Question Replacing 2013 Alienware 14

Finlay09

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Hey guys, once upon a time I spent a lot of time on this forum and I was very in tune with where tech was at the time. I think that was 2012... Anyway, I'm out of the loop to say the least and my most recent/most powerful computer is on its last leg.

My main question is, what is equivalent to the 2013 Alienware 14 today?

If Moores law still applies, I should be able to get about the same or better performance from an "average-ish" notebook.

I'm also looking at Chromebooks (strictly for business) but I also do some cad work and photo/video editing, so not having windows would be a huge penalty.

Appreciate any and all advice!
 
Well, don't get a Chromebook. It won't game. It isn't great for business. You'll have a much worse time trying to perform any kind of productivity task on it. Add to that the fact that the hardware for CAD just isn't there in a Chromebook.

As far as CPU power, yes you probably could get similar power from a midrange laptop, a current generation mobile i5 quad core will probably be similar in performance. As for video performance, current dedicated laptop GPUs are WAY ahead. There are a few laptops classified as entry level gaming laptops that will outperform your old laptop.

Laptops like the Acer Predator Helios 300, MSI GL-63, Acer Nitro 5, Dell G3 or G5, all have great performing i5 and i7 CPUs, good amounts of RAM, and reasonable to good GPUs. There are a ton of other options in this $700 to $1000 range so it would be a good idea to have a look around. If you want to spend more you can get a LOT more power as well. You can get an RTX 2060 and maybe 2070 when looking to get into the $1500 range, and there are laptop options all the way up to the flagship RTX 2080. These GPUs come in two flavors as well. Max-Q means they are scaled back lower power versions meant for mobile, but you can also find non-Max-Q versions that are full power desktop spec GPUs in laptops. Be prepared for giant power bricks and abysmal battery life in those cases,

So, what kind of budget are you looking at? There are literally options at almost every price point.
 
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Finlay09

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Thank f*ck lol. My budget is probably capped at 1k if it's a killer deal, but I'm trying to keep it lower.

The Chromebook would be a bare minimum to get me by for a few months or so (all my business stuff is currently through Google docs, etc) but like you said, forget doing anything else with it.

I'm thinking whatever the cheapest equivalent is. Have discreet GPUs gotten better? I recall it was kind of clunky switching between the two on the Alienware.

As far as gaming goes, I don't forsee myself getting much into it any time in the next few years, so I think the most demanding game I had run was maybe Tomb Raider or something from around that time, so I'm not sure if I even need discreet. If it can run Skyrim at full clip with a shit ton of mods I'll be happy lol.
 

Finlay09

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I should also note that battery life is a little more important to me than it was in 2013... I would really like more than 4 conservative hours that turn into 2 after a year or so
 
Discrete GPUs have gotten a lot better. In most cases the switching happens automatically, and if it doesn't it isn't hard to set up a profile for the program and make it use the GPU you want it to.

Well, here are a few ideas for well less than $1000 but still trying to get a good deal, have discrete graphics of some kind, and still be a quick system.

https://www.amazon.com/Dell-Inspiron-15-6-Inch-i7-8565-Geforce/dp/B07PZQ9LSN/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
This Dell Inspiron looks good. Has a good screen, fast CPU, SSD, reasonable battery life (6-8 hours of light use), and GeForce MX 250 graphics. It'll play Skyrim with no problem, but isn't that powerful in the grand scheme of things. Still, it is useful acceleration for productivity applications like CAD, but not really advised for heavy work. $800 for this one.

https://www.amazon.com/Acer-Display-i7-8565U-GeForce-A515-54G-73WC/dp/B07QKWHWC9
This Acer is better than the Dell in a lot of ways. More RAM, a faster SSD, and better battery life (up to 9 hours), but is also $50 more coming in at around $850.

https://www.amazon.com/MSI-GF63-Thin-8SC-030-i5-8300H/dp/B07QC4GK7C/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
This MSI gaming laptop is the opposite end of the spectrum from the Dell and Acer. It prioritizes GPU over CPU. The GTX 1650 is more than competent for what you are looking for and the remainder of the features are not bad at all. It even packs a quad core i5, but battery life will suffer a bit as it is rated for 7 hours, all for actually less than the other two at $670, but you may have to add some storage later on as the SSD is only 256GB.

https://www.amazon.com/R5-3550H-Processor-Graphics-FX505DT-AH51-Keyboard/dp/B07VBK4SYS/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
How about an AMD option? Battery life is where this system will suffer with 5-6 hours, but performance and features are nice. Like the MSI it only has the 256GB SSD, but it will be plenty fast and the GTX 1650 is competent at gaming and productivity. This guy comes in at $700.

I could go on and on and on, but not being you it is hard to know what you really need. My suggestion is to check out some reviews of these and look at the models these are compared to as well. There are some good systems to be found in this price range that will be great laptops.
 

Finlay09

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Damn, you sir are a gentleman and a scholar!

Having looked at them, I'm surprised that I like the Acer, they usually have a funky keyboard but that one seems to be normal, it appears to be backlit, but there's no mention of it that I could see. The battery life is also a great feature.

The MSI is a pretty good balance, I like the CPU/GPU combination and the battery life that it has, despite them.

The ASUS is a tricky one. I love the computer, the keyboard, monitor, the design, layout, etc. Do you know if you can get that same laptop with the intel/q-max and battery life of the MSI?

Really appreciate the help btw!
 

Finlay09

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Hmm, it looks like the cheapest ASUS with an Intel chip is around 1200.

I think I'm going to have to find these ones IRL and get all touchy feely
 

Finlay09

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Wanted to post an update for the sake of internet search results.

So, there's something I didn't think about beforehand, the construction. I thought I'd be fine with whatever kind of construction but I've honestly been spoiled by the Alienware.
The keyboard and trackpad on the Alienware are solid and have a really good feel but all of the new laptops have a "buttonless" trackpad where the left/right mouse buttons are hidden under the trackpad.

This buttonless design means that when you're lightly tapping on the trackpad, there's a looseness to it, and it rattles a bit and sounds really flimsy and cheap.

I had to bump my budget up a bit to avoid this issue and I ended up deciding on an ASUS ROG Zephyrus G

Reg. $1500 CAD it was marked down $200 and has a Ryzen 7 and the 1660Ti with 8gb of ram (will probably upgrade to 16) and a 512GB SSD

The keyboard is nowhere near as good as the Alienware, But it's good enough, and the trackpad is tight enough to tap heavily without a rattle.

Another thing that I wasn't thinking about was the speakers, the speakers on this thing are surprisingly good, like, really good. There must be a low pass driver because it thumps.

Understated looks are good too.
 

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