Question Buying a mid performance laptop and need ideas


Jan 29, 2014
I am buying a new laptop after 10 years on my trusty Lenovo Thinkpad E420. I am not sure what to get. The Thinkpad was great overall, but I will be doing trading and lots of Photoshop and Lightroom and need a graphics card they don't seem to have.

1. What is your budget? $900 to $1300

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering? 15.6"

3. What screen resolution do you want? 1920 x 1080, don't need 4k

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop? Portable

5. How much battery life do you need? This is not a big issue as it will stay plugged in on a desk 95% of the time.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)? No games, but I will trade and edit lots of photos on it

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.) Other than trading which mainly needs a good processor as TradeStation is heavily reliant on the CPU and while there are 100 or so windows on tabs for the laptop which are all updating it is still 2D in that sense, and photo editing there is only email and browsing needs.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need? Definately a small SSD for boot and applications 128GB or 250GB, and a 500GB or biggerHD.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links. I have only looked at MicroCenter which has both models I looked at on markdown to open space for the next models. I am open to any reputable source.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop? Well, another 10 years would be okay ;-), but longevity and quality are very important.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ? DVD R/W Have software on disc I will need to install.

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.
I would simply buy another Think pad as I really liked just about everything, but they fall short not having graphics cards for the photo editing and they are now priced very high. Perhaps a current E model would work? have not looked yet. I looked at an ASUS TUF FX504 which had good specs and was $1050 -$300 off as well as an MSI GP 63 Leopard which also was $300 off at $900, but it did not have a DVD or SD card reader. I could get an external DVD I suppose for that price. But I know nothing about MSI - their reputation or build quality. I initially thought a minimal gaming compute might have the speed and graphics I need but I don't want flashy cosmetics. I hope quality of build and enough speed and graphics capability is available for $900 to $1300. I have only begun to look.
13. What country do you live in? USA - Denver area.

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed. Here are the things I've seen that appeal to me though each item could be lessor or better if it all exceeds what I need for the trading and photo editing.

15.6 screen size a must -1920x1080 is good, I don't need 4K, 120 refresh is OK
I-7 CPU 8750H 2.0 -2.2GHz or so
128 - 250GB SSD plus 500GB or so HD
16GB RAM DDR4 2400+
3+ USB ports - I use a hub also for extra monitors, speakers, and external HD's
Windows 10 64 bit Pro, but Home is OK
A SD card reader is a plus
Good cooling - It must not be known or tested to run hot, I need it to last

Thank you for your time and help!