what do you value/would you like to see in a laptop?

Discussion in 'Hardware Components and Aftermarket Upgrades' started by pbhenry3, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. pbhenry3

    pbhenry3 Company Representative

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    I'd like to get some more information from people on what is important to them in a laptop, broken into 3 categories. Whether you use your laptop for gaming, video editing, work, browsing the internet, etc is not important when answering here, although i would prefer answers from people who like the higher end of the laptop market.

    Ports selection: Usb A, usb c, hdmi out, sd card, ethernet, thunderbolt, headphone jack, etc....

    Build quality: The general consensus these days seem to be about making something as thin as possible ie: "weighing in at 2 grams less than this one, and .5mm thinner, this is clearly the better choice for portability".... Would you take a device which is a quarter inch thicker if it is more reliable? How often do you plan to upgrade your device when you buy a "high end" one? When it breaks, when the specs cant keep up for what you use it for, or when next years iteration is released?

    Screen and speaker quality: With the ever decreasing size of laptops these days, it makes it much harder to fit in any decent speakers. A great amplifier can't do anything if your speakers are severely lacking. How important is sound quality to you in a laptop? Would you take a device which is a quarter inch thicker for considerably better sound quality? Or would you prefer as thin a device as possible and the best set of speakers which can be fit into said ultra-thin casing?
    Screen- what technology do you prefer? Quantum dots, OLED, LED, CCFL:)), etc..
    Resolution and aspect ratio?

    Feel free to answer as few or as many things as you like and in as much detail as you like. Thank you.
     
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  2. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    Port selection:
    I honestly don't need that many ports. I do use USB 3.0, Audio Ports, cardreader and HDMI out, eDP out. I never used thunderbolt or USB type C, never needed it for anything.

    Build quality isn't that important to me, I mean my MSI notebook has decent build quality but it is nowhere near the level of an Alienware or Clevo, however I don't really feel that it has to be shiny or amazingly sturdy for anything, since I don't exacly take a hammer and clobber it, however I would really hate it if it was really poor and cheaply made. Also I prefer my notebooks to be thicker, I really don't see what the fuss is about having a ultra thin notebook, I would always prefer having thicker and heavier ones with good cooling than bad ones with terrible cooling, however there is obviously a limit as to how thick I want the notebook. This goes against what the most people want tho, so If you're trying to do something for a major group, you'll obviously go for thinner ones.

    Screen and Speaker quality:
    I'm one of those who value speaker quality and screen quality way more than others do. My signature showcases how much I despised the old Clevo sound quality. As a person who was very curious and had all notebook brands in existance, MSI was it that completely spoiled me on this one. Since I had an MSI I knew what a notebook can sound like and I was not about to accept any compromises. My first gaming notebook was a MSI GT780DX notebook that had spoilet me to no end, it was a beast and was everything I could ask for, but after it broke a 2nd time due to terrible dogshit fermi cards and back then I was lacking the experience with notebooks I went out and got other notebooks, so I went on buying different brands such as Alienware, Asus, HP Omen, Acer Predator/Nitro, Clevo and Gigabyte, however despite all having their pros and cons (asus was the only brand in particular that had way to many flaws). I ended up selling all notebooks again because of their sound quality, they were just to bad for me to accept them, the one that came closest to the quality I would accept, was Alienware with their good klipsch speakers, however wasn't close enough. I also kept my Clevo P157SM because of its design, keyboard and overall performance, It was the only 15 inch notebook I could find, that would allow me to jank in 4 ssd's and 1 harddisk and was highly moddable compared to the others as well, despite it having horrid speakers and horrid cooling. I ended up with keeping 2 notebooks that I have right now, one is an MSI GT 72 and my Clevo P157SM, before the GT 72, I had a newer MSI model with a 7820HK and GTX 1080, however the performance was something I never needed due to me only playing Dota 2, Yu Gi Oh Duel Links and smaller games, so I went for an older model and used the money for other things.

    As a multimedia designer Screen quality matters a lot to me, but since I'm a gamer as well I only had 1 choice, and that's TN panels with high gamut and speeds, since IPS typically lack the refreshrate I would desire for gaming. Anything above 1080p seemed like it wasn't really needed, especially since it tends to really bug some things out (my graphic tablet doesn't like 4k for instance). I don't care about Aspect ratio to be honest, as long it's 16:9 or 16:10, I also have a Macbook Pro that has a 16:10 aspect ratio and it never bothered me.

    So yeah I'm a graphic designer and competitive gamer that needs FPS in my games, so I'm not as casual as others are. I'm pretty sure most value the speakers and screen much less than me.

    So yeah I'll quote some people who I know have interest in rather higher end notebooks, despite me not sharing their tastes at all, I think their oppinion might matter to you tho:

    Good luck whatever you're trying to accomplish, I have an idea what you're trying to do and if it proves to be correct, then it would be in my interest to get some attention to this.
    @ole!!!
    @Mr. Fox
    @Phoenix
    @bennyg
    @Papusan
    @tanzmeister
    @Raidriar
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
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  3. Starlight5

    Starlight5 So what if I'm crazy? The best people are.

