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Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the daddy-what-were-batteries? dept.

Portables (Apple) 477

stigmato writes "Once upon a time the MacBook Pro line was well-regarded amongst IT professionals for their quality, performance, serviceability & upgradeability. As appealing as the new Retina displays are, I don't want a device I cannot upgrade or repair. Glued in batteries and soldered in RAM with high prices have made me look to other manufacturers again. What are you buying, /. community? System76? Dell? Old article but still rings true with the latest models. I post this from my 2010 MBP 13" with a 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD in the optical bay, 8GB (possibly 16GB soon) and a user replaced battery."

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Lenovo. (5, Informative)

squisher (212661) | about a year ago | (#45527987)

I really like my Lenovo T-series laptop. Sure, it may not live up to the legendary build quality back when it was an IBM, but it is still pretty good. It has all the user replacement options that are standard, a good keyboard and screen. It's not getting an award for its looks, but well, who cares.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#45528059)

I'm typing this on an Lenovo e-430 with an added mSATA SSD boot drive - you can add one if you get the Centrino wireless option. I got the slowest i5 with AES-NI and VT-d to maximize battery life.

The T-series are nicer, but I can upgrade this one twice as often for the same money.

Oh, and it has a matte screen, which was my #1 criteria.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528545)

Just got a new T440s. Not only is it "nicer" but there was an Full HD IPS screen in it (matte, of course). :-) Are you sure the SSD drive is a boot drive, though? I have it as a cache drive. (Unless you've installed it yourself, in which case you probably know for sure how you're using it.) Seems much more useful that way anyway to me - why have a fixed area of faster disk access when you can have an adaptive one?

Re:Lenovo. (2)

tapspace (2368622) | about a year ago | (#45528089)

T420s owner here. Sure, it's got all the processing power of a MBP and a robust chassis, but the battery life, audio and screen quality are all terrible.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528613)

I have a working IBM T43 that refuses to give up or die although it has been obsolete for some time....The Lenova E535 if it lasts even half as long will be well worth it.

Re:Lenovo. (3, Interesting)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#45528093)

I went with a Lenovo Think Pad too.
They are good professional systems. They just have the opposite aesthetics that apple does.

Black Matted Rubberized Plastic, the same that they had for 20 years.
But it is a solid design. A good keyboard even though the new version has a chicklet keyboard, it is still very nice, and feels good.

If you are actually using Windows 8, you may want to get an X series with touch but it comes down to what you want.

However unlike Apple where there is a few to choose from there is a good selection of Think Pads to choose from.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528119)

Do they have any hi-res panels available?
Note; 1080p is not hi-res.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year ago | (#45528391)

1920 x 1080 is very high-res, compared to my 640x480 VGA panel. What panels did you have in mind, and where can I see one?

Re:Lenovo. (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528445)

Not in 2013, it is standard tv resolution.
A new macbook pro is 2560x1600 or 2880x1800. A Chrome pixel is 2560x1700.

1920x1080 is not an uncommon android phone resolution. At at 5" just about perfect. For a screen any larger it is simply too low.

Re:Lenovo. (4, Informative)

Narcocide (102829) | about a year ago | (#45528449)

Vertical lines are still very key to some people. Long before 1920x1080 became "HD" after a few years of severe regression in vertical resolution, there *were* 1600x1200 screens.

Re:Lenovo. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528611)

I had one of those back in 2001.
Once I stop using that laptop I was using inferior screens because of this whole silly HD nonsense.

Re: Lenovo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528651)

My Dell Inspiron 8100 from 2001 had a 15", 1600x1200 matte IPS screen (and a 1 GHz Pentium M processor).

Re: Lenovo. (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#45528705)

I had the exact same specs in my 2000 Inspiron 8000, probably even the exact same panel too, though to be honest the display looked washed out and had a crap viewing angle compared to even the lower resolution displays we have today. So long as you were looking at it from dead center it looked pretty nice for its time though.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528649)

1985 called. They want whatever fucking garbage you're using for a display back. There's probably more value in the gold or heavy metals in that thing than the price of a usable.

Re:Lenovo. (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#45528719)

640x480 is more 1995. In 1985 it was still very common to use a monochrome plasma display.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year ago | (#45528575)

The W line has some 2880x1620 15.5" IPS models.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

buddyglass (925859) | about a year ago | (#45528515)

I'd buy a MacBook in black rubberized matte if they offered one. I prefer that to the silver aluminum.

Re:Lenovo. (1)

gsnedders (928327) | about a year ago | (#45528139)

Compared with the MBPs, though, it's a brick. My T410 is almost double the thickness of my older MBP.

And in the UK, the T410 was only available with a 1280x800 screen --- which is crazy low for a 14.3" laptop. I don't know if that's changed since, though.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#45528363)

"Compared with the MBPs, though, it's a brick. My T410 is almost double the thickness of my older MBP."

