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DrDork
Dec 29, 2003
commanding officer of the Army of Dorkness

surf rock posted:

I'm probably just an idiot, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what the letters after various ThinkPad models mean. I'm pretty sure "u" means Ultrabook, "s" means a smaller/lighter version, and "t" means either touchscreen or tablet, but what does "p" and "e" mean?
Whatever the gently caress they want. No one really knows--there hasn't been a -p before. I'm hoping for "performance" with a moderate dGPU (or Iris Pro, wouldn't that be nice?) and a screen that doesn't blow.

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IncendiaC
Sep 25, 2011


It's been a couple years since I followed laptops so I'm totally out of the loop, but is the Thinkpad T-series still the goon-approved choice? I've skimmed a few pages back and saw something about the newer T-series being not as good as the older models. Is that a big deal or is it just an 'IBM fanboy' thing?

My mother is in the market for a laptop and while it'll mostly stay at home, she does take it out on trips and so she needs something durable. As for the screen, the 15.6" is mandatory for her but I don't think she needs the 1920 screen (elderly eyesight and all that).

I've been looking at this one from the Lenovo website, with the coupon it'll be $780 before taxes:

code:
ThinkPad T530 - 1 Year Depot Warranty	
Processor:	Intel Core i5-3230M Processor (3.20GHz, 3MB Cache, 1600MHz) with Intel HD Graphics 4000	
Operating System:	Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit)	Edit
Operating System Language:	Windows 7 Home Premium 64 - English
Display Type:	15.6" HD+ (1600 x 900) LED Backlit AntiGlare Display, Mobile Broadband Ready
System Graphics:	Intel HD Graphics 4000	
Total Memory:	4 GB DDR3 - 1600MHz (1 DIMM)	
Keyboard:	Keyboard Backlit - US English	
Pointing Device:	UltraNav with Fingerprint Reader for Color Sensor, Smart Card Reader	
Camera:	720p HD Camera with Microphone	
Hard Drive:	500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm	
Optical Device:	DVD Recordable	
System Expansion Slots:	Express Card Slot & 4-in-1 Card Reader & Smart Card Reader	
Battery:	6 Cell Li-Ion TWL 70+	
Power Cord:	90W AC Adapter - US (2pin)	
Integrated WiFi Wireless LAN Adapters:	Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 AGN	
Integrated Mobile Broadband:	Mobile Broadband upgradable	
Language Pack:	Publication - US English
Is there anything especially "wrong" with this? Any upgrades that I should or shouldn't include (aside from the screen upgrade)?

OXBALLS DOT COM
Sep 11, 2005

by FactsAreUseless


Young Orc

DrDork posted:

Whatever the gently caress they want. No one really knows--there hasn't been a -p before. I'm hoping for "performance" with a moderate dGPU (or Iris Pro, wouldn't that be nice?) and a screen that doesn't blow.

I think there has been a "p" before, it just refers to an option package and isn't actually a separate model per se. I say this because I vaguely recall seeing T420p and T430p on order sheets before but I don't think they're actually badged as such.

It would be funny, though, if since s stands for "slim," p stood for "porky".

DrDork
Dec 29, 2003
commanding officer of the Army of Dorkness

The 1920x1080 screen is leaps and bounds better than the others. Whether or not you think your mother will appreciate $150 (or whatever it is today) worth of more vibrant colors, less color shift, etc., is up to you. Otherwise it looks fine. You have wisely chosen to upgrade the wireless and not bother with paying Lenovo for a SSD/HDD/RAM upgrade. These are correct choices.

surf rock
Aug 12, 2007



DrDork posted:

Whatever the gently caress they want. No one really knows--there hasn't been a -p before. I'm hoping for "performance" with a moderate dGPU (or Iris Pro, wouldn't that be nice?) and a screen that doesn't blow.

Yeah, that makes sense to me. "Professional" came to mind as well, but that struck me as really redundant considering that it's a Lenovo T-series.

