus flow again, and again all of it (along with motivation, which affects speed and endurance, which affects how many projects you can take and finish and the fine details of quality for discerning clients) translating into my income. So, well, yeah. That was the goal with my desktop — and that gaming GPU found its way there obviously only by some inexplicable accident; the Martians must have put it there when I wasn't looking. ;)

With the laptop, however, I suppose I could adapt psychologically to some slowness, especially sheer slowness with occasional spikes rather than choking to death on a file, especially since I wouldn't be doing anything important with it, it wouldn't be my main computer, just one for short bursts of work and the occasional longer, multi-day or multi-week session.

The last thought, however, leads me out to crossroads — I could either grab something that costs $150 and be reasonably non-unhappy with it (and very happy with the cash saved), or I could buy a pricier NIB thingy with 3 years of door-to-door warranty, which nobody had put his or her greasy fingers on before me, (and I wouldn't be putting any greasy fingers on it, either, as opposed to the $150 unit,) and get a 250 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM but learn to live with an U processor like 7200 or 7500, especially if it's not welded in but can be replaced by the user.

Oh well, anyway, I end up walking into a loop again. Too much choice!

Speaking of which — thank you for Lappylist. The prices and price ordering are totally different here, but it's great to have a cheat sheet with all the params in one place, as well as some quality assessment and battery data.

Okay, one more question for everyone: how long does it typically take for bad pixels and other visual problems to pop up? How much difference does it make the laptop has already been used for 1, 2 or 3 years?


But I'd argue c2d  e8400,  e8600 or e8700 overclocked to 4.0, 4.2ghz still keeps up. [/size][/color]

A mistake I got rid of mine. There were some problems, occasionally costing me like $50 to fix (which adds up eventually), but single-core power was awesome, and it could work two cores very well, and I didn't really need more, nor could most games really use more (if they could at all use two). And isn't it funny how ancient Quad Cores and Xeons became so cool and so hot (at the same time) when game devs learned to use four cores?
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 June 2018, 08:55:45 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Leslieann

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I got to thinking and feel I should explain more about what I said,  (note, I was writing this when NewbieOneKenobi posted)

I've been doing this long enough to remember when anything other than a generic office computer was almost always bespoke, so when i say power user, I tend to think of someone needing a custom system to really make the most of it. These days, other than games, Cad, audio visual, almost anyone can walk into Best Buy and grab a mid level system and get a pretty darn good computing experience. While this kind of removes a LOT of people from being what i consider a power user, that's actually a good thing. Think about it, pretty much any decent computer fits the bill today, rather than needing an expensive custom.

As for under estimating todays systems...
Until Sandy Bridge almost every system was bottlenecked by the hard drive, even with an SSD the system was drive bottlenecked. It's been that way since almost forever. So when people on older systems think upgrades they are used to the more incremental changes we used to get because it was always dragging around an achor.  A generation jump was usually good for 10% speed increase which MS then destroyed by OS bloat, so even if you jumped a few generations, the newer OS ate most of the speed increase.

That changed around the time Sandy Bridge when we got a more efficient bus, Sata3 and modern SSDs. Another thing that changed was hardware outran the OS for the first time. Suddenly the drive wasn't the major bottleneck it once was and we started finding we could actually use even more ram than we thought. No longer did Windows take 30, 45 or even 2 minutes to boot like it has for generations, these days you can be at the desktop in 10-15 seconds.  This change is drastic enough that most people on older systems really under estimate the change.

The techs and enthusiasts are shaking their heads going "duh" but here's the thing, the average person has yet to experience it.
Those of us who deal with this stuff are jaded and expect everyone to be using this sort of hardware, but they aren't. It's really only been a year or so since the midrange started getting SSDs and most people wait a few years between upgrades so the majority has yet to actually get that technology. They have no idea how much faster things are as a result.
« Last Edit: Thu, 07 June 2018, 09:33:41 by Leslieann »
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Offline Kyi195

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With the laptop, however, I suppose I could adapt psychologically to some slowness, especially sheer slowness with occasional spikes rather than choking to death on a file, especially since I wouldn't be doing anything important with it, it wouldn't be my main computer, just one for short bursts of work and the occasional longer, multi-day or multi-week session.