Yeah, that's why they started gluing things down and making them hard to repair. It's a tradeoff. The OP doesn't care so much about thin and light.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

martiniturbide (1203660) | about a year ago | (#45528247)

Even that I had my problems with lenovo (Thinkpad Tablet bootloader locked [lenovo.com] ). I think that the Thinkpad brand is still a good choice.

Something that I really like from the technical point of view is that they always (almost) publish the "Hardware Maintenance Guide", so you know exactly how to disassembly the machines to add more card, replace screen, change/update hdd and RAM.

Re:Lenovo. (1)

nahpets77 (866127) | about a year ago | (#45528251)

I've got a Lenovo T530 with Linux Mint 15 installed and it works great. It even works well with my docking station and dual-monitor setup... very happy with it.

Re:Lenovo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528261)

I've been very pleased with the Lenovo I bought a couple of months ago. Overall build quality is great, everything you'd want is replaceable, and the price is right. Mine is somewhat of a rare beast with an AMD A10 and dual graphics. (Z585, 8GB, 1TDD HDD).

Re:Lenovo. (2)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about a year ago | (#45528459)

Indeed. The only laptops I buy are Lenovo. They last longer, are easier to upgrade, and you can still download the service manuals for free from the manufacturer if you are so inclined. And to top it all off they have pointing devices that are usable instead of ones that get in the way of productivity, which Apple certainly can't claim.

Re:Lenovo. (2)

immaterial (1520413) | about a year ago | (#45528643)

You prefer the clit mouse to a multitouch trackpad?

Re:Lenovo. (1)

anechoic (129368) | about a year ago | (#45528511)

I have two Lenovo T500 laptops that have served me well, allowing me to easily swap in larger hard drives and more RAM as needed

Worst MacBook EVER (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528013)

I bought a MacBook air a year ago. The first one exploded to blew my hand off. The next one killed my dog. It wouldn't run DR-DOS at all. The wifi screwed up and sterilized my nuts.

Overall I was left with a really bad feeling about all Apple products, which obviously must all have similar defects. Anecdotes by unverifiable semi-anonymous internet posters prove that to be true.

Re:Worst MacBook EVER (1, Funny)

yurtinus (1590157) | about a year ago | (#45528395)

But you got a new one this year, because despite those flaws they are just so *cool*!!!

people losing insurance (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528015)

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/republicans-2014-midterms-cnn-poll-100386.html?hp=r2

"Republicans are gaining ground heading into the 2014 midterms, according to a poll Tuesday that shows a dramatic turnaround in the party’s standing among voters.

With just a 2-point lead, the GOP edges out Democrats 49 to 47 percent among registered voters in the 2014 generic ballot for Congress, according to the CNN/ORC poll, which asked voters whether they would vote for the Democratic or Republican in their district, without mentioning specific names."

This is because of Obamacare, and listen up douchenozzles, it's only just beginning. No one has even lost insurance yet - that does'nt start until next year. Wait until the full 80 million of you lose your insurance.

Cost vs. Benefits (2)

QuantumBeep (748940) | about a year ago | (#45528017)

I like having a slim laptop (mine's a non-Apple ultrabook, but same build tradeoffs). The specs are adequate, it's fairly cheap, and failure rates are acceptably low.

I'm not firmly against the end of upgradability/repairability for laptops. It was always kinda spotty anyway.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (1, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528087)

They are still repairable. He acts like having to remove some screws and glue is anything new.

Displays fused to glass are the normal for tablets and phones, but those seem to get repaired fine. Ungluing a battery might mean some customers would need to get apple to do a replacement, but a self respecting slashdotter should be able to do it himself.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528171)

Displays fused to glass are the normal for tablets and phones, but those seem to get repaired fine. Ungluing a battery might mean some customers would need to get apple to do a replacement, but a self respecting slashdotter should be able to do it himself.

Have you ever really had to replace the display on your laptop?

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528257)

Not on mine, but I have done several for family or friends. Almost all were the result of dropping the laptop.

These days the LCD and LED backlights are all one unit. Adding the glass is not a huge change and likely makes replacement that much easier. I was glad when the backlights became part of the LCD FRU. Doing just the LCD was such a gamble on if you would get dust or a hair trapped in the layers.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (2)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about a year ago | (#45528631)

Fused glass display is fine. It is the soldered in RAM, proprietary SSD, and glued in battery that are totally unacceptable. Ordinarily, I'd double the RAM in a year for a pittance, but now Apple forces you to pay a hefty premium for a limited amount of RAM up front, obsoleting the machine that much sooner. Replacement SSDs are available eventually, but with few options at high cost. Finally, who wants to take/send in their machine for battery service every two years? Batteries are consumables, and shouldn't be glued in anymore than a toner cartridge.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528667)

Soldered in ram is standard.
What proprietary ssd? Is it not just mini-pcie?

Glue is not hard to remove. Any self respecting slashdotter ought to be able to do this.

