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Laptop for College/Programming

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've been looking around and can't really find exactly what I'm looking for.
I'd like a i5/i7 HQ CPU(not a U)
GPU is irrelevant, I have a gaming PC, and I don't think I'll be doing anything that would benefit from having a GPU
I'd like to keep the initial cost down, so 8GB of RAM and no SSD or a small SSD is preferred. I have a 250GB 850 EVO that can replace an HDD, and I have a portable M.2 enclosure with 500GB 850 EVO.
HAS to be at least 1080p. I have an older(3 years) laptop that's 1366x768 and I literally feel claustrophobic trying to use it... There's no room to do anything.
And 15 inches or less(15.x" is fine, so I guess UNDER 16")

I've been thinking about this or this

Is it possible to find one like these, without a GPU for $100-200 less? I find it strange that they'd force you to pay for a GPU just because you're getting a full i7 when the iGPU is just fine for normal workloads. It basically forces you to buy a firepro/quadro or a gaming GPU...

I'm taking my first real programming class this semester(intro to C++), so it's basic stuff, but I need this laptop to last 2-3 more years. So, if you think a GPU will be beneficial later, let me know.
Edited by l187l - 8/23/16 at 6:34pm
post #2 of 9
An i5 6200u is going to be just fine for programming.

Having gone through my fair share of computer programming classes, I can tell you that two cores with hyper threading is plenty of horsepower.

The only thing it can't really keep up with is 3D rendering for video game creation and stuff like that.

Something like a 1080p dell xps 13 is going to be far more useful to you than a big heavy Y700 laptop.
Yin&Yang
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Yin&Yang
(19 items)
 
Soon
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4820K Gigabyte X79 UP4 GTX 660 (waiting for new AMD cards) Samsung green  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Adata SP900  Seagate 2TB hard drive (the power of 1 edition)  Custom WC Loop Linux (various versions) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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post #3 of 9
I just did an upgrade from a 1366x768 laptop aswell, definitely nice to be free of that screen!

Thought I would mention, I mainly use my new laptop for development, usually on a virtual machine, and it has one of the M5-6Y54 processors (dual core with hyperthreading and intel hd 515 graphics) - cut down i5, 5Wattts) and it has VT-d / VT-x support and happily powers through all the tasks I'm throwing at it so far.

So yeah, as Tjj226 Angel said, an i5 will be sufficient, even more than sufficient. And you wouldn't even need to go with the HQ models, the dual core hyper threaded chips will do what you need. I personally wouldn't usually use enough power on a laptop to warrant any decent amounts of power. If I'm doing something that requires a lot of processing power, I'm not going to be on the move, so I'll use my desktop.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
My lenovo essentials B590 with an i3 2348M ended up being pretty good after the RAM/SSD upgrade. The main reason for upgrading is because of the display and the weight.
Here's the link to the newegg page

After upgrading to 4GB of RAM and a Samsung 850 EVO(originally upgraded with a PNY SSD), it's great for browsing, research, writing papers, and as an HTPC. According to benchmarks, the CPU performance isn't THAT far off of the 6200U, but there is a difference... http://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=2556&cmp%5B%5D=1878

33% increase in performance, 2 pounds lighter, and a better display... Worth forking over $900?

Does compiling with visual studio use a lot of CPU? I have very limited knowledge of any of that.

I'm thinking about going with this one... I can't justify the XPS prices. I do love the small bezels though.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by l187l View Post

My lenovo essentials B590 with an i3 2348M ended up being pretty good after the RAM/SSD upgrade. The main reason for upgrading is because of the display and the weight.
Here's the link to the newegg page

After upgrading to 4GB of RAM and a Samsung 850 EVO(originally upgraded with a PNY SSD), it's great for browsing, research, writing papers, and as an HTPC. According to benchmarks, the CPU performance isn't THAT far off of the 6200U, but there is a difference... http://www.cpubenchmark.net/compare.php?cmp%5B%5D=2556&cmp%5B%5D=1878

33% increase in performance, 2 pounds lighter, and a better display... Worth forking over $900?

Does compiling with visual studio use a lot of CPU? I have very limited knowledge of any of that.

I'm thinking about going with this one... I can't justify the XPS prices. I do love the small bezels though.

Yes.

