Help me narrow down my choice! [gaming + mobility]

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Histidine, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    The primary cooling issue with the Aero is for the processor, not the video card. Even with liquid metal, the processors will stay at over 90C under gaming. There is only one person on this forum who managed to get the temperatures below 90C, and I think that's mostly because he got lucky with the processor in his unity. Firmware issues and keyboard issues have also plagued the Aero, but let's say those have been mostly fixed through firmware updates. Bottom line, if you want to buy the Aero, you should buy only with a liquid metal thermal mod, and even then, expect it to throttle while gaming and also not to last very long.

    The Zenbook series are just as bad as the Aero, or even worse. The cooling on the video card is generally ok, but that's also because the video card is slightly down-clocked vs other laptops. Again the issue with the Zenbook is the processor cooling. We had someone run some benchmarks for a few minutes on it and the temperatures spiked to 95C.

    You have to understand that thin and light laptops in general, have a hard time cooling themselves and there are only a handful of laptops on the market that can do the job properly. Part of the reason is that manufacturers can get away with the poor cooling designs because users don't know how the laptops will perform. They look at specs and looks and say, "oh, that looks nice and has excellent specs, I'll buy it". But retailers never tell you that your laptop is underperforming due to overheating, nor that because of its internal high temperatures it is prone to fail within two years or so. Another reason is that Intel's 8th gen of i processors runs a lot hotter than the previous 7th generation and many laptop designs just updated their processors with the newer ones, without upgrading the cooling solution.

    Personally, between all the laptops you mentioned, I would go with the Tonfang. From wherever you buy it, try to negotiate a 14 days no-questions-asked return policy and if you don't like, just return it.
     
  2. Histidine

    Histidine Notebook Deity

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    I do understand the cooling problem with smaller laptops. The same issue was prevalent 8 years ago when I posted here more frequently, and I have no reason to expect they'd have gone away, especially as Intel is packing more and more cores onto their mobile CPUs.

    I think I am going to have to avoid the Tongfang on account of the fan noise. My current Clevo is noisy enough as it is, and while I'm not going to be gaming in meetings, I will likely be doing CPU-intensive tasks and the dB the Tongfang can put out are outright disruptive.

    The more I look at it, the less excited I am about the GP63, and I'm on the verge of concluding that I dislike its design too much. But I don't see any other choices remaining.

    Can you recommend any laptops with slightly weaker specs that would actually be able to stand up to the CPU's heat? Or are you aware of any upcoming models which might be better than what's out currently?
     
  3. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    It's a hard call.

    I would probably look at laptops which lean more towards business grade or a straight-up business grade, but also have a gaming dedicated video card.
    Of course, you could also look at laptops with a Quadro video card, but I don't see the point in paying the premium for Quadro.

    I tried to find some laptops here which might match what you are looking for: search results.

    From the results:
    The Clevo P650 series is solid when it comes to cooling. It's been a great laptop overall with no known issues. However, it is a rather old model.
    The P65 is more of a rebrand of the MSI GS65 so that we will pass that.
    The MSI GT65 is a solid laptop as well.
    The Lenovo Thinkpad X1 seems like the best option for you, but not sure if it will fit your budget.
    The Precision with the Vega video card is also an interesting proposition and so is the Elitebook, but they come with weaker video cards.
     
  4. Arog

    Arog Notebook Consultant

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    If there was a thin gaming laptop that was sleek and light while also being quiet we would all be buying it and recommending it. Sleek and slim you get more heat and fan noise. Just no way around it. Even big 17 inch laptops will throttle and produce a lot of noise. So wanting something sleeker and lighter with the same specs as a 17 inch laptop that will still throttle will be worse.

    I will say the types of fans matter. Some are more annoying than others. My GL702 fans get audible when gaming but it’s not an annoying piercing type audible noise that some laptops have. I’d go to Best Buy install 3dmark vantage on it and test the fan noise on a laptop you might be interested. I think a big box store might be your best bet something with a good return policy. Xotic and these other guys are great but their return policies are probably sub par.

    Definitely learn to gimp the cpu and gpu by undervolting with intel xtu and msi afterburner after you find something you like that will keep temps and noise low.
     
