Recommend me a laptop (or compact pc)?

Oona

Insider
Hey everyone,

I'm still on the quest for a great laptop. ^.^

The 2 absolute must have specs I need is that it's 17 inches and that it has i7 (I heard ryzen 5 is similarly powerful but is prone to overheating...)
The rest of the specs I don't make a big deal of, depends on total price and overall power/quality

I found this on Amazon

  • Ryzen 5 3500U 8-Thread
  • 512 GB SDD
  • Windows 10 Prof. 64-Bit
It looks so good and costs justs 577 euros...


Do you more techinically savvy people recommend this or any other similar laptops?
Honestly I don't need a giant... It's not really for games, but I do foresee playing Exanima on this, and possibly Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Thank you!!!
 

Midcal9

Member
I guess it's kind of ok as far as laptops go, but I'd go with a larger SSD/RAM option. Are you certain that a proper PC is not an option for you?
 

Oona

Insider
I guess it's kind of ok as far as laptops go, but I'd go with a larger SSD/RAM option. Are you certain that a proper PC is not an option for you?
A proper pc is an option, but it's important that it's compact.
 

Midcal9

Member
A proper pc is an option, but it's important that it's compact.
Well, there are plenty of small tower options but I'm not an expert on those. Here is something you gotta take into account, if you buy that laptop, or any other gaming laptop, it will age faster than a PC and you might run into overheating issues, especially after a year or two of use. If I were you I'd use whatever you've got and save money for PC. I'm a huge believer in PC supremacy.

Hopefully you'd get a real laptop expert in this thread who will be of real help to you.
 
Build you own micro itx i'm putting mine on a tiny test bench and then building it into a .50 cal ammo can. then I can just close er' up unplug and i'm set to go game.
 

Brendan

Developer
Hey everyone,

I'm still on the quest for a great laptop. ^.^

The 2 absolute must have specs I need is that it's 17 inches and that it has i7 (I heard ryzen 5 is similarly powerful but is prone to overheating...)
The rest of the specs I don't make a big deal of, depends on total price and overall power/quality

I found this on Amazon

  • Ryzen 5 3500U 8-Thread
  • 512 GB SDD
  • Windows 10 Prof. 64-Bit
It looks so good and costs justs 577 euros...


Do you more techinically savvy people recommend this or any other similar laptops?
Honestly I don't need a giant... It's not really for games, but I do foresee playing Exanima on this, and possibly Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Thank you!!!
Hi Oona,

That laptop does look pretty good for the money at first glance, but it is on the cheap side and I'd be most concerned about the display. Similar models in that sector tend to have 1600x900 TN and 1920x1080 IPS options, and I'm guessing this is no different with the Asus Vivobook 'Pro' listing a 1080p IPS. That alone is a deal breaker.

Also I wouldn't recommend the Ryzen 3500U for anything but the very low end... The AMD 3xxx series on mobile uses old Zen 1 architecture equivalent to the desktop 2000 series and Zen 2 (i.e. desktop 3000 series or mobile 4000 series) is a generational leap forward both in terms of CPU performance and power / heat efficiency. AMD aren't as good at power management as Intel either so older chips do suffer a bit on mobile (apples to apples). All that said, it would still run Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 1280x720 on low settings at ~30 fps, which isn't bad for a potato.

Recommending a specific laptop is tough in general as there are many considerations... budget 17" is especially tough as they are the biggest and most expensive models. What are your priorities and budget? Aesthetics, battery life, CPU performance, GPU performance etc.

As Midcal9 mentioned you would obviously get a much more powerful desktop for the money and you said that's an option, how serious?
 

Oona

Insider
Hi Oona,

That laptop does look pretty good for the money at first glance, but it is on the cheap side and I'd be most concerned about the display. Similar models in that sector tend to have 1600x900 TN and 1920x1080 IPS options, and I'm guessing this is no different with the Asus Vivobook 'Pro' listing a 1080p IPS. That alone is a deal breaker.