All ultrabooks are like that.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year ago | (#45528493)

I'm skeptical about repairability, at least home repairability -- but as long as the cost of, and demand for, RAM and disk continue on their current trajectories, buying what you need now and upgrading over time makes a lot more sense than buying now for your needs two or three years down the road.

I bought a 2011 MBP 17" partly because I wanted the larger screen, but largely for upgradeability. I put 16GB of RAM in it for under $100 (although I see prices have gone up since then). I've deferred putting in an SSD, because I expect to get 512GB or 1TB for not much more than a 128GB unit would've cost me at purchase time.

Re:Cost vs. Benefits (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#45528683)

I'm skeptical about repairability, at least home repairability -- but as long as the cost of, and demand for, RAM and disk continue on their current trajectories, buying what you need now and upgrading over time makes a lot more sense than buying now for your needs two or three years down the road.

Well, even the retinas have a removable SSD so that can be upgraded quite easily.

Memory, not so much - by the time "a few years later" comes around, memory can be hard to find especially in the denser modules as everyone migrated to the new memory standard. If you buy the laptop that's using cutting edge memory, then yes, it makes sense to wait (e.g., DDR4). But if' it's using mainstream memory modules (e.g., DDR3) then buying now means not having to hunt for it when DDR5 is mainstream and DDR3 is now horrendously expensive. (Try finding DDR modules that are denser than 1GB per DIMM for any reasonable price. Even DDR2 - I have a laptop that's got 4GB of RAM, to upgrade it to 8 requires spending serious money. Even back when it came out it was expensive, and it's not much cheaper now years later).

Batteries are controversial - you get people claiming one thing and another, but the sad reality is, save business laptops, 99.99% of consumers don't not replace the battery at all. Once it dies, it's dead and sits there in the battery bay while the PC may still be in use. Sure they could re-cell them or buy a new battery or whatever (though new is iffy - given the speed of which new models come out). but most people don't give a damn or care.

Lenovo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528025)

I have an old T61 and a brand new X240, both are excellent.

Re:Lenovo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528209)

I have an old T61 and a brand new X240, both are excellent.

I have a T61 as well. It's been a very solid laptop.

Thinkpad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528027)

Even though lenovo is not as "kewl" as IBM, they still make work laptops, not gaming/multimedia/whatever crap.

Cannot upgrade or repair? (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528049)

If I can fix sealed phones surely this laptop is repairable.

This sounds like hyperbole. Ungluing a battery is not impossible. If the ram goes, sure you are out a mobo, but that is pretty normal for ultrabooks. Either you want it small or you want it easy to repair.

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528403)

I think the point is repairing sealed phones is - for most people, even IT folk - a non-trivial and risk-filled task. Likewise with newer MBPs.

Generic Wintel laptops, while not entirely user-serviceable (though I've replaced several screens and keyboards without incident and of course RAM and hard drive upgrades are trivial), are much, much easier to upgrade than sealed MBPs. Of course it can be done but generally it's done by "professionals" who have done it a hundred+ times and have the right tools for separating plastics, un-glueing (is that a word? De-glueing?) without cracking screens, cases, etc.

Likewise a car engine is "user serviceable" if you know what you're doing but I've tried doing relatively minor repairs on my engine (spark plugs and such) and did some real damage because I am just not that great mechanically and had to take it to a mechanic.

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (-1, Troll)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528499)

For any self respecting slashdotter that should not be the case.

If you mean helpdesk monkey as IT person, then it might be.

How could you do damage with spark plugs? Take them out, put new one in. Don't crack them.

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528505)

Modern device construction techniques include unified logic boards and glue. Deal with it.

People demand smaller, lighter, sturdier devices that are faster, run cooler, and have longer battery life. This means sacrificing things like expandable memory, user interchangeable batteries, or even things like memory card slots.

Every battery compartment, logic board connector, card slot, or screw takes up a surprisingly large amount of space and adds a surprising amount of complexity. Apple, addressing the demand of consumers, fills this space with larger batteries. Look inside any modern apple device. It's a tiny logic board and gigantic fucking battery. Everything is glued together to save space and reduce complexity.

This may not be the device you want, but you are honestly a vast minority and if you're not a complete moron you've probably come to learn that apple doesn't cater to your specific needs.

I don't own an apple desktop or laptop computer because apple doesn't make one I want to buy. I understand that I am not apple's target audience and I don't resent them for that. I love my iphone, however. I also don't hesitate recommending apple computers to people that I know will value the simple and easy use/ownership and/or may appreciate the apple design aesthetic.

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#45528569)

I am not the one complaining about this.
I said they were repairable.

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528701)

But where do you get the spare parts?
EVERYTHING is nonstandard it will at least raise the price of the parts

Re:Cannot upgrade or repair? (4, Insightful)

Jethro (14165) | about a year ago | (#45528717)

It's not just about being repairable.

With previous generation Apple laptops, I could put all the money into the machine with the best CPU and pay extra for the hires matte screen, and just get 4gigs of RAM and the cheapest, slowest HDD they had.

