Suitable MBP replacement?

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by michael.richard1982, May 20, 2018.

  1. michael.richard1982 macrumors member

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    #1
    What's the best non-Apple replacement for a MacBook Pro? I'm looking for a laptop that matches the specs of the top end MBP. Assume money is no object since I'm already fine with paying the Apple premium.

    Some points I'm looking for
    - Support for at least 2 external monitors with 4k@60hz
    - Ability to disable integrated video card entirely
    - Bonus points for 32gb ram, but I can live with 16gb.
    - Bonus points for physical appearance, but shouldn't trade functionality or practicality for this.

    I tried the Dell XPS 15 9560 with maxed out specs for a while. It failed at the first two points so I returned it.
     
  2. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

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    Jan 24, 2011
    #2
    9570 is out now, isn’t it? If you are connecting to external monitors, why not do it through a Thunderbolt 3 external gpu? From what I hear the 9570s Thunderbolt 3 is not gimped like previous generations...I would suggest looking at gaming laptops. Maybe a razer. MSI just released a thin one with a 1070 in it, too.
     
  3. michael.richard1982 thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    Yeah I just noticed 9570 is actually available now. I can't find any docs on external monitor support yet though. And it has four lanes on the TB3, so there is potential this time...
     
  4. leman macrumors G3

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    #4
    I'd wait for the reviews first, the laptop is only shipping end of June...

    Also, I don't know why you want to completely disable the iGPU, but that won't work with the XPS since it does its video output though the iGPU anyway. I assume that the new XPS shares the same video output limitation as the previous one as its iGPU is identical.
     
  5. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

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    #5
    If you have an external GPU, are you saying it’s output is still internal?
     
  6. leman macrumors G3

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    #6
    No, I am only talking about how the laptop is wired internally. If you connect an external GPU using Thunderbolt's PCI-Express, you can use that GPU's video output. Of course, if you somehow manage to set up Optimus with it, you could also use the external GPU to accelerate the internal display. I have no idea whether its possible or how its done. Does Windows even have official support for external GPUs? As in hot plugging etc?
     
  7. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

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    #7
    OP didn't respond to the question regarding external GPU...I suggested it cause my assumption was that the situation with monitors relates to a stationary/workplace setup, compared to the general mobility a laptop provides.

    I don't know about hot swapping/plugging, though. I do know that most of the mainstream external boxes are aimed at the PC market (Razer, Akitio Node, etc.). My understanding is that even with external support for Macs, it's easier to get those things working the way you want them with Windows. I plan on using my box in Bootcamp (if I haven't bought a Dell XPS 15 when I pull the trigger on a new purchase).
     
  8. leman macrumors G3

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    #8
    I don't know much about how all this works and clear information is very hard to come by, but if I understand it correctly, eGPU in Windows works simply because Thunderbolt exposes a PCI-express bus to the outside. So connecting an external GPU is just like plugging a new GPU into a desktop mainboard slot. It is recognised just as another PCi-express device and works natively.

    But this doesn't really mean that the OS offers actual support for external GPUs. For example, High Sierra has dedicated APIs that allow developer to dynamically enumerate available GPUs, detect when a GPU is connected or disconnected, switch rendering on the fly and even move data from one GPU to another (although the mechanism right now is a bit awkward and could potentially use some improvement). For example, you can use the external GPU for rendering and then copy the final image to the internal GPU for further processing and/or output. I don't think that Windows has all those options, but I could be mistaken. At any rate, I was unable to find similar functionality in the Windows world...

    As far as Mac eGPU support goes, its pretty much plug and play, provided you are using a supported GPU (which right now is the biggest limitation). I guess if an application is aware of multi-GPU functionality, even better.
     
  9. ocnitsa macrumors 6502

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    #9
    We have different uses, I guess...I just want something I can set up in the office that will play games and be VR capable...don't need it for any rendering or anything.
     
  10. michael.richard1982 thread starter macrumors member

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    May 18, 2018
    #10
    Some windows apps would exclusively use the iGPU. There was some choppyness in demanding tasks on an external monitor like 4k video.

    I know MacOS gives you the option (http://osxdaily.com/2017/01/08/disable-gpu-switching-macbook-pro/)

    From what I can tell Windows doesn't have such a configuration, the only way is if the BIOS gives you the option.
     