The last thought, however, leads me out to crossroads — I could either grab something that costs $150 and be reasonably non-unhappy with it (and very happy with the cash saved), or I could buy a pricier NIB thingy with 3 years of door-to-door warranty, which nobody had put his or her greasy fingers on before me, (and I wouldn't be putting any greasy fingers on it, either, as opposed to the $150 unit,) and get a 250 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM but learn to live with an U processor like 7200 or 7500, especially if it's not welded in but can be replaced by the user.

[...]

Okay, one more question for everyone: how long does it typically take for bad pixels and other visual problems to pop up? How much difference does it make the laptop has already been used for 1, 2 or 3 years?

Adapting to the slowness of software that is terribly optimized from the beginning sounds like the easiest route and the best chance to avoid overspending on something that isn't even going to be your main box.  Personally I'd say buy refurb if you can.  Dell Refurb has their site (funny enough that isn't run by Dell Proper, just has licensing rights or w/e), you can buy refurb from Newegg, etc.  You've got a much better chance to get something that is clean and works the way it's supposed to as opposed to going to ebay and getting screwed with a $150 paperweight.  Definitely go business-class as they tend to have better components and support over consumer grade.  with the refurb option, you'll probably run between $300 and $500 but you're getting peace of mind with that too.  Also I'd recommend sticking with a Laittude if you go the Dell route (my job is a Dell/Windows environment so I don't have much experience with other companies) as their 14" screens in fhd look fine.

Regarding the bad pixels topic.  My re-entry to the laptop market was a refurb Dell Lat. E6410 I got from Newegg for abt $215 ($245 after the extended life battery).  It was from 2010 or so and I got it spring of 2014, and I used it daily till Fall of 2017.  Throwing it in my backpack with books around it held tight against my back protector in my motorcycle jacket (hard and convex).  I NEVER had an issue with the screen even 7 years afterwards.  Hell the only screen issue I've ever had on a laptop was the backlight in my old Asus (From middle school) died after abt 5 years.  Assuming you buy from an actual refurbishing company as opposed to a dude on ebay/craigslist/etc. your screen should be fine no matter what you get.

Offline Leslieann

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The last thought, however, leads me out to crossroads — I could either grab something that costs $150 and be reasonably non-unhappy with it (and very happy with the cash saved), or I could buy a pricier NIB thingy with 3 years of door-to-door warranty, which nobody had put his or her greasy fingers on before me, (and I wouldn't be putting any greasy fingers on it, either, as opposed to the $150 unit,) and get a 250 GB SSD and 16 GB RAM but learn to live with an U processor like 7200 or 7500, especially if it's not welded in but can be replaced by the user.

My advice remains, get a T450 or T540 with an ssd and 16gigs of ram, which should be doable for a little over $300 (add $100 for the 540) .
It's cheap enough to not break the bank, nice enough to love. It's a 5th gen (T450 is 5th gen 540, is 4th gen), but it's faster than you expect and gains after 4th gen were very incremental. Intel got lazy and only picked up the pace again because of Ryzen. Newer than this and the prices jump dramatically.

There are a few companies who refurb laptops, Newegg, EPC, and others sell on Ebay so not all are sketchy. I get quite a lot through EPC who is a local PC recycler, you may want to find a local recycler, then you can test it before you buy and make sure it's in good shape. They often come with a short warranty as well.


By the way, all U series are soldered in place, as are some standard m series, you also now need to watch out for single ram slots or worse, soldered ram and soldered ssd's. Research before you buy because upgradability has been on the decline in laptops since 2nd gen.

Oh, and newer screens have FAR fewer pixel issues than they used to.
It used to be you were lucky to get a perfect screen and companies expected you to deal with a few dead ones, that isn't the case anymore.
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Offline tp4tissue

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Careful with that whole park thing..  turn around, and the drug addict absconds with your new laptop.  We are amidst a heroin epidemic after all.

