5

My company is going to buy a work laptop for me (since I've been using my own for a while), and they are going to let me select it. I don't know exactly what my price-range is, since they wouldn't actually give me a hard-limit when I asked. However, they implied that they would be willing to spend somewhere in the range of $1,000 USD. I will probably select some slightly cheaper and some slightly more expensive ones and let them pick between these.

This laptop will primarily be used for firmware and software development and TwinCAT, as well as general day-to-day office stuff. (Excel, word, emails, etc.) Sometimes I will compile very large projects, or have multiple instances of Visual Studio or a similar IDE open at a time (which isn't all that much, given Visual Studio's system requirements). Beyond that, I don't do anything particularly demanding. I'd like it to boot quickly, so an SSD is a must.

Requirements

  • As I said, an SSD is a must. My current computer has only 220 GB, and I still have plenty of space left, so we'll say atleast 250 GB. Obviously, more would be nice, though it's not necessary.

  • A 6th-gen intel quad-core CPU. I'd like an I7 or higher, but I could settle for an I5, provided it was still new, quad-core, and fairly powerful.

  • I don't do anything demanding on the GPU, so as long as I can plug an external 1080p monitor into it, that's good enough for me. Bonus points if I can plug a second one in. (Though I might need a docking station at that point)

  • I don't need an insane amount of RAM. As long as I can have Visual Studio x2, Google Chrome, Vim, and Spotify open at the same time. So 8 GB would probably be enough. (Although I'm certainly not against having more)

  • This probably goes without saying, but it should have an 1/8th inch headphone output and several USB 3 outputs. (I can't imagine any modern laptop not having these, but it never hurts to be specific)

Preferences

  • Support for a docking station, if I want to upgrade peripherals down the road.

  • I develop for ethernet a lot (EtherCAT, modbus/tcp, dhcp, etc.), so an onboard ethernet cable would be really really nice. I could use an adaptor or a docking station, but using onboard ethernet would be a lot more convenient.

  • I'm not really a laptop connisuier, so there are a lot of things that I either don't really care about or don't know how to quantifiy. For example, I have no idea what a good-battery life would be. I'd like a good battery-life, but I don't commute, or have any reason to need a really good one. I also couldn't tell a good one from a bad one.

  • I'm also not super picky when it comes to things like screen size or weight. (Also don't know how to quantify) I don't want something on either extreme (Such as a chromebook or a giant luggable). A 1080p display (or higher if I can get it at this price) would be preferred.

  • I will be able to use the laptop on my own time, so a gpu (or integrated graphics) strong enough for very light gaming would be nice. I already have a computer that can handle pretty much any game, so this is certainly not a requirement. Good linux support would also be a plus.

Neutral

  • While looking around on my own, I found that lot's of newer laptops in this price range have touchscreens. I am almost completely neutral on a touchscreen. If it could be cheaper without, I'd go with the cheaper one. If they're the same price, I guess I'd go for the touchscreen. I probably wouldn't end up using it very much though.

  • I don't really care which version of windows it comes with. It would be nice if it comes with 7 already installed, but if it comes with 8 or 10, I'll just reinstall 7 anyway. (I already have a license and a CD and all that)

  • I don't have any strong brand preferences.

  • I don't really care about an optical drive (or lack thereof)

  • The Lenovo IdeaPad 700Y series may be worth a look for you (these are gamer laptops). They are 17", 1080p and have quad-core Intel Core i s and usually are in your preferred price range. – SEJPM Jun 22 '16 at 11:58
2
+50

The best notebook I could find in this price-range with your requirements is probably the Lenovo 700Y (17-inch) series. While I don't own, it seems to fit your requirements quite well, as a medium- to high-end gamer laptop.
Lenovo; NotebookCheck


Now let's go through the list of your requirements, shall we?

As I said, an SSD is a must. [...], so we'll say atleast 250 GB. Obviously, more would be nice, though it's not necessary.

According to Lenovo's website there are options for 256GB or 512GB SSD and for 1TB HDD with 128GB SSD, so you're covered here.

A 6th-gen intel quad-core CPU. I'd like an I7 or higher, but I could settle for an i5, provided it was still new, quad-core, and fairly powerful.