Then I could pay an extra $100 to upgrade it to 16gb of RAM on my own (rather than pay Apple an extra $400 or $600 or whatever) and buy and install my own 1tb harddrive or my own SSD or whatever, again, for a fraction of what Apple charge for that. And, to be clear, that'd be my plan no matter what laptop I bought. Always has been. Every laptop manufacturer charges those insane prices for extra RAM or better HDDs.

With the RAM (and harddrive!) soldered on, you can't do that anymore.

It's not just about fixing broken stuff. It's about getting a better deal and potentially saving hundreds of dollars to get a phenomenally better computer.

System 76 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528055)

I'm very happy with the System 76 I purchased a few months ago. I'm a Windows user, so I installed Windows 7 on it and downloaded all of the Windows 7 drivers from the System 76 web site, and it's been rock solid and a really good performer.

Re:System 76 (1)

mrex (25183) | about a year ago | (#45528243)

I want to like System76, but the one I had was overpriced junk.

Who builds a trackpad with an indistinct sensing area? Worse, even when you did manage purely by luck to have your finger on the pad's surface, the sensitivity was awful. And for that matter, who builds a modern laptop with multiple video outputs that can't drive an external display at 1080p simultaneously with the LCD? Ugh.

Re:System 76 (1)

occasional_dabbler (1735162) | about a year ago | (#45528453)

I was going to say that seems a painful way to get a Windows Laptop, but I'd not looked System 76 for a while and some of their stuff looks pretty nice [system76.com]

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528067)

"serviceability & upgradeability"

When the fuck was this?

ThinkPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528069)

ThinkPad.

Battery life is more important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528081)

For me, having an extensive battery life is more important than being able to change the battery in 5 years when it is worn out.

And in that respect, Macs are pretty hard to beat.

Re: Battery life is more important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528153)

You misspelled expensive up there.

Next Version? (3, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#45528091)

Since I have a really slow upgrade cycle, I am mostly just holding out hope that Apple releases a more maintainable MBP again sometime over the next few years. I found my 2006 MBP to be surprisingly maintainable, with parts easy to get and swap out, but nothing was glued in place. Every once in a while I poke around to see if there are any others that I like but so far not much luck.

Re: Next Version? (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about a year ago | (#45528245)

Computers are taking queues from cell phones and becoming cheap, commodity, throw-away items. There are even desktops from the likes of Dell and Toshiba with soldered on CPUs that simply can't be upgraded or replaced. Add to that Intel and AMD saying that the age of year over year performance increases are over for x86. GPUs are seeming to be the only area where massive performance growth will continue. The road maps for the next few years are on power savings, not performance. As such, upgradable components are also becoming less relevant than they were a decade ago when you could throw $150 at a couple year old computer and double performance.

Re: Next Version? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528519)

"cue" not "queue" [thefreedictionary.com]

Posting AC to protect karma from (deserved) Grammar Nazi accusation.

Re: Next Version? (2)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#45528689)

Computers are taking queues from cell phones and becoming cheap, commodity, throw-away items.

Calling them "throw-away" items is stupid. There is unrepairable; that's throw-away. There's user repairable, which in practice means I have to fix it in my family. And there's the huge and growing middle ground where you have to pay someone to repair it.

Things like glued-in batteries are easy to replace if you work at a place that has the right tools.

Lenovo T430S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528121)

It's the bomb. You can hot swap an extra battery or drive caddy from the ultrabay slot for more storage or more power. It takes 16GB ram, and has an mSATA slot for the possibility of three SSDs. Make sure you steer clear of the optimus graphics if you're running linux. I get the intel card and use the open source drivers.

Ultrabooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528137)

I don't suppose you'll find many well-designed metal-bodied portables other than Ultrabooks. I'm in much the same boat, and in my case I also can't figure out why Apple killed the 17" screen format, but they are clearly not interested in what you and I want. I don't know if you're bent on making a hackintosh or not, but for Windows/Linux purposes, the Asus Zenbooks aren't horrible. I've picked up a couple of those and they're okay enough. The HP Envy line didn't impress me with the build quality. Good luck!

If Your Laptop Needs Upgrades, is it good enough? (2, Insightful)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a year ago | (#45528163)

I will make the argument these devices are mostly tools and professional quality ones should be ordered loaded with CPU & RAM that works on the factory warranty & the hard drives can still be easily changed out. Our time is worth a decent amount of $s per hour, after all, and we do NOT have unlimited time.

A professional laptop recently seems to retain its usefulness for at least 3 years, so these laptops remain functional for a long enough time to justify ordering them loaded with options to make our life and work easier.

If it were me, System and eOS Luna (2)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#45528185)

If I had the money, I would go with a 17.3" Bonobo Extreme from System 76 - It's beefy as is and you can crack it right open for upgrades. The display is very nice, however I really don't know if it goes so far as to meet your Retina requirement. My first order of business would be to wipe out the hard drive and install elementary OS Luna - if you've never used it I promise you will fall in love pretty damn quick. I used Macs exclusively from 2005 until two or three months ago when I gave up OS X for a full migration to eOS after getting hooked on it - something I would have otherwise never believed possible.