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Thanks, guys. My poor old OCD self ended up doing its worst until eventually it gobbled up enough data for everything to snap into a system that's navigable back and forth, but damn, was it stressful. I definitely lost some nights.

Ended up deciding that there are two companies I'm interested in, with one product line each: Thinkpad and Latitude.

This is because the most pressing problem has been resolved — I'm staying with my friends who work on their normal laptops, and I'm now sitting right next to them in a rocking chair with a keyboard in my lap and a 27'' monitor right in front of me, plus mouse on the box on my right-hand side, which is yet another triumph for desktop computing to warm my heart. I've decided there are other ways if you just want to park a computer somewhat that's not its usual place. Not to mention that mini ATX/ITX exists for just the reason. And obviously even a Kailh mech board is better than even Lenovo's Most Awesome Laptop Keyboard Ever™. The rest is just not being lazy but exercising one's creative brain to set up the working space smartly.

Next I learned two other lessons:

(1) If this Core 2 Duo (much slower than the one I replaced two years ago… in fact I could've brought that one with me, sans peripherals) with 4GB RAM and no SSD is sufficient for my working habits with little real difference to be felt, then a comparably (un)powerful laptop also would be. Sure, I feel the difference compared to my snappier Skylake back at home, but it's hardly night and day as long as I'm not having any of those big, flash and bug-infested client files. Actually, I remember doing 100-pagers on this very computer with no issues. And many $150 laptops would be more powerful than this computer.

(2) The full HD is not really as necessary for me as I'd thought. It obviously matters for office desktop screen that you can use two full-sized Word/Acrobat windows for optimum comfort, but on a portable backup machine
 having to do some more alt-tabbing wouldn't be the end of the world, not to mention going offline, turning off wi-fi to conserve the batter and just using the smartphone for dictionary checks and tiny research. And there are some advantages to 1366*768 on a 14'' screen. One of my friends uses 768p all the time and does all right. If you really have to stick two windows together (translating from photos, scans, etc., which means you aren't using a standardized tabular layout that looks like Norton Commander), some variety of 900–1000p will often suffice with some pain, or you just stay home and sit on the terrace, whatever, it doesn't really matter so much.

And right now one could get plenty of old Latitudes and Thinkpads with 2nd or 3rd-gen i5's for like $150–200, some of which actually have 1080p/FHD, as well as an SSD and 8GB RAM. And if 4, then that's less cost wasted if upgrading to 2*8.

I figure I could get a more modestly configured one right now and just replace it with a stronger unit compatible with the same batteries and powerbanks in the future, sparing me some learning curve too.

In any case, I've got less pressure now. Some week or two to think.

Careful with that whole park thing..  turn around, and the drug addict absconds with your new laptop.  We are amidst a heroin epidemic after all.

I have to use encryption and stuff because of GDPR anyway. In terms of just losing it, well, I guess buying a cheap one would remove much of the worry about damage or loss.
« Last Edit: Sat, 09 June 2018, 11:48:32 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline tp4tissue

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Latitudes are much better than they used to be..

The business thinkpad chassis are typically a bit better than latitudes..


Make it a point to get an IPS panel if you're working outside, and check the review before hand on the laptop's screen, they come with different screens sometime on the same model, so make sure you know what you're looking at...

You can post it here and I could tell you if it's any good.

Offline Leslieann

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And right now one could get plenty of old Latitudes and Thinkpads with 2nd or 3rd-gen i5's for like $150–200, some of which actually have 1080p/FHD, as well as an SSD and 8GB RAM. And if 4, then that's less cost wasted if upgrading to 2*8.
sounds about like me obsessing over stupid stuff.

