Budget Thin & Light for Programming (and remote gaming)

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Daegalus, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Daegalus

    Daegalus Notebook Geek

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    Just want to start off saying I am a big gamer and I own a Sager NP8657 laptop with a 960m inside it. The issue is the fans are almost always on, even when its idle and nothing is running, and no matter how I play with the profiles and even setting it to Ultra Quiet, nothing helps. I also have a Asus Zenbook Flip UX360UA. I got it for programming/on-the-go. One thing I found, and have found in the past, is I can't do multiple computers, too annoying to keep everything synced up and constantly switching for tasks. Another is I severely overestimated what the m3 processor in this thing can handle. It does a whole lot, but the constant throttling is getting to me.

    I am now looking to sell both and merge back into 1 computer. I don't need it to handle gaming as I signed up a for a service called Parsec Gaming which lets me have a Windows 10 instance in the cloud with a GTX1080 equivalent GPU that then gets streamed to me with no latency. Its been working amazingly and I can play anything I want even on my m3 laptop. Though I would prefer an MX150 or a Ryzen Vega M chip in the new laptop, incase i want to do some hearthstone or an indie game here or there offline, but a Intel 620 is fine too.

    For screen size, I am ok with a 13" laptop, but prefer a 15". Weight isn't a SUPER issue, I am a big guy and even my Sager NP8657 is plenty light and its 5lbs, though lighter and slimmer is better.

    I could easily put a $3000 computer on a card and afford it, but I want to be financially smarter, so I will try to make $1000 work. Most of the nicer laptops are $1500-2000, so i figure with a few sacrifices here and there, I can get something nice for $1000 I would really prefer a Ryzen computer, but an Core i3/i5/i7 is fine too.

    Some laptops I have considered, need help narrowing down, or if you know better options: Reference: my Sager is 0.98in thick, and my Asus is 0.54in thick. Something inbetween is fine.
    ---
    Lenovo Ideapad 720s (15" and 13"), I really am tempted to try the Ryzen/Vega combo on the 13" 720s, but would prefer the bigger screen. Can't find slim 15" ryzen machines. 0.5 / 0.7 in thick
    Dell Inspiron 5000 (15") - has more Ryzen options, but i think at this point im sacrificing thing/light. 0.89 thick
    Dell XPS 13 & 15 - I have this one for work, the latest one, and its beautiful, thinking the 15 inch one would be nice. Kinda pushes up above my budget a bit though. 0.46 / 0.63
    Asus UX430UA (13") - A lot like mine, but better processor, and fully loaded is about $1100, I just hear issues with screen dimming causing severe eye strain? also only 13in. 0.64in thick
    HP Envy x360 (15") - Looks good, can be configured with an 8250 or 8550 processor and an mx150 and still be under 1000. 0.77 in thick
    Lenovo E580 (15") - decent build for $1050, 0.78 in thick
    ----

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    $1000, can possible push to $1200.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.
    USA (didn't see the indicator selection anymore on the newer theme?)

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Any is fine, HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus. Iffy on Acer
    b. Dislike: Apple, not going back to that.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Possibly, but prefer new, as I want to get something that will last a few years. New concept for me as i normally upgrade every year, but trying to be financially smart.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Programming (Golang, Elixir, Ruby, etc. I do a lot). PDF creation, internet, surfing. Maybe super light gaming directly on the machine, like Hearthstone or some 2D indie game or something. I am really into tech, so I do a little of everything honestly, but primarily coding. The Remote gaming is about as strenuous as a high bitrate HD stream. Even a Raspberry Pi3 can handle it.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes, it will spend a lot of time in my bag, but also a lot of time at home on my lap while watching TV and gaming (remotely).

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    Yes and No. Low end games like Hearthstone or 2D indie games directly on the machine. Heavy duty games remotely on my cloud gaming rig.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    As many as possible when not doing heavy tasks. 6-7+ ideally. the T580 boasts 27 hours of battery life I noticed, even if I get half of that, its fine.

    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?
    Would be nice, and I have a ton of Frys and Best Buys around to go see them in person, but I am 100% fine buying it based on reviews and online, its how I have done all of my computer shopping since I could remember. Desktops was parts from Newegg in the past, then laptops online.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows 10, for fun I might put Ubuntu on it, but i use that on my work computer, so no need for my personal one.

    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.)

    Nothing lower than 1080p
    1920x1080
    1920x1200
    2k
    4k

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (Scroll down to see explanations.)

