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Computer died - need a new laptop

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by mtipton1064, Sep 3, 2014.

  1. mtipton1064

    mtipton1064 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2013
    A few hours ago my desktop PC died. I was in Lightroom and it just died; screen went blank and then it powered off! I am exploring repair options. But in the meantime I am also shopping for a new PC. I am looking for a PC (not Mac!!) laptop. The PC will usually be sitting on my computer table (95% to 98%) of the time. I will only occasionally want to travel with it, so ultra lightness is not an issue. I would like to be able to use my existing big screen monitor. The features that I think I want are:
    i7 processor (something powerful)
    12 gig of memory (at least 8)
    big hard drive
    moderate sized SSD (256 gig at least)
    powerful graphics card

    price less than $2K US.

    Any suggestions?

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  2. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Surface pro 3. The power for the buck is pretty amazing.
  3. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    Why not a Mac? A Macbook Air or Macbook Pro does everything you ask for well within your price range. The monitor can’t be beat (your photos will look fantastic) and the trackpad is great. At least try one out in a store, what could it hurt?
  4. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I suggest an MSI Ghost Pro


    The one I have linked to is US$1400 but by the time you have pimped it out, it will probably be US$1800

    Reasons to choose this laptop
    1) Probably most important for a photographer is the storage options. There is one spinning drive 1TB + 2 x M2 sata slots. The M2sata slots take SSDs (currently limited to 512gb) which you can configure in RAID0 if you wish. You can buy these seperately and install yourself if you wish. Also you could put in just one SSD - say 256GB - and add another in a year (and presumably a lower cost) if you run out of space. So up to 2TB of storage.
    2) Size. Comes in at under 2kg (less than a Macbook). Yes I know you say size isnt that important but if you can have power and size it is nice.
    3) Latest Nvidia 800 series video cards. The one I specced is the 850 but you can get it with an 860 or 870 (850 is good enough for editing)
    4) Has i7, can be specced to 16gb RAM
    5) Comes with an HD monitor 1920 x 1080. Can be specced with a 3k monitor (extra $$$$).
  5. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    I had a similar experience a few weeks ago. I think the heat killed my 4-year-old laptop. With a desktop, you might be able to resurrect the computer by simply replacing the power supply, but if you're looking to upgrade anyway, you now have an excuse.

    My budget was much smaller than yours so I'm not familiar with the market segment you're looking at. One piece of advice I can give, though, is to make sure the laptop you buy has the connection you need for your monitor. A lot of new laptops have only an HDMI connector. I looked for one that had both HDMI and VGA.

    You may find it cumbersome, though, to look over the laptop screen at an external monitor. Try some of the 17" laptops. They weigh more than smaller laptops, but some of them have beautiful screens, relative to those of other laptops, and they also have relatively spacious keyboards.

    If you have a MicroCenter near you, it has both a good selection and knowledgeable staff, and that's where I found my machine. It's one of the very few retailers where I would trust the advice I got.
  6. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    Did you actually read his specs for a laptop?
    • Like Like x 2
  7. mtipton1064

    mtipton1064 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2013
    Thanks! This is good input!

    No Macs because I have been a Windows guy from the beginning and have lots of Windows software. My wife also has a Windows laptop. It is much easier to be the household system administrator when there is only one type of system. But I do love my iPad Air!

    I will be taking it in for potential repair tomorrow. But I live in the sticks in the Ozark and don't have much confidence in the local trouble shooting resources.

    Yes, indeed it is an excuse to get a new computer! But I need to make a "good faith" attempt at repair!

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  8. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 8, 2012
    Hmm, I have exactly what you've described that I've been meaning to sell since I converted to Mac a few months ago. I'll send you a PM.
  9. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I think the biggest thing you have to be careful of when ordering a reasonably powerful laptop (i7-47xxHQ+) is over heating. This is what killed my last Sony. So I really like the gaming laptops - not so much for gaming (my gaming is very light usuage) but simply because a laptop specced for heavy(ish) gaming isnt going to have any heat issues when used with something more mundane like editing. The good news is that while these used to be ugly and heavy you can buy incredibly light well specced gaming laptops nowadays.

    At the high end (US$2,000) you have Razer Blade, in the mid end (US$1400+) Gigabyte and MSI and best bang for your buck is probably Clevo (sub US$1400) (the Clevo sacrifices portability rather than performance.)
  10. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Decide what size of laptop first, and what your desired battery life is. These will narrow down the field considerably, beyond the tech requirements you already listed. Also keep an eye out for a laptop with a high quality built in screen; that means 1080p, not 1600x900 or worse garbage. Some even have IPS displays now which is a plus. Your specs tend to suggest a 17, or a very high end 15. Most likely your machine will be described as a "gaming" laptop, though aesthetics of those laptops can be... well, visually loud.

