Laptop Suggestions? (Ultrabook with plenty of RAM)

DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
I currently have a 2011 Macbook Air, which I loved when I bought. However, have had a slurry of problems after recently upgrading to OS X Mavericks.

I'm in the market for a new laptop. Was originally thinking of the Macbook Pro Retina, but since I've been having problems w/ Mavericks, I'm contemplating moving away from Apple.

Anyone have suggestions for a ~13-inch Ultrabook? Looking for 16 GBs of RAM, if possible, SSD, and long battery life. Mostly going to be used for everyday use, w/ the occasional addition of GNS3 and VMs.

Any suggestions/recommendations are welcome.
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Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
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Comments

  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    I use a dell XPS 13, i7, 8GB ram and a SSD, with a Linux OS and it hauls butt... Battery life seems to be decent but it sounds like your mileage might exceed mine in daily use. I use virtualbox and GNS3 with no signs of slowing down. It takes all of the abuse I throw at it and keeps going, by that I mean I throw it around, open/close the lid rapidly, even toss it in bag throw the bag around and it never skips a beat.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    It looks good. Just wish I could upgrade to 8GB RAM w/o shelling out for the touch screen (doubt I'd use it much.) Additionally, the lack of an SD card slot might be a deal breaker w/ only 128 GB on the base model's drive.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • SteveFTSteveFT Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 149
    I went with the Lenovo W530. Some days I wish I went with a small/lighter laptop, but you can't beat an i7 with 20GB of RAM and good battery life (at least 5-6 hours with light use). I really like the T430s with 16GB of RAM and a SSD. Still not the smallest laptop, but I think it is definitely light enough for regular travel.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    The T430 actually looks pretty amazing. I've had an aversion to Lenovo in the past, but I might start looking at their offerings.

    Other than that, it looks like I might have to lower my standards for an Ultraportable - doesn't look like there are [m]any 13" ultraportables sporting 16 GBs RAM at the moment. Might have to settle for a solid price and 8 GB.

    13-14 inches. Under 4 lbs. SSD (preferable 256 +). 8+ RAM. 6+ hrs battery life.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • TylerBarrettTylerBarrett Member Posts: 38 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Currently I'm using a Lenovo Helix tablet/ultrabook. Doesn't sound like what you're looking for really. It has a 3rd gen i7, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD sadly with Windows 8. Gets the job done for what I need it for and has the portability of the tablet.
  • QHaloQHalo Member Posts: 1,488
    SteveFT wrote: »
    I went with the Lenovo W530. Some days I wish I went with a small/lighter laptop, but you can't beat an i7 with 20GB of RAM and good battery life (at least 5-6 hours with light use). I really like the T430s with 16GB of RAM and a SSD. Still not the smallest laptop, but I think it is definitely light enough for regular travel.

    Yep, can't say enough about my W530 with 32GB and two SSDs in it. Heavy but there's not much that can top it.
  • Kinet1cKinet1c Member Posts: 604 ■■■□□□□□□□
    We used T430s in an older job of mine, they performed well and were quite solid.

    You should really look at what you're planning 2-3 years down the line in terms of certifications. If you're planning on doing visualization certificates then you'll need 16GB ram, I'm struggling right now with a 8GB nested vmware workstation lab.
    2018 Goals - Learn all the Hashicorp products

    Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I don't see myself going into virtualization certifications. However, in the next 2-3 years I do see myself learning Linux, Python, and completing the CCNP. Realistically, I could dial back on the initial RAM requirement - but I know 4 GB is not enough.

    I do most of my studying at the library, coffee shop, or work, so something portable is preferred.

    I also already have a Nexus 10 tablet, so a lot of the convertibles and newer tablets don't really peak my interest too much.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • da_vatoda_vato Member Posts: 445
    It definitely sounds like an Ultrabook would be best suited for your needs... the only problem is I don't know of any that have over 8GB of RAM. SSD are finally starting to come down in price so you could potentially get one with a smaller drive and upgrade that yourself, in fact I am about to do that.