    I am "ok" with glossy, but vastly prefer matte. My Asus is glossy and it makes working outside in my yard so difficult.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    They are, I do love me a nice stylish good looking laptop (the new Asus laptops look great), but I can compromised. Thinkpads have that old school professional look that I actually like, and the new XPS laptops are nice too. I guess if it just feels sturdy and looks professional, I am fine. I do want a slim as possible

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Next month or 2. I am not in a rush. I need to do backups and sell these two laptops roughly at the same time, so i need to know exactly what I am getting and do it all at once.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    at least 2 years. I like to keep up with technology and used to update computers/laptops yearly (computers just the parts, laptops complete upgrade), and cellphones every 6 months. I want to slow that down for not wasting too much money.

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?

    SSD drive, no compromise on this. Unless I can upgrade it after market to an SSD. M.2 PCIE preferred, but any is fine. I can do SSD + SSHD combo too, but the primary drive needs to be SSD.

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    Nope, I don't need stone age tech :p . Ive moved onto pure digital and streaming tech. I have an external USB3.0 one for legacy work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
  2. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Evangelist

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    Dell 7567 and done. I think it pretty much hits all your needs if you can live with its size and weight that is.

    Also, a programmer buddy of mine just got a 7573 and loves it with Ubuntu.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  3. Daegalus

    Daegalus Notebook Geek

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    It looks good, but the goal is to get something that looks professional and isn't focused around gaming on it. I dont need a 1050. I feel better off getting a Inspiron 17 non gaming, similar specs with a ryzen chip. Not to mention the 7567 is pretty thick. The goal is to get it as slim as possible, while still maintaining performance for coding/streaming without throttling. Even an i3/i5 might be sufficient, let alone an i7 or Ryzen 7 chip, since i currently have 90% of what i need with an m3 6Y30. Obviously i want to squeeze as much power into it, but the goal is thin and light under $1000 and i can still do my cloud gaming and local programming. This is meant to be portable and travel with me a lot.
     
  4. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Evangelist

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    Damn, I forgot about the external difference in appearance between the 7567 and my 7577. The 7577 is definitely the more professional look, but packed with even more power you don't need. I'm not sure how many of the new thin and light craptops can actually *use* the power packed into them without throttling- which I thought was your main point of contention with your current machine. For me, my 7577 (or the 7567 which shares the same form factor) is pretty sleek compared to my last HP and fits in a nice carry case with a handle that i love. I agree for your purposes an i5 would probably be just fine, especially if the 8th gen. I just hate buying underpowered or inadequately cooled hardware myself because what's the point? :p I really wished they offered a slimmer non-dGPU version of the 7577 with more battery life.
     
  5. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Consultant

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    I think you need to decide on which screen size you want. You seem to flitting between laptop models that have 13" screens to 17" monsters.
     
  6. Daegalus

    Daegalus Notebook Geek

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    Totally agree. But when i mean throttling, i mean hard throttling, I know all CPUs throttle, but this Asus UX360UA is a fanless Core m3 processor. It throttles any time it needs to cool down. And when it throttles its like full stops where nothing responds, and in some cases my mouse doesn't even move, its pretty bad. My wife's non-gaming laptop has an i3 in it (an HP x360, forgot the exact model) is only slightly thicker, has a fan, and runs circles around my m3. I just have a 1080p screen, and hers is 1366x768 which I can't do. Totally fine with an i5, i7 is great, hell maybe even an i3. It doesn't take a lot to get work done. I am also the kind of person that believes i shouldn't compromise in tech as I will regret it later when I know i could have gotten the better processor or something, but im kind of over that a tiny bit, but this m3 was too far in the wrong direction.

    Sorry about this, I have done some soul searching, and lets go with 15" laptops, unless there is just some unbeatable 13" laptop, I have used 13" laptops a lot, and the 15" is just a bit nicer. I am also fine with the middleground 14" laptops. So lets stick with that 15" primary, settle for 14"/13" in that order if it is just unbeatable. Take 17" out of the equation. I will updated my first post accordingly.

    Also if 13"/14" is all I can do to get the specs I want in the form factor I want. I will do it. Its not the end of the world.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
    Maleko48 likes this.
  7. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Consultant

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    ASUS Vivobook S15, Lenovo Ideapad 720/720S, Dell Inspiron 7000 15".
     
  8. Maleko48

    Maleko48 Notebook Evangelist

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    I second the Inspiron 7000 15". Only bummer is the 3 cell battery, but everything else is spot on with OP's needs.
     
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  9. Daegalus

    Daegalus Notebook Geek

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    THanks guys, I will look into those
     
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