  11. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    #11
    I turned to the gaming industry as I'm not concerned with a notebook being just being thin & light, looking good. What I want is performance in a chassis that can deal with the thermals. 7700HQ, GTX 1070, 32Gb RAM (expandable to 64Gb), 2x M.2 SSD bays, 1 x 2.5 inch SATA bay, cool and quiet.

    Right now I'm considering another gaming focused notebook, with the new Intel six core 8750H, although limited to 32Gb of RAM this 17.3" weighs in at just 2.5Kg. If this system can also remain reasonably cool & quiet it may be my next primary, although I'm considering waiting on an i9 notebook.

    Such notebooks are well into MBP pricing, equally the performance is far stronger and the usability much better, another factor I like is that one can swap in and reuse the storage solutions be it M.2 or SATA SSD's, with Apple that additional cost is simply lost, more importantly in the event of a failure I can remove the data drive containing any client sensitive data. In many respects Apple has crippled the MBP, effectively turning it into an expensive MacBook Air, that's reliant on docks & dongles to achieve basic connectivity...

    Q-6
     
  12. c0ppo macrumors 65816

    c0ppo

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    Feb 11, 2013
    #12
    Check out new Razer Blade 15.6

    By the looks of it, that device ticks all of my wishes. Well, except one.. It has a 16:9 screen, I would love at least 16:10, or even better 3:2. But can't have it all. Slim, light, beautiful, powerful, and upgradable!

    I will wait for some reviews first. But Razer got my hopes up... :)
     
  13. Val-kyrie macrumors 68000

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    Feb 13, 2005
    #13
    I would look at the Lenovo X1 Carbon 6th Gen (2018). I have read up extensively on this laptop and its only real competition is the Dell XPS 13" 9570; however, I prefer the former for its keyboard and matte screen. If Apple introduces an ARM-based MB on Monday, this will likely be my next laptop.
     
  14. vladi macrumors 6502

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    Jan 30, 2010
    #14
    You might want to check out MSI WS series as slim workstation. If that's expensive you should check out MSI GS or Aorus laptops. Gigabyte Aero 15x is a better and cheaper alternative to All New Blade if you were ever thinking about getting the Razer for some reason.
     
  15. Queen6, May 31, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018

    Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    #15
    This:

    Unless one needs specific workstation attributes modern gaming notebooks make for killer replacements. Offering what many professional's want; performance, scalability ports etc.

    I was a little cautious heading in this direction personally, equally has proved to be a solid decision on so many levels...

    Q-6
     
  16. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #16
    Do you have the MSI or am I misunderstanding your post?

    I love MobileTechReview, here's another good one. I like DavidLee, he brings some nice insights with his reviews.



    Two thing he mentions that I didn't hear from Lisa Gade is that the case is not built out of a solid piece of aluminum, and in both reviews you see some flex occuring when using the keyboard. Another potential short coming is the speakers are facing the bottom, so that may be a something that bothers people.

    Tbh, I never considered MSI, in the past they were not considered a premium brand, but this does look nice. Its not my style, but it doesn't look cheap. I'm still leaning heavily towards the Razer Blade 15" model
    2018-06-01_06-30-40.png 2018-06-01_06-31-08.png
     
  17. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    #17
    I previously tried an MSI 15" GS63VR Raider, however there were aspects of the notebook that didn't gel with me, more subjective than objective mostly on the software side. The 15" Raider being my first venture into gaming notebooks for my professional need. Performance was certainly adequate (7700HQ, 16Gb, GTX 1060-6Gb, 256+1TB), equally one very rapidly becomes aware of more being on tap.

    I next opted for an Acer Predator 17 (7700HQ, 32Gb, GTX 1070-8Gb, 256+2TB) as I was offered one at a very decent price for Asia. Beside the very obvious weight and size the Predator 17 has proved to be a tremendous notebook, verging on desktop performance. No thermal or power throttling, quiet even under full load, fabulous computer, barring the weight tipping 12lb with power & cable, equally the Predator 17 has been literally round the world and then some with no drama.

    I looked at the new 2018 MSI Stealth Thin, however the difficult upgrade path deterred me (inverted mainboard). I also find that opting for the absolute thinnest chassis with this much power on tap brings it's own issues, with potential for thermal throttling and high noise levels.

