Feedback on desktop replacement laptop (in Off-topic)

Sickone July 5 2012 6:10 PM EDT

So, I got this for my mother (she's working a lot in Autocad and other office-related things) a new laptop to be used as a desktop.
She doesn't really like using a desktop for several different reasons, and her old laptop (nearly 5 years old) is starting to show signs of croaking on top of being pretty damn obsolete.

So I convinced her to get this:
Yes, that's a 18.4" 1920x1080 screen ;)

Intelᆴ Coreル i7 2670QM Processor (quad-core @2.2GHz base, 3.1 turboboost, 6MB cache)
16 GB DDR3@1333
60 GB Intel 330-series SDD for OS/apps
750 GB standard HDD for data
no OS preinstalled (I had a different license that I could reuse) a decent carry bag and a wireless mouse (but those didn't cost much).

Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit finishes completely booting up in 38-40 seconds from the moment I push the power button on a turned off machine (full boot, no hibernation, no sleep modes, fair and square).
Autocad 2006 starts in 5 seconds, Autocad 2012 in about 15 seconds.
Windows experience indexes (7.9 is max value) : 7.4 processor, 7.6 memory, 5.4 aero, 6.7 3D graphics, 7.9 primary HDD.

Before taxes (which are pretty high around here), everything combined costed the equivalent of 927 USD.

My brother started to complain about this being too expensive, and that I should have convinced her to get something more modest, but he was basically arguing about a smaller form factor (17.3" instead of 18.4", when autocad screen space is a great benefit), only 8 GB ram tops, and no SSD at all.
But even then, we would have been talking about maybe 700$ instead of 927$ before taxes.

Anybody agree with him that the extra 227$ (or thereabouts) were wasted money ? :P

Zenai [Ministry of Pain] July 5 2012 6:21 PM EDT

No I do not agree with your brother. That comp with what it has right now can take a beating from software and still keep on going. The speed and capability of the hardware is able to expand with what it already has and is faster now than if she had gotten a lower model. Also if you got the upgrades at a later date (separately) it would cost more to be installed and would be a different warranty cost on top of that.

You did the right thing Sickone, cheaper and functional upfront doesn't mean better when it comes to computers. Spend the extra cash now while you can get it cheaper in a package deal than later when it will be much more costly on an overall.

Sickone July 5 2012 6:34 PM EDT

To be fair, there's not much more you can expand there in the future, it's pretty maxed out already.
16GB of RAM is the maximum the motherboard supports, there's only space for 2 drives (but she doesn't need anywhere close to 750GB internally, her old laptop had a 160GB drive and it's not full yet), and while the graphics card is pretty weak she won't really be using it for anything anyway (even if I would have gotten a quadro it would have been of minimal use to her, she's doing 2D schematics not 3D models).
Honestly, I was almost shocked I could get such a monster for only that much cash (especially the 18.4" fullHD screen and dual drive support).
P.S. The only thing that would be needed to turn it into a gaming monster would be a faster graphics card.

QBPit Spawn [Abyssal Specters] July 5 2012 6:49 PM EDT

and where did you get that?

Eliteofdelete [Battle Royale] July 5 2012 7:05 PM EDT

If you are working with Autocad, then you probably want to spend the extra $230 on those three things listed.

Zenai [Ministry of Pain] July 5 2012 7:13 PM EDT

To be fair, there's not much more you can expand there in the future, it's pretty maxed out already.

No what I meant was the fact that your brother was saying you didn't need to spend the $227 right now for the extras you listed. However sans said items later on getting those upgrades would have been far more expensive and it's better to get them now. I figured with everything you have now it was almost maxed out.

Sickone July 5 2012 8:10 PM EDT

and where did you get that?

This was the basic version, and I asked them to modify it before sending it:
2741 RON, +24% Value Added Tax = 3399 RON listed price
= ~756 USD before tax (~938 USD after tax)

Added this RAM
~45 USD before tax (~56 USD after tax)

Added this SSD
~93 USD before tax (~115 USD after tax)

Total = ~894 USD before tax (~1109 USD after tax)
the rest up to 927 USD before tax was the carry bag and the wireless mouse (~1150 USD total after tax).

