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Author Topic: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)  (Read 203 times)

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Offline IzuTopic starter

Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« on: October 02, 2016, 03:59:24 AM »
So, I want a new laptop. My sweet 5-year-old Dell Inspiron N5110 is getting a bit too old for me. I've upgraded it last year with an SSD and a new battery, but the screen is starting to flicker, it can't really perform well with tons of programs running, and I just feel like buying myself a new shiny toy.

However, I've been reading onto the latest trends and tests and such of the current laptop market and I'm just like... geez... nothing sounds good enough. Each laptop that is out there that I can afford has great specs and then I read into the detailed reviews and each of them has a big 'NOPE' factor.

So, I'm completely torn. I want something that will last me at least a few years, that can perform well under stress - while I do not play games, I need something that will survive heavy photo editing, as well as heavy programming/development.

I've been hovering around the following setups:

Dell Inspiron 7559
Intel Core i7-6700Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
SSD + HDD
16GB DDR3L
4K UHD IPS matte screen
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ASUS ROG GL502VT
Intel Core i7-6700Q
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M
SSD + HDD
16GB DDR4
1920x1080 (Full HD) IPS matte screen
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ASUS ZenBook Pro UX501VW
Intel Core i7-6700HQ
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
SSD + HDD
16GB DDR4
4K UHD IPS gloss screen
PROs
Cheapest. It's a Dell.
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PROs
Best setup and specs. Partially aluminium. Almost perfect colors. DDR4
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PROs
Great setup and specs. Fully aluminium. Almost perfect colors. DDR4.
CONs
DDR3L - while right now it's good, it doesn't have the future possibilities of the DDR4; Not so great trackpad and I use it 99% of the time. Poor match on the colors, which is bad for my photo editing. Fully plastic.
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CONs
Big Pulse Width Modulation. A lot of reported clouding of the screen (lightness around the edges).
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CONs
It's not only glossy, but it was quoted as the glossiest on the market screen. Most expensive.

I've looked into cheaper options as well, but nothing really makes me stop and say 'this is it'. Other laptops I paused at were: ASUS N551JX, ASUS ROG G552VW, ASUS K550VX.

I am hovering between Dell and Asus simply because these are the two brands I'm familiar with and that are my preferences.
I did look briefly into Acer's matching offers as well as Lenovo and HP, but... I dunno... nothing made me stop there.

I'm really leaning towards the ROG 502 but the damn clouding problem that has been reported as well as the  Pulse Width Modulation factor is making me go all... meh.

And then of course there is the money aspect. All of these are varying between 1000 and 1500 euros. And I'm wondering if I really am needing something that expensive and that powerful... and I don't know... A friend of mine told me 'buy something cheaper now and if necessary get a new one in a year or two' - and I'm like... hm... maybe... so... I'm really completely lost.

Help? What do you think? If you had to buy a laptop right now for photo editing and development (web mainly, though I'm wondering if I shouldn't try something new like Java, android, etc) what would you buy in the price range of 1000-1500 euros or less?

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Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 07:36:09 AM »
Personally, looking for a good machine I'd choose an Asus over the Dell. However, I do have a good track record with Dells and I haven't had the problems with them that I have with Acer laptops. You should be able to look at the Asus ones in a shop (demonstration models) to see what they're like. Some stores (at least over here) have demo models of Dell computers too.

Personally, my favourite laptop was a Sony, but I've never had an Asus and they have a really good name.

My experience working on art is I get different colours on a laptop screen than on a regular monitor, so it's a good idea to cross-check it first for anything important. If you can find a laptop screen that matches other devices more in terms of colours, that could be useful.

Offline Lrrr

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 01:08:59 PM »
I do a lot of photo editing and remastering, and color rendition on any of my systems is a non-issue.  For less than $100 on eBay, you can get a DataColor Spyder 4 or 5 and color calibrate your displays.  It's simple, accurate, and guarantees that all of your displays will faithfully reproduce colors.

I recently ran a test where I calibrated my Samsung S24C650 desktop monitor, Samsung E2420 desktop monitor, Dell Inspiron 1545 laptop display, Dell Inspiron 15-7559 display, Gateway P-6301 display, and ASUS P50IJ display using my Datacolor Spyder 4 PRO.  Lining all six up next to each other revealed only very slight color casts on the oldest laptops (Gateway P-6301 and Dell Inspiron 1545).  It won't fix contrast or brightness issues, but it will deal with ambient light incident on your system wherever you have it placed.

I highly recommend the Datacolor Spyders since, even if you choose a lappy that performs well when new, you know it's going to get out of calibration with age.

Cheers!