I hope you're right about the T540. Using the B&N Gold link, I can customize a kick-rear end T530 (Intel Core i5 processor, 1920x1080 resolution, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD) for about $1,050 pre-tax. It makes me really want to pull the trigger on the purchase, but I'm not going to do so. I'm assuming the T540 will cost a couple hundred more in terms of base price, but if it has a good screen right off the bat, I'll have to spend a couple hundred less in terms of upgrade costs, so that balances out. The increased battery life and graphical performance of Haswell will be icing on the cake. I just hope they don't do something stupid with it, or cut down on the customization options.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


My job is temporarily giving a 25% off employee discount on a specific subset of Dell laptops. However, they all have discrete GPUs. Of the offerings, the only ones with Haswell are the Alienware 14, 17, and 18, all with discrete GPUs (actually, all of the discounted offerings have discrete GPUs). I spent a minute and quickly spec'd out an Alienware 14:

i7-4700MQ
14" 1080p screen (upgraded from 768)
16GB RAM (upgraded from 8)
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M with 1GB GDDR5
750GB HDD (which I would replace with a SSD myself)
802.11n/ac WiFi (upgraded from n)
Final price: $1161 after discount

Am I stupid to consider buying this? I really want Haswell because it will improve battery life, but I feel like the discrete GPU is wiping out those gains. I'm also concerned about having a really hot, heavy laptop that I'll eventually wind up hating. I want to use it primarily for coding. I also travel 4-8 weeks. I also game, but in a laptop I'd only be interested in running older titles, so Haswell's integrated graphics offerings would be fine.

Should I jump on this or will I possibly end up hating my "gaming" laptop?

Mu Zeta
Oct 17, 2002

Me crush ass to dust


Grimey Drawer

You can just disable the discrete GPU in settings to boost battery life.

As far specs goes those look pretty good. I'd get the bare minimum RAM and upgrade that myself

The laptop itself looks butt ugly IMO.

dissss
Nov 10, 2007

I'm a terrible forums poster with terrible opinions.

Here's a cat fucking a squid.

Just because there is a discrete GPU there doesn't mean you have to use it - on the Nvidia side at least switching works seamlessly.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


You can just turn off the discrete GPU?! I had no idea, I've never owned a laptop with a discrete GPU before. That's a bit of a game changer for me.

As for the RAM, the minimum is 8GB, and upgrading from 8GB to 16GB is only costing me $55 after the discount, which seems like a pretty good deal if Newegg is any indicator.

e: How about the Alienware 14 in general? I've been reading reviews, but I can't tell if these are just kissing rear end for some reason or if they're authentically supportive of the laptop, especially things like the frame and keyboard

QuarkJets fucked around with this message at 03:33 on Jul 13, 2013

syzygy86
Feb 1, 2008



Cream_Filling posted:

I think there has been a "p" before, it just refers to an option package and isn't actually a separate model per se. I say this because I vaguely recall seeing T420p and T430p on order sheets before but I don't think they're actually badged as such.

It would be funny, though, if since s stands for "slim," p stood for "porky".

There has been "p" models before, but the last one was the T61p. Thinkwiki has a good summary of past and current models. The "p" variants were always a higher spec than the normal model, so I always assumed it meant performance.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

EHCIARF EMERC...
EHCIARF EMERC...


Mu Zeta posted:

You can just disable the discrete GPU in settings to boost battery life.

As I've mentioned several times in this thread, I do tech support for Dell. I take calls on Latitude, Optiplex and Precision systems. My only experience with Optimus is only on Precision systems, so I don't know if it is different on Alienware systems, but I've never seen a Dell laptop with Optimus that can disable the NVIDIA. In fact, I thought with Optimus, you could only ever disable the integrated, until I saw otherwise mentioned in the thread just this week.

On Precision systems, the BIOS options you have is to 'enable' or 'disable' Optimus. Enabled means Optimus is working, with the two hardware. Disabled means Intel is disabled, and you only use NVIDIA. I won't be in work until Monday, but I can check to see if this is the same on Alienware systems.

And... doesn't it seem like overkill to buy an Alienware to play older games with a disabled discrete card?

