Laptop for young architect (CAD+Adobe)

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by victorgm, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. victorgm

    victorgm Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello guys!

    i'm writting you as i'm helping my sister to find her a new laptop, as her Packard-Bell TK85 has already +5years and its suffering more a more every day.

    She is architect, and even she does not work every day with it, she uses it for architectural competitions, portafolio, etc. and of course movies, surfing, etc.

    I've been searching for a while but i've not found yet a good one...could you please try to help me? I've read about the Acer Aspire 5, but i'm not sure about it.

    From my point of view (also architect), she would need 16GB RAM, and a processor like the i7-8550U or similar (8th gen), with SSD drive for OS and a decent graphic card Nvidia Geforce, not for gaming but for occasional renderings (Quadros are way too expensive and not so useful for our needs). Mate-FHD screen and a decent battery would be nice too (as hers is dead since 3 years).

    We'll be waiting for your tips! Many thanks! :)

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    600-900€ (700-1000$)


    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen
    3) Where will you buying this notebook?
    Germany

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Toshiba, Lenovo, MSI, Dell, Asus, Gigabyte
    b. Dislike: Sony (expensive)
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    CAD (Autocad, Vectorworks), Adobe (Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign), occasional Renderings (Rhino/3dsMax + Vray), movies, etc.

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

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    No

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    +3-4h

    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 (if there are enough reviews)

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows 10

    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.)
    1920x1080

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

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    If possible

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    This month (July)

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    4-5years

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    SSD (256gb if possible) + 1TB HD

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    Not essential
     
  2. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Deity

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    At that price point, you will need to consider refurbished laptops. For those tasks you'd need a 7th gen i7 or a 8th gen i5 at the least, along a with a dGPU and 16GB of RAM. You will also need a colour accurate screen if you are doing work in photoshop. I can think of only one laptop that meets your requirements at this price point, and that is the Lenovo Ideapad 720s 15". Your best bet would be buy a used Dell XPS 15 9560 from the Dell outlet. You can probably get an XPS 15 with a i7 7700HQ, 256gb ssd, 8gb of RAM and a gtx 1050 for €900.
     
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  3. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I think @RampantGorilla laid out your options pretty well, so I'll just add this: You want the laptop to last for 4-5 years. That's a long time, and it's worth saving up more money (if needed) to get the ideal machine. You don't want to spend that long working on a computer that isn't the right tool for the job.
    If you didn't list a budget, I'd point you towards a Lenovo ThinkPad P52s or an HP ZBook 15u. Both are Ultrabooks with low-powered GPUs. They have very good quality and business-class support.

    Charles
     
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  4. p0och

    p0och Notebook Enthusiast

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    The Lenovo W541 would tick all the boxes. or the HP 8570 with the dreamcolour screen.

    both are extremely rare though.
     
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  5. victorgm

    victorgm Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi guys, many thanks for your kind help!

    RampantGorilla: She prefers to buy a new one in order to expect a longer lifetime. An used XPS could be a good deal, but as they cost +-1000€ here in Europe, she prefers to avoid a refurbished model. The Lenovo Ideapad 720s has a good setup in USA, but sadly in Germany (where we live) it's expensive for what it offers.

    Charles P. Jefferies: many thanks for the models! sadly they're waaay out of price here in Europe (I should have said that we want to buy it in Germany, my mistake!) Thinkpad starts at 1800€, the same for the HP.

    p0och: many thanks too for your suggestions. Both models look nice but sadly they're discontinued or only available in used markets...and she would prefer to buy a new one :)

    As I said, she would like the laptop to last 4-5 years, and considering that she will use it 50/50 between internet/movies and working with CAD/Photoshop, maybe its not too crazy to expect that. She wont use it for gaming, just some renderings or Revit (as a heavy task) but just once in a while. I own myself an MSI GS60 and its still working pretty well after 4 years of CAD/renderings/gaming.


    So, back in business, I have found some deals of Summer offers, what do you think about these models?