Welcome to the disposable world. (5, Insightful)

deviated_prevert (1146403) | about a year ago | (#45528207)

Apple has realized that making serviceable devices is a dead end when the processor hardware is good enough to be future proof. And their solution is the same solution many sectors of the economy face. Our automobiles are disposable consumer oriented devices, our kitchen appliances are as well, washing machines, you name it all service and repair departments are being down graded to expedite product end life.

Obsolescence is not just planned it has become a manufacturing industry mantra. With essentially slave labour doing the recycling of these goods, either that or illegal at sea dumping operations turning over the used goods we are headed down a technical path to environmental and consumer driven stupidity!

Re:Welcome to the disposable world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528385)

By the time I want to upgrade, the sockets for the RAM and CPU are outdated leading to higher costs than buying new with current hardware in wide scale production.

My priorities were compatibility with my bosses Adobe files, weight, and size. I went with a MBAir when I retired my MBP. I regret that I bought in before the battery life improvements were made, but it met my goals.

Re:Welcome to the disposable world. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528423)

Your car may be disposable, but I sold my last car when it had 256,000 miles on it. I expect my new car to do the same.

Electronics may be disposable. Large equipment, such as cars, trucks, etc., are not

Re:Welcome to the disposable world. (1)

armanox (826486) | about a year ago | (#45528477)

Cars are disposable devices? I am sure my 95 Saturn and 88 Ford would love to be told that (with 255K and 150K miles on them, respectively. I drive ~80 miles on a work day).

Asus (2)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#45528219)

Asus still makes some great laptops but I still miss 1200P res!

Re:Asus (2)

David_Hart (1184661) | about a year ago | (#45528659)

Asus still makes some great laptops but I still miss 1200P res!

I too like Asus laptops and tablets and have had a good experience and good reliability with them.

However, every time that I post about how good Asus laptops are today, there tend to be a number of post saying just how bad they are. I can only guess that most of those who hate Asus had older models. Asus had a lot of crap in the past, but they have improved the quality of their products by quite a bit.

microsoft fud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528225)

get this trash off slashdot

Just bite the bullet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528263)

Just bite the bullet and buy one maxed out to the T, and you'll have the best damn laptop money can buy.

Nature Of the Beast (3, Insightful)

Kagato (116051) | about a year ago | (#45528281)

As far as the RAM, meh. It's not windows, there's not a lot of cases when you would upgrade the RAM for OSX.

Battery on the other hand is a real issue. Yeah, the "new batteries" aren't supposed to have recharge issues, but PC makers have been using that line for over a decade.

It's not like Apple spends it time having a Seance to talk to Steve's ghost just to figure out how to piss people off. You want an ultra-thin notebook and you're going to sacrifice serviceability. You look at windows based ultrabooks and the serviceability is better than Apple, but not by that much. It's still a hassle to fit a battery into that space and an even bigger hassle to replace the battery. You start making the laptop more modular and a few things will happen. 1) You'll compromise on size and weight. 2) You start getting flex issues issues in the case (like it or not the glue on apple products has more to do with durability and case flex than it does with repairs). It become even more pronounced with plastic cases. 3) You end up with design compromises that make the overall experience horrid.

So where does that leave the IT professional? Well, if it's for work there's likely a service contract. The glue is the problem for some guy at the referb factory. For home? Either put up with it/get applecare contract, or hackintosh one of the cheaper ultrabooks out there and live with what that entails.

Re:Nature Of the Beast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528653)

Yeah they say that... but tell that to my battery that barely holds a charge after a year.

MBPr user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528297)

That was also my concern when I bought MPB with Retina display 1,5 years ago. But I did one smart thing - bought it right away with 16G of RAM. And I knew that 256Gb of SSD will be enough for my work (still have half of the drive left). After one year I have confirmed for myself that I love the machine and that I will be happy to continue using it for a while. So I bought AppleCare to protect the machine for the coming years. With Apple one thing is more of less certain - you know that the next release of OS will not force you to throw your 3-year old machine to the garbage. And after 3, maybe 4, years the machine will probably approach the end of its useful life anyway. So, once AppleCare is over I will be ready to buy another laptop, that's it.

My only concern is the battery lifespan. Certainly after 2+ years the battery won't be able to hold charge nearly as good as new one. And after 3 years probably it won't even last more than 1-2 hours. That will be a problem but I know Apple does replace the batteries in these machines.

Artificially Expensive Storage (1)

j-stroy (640921) | about a year ago | (#45528305)

The SSD is the ONLY internal storage option, and the extra bay previously available for expansion drives has been removed. If you want the storage professionals are accustomed to and require on these macs, you won't be able to have a standalone laptop. It will all be external drives and network storage. This is simply not viable, functional or ergonomic for graphics professionals. It is a typical Apple move to take away functionality and feature in a new device, to then slowly reintroduce it as "new" at a premium price. Give me a break, its like walking up a down escalator with them, and frankly they've crossed the line of viability.

