Looking for a new Laptop (for programming / moderate gaming)

dan2k3k4

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Jan 4, 2014
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My old laptop is an Asus UL30vt, that I bought just over 5 years ago, I got it imported from XoticPC.com with an SSD. I've recently bought a Lenovo Yoga 13" (before the 'Pro' / version 2 came out) for my girlfriend and found it is quite decent. I use an old MacBook Pro 15" (2009 model) at work, although they should hopefully be upgrading my work laptop soon...

Anyway, I'll fill in the FAQ before I continue :)


1. What is your budget?
No limit if it's the right laptop, although ideally around 1000-1800 CHF range (roughly same in USD)


2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
Between 13" and 15.6", my old laptop was technically 14.1", my current work one is 15" and my girlfriends' is 13" - all seem good sizes (even for use when travelling on the train).


3. What screen resolution do you want?
Minimum 1080p (1920x1080), I don't see why manufacturers still come out with laptops less than 1080p when we've been able to get 1080p on phones for a while... oh ideally with touchscreen support as I'd probably be using Windows 8...


4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
I have no desktop PC, and probably won't plan to buy one for a few years as we currently rent a studio apartment so we have no space for any desktops. However the laptop should be more portable (as in lightweight), 2kg max?


5. How much battery life do you need?
Ideally at least 4-5 hours, though battery life isn't too much of a concern (it was when I bought my old laptop which needed at least 8 hours for University) but now I'm mostly always near a power supply (even on the trains).


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)?
I have a bunch of old Steam games I've bought from past sales that I've never played that I'd like to play, most aren't too demanding. I'd like to be able to run CoD: Ghosts but I don't think any of the integrated graphics cards can run it. Though I'd prefer a lighter/slightly thinner laptop compared to a full gaming laptop although I have found one that seems decent (will post links at end).


7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Although I'd hopefully get a new work laptop (which I won't be able to keep if I change jobs), I would want to be able to run some Virtual Machines while still programming in an IDE (although I prefer using Sublime and VIM), with a bunch of tabs open in Chrome and a bunch of terminals connected to different servers via SSH... basically I want the maximum possible amount of RAM. My work laptop has just 4 GB and it sucks, I can't multi-task with it. I'm looking at a minimum of 12 GB of RAM but hold out a bit for any 'thin' laptops that can go up to 32 GB (with max display of 15" instead of 17").


8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
At least 240 GB, so either 1x 256 SSD (or 240 GB SSD), or a combo of 1x 128GB SSD with 1x 1TB HDD (or similar).


9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I've bought from XoticPC.com before and imported to the UK. Although I live in Switzerland now and tend to use digitec.ch however I'm open to any sites and will look into importing or either waiting until digitec.ch get something similar.


10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
Should be able to last a good 4 years.


11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?
None needed, might have to buy an external DVD drive in the future though, but would prefer to use that space for a 2nd hard-drive.


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 trust Asus and Lenovo, I've used and bought them before and they both perform very well. Mac's are good but ideally I'd prefer a touch-screen which doesn't look like it'll be announced any time soon for a Mac.
I have no experience with other brands so I can't comment on them, if anyone can highly recommend a different brand then I'll definitely try one out.


13. What country do you live in?
Geneva, Switzerland


14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
I came across this laptop which seems decent but doesn't have a touchscreen:
http://www.xoticpc.com/lenovo-ideapad-y510p-59385823-limited-availability-p-6356.html

and also:
http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-n550jvdb72t-touch-p-6116.html

Both are 4th Generation Intel Haswell but unsure if there'll be a newer generation within the next couple months?

EDIT:
Thinking about it, I'm not sure if I would really *need* a touchscreen laptop... It works well for the Lenovo Yoga because you can flip the screen all the way around and have a bulky tablet, Windows 8 is pretty much built around touch but I don't think I'd use it as my main OS. I'd probably boot into Ubuntu most of the time and only use Windows 8 for gaming (although Steam is now working on Linux and if I do get a decent enough laptop, I should be fine with running a VM of Windows 8 to play some of the older games I have...).

