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  1. #1

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    Looking for a new system

    I'm looking to change the way that I use my system - and hoping to consolidate into only one system (I currently have 3).

    I primarily do BSOD analysis and surf the web a lot.
    I occasionally play the latest FPS games on low resolution (due to eye problems I don't need the detail)
    I occasionally travel and will lug a laptop to the sessions that I attend.

    What I'm looking for is suggestions for a laptop that'll do all this, and will be easy to tote around the conferences that I attend.
    Also, it'll primarily be plugged in (at home) to my 32" monitor and I'll use USB keyboard and trackball while there.

    I'll need a large screen, but realize that I'll have to balance that off against portability. My current laptop has a 13" screen, which is about the limit of usability at 800x600.

    Budget is about $1000 - but am willing to go as high as $2500 if I have to.

    Your thoughts on this?

    I don't need a touchscreen, but Win8 is a must.
    I'd like an illuminated keyboard
    I'd also like a second hard drive bay - but that's not essential as I can easily swap HDD's (if the case is easy to open).
    I do plan on moving to an SSD in the near future (probably before Win9 comes out).

    I'm also wondering about waiting for 6 months to a year in order to let Win8 mature.


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  2. #2
    Wrench97's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    I just bought the wife a Samsung i7/GT640 Nvidia for less then $1000 from BB
    > 700Z5C-S02 - OVERVIEW | SAMSUNG

    The little I've used it it works well she likes it so far.
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  3. #3
    LilBambi's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    If you are going from 3 computers to one, I would get as much power in the CPUs as possible, maybe Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM and as much hard drive as you can, at least 1-2 TB onboard. Or a smaller more expensive SSD drive and an external hard drive for the rest, maybe?

    The reason I say this is that you will likely be needing or at least wanting to use VMs. And you need the power and RAM for that as well as hard drive space.
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    Bambi
    If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology. Bruce Schneier

  4. #4
    GZ's Avatar
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        AMD PhenomII x6 (1100T)
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        HP DVD 1270i SATA DVD RW
      • Power Supply:
        Corsair 850TX
      • Case:
        Antec 300
      • Cooling:
        Coolermaster V8 / 2x 12CM intake / 1x 12CM rear exhaust / 1x 14CM top exhaust
      • Display:
        Acer 23in 1920x1080 / Acer 20in
      • Operating System:
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    There are a lot of factors here... I am usually pretty good at picking out decent laptops for people based on their needs....

    I know that you will want something powerful and reliable, as well as have the features you want...

    I am having an issue with finding Laptops with Backlit keys... They are usually optional in customized systems and come pretty standard in gaming systems.

    I would suggest going for a customized PC...

    Dell, Sager, Toshiba and a few others have customizable laptops available for direct order...

    There is also the fully-customizable gaming/professional laptops from Origin PC. ORIGIN PC - Custom Computers - Gaming Laptops and Desktops (I am going the Origin route when I save enough money) Unfortunately, they start @ $1500-ish.

    I would, personally, go with a 15" screen... I have found them to be portable enough for travel, unless you want to use them in airplanes or busses.... Without being too bulky and/or heavy.

    From searching Newegg, I did come across one laptop that looks like it meets your specs pretty nicely, with dedicated video...

    DELL XPS XPS 15 (XPS15-1579sLV) Notebook Intel Core i5 3210M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 1600 32GB SSD 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD±R/RW NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M - Newegg.com
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    "Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."

    J.R.R. Tolkien - The Silmarillion

  5. #5
    LilBambi's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    That is a nice one GZ.

    I found a nice one a bit more along the lines of Intel Core i7 but not quite as much RAM as I mentioned (12GB instead of 16GB) but still a great deal:

    Its 17.3-inch Full HD 1080p TruBrite LED-backlit display is complemented by built-in premium Harman/Kardon speakers tuned with SRS Premium Sound 3D sound enhancement technology. And it delivers distinctive and durable styling with its Black Widow Styling in diamond-textured aluminum and raised-tile keyboard enhanced with red LED backlighting.