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    Port selection. I mostly rely on docking stations instead, so some docking interface (TB3 / USB-C / proprietary) is required, alongside 3.5mm jack on the device itself. A few USB-A, some sort of display output (DP/HDMI) and a microSD won't hurt, but overall I care much more about device internal capabilities rather than external ports - namely, SIM-card slot and corresponding LTE modem are highly appreciated.

    Build quality is very important. I can drop my laptop, spill liquids on it, other mishaps may happen - since I take it everywhere, literally. It still needs to be thin and light, though - thick and heavy laptops are impractical, especially when you occasionally carry two of them like I do. Parts should be easily available and adequately priced - I'd rather repair it myself, if needed.

    Screen and speaker quality. Screen must be IPS with decent angles and support touch input, resolution at least FHD; under no circumstances would I consider a machine that doesn't meet this criteria. Don't care much about color accuracy, but overall strongly prefer matte displays with enough brightness for outdoors, without PWM if possible. I am used to so-so speakers, using exclusively business-class devices for years. Aspect ratio - would prefer 3:2, but most business devices are 16:9 and I can live with that.

    Other.
    I am currently looking for a convertible 8th-gen machine that will work with WiGiG. It means fully wired m.2 a-key WLAN slot. Not sure if such thing even exists - but I am extremely spoiled by wireless docking, it's like a dream come true for my particular usage scenario - and I'm not ready to give up the comfort it provides.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  4. Arrrrbol

    Arrrrbol Notebook Evangelist

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    Port selection: I would always argue that more is better to a point, but not going so far as to compromise the cooling or the rigidity. USB 3.0 is still useful, I favour having multiple audio in/out ports (at least 2 out and 1 in) as it allows you to output to multiple sources. SD card readers are nice, though i'd like to see a microSD reader built in so you don't have to use an adaptor or USB. I much prefer to keep an optical drive (especially if its a blu-ray drive) - even if you don't use it very often, there will still be occasions when you need to run a DVD/CD. You could use an external drive, but i'd rather one was built in as its more convenient. Ethernet is obviously still useful along with video outputs such as HDMI, DP etc. What I think would be nice to see is more laptops with video inputs (especially those with 17+ inch screens) so you can run an old games console through your laptop display for example.

    Build quality: The quality of the materials and the design is more important than its aesthetics. I don't care if its fat and weighs half a ton, as long as it won't fall apart, break prematurely and is easy to maintain. Aesthetics are definitely nice when done well, but if they are done at the cost of practicality and maintainability then they are no good. Ideally, it should be possible to access all the major components through the bottom without disassembling half the laptop. Cooling is also a huge deal and should be the primary focus of laptop design in my view - what's the point in having top quality CPUs and GPUs if they are throttled constantly or die prematurely due to poor thermals? Heat sinks should be of the highest quality: the brackets and contact plate should provide enough pressure without modifications: there should be plenty of heat pipes (or alternatively a vapour chamber) to move heat quickly away from the chips: VRMs should be properly cooled with their own heat sink. If its necessary to do so, have multiple fans for each component in order to increase airflow (and always use high quality fans rather than cheap crappy ones with abysmal CFM values). Putting a lot of mass into the heat sink is important in a laptop as airflow is always going to be a limiting factor - with extra mass you greatly increase the time it takes for the heat sink to reach its thermal capacity and therefore the chips will increase in temperature more gradually. Strong hinges for the display are also welcomed.

    Screen and speaker quality: A good display is imperative on a laptop in my view. Resolutions above 1080p are not that important to me, what I care about are the colour accuracy, contrast and brightness values. IPS is nice to have for the viewing angles, but its not the most important thing to me. I would also like to see a return to more 16:10 aspect ratio displays such as on the Alienware M17x R2. The difference on paper between 1080p and 1200p is only small, but it makes a huge difference in my view. You have so much more space to work with compared to 16:9 which can feel cramped at times. For gaming 16:9 is fine but i'd say 16:10 is still superior - especially in MMOs and strategy games which have a lot of information in the UI. Good quality speakers are important, but i'd sacrifice them for better cooling. It is much more convenient if your laptop can provide its own high quality sound than having to ferry around some external speakers. What is even more important than speakers however is the quality of the DAC/sound card in the laptop. This not only affects how the speakers will sound but how your headphones will sound too. A laptop with a poor sound card is horrible to use when listening to music as you end up with extra noise, you get higher stereo crosstalk and you lose dynamic range. If you listen to orchestral music especially then having good stereo, low noise and good dynamic range is hugely important.

