vivant

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Apr 19, 2014
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I will soon start my bachelor degree in IT.

Problem: I need a laptop that I can work with for many hours (6-8 hours during+after classes) that can be hooked to 2 Dell U2412M (when at home) and that can withstand a lot of work for at least 4 years:

Uses:
a) Moderate web-browsing with a bunch of open tabs (with Wi-Fi)
b) Using Eclipse for Java and some other compilers.
c) OS: Windows 10 (I already have a license for it)
=> I want a laptop with FreeDos or Linux so I wouldn't have to pay extra.

d) Virtual Machines using VMWare and Oracle Virtual Box in order to test software on different platforms.
=> Using VirtualBox I will install Ubuntu and other versions of Linux, therefore I need 16 Gb of RAM (or at least 8 Gb Ram).

e) Using the laptop to backup my data to my desktop at home. I will be uploading data to my cloud storage every day, with the laptop battery removed (so as not to damage battery life).
=> I want a laptop with a removable battery not one of those crazy models (with non-removable battery and with only 1 RAM slot).

f) I want to be able to use my laptop hooked to two monitors: one VGA and one HDMI
=> Because there are no laptops with USB 3.1 Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 slots that can support external monitors in my price range (all of them cost 2000 Euros or more, and the ones that cost less are missing something else really essential).

Solution: I have searched for a computer with long battery life and low consumption and I found:

HP ProBook 450 G3 with
CPU: Intel® Core i7-6500U 2.50GHz, Skylake,
Cores : 2
Processor size: 14 nm
Frequency: 2500 MHz
Cache: 4096 KB
Turbo Boost until 3100 MHz <--- (What does this mean?)
Integrated GPU: HD Graphics 520 <--- (In your experience is it any good?)

RAM: 1x8GB DDR3L 1600 Mhz upgradeable to 16 GB using 2x8 GB

Storage : 1TB Hdd

GPU: AMD Radeon™ R7 M340 2GB GDDR3 <--- (In your experience is it any good because I have read in the review on the bottom of the page says this card cant even hold games at Full HD resolution)

Screen: 15.6"
Resolution: 1366 x 768
HD Format
LED backlight
Anti-Glare coating

Optical Drive: DVD-RW <--- I will replace it with a HDD Caddy for extra HDD

OS: Free DOS

Lan 10/100/1000 Mbps
Wireless 802.11 ac
Bluetooth 4.0

Ports:
USB 2.0 2
USB 3.0 2
RJ-45 1
HDMI 1
VGA 1
Audio out: 1x Combo

Battery Li-ion 4 cells 44 Whr

Price for the laptop: 580 Euros/ 640 USD (rough approximation)

Total price with M.2 SSD and Samsung SSD and 16 GB RAM: 1000 Euros/ 1120 USD (rough approximation)

*Note
1xEmpty M.2 slot <--- I want to add a Transcend MTS600 256GB SATA-III M.2 2260

Questions
Question 1: Can I use a 2xSSD + 1xHDD on this laptop?
=> 1xSamsung 850 PRO Basic, 2.5", 512GB, SATA III SSD placed instead of the original HDD
1x M.2 256 GB SSD from the M.2 slot
1x 1TB HDD in a HDD Caddy instead of the DVD-RW

Question 2: What is the noticeable difference between using 16 Gb of RAM with 1600 MHz and using 16 Gb of RAM using 2133 MHz

Question 3: Will upgrading the RAM from 8 GB of RAM 1600 MHz to 16 GB (adding another memory on the second slot) affect battery life ?

Question 4: Will upgrading the HDD to 2 SSDs one on the HDD slot and the other on the M.2 slot affect battery life ?

Question 5: As I said, I want to buy an M.2 SSD for the M.2 slot:
According to the manual only two types of M.2 SSDs are compatible -> 128 GB and 256 GB. Can this be true ?
See link below
http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04825517

Question 6: Given the integrated GPU and the AMD GPU, and its two slots: 1 VGA and 1 HDMI, will I be able to use this laptop hooked to two Dell U2412M monitors ?
(I already have cables for that).

Question 7: Can I use the M.2 SSD to install the Win 10 and apps and games, while using the other SDD to install the Virtual Machines on ?

! I am asking this because I am not familiar with the M.2 technology and I have read that this M.2 SSD is not recommended for gaming (which in my mind means that this SSD is not made to be used all the time.)
Also I have read* that M.2 SSD is meant to work in tandem with a HDD or as a cache <--- What does that mean ?

Explanations
I am posting because I wanted to ask the ones that have much more experience than myself, if this is a good start-up programming laptop for a college student that goes to class for long times every day and that can also use this laptop to play some old games (Skyrim, Oblivion and such) from time to time.

