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Super laptop for me - Page 3

post #31 of 45

...and more than 6 bit color...


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 1/20/11 at 4:00pm
post #32 of 45

I actually bought a MBP with the intention of dual booting (some of the programs I use for work don't exist on OSX), I ended up spending 95% of my time on Win 7 :)

post #33 of 45
Personally, I'm holding off for awhile.

Yes, the loaded 17" MBP is a very nice machine.

However, the whole laptop/mobile/tablet market is in a state of upheaval today. A lot of very different products will be out in about two years. For one, I expect to see gestures incorporated into Macs and we're also going to get very high-density displays. Today's MBP will probably look like a 386 by 2013 or 2014.

As much as I want a MBP or Air, I'm going to squeeze another year or two out of my white MacBook. It's compatible with Lion and works fine for what I need. When the really amazing portables roll out in a couple of years, I'll buy. I'm not just talking about faster processors and better batteries, but the interfaces are going to change significantly and there will be more wireless options. I would not spend $5,000 on something that's guaranteed to be an antique in a couple of years. Keep what you have alive until the transition is over.
post #34 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Personally, I'm holding off for awhile.

Yes, the loaded 17" MBP is a very nice machine.

However, the whole laptop/mobile/tablet market is in a state of upheaval today. A lot of very different products will be out in about two years. For one, I expect to see gestures incorporated into Macs and we're also going to get very high-density displays. Today's MBP will probably look like a 386 by 2013 or 2014.

As much as I want a MBP or Air, I'm going to squeeze another year or two out of my white MacBook. It's compatible with Lion and works fine for what I need. When the really amazing portables roll out in a couple of years, I'll buy. I'm not just talking about faster processors and better batteries, but the interfaces are going to change significantly and there will be more wireless options. I would not spend $5,000 on something that's guaranteed to be an antique in a couple of years. Keep what you have alive until the transition is over.


Hey, people have been predicting high pixel density displays since, well, a long time.  The T221 is perhaps the root of much of this, with 204 ppi in 2001...  The market has entirely stagnated with the 100 ppi 2560x1600 30" displays that have been available for 7 years, and more recently, the market has entirely reversed itself thanks to the marketing of "HD" resolution screens that are actually a big step backwards. 1366x768 now standard in a 15.4" laptop, anyone? Not to mention the awful, awful transition to 16:9 displays - Indeed, backwards just like keyboards have gone from the Model M.  There isn't even a laptop with a decent keyboard in Best Buy anymore, other than the Macs...  No wonder why people think Windows boxes suck...

 

Anyway, there hasn't been a non-specialty use LCD desktop monitor with anything over 110 ppi or so yet (CRTs often went higher; at best around 121 ppi), and very few indeed even exceed 100 ppi.  My roommate was enamored with his horrid (but very bright and very big) 28" 1920x1200 monitor - I hated it because you could see the pixel grid, and it produced a moire-like grid in my vision.  That's 80 ppi, although 90 ppi is more typical for most displays.

 

The problem, besides how manufacturers realized the "HD Revolution" would allow them to make a step backwards with monitors moving to 16:9 and lower resolutions (thus saving them oodles of money while increasing sales thanks to ignorant customers), is that high pixel density display yields are horrid (too many dead/stuck pixels).  OTOH, dead and stuck pixels aren't anywhere near as noticeable with high ppi displays.

 

The advantage for smaller displays - the iPhone 4, the OLED phones (another screen technology with yield issues), and even laptop displays - is that you can fit more of them on a die, and when there's a dead or stuck pixel you only waste a small portion of what you would for a much bigger desktop monitor.  It's the same reason that digital camera costs skyrocket with bigger sensors.  So, that's why we're seeing 300 ppi displays in phones, 150 ppi displays in laptops, and 100 ppi desktop monitors.  Admittedly, the smaller displays with higher ppis benefit consumers a bit more, because they're usually viewed from closer.  But I think once we see 100% vector-based GUIs - OS X is mostly there and Windows 7 has at least made steps towards it - we'll begin seeing higher DPI monitors.  I think another part of that is coming close to the practical maximum single monitor size - 30" is huge at normal sitting distances.  We're going to need better and better windows management in the future.

 

Of course, that's just one aspect that's going to improve... I just don't think that four years from now is going to be an exponential improvement compared to the improvement from four years ago.  Prototypes now will be in very high-end devices then, high-end devices now will be early-adopter mainstream devices then, and and early-adopter mainstream things now will be fairly mainstream.  Look at Blu-ray, for example.  It had been in development for half a decade before the first players and movies came out in 2006.  Four and a half years later it's finally got steam as a format, just in time for many people to adopt subscription services (albeit with lower quality video).

 

I guess my point is that being on the cutting edge has had a huge, huge price for gains that aren't always great - and that will hold true in the future as well.

post #35 of 45

I would not spend $5K, of my own money, on a laptop for the following reason.

