The state of Windows laptops these days is really kind of embarrassing. Nobody knows how to build something of quality. Everything appears to be driven by bullet-point features with a goal of providing USPs, but nobody really cares if the features work or if the overall product is good.
This extends to everything (keyboard and trackpad design, screen, preloaded software, function key mappings, etc).
I buy 2 or 3 laptops a year; traditionally the case has been that most laptops were kind of bad but if you looked hard you could find something good. Now it has gotten to the point that the something good no longer seems to exist at all.
I dread the idea of buying a new laptop now. This can't be the high-level result that these OEMs really want.
> I buy 2 or 3 laptops a year; traditionally the case has
> been that most laptops were kind of bad but if you looked
> hard you could find something good. Now it has gotten to
> the point that the something good no longer seems to exist
> at all.
I've owned a high-end Thinkpad, and it was a good laptop. But it didn't come close. That's what I'm asking here. I don't care if it costs > $2,000. Quality doesn't come cheap, but it's embarrassing if Apple is the only player that can do this.
You mean were amazing, until they started removing the TrackPoint buttons and messing with the keyboard.
There's room for a new brand. A leadership brand.
Do you get ALL of the items below for the half price PC laptop?
• More battery life (up to 50% more than most Windows laptops, and topping the best of them by 10-20%)
• Less weight.
• A retina screen, with apps that fully support it (unlike the Windows Hi-DPI situation), and that is shown (on test and measurements) to be the best in laptops for brightness, color rendition etc.
• OS X (and iWork / iLife apps for free as of Mavericks!).
• solid, sturdy alimunium enclosure, machined from a single piece of metal (something that costs), and an industrial design that someone has toiled over, and not a quickly churned out plasticky mess of a case and parts placement.
• Cheap SSD options (compared to buying one yourself or Wintel laptop SSD prices, the pre-configured Mac options are cheaper).
• a multitouch trackpad (of the same quality as Mac's one)?
• NO DVD drive (yes, I'd pay to remove that piece of obsolete crap and have no moving parts on my laptop).
• thunderbolt ports, mag safe adapter, illuminated keyboard, etc etc.
If you don't get all of the above, then you don't really get "the same specs". Just the same memory/CPU/GPU. Especially people who buy laptops but don't seem to value portability (weight/size) and battery life are strange to me...
The Vaio Pro 13 is an exception though.
For most PC laptops, even if you configure them the same price as the Mac laptop, you still don't get a lot of stuff that makes the Mac better. E.g you get some stuff there but in a not-so-good implementation (like most high-end PC touchpads) and others lacking (like battery life).
For raw power though (if that's what counts for you, like if you do scientific calculations and such) you can get a PC with better CPU/GPU for similar money as the Mac would have. Though in most cases, the machines you get for that are no laptopy-enough anymore, coming closer to 3-4 kg and bulky.
But then there's always OS X, and the pain of using Windows. I always had to have Cygwin when I used Windows laptops, as I had to have a UNIX shell available.
You keep saying that without providing any examples. Care to enlighten all of the people who have apparently been buying the wrong laptops?
Both with the Intel Core i7 2.8GHz / 3.3GHz TurboBoost, 8GB RAM, 256GB flash storage, etc.
The main difference is that the Mac display is 2560x1600 and the ASUS is 2560x1440 and the ASUS has a touchscreen.
This is a realistic competitor – I can't speak to build quality never having touched one but this is hardly the “way better specs” you've been claiming.
The same holds true for the Dell XPS 15. Comparing the only Dell XPS 15 which uses SSD primary storage to the MacBook Pro 15" leaves us at $2,349 vs. $2,499. Again, I can't speak to build quality but unless you find a touchscreen a killer feature versus Apple's modern trackpad this boils down to how you feel about Windows 8 versus OS X or whether you've had a bad experience with one of the two vendors.
You've proven that your earlier “double the price of every other PC laptop out there with the same specs” claim was simply untrue.
1. Only the top-end model has an SSD as primary storage if you don't want the weight + power + size hit of an extra HDD: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15-9530/pd?oc=dncwx1249h&model_...
You should pay more attention to the specs: since the switch to Intel, Mac laptops have been very competitive on price when you compare them to something which is actually equivalent hardware – there are tons of laptops which are half the cost but they got there by cutting corners. The usual trick is to match on one feature (CPU, GPU, screen resolution, etc.) and hope you won't notice that e.g. the display is much lower quality, there's a hard-drive instead of an SSD (or either is slower), the CPU is an older generation, etc.
If you do find something which is equivalent, it's as common for the cost to be higher as it is lower depending on when you buy in that particular manufacturer's product lifecycle.
