Looking for a new laptop

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BMAN

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Since I’m going back to school, I’ll be needing a new one. My current one is terribly outdated. Any suggestions on what do buy? Surface Pro was suggested to me.

@gourimoko and everyone else that knows
 

pl4tinum

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I just bought a new Inspiron 15 5000 from Dell a few weeks ago, and I absolutely _love_ it... here are the specs/cost:

210-ALER - Inspiron 15 5000 gaming (Intel) - 5577
338-BLLP - 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
370-ADGO - 16GB, DDR4, 2400MHz
400-ANKY - 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
490-BDPU - NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5 graphics memory

These are the basic parts, there's a bunch more other crap. 15.6" screen, latest wireless/bluetooth, etc. Cost me $1049.00 + tax with a $200 discount coupon I found online, $1133.98 including tax and delivered free.

Highly recommend it. I shopped around a bit and this was the best bang for my buck without getting something I didn't like. I wanted it to have a halfway decent video card, but I'm under no illusions that I'll be doing any real gaming on this thing.
 

pl4tinum

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Surface Pro might be a little better for someone who might be bringing it to class and whatnot though. This one isn't tiny or anything.
 

BMAN

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Yeah I’ll be doing everything online so don’t think size matters (that’s what she didn’t say)
 

MediumBaller

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I have a Surface Pro right now. The only thing I don't like about it is that it can be hard to type if you're not at a desk or some other kind of flat surface.
 

kookoo

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I've got my good ole reliable Macbook Pro. It's expensive as hell but it lasts me longer than any PC I've ever had and the slowdowns are minimal. Same laptop for 3 years and I'm pretty sure it can go another 3.
 

gourimoko

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Since I’m going back to school, I’ll be needing a new one. My current one is terribly outdated. Any suggestions on what do buy? Surface Pro was suggested to me.

@gourimoko and everyone else that knows

I have quite a few laptops right now and I use all of them:

1) Dell XPS 15 9560 (my primary driver)
2) Lenovo Y510p (my workhorse that I've had for years)
3) MacBook Pro 13 Retina 2014 (simply amazing; my wife's primary driver)
4) Surface Pro 2017 i5 8gb (use it for projects, wife uses it a lot, is switching to this as her primary machine)

The Surface isn't really a laptop though, it's a tablet with a keyboard attachment; however, it is VERY powerful, more powerful even than many ultrabooks and far more powerful than every ARM, Atom, or i3-based ultrabook/notebook.

I've been using the Surface quite a bit for some RF embedded programming and research that I've been doing recently. My wife uses it mostly for art, graphics design, digital painting, and sketching... When using the Microsoft pen (don't use others, like the Bamboo Ink), you get the tilt functionality so you can do shading and gradients without relying on pressure sensitivity..

So if you draw, do graphics design, or web design sketches -- or you do reviews of other people's work (which is what I use it for, to draw on webpage snapshots for developer feedback) then it's great.

But using it as a primary laptop, given it's price ... meh ... I couldn't recommend that.

My Y510p is 5 years old, is using a Haswell 2.8ghz->3.4ghz i7, and it runs circles around a brand new Surface Pro i5. It's not remotely comparable -- and you could probably get a y510p for dirt cheap; especially used... They are inexpensive, yet extremely powerful laptops. They have problems though, like the offset trackpad which sucks -- but they're very large, gaming laptops that are effectively desktop replacements.

The MacBook Pro 13 is just a joy to use... It's lightweight, lacks any bulk, it weighs just a bit more than the Surface Pro and that's with a protective case attached to it, and it's just built to last. My MacBook is 4 years old, a Haswell i7, 16gb RAM; and it's just a perfect computer. I develop all the time on this machine; often preferring it for it's OS X interface which is just a joy to work with, it's well-integrated environment, it's MUCH better battery life than any of my other devices (including the Surface)...

The MacBook Pro is easily the best laptop I own, and I am not an Apple fanboy (I don't use an iPhone if you're wondering, although my wife has the X, I use the Note).

You can get a used 2014 MacBook Pro online for around $500; I know because I just bought another one as a gift. These laptops are ideal for most users; and if you're not techie, OS X is a much better operating system than Windows.... there's just, no comparison.. OS X > Windows for just about everything except gaming and well, Windows-centric software development.

Then there's the XPS 15....

