12 Replies - 1581 Views - Last Post: 09 July 2020 - 04:50 PM

#1 DK3250   User is offline

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If not Dell, - then what?

Post icon  Posted 07 July 2020 - 01:09 PM

My son, age 20, is looking for a high end laptop. He went for Dell XPS 13.

Unfortunately the first one had a hardware error. It was replaced with a new from Dell.
Unfortunately the second one also had a hardware error (not the same). It was replaced with a new from Dell.
Unfortunately the third one also had a hardware error (again a new error).

The purchase was cancelled and he got his money back.

Now, what make and model of laptop should he go for - he's not eager to try Dell again...
Any suggestions?

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Replies To: If not Dell, - then what?

#2 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 07 July 2020 - 01:19 PM

Out of curiosity, what were the three hardware errors? I like to keep hip on what they are chucking out in case I come across them in the wild.
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#3 O'Niel   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:47 PM

For that money you could consider a Macbook. I'm very satisfied with mine.
If you prefer Windows/Linux though, maybe take a look at Asus. I have only positive things to say about that brand.
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#4 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 07 July 2020 - 09:45 PM

I agree - Asus would be the next best, and then my ranking goes: the HP Spectre, Lenovo, HP, and then Acer at the bottom.
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#5 Radius Nightly   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 08 July 2020 - 12:10 AM

I consider HP, Dell, Lenovo/IBM, Fujitsu, Toshiba more of a office things. HP is trying to make best for the money in high end options that end up cheap, and most users who need high end even on budget will avoid them because of longevity. Dell is still playing around and trying to take a piece of cake in high end, but as you notice, they usually get some random hardware or BIOS errors and bugs even on medium laptops that user will have to fight, i guess their most advanced hardware protection and options tools are not up to the high end jobs, because high end stuff got wider range. Lenovo are pushing more in high end gaming budget, more successful then HP and Dell, but they get fundamental problems with chassis parts such as shell and keyboard, IO, BIOS updates, etc., so even if its cheap at the start, later on it may get expensive to fix or replace something as broken part will be mostly bounded to another part thats valid. So probably Lenovo is still a valid for high end option on the budget. I dont know if Fujitsu are still produced, but as Toshiba, they gets 3rd party problems mostly, including their own, such as drives and batteries, and they are more in low-medium range.

For high end i would consider Acer, Asus, Gigabyte and maybe MSI. I would not go for Alienware and Razer, they are good, but they offer most advanced technologies for high price of their logo that in the future probably will be forgotten because it will be considered useless, but some stock models would be fine.
Acer in the past had too much complex maze assembly that are not user friendly (eg. to replace thermal paste or CPU, user have to disassemble chassis, including whole display and built in camera just to comes to CPU thats below laptop, that takes like 2h, and another 3h to assemble), problems with 3rd parties quality such as speakers, sub woofers, batteries and displays, but as far as i know, they fixed most of this stuff. In high end they offer mostly plastic (there is nothing wrong with plastic, but some users consider plastic as a cheap material even its more expensive to make and more durable then thin aluminum), but usually captivate the eye of others in high end. In some models they think about durability, and may offer touch buttons instead of actual buttons, sometimes they pack hidden features. Its probably better budget option then Lenovo.
Asus had some problems with MBOs, but they fixed that. They tried with 3rd party parts and tried Apple kind of business with periphery options, and failed, dont think they will move back to that. Now pushing the limits with useful technologies listening users, some models have failure with fans as they like to rev extremely high (thats problem in portable things). In high end they offer mostly everything, a wide range, from a single fan and thermal problems, to multiple fans with mostly the best heat pipe builds in class, some models may have too loud fan noise, from a fat eye catching gamer models to the slim office simple models that hides ultra high end beast and technologies under the hood for more convenient use in office or in bar, and less likely to be stolen, pack from cheap Samsung and Epson displays all the way to the professional Sharks. Problems and bugs it may have are related to new technologies, and sometimes user options are too greater that exceeds stable levels. Some models dont have camera (because all webcam are bad in proportion of what we have on smartphones today).
MSI got mostly like Razor simple office style, with thermal problems, while Gigabyte offers more durable options. They dont have much models to offer, but there are some budget options. Depending where are you from, later on parts may be harder to find and more expensive then getting broken Acer or Asus parts in their shop.

