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Suggestions for a new windows 8 15 inch laptop.


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#1 wizard44

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Posted 27 July 2014 - 04:20 PM

I'm a first time poster, so I do not know whether this is in the right place.

After doing a bit of research for a new laptop, since my old one is giving me problems, I am having difficulty choosing the following four laptops:

Dell xps 15
Acer Aspire v3 572g
Samsung ativ book 8
Toshiba tecra z50

This is for graduate student work in a chemical engineering lab, where I plan to use analytical software for various projects. I would like to stay with a 15.6 inch laptop, a battery with at least 5.5 hours battery life, an i7 processor with at least 2.0 GHz, and at least 8 GB RAM. Can I have an opinion on any of the four above laptops, specifically on whether any of them have any resounding problems? I would also like a REAL life analysis of the actual battery life of the Acer Aspire v3 572G and the Toshiba Tecra Z50 when using it for wi-fi surfing, as information has been very unclear about that. Thanks for your help, and I would like an answer soon.

 

My budget for the new computer is: Unlimited

What are the primary uses for this computer (IE: mail, web browsing, programming, games, etc)? Use of analytical tools , web browsing, mail, other uses for graduate student work)

What software do you intend on using on the computer? (Prism, Pymol, Chemdraw, similar tools). Also plan on installing linear regression software and maybe adobe photoshop and adobe reader.

Do you play games? If so, what type of games? Some, but not intensive games. Roguelike games like ADOM.

Do you tend to have a lot of programs running at the same time, or do you close every program when you are done using it? Have up to 7 programs running at times.

Do you store a lot of pictures or music on the computer? I store ~250-400 pictures, and a minimal amount of music.

 

Can someone edit the post title to acknowledge that I used this template? Thanks for the move to the right forum, as I did not know of its existence when I looked at the topics.


Edited by wizard44, 27 July 2014 - 10:26 PM.
Moved to Questions and advice for Buying a New Computer ~ OB


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#2 killerx525

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 01:17 AM

Hi and welcome to the forum! The four models above all have various configurations hence the battery life do vary depending on the configuration. I suggest looking at specific configured models like on Newegg where i found the HP Elitebook 850 G1 which meets all of your criteria. Although i did find a Samsung ATIV Book 9 (2014 Edition) which has a larger storage drive, longer battery and a touchscreen but it's CPU speed is 1.8GHz and it can turbo itself in certain tasks to 3.0GHz.


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#3 wizard44

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:13 AM

Thanks for responding. I am aware of the ATIV Book 9, but I am really not sold on the processor on that laptop. I'm leaning towards the Toshiba Tecra Z50 right now, but I do think the Elitebook 850 G1 is worth looking. Can you tell me which of the two laptops generally has a longer battery life and runs faster in general, assuming I choose a build with 16GB RAM and a 500 GB 7200 rpm hard drive for the toshiba? I am also interested in the customer service quality of the two brands. Thanks.


Edited by wizard44, 28 July 2014 - 02:14 AM.


#4 killerx525

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:44 AM

Using the same review site (PC Mag), the Toshiba lasts for exactly 7 hours whereas the HP lasts 6 hours and 48 minutes. I'm not exactly sure if you can choose the 16GB of ram and 500GB hard drive choice but switching out the SSD to a hard drive is a downgrade and the laptop would be much slower. The processor in the Samsung is essentially the same as the HP and Toshiba with the main difference is the 300mhz differences, although is most tasks, the difference in speed would not be noticeable.  

 

http://au.pcmag.com/hp-elitebook-850-g1/12282/review/hp-elitebook-850-g1

http://au.pcmag.com/laptops/review/10518/toshiba-tecra-z50-a1503


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#5 cat1092

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:49 AM

wizard44, Welcome to BC Forums!  :)

 

 

 

Acer Aspire v3 572g

 

Eliminate this one. Everyone whom I knew that had an Acer either had problems out of them after the warranty expired & of course didn't buy an inexpensive one from SquareTrade when new (4 year ones costs less than a one year extension from the OEM). Or they were covered & sold them before they did break down. At any rate, none of these has an Acer anymore. Someone offered me one to repair her computer (a CPU/GPU/RAM upgrade), she purchased the components I picked out for her. 

 

I told her to keep the notebook, don't want anything else around to spend money on. Instead, I accepted a wireless router & monitor for about 3 hours of work. 

 

Just a friendly warning in advance. 

 

 

 

Dell xps 15

 

These are nicer computers & I've been a Dell owner, continually having one or more of their models since 2003. I like the brand because they're easy to work on when needed & they have a great hardware forum. Yes they've produced a few lemons, but so has the rest, including Samsung, which normally is a good brand. 