    The Qosmio X875 (model X875-Q7190) is packed with powerful computing resources, including a SuperMulti drive that can burn a plethora of disc formats, and plenty of ports and storage to give you the freedom to expand, or hold more files and media. It's also outfitted with four USB 3.0 ports (two of them with Sleep and Charge capabilities), an HDMI video output, and Bluetooth connectivity for wireless audio streaming to speakers or gaming headphones.
    $1299.99 and free shipping at Amazon

    Toshiba Qosmio X875-Q7190 17.3-Inch Laptop (Black Widow Styling in Diamond-Textured Aluminum)
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    Bambi
    If you think technology can solve your security problems, then you don't understand the problems and you don't understand the technology. Bruce Schneier

  6. #6
    Tekno Venus's Avatar
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      • Manufacturer:
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        500GB Samsung 850 EVO, 2TB Seagate HDD
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        Dell U2715H - 2160x1440 27 inch
      • Operating System:
        Windows 10 Pro x64

    Re: Looking for a new system

    Hey Carrona,

    Here are some of my recommendations.

    Firstly, the Dell XPS 15 GZ mentioned (it's the l521x model BTW) is the successor to mine and is a nice machine. HOWEVER, it has some MAJOR WiFi reception issues and thermal issues resulting in severe throttling. Many reviews and forums are reporting this issue:

    Review Dell XPS 15 (L521X) Notebook - NotebookCheck.net Reviews (very detailed, comprehensive review)
    AnandTech | Dell XPS 15 L521X: A Detailed First Look
    XPS 15 L521X WiFi Test Results

    That's enough to put me off it. It's lovely to look at and has a great screen but those issues are a problem. I don't know if they're fixed, but I doubt it, it's a design flaw IMHO.

    Custom build laptops come at a premium but are normally nice. Many custom companies base their laptops around a Clevo barebones (CLEVO - Products). In the UK their are two popular custom laptop companies, CyberPower UK and PC Specialist.

    On the other side of the pond, their are some popular companies. CyberPowerPC, Sager Notebooks, XOTIC PC are just some of them. Dell are also worth a look, I have had many a system from them. Not the best spec wise, but customisable and decent value. However, as mentioned, the new XPS 15 isn't great.

    LilBambi - I think that Toshiba is the same laptop as Mike (Writhziden) bought to replace his Sony (feel free to correct me here Mike :-)). I wonder what he thinks of it, it looks nice.

    A 15" machine is the best balance for portability and power, but they almost always only have 1 HDD bay. You would probably need to get a ODD caddy from EBay or something so you could put a HDD in the DVD bay.

    The Samsung Series 7 Chronos is getting good reviews --> Review Samsung Series 7 Chronos 770Z7E Notebook - NotebookCheck.net Reviews
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  7. #7
    GZ's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
        ASUS M5A97-EVO
      • CPU:
        AMD PhenomII x6 (1100T)
      • Memory:
        16GB Kingston Hyper-X blu PC3-12800
      • Graphics:
        XFX Radeon HD6770
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek ALC892
      • Hard Drives:
        500GB WD Caviar Black / 1TB WD Caviar Black / 1TB Seagate / 500GB Hitachi
      • Disk Drives:
        HP DVD 1270i SATA DVD RW
      • Power Supply:
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      • Case:
        Antec 300
      • Cooling:
        Coolermaster V8 / 2x 12CM intake / 1x 12CM rear exhaust / 1x 14CM top exhaust
      • Display:
        Acer 23in 1920x1080 / Acer 20in
      • Operating System:
        Microsoft Windows 8 Professional x64

    Re: Looking for a new system

    Luckily, a lot of new laptops are coming with mini-SATA ports which give the option of running a SSD and standard HDD.

    One of the reasons I chose the Dell was it's Aluminum body and the fact it already came with the SSD and HDD...

    I can't read the reviews you linked right now, will do as soon as I get home.

    EDIT:

    I was able to read the first linked review (wasn't blocked by forefront) and the overall review was quite good except for it's thermal properties under unusually high-stress situations.
    Last edited by GZ; 03-25-2013 at 07:35 PM.
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    "Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."

    J.R.R. Tolkien - The Silmarillion

  8. #8
    Corrine's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    Quote Originally Posted by GZ View Post
    From searching Newegg, I did come across one laptop that looks like it meets your specs pretty nicely, with dedicated video...