...yup, the VAT percentage kind of sucks big time in the EU, but what can you do about it ? :|

BestNUB July 5 2012 10:22 PM EDT

That's an incredible deal. I basically lasted until my old laptop croaked and could no longer boot up, then proceeded to the store and picked up the first laptop that caught my eye :S

I paid 800 bucks for a 6 GB ram, 640 GB standard Sony VAIO. i7 2640 sandy bridge quad core 2.8 GHz(I read that the increase in performance for ivy vs sandy was negligible given the cost difference, whether that is true i have no clue).

Ended up with 7.1 Processor, 7.4 Memory, 6.7 Aero, 6.7 Graphics 3-D, amd a lousy 5.9 Disk data transfer rate (The least important criteria for me)

BestNUB July 5 2012 10:30 PM EDT

On another note, my work laptop is a mini-desktop almost. That thing is a complete beast. Dell M6600, 8 cores, 16 gig, i7 2760 sandy bridge 2.4 GHz. I do not remember off the top of my head but all the scores were above 7 except for the hard drive disk transfer, which was the same at 5.9 (The company opted to forgo solid state drives).

Sickone July 5 2012 11:56 PM EDT

The 2760QM is the 2670QM's larger brother.,53474
4 physical cores, but with hyperthreading it shows up as 8 logical cores, for both.
Slightly faster (2.4 base vs 2.2 base), slightly more features, but more or less in the same league.

BestNUB July 6 2012 12:08 AM EDT

I'm pretty much a computer newb, given I studied semiconductors and technically hold a bs in electrical (and computer engineering). What makes up the cost of a laptop? My initial impression was the processor and graphics card.

BestNUB July 6 2012 12:12 AM EDT

Oh and 2 more questions. What is this Intel vpro you see on the Intel stickers and what does it mean when the sticker is black instead of blue.

Sickone July 6 2012 4:06 AM EDT

What makes up the cost of a laptop? My initial impression was the processor and graphics card.

The processor can indeed represent a sizeable portion of the total cost, but it's seldom more than a third of the price, usually even less than that. i5s run around 220-270$, i7s around 300-500$ depending on model (huge price increase for minimal performance increase past a certain point, similar to desktop CPUs), and that's only going by Intel's published data (almost nobody upgrades laptop CPUs anyway, and either way, very few upgrade desktop CPUs).
Something similar happens with laptop video cards, but getting laptop video card price estimates is quite difficult, as they seldom get sold separately. The low end ones are probably dirt cheap (probably 40-60$) while the best in the line are possibly closer to 600-700$, if not higher.
Laptop HDDs are not cheap either, the cheapest 750 GB ones can cost upwards of 90$, and a decent speed larger one can cost nearly double of that.
8 GB of RAM are rather cheap though, as you probably noticed.
A noteworthy portion of a laptop's price lies also in the barebones (case, keyboard, battery, screen) which can easily represent a third of the price for some machines, even more if you also put the motherboard into the mix.

What is this Intel vpro you see on the Intel stickers and what does it mean when the sticker is black instead of blue.
Basically nothing very useful for the regular user in most cases, but potentially nice in certain cases for a few people. Maybe. Don't really know much about that one.

Duke July 6 2012 5:02 AM EDT

what is the memory foot print of is autocab average and high.

Sickone July 6 2012 5:33 AM EDT

Hugely depends on how many and what type of drawings you have open, regardless of version (and newer versions obviously eat up even more RAM).
Use the latest ACAD/AdobeAcrobat/WinWord/Excel, load up a detailed geological survey several times to overlay different station foundation layout versions (which you also keep loaded), open up several techspec sheets and manuals, open a browser to check for newer versions of documentation, and you could conceivably go over 8 GB of RAM in use with everything combined.
Of course, you can open up each one at a time and keep closing whatever you're not using in that very moment, but that's what I was doing until now on my 4 GB desktop, but it is highly annoying (and still my swap file was constantly churning). My mother's former laptop only had a piddly 2 GB of RAM (but at least it ran WinXP, not Win7).

