Latitude Ultrabook questions

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Wolffstarr, Apr 21, 2017 at 1:31 PM.

  1. Wolffstarr

    Wolffstarr Newbie

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    Greetings! I will be pasting the form below, but I wanted to start out with my basic question and situation. I'm a network engineer who does systems work on the side, and run a few VMs that I'd rather be running on the local machine instead of a host in my lab. This machine is going to be replacing my home desktop; gaming is not a consideration (I have other machines for that).

    My reasoning is, one of my work laptops is a Latitude E6540. I like the Latitudes in general, and I have a (personally owned) E-Port Plus II dock (PR02X is the model). My desktop has a pair of 23" 1080p monitors that I can hook up to the dock, and be able to switch between personal machine and work machine when I work from home. I have multiple work laptops so running them side-by-side isn't going to work so hot.

    Currently, I'm looking at the E7250 and E7270. I recently picked up an old E4200 and love the form-factor FAR more than I ever expected I would, so I'm sold on the 12.5" lifestyle. Is there anything other than CPU type to choose between the two? I'm mostly looking at upgrade options, gotchas for construction, different interfaces for hardware, etc. Goal is to decide whether the extra cost for the E7270 is worth it. I will be buying used, either eBay or Dell Outlet most likely.

    Oh. WWAN capability is a nice-to-have, but not necessary by any means.

    ==========

    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?

    Maximum of $800, less is better.


    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    b. Ultraportable; 11" - 12" screen

    3) Where will you buying this notebook? You can select the flag of your country as an indicator.

    United States - Dell Outlet or eBay. Maine if the state matters.


    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?

    a. Like: Dell - needed for compatibility with existing dock
    b. Dislike: N/A
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    I am ONLY considering refurb/redistributed/used. New is out of my price range by a lot.


    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?

    Running 1-3 VMs, standard office tasks, consoling into network gear


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

    Both - I've been using my E4200 while watching TV quite a bit, and take it with me on road trips.


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

    No gaming - have a reasonably powerful HTPC for gaming in the living room.


    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?

    Not overly concerned with battery life, I have travel adapters. That said, I'd like 4 hours at an absolute minimum - enough to watch a baseball game without recharging.


    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 fine, not averse to checking them out in a store first though.


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

    Linux. Specifically, Antergos (Arch) Linux, so high end/new hardware support will be good.


    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.)

    I'm looking for max resolution of 1440x900, and am completely fine with 720p/WXGA. 1080p is way too high.


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

    Non-glossy. Only problem I have with my desktop monitors is they're glossy.


    Build Quality and Design

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

    I'd like to say no, but I'd be lying. That said, I like the looks of the Latitude line, so it's moot.


    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    Likely between the end of June and the beginning of September 2017.


    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?

    Quite a while. I'm not much into upgrading for upgrade's sake anymore, and am usually good for 3-5 years on a machine.


    Notebook Components

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

    SSD is a given/minimum, and I can get away with 128GB (256GB or more is preferred, but an easy sacrifice for cost savings). Does NOT need to be NVMe; mSATA is fine.


    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?

    Nope, no optical drive needed.


    ==========
     
  2. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Virtuoso

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    Hi,

    You can try and play around with the configuration here: https://noteb.com/?model/model.php?conf=9887429543491500032 it's a bit more simplified than on Dell's website: http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/latitude-e5270-laptop/pd (hit the Customize and Buy button).

    What about the E5270 ?

    But if you are going to run 1-3 VMs I would probably suggest a quad core and 8 GB of ram and that's going to shoot your budget big time and would require 14 inch the minimum. If that's not an option, I guess just go with 8 GB of RAM upgrade?
     
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  3. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I would say one generation to the next usually not much of an upgrade, so if you can find the older one for less, that's what I'd get. I don't know much about VMs, but if you need some processing power, you're unlikely to find it in an ultraportable. If you need that I would suggest the Latitude E5470, which can be had with a quad core.
     
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  4. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    If you want a good quality display then you probably need to get an FHD panel and apply scaling in Windows (it works fairly well in Windows 10). The FHD panels usually have good viewing angles (IPS or equivalent technology) whereas the 1366 panels are usually less bright, have poor viewing angles and inferior colour rendering. For me, display quality is at the top of the list of requirements.