 

Laptop reliability and support is pretty hit and miss.  I think there was a time when buying a "good" laptop meant that you'd have something that would last 3-4 years or that the manufacturer would provide proper support for it.

 

The world of laptops is simply not like that anymore.  Some people say buy a "Business" class laptop but that's not any guarantee.  Even within HP, Lenovos, and Dell, their business lines can be pretty hit and miss.  Business support is better than consumer support, but I've read some rather depressing stories about the problems people have had trying to repair business laptops.  I'd be irate if I had to fuss with customer service to fix a $5K laptop.

 

If I spent that much on a laptop I'd expect it to last a minimum of 4 years, but I could not be confident about that.  The way laptops are designed, manufactured, and sold/purchased is very different from how it used to be.  I don't really blame the manufacturers since they are just giving the consumers what they want.

 

Quote:
However, the whole laptop/mobile/tablet market is in a state of upheaval today. A lot of very different products will be out in about two years. For one, I expect to see gestures incorporated into Macs and we're also going to get very high-density displays. Today's MBP will probably look like a 386 by 2013 or 2014.

 

I don't think it makes sense to base purchasing decisions today on what happen in a few years.  I agree that there are a lot of changes occurring in the computing world, but so many of these are fantasies and rumors.  I remember that about a year ago people were promising (by Summer of 2010) that there would be a huge crop of tablets.  You'd be able to dual boot Android/Windows, attach a mouse and keyboard, and have 10 hours of battery life.  The rumors and "leaks" got even more intense when the ipad was announced.

 

One year later and we're still waiting for the first proper Android tablet.  Sure there is some stuff out there (like the Samsung Tablet) but it's nothing like all those promises.  I would have liked to replace a laptop with a $500 tablet running Windows, but even the processors haven't evolved as people claimed they would have.  The newest Atom and Zacate processors have the power of 4 year old mobile processors...

 

If the technology you have works for what you need then keep it and wait.  If you need something now, hold off only if something is right around the corner - meaning it's actually in production and scheduled for release soon.  A lot of "right around the corner" stuff is just vaporware.

post #36 of 45

Great post, odigg.  I agree with pretty much everything there.

 

One thing - I think for consumers, perhaps the biggest draw of the business class notebooks is build quality.  Like I mentioned in my last post, the quality of laptops has really become polarized.  There essentially isn't a keyboard worthy of being a desktop freebie in any consumer laptop today, it's that bad.  Even my $160 Asus netbook had a better keyboard.  I've lost track of how many people have had the hinges on their HP laptops break, and when my brother sent his in for repair for a broken screen they put a lower resolution screen in!  It's the same with most of the consumer lines, anyway.

post #37 of 45


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post

Great post, odigg.  I agree with pretty much everything there.

 

One thing - I think for consumers, perhaps the biggest draw of the business class notebooks is build quality.  Like I mentioned in my last post, the quality of laptops has really become polarized.  There essentially isn't a keyboard worthy of being a desktop freebie in any consumer laptop today, it's that bad.  Even my $160 Asus netbook had a better keyboard.  I've lost track of how many people have had the hinges on their HP laptops break, and when my brother sent his in for repair for a broken screen they put a lower resolution screen in!  It's the same with most of the consumer lines, anyway.



I 100% agree that business class (at least some of them) are better built in a physical sense.  Many of them are also much more elegant looking than the horrid cheap-plastic design consumer laptops.   Perhaps I am being too skeptical, but what I worry about is the innards (e.g. motherboard, cooling system) of even the business class laptops.  Is the motherboard of the Latitude really built better than their less expensive business line or even the consumer line?  Sometimes I look at these machines and feel the only real difference is the manufacturer has just changed the BIOS programming so the "Higher End" business laptops can use more powerful processors, take higher density RAM, etc.

 

Can somebody honestly tell me the quality of components (e.g capacitors) is better and will last longer than what is used in cheaper models?  Didn't Dell (and who knows how many other companies) knowingly sell products with defective capacitors?

 

I am not trying to discourage people from business laptops.  If I had to buy a laptop today I would only buy from the business line.  But I don't think I could bring myself to spend a big amount on it because I have no confidence it will last or that I will be able to repair it.

 

The Thinkpad W701ds you pointed out looks quite nice and is not priced too high considering what comes with it.  People today may complain about the weight, but I remember when an 8 pound laptop was quite normal and was considered very portable :)

 

I think it's slightly better than what was once considered a "portable" computer  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_computer - yes I am making a joke.

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by odigg View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackbeardBen View Post

Great post, odigg.  I agree with pretty much everything there.

