Which laptop is better?


It's a dual core i7. The only difference between it and the i5 is 4 MB cache instead of 3 MB cache (and clock speed). So the performance difference is not going to be that large.

People frequently make the mistake of thinking the i3/i5/i7 is the same between desktops and laptops. They're not. The laptop (mobile) processors are totally different. The desktop i7 has hyperthreading while the desktop i5 does not (both are quad cores). The hyperthreading makes a big difference in certain CPU-intensive tasks like video rendering, giving the desktop i7 an advantage. But the mobile i5 and i7 dual core both have hyperthreading and turbo boost. The only difference is cache size.

Also will the 8gb SSD with a 1tb HDD have much difference to just a 1tb HDD?
1) It can make a huge difference. The vast majority of the speedup from a SSD is due to small file read-write speeds. HDDs top out at about 1-1.5 MB/s at 4k read/writes, slower if the drive is badly fragmented. SSDs can hit about 30-70 MB/s, 200-400 MB/s if queued. So the SSD can literally be hundreds of times faster than the HDD, and even the tiny 8GB cache can let you boot Windows in 15 sec instead of 45 sec.

However, it does not help with write speeds. And if the data you want is not stored in the cache, then it needs to be read off the HDD and the drive will perform just like a normal HDD.

2) A lot of these hybrid HDDs are the WD model which is crap. WD uses a very aggressive head parking timer on its 5400 RPM laptop drives and desktop green drives. This includes their hybrid drives. The drives will park the heads after something like 8 seconds of inactivity. People have questioned whether the excess wear this puts on the head actuator will shorten its lifespan. WD claims it won't.

But the bigger issue is how Windows deals with this. When a HDD is spun down or the head parked, and the computer requests data from the drive, Windows will freeze until the drive responds to that request. With a spun down HDD, this is about a 2-4 second freeze. With a parked head, this is about a 0.5-1 sec freeze. The spin down freeze is easy to deal with. You just change Windows' power options to spin it down after a longer delay so it doesn't happen as frequently, or to never spin down the drive. WD's head parking behavior is entirely different - there is no direct way to change the timer - it's baked into the firmware. The only way I've found to prevent it is to run a script which constantly writes new data to the drive, or to use something like CrystalDiskInfo to completely turn off the drive's power management.

I've also found that even if you have gobs of RAM, Windows likes to write to the pagefile every 15-30 seconds. This in combination with the head parking behavior means the computer basically freezes briefly every 15-30 seconds. You're playing a game and the screen will freeze for a fraction of a second every 15-30 seconds. You're using Word and the letters you type will briefly stop appearing every 15-30 seconds. You're web browsing and every 15-30 seconds the screen will freeze if you happen to be scrolling at that instant. It's annoying as @#$% and caused a huge number of returns on Lenovo's top of the line version of the Y50 which used this WD hybrid drive. There's like a 300+ page thread on the Lenovo forums about it. The problem is worse on the hybrid HDD because the SSD cache means the heads will park more frequently (a read request which happens to find the file in cache will not reset the head parking timer).

So if you can be certain the hybrid HDD is not a WD, then it can be worth it. But if it's using the WD drive, I'd immediately dismiss that laptop from consideration (unless you plan to change the drive). All that said, a real SSD is better. I recommend the hybrid HDDs only if you need the space of a HDD, and the laptop doesn't have enough space for a SSD + HDD combo.
 

c_kemp

Commendable
Apr 25, 2016
1
0
1,510
0
Hi,

I would recommend the Asus X555LA as it has a fast processor (Intel i7), it has a lot of storage on the SSD (1TB) and it has 8GB ram which means you can keep lots of programs up at once.

Hope this helps :)
 

Wayfall

Honorable
Dec 27, 2013
165
0
10,660
20
I recommend the ASUS X555UJ 15.6-Inch Laptop Notebook Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3 GHz with Nvidia GeForce Dedicated Graphics.

As it has the newest Skylake i5 with a dedicated graphics card, all the other laptops have integrated graphics which basically mean their laptops for the office rather than multimedia use.

You'd be able to play indie titles just nothing super demanding.
 

Dynomite54

Estimable
Jan 14, 2016
63
0
4,610
15

No not all of them the acer aspire 1 has a GeForce 940M but knowing acer is shat so ya go with the ASUS X555UJ
 

AdamantMC

Commendable
Apr 18, 2016
18
0
1,560
0
Thanks for the replies, I got told on another forum that the X555LA was bad for the price, even though it comes with an i7 processor. Just debating whether it's better to have an i7 over an i5, or dedicated graphics over integrated.