Also I wouldn't recommend the Ryzen 3500U for anything but the very low end... The AMD 3xxx series on mobile uses old Zen 1 architecture equivalent to the desktop 2000 series and Zen 2 (i.e. desktop 3000 series or mobile 4000 series) is a generational leap forward both in terms of CPU performance and power / heat efficiency. AMD aren't as good at power management as Intel either so older chips do suffer a bit on mobile (apples to apples). All that said, it would still run Shadow of the Tomb Raider in 1280x720 on low settings at ~30 fps, which isn't bad for a potato.

Recommending a specific laptop is tough in general as there are many considerations... budget 17" is especially tough as they are the biggest and most expensive models. What are your priorities and budget? Aesthetics, battery life, CPU performance, GPU performance etc.

As Midcal9 mentioned you would obviously get a much more powerful desktop for the money and you said that's an option, how serious?
My budget is really the absolute minimum possible for what I'm looking for..which is not really fancy I think. I use the pc mainly for skype / zoom / online shopping / youtube / movies. Nothing highly demanding..
but performance is important, that's why I don't like anything less than i7.

I haven't been able to game on the laptop I'm using so in my upgrade (laptop or pc..) I'd love to be able to play Exanima and whatever's next in the Tomb Raider series (I'm guessing it'll need to be as powerful as the ps5?), but otherwise nothing else.

In terms of aesthetics I'm very minimal, I love the zenbook look, slim and quiet. I'm not impressed by the mini screen on the touchpad in the new Zenbook pros..If you have a suggestion for a pc, I don't really know what options there are here. But I would need it to be small, now if it looks beautiful as well that would be cool. I'm not into those monstrous towers with flashing colours, i'd rather have a plain white or black box as a tower ; p

I keep my laptop mostly plugged in so even with impressive battery life, I wouldn't know cause it's always charging.
 
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Brendan

Developer
Fair enough, well in that case I think you're definitely better off getting a PC... To even come close to PS5 level performance with a laptop that isn't horrible you're looking at something very high end and expensive (€1500-€2000+). Even then, it's not a good time to buy a gaming laptop in general as Nvidia just released the 3080 at a surprisingly low price point, making current gen gaming laptops with 2xxx cards particularly bad value right now etc.

Totally agree with your view on aesthetics. If I were you I'd probably do a custom mini-ITX build (smallest possible) - unlike with full size desktop the pre-built options are limited and often overpriced or just not what you want, so by building it yourself you can get a much better PC for less. Also the upside of Nvidia having just released the awesome and great value new 3080 cards is that there are a lot of deals on older high end cards around.

In fact, here's a perfect example, GTX 1080 Ti for €220 (?!):

If you are going down the PC route, you should buy that right now! Frankly it's a ridiculous card for that kind of money and faster than any laptop. Even if you go for a pre-built machine you could get one without or swap the graphics card etc.

I'm not sure if you're comfortable building your own PC, or know someone who can help, but honestly it's really easy and I'm sure you could manage :)

Personally I like Silverstone cases, they have a few mini-ITX ones with decent cooling that take full length graphics cards (even that 1080 Ti above will fit) and standard ATX PSUs. My favourite is the SST-FTZ01B-E, but it's rather expensive (€150) so I'd probably get the SST-RVZ01B-E instead (€75). It's just as good functionally and also looks quite nice imo...

If you're interested in building your own let me know and I'll recommend some specific components. I had a look into it and essentially you could build a really fast Intel mini-ITX system for ~€600 excluding graphics card.
 

Oona

Insider
Fair enough, well in that case I think you're definitely better off getting a PC... To even come close to PS5 level performance with a laptop that isn't horrible you're looking at something very high end and expensive (€1500-€2000+). Even then, it's not a good time to buy a gaming laptop in general as Nvidia just released the 3080 at a surprisingly low price point, making current gen gaming laptops with 2xxx cards particularly bad value right now etc.

