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Black Friday Laptop Discussion


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#1 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 1, 2019 - 8:00 am

Before all the ads arrive, I thought I would start a thread to discuss laptop features and specs.  Microsoft has been quietly raising the Windows 10 baseline and Intel and AMD have been introducing chips whose names and nomenclatures make my head spin.  It is increasingly common to find solid state disks, discrete graphics, and something called 'Optane' in laptops.  Let's use this thread to figure out what a solid laptop looks like so that when the bargains appear we all have a better understanding of their value.

 

I would also like to point out that Dell and Lenovo are building tanks these days.  I have seen very few warranty repairs with these manufacturers.  Square Trade has an excellent study on reliability that covers a lot of brands...

 

https://www.squaretr...bility_1109.pdf

 

While our study found netbook malfunction rates to be trending 20% higher than more expensive laptops,

the variance between manufacturer is far greater and should be a bigger factor in making a buying
decision. ASUS and Toshiba laptops failed just over half as frequently as HP, which makes them a solid
bet in terms of reliability. 
 
Laptop Magazine rates HP #1 in 2019 (note that reliability is not part of the scorecard)...
 
aHR0cDovL3d3dy5sYXB0b3BtYWcuY29tL2ltYWdl
 
 
It's always an adventure to upgrade a laptop.  ifixit.com takes a look at how difficult top laptops are to repair or upgrade...
 
 
HP EliteBook 1050 2018
  • RAM, SSD, and battery are easily accessible and removable.

  • All screws are standard Phillips and Torx.

  • Manufacturer provides free user-accessible repair documentation.

  • rating: 9

HP EliteBook 840 G3 2017
  • RAM, SSD, and battery are easily accessible and removable.

  • All moving parts, including keyboard, trackpad, and pointing stick are modular and can be quickly replaced.

  • The display is immediately replaceable, without any unnecessary disassembly.

  • rating: 10

Dell Latitude E5270 2017
  • All commonly failing (battery, trackpad buttons, display, keyboard) and upgradable (RAM, SSD) parts are easy to access and replace.

  • Minimal adhesive is used throughout the unit's construction. All fasteners are standard Phillips screws.

  • Overall construction is slightly complicated, but the manufacturer offers clear repair and disassembly instructions.

  • rating: 10

Laptop CPUs Ranked: https://www.cpubench...net/laptop.html

Laptop GPUs Ranked: https://www.notebook...ards.130.0.html

Optane Explained: https://www.digitalt...s-intel-optane/

Intel Optane provides much faster read and write speeds than even the fastest SSD can match without RAM’s constant power requirement.

SSD vs HDD: https://www.pcmag.co...-the-difference

Users who prefer to download their media files locally will still need a hard drive with more capacity. But if you mostly stream your music and videos online, buying a smaller SSD for the same money will give you a better experience.

How much RAM?: https://www.digitalt...am-do-you-need/

2GB: Only really found in budget tablet designs. Fine for them, but you’ll want more in a laptop or desktop.
4GB: Entry level memory that comes with even budget notebooks. Fine for basic Windows and Chrome OS usage.
8GB: Excellent for Windows and MacOS systems and entry-level gaming.
16GB: Ideal for professional work and more demanding games. With RAM prices so low, this is the sweet spot for desktop users.
32GB and beyond: Enthusiasts and purpose-built workstations only.

 

Bottom line?  If you plan to keep your laptop, make sure the battery and disk can be replaced and make sure you buy too much cpu and memory.  Be careful of rigs that include Optane as RAM -- read the fine print.  Match the GPU to your applications -- faster is hotter and heat must be mitigated which means less battery life and more noise.

 

I'm not shopping for a laptop this year.  Last year I bought a pair of Dell laptops that included discrete graphics chips.  At $600 each, the laptops were a bargain.  After a nearly year of use, my kids are very happy with their toys...

 

Dell G3 15 Gaming GTX 1050Ti  Laptop G3579-5467BLK-PUS
• 15.6-inch Full HD display
• Intel Core i5-8300H
• NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti
• 8GB memory/1TB HHD
 
This year a similarly equipped laptop would still attract my attention and, in fact, the Microsoft Store has this one on sale for $600 right now...
 

https://www.microsof...op/8thnj2tttgfc

 

I'm more than two years with a Lenovo Ideapad that cost me $525.99 in February of 2017...

 
Processor: Intel Core i7-6500U Processor(Core i7-6500U)
Memory: 12GB DDR4-2133
Hard Drive: 1TB 5400
Optical Drive: 1x
Wireless Network: 1x
Ports: 1x 4-in-1 Media Card Reader (SD, MMC, SDHC, SDXC)
Camera: 1x 0.3 MP Camera
Graphics: 1x Intel HD 520
Monitor: 15.6 HD

 

Love all three machines.  You cannot get the Ideapad anymore, but I recommend the Dell.