Re:Artificially Expensive Storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528401)

As a professional, I would rather have the external storage over the network or by Thunderbolt. RAID 10, multiple backups, versioning. I don't want to lose my stuff. On the "road" professionals will find this to be a difficult adjustment, but really, there are alternatives--portable USB3/Thunderbolt drives are out there.

Most notebooks are not really upgradeable (1)

3247 (161794) | about a year ago | (#45528307)

I don't think that being able to upgrade really matters. In fact, even if you can upgrade, you will soon run into barriers.

I've upgraded my 2007 MacBook Pro to a 500 GB SSD and 6 GB RAM. The CPU and GPU or everything else can't be upgraded.

So where is a Retina MacBook Pro worse with respect to upgradeability? The SSD can also be swapped - and it's probably much easier than swapping the SSD on a 2007 MacBook Pro, which has the disk deep inside. Well, the RAM cannot be upgraded on the new model... but wait, I can't go beyond 6 GB on the old one, either (actually, it's already above the official 4GB limit). So if I order a Retina MacBook Pro with the maximum RAM, it does not make a difference at the end of the day.

Re:Most notebooks are not really upgradeable (1)

Splab (574204) | about a year ago | (#45528457)

I'm a bit confused by the poster, I have a MBP 13" retina in front of me, and on the back I can see 10 screws, granted, I haven't tried taking them out, but I'm pretty sure you can service it, if you wanted to.

Personally I'd just load it up with whatever is needed, the machine will (hopefully) run for 3+ years, and we have an upgrade cycle of 2 years, so it should work out just fine.

What you are looking for (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about a year ago | (#45528313)

is a Thinkpad 540p. Great laptop. Battery pops off the back. There's a port to access the ram. It's also a lot less expensive than a MBP.

15 asus rogs.. (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45528323)

because a) they're cheap b) fit into backpack c) don't overheat. d) fullhd e) fast enough for gaming for at least two years. (though I guess now most 15"'s are fullhd?) refresh every 2 years or so(1000-1200 bucks).

of course, not ultra slim or anything like that but if you want something that doesn't have everything soldered down... the second hdd bay was a bit of a bitch to access on this though. as for size, I just think 13"'s are not that good to work with and getting decent performance in that size tends to heat up and cost an arm and a leg and still leave you figuring out if you want ssd or space.. just a bit bigger and you can have both(and still keep the optical drive).

Re:15 asus rogs.. (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#45528373)

and oh.. I guess the question wasn't for me since I wasn't exactly a fan of the pre-retina macbook pro... I did have one for a while though, even if it was from the period when they practically just renamed macbooks as macbook pro's(I mean fuck, there was nothing pro about it, no extra connectors, no extra nothing, 1280 crap screen, crappy gpu.. 2011 model).

Most consumers prefer thin over easily repairable. (1)

Camembert (2891457) | about a year ago | (#45528327)

Apple is quite succesful in marketing their thin computers, first the popular Macbook Air, now the Macbook Pro is nearly as thin. And thent here is also the slick ipad Air. I notice that most of my friends love the slick, thin design of these devices, rarely if every people wonder about repairability.
In this case, i am not sure it is such a big issue in practice. I would recommend to buy the machine with enough RAM to begin with, and despite the battery being glued I understand that Apple can easily exchange it for another one. The screen's lack of easy repairability, yes I can see that issue, but if you take Apple Care (as many do) then you do not need to care about that for three years. Even when repairable, when a laptop screen gives the ghost after say 5 years, most people would rather buy anew computer then rather than repair.
So, all in all, I am not sure how much of a dealbreaker these elements, esp. Considering that on the plus side you will have a marvelously thin and thus easily portable device.
I do expect that similar construction will soon be ubiquitous also amongst pc laptops. Most People tend to prefer the stylish presence of elegant, "trim" laptops. It will be difficult to offer both easy upgradability and sleekness together.

MacBook Pro "Classic" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528343)

I know it is dated, but it isn't dead yet. http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook_pro/specs/macbook-pro-core-i5-2.5-13-mid-2012-unibody-usb3-specs.html

It still has all the replaceable parts your '10 model has. The '10 isn't that old, do you feel it is getting long in tooth? You don't mention what you do, so its hard to recommend anything. I'm posting this as a web/app developer from my '09 Mac Pro. It is still a beast of a machine and I'm not looking to replace for another few years.

And what is your real reason for not wanting the Retina models? Do you constantly go in your computer and tinker? I know that having the option to upgrade stuff is nice, the base 15" models come with 8GB RAM and 256GB SDD, same as you have now. You can bump the RAM to 16GB if you need as well. How many times have you actually opened up your computer? And do you really buy without AppleCare, assuming your in the USA too?