The dell xps also has better build quality and has a much bigger battery. Both of which will come in handy.
Yin&Yang
(19 items)
 
Soon
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4820K Gigabyte X79 UP4 GTX 660 (waiting for new AMD cards) Samsung green  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Adata SP900  Seagate 2TB hard drive (the power of 1 edition)  Custom WC Loop Linux (various versions) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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Yin&Yang
(19 items)
 
Soon
(15 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 4820K Gigabyte X79 UP4 GTX 660 (waiting for new AMD cards) Samsung green  
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Adata SP900  Seagate 2TB hard drive (the power of 1 edition)  Custom WC Loop Linux (various versions) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Samsung SyncMaster T240HD Coolermaster XT Green switches XFX 1000w Corsair 800D 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Razer Naga Epic 2014 edition Razer Vespula Stax Lambda Nova Classic Custom DIY DAC 
AudioAudioOther
300b PP monoblocks Snell J3 NZXT Hue 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz 8 core xeon E6 @ 3.5ghz EVGA X99 SR?  AMD 390x 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveCooling
AMD 390x 128 GB ECC DDR4  1TB PCI-e SSD Custom WC Loop 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux 16:10 Samsung PLS 4K monitor Corsair RGB keyboard with custom cherry MX supe... EVGA 1600 watt titanium  
CaseMouseAudio
Caselabs Magnum STH10 DIY my own mouse Snell J 3 
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Reply
post #6 of 9
Fellow developer here. Would suggest models with real pageUp, pageDown, home & end keys to browse those lines of codes smile.gif

Real as in.. Separate buttons instead of combined using fn key.
post #7 of 9
As someone who went down this road a year ago and is in his third year in Computer Engineering (with multiple programming classes taken). Honestly a good i5 in a LIGHT laptop with good battery is what you want/need. I WAY overspent for my laptop (Razer Blade 2015 512GB), don't get me wrong I love it and its great for what I do but its overpowered for what I need and If I really use it all day like I need sometimes I run out of juice. I agree with @Tjj226 Angel on the Dell XPS 13 or if you want maybe a bigger laptop the XPS 15. Yes its going to be on the expensive-ish side of things but you are getting definetly one of the better built laptops out right now and the only other laptop I was looking at with the Blade for my choice (besides a Macbook Air but thats another story). If you want really really great battery life on any new laptop you get, get one that ISNT WQHD or 4K, plain jane 1080p will give you great battery life over the other two.

TDLR; Unless you are gaming on the side or doing video rendering, look for a laptop with a good i5, 1080p screen, big battery. Rest is all personal preference to what you need (storage space, ram, etc)

EDIT: Just saw the Zenbook you linked. Its definitely another good choice, but honestly ANY choice id recommend going to some kinda of Best Buy, Microcenter, Fry's, or whatever computer place you have near by and seeing/typing/using them in person if possible.
Edited by Chucklez - 8/27/16 at 11:39pm
Kardiac 2.0
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Kardiac 2.0
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I went with an HP spectre. Thanks for the help and advice everyone =)

i7 6500U(only $100 more than the i5, so I was like **** it)
1080p 13.3" IPS display
256GB Samsung SM951(I think that's the one...)
8GB RAM



Just got it today and I'm loving it so far. The touchpad is amazing, but I need time to get used to the weird keyboard(normal for laptops, but keys are rounded up). I love the feel though, I'm just used to a mechanical keyboard with small keys. The display looks great. Everything is super responsive.

My only complaint is their choice of SSD. It uses a Samsung PM951 NVMe SSD, which has pretty terrible write speeds even compared to SATA drives. I'm getting above what Samsung claims on read and write on crystal disk mark, but 300 mb/s write is kinda sad for PCIE. 1600mb/s read is awesome though =). The random read and write is nice too. Either way, I'm happy and it gets the job done.
It's like 2.4 pounds and .45" thick.

I could have gotten something similar for a little less, but I fell in love with the way the spectre looked and it's slightly lighter and thinner than others.

pg up and down are an fn +arrow up and down thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif I may remap it or something... maybe make it right shift+up/down
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by l187l View Post

pg up and down are an fn +arrow up and down thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif I may remap it or something... maybe make it right shift+up/down

Good option with the Spectre.

Separated page-up & page-down keys are my personal opinion, so you may or may not miss them at all smile.gif
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