Need help choosing laptop

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Bjorn1349, Oct 3, 2021.

  1. Bjorn1349

    Bjorn1349 Newbie

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    1) What is your budget?
    400-900$ (before upgrades)

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    d. Mainstream; 15" - 16" screen. Maybe 17".

    3) Which country will you buying this notebook? The U.S.

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    Anything that is upgradable-has future-proofing. Multi purpose machine.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    Yes; infact my uncle mentioned dell outlet. New probably out of my price range or need, really.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook? Stream videos from Netflix etc, maybe do some gaming while playing music while having my browser open. (I don't know much about computers and haven't owned anything since '96.) Backup an old desktop, hook into my TV and smart phone. Maybe recording music.. Nothing resource intensive, mainly. 16 to 32g ram may be my target? For the video card... I may try a new high-end game, need something reliable but affordable.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Home, primarily. But not too bulky.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? (If so, please state which games or types of games?)
    Yes. I used to play old Diablo 2. GuildWars

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need? I would like to get 5-7 hours.

    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 easier for me.

    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    I've only ever used windows. Any other suggestions? Nothing complicated.

    Screen Specifics

    12) What screen resolution(s) would you prefer? (See further below for explanations.) Atleast 1080p

    13) Do you want a glossy/reflective screen or a matte/non-glossy screen? (See further below for explanations.)
    Probably Matte, I hate glare.

    Build Quality and Design

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    Not really, but I really like alienware and it's logos. Nothing flimsy and something that has good fans. Michigan gets humid in the summer.

    Notebook Components

    15) How much hard drive space do you need?
    I'm a music and videohead. I would like to have maybe 2tb.

    Timing, Warranty and Longevity


    16) When are you buying this laptop?
    I would like to have one soon..or on Black Friday is okay if I should wait for deals.

    17) How long do you expect to use this laptop?
    Several years or more.

    18) How long could you afford to do without your laptop if it were to fail? A couple of weeks.

    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?
    I'm not sure. Probably not alot extra.

    Additionally, I have someone that can help me swap/add parts to my laptop. It's going to be better to buy my own upgrades I assume.
    Functionality is good.
    I actually qualified for a Dell 'latitude' through a low income program on pcsforpeople.com. It has a lot of ports. I think the only other decent one was a Lenovo Yoga..except I've been noticing they're not very upgradeable. Some dells yes, Lenovo no.

    I definitely want to be able to upgrade the processor if I get an older model.
    A couple hundred would be fine for upgrades
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  2. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    Well, that's a good list of things to desire.

    Battery = more performance / less time or tablets that last for hours. typical laptop time on battery is anywhere from an hour+ to a couple without getting creative about it by adding a power bank or swapping extra batteries.

    2TB drive..... more of an aftermarket install you can do in ~5 minutes by removing a bunch of screws an cracking the case open to install it.

    RAM doesn't some in 12GB so, 8GB or 16GB is your choice to look for. Some systems have soldered RAM if it's a cheaper system which leads to not being able to upgrade it. Most systems provide 2 slots and some provide 4.

    Nothing really stands out to needing a high end machine though which leads me to suggest looking on ebay for a sager / clevo and concentrate on an 8th gen or newer Intel CPU. The reason I say this is I picked up a 9th gen that felt new or refurb or they just didn't like it for some reason for $740 shipped.

    Hunting for a bargain allows for more upgrades when it shows up. I ten to rip things apart and up them to the specs I want by starting off somewhat basic configuration concentrating on the CPU/GPU and working from there. It shipped with 8GB / 2.5" mechanical HDD / sub-par WIFI card. I swapped those out for 16GB i($100) initially / upgraded to NVME 1TB x 2 (~$200) / AX210 WIFI ($25) 6E card). So, as you can see that brought the configured price up to ~$1050. After awhile though i decided to up the RAM to 32GB for $90 on Amazon because i tend to leave a ton of tabs open and memory bloat from Chrome used to be horrible and would crash tabs after an extended period of time of being open.

    https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/processor-numbers.html

    Very few laptops are modular like this and with CPU OEM's are changing the sockets more frequently with newer generations / power / options attached to the chips. There are some models / MFG's that do have the option but, it's going to be cheaper to just get a fixed CPU.

    Most laptops are upgradable but, this goes back to my comment about soldered RAM. If you don't pay a little more upfront you get locked into a configuration that is a bit harder to change.

    I had a Lenovo Legion and swapped out a bunch of different components w/o any issues.
     
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  3. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    You're not going to find any modern laptops with an upgradable CPU outside of one or two very expensive desktop replacement models. For your budget, especially if you're not going to be playing any modern AAA titles, I would suggest something like this, which is on sale for $800 right now:

    ASUS TUF Gaming 17.3" Laptop Intel Core i5 8GB Memory NVIDIA GeForce RTX3050 Ti 512GB SSD Eclipse Grey FX706HE-211.TM17 - Best Buy

    This one has two RAM slots so you can easily upgrade to 16 GB. It also has an extra M.2 slot to add your own storage.
     
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  4. Bjorn1349

    Bjorn1349 Newbie

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    Thanks, Tech Junky and Saturnotaku.

    I will look at Clevo and Sager's as well.