Dell Latitude e6430 (1)

n1ywb (555767) | about a year ago | (#45528345)

Dell Latitude e6430 with Intel graphics. Ubuntu certified. I run Linux Mint that works perfectly too. Everything "just works". Highly configurable. Excellent service manual and easily serviceable without voiding your warranty. Standard parts. Docking station that, again, "just works" with Linux. Built like a tank. Available on refurb from Dell outlet. It's not the smallest or lightest or prettiest cheapest but those are not priorities for me. It's the corporate fleet laptop. I've yet to find something to complain about it.

Let me help the rest of the slashdot userbase (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528353)

"Once upon a time the MacBook Pro line was well-regarded amongst IT professionals for their quality, performance, serviceability & upgradeability. As appealing as the new Retina displays are, I don't want a device I cannot upgrade or repair."

Translation:

"I once thought the price premium for Apple products was worth it, but I do not any longer. Please help me decide which other vendor to throw my money at so I don't have to do any research."

And here is one simple answer, so we can close this thread up and move on: Decide which features are most important (HD screen, ram upgrade-ability, large keyboard, etc) and make a list of vendors who offer that, then pick the cheapest one from the list. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, and Samsung all make feature rich, upgrade-ready laptops. The "Best" is strictly a function of your budget divided by your important feature list.

Re:Let me help the rest of the slashdot userbase (2)

Jethro (14165) | about a year ago | (#45528551)

I have to comment on the "price premium" thing.

Last time I upgraded my laptop (from a macbook pro to another macbook pro) I really wanted to ditch the platform. I was not happy with the direction Apple was going - they had not made things as unupgradable as they are now, but it was obviously heading this way).

So I did a whole lot of research.

And there was NO OTHER LAPTOP that came even close for the same price. NONE.

PC laptops for the same price range had i5 CPUs rather than the Mac's i7. They had much lower resolution screens, and NONE had a matte screen (which at the time was still available on Macs). I could get the cheapest RAM and HDD because I was going to upgrade them myself anyway. The high-end MBP was just a superiour laptop. It cost more than non-apple laptops, but it was actually BETTER than them, too.

Prefer upgradability over thin designs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528379)

Currently posting from my 2011's Acer Aspire 4560-SB604 with AMD A8-3500 APU and upgraded to 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD.
Sometimes reading /. from a 2006's HP Compaq NX6315 upgraded to 4 GB RAM and 64 GB SSD.
Using Ubuntu and Windows 7 on both laptops.
Until recently I was using a 2007's Compaq 515 upgraded to 4 GB RAM and 320 Gb 7200 rpm HDD, using Windows XP and Ubuntu.

does it matter so much anymore? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528381)

it used to be that last years machine was basically unusable. for alot of things now the machine from 3 years ago
is still quite usable, and aside from gpu performance has only slightly worse specs.

I get 4 years out of a $1500 laptop from apple, and I think thats quite reasonable. on two of my old machines that I
give to my children I've gotten free screens and lower assembly to replace trackpad problems after those
4 without warranty. one of those wont take a charge anymore so it has to be used plugged in.

I really don't think I'm being ripped off

Moved from Lenovo to Dell XPS 13 (Sputnik) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528413)

This has been a great laptop after owning several T-series laptops:

http://www.dell.com/learn/us/en/555/campaigns/xps-linux-laptop

4th Generation Intel® Core i7-4500U processor (4M Cache, up to 3.0 GHz)
13.3 inch LED Backlit Touch Display with Truelife and FHD resolution (1920 x 1080)
8GB4 Dual Channel DDR3 SDRAM at 1600MHz
256GB mSATA Solid State Drive
Intel® HD Graphics 4400 ... it's sleak, portable, and it comes loaded with LInux (I wiped it and installed another distro).

If there was an option for a matte screen instead of the glossy, I would give it 10/10.

Look at the Asus K55 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528421)

I recommend Asus because they have good build quality, accept most aftermarket parts, and are reasonably priced. The k55 model in particular is interesting because of how many variants there are. Most of the parts are interchangeable and upgradeable. The k55n-ha8123k I purchased was upgradeable to a 1920x1080p display panel, matte or glossy. The dvd rom drive was easily thrown in the garbage and replaced with a second hard drive. The external bezel for the dvd rom drive also cleanly fit over the hdd caddy, preserving the look of the laptop. The processor is upgradeable from an a8-4500 to an a10, The ram can be upgraded to low voltage 1.35v ddr3. The wifi card can be upgraded to an intel wireless AC/bluetooth combo card for only 30 dollars.

Oh, and the base price of the laptop was $330 at best buy of all places. You can view the laptop on newegg here: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834231019

The r question is (4, Informative)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about a year ago | (#45528455)

"Do you want to stick with OSX or are fine with a different OS?" If the former you are stuck. If the latter then decide on a feature set must haves and price point and buy what meets those needs. Dell, HP, Leveno all make good machines so it really comes down to what meets your needs.