#2 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 1, 2019 - 4:20 pm

Worth considering for General Use...

 

$469 after BIZLT469 code: https://www.dell.com...av155w10pc23021 (10/04/2019)

  • ProSupport Plus (Includes Accidental Damage) for the same price as ProSupport 

$350 after 14408 code: https://www.staples....roduct_24393612 (10/01/2019)


Edited by len_mullen, Oct 4, 2019 - 4:03 pm.


#3 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 1, 2019 - 4:27 pm

Worth considering for Gamers...



#4 jaymacfla  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 1, 2019 - 9:43 pm

I would think that reliability would be the #1concern then price, features, etc. Whenever you see Lenovo ahead of major manufacturers in an article you have to question the legitimacy of the whole article, lol.



#5 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 1, 2019 - 11:17 pm

I would think that reliability would be the #1concern then price, features, etc. Whenever you see Lenovo ahead of major manufacturers in an article you have to question the legitimacy of the whole article, lol.

 

Reliability requires data.  Price, features, etc. can be harvested from online reviews.  Unless, of course, you are in the warranty service business.  That's why I like the Square Trade report.

 

Synopsis: SquareTrade analyzed failure rates for over 30,000 new laptop computers covered by SquareTrade Laptop Warranty plans and found that one-third of all laptops will fail within 3 years.

 

Highlights of the study include:

  • Looking at the first 3 years of ownership, 31% of laptop owners reported a failure to SquareTrade. Two-thirds of this failure (20.4%) came from hardware malfunctions, and one-third (10.6%) was reported as accidental damage.
  • Netbooks are projected to have a 20% higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than more expensive laptop computers.
  • ASUS and Toshiba were the most reliable manufacturers, with fewer than 16% having a hardware malfunction over 3 years.

I once inquired about three year leases of computers where I work.  At the time, rollovers were becoming a PITA as there was no perceivable performance improvement, but apps, data, and settings had to be migrated.  I was told that the mean time between catastrophic failure was 2.65 years.  Rolling over at three years statistically eliminated failures for most.  Makes sense at the enterprise level, but the we want our home computers to last longer.  



#6 Elmck  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 3:12 am

i need a new laptop for either me or DD (mine died and I have been sharing hers) However, I have no clue what all the technical stuff means. I use mine mainly for social media, shopping, email, and research for classes I'm taking and teaching. DD is a senior in high school and needs something good for college. I would love a good warranty but have not wanted a touchscreen (not sure why) 



#7 chester5  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 3:23 am

I'm all about the speed.  I'm the most impatient person on the planet.  I'm also not into specs - but is it true there is now an i9 processor?

 

Also, is there a way to compare processors?  I'm a big fan of the i7 for speed - but all of the other brands' numbers and letters have me so confused.  Help?



#8 tyreejames  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 4:31 am

I am looking for laptops for both DS12 and DD9. They had chrome books from Walmart or Best Buy a few years ago and they both need a little more power; nothing too fancy though. I’ve been considering refurbished MacBooks but I’m keeping all my options open.

#9 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 4:35 am

i need a new laptop for either me or DD (mine died and I have been sharing hers) However, I have no clue what all the technical stuff means. I use mine mainly for social media, shopping, email, and research for classes I'm taking and teaching. DD is a senior in high school and needs something good for college. I would love a good warranty but have not wanted a touchscreen (not sure why) 

 

Touch my screen, I break your finger.  That's what I used to tell my kids.  I spend a lot of time cleaning my phone.  I totally get that.  Paying with the right credit card can DOUBLE your warranty.  The $600 Dell I linked in the first post would be great to take to school.  The Lenovo in the second post is pretty awesome for $350.



#10 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 4:40 am

I'm all about the speed.  I'm the most impatient person on the planet.  I'm also not into specs - but is it true there is now an i9 processor?

 

Also, is there a way to compare processors?  I'm a big fan of the i7 for speed - but all of the other brands' numbers and letters have me so confused.  Help?

 

https://www.pcworld....-i9-laptop.html

http://www.cpubenchm...net/laptop.html

 

The cheapest i9 for a laptop costs about $600 (just the CPU).  Also, you can pay 2x for the performance of an i5 in an i7, so use the CPU benchmarks to get good value.



#11 freesia39  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 6:58 am

I would think that reliability would be the #1concern then price, features, etc. Whenever you see Lenovo ahead of major manufacturers in an article you have to question the legitimacy of the whole article, lol.

The funny thing is where I work, we would love to have the Lenovo contract back. We're buying Dells and the failure rate is kinda atrocious just in my office alone.

