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 Post subject: Seeking Haswell Laptop
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:40 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 9
Apparently, I am targeting an unusual mix of components, because I don't find the full set available anywhere. I'm not a gamer, so I don't need a fancy discrete GPU. I want wireless AC and Iris Pro integrated graphics (HD5000 - 5200), Samsung Xp-941 SSD (m2 form factor, PCIe interface; included in the new MacBook Air). BUT, I want a few things the MacBook Air DOESN'T offer:
1) storage HDD
2) ethernet
3) 15.6" screen. (I'm a # cruncher, and want a dedicated 10-key Number Pad)
4) IPS matte screen

I want the guts of the System 76 Galago Pro (14") in the chassis of the System 76 Gazelle Pro (has 15.6" IPS Matte screen, but lacks Iris Pro, lacks wireless AC, has discrete GPU to use more power, generate more heat, and suck battery life).

If I get a Clevo cased laptop like the System76 Gazelle Pro, is the wireless controller modular (i.e., I could get wireless N from manufacturer and later upgrade to AC if/when I choose)?

Since the marketplace doesn't yet offer my target combination of features, I'd appreciate any suggestions on reasonable compromises to make now. Or should I just sit tight for a few months and see what rolls out for 2013 holiday season?

Does ANY laptop manufacturer besides Apple yet offer a MoBo that would accept the new M2 form factor SSD?

Thanks, in advance, for your sage advice.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Haswell Laptop
PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:43 pm 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 4554
Some points here...

  • Do you have a 802.11ac router or a need for it? This sort of thing will only help with your network if your network is congested with the more stable offerings. If it's just you then 802.11n even in it's highest end flavor (3x MIMO) should provide ample bandwidth.
  • If you aren't a gamer, then the integrated GPU shouldn't matter either. And even if you intended to use it for compute acceleration, the other stuff works just fine too for that purpose.
  • Notebooks with a PCIe port for SSDs are probably going to be on ultrabooks anyway, because that's where they're wanted. So even if you did find something else (like one of Sony's Vaio ultrabooks), you're going to have the same things that are lacking as you did with the MBA.

In any case, either you're going to have to make compromises here or wait until the holiday season. And it would depend on your urgency for getting a laptop.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Haswell Laptop
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 3:15 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Sun May 23, 2010 11:24 am
Posts: 9
Thanks, Latios, XT.

Wireless AC sounds like over-reach. Assume that I stay with Wireless 801.11n @ time of laptop purchase. Is that wireless adapter baked into the MoBo, or a modular item I could separately upgrade later to Wireless AC if/when desired?

Boot Drive: Sounds like I will have to skip the m2 PCIe SSD (UltraBook only) in order to get the 15.6" screen size, and settle for an mSATA boot drive. Recommended size for mSATA boot drive?

Storage Drive: If I go with a Clevo case like the System 76 Gazelle, I could get a 0.75TB Hybrid HDD (1 or 2 of them), and maybe someday upgrade to a Samsung 840 EVO SSD in one or both of those. I'll probably go the Hybrid HDD route for now, and wait for SSD prices to fall further before taking that jump.

GPU: I'm going to have this laptop for several years, so I'd prefer to get HD5x00 vs HD4x00 integrated graphics. You seem to be asserting that I won't notice the difference for the intended usage I've stated (MS Office, web surfing, streaming video, etc.). Good to know. That may be another thing I can relax about. If I get a Clevo case like the System 76 Gazelle, I get a discrete GPU -- gaining GPU muscle I don't really need or want, but sacrificing battery life I DO really want.

Screen Size: Maybe I should consider a USB/Bluetooth 10-key pad, and live with a slightly smaller screen.

I'll most likely wait for the 2013 Holiday Season. More stuff should come on offer as other product lines get refreshed for Haswell.


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 Post subject: Re: Seeking Haswell Laptop
PostPosted: Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:02 pm 
Clawhammer
Clawhammer

Joined: Sun Jun 18, 2006 7:37 pm
Posts: 4554
Wild_Horses wrote:
Is that wireless adapter baked into the MoBo, or a modular item I could separately upgrade later to Wireless AC if/when desired?
I believe all of the time they're modular, and I'm pretty sure the antennas are standardized.

Quote:
Recommended size for mSATA boot drive?

64GB is plenty for Windows and a lot of applications. But you should inventory how much space your applications take up. Windows normally takes up 25GB, give or take.

Other things of note:
  • You can get a dedicated GPU as long as it has GPU switching technology (NVIDIA Optimus or AMD Hybrid Graphics/PowerExpress). I had a laptop that lasted 10 or so hours on battery even though it had a dedicated GPU because it had GPU switching. Otherwise, if it's 2D applications, anything will do really. You can get Intel's latest craphole of a GPU and it'll still do 1080p video without breaking a sweat.
  • If you don't need the larger HDD or space right away, you can get a laptop with an HDD, replace it with an SSD, and put the HDD in a USB3.0 2.5" enclosure (you can get these for $20-$30). I did this with a few laptops and it's worked well for me. In fact, I ran a Minecraft server in this setup just fine.


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