My problem... (3, Informative)

Jethro (14165) | about a year ago | (#45528463)

I'm in the same boat as you. I have the same year MBP as you, but I have the 15" and I went out of my way to get a matte screen on it. And THOSE are no longer available, which is MY biggest problem. Those retina screens are all glossy.

I could almost live with the non-upgradable stuff.

Here's my problem, though.

I need OS X. And no other laptop will give me that.

Now technically the apps I use can be run on Windows, too, but I am NOT using Windows as my daily driver. Sure, I can get a Lenovo or Alienware (both of which have matte screen options) and dual-boot, but I don't want to do that. I often leave Photoshop open for days (or weeks!) while working on stuff, while I do other things. I do not want to have to shuffle.

So, for me, the choice is really no choice at all. Apple have kind of taken away some features we've become used to, but I am a little bit tied to the platform.

MacBook Pro. (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about a year ago | (#45528473)

The battery is non-removable. But it is rated for 1,000 charge cycles, which should last for many years if you know what you are doing. (Some people don't. Apparently there are people who put their laptop on the desk, remove the charger, work until the battery is empty, then plug in the charger). The battery isn't cheap, but batteries aren't cheap - unless you get one from eBay that looks exactly like the original but isn't an original.

RAM and hard drive are user upgradeable on the non-Retina MacBook Pro, and if you don't need the optical drive you can build your own Fusion drive. Or you get the retina display and buy it with the amount of RAM you need.

If you want to repair or upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528529)

Then you don't want a laptop nor a tablet. They are specifically designed to be closed systems so that you are forced to buy the next one, and the next one, and the next one, etc...

ASUS Zenbooks (1)

knapper_tech (813569) | about a year ago | (#45528541)

Very high quality build, excellent specs, battery life that makes going mobile reasonable. Spend $1700+ and you have one hell of a laptop. Dual SSD, great display, gobs of ram, massive video card... The Linux support used to require some optimus tweaking, but these days it should "just work." There was a bug that cause the light sensor in the camera to generate keystrokes, but you can put a smiley sticker on top.

Apple is for people who can't fix computers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45528565)

Thinkpads are the answer. Storage, batteries, memory...all user repairable/replaceable. The chassis is quite strong[magnesium-rollcage].

And unlike Apple you can spec the laptop as cheap as possible from the website, then upgrade the RAM, storage, etc. for a fraction of the cost that the factory charges...and with top-notch equipment.

I have a T61p which still running my email server, and vpn services all day everyday. It's been flawless for going on 4 years. Very well built, excellent keyboard, battery lasted 3.5 years and was 85 bucks to replace[9-cell] and lasts ~3 hours.

The T530 / W530 are what I'd go for today.

Why do you want that in a laptop? (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#45528589)

I don't want a device I cannot upgrade or repair.

Why?

You are imagining you might add more RAM or adjust the HD, which are really the only parts you can ever change out on a laptop anyway.

For RAM why would you just not max it out now?

For storage, I once thought as you did but that was before I ran the speed tests on the internal Macbook Pro storage in the newer models. I will happily trade off being able to change that out for the speed of the local storage... if I need more space I just use a compact USB3.0 drive.

Just all around if you opt for something "more repairable" you are also getting something that is heavier, less well constructed, and does not perform as well. If something goes really wrong with my laptop I'll just wander into an Apple store and grab a new one, and be up and running in an hour or so instead of days waiting for parts and then a repair.

For something that is as crucial to me as a laptop I no longer want something I can repair, I wan't something that will be working ASAP.

Eurocom (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about a year ago | (#45528601)

http://www.eurocom.com/ [eurocom.com]

Best fully upgrade-able workhorses out there. Not sexy like a Mac, but damn good machines.

Ex-MacBook user. Written from my Eurocom Racer.

Re:Eurocom (1)

jfbilodeau (931293) | about a year ago | (#45528695)

...and I should add that you can choose which OS you want on it...

Just buy a refurb/used MBP (2)

mveloso (325617) | about a year ago | (#45528661)

My i7 MBP with hard drive and DVD is chugging away, and will chug away forever - or as close to forever as possible.

If you need the old ones they're still on Apple's refurb/clearance page. The only thing you can't get is the widescreen glossy display, which most people hated (though I have one and it's great).

I don't care about upgradeability (1)

DrHyde (134602) | about a year ago | (#45528725)

I'm posting this on my Macbook Pro, made of Chinese slaves' retinas. I love it.

I've never felt the urge to perform brain surgery on any of the laptops I've owned over the years. I bought each one pretty much maxed out, and ran it for four or five years. The one thing that irritates me about my latest Macbook is that I can't carry a spare battery with me. But on the other hand, its battery life is very good and it's very rare for me to spend so long between charging opportunities that it's a problem. And the one time it was, well, it's a price worth paying. Other laptops - and I looked at many when deciding which to buy - all found worse ways to suck.

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