 

*hugs her MacBook Pro harder*


GO BRUINS!


#12 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 7:35 am

At work, I have had SSDs fail in my last two laptops.  Otherwise, I really like the Latitudes.  Right now I have a 5480.

 

https://www.laptopma...l-latitude-5480

 

It's a $1k laptop and Square Trade tells us price is a better indicator than brand, right? 



#13 bluebear  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 - 8:15 am

The funny thing is where I work, we would love to have the Lenovo contract back. We're buying Dells and the failure rate is kinda atrocious just in my office alone.

*hugs her MacBook Pro harder*


I agree. My school district has had Dell, Lenovo, and now HP. I would for sure pick Lenovo between those 3. (I work in our technology department.)

#14 freesia39  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 4, 2019 - 6:50 am

At work, I have had SSDs fail in my last two laptops.  Otherwise, I really like the Latitudes.  Right now I have a 5480.

 

https://www.laptopma...l-latitude-5480

 

It's a $1k laptop and Square Trade tells us price is a better indicator than brand, right? 

 

It's really more the abuse and cycles you put on it - we have backup and encryption requirements that really drain the life on the machines (although as a side note, I purchased my last MacBook pro after the three year term to use as my personal computer, and it's operating just fine, ONCE i took all the backup and encryption software off.)


GO BRUINS!


#15 jaymacfla  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 6, 2019 - 5:52 am

Reliability requires data.  Price, features, etc. can be harvested from online reviews.  Unless, of course, you are in the warranty service business.  That's why I like the Square Trade report.

 

Synopsis: SquareTrade analyzed failure rates for over 30,000 new laptop computers covered by SquareTrade Laptop Warranty plans and found that one-third of all laptops will fail within 3 years.

 

Highlights of the study include:

  • Looking at the first 3 years of ownership, 31% of laptop owners reported a failure to SquareTrade. Two-thirds of this failure (20.4%) came from hardware malfunctions, and one-third (10.6%) was reported as accidental damage.
  • Netbooks are projected to have a 20% higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than more expensive laptop computers.
  • ASUS and Toshiba were the most reliable manufacturers, with fewer than 16% having a hardware malfunction over 3 years.

I once inquired about three year leases of computers where I work.  At the time, rollovers were becoming a PITA as there was no perceivable performance improvement, but apps, data, and settings had to be migrated.  I was told that the mean time between catastrophic failure was 2.65 years.  Rolling over at three years statistically eliminated failures for most.  Makes sense at the enterprise level, but the we want our home computers to last longer.  

Thanks for the info. I always liked Toshiba laptops.


It's really more the abuse and cycles you put on it - we have backup and encryption requirements that really drain the life on the machines (although as a side note, I purchased my last MacBook pro after the three year term to use as my personal computer, and it's operating just fine, ONCE i took all the backup and encryption software off.)

It is nice that you mention that. I am going through the SYO-501 Security + certification process and we are learning about the causes effects of failures and how to safeguard data.



#16 Jeanne515  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 14, 2019 - 11:12 am

My 7 year old has requested a Chromebook for Christmas.  They use Lenovo at school.  Can anyone recommend a good Chromebook?  She will just be mainly watching you tube videos, Stride Academy, and Study Island.  Thanks!



#17 freesia39  OFFLINE  

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Posted Oct 15, 2019 - 6:34 am

It is nice that you mention that. I am going through the SYO-501 Security + certification process and we are learning about the causes effects of failures and how to safeguard data.

 

Quite a few of our faculty tried to get exceptions, because they believed it would affect performance (true) or they didn't like the monitoring, but over on the Medical School side, that's a non-starter - too much patient data that could possibly be stolen from a laptop or phone. We require encryption and backups.


GO BRUINS!


#18 jesusluvu  OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 4:48 am

I agree. The encryption and backup does drain the battery but it is a necc evil. I always look at the need for the laptop to base my decision on. If I am using it for school or home I most likly am going to upgrade it in 3 years anyway, so from a price stand pint I ma not going to send a ton of money. Enough not to be disappointing but not more than I need. I have used all of the top brands and the overall performance is about the same. 



#19 Kanyon71  OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 7:27 am

Good base disk encryption on a good hardware platform should have little to noticeable effect on the speed or battery life. I've lived the past 11+ years in Healthcare IT and have implemented it across the board. Too many baddies out there who don't follow the credo of First Do No Harm.



#20 len_mullen  OFFLINE  

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Posted Yesterday, 7:44 am

Good base disk encryption on a good hardware platform should have little to noticeable effect on the speed or battery life. I've lived the past 11+ years in Healthcare IT and have implemented it across the board. Too many baddies out there who don't follow the credo of First Do No Harm.

 

Can you recommend something for home users?  Free maybe?






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