High-end Macbook Pro 15 alternative

Oct 11, 2013
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Hello, i am a IT/software student looking for a new laptop. I currently have a Sony Vaio Z (the performance is good, but the screen is too small! and the build quality is very bad).
I want a 15" ULTRABOOOK.

I like the Macbook 15" Retina because of it's battery life, specs, ssd and LOW WEIGHT (~2.0 kg)
The only high-end alternative i've found so far is the Lenovo T550 (15", 3K screen, i7, 256gb SSD, 12gb Ram and they claim the weight to be "starting at 1.8 kg"?!?! :-D)

And maybe the Samsung Ativ book 9 2014 15" (but i don't know if i like Samsung quality)...

I prefer NOT having a dedicated GPU as it is only wasted weight for me, as i have a powerful desktop pc at home and i will not game on the laptop and not do video rendering - i only do cpu and ram-intensive tasks on the go.

What would you recommend? :) PS: The Macbook is NOT an option as i don't want a mac... ( don't ask, just accept ;) )

Price is not an issue at all.
 
Oct 11, 2013
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The Y-series is also kind of inspired by gaming, having a big dedicated GPU.
What do you think about the Lenovo T550?
 
Oct 11, 2013
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Whatever laptop it is, i'm going to upgrade it to i7, ssd and 8-16 gb ram. As written, the price is not an issue.
I don't want the best laptop for the price, i want the best laptop :)
 
Oct 11, 2013
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That is a 17" gamer-laptop, at 3.8 kg / 8.3 lbs...
I want a ULTRABOOK 15"
 
The Dell XPS 15 is the closest thing to a 15" MBP. But I think most people are waiting for Dell to update it to Broadwell and give it some bezel-reducing love like they did the XPS 13.

http://www.cnet.com/products/dell-xps-15-fall-2013-series/

If money is no object, there's the Asus NX500. It's a beautiful laptop, but you're gonna pay more than a Mac for it.

http://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/asus-zenbook-nx500

The Thinkpad T550 looks like it's the fixed-screen version of the Thinkpad Yoga 15, which was due out last month but seems to have been delayed. I mention that just in case using it in tablet mode with a digitizer pen is something you were interested in.

http://shop.lenovo.com/il/en/laptops/thinkpad/yoga-series/yoga-15/
 
Oct 11, 2013
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Thank you for your useful answer! If the XPS15 gets updated like the 13", it is very interesting.

The Zenbook NX500 also - though it weights 2.4 kg, and not the lightest out there. And i don't know the quality of Asus even though it's expensive and good looking!

The T550 and Yoga 15" is indeed very similar. However, the T550 is also available with a 3K touch screen (yoga: only 1080p touch screen). And it looks like that the T550 is lighter, even though Lenovo are claiming different T550 weights around the website... Some places it's 5 lbs, other places it is 4 lbs..

 

I think that's a misprint. Probably someone copied the specs of the Asus N550. The NX500 is supposed to be 2.25 kg.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Asus-Zenbook-NX500JK-DR018H-Ultrabook-Review.130796.0.html

Asus is one of the oldest laptop manufacturers out there. They used to be an ODM (Apple, HP, Dell, etc don't actually make laptops - they hire an ODM to design and build it for them). They typically rank among the top 4 when it comes to objective measures of build quality (e.g. low repair rates at computer repair shops, low insurance claim rates with extended warranties).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_laptop_brands_and_manufacturers#Original_design_manufacturers_.28ODMs.29
 

schwartzberg

Honorable
Sep 1, 2012
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Hi Casper,

I'm a developer (.NET) and bought the T550 for a job i did.
It has a two core CPU, but i was mislead by the i7 5th Generation hype.
You will find no review on Youtube on elsewhere claiming that it is desk top replacement. The reviews i have seen, will not even mention it's performance in relation to the MBP or the Dell XPS 15

The XPS 15 has a 4 core i7-4712HQ (MBP has a similiar 4 core CPU I7-4870HQ)
The CPU is an i7 "4th Generation" CPU, but it is (in my opinion) faster than the 2-core i7-XXXXU "5th Generation" CPUs. I am writing this because i had colleagues with the DELL MX4800 & DELL MX3800 in the office, sporting similiar "4th Generation" 4-core CPUs. Their compile times where at least twice as fast. And my T550 had Problems dealing with extra monitors. The T550 has an i7-5600U CPU. These CPUs (i think he U stands for "Ultra" low energy), it use less energy and allows the user more battery life.

But if they do not perform, it like driving a 5th generation Vespa because you get more gas mileage and it is quieter, than on a 4th generation BMW motorcycle.
As a developer my laptop needs CPU muscle and no heat on top, allowing the wrists to remain near the keyboard the entire day. If the fan makes a bit of noise or if i have to plug it in every 3-4 hours, it is more than worth the comprimise.

Have det godt,
Paul S.




 

maurizio2k

Estimable
Jun 15, 2015
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Here's the real deal: I use a super light, super thin 1.3Kg core i7 (desktop procesor), 8GB ram, 256ssd, non glare / high nit screen, long lasting battery notebook, that comes with a docking station that when connected, 'adds' an Nvidia GPU to the whole equation.

Unfortunately I dropped it to the floor, and the screen has a couple of 'stains'.

It's called Sony Vaio Z. I purchased in 2011 for around $2,000, and four years later, no manufacturer has been able to build something better. If you can get hold of one (like me, no one is selling their Vaio Z2, because there's no better laptop), do so.



 

noitanon

Estimable
Jun 16, 2015
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The Lenovo laptops except i think the W540 (no touch screen) are not "performant" at the top end like the MBP 15.

I'm a developer and bought the T550 for a job i did.
It has a two core CPU, but i was mislead by the i7 5th Generation hype.
You will find no review on Youtube on elsewhere claiming that it is desk top replacement. The reviews i have seen, will not even mention it's performance in relation to the McBook Pro or the Dell XPS 15.

Why did i buy it? The Hype. Lenovo Claims it is a high-end "Business Laptop". Desktop replacement? -- well i guess i've been duped.

I should have bought the XPS 15 which similiar to the Macbook Pro 15 has a 4 core i7-4712HQ (MBP has a similiar 4 core CPU I7-4870HQ)

The CPU is an i7 "4th Generation" CPU, but it is (in my opinion) faster than the 2-core i7-XXXXU "5th Generation" CPUs, sported by the T550. I am writing this because i had colleagues with the DELL MX4800 & DELL MX3800 laptops in the office, sporting similiar "4th Generation" 4-core CPUs (their machines were purchased in 2013 & 2014) Their compile times where at least twice as fast. And my T550 had serious problems dealing with extra monitors. The T550 has an i7-5600U CPU. These CPUs (i think he U stands for "Ultra" low energy), it use less energy and allows the user more battery life.

But if they do not perform, it like driving a 5th generation Vespa because you get more gas mileage and it is quieter, than on a 4th generation BMW motorcycle.

As a developer my laptop needs CPU muscle and no heat on top, allowing the wrists to remain near the keyboard the entire day. If the fan makes a bit of noise or if i have to plug it in every 3-4 hours, it is more than worth the compromise.

Even as i write the this review, my Internet Explorer has about 15 Tabs open and i have two sessions of Visual Studio running, skype, a couple PDFs open, Word is Open. And the mouse freezes on me. It is slow.

My MBP is also opened on my desk -- similiar load. It has no Problem. It makes some fan noise sometimes. So what. Better that it freezing up on me because of the the load.

Additionally:

The T550 has also problems with its high pixel screen (coughs sometimes on it ... picture freezes and the like ..depending on the general load on the cpu)... and connecting an additional monitor is really asking for trouble.

Additionally:

The function keys are also tiny and tinier than the previous X230T, W500, W400 lenovo models i had. This part of the T550 keyboard is definitely toy like buildt. Odd to use.

It makes working with the function keys (used in different contexts, by eg software developers when debugging and others) quite cumbersome.




 

The quad core mobile Broadwell i7s weren't released until this month. Intel is pretty clear in their marketing for mobile quad cores. If the CPU's model number has a Q, it's a quad. No Q, not a quad.

By no means do I think Intel is innocent of misleading marketing (the Pentium Nxxxx CPUs are actually Atom CPUs, not Core CPUs). But if you assumed the i7 you were buying was a quad core, it's mostly your own fault.

You will find no review on Youtube on elsewhere claiming that it is desk top replacement. The reviews i have seen, will not even mention it's performance in relation to the McBook Pro or the Dell XPS 15.

Why did i buy it? The Hype. Lenovo Claims it is a high-end "Business Laptop". Desktop replacement? -- well i guess i've been duped.
Most "business" users only run office apps. A dual core CPU is more than enough for that purpose, and is good enough to be considered a desktop replacement.

It sounds like you wanted a programmer's laptop, not a business laptop. Business generally means good enough to run office apps, and rugged enough to last for years of daily travel. The Thinkpads like the T550 will generally last 5-10 years and can survive multiple drops.

I should have bought the XPS 15 which similiar to the Macbook Pro 15 has a 4 core i7-4712HQ (MBP has a similiar 4 core CPU I7-4870HQ)

The CPU is an i7 "4th Generation" CPU, but it is (in my opinion) faster than the 2-core i7-XXXXU "5th Generation" CPUs, sported by the T550. I am writing this because i had colleagues with the DELL MX4800 & DELL MX3800 laptops in the office, sporting similiar "4th Generation" 4-core CPUs (their machines were purchased in 2013 & 2014) Their compile times where at least twice as fast.
5th-gen Broadwell is just a die shrink of 4th-gen Haswell. In other words, if a Haswell and Broadwell CPU are clocked at the same speed, they will perform exactly the same. The only benefit of Broadwell is lower power consumption, and an improved integrated GPU.

This is a little less known than the Q in the mobile i7's model name, so I won't blame you for not knowing it. Still, it's something anyone who follows the industry could've told you.

And my T550 had serious problems dealing with extra monitors. The T550 has an i7-5600U CPU. These CPUs (i think he U stands for "Ultra" low energy), it use less energy and allows the user more battery life.

But if they do not perform, it like driving a 5th generation Vespa because you get more gas mileage and it is quieter, than on a 4th generation BMW motorcycle.
There is no performance difference between the U and M CPUs at the same clock speed. They all come off the exact same manufacturing line. Intel tests each CPU to determine which ones will function at a lower voltage. These get binned as a U CPU. The ones which need a higher voltage to function get sold as M CPUs.

The M CPUs are usually clocked a bit faster, since the assumption is that if you're buying a M CPU you don't care as much about battery life so it's OK to clock it faster and burn more power. But in terms of performance per clock, the M and U CPUs are identical. The performance difference you experienced was due to a quad core vs. dual core.
 

Ahmed Hamdy 90

Estimable
Jun 30, 2015
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So, you guys has made your mind on Dell XPS 15' ? As I am too a software developer and I need to buy a laptop asap.

I read many reviews, and I came up with these problems in the XPS:
1. Got hot under pressure
2. Fan speed under pressure
3. Battery life time average at 6 hrs

Can anyone confirm?

Also is there a non-touch screen version of that laptop?
 

noitanon

Estimable
Jun 16, 2015
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noitanon

Estimable
Jun 16, 2015
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Depends where it got hot. If underneath, all Laptops do.
If on top where you lay your wrists / Hand - it might be a Problem. At least for me it is.
I would comprimise on fan noise and battery life time.
Fan Speed under pressure is also MBP feature -- it is a comprimise i at least live with. I know a few Windows developers who use a virtual pc on the MBP and work that way and heard about developers who use a dual boot, but have not actually met some one in person doing it.

This though doesnt answer your question about the XPS 15.

Worth considering also the HP Omen Pro 15-5190nz with the i7-4720HQ CPU, 16GB Ram, 512 GB SSD, (not the 15-5090nz with a weaker CPU)

I avoided purchasing the dell XPS 15 because I discovered it has tiny F Function keys like the Lenovo T550 which is my current pet "mistake buy".

For Windows development accessible function keys are ideal for Debugging.

Even though it Looks like ist function keys are more accessible, i suspect it might also heat up on top. You'd Need to find a shop where you can test it. At least that is what i would do.
I would ignore Labels like "gaming Laptop" -- if it works for you, i wouldnt care how the Laptop is labeled.





 
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