I also just made use of a bonus employee discount from Dell. (But mine was only %17 percent, what gives?!) When you say 'specific subset', is it a specific selection of exact models? Or was it like mine, and they're the full 'consumer' laptop families? (Don't think mine included Alienware, now that I think of it...) If so, check out the XPS 12. It's got Haswell too. It's what I bought with my discount. (The Latitude E6540 is out with Haswell, but I'm sure that wouldn't be included in the discount. The Inspiron 15R has an option for 4th Gen processor, as well.)

Edit: I can't find any info for the new 14 model, except for a manual which makes it seem like Optimus can't be disabled in any way. For older models, like the 14x, it looks like there may be BIOS updates that added the option to disable Intel after the system was originally designed. I found this in a forum post: "On m14x, your display is connected to intel IGP. Even while gaming on nvidia, the data is first processed with nvidia and then transferred to intel IGP to display on screen. If you disable intel IGP, there wont be any display at all." That is exactly as how Optimus is designed on the Precision Workstation laptops I work on. For example: If you have an M6600 with an NVIDIA card, you must have Optimus enabled if you want to use multiple displays. I just had a call today with this issue.

Revol fucked around with this message at 03:51 on Jul 13, 2013

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

Turn off Optimus and then disable the discrete card in Device Manager.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

EHCIARF EMERC...
EHCIARF EMERC...


InstantInfidel posted:

Turn off Optimus and then disable the discrete card in Device Manager.

When Optimus is turned on, you've got both Intel and NVIDIA in the Device Manager. With Optimus off, you've only got NVIDIA in there. Best you could do is have the standard VGA driver installed.

But, I guess you could just configure the NVIDIA control panel to never use the discrete graphics in any programs. But, again... a good portion of the Alienware 14 price is gonna be that graphics card. You're just throwing money away.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


Revol posted:

When Optimus is turned on, you've got both Intel and NVIDIA in the Device Manager. With Optimus off, you've only got NVIDIA in there. Best you could do is have the standard VGA driver installed.

But, I guess you could just configure the NVIDIA control panel to never use the discrete graphics in any programs. But, again... a good portion of the Alienware 14 price is gonna be that graphics card. You're just throwing money away.

Well, I guess, but the 25% discount is probably covering the discrete GPU and then some, and I will occasionally get some use out of the GPU when I rarely use it for gaming during the 4ish weeks a year that I travel. I'd rather not have that discrete GPU at all, but with a big discount like that and only having a choice of laptops with discrete GPUs, it's still pretty tempting

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

No, disabling Optimus and disabling the discrete card gives you IGP-only mode.

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

Double posting to make sure this gets noticed: If the build quality doesn't suck dog poo poo, this is a pretty nifty piece of hardware. $1500 gets you a Haswell quad core and a 765M, all in a 13.3" package with a 1080p screen.

edit: a matte screen, no less.

dissss
Nov 10, 2007

I'm a terrible forums poster with terrible opinions.

Here's a cat fucking a squid.

Not sure why you'd want to turn the DGPU off - just choose which to use on a per app basis in the Nvidia control panel. It really is that simple.

Sendo
Jul 26, 2011



InstantInfidel posted:

Double posting to make sure this gets noticed: If the build quality doesn't suck dog poo poo, this is a pretty nifty piece of hardware. $1500 gets you a Haswell quad core and a 765M, all in a 13.3" package with a 1080p screen.

edit: a matte screen, no less.

You do realise this is just the Clevo W230ST which you were bagging out a few pages ago right?

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


dissss posted:

Not sure why you'd want to turn the DGPU off - just choose which to use on a per app basis in the Nvidia control panel. It really is that simple.



How effective is this? Is it relatively easy to just use Intel graphics for everything and then use the NVidia GPU for very specific apps? Do you notice a considerable boost in battery life / cooler temperatures?

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


Revol posted:

I also just made use of a bonus employee discount from Dell. (But mine was only %17 percent, what gives?!) When you say 'specific subset', is it a specific selection of exact models? Or was it like mine, and they're the full 'consumer' laptop families? (Don't think mine included Alienware, now that I think of it...) If so, check out the XPS 12. It's got Haswell too. It's what I bought with my discount. (The Latitude E6540 is out with Haswell, but I'm sure that wouldn't be included in the discount. The Inspiron 15R has an option for 4th Gen processor, as well.)

