Looking for New Laptop powerful enough for Adobe and 3D Modelling sub $1800 - Form Filled

Apr 29, 2018
1. What is your budget?
Under $1800 would be preferable but I can flex if necessary.

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?
15 inch.

3. What screen resolution do you want?
Highest possible that is best for graphics/product design for print and web.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?
As powerful as possible while being as portable as possible. Under 4 lbs would be really nice.
This will be my main computer so technically yes it's a desktop replacement.

5. How much battery life do you need?
Over 5 hours would be great. My times away from an outlet are relatively short, so this is an area I would be willing to compromise but of course I would love more than 5.

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)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)
Heavy Adobe Illustrator, some photoshop, some Solidworks but limited by my current laptop. Will be wanting to have the freedom to use more 3D modeling software.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?
512 SSD of some kind would be nice. Or a hyrid.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.
I'm pretty overwhelmed by options at the moment. Most of them being just outside my prefered price. Gigabite Aero 15/15x. The Lenovo Thinkpad P51 or the 52 coming out. Dell XPS 15. Dell XPS 15 2 in 1. HP Spectre 369. Dell Precision 5520. HP Z Books. Asus zenbooks. And the Lenovo Yoga 720 or 730 coming out. Some of these concern me either for their lack of a USB A or their very lower end of the higher end graphics like GTX 1050.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?
3-4 Years

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

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'm open to any and all. Would prefer something that doesn't look too "gamery" but I'm willing for the right specs

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.
Most concerned with power to run the software I use and a bright, color-accurate screen.
I've been struggling with a horrible screen that has limited viewing angle and terrible color accuracy and it makes designing for products extremely hard.


Nov 21, 2006
I believe this ticks all your requirements.
- Fast CPU i7-7700HQ
- Plenty of RAM 16B
- Large and fast SSD 512GB
- Large Hard Drive 1TB
- IPS panel (Decent Delta E and Color Gamut and view angles)
- GPU to assist with 3D work (although it is lower end)
- Less than 4lbs
- USB A (it also has USB C/Thunderbolt 3)

The ASUS Zenbook Pro
- Faster GPU (GTX 1050 Ti 4GB)
- Much better battery life
- Better color gamut
- Lower color accuracy (you should be able to calibrate it)
- Very fast SSD but a little slower than MSI
- No HDD

Unless you are going to do a lot a 3D. I wouldn’t sweat the lower end graphics. Because of the good specs, stellar screen and large SSD. I’d probably get this Dell XPS 15 for your uses. It has a better screen than the Spectre X360.
- Color gamut way beyond 1080p IPS panels in the other two
- 4K will provide super fine visual detail
- Superb color accuracy
- Excellent battery life
Review: https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/dell-xps-15

Performance wise, I doubt you’ll see much difference between any of these for your uses. Detail wise, that Dell is far above the MSI and ASUS in screen quality.


Nov 21, 2006
For anyone else looking for more help with this. Quoted PM exchange.

From: bugzmo

Sent on: April 29, 2018 9:06 AM

Sorry I'm not sure how to reply to your answer. So I was wondering. My hold up with the Dell XPS is that it has a 7th gen processor and my understanding is that 8th is a significant upgrade. What are your thoughts on that? If you don't mind
From: velocityg4

Sent on: April 29, 2018 1:36 PM

I'm not aware of any i7-8750h which meet your weight criteria. Yes, it's faster but the lightest are between four and five pounds.

Since it's difficult to find benchmarks for Illustrator, Photoshop and Solidworks on the laptop CPUs. I looked at their desktop counterparts. The i7-8700K and i7-7700K. Since they experience the same change in core count and similar minor clock rate changes between generations.

Most tests indicate very little difference. Meaning most tasks in these programs aren't heavily multi-threaded. You'd only see small gains in those tasks due to the slightly higher single and dual core Turbo Boost speeds of the i7-8750H. A few tasks are heavily multi-threaded. Such as rendering. Which achieve significant gains.

Also as of right now. All I see for 4K laptops is a Gigabyte. They usually aren't that good. While a good quality 1920x1080 IPS is a big improvement over what you have right now. They don't compete with good 4K panels. They aren't capable of generating the color gamut or visual detail of a good quality 4K panel.

