Surface Book 2, Thinkpad, or something else?

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by DOS_6.22, Mar 13, 2018.

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  1. DOS_6.22

    DOS_6.22 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hello Everyone,

    I need some help to find some good choices and best bang for the buck on a laptop I'm shopping for. I presently have a Thinkpad T460 that has an i5-6200u processor and a 1080p screen that lacks clarity, especially after a workday.
    I would like a quad core processor, as I've found it is helpful when I am running multiple VMs, which for me is most of the time.
    I have tried out the Surface Pro (2017), Surface Book 2 13.5", and Surface Book 2 15". While the SB 2 13.5 is good, I worry about reliability and did not like that the MS warranty (MS complete) charges a $50 deductible for when I need service. Let alone the fact the unit is sealed, meaning it will never be repaired. I'll just get shipped a refurb until they stop honoring the warranty.
    Anyway, thank you for your time and help.


    General Questions


    1) What is your budget?

    About $2500

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen


    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?

    a. Like: Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft, Asus (sometimes)
    b. Dislike: HP, Toshiba

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Yes.

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


    Running VMware Workstation for security labs (mock Windows and Linux environment for training and testing). Building and running scripts/programs (Powershell, Bash, Python, C++, Javascript). Reading ebooks/whitepapers. Playing video games during down time.


    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    I will typically be using it on my lap, usually on the couch. I travel across the country several times in a given year. I often work remotely at various small office sites.


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

    Yes. Civilization 5 and 6, Cities Skyline, SimCity, XCOM 2, Subnautica, Invisible Inc, to name a few.

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

    4 – 10. I’ll typically plug in where ever I can but can sometimes need that extra battery life when sitting at the airport.

    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?
    I’d prefer to try it out in a store. However, I’m perfectly fine with buying online, especially if I know it is quality, such as Mil-spec/business grade.


    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows 10. I’ll use Linux in VMs.


    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    1920 x 1080 FHD is a bare minimum. I would like WQHD 2560 x 1440. I understand 16:10 or 3:2 screen rations are not easy to come by.


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

    I need sharpness/clarity of text. Glossy is okay but needs to have anti-reflective coating. Matte is good sometimes glare wise but I’ve experienced glare from a Thinkpad T460 (current laptop) with a Matte finish.

    Again, nothing that shoots light at me like laser nor anything that is at or below the clarity of the Thinkpad T460 FHD Matte screen I have now.

    Build Quality and Design

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

    Somewhat. I don’t want anything that looks obnoxious or is cheap looking, as I am a working professional.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    This or next week.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    I’d like it to last 3-4 years.


    Notebook Components

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

    SSD NVME m.2 PCIe, 512 GB.

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

    No.


    I’d like to have Thunderbolt 3 and USB C connectivity but not a show stopper. I need to keep the weight and dimensions down due to traveling and the weight in my back. I don’t want a burner on my lap, so it should have proper cooling to keep heat down and avoid throttling.


    Thank you everyone for your time and help.
    Hello Everyone,

    I need some help to find some good choices and best bang for the buck on a laptop I'm shopping for. I presently have a Thinkpad T460 that has an i5-6200u processor and a 1080p screen that lacks clarity, especially after a workday.
    I have tried out the Surface Pro (2017), Surface Book 2 13.5", and Surface Book 2 15". While the SB 2 13.5 is good, I worry about reliability and did not like that the MS warranty (MS complete) charges a $50 deductable for when I need service.


    General Questions


    1) What is your budget?

    About $2500

    2) What size notebook would you prefer?

    c. Thin and Light; 13" - 14" screen


    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?

    a. Like: Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft, Asus (sometimes)
    b. Dislike: HP, Toshiba

    5) Would you consider laptops that are refurbished/redistributed?

    Yes.

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


    Running VMware Workstation for security labs (mock Windows and Linux environment for training and testing). Building and running scripts/programs (Powershell, Bash, Python, C++, Javascript). Reading ebooks/whitepapers. Playing video games during down time.


    7) Will you be taking the notebook with you to different places, leaving it on your desk or both?
    I will typically be using it on my lap, usually on the couch. I travel across the country several times in a given year. I often work remotely at various small office sites.


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

    Yes. Civilization 5 and 6, Cities Skyline, SimCity, XCOM 2, Subnautica, Invisible Inc, to name a few.

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

    4 – 10. I’ll typically plug in where ever I can but can sometimes need that extra battery life when sitting at the airport.

    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?
    I’d prefer to try it out in a store. However, I’m perfectly fine with buying online, especially if I know it is quality, such as Mil-spec/business grade.


    11) What OS do you prefer? Windows (Windows 7 / 8), Mac OS, Linux, Chrome OS, etc.
    Windows 10. I’ll use Linux in VMs.


    Screen Specifics

    12) From the choices below, what screen resolution(s) would you prefer?