    Keep us posted with what you finally get, I'm interested to see if you find a more powerful ultrabook.
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    For all your requirements you need a real laptop with real power behind it...not an ultrabook with energy efficient/low wattage CPUs and has upgrade limitations.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    SteveLord - do you have any suggestions to what a real laptop that fits my requirements might be?

    I'd love something very powerful, as long as I can comfortably throw it in my bag.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • JoJoCal19JoJoCal19 California Kid Mod Posts: 2,829 Mod
    Curious, what are the issues you're having with Mavericks? And did you install it as an upgrade or a fresh install? That seem's to make some difference from my experience.
    Have: CISSP, CISM, CISA, CRISC, eJPT, GCIA, GSEC, CCSP, CCSK, AWS CSAA, AWS CCP, CEHv8, CHFIv8, ITIL-F, MS Cyber Security - USF, BSBA - UF, MSISA - WGU
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  • DeathmageDeathmage Banned Posts: 2,496
    I have a Lenovo Y570 with a 256 GB SSD and the thing is awesome, 16 GB's of RAM and a i5; it's pretty snappy considering all I really do is RDP and telnet/cmd prompts on it for work...
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    SteveLord - do you have any suggestions to what a real laptop that fits my requirements might be?

    I'd love something very powerful, as long as I can comfortably throw it in my bag.

    I would side with others about exploring Lenovo. Their options are better and have more reliable machines IMO.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
  • yzTyzT Member Posts: 365 ■■■□□□□□□□
    For the past months I've been thinking on buying a laptop to let my PC just as a gaming machine, and everything I read is the same you are reading here: Lenovo.

    I don't know whether they are actually the best laptops or just they have a good marketing (have you noticed that many TV shows filmed during the past year use Lenovo?), but all recommendations tend to go for Lenovo.
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    Sager's laptops are pretty good also. They have mostly gaming, but also have others as well.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
  • ande0255ande0255 Banned Posts: 1,178
    I've read good things about Asus laptops as well, though my GPU burnt out pretty fast on my Asus, it has performed well since I got it back from repairs. Hopefully that's the only hardware issue I will have with it, I am otherwise happy with it.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    JoJoCal19 wrote: »
    Curious, what are the issues you're having with Mavericks? And did you install it as an upgrade or a fresh install? That seem's to make some difference from my experience.

    I did a fresh install of Mavericks a little over a month ago.

    To this day, Spotlight apparently hasn't finished indexing my files. (I've seen plenty of others reporting the same problem online and have attempted most of the suggested fixes, without luck.)

    The computer generally runs at very high temps, even with light use. However, even when the computer temps are generally low, the fans are blaring at full speed. I used to love the fact that my MBA was so silent. Now it sounds like a jet engine. I can't use it at the library nor anywhere else in public because the fans at max speed is honestly that loud.

    Mavericks seems incompatible with Google Chrome (my favorite browser, hands-down). Temps spike with just a few tabs open (2-4) and w/ very high CPU utilization. In Lion, Safari worked more efficiently than Chrome, but not to the point that I was forced to abandon the use of Chrome for Safari.

    iTunes doesn't work properly - recently purchased music doesn't download. Playback of local files often skips/stutters. Claims it can't read/write to my SD Card (although SD Card works well with other apps.) When I click on certain songs - it plays another song instead (silent/unreported error?). My iPod's music library is often incomplete after syncing.

    If I try to Shutdown or Restart the computer, it just hangs. It stays on a blank screen indefinitely until I do a hard-shutdown by holding the power button.

    If I close the lid, it often takes over a minute to finish falling asleep. I can tell because the fans are still roaring. It's slow on resume as well. When I bought the MBA, the fast sleep/resume shutdown/startup times were some of the most impressive features to me. Completely gone now.

    ---

    To be honest, I haven't done too much investigating on the issues. Been busy lately and quite frankly, just too lazy. But didn't expect such bad performance after a fresh install.