The Y700 series only runs 45W Intel Core i-s, which are all (powerful) quad-core CPUs based on Skylake architecture. More concretely chances are you will be getting in i7-6700HQ or an i5-6300HQ (rarer).

I don't do anything demanding on the GPU, so as long as I can plug an external 1080p monitor into it, that's good enough for me. Bonus points if I can plug a second one in. (Though I might need a docking station at that point)

You can at least plug-in one monitor via HDMI and can maybe connect a second via wireless Miracast, which the laptop should support.

I don't need an insane amount of RAM. [...] So 8 GB would probably be enough. (Although I'm certainly not against having more)

The Y700 series has at least 8GB of RAM and you can also find models with 16GB.

This probably goes without saying, but it should have an 1/8th inch headphone output and several USB 3 outputs.

It has that headphone output and two USB-3.0 ports and one USB-2.0 port. You may want to consider buying an USB-3.0 hub if you need more. (These numbers are fairly common for laptops nowadays sadly). The HW recommendation for this can be found here.


Now for your preferences:

Support for a docking station, if I want to upgrade peripherals down the road.

Sadly there seems to be no proprietary connector for this model, however standard USB 3.0 docking stations probably can do the trick here.

[...]An onboard ethernet cable would be really really nice. I could use an adaptor or a docking station, but using onboard ethernet would be a lot more convenient.

Again, sadly it looks like Ethernet on the laptop seems to be less of a thing nowadays than it used to be (due to the improved WLAN technology), but you can still get yourself a small little USB-3.0-Ethernet connector (Anker also has those).

I'm not really a laptop connisuier, so there are a lot of things that I either don't really care about or don't know how to quantifiy. For example, I have no idea what a good-battery life would be. I'd like a good battery-life, but I don't commute, or have any reason to need a really good one. I also couldn't tell a good one from a bad one.

Lenovo claims 4-5 hours for this one, but chances are you'll have to live with 2-3 hours there if you actually do stuff with it.

I'm also not super picky when it comes to things like screen size or weight. (Also don't know how to quantify) I don't want something on either extreme (Such as a chromebook or a giant luggable). A 1080p display (or higher if I can get it at this price) would be preferred.

There are variants of the Y700 series for 15" and for 17" (this answer is about the 17" ones), but at least the 17" ones all do feature 1080p screens.

I will be able to use the laptop on my own time, so a gpu (or integrated graphics) strong enough for very light gaming would be nice. I already have a computer that can handle pretty much any game, so this is certainly not a requirement.

The Y700s are originally intended as gamer laptops, so this should be not so much of a problem.

Good linux support would also be a plus.

I don't think it has extraordinary Linux support, but it should do the job.


Finally for your neutral points:

While looking around on my own, I found that lot's of newer laptops in this price range have touchscreens. I am almost completely neutral on a touchscreen. If it could be cheaper without, I'd go with the cheaper one. If they're the same price, I guess I'd go for the touchscreen. I probably wouldn't end up using it very much though.

The Y700 series does not feature touch-screens, as a gaming laptop series.

I don't really care which version of windows it comes with. It would be nice if it comes with 7 already installed, but if it comes with 8 or 10, I'll just reinstall 7 anyway. (I already have a license and a CD and all that)

It comes with Windows 10 64-bit pre-installed.

I don't really care about an optical drive (or lack thereof)

I couldn't exactly tell, but at least some models don't feature optical drives.

| improve this answer | |
  • +1, not just because I ended up picking this laptop, but also because this is a very thorough and well-researched answer. I did end up going with the 15 inch version. – James Jun 30 '16 at 9:25
1

I would recommend the Lenovo ThinkPad E560 with at least an i5 and 8GB of RAM. It has an 15.6" 1080p display and 256GB of SSD storage for around $1000. It also has Lenovo OneLink, which is their docking station that can provide you with 2 x USB ports, 1 x Ethernet, 1 x HDMI and an additional hard drive.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Sorry, but this laptop is disqualified by the requirement for a "new, quad-core, and fairly powerful" processor. The E560 only has support for 15W U processors which are a) not "powerful", in the sense that thermal throttling kicks in super fast and b) they are all dual-cores. – SEJPM Jun 22 '16 at 11:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.