The XPS 15 is a great laptop that's basically an answer to the MacBook Pro but one-ups it hardware-wise and feature-wise. The XPS is considered by many as the best laptop there is, bar none. I personally love the XPS's feature set; however .. it has a host of problems that for me, place it below the MacBook Pro... :(

For one, the cost.. it's just as expensive as a decked out MacBook Pro.. Now, it's a BETTER piece of equipment as far as the individual components go. It has a better screen, better PCIe SSD, etc .. however, those components do not necessarily work better, in real life use, compared to a Mac.

For example, the 4k screen on my laptop (XPS 15) is the best screen there is on any laptop AFAIK -- but it sucks!! :chuckle: Why? Because Windows 10 still cannot fucking render applications and fonts correctly at 4k!!!! Microsoft STILL has not upgraded it's font and bitmap rendered to support what 4k TVs have supported (decent upscaling) for the past 5-6 years.

Having a fast PCIe SSD is great, but, Windows 10 is a space whore... So if you're operating on a 256gb PCIe SSD, well, Windows 10 will want 64GB+ to itself over time .. My Windows installation today is massive .. and I don't mean just /Windows, nono; I mean /Windows, /ProgramData (bullshit), as well as hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys... So if you have 16GB of RAM, well, Windows will want 32GB of disk space for paging and hibernation (it should be able to do this with half the space, the same way Linux and OS X does, but nah.... We're still in the 90s using Windows XP hibernation) .. But all in all my Windows install is 100GB.

Knowing that going in, I had to opt for a 512GB SSD, but you wouldn't need that for a MacOS X machine because the way the operating system works; applications are sandboxed, don't generally have files outside of their own /Applications folder, and even then, usually live within their own Application container (a special kind of directory) ... This is what allows you to drag an app into the trash and every trace of it is gone, rather than having random DLLs and files just cluttering your system.

MacOS X sandboxing is just not a thing on Windows....

The keyboard ... well, I'm not a huge fan of the MacBook Pro grid keyboard; never have been.. The best keyboard I have on a laptop is the y510p, and it has it's problems .. but the XPS keyboard just has such short key travel that it's really not enjoyable to type on for long periods of time.

The trackpad, well, it's great but again, it's still not as good as the MacBook's... People say they've "finally gotten it" but that's marketing b.s., or people who want to finally say that they have .. but they haven't.. For some reason, Apple's trackpads -- once you use them -- are just better, period. There's no denying it.

... Anyway, that's my overall review of these 4 devices ... If I had to score them all 1-10, it'd be something along the lines of:

XPS 15 9560 (i7): (8.5 / 10)
MacBook Pro (i7): (10 / 10)
y510p (2013, i7): (8 / 10)
Surface Pro (2017, i5): (9 / 10)

If you're interested in playing games though, and by games I mean the latest and greatest, and that's going to be a daily thing for you, then the XPS would probably be the best laptop you can get ... It's great for gaming, even connected to a large monitor.

But if you mostly just play games that are not graphically intensive, then you could use a MacBook ... Also, you can attach an external GPU to a MacBook as well, so if you're going to dock your laptop before you game, you could setup a dock with a Thunderbolt-attached eGPU and use that to drive your games... But it's a rather technical solution that I wouldn't necessarily recommend.
 

gourimoko

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I've got my good ole reliable Macbook Pro. It's expensive as hell but it lasts me longer than any PC I've ever had and the slowdowns are minimal. Same laptop for 3 years and I'm pretty sure it can go another 3.

Could go another 6... the MacBook Pro, IMHO, is the best laptop in the world. Since they're so reliable, you can buy a used one that's at least in the Haswell generation, and you're not far off from the latest machines, performance-wise (within 10% on most workloads).
 

el_capitan

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I've got my good ole reliable Macbook Pro. It's expensive as hell but it lasts me longer than any PC I've ever had and the slowdowns are minimal. Same laptop for 3 years and I'm pretty sure it can go another 3.

Agree, I've had mine for 6 years. A few years ago I upgraded the RAM and added a SSD hard drive, it was like getting a brand new computer again. It's still plenty fast for what I use it for.
 

BMAN

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I have quite a few laptops right now and I use all of them:

1) Dell XPS 15 9560 (my primary driver)
2) Lenovo Y510p (my workhorse that I've had for years)
3) MacBook Pro 13 Retina 2014 (simply amazing; my wife's primary driver)
4) Surface Pro 2017 i5 8gb (use it for projects, wife uses it a lot, is switching to this as her primary machine)

The Surface isn't really a laptop though, it's a tablet with a keyboard attachment; however, it is VERY powerful, more powerful even than many ultrabooks and far more powerful than every ARM, Atom, or i3-based ultrabook/notebook.