While Dell and others will likely update their lines with premium panels over the next few months with the i7-8750h. You'll have to decide.
- Get the i7-8750H sacrificing weight and significant screen quality
- Get the i7-7700HQ with everything you want
- Wait for i7-8750H refreshes to product lines
From: bugzmo

Sent on: April 29, 2018 2:07 PM

You are AMAZING! Thank you SO much for all this information!
Based on this, I'm pretty tempted to pick up the Dell XPS 15 here:

It seems like an excellent deal though I'm wondering whether there will be other deals on 7th gen in the coming months with 8th gen releases and memorial day.

Out of curiosity, if you were to recommend an 8th gen that is between 4 and 5lbs, what would it be?
Thank you so much!
From: velocityg4

Sent on: April 30, 2018 12:36 AM

Dell has announced a new XPS 15 with the i7-8750, 4K screen and GTX 1050 Ti. No pricing info is available yet on higher end configurations. That might be worth waiting for or deals on Amazon for the prior model.

Dell has their G5 15 Gaming. It has a 4K display. Fully decked out with 4K, 16GB RAM, i7-8750H, GTX 1060 6GB and 512GB SSD+1TB HDD. It comes in at $1,650. It’s a bit hefty and battery life would be mediocre but a hell of a deal. I didn’t even know this existed. It hasn’t been reviewed yet by any good review sites like laptopmag.com. I couldn’t tell you how good the display is. I know it is IPS and 4K. Being a Dell it is likely quite good. Given the price I’ll assume it is closer in quality to the 4K used in the Inspiron line than the premium panel used in the XPS line. So, respectable for graphics work but not the best.

ASUS has their ROG Zephyrus M. They review well. They have a decent 1920x1080 display. Decent is a bit understated as it does 120% Adobe sRGB color gamut. Not as good as a Dell 4K (188%) but still good. They do go a bit over budget and the SSD is smaller. I’d say the Dell G5 is a better deal unless a review shows the panel is garbage on the Dell.

Gigabyte, Samsung and MSI have them. I see nothing remarkable.

I haven’t seen any announcements for HP or Lenovo. I’m sure they’ll have something soon.

Depending on the 3D program you use and type of work. The GPU may or may not be very important. Usually it is a mix of CPU and GPU. Workstation GPU are better than gaming in some instances but those laptops are heavy and very expensive $3K for an entry level model. You may want to look at using Autodesk products instead of Solidworks. Autodesk doesn’t have much Quadro vs GeForce bias while Solidworks does.

Adobe products have no advantage with a workstation GPU over gaming. That I’m aware of. Most of Illustrator and Photoshop is CPU bound. They are increasing GPU usage. If you are subscribed to Adobe CC. Their GPU usage will continue to improve. If you are using a legacy CS suite. There is hardly any acceleration.

My two favorites are the Dell G5 gaming and XPS 15 current or upcoming.
From: velocityg4

Sent on: April 30, 2018 12:38 AM

Since others may have this question. I'd like to publish this Q&A to the thread.
From: velocityg4

Sent on: April 30, 2018 12:39 AM

That is a good deal for that Dell at Microcenter.
From: bugzmo

Sent on: April 30, 2018 2:03 AM

Thank you! And yes please publish this and I'll vote it correct. Sorry I couldn't figure out how to reply properly!
I saw the new Dell XPS announcements and honestly I might wait for that. Maybe there could be a black friday for it. Seems like with the 8th Gen and update to GTX1050ti then that would add some considerable longievity. And I believe I saw that it will have a 500 nit screen which would just be huge for non-optimal lighting conditions. However I'm betting it will be over my price range so it might take some patience.
That Dell G5 does sound pretty fabulous so I'll see if I can check out the screen and weight of one in person.
Thanks again for all your help!! Truly invaluable!
From: bugzmo

Sent on: April 30, 2018 2:07 AM

Oh and for Lenovo the Yoga 730 looked like their 8th gen release. Quite intriguing but seems to be only available with 8gigs of RAM. Otherwise quite lovely looking.
I'd be interested in your thoughts about the Dell 2 in 1 and the yoga's vs their traditional counterparts for this kind of work. If you feel like sharing more!
From: velocityg4

Sent on: April 30, 2018 2:07 AM

You're Welcome!
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