Edit: I can't find any info for the new 14 model, except for a manual which makes it seem like Optimus can't be disabled in any way. For older models, like the 14x, it looks like there may be BIOS updates that added the option to disable Intel after the system was originally designed. I found this in a forum post: "On m14x, your display is connected to intel IGP. Even while gaming on nvidia, the data is first processed with nvidia and then transferred to intel IGP to display on screen. If you disable intel IGP, there wont be any display at all." That is exactly as how Optimus is designed on the Precision Workstation laptops I work on. For example: If you have an M6600 with an NVIDIA card, you must have Optimus enabled if you want to use multiple displays. I just had a call today with this issue.

It's specifically 25% off of the Alienware 14, 17, and 18, and then a few 3rd generation laptops that all have discrete GPUs (two different XPS 15s, Mobile Precision M4700, and Mobile Precision M6700; of all of these, the Alienware 14 is the cheapest, and also seems like the best deal, and the Alienware laptops are the only ones with Haswell)

Reading my fine print further, if I make a phone call then I get a 16% discount on anything else outside of this short list. The Inspiron 15R with Haswell looks nice, and would be a lot lighter/thinner/cheaper. Are there any offerings here with Intel HD 5000 or higher? I had trouble finding them, all I see are Haswells with HD 4400 like the Inspiron 15R

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

Sendo posted:

You do realise this is just the Clevo W230ST which you were bagging out a few pages ago right?

No, I did not. I thought that Digital Storm was a first-party producer, didn't realize they were a reseller.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

EHCIARF EMERC...
EHCIARF EMERC...


QuarkJets posted:

Reading my fine print further, if I make a phone call then I get a 16% discount on anything else outside of this short list. The Inspiron 15R with Haswell looks nice, and would be a lot lighter/thinner/cheaper. Are there any offerings here with Intel HD 5000 or higher? I had trouble finding them, all I see are Haswells with HD 4400 like the Inspiron 15R

As far as the Intel HD 5000, this article does not have me excited for it, at least when used in low-power processors. The Alienware has an HD 4600, the Inspiron and XPS 12 have HD 4400.
But, speaking of the 4600, I did find this: "According to benchmarks in 3DMark 11, the HD Graphics 5000 is up to 50 percent faster than the previous HD 4000. In games, however, the performance advantage is significantly lower. With simultaneous load on the CPU, the low TDP of the ULV models (15 W) limits the Turbo Boost of the GPU. Although the HD 5000 features 40 Execution Units, the graphics performance is still somewhat below the HD Graphics 4600 with only 20 EUs (HD 4000: 16 EUs)." The 4600 runs on a faster clock.

Hadlock
Nov 9, 2004





syzygy86 posted:

There has been "p" models before, but the last one was the T61p. Thinkwiki has a good summary of past and current models. The "p" variants were always a higher spec than the normal model, so I always assumed it meant performance.

Probably stands for sPace heater

canada jezus
Jul 18, 2011



A friend is going abroad for a year and wants to get the smallest possible laptop/netbook that can edit video for a vlog. I doubt the video is over 720p, those are about all the details i have. She wanted to get an ASUS X201E, i don't know anything about what video editing requires hardware wise, but i'm pretty sure that won't cut it.

If she wants, as cheap as possible, portable, general office/internet school stuff and some basic video editing. Like what is the cheapest that could cut it? Apparently 11inch form factor is really important. I think what she wants probably doesn't exist but i'm not sure.

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

No, that laptop should be fine. I *think* there are two models, one with a lovely Celeron and one with an i3, so make sure she gets the one with an i3. If money's not a huge object, though, dropping $1000 for an 11.6" MBA is really the best way to go.

edit: By editing video, I assume you mean just using Microsoft Moviemaker or some equivalent to make Youtube-quality videos, not transcoding between codecs or hardcore filmography work.

LurkingAsian
Jul 27, 2007
Shhhh.......