I've been using the Surface quite a bit for some RF embedded programming and research that I've been doing recently. My wife uses it mostly for art, graphics design, digital painting, and sketching... When using the Microsoft pen (don't use others, like the Bamboo Ink), you get the tilt functionality so you can do shading and gradients without relying on pressure sensitivity..

So if you draw, do graphics design, or web design sketches -- or you do reviews of other people's work (which is what I use it for, to draw on webpage snapshots for developer feedback) then it's great.

But using it as a primary laptop, given it's price ... meh ... I couldn't recommend that.

My Y510p is 5 years old, is using a Haswell 2.8ghz->3.4ghz i7, and it runs circles around a brand new Surface Pro i5. It's not remotely comparable -- and you could probably get a y510p for dirt cheap; especially used... They are inexpensive, yet extremely powerful laptops. They have problems though, like the offset trackpad which sucks -- but they're very large, gaming laptops that are effectively desktop replacements.

The MacBook Pro 13 is just a joy to use... It's lightweight, lacks any bulk, it weighs just a bit more than the Surface Pro and that's with a protective case attached to it, and it's just built to last. My MacBook is 4 years old, a Haswell i7, 16gb RAM; and it's just a perfect computer. I develop all the time on this machine; often preferring it for it's OS X interface which is just a joy to work with, it's well-integrated environment, it's MUCH better battery life than any of my other devices (including the Surface)...

The MacBook Pro is easily the best laptop I own, and I am not an Apple fanboy (I don't use an iPhone if you're wondering, although my wife has the X, I use the Note).

You can get a used 2014 MacBook Pro online for around $500; I know because I just bought another one as a gift. These laptops are ideal for most users; and if you're not techie, OS X is a much better operating system than Windows.... there's just, no comparison.. OS X > Windows for just about everything except gaming and well, Windows-centric software development.

Then there's the XPS 15....

The XPS 15 is a great laptop that's basically an answer to the MacBook Pro but one-ups it hardware-wise and feature-wise. The XPS is considered by many as the best laptop there is, bar none. I personally love the XPS's feature set; however .. it has a host of problems that for me, place it below the MacBook Pro... :(

For one, the cost.. it's just as expensive as a decked out MacBook Pro.. Now, it's a BETTER piece of equipment as far as the individual components go. It has a better screen, better PCIe SSD, etc .. however, those components do not necessarily work better, in real life use, compared to a Mac.

For example, the 4k screen on my laptop (XPS 15) is the best screen there is on any laptop AFAIK -- but it sucks!! :chuckle: Why? Because Windows 10 still cannot fucking render applications and fonts correctly at 4k!!!! Microsoft STILL has not upgraded it's font and bitmap rendered to support what 4k TVs have supported (decent upscaling) for the past 5-6 years.

Having a fast PCIe SSD is great, but, Windows 10 is a space whore... So if you're operating on a 256gb PCIe SSD, well, Windows 10 will want 64GB+ to itself over time .. My Windows installation today is massive .. and I don't mean just /Windows, nono; I mean /Windows, /ProgramData (bullshit), as well as hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys... So if you have 16GB of RAM, well, Windows will want 32GB of disk space for paging and hibernation (it should be able to do this with half the space, the same way Linux and OS X does, but nah.... We're still in the 90s using Windows XP hibernation) .. But all in all my Windows install is 100GB.

Knowing that going in, I had to opt for a 512GB SSD, but you wouldn't need that for a MacOS X machine because the way the operating system works; applications are sandboxed, don't generally have files outside of their own /Applications folder, and even then, usually live within their own Application container (a special kind of directory) ... This is what allows you to drag an app into the trash and every trace of it is gone, rather than having random DLLs and files just cluttering your system.

MacOS X sandboxing is just not a thing on Windows....

The keyboard ... well, I'm not a huge fan of the MacBook Pro grid keyboard; never have been.. The best keyboard I have on a laptop is the y510p, and it has it's problems .. but the XPS keyboard just has such short key travel that it's really not enjoyable to type on for long periods of time.

The trackpad, well, it's great but again, it's still not as good as the MacBook's... People say they've "finally gotten it" but that's marketing b.s., or people who want to finally say that they have .. but they haven't.. For some reason, Apple's trackpads -- once you use them -- are just better, period. There's no denying it.