I have looked at other new laptops as well: Lenovo (1 RAM slot or too expensive) Acer E class (non-removable battery) and Asus (1 RAM slot non-removable battery and/or poor battery life) and so on, and most of them have the flaw that they only have 1 RAM slot or have a non-removable battery.

The only flaw I can find for this laptop is that the display is not so good. What do you think ?

Review
The review for the laptop (although not exactly the same model) at
http://www.notebookcheck.net/HP-ProBook-450-G3-Notebook-Review.155716.0.html

Laptop Manual:
http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04825517

* Article
http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/m.2-ngff-ssd-compatibility-list.html

Thank you in advance for your answers!
 

azaran

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Feb 17, 2010
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This does beg the question, do you absolutely need a laptop over a desktop? For the same cost going with a desktop will give you MUCH better performance vs what will be a midrange laptop.

I'll see if I can't find a better option for EU laptops. Unfortunately it will come down to battery life vs performance with a laptop. Are you not able to plug in anywhere on campus?
 

esco_sid

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May 11, 2012
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Not sure why you think you need all those specs i just graduated in IT bachelors and i used Samsung NP470R5E Laptop PC: Windows 8, 6 GB RAM, 750 GB HD, 15.6" that i got on ebay for $285 and put in an ssd in it with fedora cinnamon spin on it.

lappylist.com if you want to see your options for brand new.
 

azaran

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Right off, we need to know your budget. That'd going to determine a lot of suggestions.

For your requirements
a, b, c, e, can be run on anything that is going to support requirement d. Its that d requirement thats going to put the money in to the laptop. You can run VM on a dual core, but if you're doing it a lot and planning on more than one VM up at once, you're going to want to move to a quad core i7.

Having a removable battery is nice, and makes having to replace it (if needed) much easier, but you're stressing too much about it. You don't need to remove the thing every time you plug in.

Question you have about the laptop
Turbo Boost: Its effectively a short burst of overclocking when the CPU needs it.

Integrated GPU: It doesnt matter, if its going to be doing anything it won't be while gaming. Which brings us to this "switchable graphics support". its not supported in FreeDos. Which if I read it right, means you wont be accessing the IGP anyway. This will also have an impact on battery life.

Radeon: Yeah it pretty much sucks. Its an entry level discrete GPU. You're not going to find a sub $1000 laptop with great graphics or screen.

RAM: Check your seller on this one, but HP selling this laptop directly ships it with DDR4 2133. As for if 16Gb of DDR3 will be noticeable from DDR4, eh technically yes but in real world uses probably not. Not unless you start churning through 3d renders or video editing. If it was a choice of more DDR3 or less DDR4 for the same price, with what you're trying to do you'd want as much RAM as you can get. VMs will chew through amount of RAM and CPU core usage. As for battery life, since it needs electricity it would pull some of the battery life, but nothing you'd ever notice.

DVD: Yeah swap it out for a caddy if you don't need it. Get some nice high capacity drives in there.

Storage: Again, check your seller. HP direct has it shipping with a m.2 drive if you get the i7 model. Otherwise you should be able to run M.2 (OS drive), another SSD and a drive in the caddy. But I would check out some HP forums and see if others have had luck doing that. You shouldn't need to be restricted to a 128 or 256GB drive, its likely that just what HP has as options BUT again check with HP or HP forums and see if anyone else has played with that. Every time you add something to the computer, battery life will decrease. An SSD pulls much less than a HDD, but adding an SSD and an HDD to the mix is going to reduce your battery life. Unless you're planning on becoming one with nature while running through VM usage, you should be able to plug in and not need to stress about it so much.

I kind of lumped a lot of your questions in with the subjects but I"ll hit these ones up directly.

Question 6: Contact HP sales support about that. Since you plan on using a non Windows environment this may impact your ability to do that. If it does work, keep in mind that the d-sub connector is going to be a bit fuzzy at 24in when it sits next to the HDMI connected one.

Question 7: Yep you should be able to. The M.2 as a boot drive and everything else as storage would be the way to go about it and VMs will love that Samsung Pro. As for M.2 not being good for gaming, I haven't heard anything to that. I'd say if its a thing its a latency issue, but unless your planning on giving up IT for a career in E sports I wouldn't worry about it.
 

azaran

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Have you considered looking at used workstations class laptops? You won't get the newest tech but you'll be able to find better CPU and Max RAM configurations which is whats going to make a difference in your IT stuff. Everything else your looking to do (aside from gaming) can be done with any laptop you purchase.
 

vivant

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Thank you for your reply!