    Acer Swift 3 SF315-52G 800€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Prozessor Quad-Core 1,80 GHz
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS
    • 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
    • 1 TB HDD, 128 GB SSD
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 2GB
    • 1.80kg
    https://de-store.acer.com/swift-3-ultraschlank-sf315-52g-silber-1

    Dell Inspiron 15 5000 850€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Prozessor Quad-Core 1,80 GHz
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS
    • 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
    • 1 TB HDD, 128 GB SSD
    • AMD Radeon 530 4GB
    • 2.20kg
    https://www.dell.com/de-de/shop/laptops/inspiron-15-5000/spd/inspiron-15-5570-laptop/cn57006

    Acer Aspire 5 A515-51G 900€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Prozessor Quad-Core 1,80 GHz
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9
    • 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
    • 2 TB HDD, 256 GB SSD
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 2GB
    • 2.20kg
    https://de-store.acer.com/aspire-5-notebook-a515-51g-schwarz-4

    Lenovo Thinkpad E580 910€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U Prozessor Quad-Core 1,80 GHz
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS
    • 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
    • 256 GB SSD
    • AMD RX 550 2GB GDDR5
    • 2.10kg
    https://www3.lenovo.com/de/de/laptops/thinkpad/edge-series/ThinkPad-E580/p/20KS001RGE

    Aspire 7 A715-72G 1000€
    • Intel® Core™ i5-8300H Prozessor Quad-Core 2,30 GHz
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS
    • 8 GB, DDR4 SDRAM
    • 1 TB HDD, 256 GB SSD
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 4GB
    • 2.40kg
    https://de-store.acer.com/aspire-7-notebook-a715-72g-schwarz

    HP Pavilion Power – 15-cb014ng 1000€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ (4 Cores 2,8 GHz)
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") IPS
    • 16 GB SDRAM; 256 GB PCIe® SSD; 1 TB HDD
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 4GB
    • 2.20kg
    https://store.hp.com/GermanyStore/Merch/Product.aspx?id=2YK41EA&opt=ABD&sel=NTB

    Asus VivoBook S510UN-BQ150T 1050€
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8550U
    • 39,6 cm (15,6") Matte 1920 x 1080 Full HD LED Display
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® MX 150 2GB
    • 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD + 1 TB
    • 1.70kg
    https://www.comtech.de/asus-vivoboo...6gb-ssd-1tb-hdd-win-10-90nb0gs5-m03830?c=6296

    Do you know if these models are going well? in terms of durability/temperatures/performance?

    Most important for my sister would be:

    i7+16GB Ram (in any case, we could upgrade from 8GB)
    SSD +HDD (at least 128GB for W10)
    Matte 15,6" screen (if possible with good colours)
    Decent Nvidia geforce (as they work better for renderings)
    Decent battery (+3h, at least a long movie) and not heavy weight (to carry it to the Uni)

    Daily use: Internet, social media, movies, skype
    Weekly use: Autocad (CAD), Sketchup, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator
    each 2-3 Months: 3ds Max (CAD 3D), Vray (renderings), maybe Revit (BIM)


    For example the Acer Swift 3 and the Asus VivoBook are lightweight (1.7kg), so its perfect for the Uni, but i'm not sure about the temps under heavy work...I have a good opinion of Dell, but it has an AMD Radeon 530 (with 4GB), and they're known for being slower as the Geforce...then the HP looks really nice, but it has a 7th Gen i7 (powerful but also higher temps), and about the Acers im not sure about the brand itself (customer service) or if these models are working well...

    Should I maybe focus on light-gaming laptops like the Lenovo Legion Y520? they could cost also 900-1000€ and maybe have a better performance...but it should not look too "gaming style" :D

    What do you think? which model would fit better the needs of my sister?

    I (and my sister) would really appreciate your help :):)

    Many thanks!

    Victor
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2018
  6. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Lose the consumer junk. She needs a workstation for the software she runs. And she needs business class reliability given it's going to be used in a working mode. A Lenovo ThinkPad P series, HP ZBook, or a Dell Precision is perfect for her architect needs. It has the correct GPU she needs, and ISV certified drivers (which her software needs) and also built to serve her needs for many years.
     
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  7. victorgm

    victorgm Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks Kent T for your answer! I agree with you and with Charles that the Lenovo Thinkpad Ps, HP Zbook or Dell Precision would be ideal for her...the only problem (as I said in the previous answer) is that they´re way out of budget, and sadly we can´t change that. Here in Europe they start from 1800€, or in the case of Dell, from 1050€ but with just 4GB Ram, no SSD, and a basis Quadro.

    https://www.lenovo.com/de/de/laptops/thinkpad/p-series/c/thinkpadp
    https://store.hp.com/GermanyStore/Merch/List.aspx?fc_sb_zbook=1&sel=NTB
    https://www.dell.com/de-de/work/sho...-3000-serie-3520/spd/precision-15-3520-laptop

    My sister will start in September a master in architecture, and as she is going to pay herself her studies. She will only be able to work some hours a week and she is not rich, so she can only afford up to 1000€ (800-900€ ideal price range).