... Anyway, that's my overall review of these 4 devices ... If I had to score them all 1-10, it'd be something along the lines of:

XPS 15 9560 (i7): (8.5 / 10)
MacBook Pro (i7): (10 / 10)
y510p (2013, i7): (8 / 10)
Surface Pro (2017, i5): (9 / 10)

If you're interested in playing games though, and by games I mean the latest and greatest, and that's going to be a daily thing for you, then the XPS would probably be the best laptop you can get ... It's great for gaming, even connected to a large monitor.

But if you mostly just play games that are not graphically intensive, then you could use a MacBook ... Also, you can attach an external GPU to a MacBook as well, so if you're going to dock your laptop before you game, you could setup a dock with a Thunderbolt-attached eGPU and use that to drive your games... But it's a rather technical solution that I wouldn't necessarily recommend.
Holy shit that’s a lot of info :chuckle:

Ok so I’ll be majoring in Computer Science and that’s what the laptop is primarily for. Maybe a game here or there.

I’m just not familiar with Mac computers. Never have been a fan even when I have tested them out.
 

gourimoko

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Holy shit that’s a lot of info :chuckle:

Ok so I’ll be majoring in Computer Science and that’s what the laptop is primarily for. Maybe a game here or there.

I’m just not familiar with Mac computers. Never have been a fan even when I have tested them out.

Computer science is a broad topic... You've got to think about what you'll be doing as an end/goal to such a degree.. If that's web development, you will find many web developers switched to Mac OS X from Windows because it natively supports a Unix environment (because it is Unix). So there's no need for messy abstraction layers of virtualization to get Unix-compatible code working on Mac OS X -- it will work out of the box.

For research and data analysis, I'd probably stick with a PC... But you can run MATLAB, Mathematica, R, etc all on the Mac natively; and Python is much easier to use in *nix than Windows, IMHO.

Believe me when I say, I'm not an Apple-guy.. I do not like their business model, and closed/walled-garden approach. I dislike the App Store, and I dislike needing an Apple ID for anything... But Mac OS X is simply a more powerful and more robust operating system than Windows for most tasks. I will say Windows is more versatile, more customizable, more configurable to do whatever you want it to do; but, if that's the goal, then Linux is right there too.

Also, there's Mac build quality... It's second to none.. Those machines are just built to last, unlike so many other cheap, plastic laptops where individual parts were cost reduced to cut lifespan while shaving a few cents on each piece... That adds up over time, causing most laptops to feel like shit after a few years. But not a MacBook...

There is DEFINITELY a learning curve coming from Windows though... but again, it depends on your use-case..

If you were to tell me that you'll be doing a lot of .NET / Windows Desktop development, I would obviously tell you to get a Windows machine. If you said you were doing mobile or web development though, I would say a Mac is probably preferred, IMHO. Windows is best, IMHO, for Windows development; but most other things, I think the Mac works either equally as well, if not better.

And to give you an idea; I came up with DOS 3.3.. I've been a Microsoft user since 1989, and I've used pretty much every major OS there is... It's still surprising to me writing this out, but yeah, OS X is worth the trouble...

With all that being said though, if you're looking to spend $1k on a Surface Pro, you could very likely get a great Windows laptop or a used MacBook Pro, so you've got options for sure..
 

kookoo

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Could go another 6... the MacBook Pro, IMHO, is the best laptop in the world. Since they're so reliable, you can buy a used one that's at least in the Haswell generation, and you're not far off from the latest machines, performance-wise (within 10% on most workloads).

The only thing my Macbook Pro ever really struggles with is EXTREMELY large Photoshop documents (like 700 MB) and Indesign files with a ton of linked images. Had a document last week with 70 images which were about 10 megs each. And the fan runs wild when I have too many tabs on Chrome. But that's because Chrome is coded horribly for Macs.

Also, just realized it's 2018 so it's been 4 years... Retina 15-inch late 2013. 2 GHz Intel Core i7. 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3. Intel Iris Pro 1536 MB.

Console gamer though, so I can't speak to that end, but assume there is no support.

What are you studying?
 

kookoo

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Computer science is a broad topic... You've got to think about what you'll be doing as an end/goal to such a degree.. If that's web development, you will find many web developers switched to Mac OS X from Windows because it natively supports a Unix environment (because it is Unix). So there's no need for messy abstraction layers of virtualization to get Unix-compatible code working on Mac OS X -- it will work out of the box.

For research and data analysis, I'd probably stick with a PC... But you can run MATLAB, Mathematica, R, etc all on the Mac natively; and Python is much easier to use in *nix than Windows, IMHO.

