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Best Laptop under £1300

Discussion in 'General Board' started by Retired_member41, Jul 2, 2015.

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  1. Retired_member41

    Retired_member41 Retired Member

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    Having always had amazing advice here, I'm after a bit more please :D

    Need a laptop to use design software Revit on, so the more cores the better and dedicated graphics obviously.

    Been looking at i7 with gtx860m but the benchmark looks low and was wondering if anyone had any better ideas?

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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  3. Adam H

    Adam H Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Ive always been a Top end Sony Vaio man myself but with them discontinuing all laptops i found myself scouting my next purchase. I have to say Lenovo ive always had a soft spot for.

    This was the one i was looking at ( pretty much bang on your budget ) :

    http://shop.lenovo.com/gb/en/laptops/lenovo/y-series/y50/?sb=:000001D4:00046323:

    Or you've got the more expensive Think Pads with Quatro GPU's in them :

    http://shop.lenovo.com/gb/en/laptops/thinkpad/w-series/w541/?sb=:000000F0:00000473:

    I found very little else in the major players like HP, Toshiba, Asus, Acer etc that stood the test of time with build quality.

    Alienware are obvious contenders for power but personally hate the bulky school boy like crap their machines look like rather than a sleek professional looking machine.
     
  4. Retired_member41

    Retired_member41 Retired Member

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    Thanks Adam, I liked the look of lenovo in pcworld last week.

    Anyone ever bought from pcspecialist?
     
  5. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    The CPU thread on this Revit forum suggests that it's the top single core speed that's more important than the number of cores (there are a lot of interesting hardware-related threads within that forum - see the sticky posts at the top)
    http://www.revitforum.org/hardware-infrastructure/74-revit-hardware-cpu.html

    From that point of view, the Core i7 4940MX (Haswell) processor is going to be the best you can possibly get at the moment since it boosts to 4Ghz in single core mode, though a laptop with such a processor will fall significantly outside your budget.

    A bit more reading on the same Revit forum suggests that RAM is hugely important (with 32GB much better than 16GB) and the GPU is somewhat but not very important since rendering is CPU-bound not GPU-bound.

    As such, perhaps this reconditioned laptop would hit the sweet spot...
    http://www.laptopoutlet.co.uk/toshi...-core-i7-4800mq-32-gb-ram-256gb-ssd-3676.html

    It's got a Core i7-4800MQ CPU (3.7Ghz in single core mode), 32GB of RAM, an Nvidia Quadro K2100M graphics card and an SSD drive. I'm afraid I don't know anything about the site selling it though so you'll probably want to do a bit more research to check it's legit.
     
  6. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    Don't waste your time with alienware now, the current and future generations are all BGA trash. I've owned more than a few alienwares, last few were the M18x and the AW18 both 18" SLI laptops.

    You couldn't GIVE me an alienware now.

    Caz, take a look at the Scan LG1721 I think it is. Its going to chew your entire budget, however it has a socket 2011 processor, which means you can upgrade it from i5 to i7 4970k Haswell Refresh to Xeon E3 processors and it should support Broadwell which gives you plenty of upgrade options.

    It has a MXM 3.0b Socket for graphics cards, which means you can take a basic card now and upgrade to a GTX 980m and if all goes as expected, it should also take up to the GTX 1080m range due in about 7 months.

    The extra warranty which covers accidental damage and stuff cost you more though. I'm going with this exact same model but I'm going to max it out :)

    Edit: You an also put a Samsung SM951 PCIE3 SSD, which is like 2300mbps read and 1500mbps write, so pretty much makes most standard sata sdd's seem as fast as floppy disks, so another future upgrade option ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2015
  7. Retired_member41

    Retired_member41 Retired Member

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    Amazing advice as always.

    I was going to go with your Edwin until Steven posted his and the videocardbenchmark.net site which I hope is accurate showed a huge difference. The laptops direct by the way are very reputable and bookmarked for the future. Thank you for looking at the revit forum, I've set my daughter up so she can get a head start over her classmates.

    Am I missing something when building this scan model.

    It gives you the option of adding the Samsung fast ssd but only as an operating system and game it says.

    Would I need something that needed to read and write that quick?

    As you then have to choose a hard disk so if I chose an ssd there wouldn't that do the operating system anyway? It doesn't have the fast one as an option, only as an extra before choosing your hard drive. If that makes sense?
     
  8. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    The 9xx series graphics cards destroyed everything that came before it. Its a whole new architecture for the first time ever, laptop and desktop graphics cards of the same model can almost tag relay race style so the power gain is huge.

