Laptop recommendation? 15.6 for 1000USD budget

ThinkPad P53 15" Mobile Workstation

$988.00 with NVIDIA® Quadro® T1000 4GB

Part Number: 20QNS00Q00
9th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-9400H with vPro™ (2.50GHz, up to 4.30GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8MB Cache)
Windows 10 Pro 64
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits
8GB DDR4 2666MHz
256GB SSD PCle

P53 pros
Better connectibility, including thunderbolt 3 and sd card reader
More upgradeable, “futureproofing”
Better reliability and build quality?
Potentially better business class tech support
Slightly more reliable gpu (at the expense of slightly less speed vs gtx. Not important since im not a power user)

Legion Y540 15" Gaming Laptop

$933.99 with GeForce® GTX 1660Ti 6GB
$1,033.99 with GeForce® RTX 2060 6GB

Part Number: 81SXCTO1WW
9th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-9750HF (2.60GHz, up to 4.50GHz with Turbo Boost, 6 cores, 12MB Cache)
Windows 10 Home
8GB DDR4 2666MHz
First Hard Drive 1TB HDD 7200rpm
Second Hard Drive 256GB SSD PCIe
15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 60Hz, 300 nits

Legion pros
Faster cpu
Better GPU?
Additional installed 1tb harddrive

Am i better off with one of Lenovos Legion gaming series since in addition to sketchup I want to do photo editing and use it for HTPC use? All personal, non -professional, use.

Or is the p53 a more solid machine, capable of doing 99 percent of my relatively modest needs, but more reliably, with better tech support, better upgradeability, thunderbird 3 ports, sd card reader?

Id frankly prefer an ultrabook form to either one of these but thats not critical. I dont travel with a laptop, but strongly prefer a mobile pc that i can use in any room or on the deck or occasionally away from home. I have not been able to find an ultrabook that offers performance equal to the above for 1000usd. My only big reservation with either of them is the inexplicably poor 45% rgb displays that ill be using for photo editing. Lenovo had to cut some corner to get this price point. I wish they could have been able to do better here though. I can get an external monitor and/or upgrade the P53 display later on with a 4k screen, harness adapter, and drivers.

If anyone might suggest another machine, any brand, that is even close in performance (adequate to see me through six or more years of moderate use without going obsolete) but with a more accurate screen for photo work id be very very thankful.

Above prices are through my employer purchasing. Other brands qualify, but dont seem to do anything close to the approx 200usd discount that lenovo offers. HP starts at 1500usd for similarly configured business and/or elitebook class but the Omen series is nearly competitive.

Thanks so much if youve read this far:)

As to SketchUp performance the CPUs in your options are very near each other with a little more than 1% difference in their single thread rating. The i7 has more cores, so if you plan to use a rendering application, this would be of importance.

The Quadro graphics card in the “workstation” model is clearly inferior to both the alternatives available for the “gaming” model. Most modern software, including SketchUp, do not benefit in any way from the “pro” image attached to the Quadro series. Inside, the Quadro cards are very similar to their cheaper and more powerful GeForce siblings.

Thank you. Good to know a little more about the card classifications. I’m starting to realize that there is a pretty steep roll off to the diminishing returns of researching this stuff. There is so much information available on the web in the form of pricing, review, testing, etc, that after a reasonable amount of research you find it’s somewhat true that you get what you pay for. One vendor offering the EXACT same machine for 100 dollars less. Drill down a bit and you discover that there is a smaller capacity SSD, or an earlier generation of the same CPU, or one significant change to what appeared to be the same GPU, etc, etc.
Most companies and vendors are extremely up to date on the competition and are guaranteed to have spent more time pricing these things that you have researching their prices.
It’s the “use” factor that’s a little harder to get my head around. Gaming, Business, Ultraportable. And the many models that overlap categories… and what will, in the end, suit my needs best. I’m finding it most maddening that there is so much of a ‘lottery’ involved in some of the components. Especially the screen. There seems no reliable way to be sure of the quality in the one you get in the mail.

Do the research now and the knowledge will serve you well in years to come :slight_smile:

The gaming laptop kings are Asus, HP Omen, and Gigabyte. I find their models consistent across vendors.

I would probably start with the HP Omen 15-T which has a intel 8750H and a GTX1660ti…compare everything to that.

Here are the Basics (not just for SketchUp but for pretty much anything these days):

  • Get a Fast GPU; the best you can afford. Usually a laptop is built around the GPU since its a powerhungry and space-hungry item, not to mention a pricey one. If you select a laptop with a current-generation GPU it will almost certainly have other current-generation features such as USB-C and support for faster ram, better bluetooth, etc.

Use case is the main decision for laptop purchasing…as you rightly point out, it’s not easy to predict.:

Do you use your laptop as a primary display and use it for typing/emails/etc? Many laptops are plugged into docks and stay stationary all day long… So your “use case” should be built around this; I usually recommend an external monitor (single 24" or 27").

Can you carry a 6lb/2.5kg weight? (eg on a bicycle, aircraft of walking to work?). Power adaptors are also a bit heavy & bulk can vary a lot…so factor that in.

Will you plug into an external monitor and use a proper mouse and keyboard? If not, then you need a laptop with a proper keyboard with numeric keypad, decent size and layut, etc. - an ultrabook wont give you this.

Do you need 9hrs battery life? If so, then pick a laptop that has a GPU supporting Nvidia Optimus (a GTX1050 will do this, but not a 1060. A GTX1660 Ti will do this, but not a 2060. ; so there will be a compromise in GPU power). Even if you don’t get Optimus, then do look at battery comparisons; bigger battery = heavier laptop, but more useful.

In terms of internals, there are things that can be upgraded, and those that cannot. If you want to keep the laptop for 3+ years, then consider:

  • A good monitor (if you use it as a primary display).
  • A good keyboard that you enjoy using (if you use the keyboard for your main inputs).

Ram? Can be upgraded. 16gb is pretty standard.
Hard Drive? Again, can be upgraded. So unless you save lots of files to your local PC (which you shouldn’t; buy cloud storage!) you will want one large SSD. 512mb+ ideally, but 265 is adequate.

All other features?
Really just comes down to what you use… SSD card reader - necessary? Probably not unless you’re a photojournalist. A cable will suffice.
USB-C I think is a must.

Longevity/robustness? I dont see much difference these days between gaming and “professional” laptops.
Upgradeability? Usually gaming laptops use more generic parts and are easier to upgrade, and also there are more of them in the universe, so servicing & parts are a bit easier to source.

I;'ve spent a lot of time using laptops and speccng them for our company.

“Business laptops”- they work well for portability, battery life, etc, but the dont have the power…why they spec them with older CPUs and crappy Quadro 1000s i cant understand. “VR Ready” is also a hot business tagline they seems to mean they can charge double.

Ultrabooks vary widely; most are designed for managers who send emails all day, sit at meetings and check analytics, rather than doing anything we would call “productive”. The productivity ones are nice for graphic designers etc and are very pricey and still not all that powerful…otherwise they cost a fortune.

Gaming laptops vary widely but, compared to ther others, are rugged, powerful and cheap. But high performance makes things heavier and bulkier…and chews through battery life a lot faster than you might assume. You can usually go with current-gen technology which makes them even better value in the long term.

You’re asking a lot with a budget of $1000 and 6 years expectation.