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Ok, so looking for specific and serious answers on this topic only:

I need to replace my laptop.

I want something like a high-range Dell Inspiron.

What make/models are similar to _high_ range inspirons?

I will be dual-booting a small Win 10 partition to use some very niche stuff like expensive quilting software I already own and Linux Mint for most of my use.

I want decent processing, etc.

No, not a Mac. Yes I need Windows 10 a wee bit.

Please boost, please reply in good faith thanks!

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(I am looking at Inspirons but it's been a while since I went computer shopping and I'm not sure what the parity is between brands/makes any more!)

Ah yes sorry, people asking re: budget. My brain knows what a higher-end Inspiron costs so wasn't thinking... topping out around $1000, $700 would be comfortable.

oh gosh replies to this are making me realize that I have some past Thinkpad trauma... I think? One really bad Thinkpad. I think if you managed to convince me it wasn't one?

Ok so update: I ended up getting a Thinkpad 480. Thanks to everyone who pitched in. The old computer was one of the last generations to run Windows 7. It was a Dell Inspiron. It developed some wiring messes, never ran Win10 well (but I mean I needed it for like 3 things). Wiring was more a concern?

So... while I've had some decent Dells in the past I felt a lot like stretching & trying something else.

Thinkpads aren't quite as bricky & I think I'm distant enough from the old one.

Man that old Thinkpad was a long-lasting brick but it also just... wow.

The part of actually making a call on what to get left me all jittery and I did something I never do on purchases for me -- called my husband. I mean he told me to do what I want, but like he listened about alllll the things I am thinking about and needed to talk myself through.

Fortunately I've only got one really important thing left to do at work.

Ok first response and I'll hit up the end of my thread below -- thanks for all the feedback, I used my lunch to compare best options, picked and ordered, feel good about it!

@platypus Next important question. TrackPad or TouchPoint?

@platypus Was it finger cramps of using the trackpoint or frustrations from the trackpad? I suffered from both which might have made each other more painful

@nkrabben finger cramps. Oh gosh finger cramps. i've been a touch typer since pretty much a kid (thanks Mario Teaches Typing!) and while the trackpad was an adjustment for sure... the pointer was ... 😱

@platypus I'm about to get my fifth work laptop, and it will be my fourth Thinkpad. They're definitely getting less bulky, and they have all been more reliable than the one Dell we had that one replacement cycle.

It will also be a move to Windows 10 and Office whatever it is now, and I'm more concerned about that than the machine. Win7/Office2013 have been fine for my needs.

@annacreech Yeah, I'm definitely hoping to use as little Win10 as possible except the whole needing quilt software and Mint doesn't have drivers which work with my printer ???? Otherwise Linux Mint times.

@djsundog yep sorry . My brain knows what a higher-end Inspiron costs so wasn't thinking... topping out around $1000, $700 would be comfortable.

@platypus I picked up a last-gen Inspiron 7559 on Amazon a few months ago with 4k touch display, 16gb ram, core i7, 128gb ssd + 1tb hd for just under $1k - it has a linux variant so all the hardware has been supported under (k)ubuntu. They also have non-4k configurations to save a few bucks.

@platypus
maybe a few questions to narrow it down:
price range?
use case?
size?
weight?
screen resolution?
battery life?

@trwnh @trini

My brain knows what a higher-end Inspiron costs so wasn't thinking... topping out around $1000, $700 would be comfortable.

Use case--mostly writing, but also some light script dev work, data wrangling, probably managing a zillion tabs.

size ~15"

weight: meh

resolution: better than retro

battery life: very good.

@platypus hmmm... how about this?

amzn.to/2HKAKbD
ASUS VivoBook S
i7-8550U
8GB RAM
128GB SSD +1TB HDD
15.6" 1080p
3.7lbs
about 5-7hrs battery life
$789

You can also drop down to $649 and get it with an i5-8250U (not noticeably slower for your use case?) and instead of getting 128GB+1TB of storage, you get 256GB SSD. So, more fast storage but less overall.

@trwnh @platypus I've had an earlier model of that (i7-7500) with the dual drives for about 6 months, I dual boot Win10 and Ubuntu, and I've been happy with it. But the battery may not be as good as you might get on other laptops in the same price range (according to reviews). For me, anything over 5 hours is good enough most of the time.

@platypus I recently bought a used thinkpad t450s and I am super happy with it

@platypus @saganfan has an Ubuntu developer edition XPS that she likes. It's a little on the large side and has annumeric keypad. I believe they have a Windows 10 version as well.

May want to ask them about dual booting and if they enable the whole trusted OS nonsense on their Windows 10 machines.

@platypus Also: does the quilting software run under a Windows 10 VM? That would be my preferred method but not sure if it would get cranky under a VM.

That also pre-supposes no interest in Windows 10 games which is usually not the case.

@platypus understandable. I've used VirtualBox on my machine and my parent's machine for Windows and it can be a bit of a pain to use.