The Thinkpad x131e is another solid option for much less than the macbook air. However, any sort of transcoding or heavy video processing is going to be very painful on any of these options with a ulv processor. The only 11in class laptop with a full voltage processor I am aware of is the clevo w110er, and that is probably a bit too bulky, among other issues.

canada jezus
Jul 18, 2011



Ah the model she linked had a celeron, i didn't know there was an i3 version. Money is definitely an object, but the form factor was the main concern i think. We're in europe so that thinkpad is as expensive as a macbook air. I'll relay all the options to her, so thank you for the help friends.

Twerk from Home
Jan 17, 2009

This avatar brought to you by the 'save our dead gay forums' foundation.


canada jezus posted:

Ah the model she linked had a celeron, i didn't know there was an i3 version. Money is definitely an object, but the form factor was the main concern i think. We're in europe so that thinkpad is as expensive as a macbook air. I'll relay all the options to her, so thank you for the help friends.

Jesus. I was about to recommend possibly finding a used X120e in good shape, as it should barely be powerful enough, but if $400 Thinkpads cost the same as $1000 Macbook Airs I doubt you'd find any used.

canada jezus
Jul 18, 2011



Weinertron posted:

Jesus. I was about to recommend possibly finding a used X120e in good shape, as it should barely be powerful enough, but if $400 Thinkpads cost the same as $1000 Macbook Airs I doubt you'd find any used.

Just to be absolutely sure i'm not making a mistake and googling like a solid gold model or anything
http://tweakers.net/pricewatch/3234...thinkpad-x131e-(n2u2nmh).html This is the one right?

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


Revol posted:

As far as the Intel HD 5000, this article does not have me excited for it, at least when used in low-power processors. The Alienware has an HD 4600, the Inspiron and XPS 12 have HD 4400.
But, speaking of the 4600, I did find this: "According to benchmarks in 3DMark 11, the HD Graphics 5000 is up to 50 percent faster than the previous HD 4000. In games, however, the performance advantage is significantly lower. With simultaneous load on the CPU, the low TDP of the ULV models (15 W) limits the Turbo Boost of the GPU. Although the HD 5000 features 40 Execution Units, the graphics performance is still somewhat below the HD Graphics 4600 with only 20 EUs (HD 4000: 16 EUs)." The 4600 runs on a faster clock.

Thanks for your help. Are there any particularly big problems with the Inspiron series? My previous laptop was an Inspiron, it was generally pretty good but after a few years of use the screen started getting weird tearing artifacts and nearly all of the screws had fallen out. And is it possible to customize some of the Inspiron 15R hardware or is it just a case of "what you see is what you get?" I'd really rather have a 1920x1080 screen, and it looks like the 15" Inspiron only comes with a 768 :\

Weird discount in mind, now I'm debating these two models:

Alienware 14
i7-4700MQ
14" 1920x1080
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Geforce GT 750M
750GB SATA 7200 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1349 retail
$1011.50 discounted (25% off)

Inspiron 15R Non-Touch
i7-4500U
15" 1366x768 ()
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Intel HD Graphics 4400
1TB SATA 5400 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1219.99 retail
$1024.79 discounted (16% off)

Okay, I'd actually be paying more for the Inspiron due to the differences in discount, and I'd have a lower resolution screen, a slower hard drive, and a weaker CPU in exchange for shaving off a pound from the weight. That makes this decision easier I guess, unless I hosed up something? I'm going to think about this for the rest of the day but I might end up jumping on the Alienware 14 (my discount expires on the 15th, so I've got a whole extra day to shop around and gather opinions)

limpy101
Apr 24, 2007
intelligent, just not atm.

Hello.

I've gone through the top posts in the thread and did a bit of research, but what I fail to find is reliable information regarding performance for the laptops I have in mind.

To put things into perspective, I'm looking into getting an Ultrabook for web development. I code for the .net stack, and as such the laptop in question would need to cope with running some version of iis, some version of sql server, vs 2012 and a multitude of browser windows. I'm not interested in gaming, but netflix and the like would see heavy usage. Also, as I tend to attend conferences and the like, portability and (to some extent) battery life are always pluses.

I'm currently looking at the Acer Aspire s7 , the Asus UX32A(as I can't seem to find the ux31 prime anywhere), the samsung series 9, or the new samsung ativ book 9 plus. Also considering the Dell XPS13, but I have to admit to not favouring that one, as it seems to come with Ubuntu and have a lower resolution screen.