    Other: A good keyboard is also important. I don't care that much about the type of switches, but having a good layout is very important while gaming (certain keyboards with a small Alt key are horrible to use when gaming).
     
  5. pbhenry3

    pbhenry3 Company Representative

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    thank you for all of the opinions suggestions. Most of this goes right in line with what I was thinking personally. I plan to design my laptop to be as thin as possible but without compromising reliability, longevity, and audio quality.

    So the specs I am currently thinking of will be:
    1. Very reliable motherboard, good dc in filter stage, good protection circuitry in place on all main power rails, and high quality well spec components with proper board layout.

    2. Z370 PCH for use with 8th gen desktop cpu(socketed) your choice of i3-8300, i5 8500, i7 8700. No K versions.

    Optional: mid range nvidia gpu such as gtx1050ti or newer equivalent if next gen is released in time.

    3. best class d maxim audio amplifier I could find-max9736B, with realtek hd 7.1 ALC889 audio codec(i think best one realtek makes), unless a better suggestion is made... with good quality stereo speakers.

    4. socketed DDR4 ram

    5. 4 cell in series lithium polymer battery around 10,000mAH total.

    5. Quantum dots display 15inch 16:10 aspect ratio 1920x1200 or 2560x1600

    6. synaptics trackpad(left right click buttons) and backlit keyboard. hinge design is already decided for high quality.

    7. 2 or 3 usb 3.1 type A ports, USB C port, HDMI out, SD card reader, ethernet, headphone/mic combo jack.

    8. 2 slots for PCIE type SSD in m.2 format.

    8. Designed for easy access to battery compartment, ram, SSD's, and cpu(replaceable)/gpu.

    9. good quality heatsink, good thermal paste from factory, and good cooling. indepedant heatsink for cpu and gpu, with good dual fans. intake vents on the side, output vents in the back.

    8. Ideal layout I can see is minimizing screen bezels, which means best place for stereo speakers would be right below the display length wise. since if they are put on the sides of keyboard, the screen bezels would need made larger to match the lid to the enclosure. if they are put next to trackpad, then hands could cover them. if they are below laptop on bottom, they could sound muffled.

    From this, if anyone has suggestions for improvements or tweaks to what I have planned out, please leave input, suggestions or opinions and I will take all into consideration.

    For anyone interested in following along or contributing you can see the entire process from start to manufacture being documented here-
     
  6. Vasudev

    Vasudev Notebook Prophet

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    I prefer thicker laptops than thin lappies.
    I think you need a 2.5" HDD/SSD slot as well because 2xM.2 SSD with higher capacity will indeed be expensive.
    I really prefer good speakers with Nahimic/SB or even Realtek Codecs with SB CP. I just loved Clevo's sound quality than my current AW.
    Quantum dot display? Did you obtain a very good deal on Samsung/LG QDot displays? Is it NDA?
    BTW, I second your opinion about RAM Slots, Battery(Make sure the battery Wh is under 100Wh because most flights don't allow more than 100Wh battery), Synaptics Touchpad with Phy. buttons, Keyboard with Macro keys(which you forgot).
    Any wrong with including GTX 1060/1070 with current design?
     
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  7. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    What is the plan on this? Are you going to do a private project or are you planning on doing something like a limited offer and sell a couple of units?

    Is there any reason why you don't go for the GTX 1060? It's an efficient card and much faster than the 1050ti.
    Also flat notebook which can run a 8700 full speed is a 120W heatsink, I don't know how you plan on achieving that but we will see-
     
  8. pbhenry3

    pbhenry3 Company Representative

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    I would like to push it into full production level with a few variants, if budgets permit. That is the plan. gtx1060 is possible. i7 8700 isnt really that difficult to cool, its only a 65 watt cpu. I plan to keep all temps at or below 85c under max loads. The laptop is obviously not going to be as thin as a mac or razer, that is just not possible with the socketed cpu, heatsink, ram slots, and good speakers. I wasn't planning on intentionally wasting space or going out of my way to make it thicker than required though.
     
  9. pbhenry3

    pbhenry3 Company Representative

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    Are 2.5" hdd still used? I could include, but its a lot of extra space used which could be used for better battery and speakers. I have never personally liked nahimic, it always sounds low quality to me. I have some options to either go with the Realtek ALC889 or possibly some wolfson codec someone has suggested that I am researching. The processing, equalizer, etc. was going to be my custom written software. I have been working hard on that side of things with a lot of testing, since I also like my sound quality. Quantum dots display is being custom made to my specs. gtx1060 is certainly a possibility.
     
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  10. Danishblunt

    Danishblunt Notebook Virtuoso

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    Base clock stressed on 3ghz flat then it's a 65W CPU. On stuck Turbo it's around 120Watts under heavy load.
    But yeah, am quite interested to see what the end result is going to be like.

    It's by far the most versatile and best sound enchancer that exists. Sadly there is no open source or similair of it so getting it to a custom chipset is hard.
     
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