Ok, I gave in and did it

My trusty Dell laptop is about to be retired. Been a year and a half overdue.

Doug was working hard trying to sell me the benefits of Mac Air (he has the company’s only unit). He also has the Mac mini on his desk.

I need a serious graphics card in the laptop. An NVidia card (for the occasional CUDA programming bit, and some things I work on in the background) is preferred. Current Dell has a Quadro FX/260M. Very nice and fast.

Needed more cores. Yeah, really. Needed more memory. 4GB just was not enough. Swapping on laptops suck. More disk space wasn’t as much of an issue (though I like to keep lots of VMs).

Don’t need a brand name. My view has been that the brand names don’t buy you much and you pay more for them.

So I ran the Dell configurator to see what I could build. Unit would have cost me ~$3100 USD. This laptop cost about $2100.

Looked for something roughly similar on the HP side. About $3500 USD. Looked at Alienware, Apple, etc. If I could get 16 GB in the Mac book pro, I would have gone that route (remember, VMs).

I need a reasonable warranty, good replacement options. Not too many other doo-dads. Most units come preloaded with some flavor of windows. You can’t get a notebook without this.

So I wound up looking at MSI, Acer, Asus.

I settled on Sager. Read up on them. Good linux compatibility (and yes, gonna install my own W7x64 on a partition … I don’t like crap-ware in my OS installs … I am looking at you Android and Verizon!!!) Looks like a Clevo notebook base.

16 GB ram, same as my desktop, and I don’t complain about swapping there (well not that much). Some sort of Nvidia GeForce GTX 560M unit. An Intel Core i7-2670QM CPU. 4 cores with hyperthreading.

When I got this laptop in 2007, it was one of the faster machines I had day to day access to. Now it is quite slow. Mostly due to memory and only two cores.

My desktop Pegasus is a similar configured unit to the laptop.

This means I’m gonna have to update 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Ok, I gave in and did it

  1. Joe,

    Lenovo has a sale on right now. I just specced out a W520 Thinkpad for $2200 for me. $60 at any hardware place gets you 16GB of name brand RAM and you’re away.

    Damien

  2. I have had a Sager since Nov-2004. Overall pretty good experience and good value. The fans were noisy, they seemed to run on pulsed power and gave annoying chirping sound. Firmware updated helped somewhat, but not completely. It is over 14lb with the power supply :).

  3. You CAN get 16GB in a MacBook Pro…check out macsales.com (I’m not affiliated with them but am a happy customer). They are the preferred seller of Mac upgrades (memories/SSDs). I have 16GB and two SSDs in my MBP and love it..great for running Mac OSX and multiple Linux (CentOS,*buntu,etc) and Windows as VMs for development. It’s not cheap but cheaper and more convenient than 2-3 different laptops…

  4. I just bought an Alienware M17x R3 with a GTX 580 and 2670QM for a portable CUDA data processing unit. Came in at about 2 grand. Maybe a bit “fancy” for business use, but it gets great reviews and has the performance we need.

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