That's not a bad way to go, and with few downsides, couple thoughts on it.
Get something with a spinner drive (or no drive) and buy your own ssd, get an efficiency model, not a performance model, no point in sacrificing some good battery gains for near zero performance gains. Also remember one stick of ram is more battery efficient than two, so if you only need 8 gigs, get a single stick. Each stick on a 2nd or 3rd gen can consume 15-20% of your current draw at idle. If you plan on using a mouse, get a model with bluetooth and a bluetooth wireless mouse. Bluetooth uses about 1/5th the power, about 1% vs 5% at idle.

If you get a 14 or 15in, they were often offered with dedicated graphics. PASS. Intel codecs have gotten better since, making the integrated almost as good, with a LOT less heat and battery draw and you aren't going to be able to game on it anyway so why bother.


If you need to replace the battery(ies), get OEM, not (original). You can still get new stock, at least for Lenovo. Also, if you do get a Lenovo, there was a battery recall, you log into site, type in the numbers and it tells you if yours is recalled, if it is, you add your info and they send you a new battery and no need to return the bad one. My last X220 had the original battery which was recalled but worked, a brand new Lenovo I purchased ($20), plus the supplied replacement from Lenovo.
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Offline tp4tissue

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And right now one could get plenty of old Latitudes and Thinkpads with 2nd or 3rd-gen i5's for like $150–200, some of which actually have 1080p/FHD, as well as an SSD and 8GB RAM. And if 4, then that's less cost wasted if upgrading to 2*8.


Also remember one stick of ram is more battery efficient than two, so if you only need 8 gigs, get a single stick. Each stick on a 2nd or 3rd gen can consume 15-20% of your current draw at idle.

Tp4 use dat 2x8gb 1866mhz Ballistix in the X220 !!

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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sounds about like me obsessing over stupid stuff.

Glad to meet someone who understands. ;)

Quote
That's not a bad way to go, and with few downsides, couple thoughts on it.
And right now one could get plenty of old Latitudes and Thinkpads with 2nd or 3rd-gen i5's for like $150–200, some of which actually have 1080p/FHD, as well as an SSD and 8GB RAM. And if 4, then that's less cost wasted if upgrading to 2*8.
sounds about like me obsessing over stupid stuff.

That's not a bad way to go, and with few downsides, couple thoughts on it.
Get something with a spinner drive (or no drive) and buy your own ssd, get an efficiency model, not a performance model, no point in sacrificing some good battery gains for near zero performance gains. Also remember one stick of ram is more battery efficient than two, so if you only need 8 gigs, get a single stick. Each stick on a 2nd or 3rd gen can consume 15-20% of your current draw at idle. If you plan on using a mouse, get a model with bluetooth and a bluetooth wireless mouse. Bluetooth uses about 1/5th the power, about 1% vs 5% at idle.

If you get a 14 or 15in, they were often offered with dedicated graphics. PASS. Intel codecs have gotten better since, making the integrated almost as good, with a LOT less heat and battery draw and you aren't going to be able to game on it anyway so why bother.


If you need to replace the battery(ies), get OEM, not (original). You can still get new stock, at least for Lenovo. Also, if you do get a Lenovo, there was a battery recall, you log into site, type in the numbers and it tells you if yours is recalled, if it is, you add your info and they send you a new battery and no need to return the bad one. My last X220 had the original battery which was recalled but worked, a brand new Lenovo I purchased ($20), plus the supplied replacement from Lenovo.


I figure it gets better (more useful & productive) with a bunch of paper on the floor or an Excel spreadsheet. But the same brain keeps insisting on processing everything internally without any aids. ;)

Quote
Get something with a spinner drive (or no drive) and buy your own ssd, get an efficiency model, not a performance model, no point in sacrificing some good battery gains for near zero performance gains.

Thanks, that's great advice considering e.g. the 4-times difference in rated power draw on Samsung EVOs vs Corsairs, as far as SATA 3 goes. I could always clone the performance SSD onto an efficiency one and put the performance one in my desktop for storage.

However, if I do buy a 10K mAh battery and a powerbank, I'll get such a lot of spare power for the park trips that I'll want a non-U processor and perhaps even a performance SSD (obviously less so the latter, if it offers imperceptible gains for like four times the power consumption).

