Looking at Dell Precision, anything else?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by HessExpress, Sep 20, 2021.

  1. HessExpress

    HessExpress Newbie

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    I'm in the hunt for a new (to me, maybe) laptop. I work with data (databases, ETL, analysis etc) and infrastructure so would like something that has a bit of horsepower and also something I can potentially run a few VMs on. And, lastly, it would be nice to be able to run a game or two (Eve on low settings).

    I've seen good stuff about the Precision line; I've gone that way mainly because of all the peripherals (I like the ability to plug in a hard network line, SD card, TB3 etc). The 7540 seems to be in my wheelhouse, as far as price and performance but I'm wondering if I've overlooked another contender. I am a cheap-o, so may have to set my sites lower to stay in budget. A 7540 with an upgraded GPU (RTX 3000) seems like a winner but tough to get all I want in my range.


    General Questions

    1) What is your budget?
    $1000 - $1500
    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?
    USA
    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    a. Like: Any
    b. Dislike:
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes
    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    Data analysis, infrastructure setup
    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Yes
    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Yes
    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    Any
    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?
    Prefer but will purchase online from reputable seller
    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows
    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.)
    1920X1080
    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Either
    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No
    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    >= 0.5 TB

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    Now
    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    Next ten years
    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail?
    A bit, have backup
    19) Would you be willing to pay significantly extra for on-site warranty, or would it be acceptable to you to have to ship the laptop to the vendor for repair with perhaps a week or more outage?
    Can wait on repairs
     
  2. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    E-Bay is your friend for saving $

    I bought a Sager / Clevo for ~$740 shipped with a I7-9750H / UHD 630 / GTX1650 (4GB)

    I then pulled it apart and upgraded it with dual NVME drives / 16GB of RAM / AX210 WIFI and later on upgraded the screen from FHD to UHD for $150 / then went from 16GB to 32GB for $90

    If you don't mind pulling things apart and putting in better than OEM options then focus on the CPU / GPU and forget the rest with the intent to put in better HW yourself.

    I had a Dell M6660 that I used for personal / work and it was sturdy to say the least. It was a nice machine w/ dual 2.5" bays and a mSATA option for a total of 3 drives if needed. It had the standard desktop dock option as well to just snap it in and snap it out. Later on I converted to a Surface pro 3 w/ USB docking for more portability. The SP3 was nice / convenient for being lightweight and fitting into small spaces within a datacenter rack to make configuration changes.

    Do you need the HP of a RTX? Heavier games / video transcoding / data crunching via GPU

    It all depends on priorities though.
     
  3. HessExpress

    HessExpress Newbie

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    I'm definitely willing to pull things apart, been doing it a while now.

    Are the Sager/Clevo lines best for upgrading? First I've heard of them, haven't done this in a while.

    For the price, it feels like the HP of the RTX is good, at least for that model Precision. But as I dig deeper, appears that the chipset architectures vary between the different models, e.g. some are better for gaming and some better for CAD type applications. Not sure which is best for offlloading data processing to the GPU, though.
     
  4. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    I hadn't heard of Clevo prior to looking for a laptop that had 2 or more NVME drive options within the same chassis. So, I've had this laptop now for a couple of years now and the minor issues I've had are with drivers and not HW that were resolved by rolling back / applying the next release.

    They do carry models / resell under a variety of names that are on par with common Dell, HP, etc. The trade off is being a bit unknown in comparison but not being marked up in price to cover their marketing costs.

    https://www.sagernotebook.com/home.php

    Sager website is a bit more intuitive to look up by either CPU / GPU and then you can search by the model # provided to narrow results elsewhere for cheaper prices. For the upgrades they're fairly easy in comparison to others I've worked on in the past. If you're looking for specific upgrade components though they can be a bit tricky to find based on the part numbers but, attainable at the same time.
     
  5. etern4l

    etern4l Notebook Virtuoso

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    If you want a laptop capable of handling large datasets, memory performance is important. Unfortunately, the latest (11th gen Intel) Dell models seem to be having a bit of an issue with memory latency due to forcing of Gear 2 mode in BIOS. In general, you want low latency RAM such as Crucial Ballistix 3200 CL16, G.SKILL 3200 CL18, or Fury Impact CL20. You want to see AIDA64 latency around 50ns really, with the latest Dell Precision you get >80ns.
     
  6. HessExpress

    HessExpress Newbie

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    Since you guys turned me on to the Dell outlet, I'm looking at the G15s...since yesterday there are only Ryzen 5800H models left. I like the 8 cores, I can pump up the memory, seems that video card would work.

    Seems I can stay away from the 11th gen Intel latency issues, 'less those AMD chips suffer also.
     
  7. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    There's quirks to any CPU.

    I was reading something about a Netflix server that compared a couple of different CPU / RAM options that yielded them up to 400gbps in throughput vs other options in the setup that would top out at 200gbps. Having locked "options" within a CPU can influence which direction to go.

    As for Red vs. Blue at this point there's not much for sticking points to use one over the other. The most noticeable difference is Red causes more heat which is fine w/ good ventilation. I think I saw something recently with AMD being a bit difficult with some RAM options / configurations limiting to a specific speed.
     
  8. kojack

    kojack Notebook Prophet

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    Look at the inspirons now. My inspiron 14 5406 is very well built. Aluminum build, upgradable, great screen, great battery life. I love it. It's replacing 5386 which was it's predecessor from 3 years before. This machine is MUCH better built. keyboard, ports, etc. ALL GREAT.
     
  9. HessExpress

    HessExpress Newbie

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    I ended up pulling the trigger on a Dell G5 5510, from the outlet. Has 8 10th gen cores, RTX 3060 and I'll max the RAM at 32GB.

    Curious though, how many of you purchase a warranty? I never have, figuring I'll always get what I need before it runs out.
     
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  10. kojack

    kojack Notebook Prophet

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    If I bought a system that was not upgradeable, I probably would. But I can replace anything that fails on this system quite easily so I am fine only having the basic warranty. When I get new surface devices for my son and I, I will be purchasing the longest possible warranty for them.
     
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