Also will the 8gb SSD with a 1tb HDD have much difference to just a 1tb HDD?
 

AdamantMC

Commendable
Apr 18, 2016
18
0
1,560
0


Thanks for the response!

I was looking at the Dell series the other day, and I love the XPS however the price is way too expensive. Looking at the laptop you linked it's great, however I can't seem to find an i5 version for the UK which is cheap enough for me.

On amazon the only one I could find is an i7 skylake version, and it's £746.99, which is just out of my budget. I think the maximum I would be willing to spend is roughly £600.

The Dell looks great for me, with a dedicated graphics card and Full HD screen, just the UK versions are too pricey for me!


 

It's a dual core i7. The only difference between it and the i5 is 4 MB cache instead of 3 MB cache (and clock speed). So the performance difference is not going to be that large.

People frequently make the mistake of thinking the i3/i5/i7 is the same between desktops and laptops. They're not. The laptop (mobile) processors are totally different. The desktop i7 has hyperthreading while the desktop i5 does not (both are quad cores). The hyperthreading makes a big difference in certain CPU-intensive tasks like video rendering, giving the desktop i7 an advantage. But the mobile i5 and i7 dual core both have hyperthreading and turbo boost. The only difference is cache size.

Also will the 8gb SSD with a 1tb HDD have much difference to just a 1tb HDD?
1) It can make a huge difference. The vast majority of the speedup from a SSD is due to small file read-write speeds. HDDs top out at about 1-1.5 MB/s at 4k read/writes, slower if the drive is badly fragmented. SSDs can hit about 30-70 MB/s, 200-400 MB/s if queued. So the SSD can literally be hundreds of times faster than the HDD, and even the tiny 8GB cache can let you boot Windows in 15 sec instead of 45 sec.

However, it does not help with write speeds. And if the data you want is not stored in the cache, then it needs to be read off the HDD and the drive will perform just like a normal HDD.

2) A lot of these hybrid HDDs are the WD model which is crap. WD uses a very aggressive head parking timer on its 5400 RPM laptop drives and desktop green drives. This includes their hybrid drives. The drives will park the heads after something like 8 seconds of inactivity. People have questioned whether the excess wear this puts on the head actuator will shorten its lifespan. WD claims it won't.

But the bigger issue is how Windows deals with this. When a HDD is spun down or the head parked, and the computer requests data from the drive, Windows will freeze until the drive responds to that request. With a spun down HDD, this is about a 2-4 second freeze. With a parked head, this is about a 0.5-1 sec freeze. The spin down freeze is easy to deal with. You just change Windows' power options to spin it down after a longer delay so it doesn't happen as frequently, or to never spin down the drive. WD's head parking behavior is entirely different - there is no direct way to change the timer - it's baked into the firmware. The only way I've found to prevent it is to run a script which constantly writes new data to the drive, or to use something like CrystalDiskInfo to completely turn off the drive's power management.

I've also found that even if you have gobs of RAM, Windows likes to write to the pagefile every 15-30 seconds. This in combination with the head parking behavior means the computer basically freezes briefly every 15-30 seconds. You're playing a game and the screen will freeze for a fraction of a second every 15-30 seconds. You're using Word and the letters you type will briefly stop appearing every 15-30 seconds. You're web browsing and every 15-30 seconds the screen will freeze if you happen to be scrolling at that instant. It's annoying as @#$% and caused a huge number of returns on Lenovo's top of the line version of the Y50 which used this WD hybrid drive. There's like a 300+ page thread on the Lenovo forums about it. The problem is worse on the hybrid HDD because the SSD cache means the heads will park more frequently (a read request which happens to find the file in cache will not reset the head parking timer).

So if you can be certain the hybrid HDD is not a WD, then it can be worth it. But if it's using the WD drive, I'd immediately dismiss that laptop from consideration (unless you plan to change the drive). All that said, a real SSD is better. I recommend the hybrid HDDs only if you need the space of a HDD, and the laptop doesn't have enough space for a SSD + HDD combo.
 

AdamantMC

Commendable
Apr 18, 2016
18
0
1,560
0


Thanks for the great answer!

The only laptop I listed with a 8gb SSD included is the Acer Aspire 2, and I'm not sure whether is is a WD or not, but even so I think I've narrowed my choice down to the two ASUS laptops - X555LA and X555UJ. Based on what you said about the difference in i5 and i7, I'm feeling the X555UJ as it has Skylake i5, with a dedicated graphics card as well. The X555LA has an i7, but it's i7 5200, not the 6200 of the UJ, and also it has integrated graphics. Do you have an opinion?

Any suggestions would be great as well!
 
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