Offline The Dark Raven

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2016, 03:22:26 PM »
Have you considered something with an AMD chip?  I have had infinitely more use and time out of an AMD chip for high-end (heavy gaming and graphics) usage than out of an Intel chip.  Every Intel chip, to a one, that I have had has burned up with moderate to heavy use.

FTR, the best use for the Lenovo and HP seem to be business machines (word processing or office applications), which the Asus and Acer tend to be more graphics oriented (but I would choose Asus first).  Dell is on the bottom of my list for many reasons that I will not go into here, for they are old and I have no idea if they have fixed them or not. :)

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2016, 03:30:30 PM »
Hi all and thanks for dropping by <3

Calibrating the screens is not bothering me that much as long as the screen is capable of doing so. And while I do know that a good monitor is needed if I want to get serious about photo editing, I'm not at that level to need one. That's why I'm simply looking for a powerful enough machine to just do a full job.

AMD... no, not really. Not a fan of AMD. But to be honest it's based mainly on popular opinion. All my laptops until now (all two of them lol) have had Intel chips and I haven't had any problems with them.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2016, 08:57:49 PM »
Other brands you may want to look into are MSI and Clevo (Sager in the US is a Clevo rebrand). These two tend to dominate the high-end laptop segment, with ASUS being a distant third.

Offline Oreo

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2016, 11:33:38 PM »
I have had my Rog G73JH since 2011. I know it is not the same one you listed, but I have found it to be an exceptionally efficient laptop. I didn't buy it for gaming, but rather for the power to multitask. I regularly have 3 active external HDs in use, while, running an IM, multiple tabs, browsers, and windows, PaintShop Pro, Open Office, and a media player-(24/7) all going on at the same time. I don't know if that helps at all, but I know when this lappy bites it, I want another just like it. In that time the only work needed on it was replacing the battery pack. <_<

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2016, 12:00:32 PM »
Argh... The mixed reviews continue... A colleague of mine told me that the old ROGs were quite good, but the new ones more or less tend to go towards their death within a year or so -____-

I really don't know what to do... It's... argh...

Offline Lrrr

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2016, 12:46:49 PM »
Hey Izu, buddy, you're stressing out way too much over this.  Take it from somebody who's had to decide which PC to buy for a research lab since the original 64k IBM PC hit the market.  The kinds of difference in performance you're talking about are small enough that you'd only notice them if you were using the different systems side-by-side.  Once you make a decision and get one of the systems in hand, you'll forget about that alternative system with memory that's 10% faster or the other one that had a slightly nicer screen.

I'm not saying you shouldn't get the most you can for your money, but you have to be realistic too.  Something that does the job well is the goal, not the system that buys you an extra 3 minutes each day because it's a teensy bit faster.

I have been using a Dell Inspiron 7559 for some months now and couldn't be happier.  I stress that baby out every day and it's handled everything I've thrown at it including real time editing and analysis of 120 images per second captured through USB 3.0.  Sure, I could have bought something else that might have been marginally quicker, but at the cost of fretting over it for another two weeks?  No thank you.

That same Dell Inspiron 7559 system is now available for $800 (I paid a little under $1000):
  • Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ 2.6 GHz Processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M 4GB GDDR5
  • 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 8 GB SSD Hybrid Drive Storage
  • 15.6 Inch FHD (1920 x 1080 pixels) LED-lit Truelife Screen
  • Windows 10 Operating System
Add another $100 if you want 16 GB, but I haven't needed it since I'm not gaming or doing a lot of video editing.  So what's not to like?

Just pick one, whether you want the Dell or something else, and put the comparisons out of your mind.  You know a month after you get whatever you pick that you'll find a MUCH better system at a MUCH lower price!  It's the way of the technology world!   :-)

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2016, 01:47:47 PM »
Ah, trust me, when it comes to computers I do not "get over things" lol They are my career, my hobby, my all-day-long gadget.

I looked into the Dell 7559 actually, and as a person who has owned 2 Dell laptops and both lasted 5+ years... this one looked extremely disappointing. Cheap plastic, bending, you type on the keyboard and the screen is just swaying. And reviews were quite bad about the touchpad (which I use 99.9% of the time), the fans, etc.

Offline Lrrr

Re: Help choosing a new Laptop (editing & development)
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2016, 04:31:13 PM »
Yeah, gotta admit that the touchpad is missing some features.  I never use the things, preferring a traditional mouse, so it isn't an issue for me but I can see it definitely would be for you.

As far as cheap plastic and bending, build quality is a lot more complicated than that now.  From waist height, drop an old Dell 500 series system that was designed to be stiff and seem well built and you'll end up with quite a few pieces.  Do the same with the 7559 and you won't break anything.  Nowadays energy absorption is the key to designing anything that might receive an impact and if that means the item has to be flexible, then so be it.

Anyway, good luck on your search.  You've got a lot of good data to crunch!   :-)