Same goes for the RAM. However, I'd still prefer a single stick simply because of the possibility of adding on another, especially when (if) they become cheaper.

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Each stick on a 2nd or 3rd gen can consume 15-20% of your current draw at idle.

Ooops! That's quite a lot. Thanks, I didn't even know.

Quote
If you plan on using a mouse, get a model with bluetooth and a bluetooth wireless mouse. Bluetooth uses about 1/5th the power, about 1% vs 5% at idle.

I'll probably grab something with a cord, though I'm not sure yet. I've been thinking about buying something with a touch screen — for the sole reason that I have a lot of highlighting to do. I usually go about that with shft + arrows (less movement, better typing flow) but sometimes the mouse.

Quote
If you get a 14 or 15in, they were often offered with dedicated graphics. PASS. Intel codecs have gotten better since, making the integrated almost as good, with a LOT less heat and battery draw and you aren't going to be able to game on it anyway so why bother.

The CPUs come with yet another integrated GPU anyway, don't they? At least past certain gen, I don't remember which.

Quote
If you need to replace the battery(ies), get OEM, not (original). You can still get new stock, at least for Lenovo. Also, if you do get a Lenovo, there was a battery recall, you log into site, type in the numbers and it tells you if yours is recalled, if it is, you add your info and they send you a new battery and no need to return the bad one. My last X220 had the original battery which was recalled but worked, a brand new Lenovo I purchased ($20), plus the supplied replacement from Lenovo.

Lenovos seem to last longer than anything else, and as long as the relevant model still has hot swap, I probably don't even need a power bank. On the other hand, if I get a powerbank, I don't have to worry so much about batteries. So either way I'll be good just as long as it's either Lenovo or Dell.

Latitudes are much better than they used to be..

The business thinkpad chassis are typically a bit better than latitudes..

Latitudes are probably better than Lenovos for impressing most clients, but knowing me I'll probably ask my sister to paint the chassis over with flowers and trees etc. anyway. Or I might lose just enough sanity one day to paint it metallic gold myself and stick fake jewels on it. Or wood veneer.

Quote
Make it a point to get an IPS panel if you're working outside, and check the review before hand on the laptop's screen, they come with different screens sometime on the same model, so make sure you know what you're looking at...

Yeah, some Lenovos come with TN, and even some Dells. HP I don't even bother with.

What about VA, though?

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You can post it here and I could tell you if it's any good.

Thanks, will keep that in mind.
« Last Edit: Mon, 11 June 2018, 04:11:22 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline Leslieann

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Quote
I'll probably grab something with a cord, though I'm not sure yet. I've been thinking about buying something with a touch screen — for the sole reason that I have a lot of highlighting to do. I usually go about that with shft + arrows (less movement, better typing flow) but sometimes the mouse.
Wired can actually use even more power.

Quote
The CPUs come with yet another integrated GPU anyway, don't they? At least past certain gen, I don't remember which.
Some do, some do not.
Check before buying.

Quote
Lenovos seem to last longer than anything else, and as long as the relevant model still has hot swap, I probably don't even need a power bank.
The __40 series and up usually have a second, smaller internal battery.
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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Quote
I'll probably grab something with a cord, though I'm not sure yet. I've been thinking about buying something with a touch screen — for the sole reason that I have a lot of highlighting to do. I usually go about that with shft + arrows (less movement, better typing flow) but sometimes the mouse.
Wired can actually use even more power.

Ugh, right, obviously, batteries vs USB. I must've lost some 40 IQ points lately.

Quote
The __40 series and up usually have a second, smaller internal battery.

Wow. I also know the Latitudes have a secondary battery (unless that's just a longer main). Seems to go up to 97 whrs in total. But some Thinkpads seem to have even more juice.


Offline tp4tissue

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Quote
I'll probably grab something with a cord, though I'm not sure yet. I've been thinking about buying something with a touch screen — for the sole reason that I have a lot of highlighting to do. I usually go about that with shft + arrows (less movement, better typing flow) but sometimes the mouse.
Wired can actually use even more power.

