Need a Windows laptop recommendation (for demo development)

category: offtopic [glöplog]
I have a 2014 Alienware 14, processing power and gpu is great for a laptop, but the build quality is horrible, my keys keep breaking and the touch pad doesn't work half the time anymore (need to use an external mouse).

I'm going to get a Razer Blade Stealth next most likey (128gb), it doesn't have a dedicated gpu in it, but they have a dock which lets you plug in whichever discrete gpu you want. And its an ultrabook otherwise so easier to carry around.

The new Razer Blade Pro is supposed to have a GTX 1080 in it, but its a bit more pricey.
added on the 2016-11-08 23:56:07 by sohx1 sohx1
My suggestion is Lenovo p50 with docking station and pci-e thunderbolt expansion

first of all p50 supports Xeon mobile ;) and it has Nvidia onbouard
then max ram is 64gb
it has backlit keyboard
weigth is about 2.5kg
p50s version has 20h battery and it is lighter
pcie ssd hard drive is 3000mb per second, you can set 2 pcie sdd and one sata(1TB ssd and sata 2TB would be cool)
it supports thunderbolt thus pci-e expansion will allow you to use latest graphic cards
screen could be touchable and it starts from 1980 fullhd (4K is max)
you could fit in $2k in usa without a pcie expansion and a docking

I was using very light ultrabooks and a desktop but I am going to use that version and get rid of my desktop pc.

I hope you will like my choice, good luck
added on the 2016-11-09 01:11:31 by keen keen
I bought an XMG P303 from mysn.de almost 3 years ago and I love it.
This one was based on the Clevo W230ST board and in my point of view they're better than Alienware and MSI. Clevo boards are used when re-sellers build custom made laptops per customer.

So basically, you want a Clevo.
And I recommend mysn.de (check out their XMG line) because they've given me great support.
added on the 2016-11-09 03:22:26 by Psychad Psychad
Another thought: High-DPI ("retina") displays might seem tempting, but old or obscure software will probably still cause problems by not scaling up.

Unfortunately, it's not just old and obscure software. A lot of software on Windows is terrible in that regard. Even some of Windows' own applications are not DPI agnostic. So yeah, don't buy 4k 13 inch laptops (yet). You gonna have a bad time.
added on the 2016-11-09 10:07:23 by tomaes tomaes
Does anyone have som input on how the trackpad on the XPS'es works? Is it as good as the macbook / magic trackpad (not necessarily with gestures) or is it as horrible as they've always been on PC?

.. and what about heat management? Will an XPS be blowing the fans at full speed whenever MSVC is compiling?

(Mac person here who's not happy with the new Macbook Pro at all).
added on the 2016-11-09 11:01:49 by leb00ster leb00ster
I'm looking for a new laptop myself and quite like the Dell XPS 13 9360 (note: not the older 9350) series (here's a tests). They are light and compact, have i7 Kaby Lake processors already, good displays, backlit keyboards, great battery life and a full USB3.1 Gen2 aka Thunderbolt 3 port, so you can plug in external GPUs (which are actually supposed to work for the first time in history) or docking stations.
The only downside is the iGPU, but seriously, the HD 620 has all the features you'd need, and only about half the speed of a Nvidia 940M(X) that a lot of "better" laptops of this 13" class have. If you want to go all in on an dedicated GPU you need to make compromises in regards to money, form factor, noise and battery life, I'm not willing to make. I want a slick, portable and silent development laptop, not a 2.5kg brick thing (see Razor etc.).
I will also probably go for the FullHD version, because 1920x1080 is enough for such a small screen and high DPI is still somewhat problematic. Usually those displays also use less energy in comparison to the higher resolution versions.
I'm currently waiting if some configurations with Iris / Iris Pro GPUs (HD 640 / 650 / 680) show up, because I'm not in a hurry. These have more execution units and / or integrated eDRAM and should reach performance equal to, or better than the Nvidia 940M(X) GPUs.
On the plus side, these Laptops are already fully supported in Linuxes (they even sell a "Developer Edition" of the 9360 with Ubuntu 16.04), which is nice if you want to dump the Windows 10 crap or even only just dual-boot from time to time....
added on the 2016-11-09 11:12:32 by raer raer
I'll just want to drop a note here that high res displays severely impact battery life. Eg the Dell XPS 13 comes in a Full HD flavor and a Quad HD flavor, and the first has around 10 hours of battery life according to reviews, and the second more like 5 to 6. Same specs otherwise, other than the Full HD one doesn't have a touch screen (which IMO is nuts if you're running Windows - touch is awesome).
added on the 2016-11-09 12:07:00 by skrebbel skrebbel
By the way, did anyone try a Surface Book? It seems awfully perfect for Preacher's specs, except the price ofc, and the fact that it's hard to come by in many European countries.
added on the 2016-11-09 12:08:58 by skrebbel skrebbel
4k as already said is a bad idea. It might be good for development but will be terrible for (pre)viewing demos. You'll either get terrible performance, or blurred display from upscaling lower resolution to 4k, or a tiny display if you're lucky enough to get drivers/windows to display anything in centered mode instead of "keep aspect ratio" upscaling.
added on the 2016-11-09 14:09:21 by rutra80 rutra80
Yeah. The surface book looks good, but it's 2400$ for the smallest version (8GB RAM / 256GB SSD)?! Wtf.
If you can wait, probably more 13" Laptops with the new generation of Nvidia GPUs will appear in the coming months...
added on the 2016-11-09 18:03:16 by raer raer
Another +1 for Thinkpad P50 series. I have the P50s and this had been great for demo dev, even with just the quadro, at least for windowed / 720p dev
added on the 2016-11-09 18:23:10 by visy visy
I got donated a 2k€ MacBook Pro Retina 2015 from my current mobile-app-client for free, where I bought a PCI-e Thunderbolt2 docking station (4x PCIe 2.0 lanes) and a very compact NVIDIA Geforce GTX1060 6GB graphics card for this MacBook on my own cost.