If you're a cheap fuck, don't be surprised you can only find cheap shit.
Yeah… no. Unless you think the parts of a laptop are the CPU and GPU.
> I haven't seen anything you could do on a Mac that you couldn't do on the PC
Thus missing the point entirely.
> and there are very decent PC laptops out there, way, way cheaper than the Mac alternatives.
Care to enlighten everybody in this thread about them? There are definitely decent non-Apple laptops out there, but they're not "way, way cheaper" than the Apple version (usually the opposite).
Try 10 hours doing security updates!
Yes it is the result they want.
You can custom order a nice laptop if your willing to spend 800+ and not have to worry about getting a macbook
But at the same time I just looked up optimus and most of the new GPUs are listed as having it
I would generally avoid Nvidia until this optimus stuff gets enough press until they are forced to retire this or at least make it optional.
Or just wait until someone decides to start a class action lawsuit against them like how HP knowingly sold and entire family of defective Elite desktops
Did they bring higher quality or they are just thinner with slightly better specs/battery?
One problem seems to be that we're such a tiny addressable market at this point that the best PCs never make it into stores. You won't find any Haswell i7's in ultrabooks at Best Buy / Staples / etc; just the lower-end i5 and HD5000 graphics clones each brand made. This one was only available from Amazon, which seems to pick up something like 30 units a month from ASUS. Samsung makes a very nice configuration of their Ativ Book 9 Plus that's both beautiful and powerful, but when I checked my local stores they only stocked cheaper models.
As for the "who buys an i7 for battery?" -- well, I do. You don't have to choose between battery and performance with Haswell CPUs. I finally gave up on discrete graphics to get an ASUS UX301LA -- an i7-4558u that gives me 8 hours of battery life in an ultra-thin ultrabook form factor, yet the Intel Iris* GPU is faster than the discrete Radeon of my 2010 laptop. Games like Starcraft/Diablo that don't push boundaries run perfectly at the native 2560x1440.
If Intel's integrated GPUs keep improving as much as they did this generation over the last, the days of discrete mobile GPUs are numbered.
> Intel Iris Graphics and Intel Iris Pro Graphics are new brands for Intel's high-end integrated graphics introduced with some variants of its Haswell processors. They utilize the same basic blocks as the HD series, but have a higher maximum frequency, and additional eDRAM cache for the "Pro" series.
Edit: this is what I mean (and now want):
I'd also be interested in low power Kaveri parts from AMD, since that fab process is proving itself more efficient at lower TDP.
If the rest of the W520 wasn't such an awesome laptop, I'd be really quite upset. As it is, I just live with it and boot into Windows if I want to use a projector.
You're right that the 2008/09 models required logging out/in to switch manually; I hadn't realized that: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3207
OSX never supported Optimus, it's been a home-grown solution from the start.
FWIW, mixed-GPU Apple laptops have the exact same issue (although there's no reboot necessary), external displays can only be driven from the discrete GPU not the integrated one.
If you're using external VGA, aren't you by definition tethered? When are you likely to use external VGA and yet don't have access to power?
If you work in any IT related job in the US you probably would end up on the plus if you just spent the time you just used to try to make the crap you bought to work properly working a few extra on your normal job and then bought a MacBook.
I can seriously not afford to not buy a MacBook.
Also in Brazil everything (and I DO mean EVERYTHING) is more expensive, Macs usually have a 100% markup compared to US, most of the extra price in taxes. (Brazil has some crazy taxes, for example Videogames have 72% of their final price being taxes, Cachaça, Brazil national cultural beverage, 82% of the final price is taxes...).
Here one of the easiest way to get "easy money" is smuggle stuff (usually electronics and clothes, but last year the government had to arrest massive amounts of tomato smugglers), for example you can go to US, buy a bunch of MacBooks, smuggle to Brazil, and charge 50% more of what you paid for them in US, and profit that 50%, and for a Brazillian this still is cheaper than buying a legal one here (that has 100% markup, as I mentioned earlier).
Just buy a decent laptop with great battery life & mobility properties and a PS3/4 or a cheap gaming PC for gaming.
I bought a MacBook Air a few months ago and found out that a lot of blockbuster games from a few years ago perform pretty well, as do a lot of the indie games (from Steam, for example). I even bought a wired xbox360 controller for some of these games (Mark of the Ninja, for one).
But then I haven't really done much gaming in the past few years, so there are/were tons of (older) games I haven't played yet (BioShock, Portal 2, Mark of the Ninja, Borderlands 2 etc.). And I also don't mind turning down some of the graphic effects.
Still, it's possible...
So if you could disable the Intel GPU from the BIOS, you'd wind up with no video output at all.
