Quiet (but powerful) notebook for business professor

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Elminst, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. Elminst

    Elminst Some Network Guy

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    Some background-
    My wife is a professor with her PhD in International Business.
    Her college/employer supplied her with a Dell Latitude 7480, which is powerful, but the fan screams non-stop. The IT dept thinks it has something to do with their antivirus trying to constantly scan her giant databases (6 million data points), but they can't seem to fix it, and are slacking on getting an exception rule approved (if at all). The volume and whine of the fan gives her headaches. I gave her my 2 fan laptop cooling stand and it didn't make a difference.

    She did all statistics crunching for her dissertation on a Lenovo Ideapad U410 (specs- https://goo.gl/JgK1Zv ). It took a while to run her analyses, but the fan never screamed at her non-stop. The Lenovo now has 2 broken hinges, and obviously is getting old in the specs.

    So she's looking for a new laptop of her own, that will handle running her statistical analyses, without making her go deaf. She is NOT a techy, and gets annoyed by tech more often than not (i'm the techy one :p ).
    So are there powerful laptops that are quiet?


    1) What is your budget?
    around $700 USD. There is some wiggle room, but definitely not over $1000.​

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?
    She wants a 14 inch for the portability. She has external monitors at home and work.
    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?
    She doesn't really care, but she was happy with her Lenovo. We're currently considering the Thinkpad E480.
    The Latitude 7480 is functionally fine, except for the screaming fan.​
    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?
    No.​

    6) What are the primary tasks will you be performing with this notebook?
    It needs to be able to run stats analysis (which can run for hours) using a program called Stata - https://www.stata.com/ . So RAM capacity is a must have.
    However, most of the time will be email, web surfing, class administration (Blackboard and general office docs), some movie/Netflix watching.​

    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    Portable to and from office/home, on a desk 95% of time. Also, she attends 2-3 conferences a year, most international. Doesn't always need the laptop, but good to be able to take it.​

    8) Will you be playing games on your notebook? If so, please state which games or types of games?
    No. (I can't convince her to get Steam :p )​

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

    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.
    Win 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
    1366 x 768
    She has external 1080 monitors at home and work.​

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

    14) Are the notebook's looks and stylishness important to you?
    No.​

    15) When are you buying this laptop?
    Next 3-6 months​

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

    Notebook Components

    17) How much hard drive space do you need? Do you want a SSD drive?
    500Gb - 1 TB Needs to hold all her normal stuff plus those databases. SSD preferred.​

    18) Do you need an optical drive? If yes, a DVD Burner, Blu-ray Reader or Blu-Ray Burner?
    No. She has an external.​
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018
  2. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Just in case you may want to examine that Latitude a bit.

    Check to see if the temps are extremely high where maybe a repaste from IT could fix it. Also check if the cpu load is in fact always quite high.

    Essentially I'd expect that on that laptop without heavy load the fans shouldn't be that loud and that normally you could lower the fans. You may also be able to undervolt.
     
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  3. Elminst

    Elminst Some Network Guy

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    I believe IT has reimaged it once already. As it's school provided, undervolting is not really an option. From when I've seen it, the laptop is not particularly hot, and the CPU usage is low. I will check into this more.
    But the fan cranks up within 5-10 mins of turn on and then pegs there until you turn it off. Even when just sitting at desktop with nothing running. There is no option or function key to lower the fans.
     
  4. sisqo_uk

    sisqo_uk Notebook Deity

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    Before reading all of this. When I got to your budget I instantly knew that the e series e480 Thinkpad was for you. Compared to the workmanship of the dell 7480 it’s a step back. Even the T series isn’t as solid. But it’s still better machine. You’ll be happier. The noise is literally non existent in comparison.
    In the past I bought an E model with a gpu and Even then it was quiet so for you it’ll be quieter and the tech is better and workmanship has improved. I have very fond memories of it. 7yrs on I still check out what E series they have.
    I’ve owned hp and dell business laptops. Thinkpad is definitely the better one overall. You also look like your mind is made up to buy it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  5. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    I didn't mean reimage, more repaste. And checking the temps would need to be done with like openhwmonitor or something. But yeah it very well could just have issues.
     
  6. Elminst

    Elminst Some Network Guy

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    I'm not understanding what you mean by "repaste." Can you explain?
     
  7. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Evangelist

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    Get the E480, but you'll have to reduce PL1 from 15W to 10W if you want the laptop to run quieter. A repaste and an undervolt is also reccomended.
     
  8. Galm

    Galm "Stand By, We're Analyzing The Situation!"

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    Ah apologies.

    Over time laptops gradually start to get higher temps. This is because the thermal paste starts to wear down. The thermal paste is what connects the cpu to the cooling system inside the laptop. When temps are higher than normal often times a repaste (replacing the old thermal paste with fresh paste) can basically cure that. If your temps aren't high (internal cpu and gpu temps, not if the laptop feels hot or not) then the issue is something else.
     
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  9. RampantGorilla

    RampantGorilla Notebook Evangelist

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    Watch this:


    If the prospect of repasting and undervolting a laptop frightens you, take it to a local repair shop and get them to do it for you. You'll have to pay them for the service, but you'll get a cooler and quieter laptop as a result.
     
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  10. Elminst

    Elminst Some Network Guy

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    That's what I though you meant. But it's unlikely the IT dept will be happy if I crack open their equipment and start messing with the CPU hardware.

    I build my own PCs and have worked on laptops before, so I've no issues with digging into the insides of of a computer.
    If the fan needs to run higher when cranking away on a stats analysis, that's fine. But not constantly when just surfing the net. However, I don't want to pull power away from the CPU when it's needed to crunch 6 million data points. And there's no way my wife will want to mess with changing voltage for different use cases.
     
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