Replace my Desktop with a Laptop?

Biro

Hall of Famer
Location
Jersey Shore
Real Name
Steve
In many ways such a move makes sense and if it works for you, fantastic. But I still have a 2019 27-inch iMac because - at least for me - in certain situations there is no substitute for screen real estate. One is when I work from home - which I have been doing more more than a year. Another is when I am editing photos.

Full disclosure: I also have a 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro for whenever I am not working or editing photos. When I use the Magic Keyboard it's like having a MacBook Air. When I leave the keyboard behind, it's a nice tablet for using on the couch or in bed.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
I'd be doing it with a pretty good laptop AND a thunderbolt dock. So laptop while sitting on the sofa watching a game and a desktop dual monitor setup when needed/wanted.

I have a custom built:
  • i5-8600k
  • 32gb of RAM
  • 512gb NVMe
  • 2tb SSD (and other drives),
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060 with 6gb of VRAM
I also have an old Thinkpad Yoga that only has 8gb of RAM and a 256gb SSD. This is the pain, it's not really upgradable.

I'm considering:
  • XPS 15
  • 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-10750H (12MB Cache, up to 5.0 GHz, 6 cores)
  • Windows 10 Home English
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti 4GB GDDR6
  • 16GB DDR4-2933MHz, 2x8G
  • 512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
  • 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit Display
And I'll add a 2tb NVMe, it has 2 slots. as well as 2 DRAM slots.
 
I've got a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop (i7-1065G7 8 cores up to 3.9 GHz, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) and a Dell Precision workstation (i7 8 cores, 32GB RAM, lots of hard drives). Compared to the desktop, I find the the laptop really struggles at heavy workloads (processing 5.7k 360 video) as the fans try to shed heat as quickly as possible. And the laptop fans ramp up whenever I do any video editing.

So if you do any video, keep that in mind.
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
I've got a Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop (i7-1065G7 8 cores up to 3.9 GHz, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD) and a Dell Precision workstation (i7 8 cores, 32GB RAM, lots of hard drives). Compared to the desktop, I find the the laptop really struggles at heavy workloads (processing 5.7k 360 video) as the fans try to shed heat as quickly as possible. And the laptop fans ramp up whenever I do any video editing.

So if you do any video, keep that in mind.
I've never been into video and my days of mass exports for events are behind me. That said the i7 in the system I'm looking at is a workstation laptop processor and not an ultra lite processor. I looked at and considered the XPS 13, but the XPS 15 has upgrade options many systems don't.

1623174857685.png
 
I run a Dell G5 gaming laptop, I7 9th gen, upgraded it this spring with 32 GB ram and 1 TB system and 2 TB SSD storage. It came with a 100 GB system disc and that was not sufficent, the rest was mostly for good measure and "future proofing".

Was looking at the XPS models when I bought it, but found that I got more bangs for the bucks with the G5 and the physical size of it was less important than the internals, as I dont habitually carry it around much. It is a bit on the chunky side of things.
 
Last edited:

MiguelATF

Hall of Famer
Location
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Real Name
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Anyone go from a big, reasonably powerful desktop to just a reasonably powerful laptop? (With a docking station for times when I want my current dual screens).

There is no one right answer for that, David - because it all depends both on your present needs (and desires) and your future ones as well. In my case, being a writer - and obliged to travel often - my desktop has a pleasantly enormous (Mac) screen, but a tiny (though very powerful) footprint (it's a Mac Mini). But when I am obliged to travel, I want a laptop which is both powerful and lightweight - so, some years ago, I traded in my larger (and more powerful) Macbook Pro - for a much smaller and lighter Macbook Air. For me, the compromise has worked truly well.

However I have friends who have gone the route you are contemplating - with a powerful laptop, a docking station, and the capacity to 'run' both a much larger external monitor - and a keyboard. Being a writer, I am obsessed with keyboards - how they feel and function - and, honestly, no laptop keyboard I've ever used (and I have used some great ones) has ever come close to some of the keyboards I've used (and am currently using) with my desktop.

So, in my case, if I only had a laptop - I would still need connecting hardware or a dock or cables - to run my larger monitor and my oh-so-cool keyboard - and it would wind up occupying a MUCH larger footprint than my present Mac-Mini-System.

Moral of the story: different strokes for different folks.
Good luck with your explorations....I'd like to know what you come up with :)
 
Location
Boston Burbs
Real Name
David
I run a Dell G5 gaming laptop, I7 9th gen, upgraded it this spring with 32 GB ram and 1 TB system and 2 TB SSD storage. It came with a 100 GB storage disc and that was not sufficent, the rest was mostly for good measure and "future proofing".