My questions are (hopefully somebody can provide some information)

1. Is wanting to use an Ultrabook for development a bad idea at the moment? Is there anything performance-related that would be unable to cope with my requirements?
2. Which one of the laptops I listed above would you guys recommend, and where can I see box contents? Unboxing videos on youtube are utterly confusing - for example I've looked at Acer Aspire s7 unboxing videos, and one of them had the extra battery and even a carrying pouch, whereas the other ones had no mention of either.
3. Am I better off waiting for the new Intel generation to come out in June, and how long will it be before I can reliably purchase a high end Ultrabook powered by one? Ideally I'd want to purchase something by early August at the latest.
4. Is there a much better option that I am missing?

Thanks for all the help.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006


Just wear the fucking mask, Bob

I don't care how many people I probably infected with COVID-19 while refusing to wear a mask, my comfort is far more important than the health and safety of everyone around me!



MacBook Airs are insanely popular for developers so I don't see why a Windows ultrabook would be a bad choice.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

EHCIARF EMERC...
EHCIARF EMERC...


QuarkJets posted:

Thanks for your help. Are there any particularly big problems with the Inspiron series? My previous laptop was an Inspiron, it was generally pretty good but after a few years of use the screen started getting weird tearing artifacts and nearly all of the screws had fallen out. And is it possible to customize some of the Inspiron 15R hardware or is it just a case of "what you see is what you get?" I'd really rather have a 1920x1080 screen, and it looks like the 15" Inspiron only comes with a 768 :\

Weird discount in mind, now I'm debating these two models:

Alienware 14
i7-4700MQ
14" 1920x1080
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Geforce GT 750M
750GB SATA 7200 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1349 retail
$1011.50 discounted (25% off)

Inspiron 15R Non-Touch
i7-4500U
15" 1366x768 ()
8GB dual channel DDR3L
Intel HD Graphics 4400
1TB SATA 5400 RPM
DVD-RW
802.11n+Bluetooth
$1219.99 retail
$1024.79 discounted (16% off)

Okay, I'd actually be paying more for the Inspiron due to the differences in discount, and I'd have a lower resolution screen, a slower hard drive, and a weaker CPU in exchange for shaving off a pound from the weight. That makes this decision easier I guess, unless I hosed up something? I'm going to think about this for the rest of the day but I might end up jumping on the Alienware 14 (my discount expires on the 15th, so I've got a whole extra day to shop around and gather opinions)

Actually, that Inspiron is cheaper on the main site, and with a $50 off coupon found on the site, you can get it for $899. That said... I think $112 for a better display, faster HDD, slightly better processor, and dedicated graphics is worth it.

Speaking of... it seems like we all overlooked the simple answer to his earlier concern about Haswell's improved battery life being negated by the dedicated graphics card. We went back and forth about if NVIDIA could be disabled (likely not) and so on... but..

QuarkJets, do you know what Optimus is? In case not, let me explain. Typically, with a dedicated graphics card, the laptop only uses that card, and not the integrated Intel acceleration. Then NVIDIA developed Optimus Technology, which not only allows the system to make use of both the NVIDIA and Intel hardwares, but it dynamically switches between the two. When you're doing most tasks on the system, it'll just use the Intel acceleration, which is beneficial because of the lesser battery drain. NVIDIA isn't used until it is called for, when a program like a video game, or CAD software, or whatever, is launched. The Optimus kicks in, switches from Intel to NVIDIA, and you're now getting the full graphics power.

Yeah, you'll still get the added battery life bonus from Haswell. Launching a graphics-intensive program will cut down on those battery live savings, because you'll be using NVIDIA. But you have control over when that happens. In the NVIDIA control panel, you can manually choose which programs can use the dedicated graphics, and which programs should always use integrated. The default options may call for NVIDIA to kick in for something like video streaming, or a more basic video game. With the Intel HD 4400, you can fix it so the integrated graphics stay in power for those, to help battery life.