 

dan2k3k4

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Jan 4, 2014
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Well here's my XoticPC listing, I've not ordered yet (have to save up a couple months) and haven't decided if I'll import from them or ask a friend to bring it from the States :)

For $1,632.00


ASUS N550JV-DB72T Touch
- FREE!!! – U.S. UPS GROUND SHIPPING (Use Coupon Code "FREESHIP" in Checkout) [U.S. Lower 48 ONLY / Restrictions Apply]
- 15.6” FHD 16:9 (1920x1080) Glare-Type (Glossy) IPS Touch Screen
- ASUS Zero Bright Dot (ZBD) 30 Day Pixel Guarantee - (Included on ASUS Standard NON-Upgraded Displays)
- NO Professional Monitor Color Calibration
- 4th Generation Intel® Haswell Core™ i7-4700HQ (2.4GHz - 3.4GHz, 6MB Intel® Smart Cache) (SKU – X2Y914)
- Stock OEM Thermal Compound ( IC Diamond Thermal Compound - CPU + GPU Provided FREE with Processor Upgrade!)
- NVIDIA® GeForce™ GT 750M (2.0GB) GDDR3 PCI-Express DX11 w/ Optimus™ Technology
- No Copper Cooling Upgrade
- No Video Adapter
- No External Mobile Display
- 16GB DDR3 1600MHz [SKU-824PX] (Kingston HyperX CL9 Dual Channel Memory (2x8GB SODIMMS))
- Standard Laptop Finish
- No Laptop Laser-Sketch™
- No Custom Laptop Painting
- No Custom Laptop Painting
- 240GB Intel 530 Series SSD (Read 540MB/s - Write 490MB/s (SSD2 - SATA III)) (SKU - SSD020)
- 1TB 7200RPM (SATA III - 6GB/s) in ODD Bay (SKU - ODD016)
- No Extra Optical Bay Hard Drive Caddy
- No Back Up Hard Drive
- NO External USB Optical Drive
- Bluetooth Included *With select wireless cards only* (See “Wireless Network” Section Below)
- Built-in Single Band Wireless 802.11B/G/N - Stock Wireless Card + Bluetooth 4.0 (SKU - WIFI15)
- No Network Accessory
- Internal 4-in-1 Card Reader (SD/MMC/MS/MS PRO)
- Integrated Digital Video Camera
- No TV Tuner
- Sound Blaster Compatible 3D Audio - Included
- No Carrying Case
- Smart Li-ion Battery (4-Cell)
- No Car Adapter
- No Spare AC Adapter
- European Power Cord
- No Dock/Hub/Adapter
- No Headset
- No External Keyboard
- No External Mouse
- No Notebook Cooler
- No Operating System Redline Boost
- WINDOWS 8 - 64-Bit (Pre-Installed)
- Keep factory installed operating system
- Yes, please create a Windows 8 32GB USB Drive manufacturer factory backup recovery
- None
- No Antivirus Essentials Software Bundle
- No Back Up Software
- No Unlimited GB Cloud Backup
- No Office Software
- No Software Bundle
- No Global Anti-Theft Protection (Options below require an operating system)
- 1 Year ASUS GLOBAL OEM Warranty 24/7 Support / 1 Year North America (N.A.) Accidental Coverage (Accidental Requires Registration) (SKU - WTY015)
- * 24/7 LIFETIME U.S. based technical support
* Extreme QA testing by dedicated technicians
* 24-72 Hour stress testing and benchmarking to ensure top performance and stability
- Standard Production Time
- No Outside of US Shipping Coverage
- No thanks, standard double boxed packaging is okay with my order
- No XOTIC PC Gear

Thoughts? Ideas on changing things? I suppose I don't really need 240GB SSD if I'm planning on getting the 1TB second HDD? Although I want to use it for Virtual Machines and unsure if those will run faster if they're installed completely on the SSD? And I would plan to partition the SSD for dual-booting into Linux (don't think it can be used as a Hackintosh for a third boot option?)

 

nforce4max

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Sep 9, 2009
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Don't buy anything from Asus/MSI until you got a Good warranty as they very fragile (cheap plastic body) and prone to cracking. Lenovo Ideapads can have the same problems with the hinges breaking. Absolutely avoid HP/Compaq due to board level issues and the same for Toshiba when it comes to their consumer laptops. Dell on their consumer laptops have cheap plastic bodies with poor cooling so only go for truly dedicated gaming laptops with at least some metal construction if you want it to last.
 
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