That said having Windows / Linux Distros not clobber your boot record is part of the reason I like this approach. :)

@platypus I enjoy the X1 Carbon (Lenovo), but the Thinkpad T4xx's are a bit more in line with high end Inspirons. Either is probably a fine choice.

@platypus I did some research last fall for a laptop replacement. Took a long look at the Dell Inspiron before settling on the Asus Vivobook F510 with 8th generation Intel CPU. I run Ubuntu and windows 10 on it without any problems, except the screen isn't all that great outside in the sunlight.

@platypus if you have the windows license already, you might want to look at System76. I am VERY happy with the galago pro, and i think you can dual boot it with few issues.

@platypus if you can afford it, you could do a lot worse than a Lenovo X1 carbon. There are good deals for students and teachers as part of Lenovo's campus programme or even get an older one from refurbishers.

@platypus I agree with the Lenovo ThinkPad T-series recommendation. They meet your criteria and you can pick up a refurb at a discount.

@platypus

I'll consider the Lenovo T480

I've a very good experience with it.

@platypus I've had decent results looking at clearanced HP laptops off of their website.

Last three laptops I've bought for personal use (not including the ChromeBook) have all been HP purchased below cost.

Even the clearanced models allow you to customize them, so you can get the power you need.

Current laptop is a refurbished HP Pavilion from woot.com. Came with Win10 though put Debian on it. Needed 2 non-free drivers that Debian provided on their website and works great.

@platypus I have a Dell XPS 15 that might fit the bill.

8 CPUs, 16gb RAM, 128gb SSD and a 1tb conventional hard drive. Cost about a third of the MacBook $dayjob issued me. Touchscreen even works in Linux. When I bought it I opted for Win7 but promptly wiped the drives, you can get it with Win10 though.

@platypus I love the ThinkPads I own. Note sure how good modem ones are though, mine is six years old.

Bloody tanks. I don't trust any laptop I can't drop.

I think they are comparable, the T series, but I could be wrong.

@platypus pretty happy with my Lenovo ThinkPad T470. You might consider a newer T480. Or an older T460, which should be available now on the post-leasing circuit.

@platypus I really enjoyed my XPS13, and now I'm using a Surface Pro. Not as fast and smaller, but more portable.

@platypus

I have been happy with my Toshiba Satellite S55 with Intel I7 processor and 12GB RAM.

@platypus thinkpads are nice. I have an x260. 1080p matte display, SATA bay, and good support for Linux.

Also a full hardware teardown manual.

@platypus

This is just to say that I feel you on needing Windows a bit. There is cross-stitch software I want desperately...for Mac & Windows.

I have a Chromebook. 😭

@platypus

If you don't need a lot of graphics power (for, games or accelerating creative software like for 3d/video) then a machine like a Dell Latitude 5xx0 may be a good choice. Less availability at retail (some were in Microsoft stores IIRC) but they're likely to be a bit better built than an inspiron.

xx80 is 7th gen intel and xx90 is 8th gen.
dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell- for example. A bit more spendy but also a bit more flexible.

@coryw Hmmm, that is what I use at work and it generally does treat me well. It's a little weird to think about having the same thing at home... but on the other hand... mine's a real workhorse!

@platypus

The other suggestion is ThinkPad but in some circles ThinkPads are Over(TM) so it kind of depends on what your tastes are. I can't really speak to modern ThinkPad build quality, and I can only very indirectly speak to modern Latitude build quality, but what I've heard about Latitudes is very good.

There are also EliteBooks but I'm less familiar with that line.

I have a Surface Laptop myself, but probably not ideal if you plan to run Linux primarily.

@platypus
I basically do this on a Lenovo t470, occasionally boot to Windows but run Linux almost always. It's super sturdy, thin, has ethernet, and I love it so deeply

@platypus
The thinkpad T4xx series are in this range, as well as the T2xx if you're looking for something more portable. I've owned a lifetime of T-series thinkpads and love them dearly. Have always run Linux on them, but they are windows machines by default, and since they're business-line I understand they're light on shovelware in the default install. Good luck on your search!

@platypus

i'd recommend a lenovo x1 carbon or the dell xps13/15

@platypus Have you thought about imaging your Windows 7 box with sysinternals' disk2vhd and just running your windows 7 in kvm instead of dual booting? Since it sounds like your time in Windows would be for a specific task only. You could avoid win10 all together that way. :)

Good luck with your new Thinkapad!

@ron so my policy around home computers is to only court stress when it's fun. And I find virtual environments rarely to be fun (which is weird because I'll happily ssh into a server and splash around). So dual-boot is bleh but also straightforward? Same reason I use Mint.

@platypus That's cool, It's whatever works for you! Disk2vhd is a neat piece of software though. You run it inside of windows and it creates a VM image using window's shadow copy feature.

@platypus I've been pretty happy with my MSI laptop that I've had for a couple of years now. They're relatively thin and light for being powerful (gaming) laptops. I do a lot of software dev and stuff on mine.

newegg.com/Product/Product.asp for example, but they have lots of different configs.

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