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What the #$&% is up with new notebook computers in 2019?

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware' started by Bobby H, Sep 19, 2019.

  1. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I'm in the market to buy a new, higher/high-end notebook for use at home as a replacement for a personal notebook I bought in 2011 that still works, but is now finally starting to struggle with the latest graphics applications. The problem is every notebook product line I've examined has one or more serious issues that totally breaks the deal.

    Thermal issues are a horrible problem with today's high end notebook models. The MacBook Pro, Dell XPS-15 and others all suffer from it, especially when configured with a top of the line Core i9 CPU. This problem was brought on in large part by the fixation to make notebooks slimmer and lighter in weight. You can pack only so much performance into so confined a space.

    You can downgrade to a less-hot Core i7 model, but then all sorts of other high end options disappear with that less costly CPU choice. For instance, Dell's new XPS-15 7590 model can be equipped with 64GB RAM, but only if you opt for the Core i9 CPU package. They won't let you pick and choose the components you want for each component category. I understand the sales motivation behind it, but all it does for me is encourage me to NOT BUY ANYTHING and keep using my OLD computer rather than buying anything at all.

    There are thicker, less portable notebooks out there. But most of those are built for gaming, not for graphic arts use. Many new gaming notebooks, such as Alienware's super expensive Area 51 model, are limited to regular HDTV resolution. There are no QHD or 4K resolution options. They're all about upping frame rates, even at the expense of image resolution. So that kind of makes those gaming notebooks a bad choice for graphics or photo editing use.

    Even if you get something with a "4K" panel (really 3.8K) that screen could have issues. I've read reviews about the newest OLED notebook panels (such as the Samsung unit in Dell XPS models) having issues with black crush or banding problems. They'll cover the DCI-P3 color space, but with some compromises. That brings up a choice of going with an IPS-based 4K display or even settling for a lesser FHD screen. Those choices have their own annoying issues too (back light bleed, gray-ish blacks, etc).

    Just to cut off an obvious suggestion: No, I am not interested in buying a desktop or all-in-one computer for my home. I spend the work days with my leg all but invisibly chained to a computer desk. I will not come home and be stuck at another computer desk. 20 years ago I thought notebook computers were a waste of money. But then I realized how isolating a bulky, immobile computer desk can be. I can at least watch TV in the living room while using a notebook computer. Or I can even leave the house and still use it. There is value in portability. I just wish the computer manufacturers would allow customers more choice to tailor the computer they really want.
     
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  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Sounds like you going to have to tone down your expectations to get the right laptop. What's the importance of i9 vs i7, they are both high end. You have a 2011 laptop now, anything will be a big improvement.

    FWIW, I went with w Dell G7 "gaming PC". I don't game but the extra cooling capabilities of not having some thin PC were an appropriate trade off... and I don't mind the screen resolution.

    Seriously, keep your expectations in check... we all want our cake and eat it too. you'll be blown away by anything coming from 2011
     
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I don't recall a laptop ever having the full range of customization as a desktop though. At one time, you used to be able to swap out harddrives, ram sticks etc on your own as well. So even if you bought the slightly cheaper option, but it could handle more this, that and the other and if one was inclined and/or able to do that, could "upgrade" it on your own cheaper then just buying the other option. Can't do that all that much anymore (maybe a few exceptions still exist), which also means that repairing a part that goes bad was also more of a possibility, not so much the case anymore (especially when talking about the Macs (I wouldn't consider a Mac, because more then likely I would have to slap an eGPU on it and that sorta chips away at the portability of it all)).

    I agree with you, gaming laptops really aren't the best for us. For some, they may be sufficient, depending on the use case, but what is good for gaming isn't necessarily good for graphics. I personally wouldn't touch a computer nowadays for my work if it actually didn't have a Xeon processor. For quite a few people, it might seem like overkill, but it does the job for my workflow. Plus (and this again won't be an option for many (if not any other on this forum)) there is an option of what pre-installed OS that I want (which is good, so I don't go for the default option anymore).
     
  4. Johnny Best

    Johnny Best Very Active Member

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    I have always used a Macbook Pro laptop, think I am on my 10th one. Going to get a new one towards end of year. The prices have gone up but that understandable. Also have a Macbook Air which is nice and light. I also like to watch TV and use a laptop and when I travel just throw it in my messenger bag and carry it. But I do use a Targus notebook cooling podium coolpad to keep the heat down.
    And I do not need a 10 paragraph post on telling me about Apple compared to PC or 20 posts from Wild West and Bobby H on who knows best on this processor or that graphic card is better.
     