    Plan to try another reformat soon and see if the 2nd time's the charm, or if I simply installed an app (other than Chrome) that isn't compatible w/ Mavericks. However, the fresh install made me realize that I've slowly moved away from OS X - only apps. If I convert all my Pages files into .docx format, I could easily use any other OS. Now that I'm no longer tied into the Apple App economy, I think it might be a good time to move away from Apple computers in general.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I was originally contemplating the Asus Zenbook, but not sure if it's worth the cost.

    Now I'm thinking of possibly moving away from only looking at Ultrabooks and get a high performance laptop with Linux compatibility and dual boot w/ Win 7.

    Looked at System76's offerings, but I saw a few bad reviews.

    Now looking at maybe an HP Elitebook or Lenovo (even tho I don't particularly like Lenovo.)
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • OfWolfAndManOfWolfAndMan Member Posts: 923 ■■■■□□□□□□
    I personally use an HP Folio 13. In my experience of having two HP computers, I tend to have issues getting the drivers working on Linux, whether it be in a VM or using as primary boot. The one time I had my Lenovo, everything just worked without much additional config. From my research on the subject, it seems the X1 Carbon, the yoga (Dont remember which model) and the U310 seem to have some good feedback. The only issue I had with my Lenovo was the hinge going bad, and the hard drive beginning to fail, but I did drop it a couple times :)
    :study:Reading: Lab Books, Ansible Documentation, Python Cookbook 2018 Goals: More Ansible/Python work for Automation, IPSpace Automation Course [X], Build Jenkins Framework for Network Automation []
  • SteveLordSteveLord Member Posts: 1,717
    Take a look at ibuypower.com also. Tons of customization options. And they have a solid reputation on reselleratings. I would do them or Sager.
    WGU B.S.IT - 9/1/2015 >>> ???
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Update to the thread - I fixed almost all my issues w/ my Mac and Mavericks. Then I got Debian installed in parallel to Mac Os X and running pretty decent. However, I'm still decided on getting a new laptop and making a full plunge into Linux.

    Now I'm thinking of getting the Lenovo T440s. The main thing that 'm concerned about is getting the touchpad to work well under Linux - and whether there might be a better offering based on what I'm looking for.

    Does anyone have any further suggestions that might be better than the T440s? Or any opinions on the touchpad in Linux?
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • yzTyzT Member Posts: 365 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Is there any reason why you want Linux as the main OS instead of Windows? I'm asking you because I have been using Linux as my main OS for 4-5 years (in fact, few months ago I was looking for a laptop to use with Linux, like you), but recently I moved to Windows 8.1 and it's just better. More smooth and VirtualBox has capabilities that it doesn't have in its Linux version, for example, dragging files.

    I have most of the time a Linux VM turned on, though. I think the best bet to get the most of the laptop is this, Windows host Linux guest. Using Windows as the main OS you forget about troubles about something not working and looking for a workaround, while also you are going to have all Linux capabilities with the VM.
  • deth1kdeth1k Member Posts: 312
    yzT wrote: »
    Is there any reason why you want Linux as the main OS instead of Windows? I'm asking you because I have been using Linux as my main OS for 4-5 years (in fact, few months ago I was looking for a laptop to use with Linux, like you), but recently I moved to Windows 8.1 and it's just better. More smooth and VirtualBox has capabilities that it doesn't have in its Linux version, for example, dragging files.

    I have most of the time a Linux VM turned on, though. I think the best bet to get the most of the laptop is this, Windows host Linux guest. Using Windows as the main OS you forget about troubles about something not working and looking for a workaround, while also you are going to have all Linux capabilities with the VM.

    Erm, are you sure you've been running linux all this time? VirtualBox does have drag and drop capability for linux hosts only with guest tools enabled. Also what exactly isn't working for you, if you have specific apps and requirements then maybe linux isn't for you :)
  • yzTyzT Member Posts: 365 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Yes, I'm pretty sure I've been using Linux all this time. In fact, I use Linux since 2006, and as I said, as my main OS for four or five years. According to your statement, I do know you aren't using it though, at least not VirtualBox, because drag and drop doesn't work with Linux host, checked by myself with multiple distros and confirmed by VirtualBox's documentation.

