Looking for a 'Powerful laptop' upgrade w/out previous flaws

keromonkey

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Nov 28, 2011
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-current Laptop issues
-looking for a durable recreation/workstation upgrade
-need to know some advanced basics
-price range is a factor
-custom models shouldn't fail after a year...right? :'(

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Hello all,
I'm not certain where exactly to post this question, but it could help shape the quality of someone's tech experience for an extended period of time.

BACKGROUND DETAILS:
Around 11/26/2013, someone important to me had ordered/acquired a custom-ordered laptop to satisfy his needs. The intention was to be a powerful, all-purpose laptop, that could handle everything he threw at it (from gaming to 3D modeling to computer science courses) while still being mobile and on-the-go.

The model of the laptop was --> Sager NP8255-S (Clevo P157SM)
The cost was --> $2,364.00

GPU: AMD® Radeon™ HD 8970M (4.0GB)

CPU: 4th Generation Intel® Haswell Core™ i7-4900MQ (2.8GHz - 3.8GHz, 8MB Intel® Smart Cache)

RAM: Upgrade [ADD 2x4GB SODIMMS (16GB 1600MHz Ram)]

HD: Primary Hard Drive 1TB 5400RPM (w/ 8GB SSD Memory) Seagate Hybrid 64MB Cache [SATA III - 6GB/s]

OS: Windows 8.1

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The laptop was strong, and it was capable of emulating a wii and the games that came on it with fair ease. (Just to give an example of its applied capacity/strength).
However, a year later, it started having issues, the heat sinks fell off (copper squares on copper pipes?) and 1 year out of the box, it started having serious issues, like shutting off after 10 seconds of being on.

I think the issue was a damaged motherboard or something, but I'm not certain. It was under warantee at the time so it was sent back for repair, but after returning - a year later the same thing happened. At this point (less than 3 years in, there's either a MoBo issue or a power adapter issue, or a battery issue or something. It's powerful, but unreliable, and that can - imaginably - be most frustrating)

In fact, it was almost exactly a year from the previous date, right down to the same month, at the start of his classes.

So, to recap, it was acquired in fall of 2013. It needed serious repairs in fall of 2014 and fall of 2015, and now it's 2016...

Normally, when he gets laptops, they last for a minimum of 4 years without this sort of significant (recurring) issue. This one - custom ordered - has lasted barely 1 year.

And we've done some research, it has yielded the insight that the laptop has been overheating due to being unprepared for "sustain-intensive work" < or so a 3D modeler had mentioned.

But we figured that being as powerful (and expensive) as it was, it would've been prepared to handle such work and that it wouldn't've broken down within a year.

Am I wrong to assume this?? (Ugh. *Frustrated sigh*)

Now for the important part.



MAIN INQUIRY:
He may be coming up on the need for a new computer, a new laptop, specifically - seeing as his current one keeps failing at inconvenient times and/or being unable to consistently handle the multi-tasking workloads he might occasionally place it under.

Maybe its just 'caring for your expensive laptop 101' that he needs, or maybe its the laptop and the tasks its used for, I dunno. But either way, a 3D modeler advised him to get a laptop with a sustain-intensive CPU rather than a burst-intensive CPU. He was advised to get a laptop that was the quality of a professional work station rather than a gaming laptop - and yes, he'd likely end up using it for both.

This was the sort of laptop recommended:
http://www.boxxtech.com/products/mobile-workstations

As you can see, the cost of these laptops are 2500 - 4000 and that is quite expensive to have another laptop that's just going to fail after a year, or fail to live up to its desired capacity.

I guess what I'm asking is, for someone who needs a laptop capable of high end gaming and 3D modeling (and/or similarly intensive tasks), is this workstation sufficient? Are there other, cheaper models that would do just as well? Was it the laptop he used? The service he bought from (Xoticpc.com)? or was it just his lack of understanding about how best to care for his laptop? What can I advise him to do in order to maximize &/or prolong the life of his expensive laptop companion in the future?

Any quality help would be greatly appreciated.
As I said before, the answers received here could help shape the quality of someone's tech experience for a long and important period of time.

Sincerely,
K

P.s.
My apologies if this is in the wrong section. I wasn't quite certain of where to post it.
 
Mar 30, 2015
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The heatsink issue makes me suspicious... Perhaps the thermal paste was low quality and sort of ran off, or the heatsinks weren't mounted right. What is the cooling situation now? Bad cooling could cause a rapid thermal shutdown. Based on previous issues that is what I would look at first though.
 

Xttony

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Mar 4, 2011
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The problems that you explained May be exclusive to that unit, because it is not often that these problems occur. To be on the safe side you can buy a laptop with extended warranty periods. Lenovo is offering 3years warranty. You can also buy warranty extenders from the laptop manufacturer. Lastly what you may do is get a stock laptop. The new acer predators have great specs for your needs. Instead of assemblers like xoticpc or cyberpc go to the original product manufacturer. Here are few with good specs that you need
1. MSI 2. Alienware[they provide customization of their own] 3. Acer predator
If you don't mind go with a fatter laptop with a lot of vents and fans than the slim ones.
 

keromonkey

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The original order slip says IC Diamond Thermal compound. That's normally good stuff right?
 
I can tell you trying to "turbo charge" a laptop is a tricky business, because in a tight a small enclosure, any tweak-up often means generating more heat, and that heat needs to be getting rid off. The OEM vendor walks a fine line giving you the power you paid for but at the same time, not too much power to cause your machine to shut down, then a third party vendor comes along and think they can beat a team of designers. Powerful and laptop maybe oxymorons.
 

keromonkey

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I can appreciate that its tricky, but all the same, it's important that he has a laptop that meets the needed specs because he's constantly out and about and still needs to get work done.

'Power' in this case, is relative.
This custom sager/clevo laptop has been the strongest/most capable laptop he's had.

Something multi-cored with equal (or greater) cpu speed/ram/hd space in a similar price range that can handle something like 3D modeling AND gaming for extended periods of time.

I use those 2 activities as benchmarks because they're the most intensive things I know of currently, besides extensive rendering stuff.
 

Except, from your own words, is good a 1 year of service.

Which is fine by the way, car racing are willing to burn their engines as long as it lasts until the end of this race, they can replace the engine later.
 

keromonkey

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Similar power, but more durability.
Dying after 1 or 2 years is not acceptable for the amount of money spent.
And he's hardly a 'race car driver'.
 
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