Need assistance finding a thin, powerful laptop

Evan Troxel

Estimable
Jun 8, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
So, I am looking for a new laptop for school. I originally had a Surface Pro 3, planning on using the stylus and OneNote to take notes. However, for some odd reason, writing on the tablet instead of paper basically prevents me from retaining any information. Go figure. So, I am returning my Surface and looking for a laptop that is thin and powerful. I was looking at a ThinkPad T440s or maybe a thin 15.6 inch gaming laptop. These are my preferences:

-i5 or better
-8gb of ram (4gb upgradeable is fine)
-FHD screen MINIMUM (Preferably IPS, like zenbook or something like the Ativ Book 9 Plus 3200x1800 display)
-Fairly thin, like 1.5inches or less. A bit more is okay, but trying to keep it portable.
-Decent battery, capable of at least 5 hours preferably
-Dedicated graphics are optional but wanted

If you have any suggestions for a specific ultrabook or portable gaming laptop for around 1200, please let me know. So far my top contenders are the Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus and the ThinkPad t440s. Thanks!!
 

photonboy

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The Thinkpad T440S has very weak graphics for gaming so I don't understand why it's your top contender.

In fact, maybe the price is about quality or the 14" screen (or both) but for non-gaming you can get a $400 laptop which should serve you as well though it would have to be slightly larger with a 15.6" screen for that price.

I really don't think 14" and gaming GPU's for a reasonable price even go together. For example:

15.6" with GT860M graphics:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i7-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-silver/6443007.p?id=1219217424749&skuId=6443007&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=1

13.3" (no 14" listed at this price here) with GT620M graphics: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-zenbook-prime-13-3-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive-silver/1305962956.p?id=mp1305962956&skuId=1305962956&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=8#tab=buyingOptions

So basically you either need to choose between the size of the laptop or the graphics capability.
 

JUSTPLAY

Estimable
Sep 7, 2014
10
0
4,560
0
Hi,take a look on this laptop asus ROG G750 its powerful laptop but it costs around 1300$ And also for 1100$ See ASUS ROG GL551JM-DH71 15.6"
 

photonboy

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The Thinkpad T440S has very weak graphics for gaming so I don't understand why it's your top contender.

In fact, maybe the price is about quality or the 14" screen (or both) but for non-gaming you can get a $400 laptop which should serve you as well though it would have to be slightly larger with a 15.6" screen for that price.

I really don't think 14" and gaming GPU's for a reasonable price even go together. For example:

15.6" with GT860M graphics:
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/lenovo-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i7-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-silver/6443007.p?id=1219217424749&skuId=6443007&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=1

13.3" (no 14" listed at this price here) with GT620M graphics: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/asus-zenbook-prime-13-3-laptop-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive-silver/1305962956.p?id=mp1305962956&skuId=1305962956&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=8#tab=buyingOptions

So basically you either need to choose between the size of the laptop or the graphics capability.
 

photonboy

Distinguished
Update:

For $500, this is a nice light 13.3" laptop: http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion-x360-2-in-1-13-3-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i3-4gb-memory-500gb-hard-drive-natural-silver-ash-silver/7046228.p?id=1219248578890&skuId=7046228&st=categoryid$abcat0502000&cp=1&lp=1

It's not an i5/i7 though I don't know why you'd need that if not gaming.

GAMING:
If you got the above laptop for $500 then you'd have $700 left over from your budget to invest in perhaps building a small DESKTOP or just get a PS4 or something for gaming.

Again, if you want a small, light device for school then that currently doesn't really match well with the desire for good gaming graphics. Not sure how fun it would be doing gaming on a 14" screen for long periods either..
 

Evan Troxel

Estimable
Jun 8, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
The gpu was optional, I currently have a zenbook ux32vd and it has a 620M. It is very thin and light still. Like I said, gpu is nice but optional. I'm mainly focused more on built quality and screen quality.
 

Evan Troxel

Estimable
Jun 8, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
I already have a very high end desktop, gpu is just nice to have in case. I threw the gaming laptop option in there in case I missed a cool thin gaming laptop. Otherwise, gpu really doesn't matter.
 

photonboy

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Then I don't see why you need anything more than the $500 model I linked which has a 1920x1080, 13.3" screen.

It has higher than average customer feedback, and the basic hardware should be more than sufficient for your school usage.

As for the gaming GPU's you're always going to be paying for that in a combination of price, size, weight and noise so if you don't need it just avoid that.
 

Evan Troxel

Estimable
Jun 8, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
its 1080p but its of poor quality. I've seen it in person. And I need the power. I am an Engineering major and need to use some intensive software. Which is also one of the reasons I was interested in a gpu because then some of the programs I may have to use on my desktop will run on my laptop as well. Do you have another suggestion for a laptop with a better screen?
 

mbreslin1954

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Nov 27, 2010
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18,660
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I've noticed that if you want a discrete GPU in a laptop, they tend to be heavier, as opposed to light and slim. Also, the HP that photonboy linked to has only a 1366x768 screen, which is kind of low res.
 

Evan Troxel

Estimable
Jun 8, 2014
6
0
4,510
0
Thats probably as close as I will get. Problem is I already have a zenbook, I was looking to sell my old one to get a new one. We will see. Thank you for your input, looks like there really aren't many options available.
 

photonboy

Distinguished
*FYI, I just noticed that there are dual-core i5 and i7's. The Asus Zenbook has a dual-core with hyperthreading (which adds up to about 30% more processing per core).
http://ark.intel.com/products/65714/Intel-Core-i7-3517U-Processor-4M-Cache-up-to-3_00-GHz

I'm not sure if there are any laptops this small with a quad-core as well as a reasonable dedicated GPU.

Still, there's a lot of processing power there at 3GHz, and if you compare to other laptops be careful to compare the same frequency. For example:

Example #1: 4C/4T CPU at 2.4GHz

Example #2: 2C/4T CPU at 3GHz (Asus Zenbook)

If a program could use 100% of the processing power then the Asus compares like this: (2x 1.3 x 3)/(4x 1.0 x 2.4) = 81.25%

(It's even harder to calculate as the 4-core CPU's in laptops won't have all four cores at the max Turbo. That number applies to a single core say with no other cores doing much. If all four were running it might be closer to 2GHz in which case both of these examples might work out roughly the SAME.)

HASWELL adds about 10% improvement assuming all other things being equal (frequency, core/thread count, throttling management, and cooling capability).
 
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