What specs should I get on Dell Precision 7000 17in

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by Designer2001, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. Designer2001

    Designer2001 Newbie

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    I am in the market for a new workstation and have decided after much research on a Dell Precision 7000 series laptop in 17inches. I am now on the Dell Canada site and am overwhelmed with all the spec options. I will be using this computer for graphic design, video editing, animations, website development, etc. It needs to be powerful so I can run multiple programs at once without lag, doing heavy projects and have an excellent super high quality display that is a very high color gamut with color accuracy.

    I don't care about battery life or weight as I almost never need to travel with it. It should have a good cooling system too. I am willing to spend money to get what I need but would rather not buy the premium specs if I don't really need them. Can someone guide me through what specs to choose starting at this point. I am intermediate at best when understanding the spec choices so the more help the better.

    Starting point for laptop:
    Precision 7740 Mobile Workstation: https://www.dell.com/en-ca/work/sho.../spd/precision-17-7740-laptop/xctop774017usca
     
  2. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Yes, the choices for workstation laptops can be "over the top". (Try to build a Dell Precision fixed workstation, they're even more complicated.)

    • The best value in the CPU (processor) lineup is the Core i7-9750H, it has two more cores than the base i5-9400H chip and is well-suited to demanding workflows.
    • For the GPU (graphics), I'd get at least the Radeon Pro WX 3200. If you're doing 3D design, then probably step up to the WX 7130. The Nvidia Quadro options are, obviously, very expensive, but not necessarily better. You might want to do a little research there. There's almost no professional software that uses the RTX features (ray tracing and DLSS). Look at the requirements of the software you're using. If you're not sure just ask here and give us some details on the software you use (and how you use it).
    • Memory (RAM): I'd like to recommend 32GB to you, but 16GB is a good starting point. The RAM can be upgraded later. 8GB will not be enough for more than basic productivity.
    • Display: Absolutely avoid the 1600x900 resolution panels. They shouldn't even be offered on a machine of this caliber. I'd get the 3840x2160 resolution display. It's pricey but worthwhile if you're doing design work where color and clarity matters. Note you will need to get a calibration device regardless of the display you choose so you can get accurate colors. I've always used the Spyder products with my displays and had success.
    • Storage: You'll want a solid-state drive (SSD) for primary storage, but Dell's pricing is borderline absurd. If you're a little technical, you can get a 1TB M.2 NVMe drive aftermarket (like an Intel 660p series) for US$100-200; not sure about Canadian pricing. You can download Windows 10 from Microsoft and install it pretty quick via USB flash drive. We have a guide here. If you have to buy the drive from Dell, I'd get 512GB. Then get a second drive option with all the storage you need. (Or, preferably, just buy a drive aftermarket and install it. You'll be looking for an M.2-2280 NVMe drive, like the Intel 660p I mentioned.)
    • Keyboard: Get one that's backlit, there's no sense in getting a notebook today without keyboard backlighting. The dual pointing option gives you the little eraser head in the center of the keyboard if you prefer/want that.
    • Palmrest: You might want to get one of the options that offers the fingerprint reader.
    • Wireless: The Intel AX200 card is a good choice. Be sure to get the one that has Bluetooth 5.

    So:
    --Core i7-9750H
    --Radeon Pro WX 3200 or WX 7130
    --16GB RAM
    --3840x2160 display
    --512GB SSD primary
    --Backlit keyboard
    --Fingerprint reader
    --Intel AX200 wireless

    That's my suggestion. This is a top-of-the-line notebook and, provided it's properly equipped, it should be a great machine for the kind of work you're doing.

    Charles
     
  3. Designer2001

    Designer2001 Newbie

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    Wow thank you Charles, very very helpful!!!!
     
  4. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    I just looked on Newegg.ca and found the Intel 660p 1TB SSD for CAD$141. That's a great drive for the money. If it were me, I'd order that Dell with the minimum drive, then buy and install an SSD aftermarket. Maybe even get a second one if you need more storage.

    Dell has pretty good service manuals that explain how to replace parts like the storage drives; here's the one for the Precision 7740 (PDF link). You pretty much just need a screwdriver and maybe 10 minutes of time to do it. Then you'll need to install Windows 10 using the guide I linked in my last post.

    (Again, you can get the laptop from Dell with an SSD already installed, there's nothing wrong with that. It'll just cost you a lot more.)

    Charles
     
  5. Designer2001

    Designer2001 Newbie

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    Besides Dell Precision are there any other 17 in workstations you would recommend too?
     
  6. Designer2001

    Designer2001 Newbie

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    That's super helpful and what I will do thank you again. It says now that the battery choice is incompatible with the basic hard drive option. Should I stick with the battery choice recommended for a SSD still? The 6-cell 97Wh battery? Or the battery recommended for the base harddrive, the 4-cell 64Wh?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
  7. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    The HP ZBook 17 and the ThinkPad P73 are your two alternatives. I'd be thrilled with any of them. All are rock solid. So pick the one that looks best to you. Besides price, look at the little things, like where the ports are placed.

    You might want to call your order in (via phone) and speak to a rep who may be able to offer a discount. They shouldn't have a problem showing some appreciation when you're spending $3-5K. And don't hesitate to just get a quote and then call the other vendors and get quotes from them too. I don't see a reason to spend much more for any one of these machines versus another, given equivalent hardware.

    Charles
     
  8. Designer2001

    Designer2001 Newbie

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    thank you very much, you've been very helpful!
     
  9. Charles P. Jefferies

    Charles P. Jefferies TG Lead Moderator Super Moderator

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    Oh, I missed this. The battery - when I built the Precision, it forced me to get the 6-cell 97Wh. It doesn't really matter if you don't care about battery life. Figure the 97Wh option would let the laptop last about 50 percent longer unplugged.

    Charles
     
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  10. Proto6

    Proto6 Newbie

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    any of you guys happen to know whether the 2x TB3 ports on the Dell Precision 7740, HP ZBook 17 or the ThinkPad P73 share the same bus and/or what the actual throughput is of the TB3 port ? are they dependent on the overall system bandwidth already in use ?

    Also, can the ThinkPad P73 be charged via USB-C ?

    Thanks.
     
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