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I'm switching from Mac to Windows, need recommendations for a new professional laptop.
Շարքի հրապարակողը: Rachel Musselle

Rachel Musselle
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Local time: 19:48
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Sep 25, 2018

Hi everyone,

I've been a Mac user for quite some time and I have finally decided to purchase a new laptop for my translation work. I currently use a Macbook Air 2015 but I don't want to keep dealing with technical issues related to software and so I'll only be using my Mac in my spare time. I think my life would be much easier if I didn't have to fiddle around with things to get most translation software to work. I have been looking for a laptop for about 2 months, but there are jus
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Hi everyone,

I've been a Mac user for quite some time and I have finally decided to purchase a new laptop for my translation work. I currently use a Macbook Air 2015 but I don't want to keep dealing with technical issues related to software and so I'll only be using my Mac in my spare time. I think my life would be much easier if I didn't have to fiddle around with things to get most translation software to work. I have been looking for a laptop for about 2 months, but there are just so many out there and I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all.

So far, my colleagues have told me the laptop should have the following specs:

- At least 12 RAM minimum
- I5 core minimum (I7 if possible)
- Solid state drive
- 14-17" screen

I will be predominately using MemoQ and WinCaps, and will probably invest in more software in the future. Since this will be my main work laptop, I'm definitely willing to invest a lot of money into it, since I don't want to purchase a laptop for it to die in 2-3 years. I really like Lenovo laptops, but a few people have told me that they are not good.

Please, if any of my translator colleagues have suggestions for an excellent laptop that is tried and tested then I would be eternally grateful

Thanks and happy translating,

Rachel
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Muhammad Mousa
Heba Safaya
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
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just a quick comment (for now) Sep 25, 2018

I'd suggest looking at the 17" (or 15") ