• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Looking for laptop to replace ASUS N61JQ

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
I have an ASUS N61JQ laptop purchased in ~2009/2010 that I'd like to replace. I've replaced the battery and have considered replacing the 500GB HD with an SSD. With that being said, I don't really want to invest any more cash into it partly due to the lack of driver support for the 5730 GFX card and the limited 1366 x 768 resolution. Current display drivers no longer allow anything other than the backlight being 100% off or 100% on. The lack of backlight control kills the battery in 2-3 hours, which makes using the laptop impractical in some on-site situations.

I will be using the laptop for QuickBooks as well as generalized tech work while on-site. (E.g. - Setting up SOHO routers/SonicWALLs, taking notes, troubleshooting, etc.)

I've been looking at thin laptops in the 13"-15" range that have a Thunderbolt 3 port. I'm considering Dell XPS (Kaby Lake) models, and HP Spectre x360 models, but am open to suggestions. I'm somewhat concerned with a small screen making work with QuickBooks difficult, and I've heard of issues with coil-whine on the 13" Dell XPS laptop.

I'm open to recommendations or even suggestions for other makes and models, and would like to hear from the OC community.
 

||Console||

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
Cough cough steal that nice lappy you bought your wife.

But on a more serious note I'm not a fan of 13 inch laptops
You should be fine with a KL i5 but depending on when you want this the ryzen APU laptops (when ever they drop ) might give you light gaming as well .

Bump for a great guy . I haven't had a laptop in years so let's hear some good suggestions from this kick *** member base.
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Narf City, USA
Are you heavy into gaming? If not, just about anything that has a decent (IPS preferred) screen will do the trick for the things you describe.

My recent laptop hunt revealed the sub-15" options are generally either more expensive or limited in performance unless you pay the premium. Deals can be had but would need to be a match for you.

Why thunderbolt? USB3 is more than enough for my needs, which sound similar to yours.
 
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
@Console - Ha! My wife's laptop is more of a desktop replacement at ~9lbs. Not only would I not want to lug the Sager NP8278 around daily, but I don't want to have to explain where her laptop is. (It is an amazing gaming machine, and was a nice upgrade from her old desktop!) I'm hoping to have my brother-in-law bring a unit back when he flies back in late March to avoid shipping fees, so I'd rather not wait until Ryzen laptops have made an appearance.

@Pinky - I don't game as much as I used to, new daughter takes up a LOT of my time, but I enjoy playing when I can. (CS:GO, BF1, WoW are among my biggest time leeches for gaming.) I have a decent desktop that is my primary gaming unit, but I wouldn't mind keeping the option for mobile open as long as battery life is decent. The XPS 15" seems to fit this bill with the 97WHr battery.

15" should be okay size-wise, but I'd definitely like something lighter than my 6+lb machine now. I'm not sure how well the dual core i5/i7 options perform first-hand, but don't want to feel the need to update in one or two years. I'm surprised that my current machine has aged as well as it has, and would love to get that kind of life out of my next unit.

My thoughts on Thunderbolt follows the same logic that I used with my current laptop. It had a USB 3 port before USB 3 was fully adopted. Initially, the thought was "why," but I'm happy that I have it instead of being limited to USB 2. Not having thunderbolt is not necessarily a deal-breaker, but I'd prefer the option if possible.
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Narf City, USA
USB3 isn't going anywhere and is currently way ahead of Thunderbolt in adoption. If you got it as a bonus, well then there you have it. But I wouldn't consider it a requirement. It wouldn't even be an afterthought, as I still wouldn't go out and buy a thunderbolt peripheral if USB3 is also available. Makes little sense to be locked down to using a device on X% of the world's computers. You didn't mention needing to stream 4k from the laptop, so not sure what else you might use Thunderbolt for.

If you stick with the HQ Intel chips you'll get the most longevity out of the system.

This thread might be of use as much of this discussion, and HQ v U chips was covered:

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/...ew-Laptop-and-need-advice-and-recommendations

You'll need to find models that interest you and post them.
 
Last edited:
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
@Pinky - Yes, USB 3 is here to stay, and I wouldn't buy a laptop without the option for Type-C as it will undoubtedly become the primary peripheral connection in the near future. My thoughts for Thunderbolt were just looking at covering all bases, but at this point I have no absolute requirement for it.

Thank you for the link to the thread. I've been through it and have a few possible laptops lined up that I'm considering. I don't want to go with a traditional spindle HD, and have been focusing on units with SSD's in the build. (From what I've seen, purchasing an SSD to replace a traditional HD pushes the cost of cheaper alternatives up so that there are few savings.)



I haven't completely ruled out 13" FHD units, and potential options that I'm considering are:

Asus ZenBook UX330UA-DS74 w/ Core™ i7-7500U, 16GB, 512GB SSD, 13.3in Full HD, Windows 10 Home ($1300)
- This unit should provide enough battery-life to last me the day.

Acer Spin 5 w/ Core i5-7200U, 8GB, 256GB SSD, 13.3in FHD Multi-Touch IPS, Win 10 Home, w/ Flip Keyboard ($820)
- This unit should provide enough battery-life to last me the day, although it might occasionally cut it close. I have previously had an Acer and it survived quite well. When it finally bit the dust, it was no longer powerful enough to do what I needed it to do. (It was about 5-6 years old.)

HP Spectre x360 13.3" Touchscreen Laptop - Silver - Intel Core i5-7200U/256GB SSD/8GB RAM/Windows 10 ($1500)
- Battery life should be fine, but the cost is getting up into Dell XPS ranges.

Dell XPS 13 - Non-Touch - i7-7500U/256GB SSD/8GB RAM/Fingerprint scanner/Windows 10 ($1630 -10% = ~$1470)
- Best battery life out of the 13" systems. Good Linux support if I decide to dual-boot.​


The only 15" unit that I've been considering at this point is a Dell XPS 15 as other 15" units are too heavy/bulky (If I've missed a viable machine, please let me know.):

Dell XPS 15 - i7-7700HQ/512GB SSD/16GB RAM/Fingerprint Scanner/Windows 10 ($2330 - 10% = ~$2100)
- This is the unit with FHD and the 97WHr battery. It's the heaviest and thickest of the bunch, but definitely packs the biggest punch and would likely last the longest from a processing power perspective. The battery pushes the weight up to 4.4lbs, but the extra time it would provide is IMO worth it.​
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Narf City, USA
$2100 is a lot to spend on a laptop. You could build a decent gaming desktop [which you say you already have] and buy a second laptop (cheap) for any other portable functionality and probably still come out ahead.

Now decide what's important to you. If you don't need gaming, options open up. If you do, then you're limited to the $1000+ range. Now you suddenly mention Linux, is that now also a consideration? If you're fine with U processors, it will cut some cost (with a minor drop in performance). If you add a SSD later, then you can compromise and find a cheaper laptop (most preinstalled SSD models are inherently more expensive). If weight is taken off the table (how much does the heaviest model weigh? 6 pounds-ish? That's not that much IMO), then your options open even further.

Your pricing varies from $820 to $2100. There's hundreds(?) of laptops that are all decent within that range. It sounds to me like you really haven't made your mind up regarding what your needs are. You can't move forward until you know exactly what you need, otherwise the goal post is constantly moving and lord knows what you'll end up buying and whether it will actually be what you actually need

Fwiw, I'm NOT a fan of Acer's products. As someone in the tech industry, I've seen too many Acer motherboard and display failures. They're still a budget maker, no matter how shiny they can get their turds.

My advice is to buy just anything with a decent screen and expect to game primarily on your Desktop. It won't matter how long the laptop lasts past a couple years since you'll only be paying $400-600 for it. When it dies or becomes outdated, you just buy another 'disposable' one. Spend that money on something that will give you greater immediate return on investment (better food, pay off a loan earlier, vacation... just about anything else).
 
Last edited:
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
@Pinky - Thank you for your continued assistance. I agree that $2100 is a lot to spend on a laptop, but it's still a lot cheaper than buying locally. A unit spec'd with an i5-7200U, 4GB RAM,500GB 5400RPM HD sells for barely shy of $1000...in the US this unit retails for $599. After upgrading the local unit with an SSD and more ram, I would have spent a total of approximately $1300.

After the exchange rate and duty paid upon arrival in Bermuda, a $2100 laptop will run approximately $1900. (My brother-in-law is going to be in Toronto, so I'm looking at Canadian suppliers and costings.) I have budgeted enough for up to $2200 CAD, but don't necessarily have to spend all that.

Priority of needs:
1. Battery life: Ideally 8+ hours.
2. Weight: I've carried around my old 6.2lb machine for years now, and while it's not "heavy," it gets to be a bit much on long walks or when traveling. The lighter the better.
3. Resolution: FHD, more is not necessarily needed but less is a no-go.
4. USB Type-C: At least one port.
5. Screen size: 13-15"
5. Keyboard and Trackpad comfort: My old machine's biggest sacrifice was a crappy keyboard in exchange for better gfx. (At the time, I needed a unit to act as a complete gaming stand-in for my desktop...this is no longer the case.)
--
6. Thunderbolt port and potential for gaming: These are not required and would only be icing on the cake.



@ScrewySqrl - Thank you for the suggestion. I've been impressed with the build quality of my wife's Sager/Clevo, but the unit isn't the best for battery life. The unit that you've listed would run up to approximately $1300 CAD and lists battery life to "2+" hours. (I looked on reflexnotebook as that's where I ordered my wife's machine from and had a good experience.) It fits well in my budget, but even if I could extend the battery life to 4 hours, it wouldn't be enough for my needs.
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Narf City, USA

@Pinky - Thank you for your continued assistance. I agree that $2100 is a lot to spend on a laptop, but it's still a lot cheaper than buying locally. A unit spec'd with an i5-7200U, 4GB RAM,500GB 5400RPM HD sells for barely shy of $1000...in the US this unit retails for $599. After upgrading the local unit with an SSD and more ram, I would have spent a total of approximately $1300.

After the exchange rate and duty paid upon arrival in Bermuda, a $2100 laptop will run approximately $1900. (My brother-in-law is going to be in Toronto, so I'm looking at Canadian suppliers and costings.) I have budgeted enough for up to $2200 CAD, but don't necessarily have to spend all that.

Priority of needs:
1. Battery life: Ideally 8+ hours.
2. Weight: I've carried around my old 6.2lb machine for years now, and while it's not "heavy," it gets to be a bit much on long walks or when traveling. The lighter the better.
3. Resolution: FHD, more is not necessarily needed but less is a no-go.
4. USB Type-C: At least one port.
5. Screen size: 13-15"
5. Keyboard and Trackpad comfort: My old machine's biggest sacrifice was a crappy keyboard in exchange for better gfx. (At the time, I needed a unit to act as a complete gaming stand-in for my desktop...this is no longer the case.)
--
6. Thunderbolt port and potential for gaming: These are not required and would only be icing on the cake.

The Asus is probably the best option of those you posted thus far. Also check out the Lenovo Yoga series posted in the other thread, those come with SSDs and good IPS screens, and have good battery life.

You'll need to read a lot of reviews to find out if a model has any issues/complaints with the touchpad. Most touchpads nowadays on mid-range laptops and ultrabooks are good enough.
 
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
@Pinky - The ZenBook UX330UA does appear to offer the best bang for the buck. The only real complaints that I've read about are that the display doesn't tilt back far enough for some users. I've also been looking at the ZenBook UX430UQ and the UX430UA. Both of these offer less battery-life than the UX330UA, but should still last for 8+ hours. Unfortunately, the UX430UQ is currently on backorder only.

The Yoga 910 isn't something I'd consider, as I'd go for the Dell XPS 15 for the same price. I think that I've narrowed it down to these units. I find that an argument can be made in favor of any one of them, but would appreciate your input one again.

System CPU RAM HD GPU Screen Battery Cost
Asus ZenBook UX330UA-DS74 i7-7500U 16GB 512GB Intel HD 620 13.3" 57Wh $1,300
Asus ZenBook UX430UQ-BS51-CB (Backorder) i5-7200U 16GB 512GB NVIDIA GT940MX 14" 50Wh $1,300
Asus ZenBook UX430UA-BS51-CB i5-7200U 8GB 256GB Intel HD 620 14" 50Wh $900
Lenovo YOGA 710 i5-7200U 8GB 256GB NVIDIA GT940MX 15.6" 53Wh $1,300
Dell XPS 13 9360 i7-7500U 8GB 256GB Intel HD 13.3" 60Wh $1,480
 

Pinky

Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2001
Location
Narf City, USA
For light gaming, newegg has a decent MSI model on sale today for $130 off ($100 off plus $30 off with promo code NAFCRPTF01):

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834154497

I don't have any personal experience with MSI's laptops. Reviews are generally mixed, seems like you'll know early into ownership if your unit is a problem child.

The MSI is 5 pounds, but also cheaper than most (all?) of the gaming capable models you've posted thus far.
 

R_Pierce

Member
Joined
Feb 4, 2017
Location
Marion, IA
For light gaming, newegg has a decent MSI model on sale today for $130 off ($100 off plus $30 off with promo code NAFCRPTF01):

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834154497

I don't have any personal experience with MSI's laptops. Reviews are generally mixed, seems like you'll know early into ownership if your unit is a problem child.

The MSI is 5 pounds, but also cheaper than most (all?) of the gaming capable models you've posted thus far.

This is an absolute steal!!! Even the 1100.00 for the i7 is a deal in todays laptop market.

I have a MSI GT72 Dominator Pro and cant say a single bad thing about it. Its an amazing laptop. I game on it nightly at my place of employment, and its rock solid. Never slow. Battery doesnt last like some others do, but its also not optimized for battery. Everything is on high performance. As a matter of fact there are currently four MSI laptops around me, and one Asus. The only one that seems to have any frequent issues is the Asus. Granted, your mileage may very.
 
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
@Pinky - The MSI laptop is $1180 on the Canadian Newegg site. For my usage I'm concerned with that model's battery life, and it's weight is teetering a little too high. Based on a few reviews, the estimated battery life is close to what I'm getting now with my old machine and is under a 1lb lighter. I'd jump on it, or a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming model, if I was looking for a budget gaming laptop. The Dell has a larger battery and would last for longer, but it's almost 6lbs which puts it 0.2lbs under my current unit. Thank you for keeping an eye out for deals and alternate options!

@R_Pierce - I've had good luck with MSI and ASUS motherboards in the past. I've only seen one issue with an ASUS laptop when I was doing system repairs...it was on older ROG system and the power connector was poorly thought out. It was a standard cylindrical connection, but the pin in the middle of the port thinned out to about 1/3 of the diameter before connecting to the MB. The system was in repeatedly for repairs as the slightest bit of stress on the power cable would snap the pin like a toothpick.

With that being said, my old laptop is an ASUS and has been a tank. Part of my selection process for it over other similarly spec'd machines in ~2009 was the global warranty. Getting warranty coverage for anything in Bermuda at the time was next to impossible, but is thankfully improving now. (We have authorized Lenovo, Dell, and Apple retailers now.)
 
OP
corruption

corruption

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2005
Location
Bermuda
I apologize for not giving an update sooner, but my daughter decided to share the plague with me that she picked up from daycare.

I spent far too long looking into reviews, and running my final contenders by Console over the phone. I finally decided to go with the Asus UX330UAK, as Pinky had suggested from one of my earlier short-lists. (The UX330UA is the Skylake version of the laptop, and the UX330UAK is the Kaby Lake version. The only place where I've seen UAK displayed is on Asus' website for driver and BIOS downloads. All retailers just list it as UA and specify Kaby Lake in the details.)

I had my brother-in-law bring the system back on March 26th. I'm very impressed with the machine so far. I was initially worried about the screen as some reviewers had mentioned that the screen didn't tilt back very far, but I haven't had an issue with the angle at all. The computer is snappy, more so than I was expecting. I noticed that there was a slight creaking noise when I pushed on the palm rest to the left of the mousepad, but it was only because one of the screws on the bottom needed to be tightened a little bit. (No big deal.) The unit is solidly built, quick, quiet, and the battery life is amazing! I can easily go a full day taking notes, doing up invoices, checking and responding to emails, etc before having to recharge it. This is exactly what I needed. :thup: When I have a little more time, I'll post a picture of my old system and the new one side-by-side for a comparison.

Thank you to everyone that assisted! Console, ScrewySqrl, R_Pierce, and especially Pinky for your continued attention to the thread. :attn:
 

vontobel

New Member
Joined
May 28, 2017
Asus ZenBook UX330UA, Asus ZenBook UX430UQ, Lenovo YOGA 710, Dell XPS 13 9360, all these thin laptop cannot upgrade RAM, If I want to buy a new laptop, the SSD and memory must be able to be upgraded