Looking for a laptop


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    I'm probably going to be spending several weeks away from my desktop, so I'm (finally) looking to replace my previous, abandoned-with-my-mom laptop. Unfortunately I don't keep up with/remember all the hardware maker's/seller's reputations, so I don't know which brands to look for or anything like that, and I'm not sure how well SSDs make up for less RAM (my desktop has 32GB, and uses a good portion of it most the time. I don't expect to get that much average load on the laptop, but it may be peaky sometimes).

    I would appreciate any help y'all could offer, both at the brand and specific(s) levels.


    Expected uses:

    • Web browsing (I'm of the "many tabs/windows" variety)
    • Coding (Visual Studio, IntelliJ, local database(s))
    • Photo editing (Photoshop, Lightroom, others, RAW/DNG quality)
    • Watching high quality HD videos
    • Occasional gaming (Steam, not Facebook, but probably not too much. Most likely to play is The Secret World)

    Nice-to-haves:

    • Pressure-sensitive drawing (touch interaction doesn't matter)
    • Greater than 1080p resolution

    Requirements:

    • 256+ GB hard drive (the more the better, but I'd rather SSD than spinning)

    Price range:

    • ≤ $1000 ideally
    • $1000 - $2000 with good reason

  • :belt_onion:

    Recently got a beefed up version of Lenovo X1 Yoga, for my wife. The only complaints I get are for Windows10, otherwise seems like a nice laptop that both looks good and can be used for real work.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    256+ GB hard drive (the more the better, but I'd rather SSD than spinning)

    You should upgrade from “rather” to “require SSD”. The difference is that important, whatever OS you're using. The prices for the size ranges that make sense aren't too bad, though they do cost more than spinning disks; the latter only really make sense now for secondary disks (and RAID arrays of course, where cost-per-TB is a gigantic factor).


  • sockdevs

    @dse said in Looking for a laptop:

    Recently got a beefed up version of Lenovo X1 Yoga, for my wife. The only complaints I get are for Windows10, otherwise seems like a nice laptop that both looks good and can be used for real work.

    I recently acquired the X1 Carbon, and it's blowing my mind how amazing it is. totally worth the cash.



  • My work machine is a Lenovo T540p. More than sufficient horsepower, awesome screen, SSD feels plenty fast although I haven't done any benchmarks. Unfortunately the clit mouse is unusable because they saved a few cent for the hardware mouse buttons and the rest of the keyboard isn't up to Lenovo/IBM's former fame either. I've already worn out the first one in a year and a half.



  • I bought an HP Spectre x360 (the 15") for personal use a while back. It probably meets all of these requirements, depending on what kind of gaming. I watched it drop from $1400 to $1100 - it may be even cheaper now.

    i7, 16 GB RAM. Should have no problem with anything under "Expected uses."

    UHD screen. Supposedly works great with all of those drawing pens that came out. Mine came with a 256 GB SSD but there appear to be 512 GB and 1 TB (M.2 SSD) options. Comes with some form of Intel graphics, however. It should be fairly capable for low-end gaming as long as you're not trying to do it at UHD resolutions.

    The only downsides so far are relatively minor. It's pretty hard to open with one hand and it's got a stupid huge touchpad that you might accidentally touch with your palm.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Unfortunately the clit mouse is unusable because they saved a few cent for the hardware mouse buttons

    Yeah, that was terrible. They put them back in the next generation, though.



  • Coincidentally I've just had my hands on a friend's Lenovo X1 Yoga, and it does seem to be a very tidy little machine indeed.

    Lenovo is OK again, I think, since getting busted for the Superfish bullshit; they seem to have learned from that and moved on.



  • @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Unfortunately the clit mouse is unusable because they saved a few cent for the hardware mouse buttonsin all cases

    FTFY


  • sockdevs

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo is OK again, I think, since getting busted for the Superfish bullshit; they seem to have learned from that and moved on.

    yeah, i still nuked* the drive and installing a fresh copy of windows when i got it anyway. just because it's easier than dealing with the crapware that way.

