Yet another new laptop

Do you have a question? Post it now! No Registration Necessary

Translate This Thread From English to

Threaded View
I had to buy a new laptop a few weeks ago when the Lenovo finally crapped o
ut (what a POS!)  I picked up an HP Envy at Costco with Win 10 of course.  
First thing I did was disable the touch screen.  Like nearly every other ma
chine around I can't use the touch pad because it doesn't have separate but
tons.  So I have to plug in a mouse dongle which isn't too bad on this mach
ine because the socket is near the back, so I can leave it in without fear  
of damaging the laptop bag.  

Anyway... it has issues with the keyboard enough that I'm going to return i
t.  I have 3 more weeks to do that.  I'm not really finding anything else w
ith a better keyboard that isn't getting up in price.  I also need a lower  
priced laptop or one of those small case PCs for use with a test fixture.  
I stumbled across a number of listings for refurbished Dell Precision M4700
s.  Don't know why there seem to be so many.  Some are sold "grade B" (scra
tches and dings) and/or without hard drive or OS usually with low memmory.  
 I found one listing at Newegg that is under $500 with a SSD and 16 GB.  Th
is could be usable for my main PC and if it works ok for the test fixture I
 could buy another one maybe at a lower price.  

I guess this got to be a bit of a rant.  I really hated the Lenovo and the  
keyboard thing with the new HP and Dells is ridiculous.  I guess I'm just a
sking if anyone (Jeff?) is familiar with the M4700 and can offer advice.  T
he only features I'm not crazy about is the lower res display HD720 and lac
k of Blue tooth which may just be a lack of drivers for Win 10 which it com
es with.  

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834295285

https://www.rakuten.com/shop/joy-systems/product/BC5-1569/


Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
On 16.3.18 15:00, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it


I got fed up with an IMB A21 crapping out due to mechanical
failure in the heat pipe cooling system, and two HP laptops,
which failed within half a year each.

I paid myself sick for an Apple MacBook Pro, in late 2008, and
it is still going strong. Besides, you do not need any Windows
in it. I have Vmware Fusion and an old XP in it for memrgencies.

--  

-TV


Re: Yet another new laptop
On Friday, March 16, 2018 at 10:24:21 AM UTC-4, Tauno Voipio wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
ed out (what a POS!)  I picked up an HP Envy at Costco with Win 10 of cours
e.  First thing I did was disable the touch screen.  Like nearly every othe
r machine around I can't use the touch pad because it doesn't have separate
 buttons.  So I have to plug in a mouse dongle which isn't too bad on this  
machine because the socket is near the back, so I can leave it in without f
ear of damaging the laptop bag.
Quoted text here. Click to load it
rn it.  I have 3 more weeks to do that.  I'm not really finding anything el
se with a better keyboard that isn't getting up in price.  I also need a lo
wer priced laptop or one of those small case PCs for use with a test fixtur
e.  I stumbled across a number of listings for refurbished Dell Precision M
4700s.  Don't know why there seem to be so many.  Some are sold "grade B" (
scratches and dings) and/or without hard drive or OS usually with low memmo
ry.  I found one listing at Newegg that is under $500 with a SSD and 16 GB.
  This could be usable for my main PC and if it works ok for the test fixtu
re I could buy another one maybe at a lower price.
Quoted text here. Click to load it
the keyboard thing with the new HP and Dells is ridiculous.  I guess I'm ju
st asking if anyone (Jeff?) is familiar with the M4700 and can offer advice
.  The only features I'm not crazy about is the lower res display HD720 and
 lack of Blue tooth which may just be a lack of drivers for Win 10 which it
 comes with.
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I would be happy to consider an Apple laptop, but I understand they don't m
ake 17" machines.  I much prefer the larger screen which I can still barely
 read text on with 25% enlargement.  I'm also not sure I can run all the to
ols I need under OSX or whatever Apple uses.  The FPGA vendors support one  
or two versions of Linux, but they don't mention Apple machines the last ti
me I checked.  There are also various hardware tools that use the PC for th
e UI and the ones I've considered don't even support Linux.  

Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
I've had reasonably good luck buying "off lease" business-class Dell
laptops directly from Dell's factory outlet, then replacing the HD
with a new SSD.