    I thought that it was not necessary to explain the reasons for a specific budget, but i hope it helps to understand that it´s not "consumer junk"
    . It´s as simple as that she needs the laptop soon (can´t wait to save some more money) and her budget is 1000€. If she would have more money, she would surely invest in one of those laptops you mentioned.

    I´m also architect and I own myself since 4 years a MSI GS60 with i7-4700hq, 16GB Ram, SSD and a discrete Geforce 860M; and with this setup I can work/game "fluently". So if she gets a similar laptop (with a newer i7/GPU), I think that she can be satisfied with it. Sure its not the ideal GPU for 3D-BIM or Renderings, but its a task that she will do it just once in a while, and you can always use CPU-Rendering if its needed. Sadly the Quadros that are worth it are too expensive for our budget, and the "cheaper" ones are not better/quicker than a decent Geforce, and these are even cheaper.

    With this in mind, and the lightweight / atleastnotheavy factor (as she will carry it everyday to the Uni), would you recommend me any of those laptops or any other?

    Many thanks again :)
    Victor
     
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  8. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    @victorgm Look for older generation laptops with 7700HQ,gtx 1050ti and bigger Wh battery.
    I actually recommended him Workstation laptop but he got hp omen 15t with above specs and so far he's happy.
    Think of it this way, if your sister actually uses very large textures and very complex interior/exterior design then Quadro is needed.
    I'm not saying workstation is useless but since you're an architect yourself and you are fine with Haswell chip and 860M. So, I can deduce your sister will be happy with above configuration.
    Rendering on battery will give you an hour of battery life. For light duty tasks on 80Wh with a battery drain under 15w should last around 6-7hrs with WiFi and BT turned ON.
     
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  9. p0och

    p0och Notebook Enthusiast

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    try finding a w541 or a w530 - they should cost around 500-600 mark with a 2k screen or at least a 1080p very decent screen given it's a enginerring laptop.

    trust me - they look like big black ugly monsters but if you looked at the forums - there are literally no user complaints and bios releases are still being produced for the latest patches .

    if you can get a w530 for maybe 100-150 cheaper thant the w540/w541 (they're both same models but with a difference in the touchpad. (the w540 was released with a touchpad that was too "revelutionary" for the old school fanboys that they got such a large unexpected backlash they remade the model being the w541 with the older touchpad back in place plus one or 2 minor upgrades.

    hence u may snag a bargain if don't care so much - i would expect a w540 if on ebay would be like $50 lower in price for structurally the same model.


    the reason i included the w530 is because the 3rd gen quad core cpus are actually a bit faster or equal to the 4th gen equavalent i7 quads and therefore u save ~$150 for maybe sacrificing for a inferior gpu (which now that i think of it, given your obvious needs for a decent gpu - forget the w530)

    but iits food for thought as your budget and requirements do seem to present a substantial disparity so you may have to be realistic decide on which variable you can afford to live. For the record - none of the laptops u suggest are a good fit so you may think that hvaing a warranty is important - but if its not something you like - being stuck with it is even worse.

    There will be no shortage of interest if you decide to resell the w541 but you do run the risk of hardware failure which is a statistic that even the best laptops may fail. but with enough research - and frankly your budget allows for 2 of these laptops given the estimated sale price. perhaps this is another way to look at it and reconsider the used laptop tha would tick all the boxes for half your allocated budget while spending the stashing the otherhalf for unexpected repairs.( most laptop repairs are under $100 if ir was a short circuit issue while an entire mainboard replacement would cost you $500 if you went to Lenovo for an official repair whcih would also mean warranty coverage?
     
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  10. Kent T

    Kent T Notebook Virtuoso

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    Yes, a used but several year old Workstation would meet your price point, and in good condition be reliable, well built, and durable enough for 4-6 years of daily use if not more. Dell Precisions are easy to repair, to get spare parts for, and good enough for me to run daily. I have no problem recommending an older model with Core i processors and a decent Quadro or FirePro even 4 years old.
     
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