Ugh, right, obviously, batteries vs USB. I must've lost some 40 IQ points lately.

Quote
The __40 series and up usually have a second, smaller internal battery.

Wow. I also know the Latitudes have a secondary battery (unless that's just a longer main). Seems to go up to 97 whrs in total. But some Thinkpads seem to have even more juice.




mmm.. they're making stuff up on those numbers..

if you look at the ACTUAL battery, you can count the cells and get the actual rated capacity.

For example, lenovo will rate a 7.95ah battery 8.4ah..

Sleeeezy.

Which means there's no valid way to compare 2 batteries from 2 manufacturers because they're likely both CHEATING.

Offline Leslieann

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For example, lenovo will rate a 7.95ah battery 8.4ah..
Sounds more like a fake oem battery.
I find it hard to believe Lenovo is over-rating their capacity, it's a lawsuit waiting to happen considering their customers have teams of lawyers on their payroll.

That said, people need to keep in mind, some battery life gains are from the battery, but most of the recent gains come from power management and more specifically idle cpu and memory power consumption, because it's idle power, it's why you see such a variation on battery life. While you may get 14 or 19 hours on the high end, the low end of battery life remains relatively unchained, you can still get a pathetic 2 hours or so with everything cranked up. These idle power gains are why even a stick of ram or plugging in a mouse makes such a huge difference on modern systems.
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Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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Hi, guys. Just to let you know I've ended up diverging quite heavily from the original plan… found a bargain I couldn't resist with a local post-leasing dealer in the less busy city where I'm staying with my friends right now. The thing's an E7240 with a whopping 12.5'' screen @ 1366*768. It had fewer marks of use or age (slightly polishes keys and pad) than I gave it over several days. The innards are i5-4300U, 8 GB DDR3, 128 GB SSD, modem with SIM card slot, backlit keyboard, Win 10 Pro. Unfortunately TN, but IPS screen replacements are available without breaking the bank.

Also found a bargain on two Dell Power Companions, the larger 18K version (PW7015L), at about half of what Dell is charging (retailers usually sell them at least 25% cheaper). The beauty of them — and they are not power banks, strictly speaking, but more like external batteries — is that they don't take long to charge, they pass on the juice via power jack, and the laptop will drain them first before touching the battery, thus reducing the drain on the battery's useful life. I wonder if the laptop can work with just the Companion and no battery.

In any case, some guys manages to keep a beefy XPS playing videos for 20 hours using one, so I guess I'm safe no matter what I do. No dimming the screen, no giving up on music or wifi, etc. Plus, with two, I shouldn't need to worry if I decide to get a beefier Dell with a large screen, higher res, full M/HQ procesor, dedicated GPU, etc., or if I need to spend the night somewhere without compatible power plugs. Luckily, these things are model-independent, vs overinvestment in spare batteries resulting in overcommitment to 7240.

Offline tp4tissue

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4 series typically have good battery life regardless of battery size.

It will play videos for a long time, but only if you're using hardware dxva.  if you run something like mpchc+madvr, it's gonna be down to 8 hr tops even with the battery pack.

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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I'm getting more and more used to lil' fella. We spent 6 hours translating on the train today (about 7000 words), and it was a blast. As long as I don't have to do much online research or display two documents at once, the small size has a great no-nonsense feel that lets you focus on your work and go on at a good pace, definitely being a keeper. However, neither 1366 nor 12'' is good enough for the occasional working from a PDF original into a .doc translation or somewhat more frequent splitting the screen between work and research for certain projects (rather than alt-tabbing all the time), as I found out over the last couple of days. Similarly, I love the TN display (I can't help enjoying the old-style TFT look), and it's fine in most conditions, but I believe a (matte) IPS would be more dependable, and more workable outdoors. And it seems I could use more RAM and/or more CPU power when I go heavy on the tabs.