Re: Yet another new laptop
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:


Quoted text here. Click to load it

Buy a USED Dell on eBay!  That what I do for all my computer needs.  I've  
been VERY happy with the several I've gotten for myself and my kids.

You have to be very picky about the models, as some of them have THREE  
different screens, with very different resolutions, for the same base model.
You have to check the picture of the label on the bottom of the laptop to be  
sure which option it has.

Jon

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Friday, March 16, 2018 at 2:56:38 PM UTC-4, Jon Elson wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

You mean used as opposed to refurbished which is what I'm looking at buying.  I don't know I could be confident enough in a used machine.  If someone is selling a perfectly working computer, the question is why?  

Rick C.  

Re: Yet another new laptop
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:


Quoted text here. Click to load it
Well, you only buy ones that are fairly new.  Some people have to have the  
LATEST everything.  Some idiots buy a whole NEW computer every time they get  
a bunch of virus in it.  I run ONLY Linux, so really don't have much trouble  
with virus, etc. infections.  When buying online, you want to get a good  
view of the Dell label that gives the order code.  You can then look that up  
at Dell to find out the exact options in that specific machine.

Throw the disk drive out (if it comes with one) and get a SSD.  You can  
often get a deal on a machine where the hard drive has been pulled for  
security reasons.  I don't want anybody else's used HD anyway.  That's the  
one sensitive part of a laptop.  Also, a lot of sellers will show the BIOS  
boot-up screen on computers where the HD has been pulled, there's lots of  
info on that screen to ID what is in the machine, and verify they are  
selling what they claim.

Anyway, I've had QUITE good luck buying used Dells.  A few laptops, and  
quite a number of desktops, from the Optiplex line, that's their commercial-
grade, as opposed to consumer-grade, line.

Jon


Re: Yet another new laptop
wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Yep.  I bought my wife a Dell Optiplex 7010 (refurbished/Amazon),
almost as many bells and whistles as my 7020, for 1/6 the price,
proper Dell order code and Microsoft ID.

I avoid eBay, etc, simply because I know Amazon returns are never a
hassle... 71 purchases in the last six months probably helps the
courtesy ;-)
        
                                        ...Jim Thompson
--  
| James E.Thompson                                 |    mens     |
| Analog Innovations                               |     et      |
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Yet another new laptop
On Friday, March 16, 2018 at 6:42:24 PM UTC-4, Jon Elson wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
e  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
get  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
ble  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
 up  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
e  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
S  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
  
Quoted text here. Click to load it
al-
Quoted text here. Click to load it

The one I'm looking at has a SSD, 256 GB.  I had just bought a 1 TB SSD bef
ore the Lenovo went south so if I get one with a rotating disk I'm ready to
 swap it out.  

This model, M4700, appears to be a tank.  It is heavy and the PSU is heavy,
 a number of users comment on that.  If this ends up being my personal comp
uter I'll be a bit disappointed by the screen, 15" 720p rather than the 17"
 1080 I'm used to.  For now I'll get it ramped up with all the software I n
need and try it out as the test fixture machine.  I'm ditching my contract  
assembly house and will need to get the whole testing thing wrapped up nice
 and pretty for a new supplier.  

Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Fri, 16 Mar 2018 13:24:47 -0700 (PDT),
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Because the seller sees it as a way to make money.  Microsloth has
been rather liberal with their refurbishers program, where a Win 10
license costs about $50 to the refurbisher.  MS wants as many Win 10
users as possible and sees refurbishing old machines, with Win 10
installed, as a way to do this.  To the refurbisher, it means taking a
machine which he obtained from a recycler, doing the necessary labor
to make them play, installing Win 10, and selling them for a decent
profit.  Everyone wins.

Most of machines come from "off lease" and "surplus equipment"
sources.  What happens is corporate and government agencies, which are
large consumers of business class computahs, discover that they cannot
afford the maintenance and continuous update costs of older computers.
If a machine is compromised by a virus or component failure (i.e.
bulging capacitors), it is generally cheaper, easier, and quicker to
replace the machine with a shiny new model, than it is to fix the old
one.  It is also easier to get capital expense funding, than it is to
find money for maintenance.  So, the first sign of a problem, the
machine goes to recycler.  Taking Section 179 deduction on the
computer in the first year makes sure that none of the machines are
being depreciated, which would be the only reason for a company to
keep them around.  So, the company or government entity cuts their
costs, computah makers sell more boxes, and again everyone wins.