    John
     
  5. Wolffstarr

    Wolffstarr Newbie

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    Thanks folks, sorry it took me a day or two to swing back in. Rebuilding half my lab this weekend and lots going on with work.

    @Blacky - I hadn't considered the E5270, so I'll have to look at it. My understanding was that the 5000 series was less sturdy - not something I listed as a desired attribute, but worth asking about if I'm looking at it. As for quad-core, the 1-3 VMs wouldn't be concurrent, or if they are they're going to be doing very little. Mostly it'll be a Win7 or Win10 VM for the few things I need it for, which means it can live with 2 vCPU. On the subject of RAM, I note the 5th Gen Core mobile CPUs list DDR3L and LPDDR3; would you know if they run standard DDR3 as well? I've got some 8GB DDR3 SODIMMs lying around, and that would lean me towards the 7250 (or 5250) if I can use those - lets me buy cheap on the RAM.

    @ZaZ - I mostly expect it to be lightweight stuff; if I need real processing power I've got an ESXi host in my lab and I can just use Remote Console for that. I guess I really was wondering about any gotchas that might've changed between the generations, especially in terms of upgrading/adding hardware.

    @John Ratsey - I'm planning to use Linux, where scaling is... less than optimal shall we say? You mention them being less bright, which is somewhat of a concern for me; one of the nicer things about the E4200 I've been using is that the screen gets absurdly bright (though the viewing angle is HORRIBLE; it's possible to be dead on for the bottom of the screen and unable to see much at the top). I suppose it's relative, but as long as the viewing angles aren't much less than 150 degrees, I'll be fine.

    Checking some reviews and teardowns now on the E5250 (and one that compares to the 7250 as well).
     
  6. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Virtuoso

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    Depends on your SO-DIMM. LDDR3 is basically normal SO-DIMM memory but rated at 1.35V. If you already have some laptop memory check online for the part number and voltage. If it's 1.35V you are good, if it's 1.5V which is usually the standard, not good.
     
  7. Wolffstarr

    Wolffstarr Newbie

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    Yeah, they're almost certainly not DDR3L. They came out of a pair of Zbox Nanos that were used as ZFS appliances that I got for stupidly cheap a while back.

    After looking at the teardowns, the 7270's off the table - I don't want to have to remove EIGHT FREAKING SCREWS just to get the back cover off before removing 1-2 more screws for the battery. I want to be able to pick up a spare battery and actually be able to use it when I'm on a trip without half disassembling the thing.

    That's mildly disappointing, because I wouldn't have minded having a Skylake system, but saving a hundred bucks will probably get me over it. :)
     
  8. ZaZ

    ZaZ Super Model Super Moderator

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    I think you're going to find this is the norm these days with notebooks getting ever thinner. I might suggest the ThinkPad X250, which do occasionally pop up in the Lenovo Outlet if you can be patient. A couple points in the X250s favor would be it has a optional HD IPS for improved image quality. It likely offers a better keyboard and stick..It also has a swappable battery along with an internal battery, so you don't have to turn it off to change the battery, and it's likely the last X series to do so.
     
  9. Wolffstarr

    Wolffstarr Newbie

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    You know, I would, and all else being equal I'd really consider it - Thinkpads have been go-to machines for Linux users for ages, and I've rarely seen bad things about them - but my work laptop is a Latitude E6540, and I want to be able to swap between whatever I end up buying and my work laptop for when I'm working from home, which is a couple times a week.
     
  10. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Then I'll have to sell you my Latitude E7450 (which I really need to rehome) - it's one of the last of the Latitudes with an externally swappable battery and I have a spare battery.

    Your alternative to a swappable battery is to get a Dell Power Companion. There are a couple of different capacities and normal Dell power jack + USB-C versions.

    You might want to also consider the XPS13 which puts a 13" screen into a 12" form factor. The nearest Latitude equivalent to that is the 7370 which has a good quality display and keyboard but the Core M CPU might not be enough for your needs.

    John
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2017 at 4:48 AM
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