 

One thing - I think for consumers, perhaps the biggest draw of the business class notebooks is build quality.  Like I mentioned in my last post, the quality of laptops has really become polarized.  There essentially isn't a keyboard worthy of being a desktop freebie in any consumer laptop today, it's that bad.  Even my $160 Asus netbook had a better keyboard.  I've lost track of how many people have had the hinges on their HP laptops break, and when my brother sent his in for repair for a broken screen they put a lower resolution screen in!  It's the same with most of the consumer lines, anyway.



I 100% agree that business class (at least some of them) are better built in a physical sense.  Many of them are also much more elegant looking than the horrid cheap-plastic design consumer laptops.   Perhaps I am being too skeptical, but what I worry about is the innards (e.g. motherboard, cooling system) of even the business class laptops.  Is the motherboard of the Latitude really built better than their less expensive business line or even the consumer line?  Sometimes I look at these machines and feel the only real difference is the manufacturer has just changed the BIOS programming so the "Higher End" business laptops can use more powerful processors, take higher density RAM, etc.

 

Can somebody honestly tell me the quality of components (e.g capacitors) is better and will last longer than what is used in cheaper models?  Didn't Dell (and who knows how many other companies) knowingly sell products with defective capacitors?

 

I am not trying to discourage people from business laptops.  If I had to buy a laptop today I would only buy from the business line.  But I don't think I could bring myself to spend a big amount on it because I have no confidence it will last or that I will be able to repair it.

 

The Thinkpad W701ds you pointed out looks quite nice and is not priced too high considering what comes with it.  People today may complain about the weight, but I remember when an 8 pound laptop was quite normal and was considered very portable :)

 

I think it's slightly better than what was once considered a "portable" computer  - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_computer - yes I am making a joke.

 

Well, without evidence I think that the quality of motherboard components in consumer laptops is "good enough".  Look at, say, hi-fi electronics - they're expected to last 20 years at minimum.  Computers are lucky to be functional at 5 years old, although when not abused and only running software from their time, they work well for much longer than that. (I had an MS-DOS laptop from 1990 or so that ran until 2005-ish, the reason it stopped working was the battery door failed.)  I'd also take a guess and say that many motherboard issues are actually caused by bad power supplies - a little over-voltage could easily destroy key components.

 

Things like motherboard layout, cooling, and power supplies are definitely better on business grade laptops.  Or at least better brands.  For example, take cooling - whose idea was it to put air intakes on the bottom?  People stick their notebooks on their lap, on their bed, and in plenty of other places that suffocate them.  My T510, on the other hand, has an intake on the rear and exhaust on the side, with a massive copper heatsink.  In terms of layout, there's certainly the matter of massive interchangeability of parts - although you'll never see that in Macs...  I've got a hard drive that I swap out with the DVD-R drive in the Ultrabay.  I can also upgrade to a Blu-ray drive (read-only or write too) if I want, but they're too expensive for now.  Lastly, the power supply.  My roommate has a horrible Acer that has a very poor power supply - he can't use his computer plugged in without a battery!  I assume that's cost-cutting in terms of getting rid of half (or all of) the on-board power supply and routing all power through the battery.


But for motherboard components - I think this perhaps falls into the same category of say, engines in cars.  Is the engine in a Lexus ES better than the engine in a Toyota Camry?  Well, you automatically get better performance with the V-6, which is only an option on the Camry.  But it's exactly the same engine as the Camry V-6.  The benefits are elsewhere, in fit and finish - because the engine is already more reliable than the rest of the car.

 

That's not to say that there aren't issues with the business-class products.  My Thinkpad has some "quirks", like not always being able to adjust the screen brightness after waking the computer up.  Lenovo is working on a fix for that and a few other issues, though, since the Lenovo forums are well staffed and supported.  Their main problem is getting samples sent in - few want to send in their computers for a minor problem like that.  The techs also have issues with identifying intermittent problems, of course.

post #39 of 45

On the other hand, as manufacturers get better at decontenting there are corners cut in consumer notebooks to make them cheaper to make and support, at the expense of long-term reliability. The other day I was rummaging in storage boxes and I found an Inspiron 8600 from the first-gen Centrino days. It's built like a tank in comparison with e.g. the XPS 16, which would I guess be it's spiritual successor.

 

 

Apple's huge skill is doing this without the demerits being too apparent to the consumer. One of the reasons for example they moved to an automated unibody production instead of a multi-part assembled shell is that QC (being surprisingly variable for an apparently premium manufacturer in times of the pre-unibodies) of the externals can be made much more consistent by involving less variable human labour while retaining 'premium feel', not because of any particular functional merits of the method. For the average Apple customer 90% of the game is how it looks, because they'll never be able to use a computer to it's limits... and the unibody construction method kills three birds at once: Lesser variability of QA of the externals which remain most visible to the consumer, the tactile feel of an all-metal body and the (for the most part, actually false in comparison to flagship Sony / Lenovo / etc machines) impression of strength, as well as production costs not being that different after decent volumes have been achieved. There are many advantages which may occur to the still-uninformed but hobbyist-level consumer, one oft-mentioned example being the case is more efficient at dissipating heat. But that is a red herring, like most consumers' ideas/assumptions regarding the superiority of the unibody design: If Apple were to actually use the alloy case as a large heatsink they'd be facing lawsuits in a matter of months.