    Razer Blade, Alienware, Cyberpower or iBuypower come to mind.
  11. Ellsass

    Ellsass Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2014
    Yes, though admittedly I missed the part where he or she is looking for an SSD and a spinning-disk hard drive. Even so, I’d suggest looking into SSD + NAS (regardless of Windows/Mac). Eventually no hard drive will be big enough to hold an entire library and you’ll probably want access from other machines.
  12. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    Spinning HD, why?

    I don't mean to pick a fight, but I felt the need to point out the obvious: you can run Windows apps on MacBooks and have the best of all worlds.
  13. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    There is always a performance penalty for virtualization, as well as the Apple tax for equivalent hardware. If a person does not need or desire a Mac, it makes no sense to buy one.
  14. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    Actually, it depends on what apps, cutting edge crap and MS crap probably needs a VM, but so much legacy stuff runs BETTER in Wine than it does in windows.
  15. Jermonic

    Jermonic Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2012
    Clevo W230SS - pricetag for mine was 1451 US dollars.


    I have one myself - it has these specs:
    i7 - 4710MQ
    8 Gb RAM (I will probably upgrade at some point, there's a free slot still)
    240 Gb SSD
    GTX 860M (pretty damn strong graphics chip - oh, I wish Lightroom could utilize it)
    13,3" Full HD non-glare display (near IPS quality, really vivid and beautiful colors)
    2x mSATA slots (1 filled right now)
    1x 2,5" slot (have my trusty old 500 Gb drive here)
    4,5 hours of battery time.
    2 kg
    Really good keyboard (w. backlight)
    No noise at all when you're just chilling with it (Chrome with 10+ tabs, youtube, maybe a movie - all at once) - mine's completely silent. It does ramp up the noise when you require hefty processing power - obviously for such a small cabinet.

    - Yes, my primary Crucial SSD does get hot, usually running at 60-70C when on AC. It's a more respectable 43C @ battery. I think it's the SSD that has an issue with the control interface (or whatnot), as the CPU itself rarely gets above 60C.
    - Only has HDMI-output (may be an issue to some).
  16. mtipton1064

    mtipton1064 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2013
    I have drank 1/2 of the glass of Steve Job's coolaid; I have an iPad and an iPhone. But I am not ready to buy a Mac.

    The machine does boot up and run for a while before it hangs. So the problem should be troubleshootable. I dropped it off to be looked at this morning. If it is fixable I will see if they can add a solid state disk drive for me.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  17. Chris5107

    Chris5107 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 28, 2011
    I suggest you check out the Dell Outlet. They have great search tools and you can narrow down your choices based on your specs. Look for a coupon code, which seem to be available each week. You can get a great deal on what I have found to be excellent laptops with good warranties.
  18. mtipton1064

    mtipton1064 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 1, 2013
    I took the PC in this morning and got it back this afternoon. Turned out that the problem was the disk drive. They replaced the disk drive and cloned it from the old drive and I was good to go. I needed it back ASAP for a newsletter that I need to get out. However I am planning on adding a solid state disk drive and, perhaps, doubling the amount of memory. Cheaper than a new computer at this time.

    Thanks for all the input!

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  19. kwalsh

    kwalsh Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 3, 2012
    Baltimore, MD
    Hey glad it worked out for you at minimum cost!

    I've eventually drunk the Mac Kool-Aid, but I'm in the opposite situation of you. My wife had gone all Mac from Linux and so if I converted from W7 then I'd only have to administer one platform. OK, well two since I have to do Linux all the time for work.

    The nail in the coffin for me was two fold - the complete W8 fiasco and the late-2013 MBPro Retinas. Once I looked at things closely two things were pretty clear:

    1. If you don't do gaming the MBPro with its ridiculously fast integrated SSD is pretty much king of the roost when it comes to LR/PS processing in a laptop.
    2. If you actually want the features offered in the MBPro the price is actually very competitive to a similarly spec'd PC laptop. The issue with the Apples is very limited choice which means a risk of not getting a feature you want or else paying for features you don't want.

    Anywho, having run from Windows 2.0 (yes, that's 2.0) through W7 and finally deciding to go laptop as a desktop I've been surprised how happy I am with the MBPro. It took watching my wife successfully do it for a few years before I'd try. Very happy now. So, in a year or so when your machine finally gives up the ghost I'd recommend giving everything on offer a close look. I was pretty surprised in the end for my needs at least.
  20. Zee

    Zee Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Who needs to virtualise anything? Macs can run windows natively, I have Win 8 installed on my Mac Air, and boot to whichever I need. Best of both worlds...

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