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Recommended Ultrabook at about $1500-$2000

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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June 15, 2012 6:18:40 PM

Hi. I'm looking for an Ultrabook for every day use at about 1500-2000 USD. I'm looking for an i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, an SSD with 512GB of storage and an Intel HD Graphics 4000 GPU (or better). The Screen should range from 13.3" to 15.4". I don't want a Mac because I'll be occasionally playing MW3, which isn't supported by the Mac OS. Weight and battery life aren't very important, but it's nice to have a light computer with a lasting battery...

Thanks.
June 15, 2012 6:40:40 PM

I would recommend waiting for the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD if you can. it's $1300, and you'd have to put your own SSD in it, but other than that, it's perfect.

Specs:
13.3" 1080p IPS display
i5-3317U
NVIDIA GT620M
3.17 lbs
7 hour battery life if you stretch it (probably closer to 5 in real life)
1 removable memory DIMM
Removable standard 2.5" 7mm HDD
32GB SSD cache.

My next laptop will be this if I purchase in the next 6 months or so. Even with purchasing a $400-500 SSD, it's $1700-1800 total. Also, the laptop has 2gb of memory soldered to the board and one free slot, so it can do 6gb at least, maybe 10gb if that free DIMM slot can handle an 8gb DIMM.

With the state of the market, this is the best there is. I linked the review from notebookcheck below. I really can't think of another ultrabook better suited to your needs. It should be available with an i7 at release, too.

As far as when it releases in the US, that I don't know unfortunately. I would expect it to show up in the next month or so, though.

http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review-Asus-Zenbook-UX32VD...


*This recommendation comes with the caveat that you should be able to disable that SSD cache in the BIOS. If you can't, it'd be kind of useless and stupid. I can't imagine them not putting that in the BIOS for users who know what they're doing, but it is a possibility. If that's the case, then your SSD performance would be handicapped by that tiny, probably very cheap and slow SSD cache.
June 15, 2012 6:45:39 PM

I think this one's better:
http://usa.asus.com/Notebooks/Superior_Mobility/U44SG/#...
It has a 256GB SSD (they accidently wrote 320GB), but you can change the options here:
http://www.xoticpc.com/asus-u44sgxs71-p-3559.html?wconf...
Add $795 and vwalla - you have a 480GB Intel 520 Series SSD.

The thing is I don't wanna change anything myself, I don't understand a lot about laptops and how they're build and I'd like to be be just "plug n' play". But I need a better GPU, that's the thing...
Related resources
June 15, 2012 6:55:15 PM

Well, if you're looking to go plug and play, then my suggestion isn't all that great. Just so you know, though, that GT620M in the Zenbook is one hell of a laptop GPU. It's a true next generation graphics card based on Kepler, and absolutely smokes the GT610M in the one you linked.

However, you get full voltage CPU's in the one you linked, so there's that.

That website carries customizable versions of the current ASUS Zenbooks (all the UX31E models), so I think it's safe to say that when the UX32VD releases, they'll be able to customize it for you if that's the way you want to go. I'd wait until the UX32VD releases and have them customize it for you.

You'll notice that you can't add a different SSD to the current UX31E models, but that's because they're a proprietary form factor. The UX32VD has a standard sized hard drive that's a bit slimmer than most. All the Intel SSD's will fit in it.


And I hate to be this way, but for the price you're looking at, it's almost time to the bite the bullet and dual boot a new Macbook Pro... And if you need more space, get a hard drive in an external enclosure.
June 15, 2012 7:34:26 PM

I thought of the Macbook pro, but what if I'll want to play MW3 for example? I'll need to run Windows using the Mac, which I'm afraid that's gonna slow everything down, drastically... Is this the case?
June 15, 2012 8:00:38 PM

Well, it's not a performance detriment at all if you can install windows alongside OSX, but from what you've told me, I doubt that's something you'd want to do. In that case, playing a 3D game using a virtualization program would be incredibly slow.
a c 406 D Laptop
June 15, 2012 8:10:40 PM

In that price range I would likely get the 14" Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but it is not expected to be released until the end of summer. The pre-production demo version weighs in some in between 2.9lbs - 3.2lbs; I forgot the exact weight.

It will have a 1600x900 resolution screen which is nice for a 14" ultrabook, but sadly it will use a TN panel instead of an e-IPS panel.

The 1080p resolution on the 13.3" Asus ZenBook is a nice feature, but I know that's a bit too high of a resolution on such a small screen for me. Unfortunately, my vision isn't that good.
June 15, 2012 10:19:37 PM

That company doesn't allow much customization for the Zenbooks, but only the larger laptops. Anyway, I think the Asus U44SG is the best choice for me, as it has everything I need, except for additional storage which I can fix with my external HDD...
Not extremely convenient, but I need that much space because I watch movies. So when I wanna watch a movie I'll plug my external drive and that's it...
June 15, 2012 10:22:09 PM

@ chaoshon Like I said, that's because they're proprietary. The new Zenbooks (the entire UZ32 line) has user-replaceable hard drives that are a standard size. I suspect that that company will offer more SSD options there.

For you, I'm thinking that Asus is not a bad pick. Not very graphically powerful, but MW3 isn't too demanding, either.
June 17, 2012 8:46:31 PM

+1 for Zenbook UX32VD.

I was iniitally thinking of taking Lenovo X230. I am veering towards the Zenbook. It allows you to upgrade RAM (max 10: 2 (soldered) +8), replace HDD/SSD. May be, one could plugin a 7mm SSD instead of 500GB HDD and replace the 32GB mSATA with Mushkins 128GB mSATA.

June 17, 2012 11:15:46 PM

Unfortunately, the reviews I've seen indicate that the mSATA that comes in it is inaccessible to the user... Which is why I suggested going into the BIOS and turning it off when you switch to a 7mm SSD.
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