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  5. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

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    OP never said what he does. If it's sketching, drawing, or taking notes check into a Microsoft Surface. Former student used one in my classes. He cranked out some incredible artwork. He proved the axiom of it not being the tool as much as the person using it.
     
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  6. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Alicia (wife) liked that for the very reason that you mentioned (light). Unfortunately, it suffered from the kernel overheat issue. A known issue of the 1st gen Airs. The price one pays for being on the 1st gen of anything is a possibility of something like that happening.

    Considering that they are all PCs (atleast anything on the x86 chipset) with how we use them, nothing to put a 10 paragraph post on. Now one OS versus another OS, that's something else.


    Where is the fun in that?
     
  7. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Member

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    2d graphics processing is all about CPU power and their ability to do the math to render 2d graphics.. Shouldn't need much more than the vastly improved integrated graphics on the latest i7 and i9 if you are not a serious gamer. Xeon are usually similar spec to the higher end i7/i9 variants (with more threads/cores that Adobe CS can't use anyway) without integrated graphics. Also, look at business laptops such as Latitude and Precision from Dell which tend to have better build, better warranty and Xeon options if you really want discrete graphics.

    Checkout the Dell Outlet for work site https://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlin...s=28&l=en&s=dfb&dgc=IR&cid=260177&lid=4677451
    for overstock and refurb at highly discounted pricing and full warranty. Personally i would buy a repaired unit over an untested new unit.
     
  8. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    Xeon specs are usually a gen or 2 behind consumer specs. Keep that in mind.

    Maybe CC improved the core usage (I stopped with CS6), but I haven't kept up with Adobe so I don't use it much anymore. It might still be the same issue.

    However, mult-tasking would still benefit from the extra resources.
     
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  9. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    A Core i9 CPU is a lot more expensive than an i7, but it does not perform as advertised in most notebook form factors due to thermal issues. That makes the i9 a waste of money in a notebook computer. If I want a certain amount of RAM in a notebook (it's now possible to put up to 128GB of RAM into a notebook) or maybe a certain graphics board the ordering page is bound to bring up a package deal that includes the i9. You can't downgrade to a less hot i7 and still max out the RAM.

    Companies like Dell used to offer a lot more choices on their ordering pages. If you wanted a computer with a maximum amount of RAM, but not with a top of the line CPU or graphic board it was possible to do so. In Dell's case all of their product lines are far more limited in terms of choices. One hardware choice equates to several other choices being made for you.

    Here it is in one paragraph: The latest MacBook Pro models have the same thermal issues that afflict other thin/light notebook models on the Windows side. A Core i9 is just as much a waste of money in a new MacBook Pro as it is in a Dell XPS notebook. Then there is Apple's very controversial butterfly keyboard issue. Finally, next to nothing in terms of sign industry-specific software runs native on the Mac platform anymore. I see very little point at all in paying a lot more for something with an Apple logo on it only to have to run Windows.
     
  10. chuckmpw

    chuckmpw New Member

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    Have you looked at MSI's? I am using those and very happy.
     
  11. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

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    I am looking at laptops and wouldn't mind a discussion on processors after the issues the chip manufacturers have had with Spectre and Meltdown and how their fixes have compromised performance.
     
  12. Pauly

    Pauly Colour Guru

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    I think you're expectations are way to high.

    if you want a thin notebook, then yes it'll thermal throttle. there is nothing you can do about it.
    If you want to get a i9 in a laptop, you'll need something thicker...

    anyway, this is probably what you're after.
    https://www.asus.com/Laptops/ZenBook-Pro-Duo-UX581GV/Features/
     
  13. untitled

    untitled Member

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    Why do you need so much RAM? 128GB of RAM is completely overkill. I also have no idea what you are using it for, but if you are using a 2011 laptop and it's working, then like I said it's completely overkill.

    I have been using my original Surface Book since they have come out and I have never had an issue with working on it and it only has 8GB of RAM with the i7 processo. I don't use it as my everyday computer, more so when not at the office and travelling, but there was never a time where I was like damn I wish I had more RAM.
     
  14. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    128GB maybe overkill depending on the specs of the ram. Not all ram is equal(although 128GB is really really high). Plus don't forget workflow either (just think of all the VMs that could be run on that thing).

    That's the key thing there. Not everyday computer, which would roughly translate to not everyday workflow.

    I don't know Bobby's workflow, but 8GB is half of what I would want bare minimum. Even my Cintiq tablet has 16GB.