Advice for buying a laptop is pretty much simple. First watch warranty, one year warranty are no match to 2 or 3 years warranty. Today its hard to get laptops with 5 or 9 years warranty, they are mostly 1 or 2, always aim for more, and take it as their own ranking quality. Watch from outside, size, edges, style, keyboard, touchpad location, screen edges, foots, joints, etc., to get a clue what you will carry around, whats the outside quality. In high end laptops, some may have non standard sizes (such as 4:3 dimension with 16:9 diplay), and will not fit in any bag, except some pricey bags meant for that laptops.
Always take a look GPU (today all GPUs are bound to MBO, not replaceable as old MXM) and NB, as you will stuck with this, you can upgrade and replace later everything (sometimes even a display), except this two. So take a look NB capabilities as well as MBO options for later expectations, sometimes MBO are contradictory to NB in laptops. It has to fit your needs, from IO, to upgrade capabilities, it may have 1x8GB RAM, but if it supports 2 slots and 2x16GB, on higher speeds, its open for future upgrades from single to dual channel, capacity and speed, if you get a good deal on RAM prices later. Look what it can handle inside, someone need only one drive, like M.2 and thats it, some others would need 3 drives in laptop, all of that cost, so dont buy what you wont use. If you get a good deal on M.2, with drive slot, later on you can buy any 2.5 SATA drive and stick it in (as long as thickness are not a problem), so dont watch how much TB it got, dont spit yourself because of 256GB M.2 being small, its useless, same as most common WiFi chips. Take a look at CPU model in a TDP capability way. Simply watch if it fits you. Some models may have higher refresh rate or better colors, etc., it all cost money, and if you dont need it, its a money waste.
Quality are mostly in thermals and inside build, not outside, because if you will throw laptop around and sometimes step on it, no quality can protect him, except rugged options.

If your boy arnt a gamer or he is looking laptops for college, good option are laptops with APU, as they are cheaper (no high end GPU), longer battery, they will be powerful with CPU, and upgrade CPU with better APU may be easier and more useful, then upgrading CPU with better APU that wont be used in GPU models.
If he is a gamer, then GPU is the crucial part, a part that cannot be replaced, an expensive part, and he will be better with desktop computer in both sections, price and power. In gaming, CPU dont have to be powerful at all, but in laptops, higher parts leads to another higher parts, and it can get pricey.
If you ask for advice between AMD, Intel, nVidia, you may get various answers from fanboys. AMD are cheaper, got nice APUs and GPUs, actually the best for the price, so it may be your best option for a kid in 20s. For high end i would not go below Rayzen 7. Peoples who need intense power will like Intel thats way more expensive because of many technologies, it is superior in many ways, but most of it average consumer dont know and dont need. If you go for Intel, i would not go below high end i5 or i7. Gamers usually prefer nVidia for gaming technologies it offer, if you go for it, i would not go below RTX with GDDR6. Also, if you prefer some of them, dont be turned down if its AMD with nVidia or Intel with AMD, together they works fine, even they are each others competition.

And i dont see the point getting 13'' high end fanless laptop at all, because its way expensive, and really weak, that size is holding performance back, considering a little bigger versions, such as 15'' that got 2-4 times more RAW power and long lasting performances for even less price, or even Xeon and GPU for SC/CAD/CGI/DCC for that price can eat galaxy for breakfast. So yeah, you may consider Macbook, specially for some advanced jobs. Guess your kid knows what he needs exactly and for what.
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#6 DarenR   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 08 July 2020 - 04:47 AM

our family only buys asus and msi-- we never have any issues and more bang for the buck than most laptops
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#7 DK3250   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 08 July 2020 - 10:13 AM

Thank you, all, for your input and contribution.
I'll let you know how this ends.
As for modi123_1's question in post #2 - I'll need to update myself and come back...
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#8 KeyWiz   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 08 July 2020 - 01:43 PM

Reading the other posts, let me start with I have been working with computers since 1977. In my experience, Asus is the most reliable and at the moment AMD processors are best, my second choice would likely be Acer or Toshiba, but they are both a lagging second choice. Dell, HP, and others often use proprietary hardware, meaning it will require replacements from the OEM when there is an issue, and of course, THEY have to install it, to maintain your warranty. It will cost more for an Asus, in the short run, but you will likely have 0 issues. Then you might check with TigerDirect.com for refurbished and out of production equipment that is still fully capable of performing at the level your son is likely to need at this point. Prior to 2015 Intel processors are best for business and AMD is generally best for gaming. But in recent years, they have both been moving toward the others' business model. So other than overclocking (which should only be done on throw away computers) Either one will be comparable to the other.