    * actually i pulled the back off the laptop and replaced the m.2 sata drive with a samsung 950 PRO NVME drive and installed to that one.



  • @hungrier said in Looking for a laptop:

    @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Unfortunately the clit mouse is unusable because they saved a few cent for the hardware mouse buttonsin all cases

    FTFY

    I thought so, too, before I was forced to use one on an old Thinkpad where the touchpad was broken. I thought it would be like GEOS on the 64 with a joystick as a (very) poor man's mouse replacement. A day later I was a convert.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dse said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    X1 Carbon

    @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo T540p

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    So I'm thinking Lenovo might be a good choice, especially the X1 series. Thanks!

    Now on a related issue: I've never really used Intel graphics - I've always had a discrete GPU. How well does the X1 Yoga's do?


  • sockdevs

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dse said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    X1 Carbon

    @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo T540p

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    So I'm thinking Lenovo might be a good choice, especially the X1 series. Thanks!

    Now on a related issue: I've never really used Intel graphics - I've always had a discrete GPU. How well does the X1 Yoga's do?

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dse said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    X1 Carbon

    @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo T540p

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    Lenovo X1 Yoga

    So I'm thinking Lenovo might be a good choice, especially the X1 series. Thanks!

    Now on a related issue: I've never really used Intel graphics - I've always had a discrete GPU. How well does the X1 Yoga's do?

    you won't be gaming on an integrated graphics card, well it'll handle DOTA and warcraft if you turn the bling down, but no First Person Shooters.

    beyond that, Intel's really upped their game. Used to be integrated graphics were "it'll run the desktop..... at 20FPS" now it's "we're awesome and all. casual games, youtube, blurays, 4k? no sweat!"

    I have not missed my integrated graphics card since i went to Lenovo.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    you won't be gaming on an integrated graphics card, well it'll handle DOTA and warcraft if you turn the bling down, but no First Person Shooters.
    beyond that, Intel's really upped their game. Used to be integrated graphics were "it'll run the desktop..... at 20FPS" now it's "we're awesome and all. casual games, youtube, blurays, 4k? no sweat!"
    I have not missed my integrated graphics card since i went to Lenovo.

    All my past laptops have been desktop-replacements, but I think for this one I'd really like to keep it at being secondary to the desktop (which I also need to upgrade soon-ish, but can't afford right now) - something for using around the house when away from my desktop, and for travel. So...I think I'm okay with that. Uncomfortable, but okay with that. I can easily keep down to the non-GPU-intensive games, except for TSW which should be on the same level as WoW (which is what I assume you meant), and I should be focusing on learning/practicing software development most of the time in the near future anyway (and searching for jobs).

    Much appreciated!


  • sockdevs

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    WoW (which is what I assume you meant)

    i guess? look all i know is it's a game where you raid for hours and curse about the thief not pulling his weight and something about DKT.... i think. my neighbor gets really loud about that game and the walls are kinda thin..... i don't actually play it.

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    Much appreciated!

    nah worries.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    curse about the thief not pulling his weight

    Quite understandable. The thief is carrying everyone's wallets and loot after all. Not that they know about that...


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    To add to the Lenovo praise, I have a T450s and it's pretty good for work. Decent hardware configuration (12 gigs of RAM are amazing, the Lenovo X230 I had before that had 4GB and the integrated GPU took I think 384 out of that, so this is a huge step up) and a pretty snappy 256GB SSD.

    I also greatly enjoy the "real" docking connector - the X1 only has an extended charging port with a data bus, so you can plug in a standalone """dock""" brick, meaning instead of just plopping it down to a normal dock you have to fiddle with a cable - a minor thing but it would drive me crazy if I had to use that.

    It also has a 1080p screen, which is a nice upgrade from the horrendous 1366x768 I had on the X230; colors aren't great and backlight is really uneven, but that doesn't matter very much on a work machine. The backlit keyboard is pretty nice. Battery life is a bit disappointing at about 4 hours of light work when new - the X230 I had before lasted over 8 hours (with an extended battery pack), but I'm used to it now.