 

 

Business notebooks are still expected to have a long manufacturer supported life so attention naturally turns to make them more stable in the long run.

post #40 of 45

BlackbeardBen - Thanks for the insight on Business models.  I've really only got experience with some of the Latitude models.  Again that's hit and miss as far as quirks and headaches.  

 

I agree that in a general sense consumer products have reached a point where reliable products can be made fairly cheaply and components (e.g. capacitors) have reached the point where stuff typically fails due to defect or counterfeits, not because of design issues.

 

But I have seen corner cutting, even in so called "Good Laptops."  For example, with one Laptop I think there was some cost cutting with the cooling system used on the graphics chip.  This led to heating of the components around the chip.  Over time, and with dust buildup, the durability of these parts close to the graphics chip were compromised because of this additional stress.  So it wasn't an issue with the capacitors per say, but one could argue they could have used capacitors with better heat tolerance, or a better motherboard design, to address this issue.

 

The market for business laptops also seems to have changed.  Over the last few years there has been the growth of the "small business" line, like the Dell Vostro.  These laptops seem to have some of the the same flaws (e.g. intake vents on the bottom, flimsy keyboards) as the consumer models.  Are these "business" laptops really better than their consumer counterparts?  Or is just a question of who is at the end of the support line?

 

I'll tell you one thing I really don't understand.  Why are even the cheaper business laptops so much better looking than the consumer ones?  The Vostro looks quite professional and decent.  The new Studio XPS line looks horrible.  When I walk through an consumer electronics store I can barely look at many of the laptops, even the more pricey ones.  If Dell and HP can make a $600 business laptop that looks decent, is it so hard to do so with their consumer lines?  There used to be many consumer laptops that looked decent and professional.  What's happened?

 

Anyway, please don't think I'm arguing with you.  I'm far from an expert on Laptops or the design of them.

post #41 of 45
Thread Starter 

I got some hands on time with a stock Lenovo IBM Thinkpad W701DS. This thing is humongous and it is heavy. It is very thick and solid looking. This has got to be the fastest and most powerful laptop that I have ever used for an entire day. It can do everything. The dual screen is innovative and I can manage more information at the same time which boosts my productivity. I ran Adobe Creative Suite 5 Master Collection on it and it is spectacular. The WACOM digital pad and pen along with the colorimeter ensure accurate results. There are a ton of security features not found in other laptops including remote management utilities. Lojack for laptops works with it too. I am impressed overall.

 

I am still comfortable spending my money (up to $5,000.00 USD) on a notebook PC and I am most certainly going to put this Lenovo W series at the top of my list.

 

I almost crapped in my pants after playing around with a stock model with no additional upgrade options. I cannot imagine how much faster and more powerful mine will be with all of the aforementioned key technologies that are not yet available.

 

Whoopie!

post #42 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

As a friend of mine in Apple once said: People buy Macs for Mac OS X. If the OS doesn't interest you, then it's not worth bothering with. smile.gif


That's true. That, and if you like shiny pretty things of course.

 

I resent that.

I bought a Sony instead.wink.gif

I wish I did something intense enough to warrent a machine as crazy as these. But I'm content with my i5 520 and radeon 5470 card for now.

 

post #43 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu View Post

I am still comfortable spending my money (up to $5,000.00 USD) on a notebook PC and I am most certainly going to put this Lenovo W series at the top of my list.

 

I almost crapped in my pants after playing around with a stock model with no additional upgrade options. I cannot imagine how much faster and more powerful mine will be with all of the aforementioned key technologies that are not yet available.

 

Whoopie!


Somebody has probably already mentioned this, but try to wait for the newer mobile Sandy Bridge processors.  The Sandy Bridge Mobile quad core parts are getting excellent reviews.  Everybody is saying they are a major leap over the previous generation quad core parts and that Intel has really brought quad core into the mobile age.  The older generation chips sucked down power and were really only for the people who were willing to give up everything else for that extra power.

 

I'm guessing that Dell, Lenovo, etc will start announcing Sand Bridge refreshed business laptops in February and you'll be able to buy them in March.

post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 

That's what I am still waiting for. Sandy Bridge and nVIDIA Quadro 5000 along with dual SSDs and everything else that I mentioned earlier in my posts. I might have to wait until this summer to get it all.

post #45 of 45
Thread Starter 

never mind.

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