Quad cores with a long battery life?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by laserbullet, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. laserbullet

    laserbullet Notebook Evangelist

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    I'm currently using a Lenovo Y410P that's aged very well (though mine has an Nvidia 750 and Crucial M500 inside), but its relatively short battery life has grated on me for long enough. It's not in need of replacing, but if there's a compelling option out there, I'm interested.

    If I were to imagine the perfect laptop, it would be the Razer Blade with a FHD touchscreen, 1TB 960 EVO, an ethernet port, and the Aero 14 keyboard layout. Then strip out the discrete GPU for an eGPU. There's probably nothing that hits this mark exactly, so I'm curious about my options.

    1) What is your budget?
    Hypothetically unlimited, but if I'm going to need to put out more than $1,000-$1,500, including the cost of upgrading stock storage or whatever, it needs to be just about perfect. There are other, non-computer options, for my money, after all.


    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    13-14 inch is the sweet spot, but 15 inch laptops are okay too. I would only consider going to larger screen sizes if the machine is otherwise svelte (tiny bezel, relatively small footprint, etc.). Small for the sake of small is a design trend that I hate. While smaller is better, prioritize other features (see subsequent entries) over decreased size.

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

    4) Are there any brands that you prefer or any you really don't like?
    Won't do a Mac, anything else is fine.

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    As long as a warranty is provided, new or used is fine.

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    I've currently got multiple browser tabs open, and several MS Office files, including Excel sheets that are over 10 MB in size and perform thousands of calculations with each refresh. Some of the larger MS Office files I work with are typically where I notice slowdowns on my current notebook. Also gaming.

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    It will travel with me on the regular.

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    I want to be able to play newer 3D games, but I don't need it to be at high settings. Battery life is the priority. I'd prefer a quad core with no discrete GPU (do these exist?), so that when I take my laptop out and about the GPU isn't killing the battery, but when I sit at my desk at home I can plug it into an eGPU.

    9) How many hours of battery life do you need?
    At least 6 on wifi with good brightness. This is a requirement. If you're not sure whether something meets this mark, feel free to post it anyway, I can go out and search for information on it myself.

    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.

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

    Windows 10

    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.)

    As long as it's a good quality panel, the resolution isn't important.

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

    Matte

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

    I strongly prefer understated, but this isn't a big factor.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    No timetable, if there's not a compelling option, I'm okay with rolling with my current rig for another year, or even longer, given how CPU development has stagnated.

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

    3-4 years.

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

    1 TB SSD required, am prepared to install myself if required, in which case I'd probably go with a 960 EVO.

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

    No preference

    Miscellaneous things:
    Backlit keyboard required.
    Either a good built in GPU (at least an Nvidia 1050), or ports capable of handling an eGPU (in which case no built in discrete GPU is fine) are required.
    A keyboard such as what's found on the Aero 14 would be my preferred layout.
    Ethernet port and USB C/Thunderbolt 3 ports strongly preferred.
    Touchscreen preferred.
     
  2. win32asmguy

    win32asmguy Moderator Moderator

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    You might consider the HP Zbook Studio. It's a business ultrabook which has quad core processor options both with and without a dedicated GPU. It will soon be refreshed with a 92W long life battery, which will be able to easily go beyond 6 hours of wifi on most configurations. It is compatible with an eGPU (I have tested with an Akitio Node) and runs well in both an Optimus configuration (rendering to internal display) and with an external display plugged directly into the graphics card. It has a wide variety of ports built in, including ethernet.

    As far as issues go, some have gotten keyboards that have some flex. The fans also had an oscillation issue where the pitch of the noise they would make would change every second or so back and forth. That issue was fixed with a bios update back in November 2016.

    Another good option is the Dell Precision M5520. It has a smaller footprint, but is otherwise very similar to the Zbook Studio. Unfortunately you are forced to get a Nvidia Quadro GPU if you want an i7 processor. It also only has a 2xPCIe connection to its TB3 port, so eGPU performance will be limited compared to the Zbook.
     
  3. laserbullet

    laserbullet Notebook Evangelist

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    I'll keep an eye out for the Zbook Studio refresh, hadn't heard of that until now. Depending on the performance of the Quadro in the Precision, it might be okay too, or perhaps a reseller can configure it with an i7 but no discrete GPU.
     
  4. don_svetlio

    don_svetlio Notebook Virtuoso

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    XPS 15 has an option of buying with a 6-cell 97Wh battery that's good for 6-7 hours. It has a quad-core 7700HQ and a 1050 inside. Though you may need to mod the cooling slightly.
     
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  5. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    don_svetlio likes this.
  6. laserbullet

    laserbullet Notebook Evangelist

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    Examining that site somewhat, I see that the XPS 15 is listed as only getting 4 hours of battery life, but there are many reports of users getting 6-7 hours even on UHD screens. Should I take that to mean that's the case with other laptops listed with a similar battery life?
     
  7. TyroG

    TyroG Notebook Geek

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    New HP Zbook laptops are out today and specs looks great
     
  8. laserbullet

    laserbullet Notebook Evangelist

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    Ooh, Zbook Studio G4s are available for customization. I'm very curious how that 8 cell battery works with a FHD matte screen and an i7-7700HQ. Depending on how far beyond 6 hours the battery goes, I might be tempted. After throwing a 1TB 960 EVO in there I'd be in it for over $3,000, and then I'd need to buy an eGPU setup on top of that. However, it does seem to check every box other than the touchscreen, which is probably the lowest priority item that I listed. Unless I missed something?

    I'm also looking at the Aorus X3 plus V7, but the little I'm finding about it and its predecessor aren't giving me much information about its battery life. In particular, their website lists two different battery options, but HID Evolution and XoticPC list only the smaller battery. No Thunderbolt 3 so no eGPU, but I could probably live with a built in 1060, as long as it can get me 6 hours of use on the go. This would be hundreds of dollars cheaper, which does have a certain appeal, and the macros keys are nice too.
     
  9. SkidrowSKT

    SkidrowSKT Notebook Deity

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    I'm heavily considering the last year's Aero 14 with the 94Wh battery, a 6700HQ, a GTX 965M and a 1080p screen. This exact configuration will give at least 2 more hours of battery life compared to a 1440p screen coupled with the GTX 1060. If you can still get this "low end" variant, I highly recommend it. I'm very happy they still sell them new nearby, as the current model costs a whooping 1900€.

    Sent from my SM-N900 using Tapatalk
     
  10. Blacky

    Blacky Notebook Prophet

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    It's a more conservative estimate, about 10% below what people should get. I would rather you get more battery life than I estimated then get less.

    Depends a lot on how you use your laptop, that's the thing. The MacBook Pro 2016 supposedly gets 9 hours in reviews, yet in real life usage it gets around 5-6 hours, even less, which is much closer to my estimate. If you are going to just browse the web and set everything to power saving and dim you screen, you may get 6-7 hours out of your XPS, but if you are going to use that CPU for some excel stuff and keep the screen lit like when it's plugged in, then battery life may be even less than 4 hours.

    When we made noteb.com, we discovered many "strange" things. For instance, producers will send reviewers laptops with SSDs, but only sell them commercially with HDDs. This impacts what you read in the reviews and what you actually get.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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