Totally agree with your view on aesthetics. If I were you I'd probably do a custom mini-ITX build (smallest possible) - unlike with full size desktop the pre-built options are limited and often overpriced or just not what you want, so by building it yourself you can get a much better PC for less. Also the upside of Nvidia having just released the awesome and great value new 3080 cards is that there are a lot of deals on older high end cards around.

In fact, here's a perfect example, GTX 1080 Ti for €220 (?!):

If you are going down the PC route, you should buy that right now! Frankly it's a ridiculous card for that kind of money and faster than any laptop. Even if you go for a pre-built machine you could get one without or swap the graphics card etc.

I'm not sure if you're comfortable building your own PC, or know someone who can help, but honestly it's really easy and I'm sure you could manage :)

Personally I like Silverstone cases, they have a few mini-ITX ones with decent cooling that take full length graphics cards (even that 1080 Ti above will fit) and standard ATX PSUs. My favourite is the SST-FTZ01B-E, but it's rather expensive (€150) so I'd probably get the SST-RVZ01B-E instead (€75). It's just as good functionally and also looks quite nice imo...

If you're interested in building your own let me know and I'll recommend some specific components. I had a look into it and essentially you could build a really fast Intel mini-ITX system for ~€600 excluding graphics card.
Brendan, that looks amazing. And those towers look so good.. So zen and minimal, they'll fit just perfectly in my space. Everything just scratching the edge of my budget .. ^.^

What monitor would you recommend in this case ?
 

Brendan

Developer
Cool, glad you like them too :)

There aren't many slim / HTPC style ITX cases that take full size components around, most tend to be boxy which I'm not keen on personally, or just ridiculously expensive.

For a budget monitor it's always a bit of a gamble but looking around I'd probably go for either the BenQ BL2480 (24" €120) or BL2780 (27" €138 warehouse deal):



They don't have an adjustable stand, which you can get with the T models (e.g. BL2840T), but it's an extra €20 and 3kg of weight which it sounds like you might not want. Other than that, I can't find a detailed review but BenQ are a good brand and these have FHD IPS panels with true 8 bit colour and flicker free tech, which is about as good as you can expect at this price point (a lot are 6 bit + FRC and QHD costs a fair bit more).

Anyway now you've asked for it - onto the PC! :D


On the CPU front it's very close, both Intel and AMD have good value offerings, but in this case I'm going to recommend AMD because:
1. With mini-ITX providing less motherboard options and Intel's locking of lower end CPUs, you need a more expensive motherboard to compensate, which adds ~€50 to build cost
2. The AMD produces less heat for equivalent performance (due to 7nm tech) which could be useful in such a compact case

So....

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3600X @ €189.47 (warehouse)
Great 6c/12t CPU and an amazon warehouse deal worth having... it's rare to get any discount on the new Ryzens and this 3600X costs the same as a standard 3600 but comes with a better cooler (which is bigger, but still fits in the RVZ01B-E) and higher clocks.

Motherboard: MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC @ €111.80 (warehouse)
Great board at this price, dependent on a warehouse deal tbh (though there are several others for ~€120 which seems fine too)... There are others but they tend to be expensive, like €200 which puts another €50 on the Intel equivalent. Also looking at the QVL memory compatibility lists, the memory controllers on ITX boards seem finicky in general (both Intel and AMD) and finding compatible RAM is a pain. Overall, this is a great board for that money... it has Wifi and NVMe, will make the most of the chip and importantly supports good RAM found on amazon.

RAM: HyperX Predator HX432C16PB3K2/16 @ €56:
Compatible with the above motherboard using its XMP profile (which you want to do), best price / performance ratio, 2x8GB and 3200 Mhz is perfect especially for the platform etc.

Disk: Kingston A2000 500GB @ €52.99
Really fast, best price / perf, NVMe so plugs into the motherboard (which does have the required slot).

