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Nov 18, 2020


Dave Johnson

Hey Ralph, Thanks for your writings. One thing in this post struck me. Those that have forever been into CAD/CAM believed that what you called an add-on discrete graphics card is preferred or required. Years ago when we went to integrated graphics we tended to experience lots of problems, horrid video performance, errors, CAD/CAM applications graphically not working, and so on. I understand the level of user ( light user versus medium user versus power-user) is important. For this discussion lets assume a light to medium user. Has the video development environment in recent CAD/CAM programs or has integrated video improved such that the need to go with an add-on discreet card has changed. We don't much anymore but it used to be all we heard about related to graphics was OpenGL. ???

Ralph Grabowski

I have not tested nVidia boards recently. A number of years ago, I ran extensive benchmarks comparing an nVidia board with the build-in Intel graphics in my desktop computer.

The results were shocking: the nVidia board was slower at nearly all CAD visual operations, such as wireframe and rendered display. The only area in which the nVidia was faster than the Intel was in hidden-line removal.

After this, I tried talking to nVidia folks about the results but they weren't particularly interested. But I did notice that their marketing used the catach phrase, "up to x faster."

I think nVidia boards are important for high-demand games and when CAD-linked software makes use of the GPUs on the board, such as for rendering and finite element analysis. But otherwise, it's marketing at work.

Tom Foster

Hi Ralph
Currently buying for my wife, for whom pics, music and Zoom are paramount, as well as Office aps. Ultra light slim LG Gram 17" @ £1300 incl VAT was a revelation, going a long way to not needing an external monitor - really beautiful machine. But we tried two examples, sent them back, because broadband via ethernet cable was only possible via an ethernet to USB-C adaptor.
This cut our weak rural broadband from just-OK 1.85Mbps, to 0.6 (also by wifi from same 1.85 to 1.0, but wifi isn't favoured here). Such slow broadband isn't unusual, esp across USA I believe, but I expect LG-land S Korea has no idea about that.
Hoped it was just a lo-quality LG-branded adaptor, but consultation with a hi-quality manufacturer said it would make no difference at the slow end of the scale. LG also confirmed there was no hope but would look into it for next version.
So looking now in the diminishing range of laptops still with an ethernet port - which means flashy gaming or stolid business machines. Still hoping for 17" but 15.6" more likely.

Ralph Grabowski

In the end, my son-in-law went for a high-end Dell for e850 that came with an i7 CPU, 16GB RAM 512GB SSD, and 2GB nVidia board.


I disagree with CAD work and dedicated graphics claim. It's mostly useless in day to day stuff, but when I need to work on CAD and 3D software, it's a must. As I don't have a desktop and it's the only machine available it needs to do everything.

And yes, the silver keys are absolutely horrible. If the backlight is on during the day, the letters disappear. Who tf thought this?


Thank you for providing us information about how to buy Laptop. Thank you for this.

Omar Abdallah Ed

Wow, thanks for the insightful breakdown! Looks like investing a bit more upfront saves a ton in the long run. Gotta prioritize that SSD for sure! 💻🚀

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