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Old August 11, 2017, 08:35 AM
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Default Help finding a 17.3 Laptop

Hi,

I'm looking for a pretty specific kind of laptop. I have the following requirements:

17.3 inch display
--256 GB SSD + 500GB or greater HDD (OR) just a 500GB + SSD
--1920x1080 Resolution (preferably IPS, but willing to consider TN)
--Windows 10
--Discrete GPU
--Unilingual English Keyboard (NO BILINGUAL KEYBOARD) that is considered a good keyboard for typing
--Nothing that looks like a gaming rig (flashy colors, etc.)
--Don't care about weight or battery life or portability.

I'd like to get a decent price. I don't care if the CPU or GPU are the latest and greatest, just reasonably decent. (No hard core gaming planned; but want the option of moderate gaming.) Refurbs and second-hand machines are OK. I'm looking to spend up to maybe ~$1400 Canadian. I'm willing to order cross border and deal with import duties if needed, and the risks that come with buying from the US (unless someone can convince me I'm underrating those risks). I'm currently in a place with limited access to a big city, and I'd prefer not to order a laptop without an SSD and then buy one and have it installed. There is, however, a Best Buy in Moncton I could possibly access for that, if anyone can convince me this is the best approach.
Basically, here in Canada, the retailer included SSD is the problem. Pretty much all Canadian retailers only put the SSDs on really high-end stuff, usually gaming rigs. In the US, there is more ability to customize mid-level stuff.
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Old August 11, 2017, 08:53 AM
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This is a bit over your budget, but a phenomenal all around laptop that meets and exceeds what you're looking for:
Asus 17.3” ROG GL753VE-DS74 i7-7700HQ GeForce GTX1050 Ti Gaming Laptop - NCIX

Here's a solid option from the MS store. Although you'd have to swap out a larger SSD on top of the purchase price. But it's under your budget if you have a student email and can get the discount:
https://www.microsoft.com/en-ca/stor...2pqzn5cpp/1s3q

Dell also has some BTS sales going on if you wanted to configure an Inspiron 7000.

Faililng that, CL and Kijiji are options.
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Old August 11, 2017, 10:36 AM
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Thanks! The ASUS is too much of an obvious, rainbow-colored gaming rig for my purposes.

Not sure I can swing the student discount, but the MSI is interesting.

As for either, and any future suggestions, how can I be sure to get a unilingual keyboard? I hate the french, bilingual keyboards.

It does look like my budget may be a little low for my requirements. Some research suggests that flash and other SSD components are currently a bit tight, and especially in Canada, companies are being choosy about which machines they add SSDs too. Basically, the places where I am willing to cut corners to save money (CPU and GPU power, RAM, etc.) are NOT going to be the kinds of machines that esp. Canadian sellers want to put SSDs on right now.

So I'm either going to have to get quite lucky, going to have to get a more powerful and expensive overall machine, or have to buy something that meets my specs without an SSD, and then buy the SSD separately and have it installed. Anyone know how much say Best Buy would charge for a 256 GB SSD + installation? (Hate to use them, but they may be the most reliable/convenient place nearby.)

(BTW would there be any import fees or duties on either machine? )
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Old August 11, 2017, 02:02 PM
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If you get a new laptop, the specs should tell you if the keyboard is bilingual or US standard.

I would highly recommend you look for something with a 128GB SSD + HDD, then just buy your own upgrade and install it. It will be a lot cheaper in the long run, plus you can take your time buying that component.

The area that's tough is the discreet GPU. The new gen of nVidia cards are fantastic for mobile gaming, but they're in high demand and the prices are at a premium at the moment. Also, strange as it may be, 17" laptops are tougher to find these days if you don't want a full on gaming rig. If you're willing to go down to a 14-15", your options open up quite a bit.
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Old August 11, 2017, 02:11 PM
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I'm going to pipe in with my standard question/warning whenever I see somebody looking for a 17" laptop......

Have you had a chance to take one out on a test drive?

The reason I ask is that I purchased a 17" laptop thinking that "bigger is going to be better" and then regretted it almost immediately, never warming up to it until it was replaced with a smaller laptop.

It could very well be that you're fully aware of how unwieldy a 17" laptop is, and in fact like the form factor. In which case I applaud your choice, but if not you may want to consider other options and grab a stand-alone monitor for those times you want a really big screen.

(I'll crawl back under my rock now..... ;) ).

edit: As far as installing an SSD after the fact goes.... it's relatively easy to do a fresh install of W10 these days. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, drop me a PM and maybe somebody local might be able to help you out with it.
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Old August 11, 2017, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sswilson View Post
The reason I ask is that I purchased a 17" laptop thinking that "bigger is going to be better" and then regretted it almost immediately, never warming up to it until it was replaced with a smaller laptop.
And that's why they're also the cheapest for the specs you get.

Generally speaking, these gaming laptops are pretty easy to swap out the HDD/SSD. You could do it yourself if you have some technical inclination.

If you can live with 15.6": Inspiron 15 5000 Gaming high performance laptop | Dell Canada
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Old August 11, 2017, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback. I know how big 17" are, but I appreciate the warning. I'm a bit of a nomad. I move all over the world, teaching English sometimes, or just working online for Upwork and for editing companies. I change locations and often countries a lot, and the next few years look especially itinerant. That's why a desktop won't do. But when I am in a location, I always do all my computing work from my office desk. I've never liked laptopping in coffee shops or carrying one with me. When I'm in a location long enough, I will get the external monitor. But for the next few years, that's not looking ideal. So I want the biggest screen I can get.
Still, as I have found and people have noted, 17.3 inch non-gaming rigs are not the sweet spot in the market right now. And this is especially true in Canada. I might actually do better with a 15.6 and just buying second-hand, external monitors wherever I go. I could probably buy and throw away 2-3 of them and still come out ahead...
But I'm gonna keep looking at 17.3 for a bit before I give up. It does seem like what I'm looking for is especially hard to find in Canada, so maybe I'll need to look at ebaying a US one. Any advice on ebaying from the US (or buying from the US on any other site) is appreciated.
As for getting and installing an SSD myself, as I said, I'm really immobile for the next 4 months. Every trip into town is costly in time and gas. So I really can't be ordering online, then driving into the comp shop to leave the SSD there for installation, and then having to come back another day to pick it up. However, are people suggesting I could order the comp and the ssd online, perhaps separately. And then install the SSD myself? Would I have to reinstall Windows 10? Would the new computer come with what I need to reinstall Win. 10 after installing the SSD? I'm not a really techy guy, but I've been pretty good at solving my computer software problems using Google and Youtube over the years. However, I've never opened up the box. Would I need to order some special tools as well?
As for GPUs, are you saying that the new Pascal series is a really big improvement over the Maxwell? Like worth waiting for? My current comp. is really old, but it still has some life in it. And my next 2-3 months are kinda off. I could wait. Am I in a place where flash shortages are making SSDs more expensive and rarer, and the new GPUs are rarer, so even waiting 3-4 months could help things alot?
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