Choosing a laptop with programming and photography in mind (reloaded)

(Alessandro Amato Del Monte (Aadm)) #22

Can’t find any detail on the 1920x1080 screen on the Dell website, so I just assume it’s inferior to the 4K/full AdobeRGB.

(Alessandro Amato Del Monte (Aadm)) #23

thanks for the comment @Morgan_Hardwood and no, I haven’t seen in real life the XPS15. But this is the “designer” line for Dell, to compete with Macs etc, so I think they also compete in terms of overall portability etc. I am used to my macbook pro 13" (1.6kg) and now to this clunkly Lenovo (1.6kg too), so the 2kg for the XPS15 with the advantages of a larger screen does not seem outrageous.

It’s also true that if I had to stay with the 1920x1080 display with the idea of connecting it to an external monitor then maybe the smaller XPS13 could also be an option?

But again I need to know for sure what are the details about this lower-res display and about the GPU which one is better supported under Linux (I am assuming that the GPU alone does make a difference in Darktable after activating OpenCL? I have found contrasting evidences on the net about this).

(Alessandro Amato Del Monte (Aadm)) #24

I should also add (@Morgan_Hardwood) that I also like the Asus Zenbook line! I will also take a look at them.

(Paul) #25

I just bought the Asus Zenbook UX430UA
8th gen Core i7, quad. With max turbo of 4ghz
16gb ddr3
500gb SSD (not the fastest SSD, so I will upgrading it in about 6 months)
Intel UHD625 GPU (not the fastest, but runs Lightroom really well!)
14" screen in a 13" case with 100%srgb, when profiled, full HD resolution. And it’s matte.
Good keyboard. Best trackpad I’ve had on a laptop.
about 1/2" thick. Any tiny power adapter. Total weight with adapter is about 3.3 pounds (great for travel)
10 hours of battery life when I’m on the web and doing web dev
Lightroom use nets me about 5 hours of continuous use.

I really like this laptop, and I needed the smaller size for the travel I have planed for this year. But, Asus just announced their 15.6" version in the Zen line. You can trick that out with a 6 core i9 (like 4.6ghz) or 6 core i7 and either comes with Nvidia 1050 (I believe). And it comes with the option for a UHD screen with 100%ARGB. If I was staying put, I would go for the i9 system!

(Ingo Weyrich) #26

How’s that possible?

(Paul) #27

They minimized the bezels around the screen. My former laptop had 1/2" bezels. This one is shy of 1/4" on either side. My fiance has the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (13") My case is nearly the same size as hers.

(Ingo Weyrich) #28

That still doesn not explain how a 14" screen in a 13" case can be possible :wink:

(Mica) #29

I think it’s the 13" form factor, which was larger than 13"

(Ingo Weyrich) #30

Sometimes my wife calls ma a smart ass for my comments. There’s some truth in this :wink:

(Paul) #31

Well, with screen size, it is measured along the diagonal, not the horizontal. The extra space reclaimed by the smaller bezels allows for more screen real estate in the same size case.

(Ingo Weyrich) #32

Didn’t know that the case size of laptops is measured horizontally and still can’t believe that, but that’s clearly confusing costumers if that’s true. I always thought a laptops dimension would be announced based roughly on the diagonal of the screen

(Paul) #33

That’s what I said above.

The case size itself is measured in the dimensions of WxLxH. When you look up a devices dimensions, the screen is given in it’s diagonal, and the case in it’s outside dimensions.

Here’s the product listing on Amazon for the Asus Zenbook 430

(Mica) #34

I am going to need a laptop in about a month as well now!


I have a machine that is 10+ years old and running. :slight_smile: The next one shall be very powerful indeed. No one talked about budget but I guess no one here is price sensitive…


Well, given the prices of the cameras and lenses…

(Alberto) #37

@afre my home machine is a 2009 ThinkPad t400. still works great, not changing anytime soon (I maxed out the ram at 4gb and put an SSD tough). I do most of my photo editing and RT development on it, so it’s definitely doable. but that’s not what I’d recommend if someone wants something new :slight_smile:
regarding price, it’s easy to get a super powerful machine for cheap, and then get very disappointed. the extra cost of ‘premium’ laptops usually goes in specs like build quality, screen quality, weight, battery life, heating dissipation (very underestimated in my experience), and how easy it is to replace/upgrade parts when needed. for many people these things don’t matter, until they do… fortunately, it seems that people around here are much more aware of this than “the general public”


Heat dissipation is definitely a big problem in a world of increasingly shrinking devices, though it keeps me toasty in the winter :sunny: or gives me burn injuries. :fried_egg: Kind of miss the days of the monolithic towers. Are there review sites that regularly factor in this issue? I mean there are too many ad and culture driven sites that tell you squat.

(Pat David) #39

I should chime in that any time I’m recommending the XPS series it’s because I actually own one. So I’m at least speaking from experience of handling and using it.

To help put it in perspective, I’m of the opinion that the Macbook Air is, to me, the pinnacle of laptop design and ergonomics. It is, excepting pure processing strength, the single best laptop I’ve ever used (and my old Air is still my normal daily driver laptop). The keyboard is on-point, keys are are awesome, and the trackpad is the best on any laptop I’ve ever had to use.

With that being said, my XPS13 is the second-best laptop I’ve ever used, and likely to be the form-factor for my next personal purchase.

The “infinity screen” means that the bezel is absolutely tiny on the XPS. So the overall dimensions of the viewable screen are closer to a 15" screen, all on a laptop whose dimensions are more like a 13" body. (The XPS13 is similar in dimensions to my Air, with the exception of thickness.)

Similarly, the XPS15 has a screen about as big as a normal 17" laptop, but in a 15" form-factor.

I do have an occasional oddness with the keyboard doubling spaces for some reason, but I think I’ve mitigated this recently by changing some parameters for key-repeats. The 4K screen is gorgeous, bright, and remarkably crisp.

Feel free to ask me anything you want, or that you want me to try with it. I’m happy to help!

(Paul) #40

I’d like to chime in on age and price:
My old laptop was perfectly usable. I had no desire to buy new. I bought it in 2012 and it is still going strong… it’s just huge! 15.6 inch with big bezels and very heavy. I’m living out of a backpack for 12-18 months and can’t afford the size of weight of the old system.

My new system only cost $1005. Very good price for what is offers.


Since @patdavid mentioned the Air, I would mention that my favourite was the original unibody aluminium MacBook, before Apple started gluing its parts together, and before they added it to the pro line. It was so robust in every way. I would torture it like drop it once a week (by accident, I am clumsy) and it would still be fine. That was my last Apple product.

@EmbergerMedia That is a good price. In Toronto (and CAD), you need to add $400 and that isn’t including taxes, or availability (we are usually a generation behind).