Big, powerful, and bulky or slim, discreet, and low-profile?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by IsaacNewton, Jul 3, 2019.

  1. IsaacNewton

    IsaacNewton Newbie

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    Greetings,

    I will be going to college next year. I am going to double major in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, so I am going to need to be able to code/program and also run whatever engineering programs I need.

    I have my desktop that I built that has more than enough power to run anything; however, I need a laptop to do work elsewhere.

    So here is the dilemma:

    Do I get a cheap, light, and portable laptop with good battery life or do I get an expensive monster laptop comparable to my desktop?

    On one hand, I would spend $1500 on a Sager/clevo with an RTX 2070 and an i7-9750H. It would be more than powerful enough, but it is 5lbs, doesn't have the best battery life, costs a lot, and it thermal throttles (not to mention you sound like you're on an airplane because the fans are so loud). Something like this also wouldn't go totally obsolete in 4 years either.

    OR I could get something small, cheap and light to take with me to class and save the big work for the desktop back at my dorm. It also wouldn't be that bad if someone stole it because it didn't cost $1500. The only issue is that if I want to go home for the weekend then I don't have a powerful machine to do work or play games. I don't game much anymore, but it is a nice option to have when I have down time.

    I really don't know what to do. Cheap, thin and light or powerful, expensive, and bulky?

    Thanks for the input.
     
  2. 4W4K3

    4W4K3 Notebook Evangelist

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    I went with the big, powerful, bulky option. However, I am not a student and mainly wanted it for gaming. Therefore, I believe the correct choice for you is the opposite slim, discreet, low-profile laptop.

    I think the key is finding something in-between. Find the somewhat mid-range sized laptop, with higher than average battery life, a lower but still capable graphics card (1660 Ti? 2060?), that's not too heavy. Instead of the $500 "slow-book", or the $1500 "monster", find the light-enough $1,000 model that fits your needs. There is such a huge variety in laptops today, there is something exactly spec'd for you out there for sure.
     
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  3. TheReciever

    TheReciever D! For Dragon!

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    grab a t440p for class and spend the rest on your gaming laptop.
     
  4. Anthony Accioly

    Anthony Accioly Notebook Consultant

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    After almost a decade of using Clevo Laptops I'm now a Thinkpad guy.
    Best decision ever. Once my P650HS-G (that now sits exclusively at home) needs to be replaced I'm buying a Desktop.
     
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  5. Eclipse2016

    Eclipse2016 Notebook Geek

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    I travel a lot for work and I went with the 'can-do-it-all' laptop. I'm a really small 110lbs squib carrying around a 10lbs brick. It isn't fun. The 5lbs laptop you were considering is feather light for what it can do imho.
     
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  6. nealios

    nealios Notebook Guru

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    I'll echo what the others have said.
    cheap and cheerful slim laptop all the way. especially in college when its going to get knocked around in transport, less value for it to be stolen, longer battery life. Also, new laptops are coming out especially with the more efficient and powerful 7nm and 10nm chip sets. I wouldn't blow my cash straight away.
    also, you can remote into your desktop and have that do the processing while you're away.
     
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  7. amirbahalegharn

    amirbahalegharn Notebook Consultant

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    you may go for N350TW,without dgpu,but has the desktop cpu,so 9900T 35W which in some benchmarks are giving performance as 8700K,so great performance while asking for less power,but why N350TW?because there is 93Wh battery,so you have best battery life compared to those 45W tdp mobile chips.also it has thunderbolt3,so optional external GPU is available. also don't go for mobile series,go for desktop cpu series like N970tf/N960TF rtx2070 or N960TD/N970TD rtx2060,which like N950/N960 series,has 62Wh battery,there is N950 GTX1060/RTX2060/GTX1660ti as well. again for better battery life go for t series like 9900T;not to mention the temps would be wonderful.
     
  8. Mr. Fox

    Mr. Fox Undefiled BGA-Hating Elitist

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    I got tired of all the foolish crap going on emasculated laptops that run too hot, throttle and/or have $1,000+ motherboards with crippled CPUs and GPUs welded to the mobo. Almost all of the new stuff is garbage that malfunctions, costs way too much and is disposable rubbish. The really good stuff with modular components is even more overpriced, runs like crap with stock firmware, and you can't upgrade anything to the most desirable high-end components except with custom firmware mods or playing cross-flashing roulette and/or hardware mods. It's all too idiotic at this point to put up with any more.

    So, I went back to desktops for performance and bought one of these HP Zbook 15 gems to use for a laptop. Great price, powerful enough CPU for most purposes, wimpy GPU, but not needed for gaming (use the desktop for that, and I can stream Steam to the laptop if I want to). The chassis is made of entirely of metal... built like a brick house. It's cheap and won't matter if it gets broken or stolen at school.

    I replaced the pokey 750GB HDD with a 1TB SSD, added an MSATA SSD to the empty slot and replaced Windows 10 with Windows 7 using spare parts and an extra Windows 7 license I had on hand, and added Linux Mint (dual boot).

    Zero regrets, and I am an HP-hater. But, I just couldn't hate what I got for so little money and the overpriced garbage I avoided by going this route. Saved my money for monster desktop enhancements. Socketed i7 CPU, MXM GPU and used parts on eBay are dirt cheap if something craps out on me before I am done milking it for all it's worth. I replaced the mediocre old Intel 6235 WiFi/BT card with an Intel 7260-AC/BT card from Amazon a couple of days ago and that tripled my WiFi data transfer rate (under $30).

    https://www.officedepot.com/a/products/101875/HP-ZBook-15-Refurbished-Laptop-156/
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  9. rlk

    rlk Notebook Evangelist

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    I always hate trying to advise people based on subjective criteria. I don't know what your tolerance is for carrying around a lot of weight, I don't know whether you need the desktop to run things continuously/be a server (if not, maybe a workstation/high end gaming type as @Mr. Fox suggested would do the trick), whatnot.

    I've personally always gone for used/refurb high end laptops. But I don't mind carrying around a lot of weight, and I like the 17" form factor and the deeper chassis does help with cooling.
     
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  10. bennyg

    bennyg Notebook Virtuoso

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    OP, you're asking an apples or oranges question.

    You need to think of how you value your potential uses, and the drawbacks of each.
    E.g. I really want to play a decent game when I want to vs carrying 5lb is not such a huge deal.

    If you have a powerful desktop that you're used to using it's a quite different experience to switch to a tablet (with a closed o/s and limited functionality obscuring significantly less powerful hardware, so long as you only use it for what it is developed for).
     
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