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doginpants

Looking for a 13-14" school laptop

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So I am a student at college, right now I am using a 13" rMBP and I enjoy it. The only thing is that it has the gaming performance of a potato, and if I go for a egpu it will be bottlenecked by the dual core i5. So I am looking to get a new laptop. My price is a max of 1500USD. Things that I would like:

  • 13-14" high density screen
  • a true quadcore mobile cpu
  • reasonable battery
  • nice trackpad
  • epgu compatiblity
  • preferable no discrete gpu

Thanks for the help!

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On 3/29/2016 at 9:32 AM, doginpants said:

So I am a student at college, right now I am using a 13" rMBP and I enjoy it. The only thing is that it has the gaming performance of a potato, and if I go for a egpu it will be bottlenecked by the dual core i5. So I am looking to get a new laptop. My price is a max of 1500USD. Things that I would like:

  • 13-14" high density screen
  • a true quadcore mobile cpu
  • reasonable battery
  • nice trackpad
  • epgu compatiblity
  • preferable no discrete gpu

Thanks for the help!

High performance gaming laptops in general are TBH a rather niche market. High performance 13-inch laptops with eGPU capabilities are practically nonexistent. I would highly recommend you consider 14-inch and 15-inch laptops but for the sake of simplicity I will assume those options wouldn't work for you.

 

I would suggest looking at the Alienware 13. You might consider buying a used one but make sure it is a model that supports the Alienware Graphics Amplifier. Don't expect to be able to utilize the full power of a Titan X with this rig though. :P

 

If you were to order the Alienware 13 from Dell, here is the config I'd personally recommend: (I used the second laptop from the left on the config screen)

- Processor Intel i7-6500U (good luck trying to find an i7 in a 13-inch that isn't an ultra low power processor. If you want something with more power you need a bigger laptop.)

- OS Windows 10 Home Premium (unless you need the features of Windows 10 Pro save your money for other stuff)

- Display FHD 1920x1080 (the 3K Display may put you over budget)

- GPU Nvidia GTX 960M 4GB (It's a free upgrade from the 2GB version right now. Bear in mind that these are very likely soldered cards, with the 965M as the only potential exception. (I've never seen 960M cards on ebay but I have seen 965M cards for sale) This shouldn't matter since you can use the AWA instead of tapping the MXM slot)

- AGA I do not recommend buying you Alienware Graphics Amplifier from Dell. You can easily save $50 if not $100 by buying it on eBay.

Memory 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L (if you want 16GBs of RAM go buy 16GBs of Corsair Vengeance 1600MHz for about $70 on Amazon. You'll save $80 doing this)

- Hard Drive 500GB 5400RPM HDD (You can buy a PCIe SSD or higher capacity HDD much cheaper on Amazon or eBay)

- WiFI/Network Killer 1535 (you can always buy a better wifi card really cheap on eBay. I bought an Intel 7260 for my laptop for only $8)

Support 1 Year Hardware Service (IMHO this is usually just a waste of money unless you plan on abusing your laptop)

 

This got me a grand total of $1,175. Assuming you already have a sufficient eGPU and get an AGA for $150, you'll have $325 leftover, which you could use to get that fancy 3K screen or a super fast PCI-e SSD. Of course, you can save even more money if you find a satisfactory used one on eBay.

 

Hope you find this helpful.

Edited by Exper1mental

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It's difficult to find 13" notebook with high-end graphics.

 

The alienware 13 is ok, but if you don't like the aesthetics you should consider 15" laptops.

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I really suggest watching in the Alienware laptops, as said above they suit your wishes and there are really good quality. I can say my classmate has one for about 4 years now, not any problem or weird reboot yet.

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ThinkPad T420/T430 with either the 900p (TN) LCD or the 1080p (IPS) mod and the QM i7's.

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Dell XPS 13? It's an Ultrabook with ThunderBolt 3 that fits all your needs except, it's a dual-core ULV CPU. But given their battery capacity, it should last you longer for your school work

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I personally have a dell xps 13 that I use for school and I love it. The infinity edge display gives it a much smaller profile and the battery life is fantastic especially after undervolting the cpu. It's not the best for gaming but it can still play some lower end games especially if on lower settings.

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I got the XPS13 with 7th gen i7 for school as well and it's fantastic. Consistently over 10h battery life and extremely portable. I got the 1080p non-touch screen which offers plenty of real-estate for how small it is. 

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I would recomend HP EliteBook 820 G4 Notebook PC, slightly less " (12.5), but had the chance too keep play with some of them and they are quite nice, aluminium build, nice battery, noiseless, light.

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I am also running a MBPr13 for Uni and It's a little bit on the heavy side.

I used an iPad Air for a year and a half before that, so portability was a big concern for me, I just didn't want something so underpowered like the 12" macbook. Having said that, I found that I did almost no gaming or video editing or anything on the MBP just Uni work! given that, the 12" macbook would have been a better buy. If I wanted to play games too, the Dell XPS13 would be my first pick, though pretty pricey to use as a Uni computer in my opinion.

Edited by Skellar998

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