    DELL XPS XPS 15 (XPS15-1579sLV) Notebook Intel Core i5 3210M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 1600 32GB SSD 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD±R/RW NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M - Newegg.com
    Amazon has the same (via TigerDirect) but at $949.99 , Amazon.com: Dell XPS XPS15-1579sLV 15-Inch Laptop: Computers & Accessories


    • Intel Core i5 3210M 2.5 GHzNVIDIA GeForce GT 630M with 1GBIntel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 with Bluetooth 4.0Backlit Keyboard65WHr battery; 9-Cell Li-Polymer (built-in)
    • 15.6" FHD 1080p Truelife WLED Display and Skype-Certified HD Webcam
    • Windows 8
    • 6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
    • 500 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive + 32 GB Solid-State Drive


    Description shows backlit keyboard but none of the images display it backlit.
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  9. #9
    GZ's Avatar
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      • Motherboard:
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      • CPU:
        AMD PhenomII x6 (1100T)
      • Memory:
        16GB Kingston Hyper-X blu PC3-12800
      • Graphics:
        XFX Radeon HD6770
      • Sound Card:
        Realtek ALC892
      • Hard Drives:
        500GB WD Caviar Black / 1TB WD Caviar Black / 1TB Seagate / 500GB Hitachi
      • Disk Drives:
        HP DVD 1270i SATA DVD RW
      • Power Supply:
        Corsair 850TX
      • Case:
        Antec 300
      • Cooling:
        Coolermaster V8 / 2x 12CM intake / 1x 12CM rear exhaust / 1x 14CM top exhaust
      • Display:
        Acer 23in 1920x1080 / Acer 20in
      • Operating System:
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    Quote Originally Posted by Corrine View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GZ View Post
    From searching Newegg, I did come across one laptop that looks like it meets your specs pretty nicely, with dedicated video...

    DELL XPS XPS 15 (XPS15-1579sLV) Notebook Intel Core i5 3210M(2.50GHz) 15.6" 6GB Memory DDR3 1600 32GB SSD 500GB HDD 7200rpm DVD±R/RW NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M - Newegg.com
    Amazon has the same (via TigerDirect) but at $949.99 , Amazon.com: Dell XPS XPS15-1579sLV 15-Inch Laptop: Computers & Accessories


    • Intel Core i5 3210M 2.5 GHzNVIDIA GeForce GT 630M with 1GBIntel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 with Bluetooth 4.0Backlit Keyboard65WHr battery; 9-Cell Li-Polymer (built-in)
    • 15.6" FHD 1080p Truelife WLED Display and Skype-Certified HD Webcam
    • Windows 8
    • 6GB DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
    • 500 GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive + 32 GB Solid-State Drive


    Description shows backlit keyboard but none of the images display it backlit.
    Thanks, Corrine... I didn't have time to do any shopping! :grin:
    usasma says thanks for this.

    "Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that come down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures."

    J.R.R. Tolkien - The Silmarillion

  10. #10
    writhziden's Avatar
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        8.00 GB Crucial CT2KIT51264BF1339 DDR3 1333
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      • Sound Card:
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      • Cooling:
        Air cooling via fan and heat exchanger heatsink
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        Laptop display
      • Operating System:
        Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit

    Re: Looking for a new system

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekno Venus View Post
    LilBambi - I think that Toshiba is the same laptop as Mike (Writhziden) bought to replace his Sony (feel free to correct me here Mike :-)). I wonder what he thinks of it, it looks nice. [/URL]
    Technically, you are incorrect, but looking at the specs and comparing them side by side, I see absolutely no difference between the two.

    I have a X875-Q7380. If you can spot a difference between it and the X875-Q7190, I'd be shocked. The Q7190 is a bit cheaper, for some reason... Amazon lists mine as a 3.4 GHz processor by mistake, and also gives the wrong maximum resolution as mine also runs at 1920x1080, but minus those typos, I see no difference whatsoever.



    The laptop is a little bulky for traveling, but it's not as heavy as I expected and is fairly portable. It may be too big for working on an airplane (haven't tried), but it would be great in a hotel room or bringing to the office (I bring mine to work fairly often).
    Last edited by writhziden; 03-25-2013 at 10:59 PM.
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  11. #11

    Re: Looking for a new system

    A decent SSD is a must, even if you have to put it in yourself.

    I just retrofitted one to my laptop inplace of the HDD and as well as the obvious speed increase it also resulted in vastly increased battery life (spinning chunks of metal at 5400 or 7200RPM does take a decent amount of energy after all).
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  12. #12
    Digerati's Avatar
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        EVGA GeForce GTX 1050TI 04G-P4-6251-KR, 4GB GDDR5
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        Samsung 850 Pro 256GB SSD, 850 EVO 250GB SSD, Blu-ray R/W
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        Fractal Design Define R4 Mid Tower w/Window
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    If you want to downsize to just one computer, do you really want it to be a notebook? Contrary to what the notebook maker's marketing weenies would like us to believe, notebooks do NOT make great "desktop replacements" or gaming machines.