Since 2017, I have used the Asus Prime Z270-AR which is three generations out of date but still works with every program I try and I use an HP 3D VR headset with the EVGA GeForce GTX1070, again three years plus out of date compared to the current hardware available, but still performs at top levels with an Intel I7-7700K processor. The point I am making is, unless your son is mostly concerned with gaming the latest games on the fastest computer, any computer manufactured in the last five years will be sufficient, and I would bet; placed side by side with a more expensive machine, his usage will make no difference if his intent is application development.
Best Practices:
Assume the computer will be good for three to five years without issues.

Buy an external drive larger (Capacity) than the drive on the computer and make monthly backups of all personal data and actionable files.

If he is becoming a developer, Buy an external Solid State Storage Device with USB (USB C if possible) and install a virtual machine(s) on the external drive and install application building software on the VM instead of the root operating system. (Computer must be capable of Virtualizations, ask when purchasing) This allows you to move the VM between computers, allowing you to maintain your software and work even if your main computer crashes. This also leaves your main computer free of conflicts between certain programs. This will not work for installing most video intensive applications and games as the VM is incapable of using the video card directly. Make weekly backups of the VMs. My wife uses the Asus US391U Notebook PC and it uses Virtual Machines.


If on the other hand he is wanting to stream a video feed, or edit long videos, or any other direct to Internet function, he should look for the latest and fastest he can afford.

This post has been edited by KeyWiz: 08 July 2020 - 01:51 PM

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#9 Radius Nightly   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 08 July 2020 - 03:38 PM

And dont forget to google laptop that you like. You will start watching and reading reviews, everything are perfect, but dont forget to search for issues and problems, even disassemble, so you may be prepared in future with your model common problems and what may happen.

BTW AMD is fine for most things, and for gaming, specially for the price, most games does not even use 100% CPU or more then 4 cores. AMD uses mostly shared cache that sometimes get bottleneck, while Intel use individual that is way more expensive having multiple caches for each core. AMD may have less battery life. So dont limit yourself to cache size like Rayzen 7 with 4MB and i7 with 12MB, because they all have as much as needed.
Depending what he needs, small, battery life, multimedia, burst power, long lasting performance, light, for job, CADs, 3D, programming, virtualization, etc., there are many options, even server/workstation grade laptops. Always pick what you need, nothing more, nothing less.

This post has been edited by Radius Nightly: 08 July 2020 - 03:54 PM

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#10 DatCapriz   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 09 July 2020 - 02:25 AM

View Postmodi123_1, on 07 July 2020 - 01:19 PM, said:

Out of curiosity, what were the three hardware errors? I like to keep hip on what they are chucking out in case I come across them in the wild.


Hi there, I'm the son! The Computer in question is the Dell XPS 13 9300.

The first computer I received from Dell wasn't that bad compared to the other two I got. The only problem I had with the first, seemed to only happen whenever the Computer was charging. The display on the screen went all Matrix-like and glitchy to the point of which I simply could not see what I was doing on the PC anymore.
After about a whole week or so with Dell Support (who were.. unsatisfactory) I later found out this happened when the Windows HD-color setting "HDR" had been activated, which by default where to activate if the computer started charging.
Now, Dell had tried guiding me through BIOS updates and driver updates, but to no avail. They send a repairman who changed the whole screen - but surprises all over! That didn't change a thing. They send ANOTHER repairman who changed the motherboard, yet again to no avail.
Oh and also, the Wifi would randomly throughout the day (about 45 minutes between each) disconnect. Other than that, the computer worked "fine", as long as I turned off the "HDR" setting.