RAM is dirt cheap anyway.
50$ for 8 GB, that's worth going overkill on it, even if only as a pre-emptive measure.
Whatever RAM you don't actively use, Win7 will use as system cache anyway, so it's a win-win.

Duke July 6 2012 12:48 PM EDT

This workload should be done on a desktop not a laptop but its seem that not a option.

Regardless of the money put on a laptop its clock speed is much lower that is desktop conterpart on RAM/CPU/GPU the SSD should hide the fact that the HDD is also much slower.

Does she use a external monitor ?

Sickone July 6 2012 12:55 PM EDT

GPU is mostly irrelevant for what it's being used for, CPU should be sufficient, RAM is not just more plentiful but actually slightly faster than the one in my desktop right now, and yes, she does use a second monitor whenever she's in the room with one.

Duke July 6 2012 1:00 PM EDT

On a side note i think running windows 8 on a HD3000 will be borderline for smoothness. Going with a ivy bridge should net you a 100% increase in GPU performance and a others increase from the DDR 3 1600 vs 1333.

There a good chance that the workload on the HD 3000 under win8 for the UI wont be able to run at is basic 400 mghz and will need more speed leaving less room under the TDP for the CPU. A lots of switch from browser to autocab might end not been totaly smooth but again its a theory.

Sickone July 6 2012 1:06 PM EDT

For comparison's sake, Windows performance indices...

The laptop : 7.4 processor, 7.6 memory, 5.4 aero, 6.7 3D graphics, 7.9 drive
My desktop : 7.3 processor, 7.5 memory, 7.6 aero, 7.6 3D graphics, 5.9 drive

My desktop (bought roughly 2 years ago) : i5-760 quad core (no HT) @ 2.8GHz, a 1GB GTX 460 v1, a 2TB WDC green, 4GB DDR3@1333.

Sickone July 6 2012 1:18 PM EDT

On all the machines I work on, one of the first things that happens to the OS is a reversion to "Win98SE look", which is still possible even with Win7. If Win8 won't support it, to hell with it, sticking with Win7 until at least 2015, possibly even later. They'll stop being retarded with Win9, hopefully, or at least Win10.

The only serious reason I went with Win7 instead of XP64 is because Microsoft already ceased mainstream support for XP more than two years ago, and will soon cease all support for XP altogether (in 2014), but mainstream support for Win7 only ceases in 2015, with extended support dropped only in 2020.
I expect the laptop to still be in use in 2016, maybe even 2017, so XP is no longer a viable option, but by 2020 it's certainly going to be gone since quite a while exchanged for a newer one, so Win7 should last its full useful lifetime.

Duke July 6 2012 4:29 PM EDT

Just saying that for about 30$ you get a IVY with is lower comsumption and higher perfomance on CPU/RAM.

Sickone July 7 2012 2:23 AM EDT

I somewhat doubt that.
Please link me to a 18.4" 1920x1080 screen laptop with an i7 QM-series quad-core ivybridge CPU, at least 500 GB HDD (that was 750) and at least 4 GB DDR3 (that was 8) and any 1GB discrete video card in it (GT 630M is pretty weak, but still much better than the integrated one) that costs well under 800$ before taxes (that basic version one was 756$ before taxes).

Duke July 7 2012 2:37 AM EDT

That US euro pounds roupie ?

Sickone July 7 2012 2:47 AM EDT

I normalized it to USD prices before taxes to allow quicker direct comparison.

It would be nearly the same amount of EUR after VAT in the EU (because 1 EUR ~= 1.23 USD at the time, and VAT over here is 24%, varies depending on country between 15% and 27% with average around 20%).
The USA also has some sales taxes, but they vary heavily depending on state (and are generally single digit percentages).
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