Good screen 15-17 laptop on a tight budget

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Asanoth, Oct 19, 2019.


Go for

  1. A new general use laptop (Vivobook, Swift, Pavillon etc...)

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  2. Used workstation/highend business laptop 2-3 yrs old

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  3. Refurbished workstation/highend business laptop 5 yrs old

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  4. New lowend workstation/business laptop and swap the screen

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  1. Asanoth

    Asanoth Newbie

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    so, my old Asus K52JC is starting to literarilly fall apart, albeit it has been serving me well for years.
    i3 M350 2,27 GHz 64bit, 4 GB RAM, GeForce 310M 1GB + Integrated (nVidia Optimus), SSD Crucial 256 GB + HDD WD Blue Mobile 2TB in a DVD caddy (both upgrade)
    This power is enough for my use, except for I started to shoot photos into RAW and when developing, my CPU goes to 100% and stays put: and most changes takes soooo long (in noise reduction, or sharpening, we are talking tens of seconds - luckily I bough a noise-free fullframe camera :D ). Also, sometimes I do some recording into a VST/VSTi and there the CPU is not holding up as well. All of it is amateur work as a hobby, so I do not need a pro setup.

    Originally, with a budget of 800€ I was deciding between something like Probook/low-end Latitude and something like Vivobook/Swift/Aspire: I wanted a good quality build, some i5-i7 power, and couple of other things, blah blah blah - and then I found out the story of laptop screens and their 60% sRGB gamut :-/. Ok, it s not a big deal with my Asus (however it definitely has a TN, so maybe it has good colours, who knows...), but if I am buying something new, I want it to be somewhat "not that bad".

    So, my priorities swiftly shifted and now I am basically looking for a laptop with a good 15-17 screen and two harddrive slots. Its performance should not be too weak, but it is not a priority. The issue is, I do not think there are any laptops with a decent screen under those 800€, maybe not even under 1000€, and I am not even considering the build quality if they were. Eventually, these options crystallized as I did some research:

    a) Fetch in some 100s €, wait after Christmas for sales and buy a new laptop with a decent screen (Yoga 730, Zenbook...). The question is, how much will I need to add, which laptop should I buy and if it's worth a poorer build.
    b) Buy a used Dell Precision 5510/7710, Zbook etc., or some business equivalent, which do not come with great screens anyway. Workstations are a bit overkill, I do not need that much power and especially a GPU, but they come used to the market more often, than good screens Elitebooks/Latitudes/Thinkpads. In this case, I could get something with i5/i7 6XXX and HW of a similar age, but there would be no warranty. However, people say these machines are built to last...
    c) Buy a refurbished workstation, but there I could only get to Zbook G2 or Precision M4800. 4th generation intel core and 5 or so years old: I feel that it too much for an electronic device, which have been heavily used, but maybe I am wrong.
    d) This came to me as a sci-fi idea, buy a Probook/Vostro/whatever, new or barely used (i do not think there is such a thing as "barely used probook" for sale) and buy a good (used?) laptop screen and swap it for the original. I do not, however, see how that would come in expenses and I believe that eventually it would get more expensive than any of the options above. Plus warranty issues plus it seems like a nuissance to do...

    So the question is... What should I do and what should I buy?
    Thank you :) .

    PS: Apart from that, I also have some technical CPU questions:
    a) Do I need a 4 core (my RAW SW can use multiple cores)?
    b) Is i5 enough or should I focus on i7s?
    c) Should I consider Ryzen? Given the price I gladly would!

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    Originally i thought of 800€, but I will probably need to stretch it.

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    e. Desktop Replacement; 17"+ screen

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook?
    EU, Czechia

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    General use, amateur RAW photo work (time to time, Zoner Photo Studio 15), composing (Guitarpro) occasional live recording with VST/VTSi, very occasional Photoshop CS2 work

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    It will mostly be on my desk, but I need a mobility once a month or so. Weight and size does not matter.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Does not matter

    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?
    I would prefer to see especially for 17"s, but both is ok.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    FHD, preferably not more, possibly less (but i dont think they make them anymore)

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    I dont think I could choose that much

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No (but build quality is)

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    I have a 256 SSD and 2TB HDD, which I could swap. the laptop MUST have 2 SSD/HDD slots OR a DVD drive to be exchanged for a HDD.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity

    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    Not in a hurry.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    Very long (my Asus K52JC has been serving me for over 9 years now)

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? and 19)
    No special warranty services necessary

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