1. buzzard75's Avatar
    I'm in the market for a new laptop. I've been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 for a few years now. I have the i7 model with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB hard drive. It works well enough for data acquisition from my astronomy camera or my DSLR and it can run the rest of my rig using a USB hub. However, it is very lacking in the processing department. Astrophotography is very data intense and several hours of data can amount to 40-50GB+ that needs to be processed using multiple methods and programs. It is by no means a fast process, but it is being slowed down by my hardware. On top of that, while the screen is great, I don't get a very good representation of how the image will appear on other screens, social media, or in print. Since I share a lot of my images, I need something that has capability to be calibrated using color spaces, specifically sRGB. I use Photoshop and occasionally Lightroom, but have been learning PixInsight recently for processing. It seems to be much more resource intensive that PS and LR, but gives far better results. As for other requirements, I use it extensively outside so it needs to be able to withstand heat, cold and humidity fairly well. It doesn't have to be ruggedized, but would be a plus. In addition to astrophotography, I primarily use my Surface for browsing the internet, watching videos, managing social media pages and editing a newsletter. I don't do a lot of gaming, but that is more due to the limitations of my current hardware. I would probably do more on my laptop if it were capable of playing AAA games. I don't have a specific budget in mind, but would like to keep it under $2500. I would like to keep it to something that was released within the last nine months or, since I don't need it right away, something that will be released between now and Christmas.

    EDIT: I should add, I'm looking for either a 15" or 17" screen. AMD or Intel processors are both acceptable. The processing software I use makes excellent use of multicore processors, the more the better.
    Last edited by buzzard75; 08-27-2019 at 11:01 AM.
    08-27-2019 09:22 AM
  2. N_LaRUE's Avatar
    I just did a quick check regarding rugged laptops and though there are some great ones they're quite pricey and none of them come with a 15" screen. It's a fairly niche market.

    My suggestion would be to buy the best laptop you can afford for your purposes and don't worry so much about the environmental factors. Most laptops can handle variances in environment.

    You probably want something with the latest Intel or AMD processors, 16GB RAM, 512MB SSD hard drive minimum. Most laptops in your prices range will have that along with a touch screen and will have a tablet mode.

    Windows Central had a recent article on some decent laptops that would suit your situation.

    buzzard75 and Laura Knotek like this.
    08-28-2019 01:21 AM
  3. buzzard75's Avatar
    Thanks! I was looking at the ASUS TUF laptops, but you can't configure them and buy them direct from ASUS. You can only buy whatever they have already built in stock apparently. Their website says the display supports 100% of the sRGB color space, but I don't know if it can be calibrated. I've seen them for sale on other websites like Newegg, but they only seem to have ones from third party sellers and you still can't configure them. You have to pick and choose options on the sidebar, but there are still price differences and you have no good way to compare because not all the details are filled in for each third-party entry. And, again, it's third-parties none of which I've ever heard of. Best Buy and Amazon's selection is limited for the 17" version. And, again, third-parties. Even though I've heard of these two, I question how good of a deal places like IBuyPower and XoticPC are, but at least you can customize them and configure them with upgraded components. Obviously for a price.

    I just wonder if I would be better off with a gaming PC like this or if I should be looking for something else. I don't want to sound like I'm stuck on ASUS, but they have their lines that are geared more towards creators like their VivoBooks and ZenBooks. Then there's Lenovo with their Thinkpad X1's and Legion series.

    Just too many options currently. And then I have to wonder if there's going to be a model refresh coming down the pipe in the next couple months that was announced earlier this year that I missed, like the ThinkPad X1's. I've been out of the loop for a while on new hardware.
    08-29-2019 02:38 PM
  4. N_LaRUE's Avatar
    It's always difficult to choose something when you feel you're in a in between models situation.

    There's a few websites out there that do reviews for laptops based on use case, like photography.

    It looks like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is one of the best out there and has passed 12 MIL specs so it's something to consider seriously considering your use. It also has the sRGB you're after.

    If you're serious about a 17" you could consider the LG Gram 17. It's lightweight and has a nice display. It may have some compromises you might not like though but it doesn't hurt to check it out.

    Good luck and hopefully you find what you're after. Lots of choice is both good and bad.
    08-30-2019 02:03 AM
  5. Ryujingt3's Avatar
    If you are already familiar with Surface, why not a newer Surface Pro (MS has a Surface event in October where they may be new hardware) or upgrade to a SurfaceBook instead?
    08-30-2019 08:58 AM

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