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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, I guess general advice isn't exactly what I'm looking for, but appreciated none the less

Background
  • Wife's laptop has been our staple in the home (both of us have smartphones and share a nexus 7, but prefer a laptop to tablets)
  • It bit the dust
  • Eyes peeled on new laptop tech for a while

Must Haves
  • 13"-15" screen
  • 802.11ac - "out of the box" not required, but at least upgradable to Intel 7260AC
  • minimum 8 hrs battery life
  • 1600x900 minimum
  • SSD and 8GB RAM preferable


Here's the shortlist so far
  • late 2013 rMBP
  • Asus UX-301LA
  • anything I've overlooked
 

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I got a great HP 4150s i3-3110M with intel HD4000 graphics for $500 a while back. It comes with an installation disc for Win7x64 and has no bloatware either. See if you can find one, maybe on evilbay as they don't seem to be listed on TigerDirect anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A few inspirons out there come close and I know first hand they're upgradeable to intel 7260ac, but after using one for a while now at work I'm unimpressed by their fan noise. Also, getting the battery requirement requires a silly looking battery to be used which "extends" beyond the case
 

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Just saw the 801.11ac requirement. This laptop doesn't have that "out of the box."
 

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I've had HP and now use Asus laptops. I've seen two HP laptops die due to poor cooling design. I fixed one be redoing the thermal paste of the CPU and GPU, but it died again a couple months later so I gutted it and parted it out on eBay. Even if I was able to fix it again the poor design would come back to haunt it. Then a co-worker brought me his HP laptop saying the battery wasn't working, but he didn't understand having it plugged in skipped the need for the battery. Anyway, his was dead to for the same overheating issue.


I have an Asus 17" gaming laptop for myself and my wife has a basic 15" Asus laptop. I'd get another Asus, but will never buy or recommend an HP. I would also skip a Dell, but that's just me.


Be aware that many laptop makers (especially HP) have a hardware whitelist in their BIOS. That means if you put in an "unsupported" Wi-Fi card then it will fail to recognize it. I put the N card from my dead HP into an older HP my kids use and it failed due to the BIOS whitelist. Luckily there are BIOS hacks that let you overwrite the whitelist and I was able to proceed. Again, screw HP. I can throw anything into my Asus.
 

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I'm mobile but here's a link to cdw's mobile site with the specs. $620 now. My laptop has appreciated apparently.
 

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That may be the case, bryan, but I've had good service from this one. Of course I haven't pushed it nor tried to install an add in wireless adapter either.
 

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I have an Asus laptop and love it.


I installed a SSD and changed the wifi card. With the wifi card you have to keep in mind how many antennas does it need. My laptop only had 2 antennas, I had to add the third. Getting the lid apart to add the third was a pita, so I installed the antenna under the palmrest.


If your buying a laptop get the 15" you already have a tablet. You also really need to question yourself if you need an i7 in a laptop.
 

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My Asus is the G75VW-BBK5 and I installed a 256GB Samsung Pro SSD, 16GB total RAM, and the DVD-RW for the Blu-ray drive from the dead HP. Again, the Blu-ray from the HP is acting up and not reliably reading discs. I would upgrade the WiFi card from the 2.4GHz N, but I have a hard wired Gigabit connection where I use it 99% of the time.
 

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I suggested my sister in Law get the Asus and she seems to love it aside from some Windows 8 growing pains.


Don't even think about any laptop without an SSD drive unless you will add one yourself. In which case dual HDD bays is a nice feature, since you could upgrade yourself later and keep the storage drive that came stock for storage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_Steb  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested/0_100#post_24451303


I have an Asus laptop and love it.


I installed a SSD and changed the wifi card. With the wifi card you have to keep in mind how many antennas does it need. My laptop only had 2 antennas, I had to add the third. Getting the lid apart to add the third was a pita, so I installed the antenna under the palmrest.


If your buying a laptop get the 15" you already have a tablet. You also really need to question yourself if you need an i7 in a laptop.

Well, it's not that I "want" an i7, but I did want to try crystalwell. Those were the only two choices for it, and both have better battery life than everything in their categories (due somewhat to albeit larger batteries)


Also, swapping out card for the Intel 7260-AC is not a big deal for me, so I'm up for that. I never considered prying open the lid and installing an extra antenna
That's more hardcore than I want to get with a brand new purchase. Also, the intel AC card is 2x2, so as long as I'm swapping it with a 2x2 N card it should be simple. Which card were you swapping in?


Also, which Asus would you recommend?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested/0_100#post_24451447


I suggested my sister in Law get the Asus and she seems to love it aside from some Windows 8 growing pains.


Don't even think about any laptop without an SSD drive unless you will add one yourself. In which case dual HDD bays is a nice feature, since you could upgrade yourself later and keep the storage drive that came stock for storage.

When you say "get the Asus" do you mean the one I listed in the OP? UX-301LA? It's fairly new, and the only reservation I have about it currently is that it's more expensive than the 13" rMBP, but doesn't have a PCIe SSD



Also, I have no issue adding an SSD myself. Done it a few times, not an issue in Acer, Asus, Dell, or HP (from what I've seen). Though I've heard some Samsung/Toshiba models have too thin of an HDD to easily be replaced with standard SSDs
 

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i7 and 8 hour battery life, can those 2 be used in the same sentence?