But I've test it not yet fully in action, because the ATX PSU power-bypass-connector (I don't like the alternative paperclip-solution) and the special ATX PSU 6pin-to-12v-DV-barrel-cable (for to power the AKiTiO Thunder2 PCIe TB2 dock itself) are still on the road as post-packages to me.

But as soon as I have everything ready here, I will report, how good or how bad this one TB2-based eGPU setup then runs.
added on the 2016-11-10 02:00:14 by BeRo BeRo
Enough of each relevant number like SSD, GHZ, RAM, ROM

So you're saying a major criterion for you is that your next laptop will have enough ROM?
added on the 2016-11-10 03:47:49 by lollol lollol
dont most people with laptops plug them to screens at home and at office?

reckon there is no need to buy something with huge displays anymore since most of the time you're working on something you'll be with dual monitors anyways.

smaller screens saves a bit in power consumption and general cost.
added on the 2016-11-10 04:03:32 by psenough psenough
4k is great for demo development - you can run your demotool's viewport in full HD and still have room for the rest of the UI on screen!
added on the 2016-11-10 09:18:22 by smash smash
dont most people with laptops plug them to screens at home and at office?

No. (Although I don't have any more data on that than what you provided)
I am also looking for a notebook replacement, but I really, really like this (now getting old) lg i7 with stereoscopic full hd screen. It gave me too much fun. Want to get another notebook with stereo screen and full hd as well.
added on the 2016-11-11 21:18:33 by imerso imerso
Here my status-update o my eGPU setup with a NVIDIA Geforce GTX1060 on 2015 MacBook Pro Retina 13":

It works mostly flawless under Arch Linux with primusrun, most recent closed-source Linux NVIDIA graphics card drivers and boot kernel parameters "pci=nocrs,realloc", for to break through the by-Apple-ACPI-DSDT-predefined 32-bit PCI-express virtual address space room limit.

But with Windows it's mostly a no-go, because I've with Windows and the eGPU setup a boot success chance only of circa 5%, in the remaining 95% of the tries the Windows boot process hangs at a infinite boot spinning wheel animation. And the other issues with Windows and this eGPU setup are (when the Windows boot process with the eGPU was successful, but which is very rarely the case):

1. Only Direct3D and Vulkan stuff works with the external GTX1060, but OpenGL not, so OpenGL stuff runs then still on the Intel Iris Pro 6100 iGPU.
2. No Optimus (at least in the moment with the 372.70 driver version), so a external display on the GTX1060 is needed here under Windows
3. Maximal working NVIDIA driver version 372.70

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebZ5ngio5y4
added on the 2016-11-13 12:29:04 by BeRo BeRo
I was just looking for a laptop for myself. My criteria were:

  • comfortable keyboard, i.e. easily accessible arrows/Home/End/PgUp/PgDn, no everyone-stuffs-a-numpad, no Thinkpad-Fn-where-you-expect-Ctrl, no flat-unresponsive-new-MacBook "keyboard"
  • SSD (yeah, I know I can replace an HDD myself)
  • decent screen as I'm going to use it sometimes
  • standard ports (sorry Apple)

Maximum portability wasn't my goal, as I already have an ASUS 1225C.

I ordered a Lenovo Yoga 700 with i7-6500U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce 940M. It has a touchscreen which you can flip 360 degrees, but I don't care.

What I care about is:
BB Image

It's not ideal:

  • there's a stupid issue with the Esc key but I'm hoping to resolve it with a BIOS update
  • 256 GB isn't much for VMs
  • it's my first Lenovo (used several Toshiba, Dell, Asus before) so I'm a little worried about reliability
added on the 2016-11-15 10:15:14 by 0xF 0xF
Who can offer me a high end mega super MacBook Pro 2016 ?
Computers are sexed, Lenovo's are shits.
added on the 2016-11-15 11:10:47 by Barti Barti
Having watched the keynote, new MBPs are "best absolutely incredible amazing exciting awesome" rather than "high end mega super sexed".
added on the 2016-11-15 12:53:43 by 0xF 0xF
Imo they are absolutely overpriced craputers for yuppie hipsters that don't need F-Keys or USB ports and never want to upgrade they harddrive space. In 2 years you just throw the thing away or connect a USB harddrive. It makes me sad that people actually still buy their stuff. They run out of ideas and thus try to be revolutionary by "designing away" a headphone jack. Yay Apple.
added on the 2016-11-16 10:49:55 by raer raer
Haha well said raer.
added on the 2016-11-16 11:16:01 by rutra80 rutra80
0xF: ugh, that keyboard layout is a trainwreck. And it's missing the one thing that was always great about lenovos/thinkpads: the nipple.
added on the 2016-11-16 11:18:02 by cupe cupe
The nipple? Here it was called the clit...
added on the 2016-11-16 12:49:21 by rutra80 rutra80