    The effective "power" almost doubles from 950->960->970->980 so a 980 is roughly worth 1.8x 970 and so on. Unless your playing top end games on high/ultra the 970 should do almost everything you need.

    Hard drive wise... It includes a hitachi travelstar 1tb drive as default, you can also untick that to remove it, but I'd keep it for storage, unless you have an existing hard drive you want to reuse, you can fit a second SSD/HDD as well, so it can hold 2 HDD/SSD. You can change this to an normal SATA SSD also.

    Next you can choose the Samsung fast SSD as an additional drive or sole drive if unchecked the above, by default this would become the system drive and the travelstar a storage drive as thats where its most effective in general use.

    The advantage of this particular drive is hangs/freezes in the os become a thing of the past, waiting for programs to open becomes near instant. Of course processor/ram play a part but the disk is the usual bottleneck. With that machine if you go with one of the i7 Desktop processors and the default 970, the hard drive will 100% be the bottleneck. The SM951 is way faster than you need now, a samsung 850 would very easily do you now and still reduce the hangs/freezes. The SM951 is more a future proof thing, normal sata SSDs will never get even half as fast as the SM951. You can always buy this at a later date should you find you need it.

    If you don't go with the SM951, I wouldn't stick with just the travelstar, the travelstar will slow the laptop down soooooo much, you def need an SSD in it.

    You can include on the next page a Note which says you want the OS on the SSD of choice, to be sure that's what you get.

    Its worth checking the box for the windows 7 classic shell on the OS bit too, windows 8 sucks, but then in a month, will be windows 10 time, so you can say goodbye to it anyway.
     
  9. Adam H

    Adam H Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Thanks Skinner, Never seen those Scan laptops...........look awesome. Did you say you've got one ? What are they like for heat and being abused ?

    Only reason ive gone for Vaio's in the past and lenovo's is because they are the only ones which seem to be able to cope with being on 20 hours a day, every day with everything under the sun running at once.

    I look after my machines but they do get some abuse with constant wear and tear, I normally go through a laptop every 18 - 24 months but everything else ive used i.e Alienware, HP, Toshiba, Asus, Acer etc all cant cope with constant usage and end up getting too warm after 6 months.

    If someones abuses a Scan and its lasted i might look at that next.
     
  10. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    This thread has got me curious about the benefit of buying a laptop with a high-end desktop chip and very high end graphics card in it? Are there really a lot of occasions when you might want to game in a cafe or hotel room, for example? Or is it simply so as to be able to carry it around the house and use it in multiple rooms?

    I would have thought a slimline desktop, a decent monitor and a cheap laptop for out-of-house use might perhaps be a better way to go? That would let you use a full desktop-class graphics card most of the time.

    Hope you don't feel I'm hijacking the discussion with the above - it looked like you've already got a great answer to your original enquiry so I thought it was ok...
     
  11. Adam H

    Adam H Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    I don't play games on my machines, thats what i have a console for. I generally buy machines with Game type capabilities because i like to do multiple tasks an a big scale from video editing with something like Pinnacle which is quite intensive graphic and Ram wise.

    But while doing that i dont want the machine to be crippled for hours at a time preventing me from doing anything else, I normally have Dreamweaver, photoshop, Pinnacle , outlook and a couple of browsers with a chunk of tabs open.

    While a reasonable machine can cope i would much prefer to have instant access at the click of a button and have the ability to work from more than one location which is the vital aspect.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2015
  12. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    Hey Adam,
    I haven't got one yet... I recently got with of the AW18 after 7 graphics card replacements, and 3 motherboards in the space of 9 months. They overclock the buggery out of them, and then seem surprised they burn out :/

    It was shocking for heat (the alienware) quite often I used to hit the 100c throttle and 50% of the time the system would bluescreen and die, 25% it would blackscreen and need rebooting, the other 25% it would throttle. POS! The M18x r1 and r2 were rock solid the later offerings not so.

    Anyway I am currently waiting for scan to notify me they have the IPS Panels and GTX980-g-synch in stock, once they tell me they have that I'll be ordering one.

    All the reports show that with the artic silver tim and clevo chassis, show that it can handle the hammer and abuse. They are the gamers choice machine now.

    I put mine under immense stress, I use it for video editing, so I can be rendering video at nearly 100% utilisation for 10-12 hours constantly, hence the crazy temps. I generally have photoshop, premier, dreamweaver and chrome (with about 100 tabs) open all the time so if it can outlast my abuse it can take anything.