Of course the buyers of refurbished computers also win.  I just sold
four refurbished machines to a small company for a little less than
what one brand new Dell machine would have cost them.  They're not as
fast, are somewhat of a cosmetic embarrassment, and are lacking in
some of the latest features, but do the job well enough.  So, the
buyer wins.

The best part for me is that the various vendors offer liberal
exchange or refund warranties on refurbished equipment.  I don't have
to use those warranties very often, but they're quite handy.  After
that, I don't have to worry about the Dell's extended warranty, which
means I can work on this out of warranty equipment without the
customer worrying about me ruining their warranty.  So, I win.



--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Yet another new laptop
On Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:00:55 -0700 (PDT),
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

If you ask a repairman, what makers and models he's familiar, you'll
get the list of best sellers and least reliable machines.  If you ask
him what makers and models he never sees, those would be the models to
buy.  Unfortunately, that also means he has no experience with them.

That's my problem with the Dell Precision product line.  When they
were new, they cost more than what most of my customers were willing
to pay.  I know of only one Precision M4700 laptop owner.  He's a
mechanical designer and uses it for viewing and creating drawings.  I
don't recall what he paid in 2012 but I do recall that it was huge.  

Mostly, he uses an external monitor for higher resolution and the
built in 1920x1080 display for travel.  However, the two links below
that you found both have the low res 1366x768 display, which I
consider only useful for games and watching TV video.  You'll end up
scrolling up and down in order to read anything on the screen.

Newegg search for M4700 and 1920x1080 screen:
<https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N10%0006740%20600004420&IsNodeId=1&Description=dell%20m4700&bop=And&Order=PRICE&PageSize36%>
You might also want to look at the later M4800.

M4700 Spec sheet:
<http://i.dell.com/sites/doccontent/shared-content/data-sheets/en/Documents/Dell-Precision-M4700-Spec-Sheet-tab.pdf

Quoted text here. Click to load it

I consider the 1366x768 display to be nearly useless.  Be prepared to
pay about $100 more for a 1920x1080 display.  Or, you can buy the
laptop with a low res display, and just replace the panel with a high
res version.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

It has a slot for a Dell Wireless 380 BT 4.0 board.  Just buy one on
eBay and cram it in:
<https://www.ebay.com/itm/271513100751

Quoted text here. Click to load it

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Yet another new laptop
On Friday, March 16, 2018 at 11:31:53 PM UTC-4, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
40%20600004420&IsNodeId=1&Description=dell%20m4700&bop=And&Order=PR
ICE&PageSize36%>
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'll do that.  

Quoted text here. Click to load it
ts/Dell-Precision-M4700-Spec-Sheet-tab.pdf>
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Really?  Useless?  I think before I got a laptop I was working with a 1280  
wide monitor.  The fonts and such on my current 1920 wide display are often
 so small I can't see them.  Even with 125% enlargement in Windows many thi
ngs are not easy to read.  I expect a 1366 wide display would be about righ
t.  


Quoted text here. Click to load it

I'm not sure the board isn't in there.  I've read that this machine origina
lly shipped with Win 7 and there just aren't working drivers for Win 10 whi
ch is what these come with.  I'm not excited about starting out with an uns
upported version of Windows.  If it becomes the base for my test fixture it
 will need to be in operation for some years to come.  

I've noticed there seem to be a pretty wide spread in prices for machines s
imilarly equipted.  Not sure if this means one company puts more effort int
o checking out the machine or if they just are making more profit.  

Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
I'm taking some of the advice I've received here and I think I'm taking a r
un at this machine.  

https://www.ebay.com/itm/222875649034

It's a 17" model but still cheap for an unknown reason.  Maybe it's the i5  
and the 8 GB of RAM.  I will evaluate this machine and I'm sure it will wor
k ok for the test fixture.  It has Win 7 Pro, but I will see about installi
ng Linux anyway.  If that works out I'll get one with no OS and a full 16 G
B if not 32 for my personal machine running Linux and will finally be free  
of the Microsoft tyranny.  

Well, maybe.  There are still devices that don't support Linux like attache
d logic analyzers and oscilloscopes.  

Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Sat, 17 Mar 2018 16:57:16 -0700 (PDT),
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

A clue might be that most users don't like dragging around a large
laptop with a 17" display.  I've unloaded a few 17" laptops for
customers, who then purchased a smaller display.  However, if you're
going to use it as a desktop replacement, 17" is fine.  I prefer an
external monitor for a desktop.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

It depends on the i5 type.  Some don't do hyperthreading.  The one you
found is an i5-2540M:
<https://ark.intel.com/products/50072/Intel-Core-i5-2540M-Processor-3M-Cache-up-to-3_30-GHz
2 cores and 4 threads, so you have hyperthreading.  Has Intel VPro, so
your good for VM (virtual machine) use.  

I'm not thrilled with the 3MB L2 CPU cache.  Larger would be better
and faster, but also more expensive.

Intel says max RAM is 16GB.  Dell data sheet says 32GB if you use DDR3
1333 MHz RAM (but only 16GB with 1600MHz).  
<https://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/precn/en/precision-M6600-spec-sheet.pdf
I would believe Dell.

1920x1080 on a 17.3" display is fine.  Dell Ultrasharp is the same as
IPS, so I think you'll find the display acceptable.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Test fixture?  What a waste of a perfectly good computah.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

These days, I'm pushing and using Chromebooks.  My Windoze XP laptop
just sits in the car doing nothing.

If Microsoft had don't Windoze properly, I would be out of business.
As the business plan stands today, I should have not worries about
being in business for a long time to come.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Do you really need a high performance laptop with a 17" display for
running a logic analyzer or oscilloscope?  If not, something more
modest running Linux or Chome OS will probably take care of 90% of
whatever you're doing, while the remaining 10% runs on a dedicated
Windoze laptop.

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.
Re: Yet another new laptop
wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Also, it has a BlueGoof slot.
"Dell Precision M6600 Bluetooth Card How-To Video Tutorial"
<
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IppEsiYxGY


--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.

Re: Yet another new laptop
Am 18.03.2018 um 02:28 schrieb Jeff Liebermann:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I have a Precision M6600 since it was rolled out. Admittedly, it's
quite heavy and power-hungry, but I'm more than happy with it.

I run it under Linux Mint with Win XP and Win7 in VMware
virtual machines. It is fast enough for Altium Designer,
Modelsim, routing Xilinx FPGAs even in the virtual machines.
I have changed the two hard disks to 1TB SSDs. It outspeeds
a customer's CAD server in LTspice. :-)

cheers, Gerhard


Re: Yet another new laptop
On Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 9:51:09 PM UTC-4, Gerhard Hoffmann wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it
00-spec-sheet.pdf>
Quoted text here. Click to load it

How long with it run on battery?  My last couple of computers would only la
st an hour or so.  This machine is more like two hours, so I can actually u
se it in Panera's when eating without plugging it in.  At an hour I would w
orry it would conk out on me at the end of my meal.  I assume you have one  
of the faster processors and separate video memory?  

Rick C.

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 9:28:30 PM UTC-4, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

Thanks for the link.  I thought it only had a DisplayPort connector, but I see it has HDMI in the rear.  Great!  You are always a great resource for this sort of thing.  

Rick C.  

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Saturday, March 17, 2018 at 9:28:30 PM UTC-4, Jeff Liebermann wrote:
Quoted text here. Click to load it

I see where the M6500 does not have HDMI.  Is DisplayPort comparable and easy to connect to an HDMI device?  

Rick C.  

Re: Yet another new laptop
On Sun, 18 Mar 2018 11:02:12 -0700 (PDT),
snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it

<https://www.dell.com/downloads/global/products/precn/en/precision-m6500-spec-sheet.pdf

Hmmm... No ethernet port mentioned, but from looking at photos, the
M6500 has one.

Quoted text here. Click to load it

Mostly yes.  There are simple adapters and adapter cables available:
<https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=displayport+to+hdmi
I use one on my home desktop (Dell Opti 960).

However, there are problems.  This article covers it nicely:
<https://www.pcworld.com/article/2030669/laptop-accessories/hdmi-vs-displayport-which-display-interface-reigns-supreme.html
Displayport has no audio or ethernet connections.  It doesn't quite
drive "real" 4K monitors (3840x2160 max).  

--  
Jeff Liebermann     snipped-for-privacy@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D    http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
We've slightly trimmed the long signature. Click to see the full one.

Site Timeline