    How do you all think that these compare? https://m.dell.com/h5/m/us/InventorySearch?c=us&cs=22&l=en&s=dfh&brandid=2201&sign=PXhcOSHtr1T4IOw/PR7UdQY4s3EXCrSR9AASyZNRS/wqSVdMR1qLAR1Zhyav9ZURX8bOboWBvDussLg6FHTwLk8pGaibxOA4rM/CO68uTEC+groolP3JjpzNCXUXdeWRGzUR6FPF9jaKjESyfD3+Gt4dzU91v7nHbHwh/lC8Zu3DSBqzBDkfzFlICOJL0meINNuRWEiknET4vq+Y6lO3lpRcJ9jeAKRnwsKO1u3KTcgzHLltik7vA9QSL6e5YPdcXoHW33frtAnEGPaq9jXAkA==

    https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/sho...dW_SSBrCo-EXSeYfN0wrTGyAiKav119OUuSEEGhhGAtum

    https://www.mercari.com/us/item/m40...tTuyFq10-9tOO0KHle_mRGym6dr6jGKRoC6BUQAvD_BwE

    https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Inspiro...ocphy=1019316&hvtargid=pla-994250883290&psc=1

    https://www.backmarket.com/tested-a...NUC6ij3gowf-DLwtoDOX3CEEg71nT4RRoC6MIQAvD_BwE

    Anything that has good fans/cooling, lower noise, good sound, good performance and picture.
    Versatility. I guess dells usually are pretty upgradeable and sometimes have a good number of ports, slots.

    Right away, the Asus Tuff that Saturnotaku posted looked nice. Great reviews; only complaint small complaint was sound, larger complaint the battery (gamer complaint).
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  5. N2ishun

    N2ishun Notebook Consultant

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  6. Bjorn1349

    Bjorn1349 Newbie

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    Yea, sorry, I posted extra unnecessary crap. My bad.

    Thanks guys. Looks like I need to choose between the two. Open to any other suggestions..though I'll probably pull the buy trigger on something tonight, maybe. Need something.
    Will check here though in next few days - maybe someone else I know needs one.

    Thanks so alot, dudes. Too bad the dell wasn't a 17". But I think the general consensus is the dell g15 ryzen is a little better than the asus tuff.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  7. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    Others have posted in the past that calling Dell might yield a further discount as well.

    Still things to upgrade would be RAM / WIFI / NVME. At least the WFI since it's only $25 for a better card (AX210). Since they did 1 8GB RAM adding a 2nd should cut the cost to ~$50. Clone the 256GB NVME they're shipping with to a new 1TB or 2TB depending on how much you wan to spend and then put the 256 in an enclosure for a "thumb drive" that blows the doors off an actual thumb drive in speed.

    https://www.sagernotebook.com/home.php -- looks like these might come in a touch above budget @ $1250 for a 3050 GPU. Dropping to a Iris XE though brings them down to $950. secondary market though is where the savings is on people that change their mind or upgrade every couple of months.
     
  8. N2ishun

    N2ishun Notebook Consultant

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    Or you can use the "chat" function on the dell outlet site to get a discount that way.
    Only on weekdays it looks like....so wait till tomorrow.
    It has worked for me in the past when I ordered some stuff from them....got like $200 off on a 1200 purchase (well worth the effort).
     
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  9. Bjorn1349

    Bjorn1349 Newbie

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    Thanks for the info guys. Thanks for your patience, too.

    The Asus deal will expire. I couldn't get ahold of anyone who had a credit card. Oh well.

    Asus Tuf i5 vs. the dell g15 ryzen7 I think the dell is better overall. The Sager seems best.. Am I right? Yes or no can anybody break it down for a newbie like me.
    Also, wherever you guys like to get prices online for hardware and other updates, externals and periphery devices etc.
     
  10. Tech Junky

    Tech Junky Notebook Deity

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    Depending on the use.. prioritize the needs for longevity.

    Latest CPU should rank high on the list for being capable of handling new OS / Programs for longer duration
    GPU is a key item as well if you're into video / games / motion
    Screen - upgradable ~$150
    RAM - upgradable ~$100
    NVME - upgradable ~$125
    WIFI - upgradable -$25


    I've owned several Dell's over the years and never had any problems with them but, when I took on building my "server / router / DVR / firewall / media server / etc." into a single box it got me thinking about my laptop which was a Lenovo Legion Y720... I decided I wanted some flexibility on components, namely dual NVME + 2.5" slot for expansion. This wasn't too long ago but, the best bang for the buck and 2 generations newer CPU was Sager/Clevo.

    If you're comfortable popping the case open and putting upgrades in then just about any laptop OEM is fine to go with since whatever they ship with tends to be over priced / under performs....never upgrade while making the initial purchase if you want to save some money in the long run.

    https://rjtech.com/shop/index.php?dispatch=categories.view&category_id=247 - this gives you the option of purchasing the chassis / CPU / GPU and adding your own above items

    Otherwise hunting by CPU / GPU on ebay can yield good results as well. I picked up mine there with an I7-9750H. I usually start off with an idea of the CPU I'm shooting for and search from there. I7 is a good in between of I5 / I9 without going overboard for price. Once you have a list of the CPU's you can compare other options like he GPU whether you want to dive head first into a RTX or a GTX would suffice for non-AAA gaming. The rest of the components are a la cart anyway since most won't ship with the specifics / optimized options you hand select. The Intel AX210 is the latest / most stable option for WIFI and includes 6E which isn't too prevalent yet but, enables 6ghz for triband coverage when it starts to permeate the air waves.
     
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