14-15'', great screen, mild gaming machine

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by HerrKaputt, May 30, 2016.

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  1. HerrKaputt

    HerrKaputt Elite Notebook User

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    Hi all,

    I am looking to buy a new laptop, and as usual, I find NBR's advice invaluable. Please find the form below, and thanks in advance for your advice!

    HK

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    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    Pretty high, can go up to 2500€. But please present also options for 1000€, 1500€ and 2000€ if available, I don't want to waste money if I don't have to.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    14 inches is the sweet spot. If no suitable options exist I'm willing to go to 15 inches.
    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    Portugal. But I can use my company's importer, so I can likely but anything that exists in the EU.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Dell, particularly their Latitude line. I also have a XPS 13 which had some issues. The XPS 15 is a possibility but I believe I can get the same specs for less money.
    I also like ASUS, I have a number of friends with ASUS laptops and they are happy with them.
    b. Dislike: Apple

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes, but I don't think outlets ship to Portugal.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    - Mild usage such as web browsing, Office, etc.
    - Mild gaming. I don't play super heavy games anymore, most of my games are bought at GOG. But I play a lot of Path of Exile.
    - I will also dual boot in Ubuntu to do some development. This will require some decent RAM (16 GB preferable).


    For reference, my current temporary laptop has an nvidia 840M which almost suits my needs.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Taking it to different places.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    As said above, mostly Path of Exile and minor games. I might go back to some heavier games, so a dedicated GPU is a must, but I don't think I need a beefy one.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    At least 4 when watching movies.

    10) Would you prefer to see the notebooks you're considering before purchasing it or buying a notebook on-line without seeing it is OK?
    Online is OK.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, etc.
    Windows installed (because of the games), but it's a big plus if the laptop has good Linux drivers.

    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer? Keep in mind screen size in conjunction with resolution will play a large role in overall viewing comfort level. Everyone is different. Some like really small text, while others like their text big and easy to read. (Scroll down to see screen resolution information.)
    1080p is enough. I don't mind having a slightly higher resolution (say, 1440p), but I'd prefer avoiding overkills like 4K on a 14-inch laptop.

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)
    Strongly prefer matte IPS. If not possible, glossy IPS is better than matte TN.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really, a boring look is fine.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Within days.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    A lot, say 5 years at least. Repairability and longevity are a big priority. I've had good experiences with Latitude laptops and I would like a similar quality, but with better GPUs than they offer.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    I absolutely want an SSD and would like 512 GB of space. If that is too expensive, I can install one myself as long as it doesn't void the warranty.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    No need for that.

    19) Other comments:
    I've currently looked at the following options:
    1) XPS 15 -- pretty much the perfect laptop for my needs, but it's very expensive. The local Dell reseller quoted me an XPS 15 with 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD for 2500€ (although, to be fair, it included 3 years of ProSupport and accidental coverage). I also had a few issues with my XPS 13 (random reboots due to faulty SSD) which Dell refused to fix. It was since handed down to my girlfriend since it doesn't suit my gaming needs anyway and she is not bothered.
    2) Dell Latitudes, because I have an 8-year old one that is still alive and kicking, and my current E5450 from my company is very sturdy. It would also be easy to order through my company, and I could make use of the chargers and docking stations that I already have. Unfortunately the screens are usually not brilliant and the GPU options are not plenty either. Also, I was unable to configure one with 16 GB of RAM on the US Dell website? This is strange because my company has them.


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  2. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    The Dell Latitude E5470 has a dGPU option and I have found the 14" FHD wideview panels used by Dell to be good (although the LG panel is slightly better than the AUO panel because of the latter's anti-glare coating). However, the 15.6" panel I have in my new E5570 is even better. The E5570 is significantly larger than the E5470 but has the benefit of a bigger cooling system.

    Reports by forum members indicate that either of these will run with 32GB RAM if you want to go that far. RAM is an easy upgrade but an SSD upgrade is easy provide you replace whatever came in the computer with a drive of higher capacity. There is also the option to use the faster PCIe M.2 SSDs.

    Perhaps it is the 1366 x 768 panels used by Dell which have given you the poor impression about the quality of Dell's displays. They tend to have poor viewing angles and low brightness and provide a lower cost option for users whose computers spend most of the time in a dock and connected to an external display.

    John
     
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  3. HerrKaputt

    HerrKaputt Elite Notebook User

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    Hey John, nice to see you are still active here! :)

    Thanks to your post, I searched again on Dell's US website and found that indeed, some configurations have a GPU -- the ATI Radeon R7 m360. It's quite a mild GPU but it might be enough.

    I was considering getting a laptop with a decent GPU (like the XPS 15's GTX 960M), but I can't seem to find cheap ones (i.e. significantly cheaper than the XPS 15 when configured with similar SSDs and RAM). Is it really normal to pay above 2000€ for these specs?

    Thanks again
    HK
     
  4. HerrKaputt

    HerrKaputt Elite Notebook User

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    Hey John, nice to see you are still active here! :)

    Thanks to your post, I searched again on Dell's US website and found that indeed, some configurations have a GPU -- the ATI Radeon R7 m360. It's quite a mild GPU but it might be enough.

    I was considering getting a laptop with a decent GPU (like the XPS 15's GTX 960M), but I can't seem to find cheap ones (i.e. significantly cheaper than the XPS 15 when configured with similar SSDs and RAM). Is it really normal to pay above 2000€ for these specs?

    Thanks again
    HK
     
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    If you can shop on the Dell US site then take a look at what is at the Outlet. You might find the XPS15 9550 or Precision M5510 at an acceptable price or the E5470/E5570 even cheaper, with specs better than those normally available to order. You might even stumble on the GPU version of the E7450 (not a very potent GPU) which has the advantage of a swappable battery.

    Note that one drawback of the more powerful GPU is that it needs a bigger PSU. I think that I've also seen reports of throttling under sustained load but you would need to check the relevant threads.

    John
     
  6. HerrKaputt

    HerrKaputt Elite Notebook User

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    Unfortunately, Dell's outlet doesn't ship to Portugal, even the UK one (I emailed them and they replied saying that).
     
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