It just means your gpu performance suffers using the community driver.
I'm a bit amazed that Nvidia isn't supporting this more, given y'know, SteamOS just around the corner.
These days I don't touch anything but Dell Precision workstations, absolute beastly machines (i7, 2X SSD with option for a 3rd, and 32GB RAM) with dual fans.
Runs Linux like a boss, zero issues.
The Nvidia GPU, however, that is a serious PITA -- in order to keep the chip from going into max power mode 24/7 with a multi-head setup, I had to resort to flashing the VBIOS. Risky, but necessary if you want peace & quiet.
I came across it when I hooked an external GPU to my laptop. This is possible via ExpressCard with a passive (mechanical) adapter, and it even hot-plugs in Windows and installs the correct driver out of the box. It does require a reboot the first time, but other than that it's smooth.
What Optimus does is texture compression before textures are sent over the single PCI express 2.0 lane to the GPU. It can also enable my external GPU to render back into the internal notebook display.
I'm baffled by how easy this is to set up and how flawlessly it works, and honestly I am surprised that none of the commercial solutions has ever succeeded. ExpressCard even supports a USB 2.0 port, so I can plug my keyboard and mouse to the adapter, which then effectively works as a docking station (except for power).
Just be glad you're not still messing with XFree86 modeline settings or whatever. Asus makes high quality products at a good price. Their Zenbook line might have something you are looking for. As for Optimus, I used a bumblebee alternative on one that just required a special parent process (optirun or something). The light sensor would give off random keykodes due to a kernel bug that was fixed in master. I put a sticker over the light sensor until this was done. Other than that, everything about the hardware was pretty standard configuration job every step of the way. The latest nvidida drivers are said to support Optimus on Linux. Quite frankly, I enjoyed the battery life immensely when just using the Intel graphics for running Compiz at 60fps no problem.
Also with fairness to the nVidia Optimus, AMD has "Dynamic Switchable Graphics" that is quite similar. The state of linux support for my laptop with the AMD equivalent is not the greatest either.
In linux, there are quite a few projects providing some form of support to this, (note the Nvidia Optimus section on the archlinux wiki for Hybrid Graphics) so stating it doesn't work at all on mac/linux is fairly untrue.
I wish some manufacturer would make a very thick, powerful laptop, as thick as those first mac laptops, without battery, but a good CPU and GPU, and a fan big enough to properly cool all that. If the laptop is thick it will be much easy to cool it.
The current iMacs for example are quite thick, and such a machine would be transportable enough as a laptop as a 17 or 15 inch screen.
You would not need a battery anyway, there are plugs everywhere, even in trains. If you plan to work on a laptop, it's for at least an hour, if you have an hour I think you will find time to find a plug easily. If you really need mobility a smartphone or tablet will be more useful than a laptop.
It was interesting seeing him name ASUS, as I own an ASUS G55VW which is a 2012 Republic of Gamers series laptop.
The laptop is a quite bulky 15-incher, my friends make fun of it asking if it has hover capabilities, but for a good reason: it has a fantastic cooling system. The design is also amazing, keyboard is perfect, trackpad works great, and best of all, it lacks Nvidia Optimus.
I bought it for that very reason, back in 2012 when I bought it Optimus support on Linux was horrible. It's better now, but the technology itself is kind of pointless, as Mr. Gomes explains.
People have become some hung up in weight and size wrt. laptops, but we have tablets now if we want something light, in fact, I'm using only my Nexus 5 and my laptop to cover all the tasks I ever go about day-to-day and they do their respective tasks wonderfully well. Buy a hulk, buy something of quality, no-one types on the fly, anyone can transport a few kilos worth of hardware when it's so. damn. practical/versatile.
As long as you don't run the laptop's battery to zero, you don't really need anything like that. Windows 8.1 and Intel's latest CPU/GPU/chipsets/drivers are very, very good at power management so long as the manufacturer doesn't do anything stupid.
Standby time on mine in sleep (not hibernate) is supposedly 250 days.
It would be annoying having to lose all your work each time your moved around, but add a buttoncell/AAA-sized battery and you could sleep/resume the computer instantly without adding bulk or weight.
I have a Gazelle Professional from them (previous generation shipped with proper GPUs) and it's really nice for gaming.
Last time I experienced problems was with Samsung Chronos 7 laptop, that my girlfriend bought last Spring. Weird RAM usage issues, Windows issues, etc.
In the end, it really wasn't the experience that average laptop buyer is after and no doubt that some then looking into alternatives (tablets) eagerly.
- I'm still stuck on the driver version from 2011, can't install a newer one.
- Only works for DirectX, with OpenGL you can only use the Intel graphics.