    It's also pretty thin yet still fairly rigid (at least the base - the lid will flex quite bit if you grab it, but overall I'd say it's above average and I've handled quite a few laptops in my time. I've never seen a laptop lid that didn't flex at all.)

    Haven't had any hardware problems yet.

    I can't say anything about the preinstalled system and bloatware, I run Lunix everywhere, but back when I was handling a lot of laptops, pretty much everything except "custom built" desktop replacements had tons of bloatware, no matter the manufacturer. If it had Windows on it, you'd have to spend a few hours cleaning it up.I suspect that situation hasn't changed, but on the other hand you do that pretty much once and never again, so I don't think it matters very much. If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    yeah, i still nuked* the drive and installing a fresh copy of windows when i got it anyway.

    @blek said in Looking for a laptop:

    If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.

    Speaking of which, do you happen to know if you need the key for it, or will it auto-detect?


  • sockdevs

    @Dreikin said in Looking for a laptop:

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    yeah, i still nuked* the drive and installing a fresh copy of windows when i got it anyway.

    @blek said in Looking for a laptop:

    If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.

    Speaking of which, do you happen to know if you need the key for it, or will it auto-detect?

    there's a key for it already that it usually autodetects with win10, but just in case you should make sure you have it on hand


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    Lenovo X1 Yoga bought. Now to wait for its arrival.

    Thanks, everybody!



  • @blek said in Looking for a laptop:

    If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.

    Unless it comes via the kind of UEFI/"LSE" tricks Lenovo has been found playing recently. The only thing that keeps those out is to wipe the drive and install something that's not Windows.



  • @blek said in Looking for a laptop:

    If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.

    The Superfish shit injector was built into their BIOS, if I recall correctly.

    So yes, do a clean Windows install, then check it for Lenovo services. If you find any, complain loudly until they supply a removal tool.


  • :belt_onion:

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    Superfish

    JustVisual



  • @LaoC said in Looking for a laptop:

    @blek said in Looking for a laptop:

    If you're worried about superfish kind of shit, do what @accalia said and just wipe the drive and install clean Windows.

    Unless it comes via the kind of UEFI/"LSE" tricks Lenovo has been found playing recently. The only thing that keeps those out is to wipe the drive and install something that's not Windows.

    It's possible to brick a UEFI box by booting Linux on it and doing rm -rf --no-preserve-root /, so there must be parts of the internal UEFI filesystem susceptible to deletion by a Linux root user. It ought to be possible to work out where their crapware hides and build a little Linux boot disk to auto-nuke it without also bricking the box.


  • sockdevs

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    It ought to be possible to work out where their crapware hides and build a little Linux boot disk to auto-nuke it without also bricking the box.

    hmm..... that's a theory.... i'll have to look into that one.



  • @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    It ought to be possible to work out where their crapware hides and build a little Linux boot disk to auto-nuke it without also bricking the box.

    I wouldn't be so sure. UEFI is cryptographically signed up to the gills.


  • sockdevs

    @PleegWat said in Looking for a laptop:

    @flabdablet said in Looking for a laptop:

    It ought to be possible to work out where their crapware hides and build a little Linux boot disk to auto-nuke it without also bricking the box.

    I wouldn't be so sure. UEFI is cryptographically signed up to the gills.

    -shrug-

    it's only a matter of time till someone fucks up and accidentally ships the private signing key for their UEFI bios with the next superfish, then we can use that key to kill it by turning the key against itself.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    It's too late now, but I'm a pretty big fan of my Dell Precision 5510 for those use cases. Keyboard isn't what it could be though. If I'd been fine with AMD graphics I would have gone with the 3510 instead.



  • @sp_ said in Looking for a laptop:

    I bought an HP Spectre x360 (the 15") for personal use a while back. It probably meets all of these requirements, depending on what kind of gaming. I watched it drop from $1400 to $1100 - it may be even cheaper now.

    i7, 16 GB RAM. Should have no problem with anything under "Expected uses."

    UHD screen. Supposedly works great with all of those drawing pens that came out. Mine came with a 256 GB SSD but there appear to be 512 GB and 1 TB (M.2 SSD) options. Comes with some form of Intel graphics, however. It should be fairly capable for low-end gaming as long as you're not trying to do it at UHD resolutions.