So.. get the Alienware. You should have no concern over wasting money on the NVIDIA card, because you should not outright disable it. The only reason you would really want to is for programs that are incompatible with Optimus, which I argue shouldn't be such a concern for you to force you to buy the Inspiron instead.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


Looking over my options on the Alienware 14 just now, I get an "options you have selected are not available at this time" error when I try select the 1080p screen. Bummer. I'm not ready to settle for a 768 screen, so I guess I'll pass

e: Actually, now I get that error when I change any of the customization options except for the HDD. Does this just mean that all of these various hardware configurations are out of stock or what?

WHERE MY HAT IS AT
Jan 7, 2011


Yogas just had another 100 bucks knocked off (at least in the Canadian store). I'm hoping this means haswell is coming.

InstantInfidel
Jan 8, 2010

BEST I EVER SPENT

Revol posted:

Speaking of... it seems like we all overlooked the simple answer to his earlier concern about Haswell's improved battery life being negated by the dedicated graphics card. We went back and forth about if NVIDIA could be disabled (likely not) and so on... but..

It's really easy to turn it off, there's not really a question about it.

Revol posted:

So.. get the Alienware. You should have no concern over wasting money on the NVIDIA card, because you should not outright disable it. The only reason you would really want to is for programs that are incompatible with Optimus, which I argue shouldn't be such a concern for you to force you to buy the Inspiron instead.

The list of programs that don't work with Optimus is the same as the list of programs that don't work with Nvidia cards or drivers. It's entirely a hardware/firmware function executed by software unrelated to the program the user is running.

QuarkJets posted:

Looking over my options on the Alienware 14 just now, I get an "options you have selected are not available at this time" error when I try select the 1080p screen. Bummer. I'm not ready to settle for a 768 screen, so I guess I'll pass

e: Actually, now I get that error when I change any of the customization options except for the HDD. Does this just mean that all of these various hardware configurations are out of stock or what?

If you travel and play old games, Ivy Bridge would be fine. If you want more battery life, I'd hold out for Haswell. Do you need a laptop today or are you feeling pressed to buy because of a sale? I'll tell you right now, you'll be a lot less happy in the long run if you impulse buy now out of a sense of urgency than if you wait a few months and spend an extra $150 or $200 on a laptop that actually fits your needs instead of one you're mentally forcing to fit your needs.

Also, laptop sales today are probably going to be equaled or beaten by the Back to School sales next month, and you can bet that thin, light, and Haswell are going to be the name of the game for those.

Revol
Jul 31, 2003

EHCIARF EMERC...
EHCIARF EMERC...


InstantInfidel posted:

It's really easy to turn it off, there's not really a question about it.

How?

Srebrenica Surprise
Aug 23, 2008

"L-O-V-E's just another word I never learned to pronounce."


Dropping serious money on a laptop right now if you don't have some other pressing deadline seems pretty ripe for a lot of buyer's remorse ITT. SB -> IB wasn't as big of a deal, this is what Haswell was designed for. Getting some cheap blowout $500 system is one thing, but $1k will probably buy a pretty decent ThinkPad or other machine in what'll probably be a month and a half at worst.

QuarkJets
Sep 8, 2008

It's a handshake in progress


InstantInfidel posted:

If you travel and play old games, Ivy Bridge would be fine. If you want more battery life, I'd hold out for Haswell. Do you need a laptop today or are you feeling pressed to buy because of a sale? I'll tell you right now, you'll be a lot less happy in the long run if you impulse buy now out of a sense of urgency than if you wait a few months and spend an extra $150 or $200 on a laptop that actually fits your needs instead of one you're mentally forcing to fit your needs.

Also, laptop sales today are probably going to be equaled or beaten by the Back to School sales next month, and you can bet that thin, light, and Haswell are going to be the name of the game for those.

I was just feeling pressured by the sale, I don't need it anytime soon. That Alienware looked great when I could still choose a 1080p screen and get 25% off on the whole package, but since all of the customization options are disabled now for some reason I'll just wait for something that doesn't have a discrete GPU.

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sports
Sep 1, 2012


Bob Morales posted:

MacBook Airs are insanely popular for developers so I don't see why a Windows ultrabook would be a bad choice.

Because it isn't a Mac

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