My view on laptops is most likely different from most people's, which results in me buying a $200 Compaq laptop and running it into the ground...


I view laptops as something you use on the couch to check up on stuff while you are watching TV. I wouldn't dare to do any meaningful work on it. Well, maybe when on travel when there are no alternatives. We have our desktops for that.


Tablets are just a toy to kill time while you are waiting for something.
 

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They sell different thickness SSD drives (I think 9mm and 7mm) so you would just need to double check what you need before buying. More than likely it would be the thicker one unless you are getting one of the ultra thin model laptops.


For my wife's laptop I added an extra SSD I had by getting one of those optical bay adapter kits. I pulled her DVD drive and put in the HDD and put the SSD where the HDD was installed. For her laptop it wouldn't let the boot drive be the optical bay's SATA port for some reason. You just pop off the DVD drive's cover plate and put it on the adapter. She hasn't once complained that she needed the DVD drive. Worst case you would simply buy a 2.5" optical drive USB enclosure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24451701


i7 and 8 hour battery life, can those 2 be used in the same sentence?


My view on laptops is most likely different from most people's, which results in me buying a $200 Compaq laptop and running it into the ground...


I view laptops as something you use on the couch to check up on stuff while you are watching TV. I wouldn't dare to do any meaningful work on it. Well, maybe when on travel when there are no alternatives. We have our desktops for that.


Tablets are just a toy to kill time while you are waiting for something.

At one point I would have agreed. Now my office that had my desktop is now a playroom. Thus my laptop is on the higher end gaming end to make up for that loss.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested/0_100#post_24451701


i7 and 8 hour battery life, can those 2 be used in the same sentence?


My view on laptops is most likely different from most people's, which results in me buying a $200 Compaq laptop and running it into the ground...


I view laptops as something you use on the couch to check up on stuff while you are watching TV. I wouldn't dare to do any meaningful work on it. Well, maybe when on travel when there are no alternatives. We have our desktops for that.


Tablets are just a toy to kill time while you are waiting for something.

Same with me. I bought a very high end laptop way back in the DDR2 days, (it was one of first laptops with DDR3) it's a dual core Intel (before i3 existed) and with an SSD for the boot drive it's still pretty viable today. Equal I'd say to a Celeron or Pentium low end model today ($250). It's still plenty. I would never try to do anything serious on it, I would get too frustrated. Plus I have three other machines that are modern quad cores in the house. I'm very picky. I need to have my big monitors, nice keyboard and high end mouse. I get frustrated if I am doing anything meaningful on a laptop. Laptops and tablets are for email, web surfing, online shopping etc... I can'd actually do much on them. So I don't need ultra high resolution screen, or powerful i7. Just give me an SSD so I don't have to burn it and I am happy. My laptop is actually 1200p (1920x1200) which was very high end back then but it sucks. Even at 17" the text is too small. I'd rather a simple 720p or 900p screen. 1080p perhaps, but at small screen sizes it's hard to read text.
 

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8 hour battery life? Macbook Air will probably be the only one who can do that. Actually I know that the battery holds a charge that long. My sister has one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24451821


They sell different thickness SSD drives (I think 9mm and 7mm) so you would just need to double check what you need before buying. More than likely it would be the thicker one unless you are getting one of the ultra thin model laptops.


For my wife's laptop I added an extra SSD I had by getting one of those optical bay adapter kits. I pulled her DVD drive and put in the HDD and put the SSD where the HDD was installed. For her laptop it wouldn't let the boot drive be the optical bay's SATA port for some reason. You just pop off the DVD drive's cover plate and put it on the adapter. She hasn't once complained that she needed the DVD drive. Worst case you would simply buy a 2.5" optical drive USB enclosure.

At one point I would have agreed. Now my office that had my desktop is now a playroom. Thus my laptop is on the higher end gaming end to make up for that loss.

Once you get used to dual 27" monitors, full keyboard and mouse (I actually prefer trackball to a mouse) you can't get any meaningful work done on a laptop, no matter how fast or how big it is.


A buddy of mine, who does a lot of CAD work at home, can't believe that I only have 2 monitors, he has a 4 monitor set up.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24453121


Once you get used to dual 27" monitors, full keyboard and mouse (I actually prefer trackball to a mouse) you can't get any meaningful work done on a laptop, no matter how fast or how big it is.


A buddy of mine, who does a lot of CAD work at home, can't believe that I only have 2 monitors, he has a 4 monitor set up.

I do CAD at work on a 27" and 24". I don't want to do meaningful work at home.
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24453823

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueiedgod  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24453121


Once you get used to dual 27" monitors, full keyboard and mouse (I actually prefer trackball to a mouse) you can't get any meaningful work done on a laptop, no matter how fast or how big it is.


A buddy of mine, who does a lot of CAD work at home, can't believe that I only have 2 monitors, he has a 4 monitor set up.

I do CAD at work on a 27" and 24". I don't want to do meaningful work at home.

Ripping Blu-rays is meaningful work!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sammy2  /t/1521391/new-laptop-advice-requested#post_24453862


Ripping Blu-rays is meaningful work!

And you need dual 27"s for that? I do just fine on my 17" laptop. I could hook it up to an external if I had a desk.
 

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Of course not. I have a single 22" monitor on my PC but more sceen area permits more open windows at the same time too.
 
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