    The only downsides so far are relatively minor. It's pretty hard to open with one hand and it's got a stupid huge touchpad that you might accidentally touch with your palm.

    You haven't tried using the HP Active Pen though? I'm looking at getting a Pavilion x2 12 (I like the Spectre, but looking for a detachable at the moment, so I can take just the tablet part to class etc. for the weight) and I think it's supposed to use the same pen as the Spectre.

    I'm really not sure how HP is able to offer such a low price point on the Pavilion x2 relative to the Surface Pro 4 whose spec it duplicates. I also REALLY wish there was a silicon keyboard cover available for the Pavilion x2. I might try getting a Spectre one and hope they have the same keyboard but I doubt it'll work.



  • @pydsigner said in Looking for a laptop:

    It's too late now, but I'm a pretty big fan of my Dell Precision 5510 for those use cases. Keyboard isn't what it could be though.

    I have one of those for work. It's pretty shiny, IMO, except that someone decided they needed four fewer keys even though there's nearly two inches of empty space on each side of the keyboard, and put page up, page down, home, and end on the arrow keys, to be accessed with the function key which can't be reached simultaneously with any of the arrow keys without using two hands. Also the touchpad is kind of oversensitive. But I should be getting a separate keyboard and mouse for it soon.



  • @dreikin I think I found one for you.

    0_1477065563507_upload-df305ee6-f7cf-45eb-af48-114e3d3af4fc

    Just go to outlet.lenovo.com and search for 80SB0005US



  • @dangeRuss Shit I think I may get one myself...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @CarrieVS said in Looking for a laptop:

    @pydsigner said in Looking for a laptop:

    It's too late now, but I'm a pretty big fan of my Dell Precision 5510 for those use cases. Keyboard isn't what it could be though.

    I have one of those for work. It's pretty shiny, IMO, except that someone decided they needed four fewer keys even though there's nearly two inches of empty space on each side of the keyboard, and put page up, page down, home, and end on the arrow keys, to be accessed with the function key which can't be reached simultaneously with any of the arrow keys without using two hands. Also the touchpad is kind of oversensitive. But I should be getting a separate keyboard and mouse for it soon.

    Yeah see the problem is a derivative one. The 3510 is a Latitude derivative, which means it has a pretty decent keyboard, but the 5510 is a derivative of the XPS 15. That in and of itself doesn't have to be bad, but for whatever awful reason Dell put the same keyboard in the XPS 15 as they did in the XPS 13, so it's really ridiculously small.



  • @dangeRuss said in Looking for a laptop:

    Just go to outlet.lenovo.com and search for 80SB0005US

    I can't seem to figure out how to do that. But that machine looks remarkably good, especially the battery, though it doesn't show how much it weighs.



  • @heterodox said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dangeRuss said in Looking for a laptop:

    Just go to outlet.lenovo.com and search for 80SB0005US

    I can't seem to figure out how to do that. But that machine looks remarkably good, especially the battery, though it doesn't show how much it weighs.

    http://outlet.lenovo.com/outlet_us/laptops/?menu-id=laptops#facet-1=1,2,3,4&facet-3=5

    Look for 80SB0005US

    How do you know the battery is good? 3 cell doesn't sound like much to me.



  • @dangeRuss said in Looking for a laptop:

    How do you know the battery is good? 3 cell doesn't sound like much to me.

    The number of cells doesn't matter; 54.5 Wh is not bad. But then I'm comparing it to detachables which have less Wh by necessity, their battery being in the top half. The laptop I'm most likely to end up getting has 33 Wh.



  • @dangeRuss 52.5 Wh. Fucking tiny.

    Honest question: Why are phone batteries quoted in mAh and laptop batteries in Wh?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @pydsigner said in Looking for a laptop:

    whatever awful reason Dell put the same keyboard in the XPS 15 as they did in the XPS 13

    Assuming lack of want to retool their keyboard production line just for the wider unit.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Tsaukpaetra said in Looking for a laptop:

    @pydsigner said in Looking for a laptop:

    whatever awful reason Dell put the same keyboard in the XPS 15 as they did in the XPS 13

    Assuming lack of want to retool their keyboard production line just for the wider unit.