    1920 x 1080 FHD is a bare minimum. I would like WQHD 2560 x 1440. I understand 16:10 or 3:2 screen rations are not easy to come by.


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

    I need sharpness/clarity of text. Glossy is okay but needs to have anti-reflective coating. Matte is good sometimes glare wise but I’ve experienced glare from a Thinkpad T460 (current laptop) with a Matte finish.

    Again, nothing that shoots light at me like laser nor anything that is at or below the clarity of the Thinkpad T460 FHD Matte screen I have now.

    Build Quality and Design

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

    Somewhat. I don’t want anything that looks obnoxious or is cheap looking, as I am a working professional.

    15) When are you buying this laptop?

    This or next week.

    16) How long do you want this laptop to last?
    I’d like it to last 3-4 years.


    Notebook Components

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

    SSD NVME m.2 PCIe, 512 GB.

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

    No.


    I’d like to have Thunderbolt 3 and USB C connectivity but not a show stopper. I need to keep the weight and dimensions down due to traveling and the weight in my back. I don’t want a burner on my lap, so it should have proper cooling to keep heat down and avoid throttling.


    Thanks again.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    Anthony Accioly and Vasudev like this.
  2. xitongzou

    xitongzou Notebook Enthusiast

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    To be honest, you don't really need that high of a budget for the notebook you're looking to get.

    The SurfaceBook 1 can even do it, but you mentioned you would like a Thunderbolt 3 port and keep the weight low. You also don't seem to play any really graphically intensive games either.

    Might I suggest the ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th gen)?

    The last gen X1 Carbon is thin and light (2.8lbs), comes with Thunderbolt 3 along with much more ports than the SurfaceBook, is solidly built and high res options and high SSD options are available. You can find it for around $1300-$1600 online with Core i7 and 16GB RAM. The new X1 Carbons don't change enough to warrant purchasing for now. The integrated graphics should be good enough to play the games you specified (tho maybe not at ultra detail).
     
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  3. DOS_6.22

    DOS_6.22 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the feedback. I'll add that to my shopping list.
     
  4. nixliu

    nixliu Notebook Consultant

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    if you think integrated graphics is engouh for you daily using, both model are good.
     
  5. DOS_6.22

    DOS_6.22 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Integrated graphics are okay. I wouldn't mind something a little better than Intel 620. My experience with 520 with games like Simcity/Cities is it really chugs until everything is stripped out down to the most minimal detail. Then it's usable but still has low frame rates.
     
  6. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I incline towards thinkpad.
    @Mobius 1 any suggestions?
     
  7. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    @DOS_6.22



    Having used the performance abortion that is the SB1, I wouldn't recommend you buying the SB2 with the quad core kbl-r. The unit won't be able to cool it since it technically doesn't have a heatsink and the entirety of the Microsoft surface design department should rightfully commit suicide.







    Right, so if you need a dGPU and want a thinkpad, the T480 (not the T480-S) with the MX150. The issue is that you're only limited to the highest end option on the US market according to psref, or you must configure a CTO unit.

    If you configure a CTO unit or buy a model WITHOUT the dGPU, make sure that the CPU is vPro enabled or you will receive an inferior heatsink. Alternatively you can just choose the non-vpro enabled one and try to persuade the service department to give you the 2-pipe heatsink (I don't remember the specific FRU).

    If you don't like the machine, there's always 30 days return with 0% restocking fee, you need to convince that the machine is overheating and doesn't let you work as advertised.


    If you really insist with the Thinkpad, don't forget to PM me so I can give you a yuuuge discount code (I only do this for helping people, no monetary gain whatsoever).


    But honestly I wouldn't even consider at the Thinkpad at this point because coffee lake mobile platform is going to release soon and new volta-based GPU late april. So Clevo and the likes should be able to give you a thin 15.6" machine (P650xx) with good gaming specs and cooling. Not to mention that you can buy from Prema resellers which offer customized bios and thermal rework so you don't have to do it yourself.
     
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  8. Mobius 1

    Mobius 1 Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    I would also note that an addition of dedicated nvidia card will make your life miserable in the future since it'll be VERY QUICKLY outdated (imo the MX150 is outdated ON RELEASE), plus Optimus doesn't work as well in windows and let alone the nightmare in Linux.
     
  9. DOS_6.22

    DOS_6.22 Notebook Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the feedback and for offering the discount.
     
  10. DOS_6.22

    DOS_6.22 Notebook Enthusiast

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    The SB2 15 and 13 - both flat out cook my lap. I am testing the 13.5 right now and the 1050 GTX didn't fare better in the heat/cooling department. I'm planning to return the SB2 this weekend. Actually, I'm surprised with the performance base having the air intake and exhaust share the same vent.

    Wow! I did not know that about the MX150. With April not being far away, I may just wait then.
     
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