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Laptops... Where are we at now?

linux
gaming
workstation

#1

So with the intel 6 cores being out (fucking finally) and ryzen chips being better on mobile (whetherits the laptop APU’s or desktop chips in a laptop), we’re starting to see better and better performance come out. With that, GPU’s are getting more spread out in both power TDP wise, and somehow not making shit explode.

How exciting.

For me, personally, a laptop is only as good as its output. Capabilityi is in its tooling, and at the moment I find that my previous desires for an HP X360 with a ryzen 7 have mostly died. I’ve invested in my thinkpad X230T, some games have gotten intel GPU updates to at least be able to run, and now with a dock and 16GB of ram its a wonderful machine that I can do my art on and have no complaints. All in all I have very few reasons to actually acquirce that spectre, especially as I have other things I want money for atm.

But… As it stands I want something to replace my desktops. It could be a desktop, but the more I look into the future of my career at the moment I’m going to be spending less and less time at home, annoyingly enough. For many, admittedly, that X230T is probably fine. However I’m beginning to accept that something with a Vega chip in it an a ryzen 8 core that doesn’t have BS gpu switching just isn’t going to happen and nvidia is starting to cough from the corner of the room awkwardly. And I’ll be honest in saying… A 1060 or 1070 isn’t sounding bad if I really needed it. However TB3 is still there and my RX580 is still a good card.

So while my ideal ITX machine is still in mind, and space saving is still on the table, I have to admit theres some convincing machines out there that I find rather attractive. And the more I get into the loop of researching better jobs the more this stuff appears to be more obtainable sooner.

For example:

https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-blade

https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-blade-stealth

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834154806R&Description=GS65%20stealth&cm_re=GS65_stealth--34-154-806R--Product

Ya got lotsa choices in just these 3 machines, and linux can either be made to work or will work out of the box.

Of course theres S76, but they’re more focused on open hardware atm. And while I’d love to have an oryx pro, the arbitrary price increase is a bit much. Though, they aren’t off the list either as they are equally as attractive.

However, I still see many machines out there that are incompatible, or are compatible but have no GPU capability, or are compatible, but the APU dies in a short while from heat.

I’ve been out of the loop for a bit, and I really don’t feel like watching 8 youtube videos in a row and reading a bunch of BS articles to find out what hardware is coming out. That MSI GS65 stealth is looking like an ok candidate to me, and honestly I just need to choose somethhing as a goal and work towards it.

So. From where we are now, do I wait on the next hardware wave, or, do I choose something thats out now / build myi itx machine? Is ryzen 3 supposed to happen soon? 6 core ryzen APU laptops?


#2

I have been running dell xps 13’s for the last 4 or 5 years.
Normally i7, 16gb ram and 512gb nvme.

I found my self wanting a little more from the cpu.

I dropped mine the other day so picked up a lenovo ideapad 530s with the ryzan 2500U, 8gb ram and 256gb nvme as a stop gap.

Getting linux running was a bit painful due to problems with the amd i2c driver and the graphics driver still being a little temperamental, fixes are being pushed into the kernel at the moment.

I’m honestly impressed with it.

Core for core its slower than the i7 in the xps 13’s but in my usage, it feels faster.

I think it’s down to firefox taking advantage of the extra gpu grunt and the video decoders being able to chug through 4k hvec content without much issue.

I also had a dual xeon workstation at work (for some vr related things) but after the project finished, I found my self never using it.

I have a ryzen 7 desktop at home but only use it for occasional light gaming.

I find my self preferring to work from a laptop.
I like taking my work environment with me where ever I am.

I too am traveling more so find my self wanting a small, light weight laptop with 6 cores, 16gb ram, dual 512gb nvme drives and a mid range gpu (vega or gtx 1050m sort of things).

I pre-ordered the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme.

It’s a little larger than I would like but should enable me to game from anywhere on windows, and work productively from linux.

Not sure if any of this is helpful, just some ramblings.


#3

:wink: Good.

That looks pretty sweet for a compact portable laptop.

To be clear are you looking to replace it and your desktop with one do-it-all machine, or are you looking for a desktop replacement laptop?


I was struggling with the same question a while back: powerful and bulky DTR, or semi-thin/light DTR, or desktop + small/portable laptop. I finally decided on the latter. I’m happy with my Ryzen 7 desktop and eventually I’ll get a thin light portable 10-14" with good battery life, and plan for remote access to the desktop for computationally significant tasks.

I’m in no rush, so I’m really looking forward to see what Zen 2 brings for mobile, in terms of linux support and battery life with at least 4 cores.