    It's a meh excuse. It's just barely buyable because it's a keyboard and it's mostly functional, but it's still #1 on the list of things that I would fix about the machine.



  • @JazzyJosh said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dangeRuss 52.5 Wh. Fucking tiny.

    So what does it mean really? How many hours is it going to last?


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @dangeRuss said in Looking for a laptop:

    @JazzyJosh said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dangeRuss 52.5 Wh. Fucking tiny.

    So what does it mean really? How many hours is it going to last?

    Depends on how hard you use the laptop and how it's configured, but the TDP of the processor is 15w. Having a SATA SSD helps, but the display will eat up a pretty decent chunk of power depending on how bright you run it. This may be helpful in calculating usage, although I'm not sure if the loadout we're discussing has the AMD GPU.



  • @JazzyJosh said in Looking for a laptop:

    Why are phone batteries quoted in mAh and laptop batteries in Wh?

    Amp-hours is the traditional unit for battery capacity, but it's not meaningful for comparing batteries containing different chemistries or different numbers of cells.

    Most cars run 12V (nominal) lead-acid batteries, so capacities in amp-hours can be meaningfully compared. Most phones run 3.6V (nominal) lithium-ion cells, so capacities in mAh can be meaningfully compared. Laptops run at various design voltages and cell counts, so comparing their battery capacities has to use a unit that takes both current and voltage into account.

    Yes, it would be better if everybody just used watt-hours or (better, to my way of thinking) kilojoules.



  • Wow, lots of activity over the last day.

    @heterodox said in Looking for a laptop:

    You haven't tried using the HP Active Pen though? I'm looking at getting a Pavilion x2 12 (I like the Spectre, but looking for a detachable at the moment, so I can take just the tablet part to class etc. for the weight) and I think it's supposed to use the same pen as the Spectre.

    I haven't actually used any pens. The model I bought didn't come with one but I've read some very positive reviews regarding pen support.



  • Well, it's probably on the upper end of your price limit but the Surface Book kind of covers everything you listed.

    3000x2000 resolution, pressure-sensitive drawing and a dGPU in the 256GB SSD version which runs stuff reasonably well (a Geforce 950M IIRC).


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Rhywden said in Looking for a laptop:

    Well, it's probably on the upper end of your price limit but the Surface Book kind of covers everything you listed.

    3000x2000 resolution, pressure-sensitive drawing and a dGPU in the 256GB SSD version which runs stuff reasonably well (a Geforce 950M IIRC).

    I have a friend with one, he loves it.


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Rhywden said in Looking for a laptop:

    Well, it's probably on the upper end of your price limit but the Surface Book kind of covers everything you listed.

    3000x2000 resolution, pressure-sensitive drawing and a dGPU in the 256GB SSD version which runs stuff reasonably well (a Geforce 950M IIRC).

    @pydsigner said in Looking for a laptop:

    @Rhywden said in Looking for a laptop:

    Well, it's probably on the upper end of your price limit but the Surface Book kind of covers everything you listed.

    3000x2000 resolution, pressure-sensitive drawing and a dGPU in the 256GB SSD version which runs stuff reasonably well (a Geforce 950M IIRC).

    I have a friend with one, he loves it.

    I would love to have gotten one, but the cheapest one I would choose was above my limit :disappointed:


  • sockdevs

    @JazzyJosh said in Looking for a laptop:

    @dangeRuss 52.5 Wh. Fucking tiny.

    Honest question: Why are phone batteries quoted in mAh and laptop batteries in Wh?

    because phone batteies are tiny so quoting them in mWh makes the numbers bigger.



  • @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    batteies

    TIL phones have enemies too


  • sockdevs

    @Luhmann said in Looking for a laptop:

    @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    batteies

    TIL phones have enemies too

    Everyone has at least one enemy. Entropy kills everyone



  • @accalia said in Looking for a laptop:

    Entropy kills everyone

    Positive Fox!


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