In local currency:

PLN 650 (~$175) is what I paid for this laptop
PLN 950 (~$260) is where 1920*1080 IPS starts on Latitude E7440 / 8 GB RAM / SSD 120 GB.
PLN 1300 is where you can begin to hope for an i7-4600U with a full HD IPS display, 8 GB RAM, 120 GB SSD, a modem, or a keyboard that isn't Swedish and localized with stickers (most of them are).
PLN 1500 (~$400) is more or less the start for 15'', sometimes with something extra like a GeForce 730 and/or i5-5300u instead of the usual 4300 (among 15'' I'd look for something that could hold a 9-cell @ ~100 whrs).
PLN 1700 is where the real fun starts (e.g. i7-4600 with 16 GB RAM and sometimes something extra, especially @ 14'' rather than 15'', or an i5-6200U, or an i3-7100U).
PLN 2200 is where you can find i7-4800MQ, i5-6440HQ and similarly strong processors with good integrated graphics, 16 GB RAM etc., a lot of which are Dell Outlets rather than your usual used stuff.
PLN 2100–2400 (~$600–650) is also where barely used Skylakes and Kaby Lakes kick in, sometimes with batteries than show 12 hours with an MQ processor.

In general, it seems the newer the laptop, the better the battery times, with 5480, 7480 and 3480 being the best performers. This is addition to the obvious — newer tech, though that doesn't mean less used, as some of the Gen 4's are practically factory new.

However, some of the newer U processors are just as fast as some older M's, Q's etc., which makes them better as they are newer, draw less juice, drain the battery less and cost less in power bills (not much but enough to justify differences to the tune of $50 in the price).

So my minimum specs are back to 1920x1080 IPS, 8 GB and preferably 16 GB (might be worth looking at 4 GB plus replacement costs), 120 GB SSD (obviously gonna take 240 if it's like $15 difference), not sure 14'' or 15'' but probably 15'' and larger battery.

Long story short, I've decided I can't possibly match my desktop's gaming strength without breaking the bank, so no going after a dedicated GPU. The rest will basically be about the balance.

The rest is hunting, gathering and balancing. ;)
« Last Edit: Wed, 27 June 2018, 04:07:17 by NewbieOneKenobi »

Offline tp4tissue

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Nothing quite express " Sugar-Daddy " to young single females like a macbook + beard + dad bod gut + rimfree glasses

Offline NewbieOneKenobi

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So… here's the shortlist (approx.). All are Latitudes. All are 1920*1080 IPS.

14'':
(1) PLN 949: 5440: i5-4310U, 8GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, LTE modem, great condition, Intel graphics — the Budget King
(2) PLN 1299: 5450: i5-5300U, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, great condition, no modem, GeForce 830M — the Budget Gamer
(3) PLN 1650: 7440: i5-4300U, 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, touch screen (IPS Optronic), HSPA modem, Office 2016 pro OEM (important for me), carbon version — the Touch Officer ;P
(4) PLN 2111: 5470: i6-6440HQ (4 phys. cores), 8GB RAM, 256 GB SSD (M.2), great condition, very good battery time (12 hrs idle is still more than twice better than my 7240), LTE modem, Intel graphics
(5) PLN 2333: 5480: i5-7440HQ (4 phys. cores), 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD (M.2), modem

15''
(6) PLN 1449: 5550: i5-5300U, 8GB RAM, 128 GB SSD, good battery, perfect condition, no modem — the Budget Fifteen
(7) PLN 2049: 6540: i7-4810MQ, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, big 9-cell battery (97 whrs), Dell outlet (never used), DVD, no modem — the Budget 4810MQ
( 8 ) PLN 2099: 6540: i7-4800MQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, ATI HD8790, big 9-cell battery (97 whrs), exhibition unit, DVD, no modem, **TN — not IPS** — the TN Workstation Gamer
(9) PLN 2222: 5580: i7-7600U (2 phys. cores), 8 GB ram, 256 GB SSD (M.2), GF 930MX, modem, good battery (4 cell, though), **TN — not IPS**
(10) PLN 2279: 6540: i7-4810MQ, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, big 9-cell battery (97 whrs), Dell outlet (never used), DVD, no modem — the Max Beef Non-Gamer

At the moment I no longer have to worry too much about spare power, as the two Power Companions are 18K mAh each, so I'm gonna last. The only reason to pick a U processor is to go higher-gen and get the same power as a lower-gen M, MQ or HQ with a lower electricity bill.