Cue 2nd computer.
Dell admitted their defeat and send me a new computer, which for the first 1.5 days had no problems at all. Then all of a sudden the whole computer just froze up, and I could not for the life of me get this computer to respond to ANYTHING I did.
Mind you, I have always been fond of computers, and ever since 2nd grade, I've considered myself a bit of a tech expert, at least to the point that no computer ever has been that "big" of a challenge to me.
Anyway, this computer FROZE, and no matter what I did, the computer wouldn't budge. After about 30 minutes or so, it shut itself down, and it never saw the light of day again.
You might wonder what I was doing at this time? Browsing on the internet, not even running any excessive programs, just browsing.

I contacted Dell, told them the story close to how I have described it here, and they completely understood my bit of frustration. I have paid 17.700 DKK (2.700 USD) for this computer. I did not expect two of their computers to be misfunctioning. Dell immediately told me they would swap the computer for another one. No need for excessive tests and/or repairmen this time around.

Cue 3rd computer.
This computer worked as intended for one whole day. No wifi disconnections, no screen glitches, no nothing, just worked.
I was happy! Until the next morning, a Monday (I had received the computer that Saturday yet only got around to setting it up that Sunday. I stood up and had to check up on some of my stocks (not really important), so I opened my computer up and opened up the good 'ol Google Chrome browser, checked up on the numbers after the weekend - and boom.
Got hit with the "Your browser has stopped working", now, I had two choices. "Wait" and hope the browser would reload in a minute or "Close" and just reopen it up.
I chose the "Wait" option, and in that exact second I had pressed the button, the whole computer froze up just like the 2nd computer had done.
I again tried everything in my power to make it shut down and or restart, with no positive results.

20 minutes had passed before the computer chose it had had enough of stressing me out, so it turned off.
I called Dell, told them about what had happened, and asked for a full return instead of a new computer, which leads us to where we are now.
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#11 DarenR   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 09 July 2020 - 04:17 AM

i Have owned 3 dells in the past 15 years and every single one had issues after about 3 years. you cant just fix the systems themselves and the parts are pricey --- after we switched to asus and custom built desk top, we have had 0 issues and much better running systems
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#12 modi123_1   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 09 July 2020 - 06:41 AM

@DatCapriz - thanks for the 411. Hopefully it'll help an future issue when some family member chucks their laptop at me to "fix".
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#13 Radius Nightly   User is offline

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Re: If not Dell, - then what?

Posted 09 July 2020 - 04:50 PM

View PostDatCapriz, on 09 July 2020 - 10:25 AM, said:

The Computer in question is the Dell XPS 13 9300.

Thats why i never get my hands on brand new things. First i let it roll for couple of months, so peoples can start complaining and discovering problems, in half of a year most of problems will emerge from new, unknown and never seen before product. If you search "Dell XPS 13 9300", you get all positive results, perfect reviews, so promising, and if you search for "Dell XPS 13 9300 Problems" you get a better clues, starting with "how to replace WiFi adapter, how to increase SSD speed, fix BIOS, blah, blah, that model has been discontinued. Thats why i said, before getting hands on something, search for reviews, then search for problems, then you can decide and really know what future may be.

View Postmodi123_1, on 09 July 2020 - 02:41 PM, said:

opefully it'll help an future issue when some family member chucks their laptop at me to "fix".

Last one i did was some 13'' Asus, fanless, with touch screen and that kind of things, it was a new, according to SMART, it was like 100 hours in use, with no warranty. I spend couple of hours on him, nothing strange. At the end i noticed burning effects. Display got quick response, no shadows, no burning, all colors are perfect, nice speed, for movies and everything, but if something stays for longer time, it tend to stay for the next 5sec, it leaves shadows, since its for bright (as expected from burning), it also leaves shadows of dark (like black pixels needs time to switch to white, as well as bright needs times turning black), but doing white/black staying for like 4sec then switch, no burns, after 5sec, it stays for another 5sec, then disappearing like a ghost, and it also includes light and dark grey colors, but not R/G/B. I run over night "epilepsy" tests, and in tests, same as on normal usage, everything are perfect, nothing changed. In BIOS and Unix, same things happening. It was funny, closing tab in web browser, and its, still, there, watching you, disappearing so slightly, like im sick. It can be by the panel, or even by the display controller, IDK. But i dont like 13'' serious laptops, except if its not red or blue Eee laptop that looks like a toy.

This post has been edited by Radius Nightly: 09 July 2020 - 04:53 PM

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