    Drag’n’Drop This setting allows to enable Drag and Drop: Select a file on the desktop, click the
    left mouse button, move the mouse to the VM window and release the mouse button. The
    file is copied from the host to the guest. This feature is currently only implemented for
    Linux guests and only for copying files from the host to the guest.3

    I think you got my post wrong. I'm not saying that something doesn't work in Linux, in fact, everything works if you have the time to look for the root of the problem. Maybe it's a dependency, maybe your distro doesn't have the version you need, maybe... Whether you like it or not, this doesn't happen on Windows.
  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    I want Linux as the main OS for complete immersion; it'd force me to get not only well acquainted w/ Linux but also be the best catalyst towards becoming truly proficient. After a year or 2 if I don't like Linux as my primary OS, I can always switch - and I'd be much, much more knowledgeable by then.
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
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  • no!all!no!all! Member Posts: 245 ■■■□□□□□□□
    The Lenovo X1 Carbon's are realy nice, 16GB RAM, i7, 128GB SSD....
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  • DoubleNNsDoubleNNs Member Posts: 2,013 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Seems I never updated this thread w/ the end result. I decided on the Lenovo T440s.

    And now I'm returning it.

    A lot of small problems that I found annoying. However, the deal breaker was the fact that the suboptimal screen hurt my eyes - a problem I've never had with any other computer. Since I plan on using the computer for hours daily, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle after shelling out the cash for a premium product.
    (Paying even more money to buy a better screen and attempt a replacement myself - voiding warranty and/or forfeiting my return time window - seems out of the question.)

    Now I'm back to square one - looking for a Linux-compatible 13"-14" laptop, under 4 lbs to replace my aging Macbook (and allow me to finally start learning Linux in-depth).
    Goals for 2018:
    Certs: RHCSA, LFCS: Ubuntu, CNCF CKA, CNCF CKAD | AWS Certified DevOps Engineer, AWS Solutions Architect Pro, AWS Certified Security Specialist, GCP Professional Cloud Architect
    Learn: Terraform, Kubernetes, Prometheus & Golang | Improve: Docker, Python Programming
    To-do | In Progress | Completed
  • LinuxNerdLinuxNerd Member Posts: 83 ■■□□□□□□□□
    yzT wrote: »
    Is there any reason why you want Linux as the main OS instead of Windows? I'm asking you because I have been using Linux as my main OS for 4-5 years (in fact, few months ago I was looking for a laptop to use with Linux, like you), but recently I moved to Windows 8.1 and it's just better. More smooth and VirtualBox has capabilities that it doesn't have in its Linux version, for example, dragging files. I have most of the time a Linux VM turned on, though. I think the best bet to get the most of the laptop is this, Windows host Linux guest. Using Windows as the main OS you forget about troubles about something not working and looking for a workaround, while also you are going to have all Linux capabilities with the VM.

    Windows 8.1 is better than Linux? I didn't know this was the joke forum.
  • LinuxNerdLinuxNerd Member Posts: 83 ■■□□□□□□□□
    DoubleNNs wrote: »
    Seems I never updated this thread w/ the end result. I decided on the Lenovo T440s.

    And now I'm returning it.

    A lot of small problems that I found annoying. However, the deal breaker was the fact that the suboptimal screen hurt my eyes - a problem I've never had with any other computer. Since I plan on using the computer for hours daily, I decided it wasn't worth the hassle after shelling out the cash for a premium product.
    (Paying even more money to buy a better screen and attempt a replacement myself - voiding warranty and/or forfeiting my return time window - seems out of the question.)

    Now I'm back to square one - looking for a Linux-compatible 13"-14" laptop, under 4 lbs to replace my aging Macbook (and allow me to finally start learning Linux in-depth).

    I run Linux very well on my Dell Inspirons. I've been wanting to get a new 17" inspirion but I honestly don't want a computer with that garbage called Windows 8.1 installed on it. Gives me the creeps.

    But I'd go with Dell. Got a lemon once and they sent a replacement immediately 2nd day air.
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