Battery life, as well as multitasking capabilities is one of my major concerns however.
A new laptop like the one you mentioned is 900$. The cheapest old one is 300$.
However, they seem to only be available in the US, and buying it in Europe will both make me unable to use it's warranty in case anything happens, and I would have to use a socket converter and that creates a whole lot of problems for me.
 

vivant

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Apr 19, 2014
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Budget: Max 1500$/ 1350 Euros.
P.S. I live in Europe, and I will not move any time soon. Buying from the U.S. is not an option.

I7 Quad Core CPU - I have not found a laptop that has this and a good battery life (more than 4 hours with light-medium use). Is there anything you can suggest?

Switchable graphics support: I presume that means that I would want to use my integrated GPU instead of the Dedicated one from time to time when I want to preserve battery life.
I checked after you told me and it appears only this exact model of GPU does not have the AMD technology to do that.

http://www.amd.com/en-us/innovations/software-technologies/enduro

(Off-topic: I'm starting to hate these laptops, I might as well just get a good desktop with this money and get it over with, and use some old laptop at school - but then again good battery life is required.)
 

azaran

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This does beg the question, do you absolutely need a laptop over a desktop? For the same cost going with a desktop will give you MUCH better performance vs what will be a midrange laptop.

I'll see if I can't find a better option for EU laptops. Unfortunately it will come down to battery life vs performance with a laptop. Are you not able to plug in anywhere on campus?
 

Jeff Bollinger

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I like Eurocom, they sell clevo machines. And the are based in Canada and sell to Europe. They also give 10% discounts to students.

http://

That is the Shark 7, it has the following for 864 euros, without shipping and tax if that applies.

EUROCOM Shark 7

Base
System and Display EUROCOM Shark 7
Choose your LCD Display 17.3-inch (43.9cm); FHD IPS 1920x1080; MATTE (Non-Glare); 300nts; 700:1; 72% NTSC; eDP 30pin
Display Calibration Optional - choose from the options below:
eXpansion Modules for 2-3 External Displays None - Choose from the options below
VGA / GPU Graphics Options 2GB GDDR5; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M (N16P-GX-B); 640CUDA; GPU 1097MHz; VRAM 2500MHz; Maxwell GM107 28nm; on-board
Processor / CPU 2.60 GHz (up to 3.5) Intel Mobile Core i7-6700HQ (Skylake); on-board/SMT; 4C/8T; 6MB L3; 14nm; HD Graphics 530; 45W
Memory (RAM) Configuration - Fully Upgradeable 8GB; 1x 8GB; DDR3L-1600; PC3-12800; 204pin; Micron 1.35V - 1 SODIMM
Operating System(s) None - Choose from the options below for Pre-install or install your own
Choose Your Keyboard (Language) Backlit; English; USA/Canada; QWERTY
Office and Business Productivity Software None - Choose from the options below
Internal M.2 (2280) SSD Storage; 22mmx80mm Choose your SSD M.2 type 2280 (80x22mm) from the options below:
1st Hard Drive. Choose Regular HDD, SSD or Hybrid SHDD: *** Without Hard Drive; with HDD bracket included ***
2nd Hard Drive 2nd HDD co-shared with Optical Drive; no internal ODD available if 2nd HDD selected; external ODD available
Optical Drive None - Choose from the options below
External Optical Drive None - Choose from the options below
Internal Card Reader 6-in-1 Card Reader; SD/MS/MMC/SM/CF/MicroDrive
Biometric Device Built-in Fingerprint Reader
Embedded Security Chip Embedded TPM 2.0 Security Chip for Data Encryption
Wireless LAN 2-in-1: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN+Bluetooth 4.2; Intel Wireless-AC 8260; M.2 2230; up to 867Mbps; 2.4GHz/5GHz
TV Tuner (Internal and/or External) None - Choose from the options below
Built-in Web Camera 2.0 Megapixels; FHD 1920x1080; 30fps
Standard Battery (internal) 6-cells Smart Li-Ion Battery Pack; 62.16WH; High Capacity
Standard AC Adapter 120W AC Adapter; 100-240V Auto-Switching
Standard Power Cord - included EUROPE
Carrying Case None - Choose from the options below
Choose Your Warranty Plan 1 Year Return to Factory Depot with 1 Year of Tech Support


Edit: By the way that is the price with No OS or Hard drive. You said you have Windows already and in my expierence it is cheaper to buy hard drive somewhere else.
 

azaran

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Completely forgot about Eurocom. Their laptops have gotten some pretty good reviews over the year. But holy crap their prices on RAM, OS and drives are insane.
 

Jeff Bollinger

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That's why I get my drives from newegg or Amazon and my OS from kinguin. For ram I just get the minimum from eurocom then upgrade later from Amazon or newegg.
 
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