Believe me when I say, I'm not an Apple-guy.. I do not like their business model, and closed/walled-garden approach. I dislike the App Store, and I dislike needing an Apple ID for anything... But Mac OS X is simply a more powerful and more robust operating system than Windows for most tasks. I will say Windows is more versatile, more customizable, more configurable to do whatever you want it to do; but, if that's the goal, then Linux is right there too.

Also, there's Mac build quality... It's second to none.. Those machines are just built to last, unlike so many other cheap, plastic laptops where individual parts were cost reduced to cut lifespan while shaving a few cents on each piece... That adds up over time, causing most laptops to feel like shit after a few years. But not a MacBook...

There is DEFINITELY a learning curve coming from Windows though... but again, it depends on your use-case..

If you were to tell me that you'll be doing a lot of .NET / Windows Desktop development, I would obviously tell you to get a Windows machine. If you said you were doing mobile or web development though, I would say a Mac is probably preferred, IMHO. Windows is best, IMHO, for Windows development; but most other things, I think the Mac works either equally as well, if not better.

And to give you an idea; I came up with DOS 3.3.. I've been a Microsoft user since 1989, and I've used pretty much every major OS there is... It's still surprising to me writing this out, but yeah, OS X is worth the trouble...

With all that being said though, if you're looking to spend $1k on a Surface Pro, you could very likely get a great Windows laptop or a used MacBook Pro, so you've got options for sure..

The bolded is an important thing to think about. Once you get into the Apple ecosystem, it is EXTREMELY tough to get out. Especially if you're lazy/appreciate cohesive devices, go with a Mac. Basically all of my music, messaging, photos, contacts, calls, video chat, ect come through both my Mac and iPhone. Having an Android on a Mac is a pain in the ass. Even right now, I can send a text at work without people knowing I'm doing it because I look hard at work, while I'm asking my friend where we should go to watch tonight's games, haha. I also do work...

But if you have an Android, you might be better off with a PC. The openness of the Mac and ability to upgrade aren't great, since they are all glued down components. But if you get a decent setup, you won't need to upgrade at all.

A positive aspect if you get Apple Care, is their customer service is incredible. On the downside, it is FKN expensive to fix if you don't have Apple Care. I had my motherboard get fried and they replaced it for free with Apple Care. I had the power button get fried out of warranty and they had to replace the entire keyboard because of the unibody... Ended up paying $300 just for that (and then someone dropped a tea on it months later, frying the entire system up).

If you've ever had to deal with HP, Toshiba, Samsung or even just Microsoft... It is painful most of the time.
 

BMAN

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Computer science is a broad topic... You've got to think about what you'll be doing as an end/goal to such a degree.. If that's web development, you will find many web developers switched to Mac OS X from Windows because it natively supports a Unix environment (because it is Unix). So there's no need for messy abstraction layers of virtualization to get Unix-compatible code working on Mac OS X -- it will work out of the box.

For research and data analysis, I'd probably stick with a PC... But you can run MATLAB, Mathematica, R, etc all on the Mac natively; and Python is much easier to use in *nix than Windows, IMHO.

Believe me when I say, I'm not an Apple-guy.. I do not like their business model, and closed/walled-garden approach. I dislike the App Store, and I dislike needing an Apple ID for anything... But Mac OS X is simply a more powerful and more robust operating system than Windows for most tasks. I will say Windows is more versatile, more customizable, more configurable to do whatever you want it to do; but, if that's the goal, then Linux is right there too.

Also, there's Mac build quality... It's second to none.. Those machines are just built to last, unlike so many other cheap, plastic laptops where individual parts were cost reduced to cut lifespan while shaving a few cents on each piece... That adds up over time, causing most laptops to feel like shit after a few years. But not a MacBook...

There is DEFINITELY a learning curve coming from Windows though... but again, it depends on your use-case..

If you were to tell me that you'll be doing a lot of .NET / Windows Desktop development, I would obviously tell you to get a Windows machine. If you said you were doing mobile or web development though, I would say a Mac is probably preferred, IMHO. Windows is best, IMHO, for Windows development; but most other things, I think the Mac works either equally as well, if not better.

And to give you an idea; I came up with DOS 3.3.. I've been a Microsoft user since 1989, and I've used pretty much every major OS there is... It's still surprising to me writing this out, but yeah, OS X is worth the trouble...

With all that being said though, if you're looking to spend $1k on a Surface Pro, you could very likely get a great Windows laptop or a used MacBook Pro, so you've got options for sure..
I haven’t exactly figured out what I’ll be going into just yet. Either cyber security or some type of programming. They both interest me

I do in fact have an iPhone though. I’ve had android before as well
 

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