If I were in the market right now I think the 12.5" Thinkpad A285 with the 2500U looks neat: https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/thinkpad/thinkpad-a-series/A285/p/20MWCTO1WWENUS1 Linux support with Vega is still a concern though.

Ultimately it would be useful to clarify the use-cases and priorities.


#4

I need a machine that is small, out of the way, 6 core minimum, GPU capable for games but alrso render stuff and potential AI work, andh able to run linux.

I have a ryzen itx build put together thats perfect for under 900, but with my day being pulled to elsewhere more and more nowadays I’m just not going to be able to be at home as much.

This has been a topic for me all year since march by the way. So I’ve done research. Its just the landscape changes alot and I’m out of the loop now.


#5

Isn’t that essentially what Macbook pro is? :smiley:

Even ignoring the deep pockets required for that genre of machine, I’m not sure if anyone has solved the size/thinness vs throttling issues.


#6

I’m not paying 7000 bucks for a top tier netbook.

That MSI I listed is now actually overtaking a previous machine that I had interest in, that being the Asus GL702ZC.


#7

Appealing specs and packaging. Concerning thermals and noise.

I nearly bought that for the Ryzen 7, but the rest of it is unremarkable and a pile of compromises (size, weight, heatsink, battery life, etc). Linux had some niggling issues (trackpad?) which are hopefully fixed by now, but one never knows with such niche models.


#8

I’ve been eyeing the gigabyte Aero 15x v8 for a long time now. It seems to be the top of the niche market in terms of battery life, albeit with a slightly reduced performance. I owned a first generation asus ROG zephyrus (GX501) and it was a great machine when plugged in but had a 50Wh battery with no gpu switch making the battery used essentially as a UPS.

If this is the market niche you’re looking for, if you haven’t already I’d advise you read over this review’s results as it does a good job comparing similar competing products. I do believe that the Aero 15x is the nicest due to its battery life but we all look for different things.

My biggest disappointment with these laptops is that AFAIK getting pcie passthrough on them is going to be impossible/a real pain, so it seems dual booting is the only real option. I guess it’s not that big of a deal what with the SSD market crashing in price.


#9

The only problem I have with the Aero 15X is the noise. (Well, that, and the price.) Per the article, it can hit 54dB. You can hear it roaring at 48dB here:


#10

I guess it’s super convenient that the bose QC35’s I own have active noise cancelling for 15-20dB up until that nice 2kHz peak… I can’t complain about noise though because my desktop has a blower style GPU in a tiny mini itx case…

I don’t really think the price is too bad, though the specs could definitely be had for 1400 dollars (800 dollar premium for form factor and battery life)

I’d like to see what the RTX laptops will do to the aero about the price though…


#11

I don’t touch passthrough. Not even once.


#12

I just peeked over at the system76 oryx again and the prices have come down a good bit. Though, to get similar price to the msi I can’t have 16gb of ram and no 512 nvme ssd. It might as well go back into the balancing act though.


#13

From my own point of view based on using notebooks nearly exclusively in my younger years, you’ll either regret having an IGP as GPU acceleration continues to increase or a dedicated GPU will provide plenty of long-term usage but the extra premium for a mid-tier chip will cost an arm & leg. Noise wise having a dGPU will result in a loud machine esp while plugged in at a desk. Depending upon your workflow just stick with an IGP based portable for long battery life and have a desktop for heavy lifting.

As far as my own personal gear I ended up buying an i3 8130U based notebook as a stop-gap in the retirement of my Thinkpad, not exactly the best but it supported a HDD & M.2 slot without requiring a total tear-down. Since I always preferred a balance of performance & battery, carrying two notebooks is still a necessary evil–ultrabook/Chromebook for battery life and a normal notebook to provide extra ports/DVD drive. Considering notebooks have gotten lighter you can actually carry two without straining your back.


#14

With the rate of performance improvements slowing rather dramatically; the lack of upgrade potential has become less of an issue, from my perspective. I am still using a 2600k in my desktop that will be 8 years old in January. What i’m more concerned about is thermals and how much of a decrease in performance i’m going to get because the cpu and/or gpu has to run at a lower clock because of heat. Like there are 6 core cpus in laptops now; but are they even worth it because they probably have to run at much lower clocks. Especially as the laptop gets older and dust becomes more of an issue and it being particularly hard to clean out laptop internals.


#15

My friend and I both got used HP Elitebook 8760w’s

he used it more than me and has actually spent some time making it out in various ways. He’s actually upgraded the GPU in it and used it to play all of his games, which includes Overwatch and DarkSouls on DXVK, among other things.

The reason that I mention them is that they’re inexpensive and that Valley City electronics recycler near you gets them all of the time.