 

Dell has been offering next day business service as of late & if you get one of their computers, be sure to request your free reinstall DVD, in case you decide to install a smaller SSD. Because the recovery DVD set & Recovery Drive (16GB Flash drive required), which you should create, the DVD set anyway, these doesn't work on reinstalling to a SSD that's smaller than the original. Here's the link, but be sure to register your computer first. 

 

https://www.dell.com/support/diagnostics/us/en/19/nondiagnostichome?c=us&l=en&s=dhs

 

After your initial one year warranty runs out, this DVD will cost $60, so if you purchase a Dell, get it while it's Free. This also applies to anyone reading this post who has a Dell still in warranty. 

 

This DVD is also good for repair, if needed. 

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#6 wizard44

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 11:54 AM

According to Toshiba's sales website, you can choose 16 GB RAM and the 500 GB hard drive when purchasing the Tecra Z50.

 

http://www.toshiba.com/us/computers/laptops/tecra/Z50/Z50-BT1501

 

For the HP Elitebook 850, is there a way for me to have at least 256 GB in the hard drive without sacrificing the minimum 8 GB memory and i7 2.0 GHz processor requirements? Also, how much slower would it be to switch out the SSD to a hard drive? I have never heard of this before.

 

Also what is the difference between an SED OPAL 2 SSD SATA and a SATA SSD?


Edited by wizard44, 28 July 2014 - 12:28 PM.


#7 OldPhil

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 02:48 PM

Changing from an SSD to an HDD is similar to cutting ones throat!  I have two machines with SSD's and two with spinners, using the spinners is like being back in the dark ages!

 

Have to come back on the Acer comments, I am answering this post on a 4 year old Acer that was my 13 year old grandsons for 2 years.  I got it when he got a new Toshiba from me, screen was broken from brute force and was riddled with trash.  I replaced the screen then hit Alt F10 it has now been running great for the last two years, not a bad testimonial!


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#8 wizard44

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Posted 28 July 2014 - 10:59 PM

Can anyone let me know how responsive and helpful Toshiba's customer service is as opposed to HP? I'm still leaning towards the Tecra Z50 right now, since I found that you can get a 256 GB SSD for it.


Edited by wizard44, 28 July 2014 - 11:03 PM.


#9 cat1092

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:03 AM

Can anyone let me know how responsive and helpful Toshiba's customer service is as opposed to HP? I'm still leaning towards the Tecra Z50 right now, since I found that you can get a 256 GB SSD for it.

 

HP's customer service is horrible, they didn't want to replace a $5 mouse while under warranty, instead they remotely took over my computer (my mistake for letting them) for over 70 minutes. After the "tech" got through, had to rely on a recent backup to get the graphics right again. I'll never purchase the brand again. 

 

Toshiba has good service & also their own forum for many common issues, one of my computers is a 2010 model Toshiba. Installed a Crucial M4 SSD after purchasing a new one for the MSI (another great brand) & upgraded the puny 4GB PC3-8500 RAM to 8GB PC3-10700 & it took off. Both Toshiba & HP loads a lot of junk software on their computers, however be sure to create your recovery DVD set (will require 3 to 5 DVD's) & also a Recovery Drive if the option is available (16GB Flash drive required), before removing junk software. 

 

If your budget is unlimited, you really need to hop over to Newegg & check out the MSI brand. You'll pay less on that site versus the OEM's anyway, regardless of brand. 

 

And whatever you purchase, I highly suggest you purchase a 3 year SquareTrade warranty. There are online discount codes for up to 40% or $30 off & if the computer costs too much to repair, don't worry with being stuck with a refurb, they fully refund your purchase price. They've fully refunded me 3 times. Costs less to get 3 years from SquareTrade than 1 extra year from the OEM. 

 

http://www.squaretrade.com/laptop-warranty

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#10 cat1092

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:22 AM

Changing from an SSD to an HDD is similar to cutting ones throat!  I have two machines with SSD's and two with spinners, using the spinners is like being back in the dark ages!

 

Have to come back on the Acer comments, I am answering this post on a 4 year old Acer that was my 13 year old grandsons for 2 years.  I got it when he got a new Toshiba from me, screen was broken from brute force and was riddled with trash.  I replaced the screen then hit Alt F10 it has now been running great for the last two years, not a bad testimonial!

 

OldPhil, I'm happy to hear that someone has found a good use for an Acer computer.  :thumbup2:

 

Honestly, I don't see how some of the ones I seen got so messed up. one had a nice i7 & 12GB RAM out of the box. The problem was the PSU was too small for the notebook, the MB died literally starved for power. I was checking it out for my friend, running malware scans, the PSU became too hot to hold after just 5 minutes of running. Called Acer support, finally after nearly an hour of waiting, was told this was "normal", that was wrong. They do indeed get warm under normal usage, but not that much. 

