I’ve added a new laptop to the fleet.
Here is the basic specs:
Intel Core I5-4200U
500GB Hard Disk
DVD RW Drive
I ordered directly from Dell and with free shipping the total cost was $589.52.
The Bait (4th Gen i5 processor)
Besides the price, getting some tech that was released in June was attractive. It is a duel core hyper threaded turbo boosting proc which gives Windows 4 available logical processors. The new “Haswell” generation makes several architectures improvements which are detailed here: http://ark.intel.com/products/75459/Intel-Core-i5-4200U-Processor-3M-Cache-up-to-2_60-GHz?wapkw=4200u
A quick search on Tom’s Hardware has a couple people putting the 4th gen performance boost only around 5-7% over the 3rd gen. This processors runs in the range of .75Ghz to 2.5GHz depending on what the demand for CPU cycles is. Dell has it’s own power plan which is on by default. The balancing act of horsepower vs. battery life is key in laptops. I’ve noticed some very small slowdowns which can be easily avoided by turning the power plan to high performance.
I didn’t think I would buy another computer without a solid state drive. But, I have gone an done it again to save a few hundred dollars up front. I do not like what manufacturers are doing with hybrid drives. The technology has advanced but the laptop manufactures are trying to squeeze every last penny out of the old HDD by mixing in a tiny amount of solid state storage. I decided not to pay a premium for the hybrid drive or a super premium for a full SSD out of the box. I can buy a nice 128GB SSD for $100 later when I want to upgrade. I opened a support chat and told them I wanted a fresh Windows install. They made an exception and are sending me a Windows installation DVD so I can use that later when I get the SSD.
The classic HHD performs poorly as expected.
C:\Program Files (x86)\SQLIO>sqlio -kW -t24 -o10 -frandom -b4 -BH -LS
HDDs are not designed for random activity so that is why the latency is so high. I chose a larger IO size and file and was able to peak out at 95MB/sec in another test. The Windows Experience Index rates this HDD as a 5.9 out of 9.9.
It’s got a nice solid frame and is under 1″ thick. The power adapter is tiny compared to any I have had in the past which was a nice bonus. The keyboard is solid and has a number pad, but it is not back lit. The touchpad works nicely but is lacking the ability scroll. Overall it feels much more sturdy than my HP in the same price range.
To stay in my price range I sacrificed HDD performance and some RAM for the latest processor and durable design.