    The problem is, they can easily pack PC power inside those tiny, super thin notebook cases, but they cannot pack the necessary cooling to allow all that hardware to run at full potentials all the time. If you think about how much of a challenge it is with regular PC cases (with multiple large case fans) to keep our heat sensitive devices cool, it is no wonder notebook cases are simply incapable of that task.

    Plus, with a PC case, you can remove the side and perform deep cleaning to rid the interior of all that heat trapping dust drawn in by the fans. Thorough cleaning of notebooks interiors is just as critical, but nearly impossible for most users.

    Also, notebooks, especially ones that travel, get dropped, left in sizzling hot or freezing cold cars, banged around, left behind, or worse - they grow legs and wander off when left unattended - for just a few split seconds. If you have just one computer and it goes missing or breaks, you will end up a vile creek without a paddle. Even with a current backup, what good is it?

    So at the very least, I would urge you to keep at least one PC to use at home, at least as a backup device for your data.
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    Bill (AFE7Ret)
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  13. #13

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    Re: Looking for a new system

    I'm resurrecting this topic. I dragged my feet back in March, and decided to wait for Win8 to mature and for the Haswell version of the Intel i7.
    Well, that's here now - so are there any different suggestions?

    I'm open to 2 different things:
    - a Desktop replacement that can play games and is portable enough to lug around conferences that I attend.
    - or a light laptop for travel (no games, but a 15"+ screen) - and I'll then buy a new desktop that can handle the games

    It will primarily be plugged into my monitor on my desk and used about 3 or 4 hours a day - mostly doing BSOD analysis and surfing the web. I use Sleep/Hybrid Sleep, so boot speed isn't important.

    As new games come out, I want to play them. I'll use low-resolution, so it's not bleeding edge graphics that I need - but I do need something that can keep up with the latest releases. I'm looking at keeping the laptop for 3 years (but I said that about my last one - and it's been 7 years!)

    OS will be Win8Pro x64. Any benefit to going with the Haswell vs the Ivy Bridge? Battery life isn't real critical to me.

  14. #14
    satrow's Avatar
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      • Operating System:
        W7 x64 Pro

    Re: Looking for a new system

    Haswell benefits: faster graphics on-chip (battery life).

    Drawbacks: reports of them running hotter than expected.

    I'd want to wait a few weeks/couple of months to get the low-down from early adopters before making that choice over IvyBridge.
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  15. #15
    Wrench97's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    For either if you are going to use dedicated graphics(Nvidia or ATI ) for games then it really won't make a difference between the 2.
    Did you have a price point?
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  16. #16

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    Re: Looking for a new system

    If it's a desktop replacement, then up to $2500 (but I really don't want to spend that much)
    If it's just a light laptop, then around $1200.

    I talked with a couple of people yesterday, and am leaning towards a light laptop. I'll then get a new desktop with the money that I've saved.

  17. #17

    Re: Looking for a new system

    You can build a desktop nowadays for less than $1000 that will handle current-gen video games at high-res and handle all games in the future for a fair bit. Nothing too incredibly special, just a 2/3 GB GPU, SSD, decent case with nice airflow, AMD or Intel (I'd recommend going Ivy), compatible motherboard, cheap 8/12 GB DDR RAM from Corsair, etc.

    What you could do is build the desktop for gaming, and have the laptop that you take around and use it for analysis as well.
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  18. #18
    Wrench97's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    What do you think of the Samsung laptops?
    Recently got the wife one way more then she needs i7, 8 gig ram, 750 hard drive GT540M I see now it appears they are using ATI video > Samsung ATIV Book 8 15.6" TouchScreen Laptop 8GB Memory 1TB Hard Drive NP880Z5E-X01UB - Best Buy
    And no longer ship with DVD drives, she loves the back lite KB and the weight of it.
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  19. #19

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    Re: Looking for a new system

    I like the Samsung laptops. I've worked on quite a few at work and they seem reliable - although I'm not a fan of ATI/AMD graphics. I haven't tried the touchscreen model, but will give it a look when I get to work today (if we have one).

  20. #20
    Wrench97's Avatar
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    Re: Looking for a new system

    The one we have does not have a touch screen but does have a DVD drive and Nvidia graphics, I'd get you a model number but it's visiting Ocean City for the week :)
    Must have a really good battery since the charger is still here plugged in and I haven't heard any complaints yet

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