  5. Histidine

    Histidine Notebook Deity

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    Sadly, I would have to pass on the Thinkpad X1 and the Precision because they don't have number pads. I'm not kidding when I say I use number pads a lot, so I need a number pad for this to be a serious work laptop. I'm frankly astonished that "business class" laptops would lack number pads.

    That Clevo P650 is heavy! I'm not expecting to find the perfect laptop under 4lbs, but my current laptop is about as heavy as I'd want to go. It's ~5.5lbs, and I find myself wishing it was a bit lighter.

    It seems like the problem is that almost every laptop out there now either has an Intel 8750H and can't keep it cool, or it's an ultralight with a weaker CPU that it still can't cool. I'm feeling resigned to having to wait until model updates release in a month or two, but I'm worried that since they'll probably be carrying the same CPUs, they'll probably still be unable to cope with the heat.

    Damn you, Coffee Lake!

    Arog: I'm not necessarily against purchasing something from Best Buy, but getting something from a physical store really limits my options for customizing. Most laptops sold as-is don't have the storage solutions I'm looking for.

    I hear you about the undervolting, though, and I'm not afraid to do it if I can find a model that benefits from it.
     
  6. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    A few models are coming up that might interest you, for example, the Asus GX531GX. This one has a virtual numpad, in the sense that it creates a numpad on the touchpad. Do you think such a solution might be satisfactory?



    These are current models with virtual Numpad keys on the touchpad: noteb results.

    The option in our search is under Chassis -> Other features.

    If you need the physical numpad, they only way to guarantee it is to buy a 17 inch laptop.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
  7. Histidine

    Histidine Notebook Deity

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    Re: virtual numpads: Eww! No!

    I had kinda discounted 17-inch laptops since I had one once (an ancient Clevo at 9.6lbs) and it was absolutely unmanageable if I had to take it anywhere. It served its purpose, but only because I couldn't realistically afford both a desktop and a laptop.

    But the 17-inch Tongfang actually doesn't look that bad, and is only ~5.5lbs. Not bad, but that's still very lorge.

    Otherwise, I see a few other options:

    I could look for an old Kaby Lake laptop (AGearNotebooks claims to have them in stock here: http://www.agearnotebooks.com/gigabyteaero-15w-bk4.html).

    Or I could hold out for new releases and hope some of them are good. For instance, this Aorus looks pretty nice (http://www.hidevolution.com/aorus-15-w9-rt4bd-15-6-fhd-144hz-i7-8750h-rtx-2060.html) and the new Clevos may have solved some of the issues of the current generation, especially the new 16" one (http://www.hidevolution.com/evoc-p960ed-rtx-2060.html).

    Of course, there's always a risk in waiting for the new releases, since I could miss out on some sweet deals on the older stuff. So it's a gamble whether the newer stuff will fit the bill any better.
     
  8. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    There isn't much you can do about the size, a full keyboard requires more space and with laptops all trying to become small and light, I reckon they will more often try to give up on the numpad.
    You can work on the weight, and that's pretty much it.
     
  9. Punchdrunk

    Punchdrunk Notebook Consultant

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    have you considered getting an external usb numberpad? seems like it would widen your options a lot. I take an external mouse everywhere because I hate trackpads...
     
  10. Trystan Baltazar

    Trystan Baltazar Notebook Consultant

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    Pardon me for joining in suddenly, but have you considered anything from DELL/Alienware?

    Currently, the Alienware M15 is on the top of my list for gaming laptops I am planning to buy this year. It does have good build quality, it does come with an I7-8750H CPU and a GTX1060 GPU, with multiple customizable options including 2 SSD slots coupled with a 90Watt/hr battery which should last you a good couple of hours unplugged, 144HZ screen option as well as a 4K option, and from what I've seen so far, it is not as expensive as some of the other laptops within it's class (IE. ROG Zephyrus, GS65, and Razer Blade 15). DELL does have okay Customer Support to round it up. You might have to re-paste it though with better quality thermal paste in order to keep it's temperatures at bay. Personally, if ever I do pick one of these up, I would order from HIDEvolution with all their Thermal upgrades and whatnot.
     
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