    Keep in mind, on most 64bit Windows systems, it's 2GB minimum to just run each application and don't forget 2GB minimum just to run Windows(which tells you something about that OS as I've got OSs that clock in at 700MB for just them and whatever running services I have).
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
  15. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    Also why do you need 64GB ram? I think 16 is realistically plenty for most anything....if you need more than that, you need a full blown workstation, not a laptop.
     
  16. Category5

    Category5 Member

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    64GB is massive overkill for graphics apps. I actually have 64GB in my desktop workstation, and it rarely uses more than a fourth of that with Photoshop, Illustrator, Flexi, Versaworks and three or four web browser windows running at the same time.
    You aren’t looking for a laptop you’ll find on a shelf at Best Buy. The machine you’re searching for is a “mobile workstation.” They come with a hefty price tag, but are configured to do the sort of work you want to do.
     
  17. Bobby H

    Bobby H Very Active Member

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    I only mentioned the 128GB figure because some of the newest notebook motherboards support that kind of insane maximum. I didn't say I was demanding a notebook equipped with 128GB of RAM. Despite that kind of capacity most notebooks are sold with paltry amounts of RAM. The 8GB capacity seems to be a mainstream standard now, although a lot of budget models are still sold with only 2GB or 4GB. The notebook I bought several years ago had 8GB of RAM. A bunch of notebook product lines can't even go past 16GB, including Alienware' new M15 & M17 gaming notebooks. You have to buy a far more expensive Area 51 notebook to get a 32GB RAM option. The M15, M17 and Area 51 models all limit customers to a 1080p HDTV resolution screen.

    My 8 year old notebook has a Core i7 CPU, along with the previously mentioned amount of RAM. In the last couple or so years the system has slowed noticeably due to newer versions of Adobe applications, Corel, etc increasing their hardware demands. The system originally had Win 7 Ultimate, but was upgraded to Win 10 Pro a couple or so years ago. At 8 years, I figure the notebook is living on borrowed time. It's only a matter of time before some critical component finally fails. The notebook computer I had previous to this one was a Dell Inspiron 6000 system. That one lasted 6 years and I got the last 2 years of life out of it after replacing the LCD panel. It finally "died" when the hard drive controller on the motherboard failed.

    Not really. For applications like Adobe After Effects there is no such thing as having too much RAM. I'm not willing to settle for anything less than 32GB of RAM in a new notebook. Having 64GB would be even better.

    I'm looking at buying a notebook that will run productively very well for at least several years. That means future-proofing it out a few years for the increases in graphics application performance demands that are bound to happen. Buying a notebook merely "good enough" for the current generation of graphics applications is a recipe for having to buy a replacement notebook much sooner.
     
  18. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Today's i7 is nothing like 2011's i7. Just make sure you don't get anything that says "Ultra Low Power"

    64GB is ridiculous. Mine has 16GB and that handles everything
     
  19. brycesteiner

    brycesteiner Member

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    It sounds like you want the processing and cooling power of a mainframe in the portability of a iPad.

    I noticed you still didn't answer what do you want it for.

    There are times I would take my iPad Pro over a processing workhorse.

    Other times I want the laptop for portability.

    My favorite workstation is the 2019 MacBook Pro with a CalDigit TS3+
    On the go I have my MBP with all the programs and options. Back at the shop I plug in the laptop to charge and then have the multi 4k screens, keyboard, touchpad, etc. to the same MPB but it's just like a desktop.

    I'm not sure where you are getting they are underpowered and throttling down. That was an issue in 2018 with a firmware update fixing the problem. It runs and feels like a desktop computer all the time.

    It can get warm but it cools down quickly. It processes 4k video with no problem in FCPx.

    Todays i3 processors are faster than the i7 from 2011 - that is if you get a decent graphics card to go with it.

    a MacMini is interesting right now. I just bought one for a station in the back room. It has 6 cores and 32GB of RAM and can be upgraded to 64GB. They are not expensive if you get the lowest RAM/fastest CPU and then upgrade it yourself.

    Another option for your computer might be switch to an SSD. That makes a world of difference and many times makes it much faster than it did when new.

    so - what do you want to do with your computer?
     
  20. Category5

    Category5 Member

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    Like I said in my previous comment, you need to be shopping in the mobile workstation category, as in Dell’s Precision line and not the XPS. What you want is out there, but the cost of admission is steep. Adobe software takes advantage of the Quadro based GPUs in those machines, and they do make a difference. Are they the best for gaming? Not even close, but they are, hands down, the most powerful graphics computers. Stop looking at consumer grade laptops and complaining that they are inadequate. Those are made for your kid to do his homework, not rendering 4K video in 3DSMax.
     
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