I'm partial to 7440 series because of the keyboard — I don't really feel enthusiastic about the new chiclet keyboard taken from the 5000 series, with obligatory trackpoint and with Home & End through Fn only.

I'm drooling over the DELL Outlet status of some of these babies, but a slightly used 2017 laptop might still be better than a 2013/2014 outlet. BUT, series 6000 has the keyboard I like. Still, that big bad 9-cell battery — supposing I get a decent one — is actually not as good and long-lasting as the smaller batteries in those newer i5 HQ machines. And the i5 HQ processors have four physical cores, so they're much stronger than i7-Us, though not as strong as 4800MQ.

Still, that's a lot of excessive power, especially without a dedicated graphics card. Largely wasted if I'm only going to use it for having 1 Trados, 5 Word/Excel, 1–2 Acrobat and 3 browser windows and 15 browser tabs and not experiencing typing lag anywhere.

Also, unfortunately, quite a lot of the newer ones are TN and not IPS. I'm not sure that's actually bad, considering how Dell's TNs are very good TNs and Dell's IPS aren't necessarily good IPSs and are sometimes quite bad for IPS. And for work and no gaming I don't care about anything IPS vs TN other than readability vs light. For gaming, if any, the IPS isn't going to make all that much difference vs calibrating the TN.

For pragmatic reasons, I might grab the Touch Officer — Office 2016 Pro usually costs more than a half of that laptop's price, and the modem always saves me PLN 100, plus the touch screen is quite comfortable for highlighting text strings. But touch = glare = ooops, sunshine!

It seems in terms of 15'' nothing really pays off below PLN 2K, but above the 2K point 15'' is actually cheaper than 14''.

Finally, there are those 3480 Celerons, Pentiums and i3s, starting from PLN 1300 and going up to 1800 depending on the config (e.g. i3-6100U with 12GB RAM nets 1600). They're weak, of course, but they are new and cheaper than older, used configs that offer comparable power while drawing more juice (and being more expensive). They come with DDR4 RAM and M.2 SSDs to boot.

What say you?

I'm perfectly fine with paying some 300–400 extra just to be over it and be able to focus on work.

Offline Leslieann

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Seriously, you need to figure out what you need and want.
You talk about I5 and I7 being stronger, but then willing to look at an I3 or even a Celeron. If you honestly think you can live with a Celeron, why are you even considering an I7. For that matter, why are you even upgrading. Do you know how small of a step up from an older Core 2 Duo a newer Celeron is? I'll give you a hint, the "Pentiums" on the market today, are basically a Core2Duo with a new name. And then there is screen size and ram, if you can get by on a Celeron, you don't need 16gigs. A Celeron can't really take advantage of it, other than for loading browser tabs.

You are bouncing from one extreme to the other.
No one is going to be able to help you when you are swing that wildly, you may as well be asking if you should buy a Honda Civic or a tow truck. You have 2 screen sizes, every processor imaginable, 2 screen types...


Personally, I don't care what it looks like on benchmarks, I won't buy anything less than an I5. Period. Doesn't even matter the age.
U or M, doesn't matter so much as needing to be at least an I5, and not one of those Y series either (they SUCK).  Why? Because all those processors throttle down too far, causing lag in Windows. This is easy to fix, but you shouldn't need to, and by the time you fix that, you are already consuming the same amount of power as if you had an I5 anyhow, but without the computing power to match.


I'll tell you what I tell my customers, buy the best you can afford, now.
Waiting for the next best thing means always waiting and no one ever complains that their computer is too fast, they may think they over spent, but it always comes with "but I like____".
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