 

After the computer died, I checked it out, beginning with the PSU. Notebook models are easy to test with a multimeter. It was supposed to be putting out 18.5V, but was less than 16V on three different outlets, one in her home. Wonder why it fried? The MB smelled of melted wires, that smell I can detect anywhere. Pushing an i7-3xxx (don't remember the number) & a NVIDIA dual graphics, a 90W PSU was too little. 

 

So otherwise good hardware in a notebook needs a good PSU, as does a desktop PC. If not, components will burn out. Heck, I had much older computer with a single core Intel Pentium M CPU, plus integrated graphics, it came with a 90W PSU. Surely an i7 + a dual graphics card would need more. 

 

Hope that computer runs for years to come. 

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 


#11 wizard44

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 01:49 AM

Thanks for the MSI suggestions, as there's plenty of models that meet my eye. Can you tell me which ones last more than 6 hours from the GS60, GE60, GT60, and GX60 series?



#12 killerx525

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:28 AM

I know for sure that the GT60 and GX60 will have the shortest battery life due to to their bulky and high performance nature, but which specific models are you currently looking at for the GS60 and GE60?


>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#13 wizard44

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 02:57 AM

I'm not partial towards any particular model for the GS60 and GE60, but I would like to know any and all models that last more than 6 hours when wi-fi surfing under low to medium low brightness. I guess the GE60 Apache is a good starting point. I'll have a better list tomorrow. Other MSI laptops that fit the above criteria are also welcome.


Edited by wizard44, 29 July 2014 - 02:58 AM.


#14 killerx525

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 05:49 AM

Upon further research on the battery life of the GE60 and GS60, the battery life generally last around 2 to 5 hours which does not meet your criteria but then again i am not surprised as these laptops are high performance thin gaming notebooks which uses high end graphics card. Your best bet is still on the Toshiba or Samsung notebook and also one other thing to note is, most 15.6" and bigger laptops that has 6+ hour battery life is not as common but there is a large range of long lasting battery 14" laptops. Another laptop that you could consider is the top end Macbook Pro and it is fully configured, the CPU is a i7 clocked at 2.8GHz with a 1TB SSD, 16GB of ram and a dedicated graphics card. You can purchase Windows 8.1 and install it on the Macbook while the battery life is around 8 hours.


Edited by killerx525, 29 July 2014 - 05:50 AM.

>Michael 
System1: CPU- Intel Core i7-5820K @ 4.4GHz, CPU Cooler- Noctua NH-D14, RAM- G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB Kit(4Gx4) DDR3 2133MHz, SSD/HDD- Samsung 850 EVO 250GB/Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB/Seagate Barracuada 3TB, GPU- 2x EVGA GTX980 Superclocked @1360/MHz1900MHz, Motherboard- Asus X99 Deluxe, Case- Custom Mac G5, PSU- EVGA P2-1000W, Soundcard- Realtek High Definition Audio, OS- Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit
Games: APB: Reloaded, Hours played: 3100+  System2: Late 2011 Macbook Pro 15inch   OFw63FY.png


#15 cat1092

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Posted 29 July 2014 - 12:38 PM

If battery life is your main priority, then MSI won't meet the need. These are for serious gamers, as evidenced by the specs. If I had unlimited funds, would have purchased a more pricey one than I did. 

 

However the company produces excellent units, are very powerful & has SSD+HDD options. Some models ships with 4GB GDDR5 graphic cards also, some of these options, you won't find with the larger OEM's. 

 

As I recall, when my MSI (the FX603-064US) was new, it had maybe 3 hours of battery life. The "anonymous" review on 04/06/2011 is mine. Don't know why Newegg changed my nickname. 

 

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834152251

 

The unit runs better today than when new, as it now has a 180GB Intel 330 SSD installed & RAM was upgraded to 8GB (4GBx2) & is the 2nd best computer that I have. Dual boots Windows 7 Pro & 8.1 Pro on the SSD, runs Linux Mint 17 Mate 64 bit on the OEM HDD. I was able to make room for two drives by removing the seldom used optical drive & replacing it with an adapter specially made to install a drive in the Optical drive bay. In fact, done the same with the Toshiba & am running the same OS's, all three. Except Windows 7 Pro is on the SSD alone with the Recovery Partition. Windows 8.1 Pro & Mint 17 is on a 500GB WD Scorpio Black. 

 

The optical drives can still be used by one of these, of which I keep a couple of. These are seldom used & storage space is a more pressing need. 

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Slim-SATA-TO-USB-adapter-Converter-for-laptops-DVD-optical-drive-7-6-pin-13p-/291025454006?pt=US_Drive_Cables_dapters&hash=item43c27803b6&autorefresh=true

 

Cat


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 





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