Was looking at the XPS models when I bought it, but found that I got more bangs for the bucks with the G5 and the physical size of it was less important than the internals, as I dont habitually carry it around much. It is a bit on the chunky side of things.
Size does matter to me and I like the 16 x 10 ratio.
 

wee-pics

Hall of Famer
Location
Germany
Real Name
Walter
I started 1990 with the first Mac, the Powerbook 150 (500 MB HD, 4 MB main memory), worked with Powerbooks (Lombard and Wall Street) for many years. Now I'm doing most of the "serious" work (Photo PP, mixing music recordings and layout of flyers) on the 21'' iMac (which has been running for a dozen years). But for some things I'm glad to have my son's old 17'' gaming laptop (Acer , including a 24'' monitor). You just can't lean back on the sofa or an armchair with an iMac. ;)
 

Richard

All-Pro
Location
Marlow, UK
Just on the subject of docking stations - I had one with my first laptop, and then felt I needed another one when the time came to replace it. But that cut down the choice of laptop and pushed me towards more expensive models, intended for use in larger companies. It took a while for me to realise that I didn't really need a docking station at all. The laptop I'm using to type this has a total of three physical connections. The first is a power cable, the second is an HDMI cable to the external monitor (which in turn creates a left and right audio for the little speakers on my desk) and the third is a USB cable which goes to a USB hub built into the same monitor. That's where the mouse and keyboard are connected. The LAN connection is wireless, as is the printer. Apart from occasional ad-hoc USB connections directly into the side of the laptop, that's it.

The three physical cables can be plugged or unplugged in half the time it took me to write this sentence. I don't miss having a docking station at all.

-R
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Location
New Mexico
Real Name
Larry
It's such a personal choice. For a quick web posting, tranferring the file from my camera to the tablet or phone and doing a Snapseed edit works. I use a Dell XPS 13 for travel and most daily emailing, etc. But I'm not willing to give up my desktop, and in fact finally bought a new one a year ago with an i7 9700 and 48 gigs of ram. If I really want to see how something looks, the 27 inch monitor used with the desktop is invaluable and more precisely calibrated. But like I said, sometimes a Snapseed edit on my Note 10+ phone does the job at hand. The XPS 13 is a great travel computer, weighing about 2 lbs. , which counts toward the 15 lbs carry on limit on the airlines I fly overseas, but the small screen can become limiting for me (and I only speak for me) if I'm editing a bunch of photos. The size is a definite trade off. If I didn't need a laptop to travel with, and was going to replace my desktop with a laptop, I'd probably go for a 17 inch screen, and to hell with the weight.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
Do the current XPS keyboards have pg up/down keys? My XPS 17 requires a 2 key combo (Fn+ for pg up and Fn+ for pg down) and it drives me nuts. I like everything else about it as my primary machine but the keyboard is less than ideal.
 
I've never been into video and my days of mass exports for events are behind me. That said the i7 in the system I'm looking at is a workstation laptop processor and not an ultra lite processor. I looked at and considered the XPS 13, but the XPS 15 has upgrade options many systems don't.

View attachment 260693
I'd be curious about heat management in that XPS15. In my XPS13, I'm hitting thermal limits if my CPU is maxed out too long.
 

Kevin

Code Monkey 🐒
I cannot speak for other models, but my XPS 13 9380 has the page up and down keys. The combination you described adjusts the screen brightness.
I just looked on the Dell site out of curiosity to see what the current models are and all of the XPS screen shots are showing pg up/down combo keys instead of being dedicated. On the current 13 the arrow keys aren't even in the T layout. I really do like the XPS line but will likely end up switching to a more 'corporate' level machine when I upgrade just to get a better keyboard. Poking around some other sites it looks like most laptop these days are coming with the layout like below. :(

1623209129341.png
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Location
New Mexico
Real Name
Larry
I just looked on the Dell site out of curiosity to see what the current models are and all of the XPS screen shots are showing pg up/down combo keys instead of being dedicated. On the current 13 the arrow keys aren't even in the T layout. I really do like the XPS line but will likely end up switching to a more 'corporate' level machine when I upgrade just to get a better keyboard. Poking around some other sites it looks like most laptop these days are coming with the layout like below. :(

View attachment 260709
A bit different, but mine does have dedicated pg up and down
20210609_000959.jpg
 
Last edited:

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Location
New Mexico
Real Name
Larry
My keyboard is like this, except the bottom row is shorter ( the Alt and Ctrl keys are squares thus the arrows and PgUp/PgDn are shorter).

I hate it. After over a year, I still accidentally hit PgUp and PgDn. And I'm usually not picky about keyboards.
I actually like it. It is one of the few keyboards on which I can successfull touch type the top row. But it's personal; there are other keyboards I hate. This one fits my hands better than most.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom