Laptop Workstation Recommendations

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
Hello everyone! So I'm thinking on going for my Masters Degree, and I'll be using a laptop on and off when I'm not at my apartment. My school offers an HP 17 G4 to students.

At the moment of posting I don't know the specs exactly of the laptop they offer. But here is the Build Your Own for the laptop itself.
https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-zbook-17-g4-mobile-workstation---customizable-z8x67av-mb

1. What is your budget?
$3400 or under. (preferably under--very under)

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Anything that isn't a brick, but not small enough that it'd bend in a bag like the aluminum iPhones.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
1080p or 1440p.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I have my own Desktop (specs in my signature)

5. How much battery life do you need?
An average days worth. 8+ hours I suppose? It isn't as if I'm going to be lacking a place to charge it throughout the day if need be.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

No. Strictly for the applications that I would be using on it.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Photoshop, Microsoft Office, MS Project, MS Studio, Unity, Unreal Engine, and Maybe Maya or 3DS MAX. (I can use my Desktop for those if need be)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
Enough for OS + Programs, and some file storage. I have an external 1TB storage unit, and multiple cloud storages, including my own desktop.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
https://www.amazon.com/
https://www.newegg.com/

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Depends on the price. Higher the price, longer I want to keep it.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

None. Bluray at the most; but isn't 'needed'.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

I like Asus and Microsoft (Surface) - Always had good support and reliability with them.
I dislike Toshiba - I've never seen a good laptop from them, and used a handful myself.
Unsure about Dell, Lenovo, and HP.
And I've never used or owned anything from Apple.

13. What country do you live in?
United States.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I'd like a sleek looking laptop, and not something that came out of 1950s IBM.

I have had a Surface Pro 2 in the past, it performed okay (I still have it but it is on its way to its' death bed.) I may be able to do a trade in, to Microsoft, for up to $300 depending on its condition. But I am not against using a newer Surface Tablet or the Surface Book. If they're worth their price. I usually stay away from "generic" brands (Dell, HP, Etc) but I have no real reason as to why.

PS: I hate that little dot nub that sits in the center of keyboards that I see a few laptops have.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
Something I may wish to add.

I was also looking into getting a new drawing tablet. One that I can look at the screen and draw, not at my monitor. Like Wacom's Cintiq. So if the laptop could replace that (and be strong & Precise enough to use photoshop realistically) all the better.

I tried using my Surface Pro 2 (with the default stylus) and it was very laggy. But I assume that has improved since 2011.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


What Programs do you use your laptop(s) for?
 
When my Dell arrives, it will be converted from Win 10 to Linux for cybersecurity uses. In the past, with previous models, I used many (most) of the apps you mentioned earlier with zero issues. Getting a workstation class rig usually means having a dedicated GPU, a big plus over a Surface Pro 2 (or the Surface Pro 5 sitting right next to me).
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0

These are two that I was looking at after posting.

ZenBook 15 Pro by ASUS. (https://www.asus.com/us/site/zenbook/ux550.html#wtb)
I looked up some reviews. While the specs interested me (1050TI and i7 8th gen CPU);
The Screenpad on the higher version was interesting too but I decided I could do without it.
The battery life seems really low averaging around 4 hours.
And the heat it seems to generate sounds too much for me.

Sufrace Book 2 (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/devices/surface-book-2/overview)
Looking at the 15in over the 13,5in. It comes with an i7 quad core CPU and 1060 GPU.
I know nothing about Xeon CPUs but I read they're better for "work". I'd like to keep in mind that while I don't plan to "game" on this laptop at all. I will be working WITH games. (Game Designer)
17 hours battery life is more than I need so that is a nice buffer.
Not that it is much, but I also get 10% off as a student on the Microsoft Store.

I read that it has VR ready marketing, which can be a plus for me as I'll be using VR things from time to time as well.

Being that I will be messing with drawing, programming, designing, as well as producing. I am curious if this is a good competitor, esp vs those Dell laptops you showed me, which impress me as well.

Edit: But I'm unsure for art, how it'd perform against a real drawing tablet, from Huion or Wacom.
So it might be better and cheaper to get a more standard laptop, and then just buy a drawing tablet monitor with it.
 
A guy in my office has a Surface Book and loves it. Uses it for fairly advanced graphics/video work. It is pretty impressive and the battery life is excellent.

Xeons are really just workstation class i7s. They support ECC memory, something needed for mission critical uses (keeping this all simple and free from technical jargon).

How often will you be carrying your laptop/notebook around? The size/weight factor could be a major consideration for you.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


Between 3-7 days a week. I will have a bag for it that I can carry on my side, back or just carry. (Although I think that might be too small for the Surface Book; but I can just get another one).

Another thing if I got a different laptop and a drawing monitor is I'd only be able to draw with that at my desktop, which is still okay. I have a cheaper tablet I could use with the laptop as well.
 
You definitely don't want to lug a 17in laptop around....unless you are trying to get pumped up.

You have some good choices here. Asus generally makes good products, the Surface Books are nice, but the Precisions are more configurable. Be sure to look at the amount (and type) of storage you need with the system you choose.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


Yeah I was looking, Given my amounts of cloud storage, and external storage I have available to me. I don't think I need some crazy amount. Just a small enough SSD to hold programs and the OS.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
So I got a response on the specs of the Laptop offered by my school.

HP ZBook 17 G4,
Intel Quad Core i7 2.8 GHz,
16 GB 2133 MHz memory,
NVIDIA Quadro P5000,
512GB SSD.

My biggest problem tbh with the laptop is the Looks. It's sooo ugly LOL.

Looking at the best matched parts I could on the HP webpage. Looks like the Laptop is roughly ~3700 rounded up before Tax.
the school is offering me this for $3400.



So now the questions evolve. Can I find a 'better' laptop than this, for cheaper.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
So looking at a 'similar' DELL.
These are the specs I picked best to mimic the other laptop.

CPU: Intel Core i7-8850H, Six Core 2.60GHz, 4.30GHz Turbo, 9MB 45W
GPU: Nvidia Quadro P4200 w/8GB GDDR5 (next option was p5200 for like $800 more)
RAM: 16GB, 2 DIMMS, DDR4-2666MHz SDRAM, Non-ECC
SSD: M.2 512GB PCIe NVMe Class 40 Solid State Drive

Total: $3500 Rounded up.


Surface Book 2
13.5 inch model
CPU: i7-8650U processor with quad-core power
(Doesn't say clock speed that I can see)
GPU: 1050 2GB DDR5
RAM: 8GB || 16GB
Storage: 256GB || 512GB (Doesn't say which kind)

Totals: $1799.10 || $2249.10


Surface Book 2
15 inch model
CPU: i7-8650U processor with quad-core power
GPU: 1060 6GB DDR5
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB || 512GB

Totals: $2248.10 || $2609.10


I'll be looking at some more Dell, and Asus (if I can even find a good non ROG laptop).
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0
So after doing some generic browsing. I feel I like 2-in-1 Tablet/Laptops more than the giant clunky Workstation laptops.
Which again throws me back towards the Surface Book 2.
I can't find any others with strong hardware.
I was looking at the ZenBook (that I didn't mention above) but it didn't have a strong GPU.
 

JerrWolf

Estimable
Dec 18, 2014
17
0
4,560
0


Thats what I'm looking at. Tomorrow I will be going to Bestbuy to go look at the Surface book 2.
It's still near 3k$ and makes my heart sink spending over $1000 on a laptop LOL.
Now to figure out if the lowest 13.5 inch is enough to run the programs I need.
 
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