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I am looking for a powerful laptop/or "schleptop" portable.

Important:

  • 64GB RAM, dual channel (currently development environment, particularly GWT requirements, occasionally gives trouble if running other things in 32GB).

  • I'd prefer 12-16 threads (our software and IDE extensions are well threaded, 8 threads are a limitation for the latter at times).

Because of business practices and recent security/performance issues, I would like to try out an AMD Ryzen CPU.

  • 256GB solid state storage. A hybrid SSD/platter hard drive is fine as long as total storage is 1TB minimum.

Not so important:

Graphics. Preferably not internal Intel graphics. Internal AMD graphics would be fine, but I think you cannot get this with more than 4 cores/8 threads. So the best option is likely relatively low grade discrete mobile graphics from AMD or nVIDIA.

I can connect to HD televisions or monitors, so the screen size/quality is not very important.

I'd prefer having a built in DVD drive, but it is not essential.

Battery life - heavy duty jobs would be done on mains, so not high on the list.

17" footprint preferred.


I understand this will cost me - as portability/smaller form factors usually do. I am hoping it is possible within £2500/$3000. I like not having to take a separate keyboard along and to be able to use it while travelling, however a small form factor PC is also an acceptable solution if it fits in aircraft cabin luggage.

While it runs slightly against my lack of screen/graphics requirements, I am willing to try a "gaming laptop", assuming these are expected to handle moderate CPU use. For example, I noticed that ASUS has one with a Ryzen 7 1700 CPU, which might be feasible except it appears to have a 32GB RAM limit.

I can wait a couple of months in case somebody knows something is on the horizon, which I don't know about. Thank you for any ideas.

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    It would definitely be larger than a laptop, but SFFPCs have come pretty far lately and you might get away for quite a bit less money by going that route. You'd obviously have to consider traveling with the (modest but still) larger case, as well as needing a dedicated keyboard/mouse and screen, and be tied to the wall. But let's face it, a laptop with these specs is not going to be very "portable" to begin with. The main detractor to this is that they are rarely available prebuilt so you will be on the hook for actually assembling and perhaps modifying to make everything fit. – JaredT Jun 26 '18 at 13:12
  • It looks like Acer will do a "Predator Helios 500" (PH517-61) with a Ryzen 2700 CPU. Now I just await the RAM ceiling.. – nsandersen Jun 29 '18 at 16:16
  • These ones have 4 RAM slots and can be expanded to 64GB, so I think I have found my answer, although the RAM will cost. Will update once I have tried out. – nsandersen Sep 26 '18 at 14:24
  • p50 computer would work for the most part – William Sep 26 '18 at 15:32
  • Not bad, but I would prefer more cores/threads and better resistance to recent security issues which appears to be offered by AMD CPUs. – nsandersen Sep 26 '18 at 17:45
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I went for an Acer Predator Helios 500 with an AMD Ryzen 2700 8 core processor, 512GB SSD and 1TB normal hard drive. The processor is socketed, so could theoretically be upgraded later.

It can be upgraded to 4x16GB RAM if the 2 factory fitted 8GB RAM modules are replaced, as they are single rank, but 16GB modules appear to be double rank and they are not compatible. Note that the bus speed may go down if mounting more / different modules. (If you do this, note that the first two slots are not user-accessible.)

For anybody interested, the cost was €1927 plus ~€285 for extra RAM plus €20 to switch the modules. Hopefully I can sell the old RAM modules for €80 or more. So approx. €2150 with 32GB of RAM - I now just need to get another SODIMM or two.

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If you're willing to try for Intel, Eurocom, Hidevolution, and a few others have laptops with a desktop i7-8700k, which should give you 12 threads on its 6 cores, and 64 GB of DDR4 RAM (dual channel, naturally). These would not have a CD or DVD drive—you'd need to get an external one, but with all those ports you'd have no trouble connecting it. You can get these as small as 15.6 inches. They should come in under $3000 with a 256 GB SSD and a 1 TB HDD, an 8700k, and 64 GB of RAM, and you'll get 1060 GPU in the bargain. There are also some new workstations with similar capabilities, but they will be pricy.

Any of the options I suggested will have more than enough space for 1 TB of storage. In point of fact, there are 4 TB SSDs now, so you really can get more storage than you need as long as you have a single SATA slot.

With any of these Clevo resellers, I'd strongly recommend that you ask them to check carefully for backlight bleed before shipping. It'll save you the trouble of loosening the display screws yourself. Also, they'll be loud, and will have low battery life.

The optical drive is really a difficult thing to find in conjunction with a six core or greater CPU. If you filter by "64 GB RAM or more" and "optical drive" on Amazon, you don't find many devices. And most of those don't have an optical drive in any case. Even most workstations are moving away from internal optical drives.

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  • Thanks. I can survive a separate DVD. The 8/16 core/thread Ryzen machines where about half that price and less susceptible to recent security issues, so I will wait a bit longer. – nsandersen May 27 '18 at 11:15
  • @nsandersen - There are currently a few Ryzen laptops. The only ones I know about only go to 32 GB, which is why I didn’t mention them. They probably will support 64 GB once consumer 32 GB SODIMMs come out, and this is an upgrade you can do yourself. I don't think they'll be much cheaper, though. – Obie 2.0 May 27 '18 at 17:40

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