    Yesterday afternoon I literally picked up a new notebook; 17.3" 144Hz IPS display, Intel hex core 8750H, 16Gb Ram, GTX 1070, 256 nVME SSD and 1TB mass storage. RAM & storage (RAM, M.2 SSD and 2.5" SATA) are easily user upgradable, with RAM upgraded to 32GB before we even left the ROG Store, being literally a two minute job. Notebook comes with a 36 month national warranty and 24 month international warranty, with ASUS ROG standing by their product at no additional cost. Although a regional specific model the upcoming Strix SCAR Edition GL703GS with Intel 8750H will likely be identical.

    Construction: as long as the materials meet the requirement I don't care, with modern polymers & composites being lighter and more durable than aluminium. This new ASUS ROG is far more ridged and structurally stronger than previous iterations, shedding over 2-1/2lb (notebook alone) in comparison to my current Predator 17.3"

    As for Apple it's direction is clearly different; thinner, lighter, reducing usability, willing to compromise everything for the sake of a singular aspect. Combined once again with questionable reliability of the premier 15" line. Apple's engineering is not to be discounted, equally the sole focus of just a thinner platform results in ever diminishing returns IMHO. Absolutely not what many professional's want, need or require, with now the MBP left vastly lacking performance & scalability...



    Mine is the GL703GS 17.3" hex core 8750H, GTX 1070, 144Hz IPS, 256Gb+1TB and now 32Gb :)

    As for the new GL703GS I'll let the weekend pass and the kids enjoy, then set down to work and see what this reasonably thin & light notebook can really do :p

    Q-6
     
  18. hajime macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #18
    If I connect a laptop to an eGPU, can I still use the internal graphics of the laptop to drive a 4K TV at 60Hz with Chroma 4:4:4 via the TV's HDMI 2.0 port at the back?
     
  19. hajime macrumors 601

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    #19
    Does your laptop has heat, noisy fan and thermal throttling issues?
     
  20. Queen6, Jun 10, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018

    Queen6 macrumors 604

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    #20
    The S7BS (GL703GS) can be loud, equally it's relatively thin & light for a notebook with a 8750H & full GTX 1070. Noise is very much apparent under the highest performance profile where the GPU is overclocked. Under Silent and Balanced profile the notebook is "relatively" quiet, again much is going to be related to the load placed on the system.

    No thermal throttling as the cooling system is very substantial. I left the S7BS running stability tests last night, once the cooling system ramped up the CPU temperature remained below 70C for the duration with all cores maxed out. This was using the lowest performance profile as I'm checking the stability with a -150mV undervolt applied to the CPU. Asus limits the performance by reducing the CPU / GPU power limits, with lower settings being more likely to trigger any issue with the undervolt applied.

    I've looked at the stability on higher performance profiles although less likely to be of issue, as Asus is allowing the CPU / GPU to run unrestrained and the GPU mildly overclocked with higher power levels. CPU temperature again remained in the 70C region, being excellent for such sustained high loads. The 8750H will pull up to 85W (90W PL-2) then rollback to 45W (PL-1). I'm seeing others speak of the same or similar behaviour with differing brands so potentially a limit of hardware, locked into BIOS and likely Intel's recommendation.

    It may be possible to override such behaviour, equally it may not be prudent and highly likely to exceed the systems power budget with the CPU pulling as much as 90W & GPU pulling as much as 125W with 230W on tap. Some gaming / enthusiast notebooks have very open BIOS with comprehensive parameters, some owners having literally fried the CPU by unwittingly chasing a little more performance. Once Intel makes the datasheet publicly available we will know the exact power limits for the 8750H.

    The 8750H TDP can be configured down with some manufacturers opting to do this, likely in thinner systems with less capable cooling & powertrains, or more cynically to ensure product differentiation. I believe this is how Asus is controlling the CPU for it's "Silent" performance profile by having a user selectable TDP baked into BIOS, switching between 45W & 35W TDP. Looking around the web at Cinebench R15 results Asus's S7BS CPU is not being held back or throttled with a result of 1271CB for the 64bit multicore test, being one of the higher score's.

    Seriously fast for a notebook :cool:
    2018-06-12 (1).png


    Q-6
     

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