I think it is time to get a new laptop and I'm frustrated by my inability to find one that meets my researched specifications. I'm not looking for a paper-thin ultra-high-end gaming laptop, just something upper-mid-range that can handle casual gaming, productivity applications, web browsing, and programming. My most demanding requirement probably that I run Gentoo Linux which means A) I need hardware that supports Linux and B) I'll be recompiling software on a regular basis (which is CPU-intensive).

My budget is, ideally, around $300-$600 but I'd probably be willing to splurge up to around $1 000 if I could find one that meets all or most of my requirements.

My ideal laptop would be a two-in-one with (ordered by desirability- most desired first):

  • 15" touchscreen at least- (I mean I'd like a 17" really but it's impossible to find an affordable 17" with a decent resolution in a laptop sporting most of the above)
  • Internal Blu-Ray BDXL writer (seemingly impossible to find at a reasonable price point, I'll probably have to be content with a dual-layer DVD writer)
  • Minumum of 8GiB of RAM
  • SDcard reader
  • Minimum of 1TiB hdd
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 5+ hour battery life
  • Headphones jack
  • Conventional anti-virus program
  • Bootable Anti-malware device
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • quad-core processor?
  • Maaaaaybe a SSD drive for the OS partitions? I've seen it recommended but it seems a somewhat expensive luxury
  • USB Type-C w/ Thunderbolt 3 (Not something I have use for at the moment, but it would future proof the laptop and allow me to buy Thunderbolt hardware in the future)

Now after searching Newegg it seems that I need to cut back but I'm not sure what compromises I need to make. I'm especially perplexed by the CPU landscape- are quad-core CPUs twice as fast as dual core? Why do dual-core CPUs still predominate? Are desktop processors used in laptops now? What's with Intel's generations and how do Intel chips compare with AMD? Where can I find reliable CPU benchmarks?

Anyway, that's my story. What've you guys got?

  • 1
    What does internal/external antivirus mean?
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 12:24
  • Also, I believe the dominance of dual cores is largely due to power/heat. Up until Kaby Lake R, the lowest power 4C CPUs in Intel's lineup had TDPs of 25 W, and before that, 45W. The new ones are 15 W though, which are more or less in the range of Intel's other ULV chips.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 12:40
  • @Alpha3031, by external antivirus I mean a bootable antimalware device, something like FixMeStick that you can plug into your PC and boot into to clear up virii that you can't get to when your OS is running. By contrast, internal anti-virus would be a conventional antimalware program that runs under an operating system like Windows. I've heard these terms used on the home shopping channels, they may not be official tech lingo. I'll edit my post to clarify. Commented Dec 10, 2017 at 23:04
  • 1
    I've looked a bit more, and I don't think you'll be able to find a laptop that both has a disk burner and fits into that thin-and-light 2-in-1 category. Probably more like 700 for a quad core (though nearly $100 is for the Windows 10 Pro licence), and much less ($500-600) for any decent dual core. Thunderbolt is somewhat rare as well.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 13:19
  • 1
    I think you are a bit unrealistic with your budget and requirements. I think that the one I suggested meets most of your requirements but if really want all that then you should bump up your budget to 2000 or so, unfortunately.
    – TGamer
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


I'd recommend the Inspiron 15 5000 2-in-1. Dell sells this for $699, but if you also buy a BD writer, it becomes more like $850.

It features the Intel Core i5-8250U, a Kaby Lake R Quad Core. With a base frequency of 1.60 GHz (cTDP-up of 1.80 GHz at 25 W, 3.4 GHz boost), it likely has only marginally lower sustained performance (and almost equal peak) than the older max performance chips, such as the 6700HQ. Even though it's an i5, it has hyperthreading enabled.

This is the cheapest 2-in-1 I could find offering Windows 10 Pro preinstalled. There are other, cheaper laptops with similar hardware, but you may have to shell out $100-200 for a Windows 10 Pro licence.

As to your other requirements, unfortunately, there is no internal ODD, but the screen is 15.6", with a fairly standard 1080p IPS panel. The default configuration comes with 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of HDD and a 802.11ac WiFi adapter with 2x2 MIMO.

There is no review of the current model, but Notebookcheck's review of the previous model, with the same sized battery, shows over 7 hours of battery life when idle, and 6:57 when simultating web browsing at a screen brightness of 150 nits. However, under heavy load, the battery life is under two hours. Please note that the tested model has slightly different hardware and may not be entirely representative, but it is likely that the current model will be close to that level.

It has a headphone jack and a 1 year subscription to McAfee, though it isn't preinstalled. Unfortunately, it does not appear to support Thunderbolt.

  • Only two complaint: there's no way that thing is maintaining anything close to a sustained 3.4 GHz boost or getting close to the 6700HQ under a sustained load, especially in that form factor. That boost is really only going to help for short periods of time or very good cooling (which it doesn't seem to have.) I'd guess it's probably closer to 75% of a 6700HQ. The lack of Thunderbolt (especially given the flexibility offered by Thunderbolt 3) is a serious downer.
    – JMY1000
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 5:37
  • I probably should have mentioned, HP Envy X360s, either the old dual cores or the new Intel quad cores, have Thunderbolt. However, I don't think they come with Windows 10 Pro, if that's important to OP. It's a sidegrade, but it really depends if 10 Pro is really that important.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 6:45

Here is a good one, except that it has no Blu-Ray:

Acer Aspire E5-575-539R

  1. It has a core i5 7200 (only 2 cores but 4 threads)

  2. 8GB RAM

  3. Memory card reader (SD)

  4. 1TB HDD

  5. And (not sure it will suit you) DVD writer optical writer

  6. Windows 10 (But there is no antivirus)

Have a look at this link:


You can see full specs. It is for $729 (AUD) about 560 USD

  • 1
    Amazon sells the i7 version for slightly less than what you quoted. Is the E series a two-in-one (i.e. convertible) though?
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 13:26
  • @Alpha3031 but the cheapest convertible laptop at all I found was for $1599 AUD. Robert said he was looking for max $1000. So maybe Robert you have to buy a non-convertible one.
    – TGamer
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 23:19
  • @Alpha3031 By the way I only referenced the link for specs, you can find it elsewhere for cheaper maybe, and Scorptec only operates in Melbourne, Australia.
    – TGamer
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 6:14
  • Yes, I did mention that. There was an Amazon link in my previous comment.
    – timuzhti
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 6:15
  • @Alpha3031 Yeah I figured you were trying to say it's cheaper at Amazon. Doesn't matter where from, I think what matters is the actual laptop.
    – TGamer
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 6:25

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