PSU: Corsair TX650M @ €65.93 (warehouse)
Assuming that deal is valid, it's a high quality PSU much better than you can expect for the money... marked as acceptable which is fine for a PSU (unlike a monitor!) just make sure it has all the cables you need etc. It's also 140mm deep which is the max that will fit comfortably in the case.

Assuming all those deals are valid, add in the €77.90 for the case and that would be an awesome mini beast PC for €554.02 + graphics card (+ monitor). Honestly, one of the nice things is you could use literally any graphics card, so you could get a cheap one for now if budget doesn't stretch or deal not available etc. Can't see much else on amazon.de, but you could pick up a 1060 or something for pretty cheap on ebay, e.g.
 

Oona

Insider
Brendan, feels like I just received the best consultation I could ever wish for! This is all within my budget, looks amazing and can't wait to start gaming again ^.^

Thank you so much !!!

Cool, glad you like them too :)

There aren't many slim / HTPC style ITX cases that take full size components around, most tend to be boxy which I'm not keen on personally, or just ridiculously expensive.

For a budget monitor it's always a bit of a gamble but looking around I'd probably go for either the BenQ BL2480 (24" €120) or BL2780 (27" €138 warehouse deal):



They don't have an adjustable stand, which you can get with the T models (e.g. BL2840T), but it's an extra €20 and 3kg of weight which it sounds like you might not want. Other than that, I can't find a detailed review but BenQ are a good brand and these have FHD IPS panels with true 8 bit colour and flicker free tech, which is about as good as you can expect at this price point (a lot are 6 bit + FRC and QHD costs a fair bit more).

Anyway now you've asked for it - onto the PC! :D


On the CPU front it's very close, both Intel and AMD have good value offerings, but in this case I'm going to recommend AMD because:
1. With mini-ITX providing less motherboard options and Intel's locking of lower end CPUs, you need a more expensive motherboard to compensate, which adds ~€50 to build cost
2. The AMD produces less heat for equivalent performance (due to 7nm tech) which could be useful in such a compact case

So....

CPU: AMD Ryzen 3600X @ €189.47 (warehouse)
Great 6c/12t CPU and an amazon warehouse deal worth having... it's rare to get any discount on the new Ryzens and this 3600X costs the same as a standard 3600 but comes with a better cooler (which is bigger, but still fits in the RVZ01B-E) and higher clocks.

Motherboard: MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC @ €111.80 (warehouse)
Great board at this price, dependent on a warehouse deal tbh (though there are several others for ~€120 which seems fine too)... There are others but they tend to be expensive, like €200 which puts another €50 on the Intel equivalent. Also looking at the QVL memory compatibility lists, the memory controllers on ITX boards seem finicky in general (both Intel and AMD) and finding compatible RAM is a pain. Overall, this is a great board for that money... it has Wifi and NVMe, will make the most of the chip and importantly supports good RAM found on amazon.

RAM: HyperX Predator HX432C16PB3K2/16 @ €56:
Compatible with the above motherboard using its XMP profile (which you want to do), best price / performance ratio, 2x8GB and 3200 Mhz is perfect especially for the platform etc.

Disk: Kingston A2000 500GB @ €52.99
Really fast, best price / perf, NVMe so plugs into the motherboard (which does have the required slot).

PSU: Corsair TX650M @ €65.93 (warehouse)
Assuming that deal is valid, it's a high quality PSU much better than you can expect for the money... marked as acceptable which is fine for a PSU (unlike a monitor!) just make sure it has all the cables you need etc. It's also 140mm deep which is the max that will fit comfortably in the case.

Assuming all those deals are valid, add in the €77.90 for the case and that would be an awesome mini beast PC for €554.02 + graphics card (+ monitor). Honestly, one of the nice things is you could use literally any graphics card, so you could get a cheap one for now if budget doesn't stretch or deal not available etc. Can't see much else on amazon.de, but you could pick up a 1060 or something for pretty cheap on ebay, e.g.
 
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