     
  13. Adam H

    Adam H Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Haha just wrote the exact same thing in my last post, please do update this thread when you've got yours and put it through its paces, was starting to look for a replacement but my current machines can hold out for a bit longer if these Scans are good.
     
  14. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    Im mobile, when I go to a photoshoot/videoshoot/show, I take my laptop with me. I can often edit, render and produce a disk there and then before I leave. A normal laptop simply can't do this, and a carting a desktop+monitor+kb+mouse isn't practical. My old Dell Rep told me I need to buy a small estate van and kit the back out as a computer room :p

    I don't really game on mine, I do play some games because console graphics make baby jesus weep, but its primarily about productivity. Less time waiting, more time working.

    As a side note re: your desktop class card, Alienware produced the Graphics Adaptor / Toaster which connects to a special port to allow you run any desktop card via their laptops. MSI also have something similiar and if you have a thunderbolt2 port on your laptop, there are kits you can buy which allow desktop cards on laptops.

     
  15. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    Roughly, how hard do you kick yourself when you cave in and try to use the locked up machine because you NEED to do something, only to find the transcoded/rendered video has dropped frames/artefacts or something horrific because you used the laptop and you have to start all over again :p

    I usually invent new swear words and want to go call mike tyson a sissy as punishment :p

     
  16. Adam H

    Adam H Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    haha yeah happens far too many times. At times its been as simple as opening a new browser tab with Firebugs console and net active and it throws a little wobbly. One of my favourite things recently was uploading a huge site with filezilla from a backup, was doing other tasks at the time too but then a simple conversation popup on skype froze the machine, upload stopped after being on all night uploading with only an hour left..........needless to say i didnt reply to that skype conversion.
     
  17. chippyb United Kingdom

    chippyb Active Member

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    I got the MSI GS70 for around that price a few months ago, ssd and hdd, i7 and gtx970
     
  18. Edwin

    Edwin Well-Known Member Exclusive Member

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    Wouldn't carting around a second ultra-light, cheap, low-powered laptop solve that problem? That way, you could do "whatever" on the spare one while letting the monster laptop crunch its stuff in peace.
     
  19. Skinner

    Skinner Well-Known Member

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    Its ALWAYS video, youtube, facebook, a website with a video, always a video clip which kills it for me.

    Since the MSI laptop is mentioned, I really liked the look of the MSI laptops the super raid and cool boost looked interesting. Without wanting to pee on your parade, I'm talking about my specific need for Ultra performance not just high performance.

    I ruled out MSI machines after visiting Scan's showroom (they are only up the road from me in Bolton), for some ungodly reason they use mid-upper-range processors like the 4710mq, 4820hq etc, never any high end CPU's not even 4980s which is where Alienware stop, no sign of 4940mx or anything. They also choose to use the 3gb version fo the nVidia gtx 970m gpu instead of the 6gb gtx 970m, which is an odd choice.

    The only reason I can see for this, is they are built to a price. Hardcore users don't care about the price, they value time, least I value time. For 90% of the population they are overkill and be absolutely great.

    Its not an often occurrence, I'd say once every 20-25 renders I've had this. Normally the beasts are perfectly happy munching away at the workload while you carry on working on screen 2, just every now and then a buggy program has a bad hook or a memory leak and pop.

    When you consider these kind of machines take what could be 18-20 hours of locked/frozen 100% transcoding/rendering and turn it into 2-4 hours of 80% resource usage, you can see the value.
     
  20. admin Spain

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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    "best laptop" to me depends upon your usage case. I have a Sony Vaio (i7 processor) which I bought as it is thin, light and has a 18 hour battery life. It is also touch screen so I can use it like a Tablet when using Windows APPS or browsing images. Have a HDMI port to link to large external screen or TV when using from work base or streaming video to your entertainment system

    As for RAM, it's only going to help you to have more than 3.5GB if all your applications and OS are 64-bit versions.

    If I want a gaming option I would buy a console or Tower PC with plenty of power and really good cooling, much easier to upgrade than any laptop but the fans can be noisy so don't expect to put it in your lounge.

    Buy an SSD to boot from and Cloud or other HDD for mass storage. SSD is also massively faster for copying and saving files especially large Excel files.

    Admin
     
  21. chippyb United Kingdom

    chippyb Active Member

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    Yea I was going by price though, they said under £1300

    If you want the best of the best with a 17inch screen as well you are nearing more £2k



     
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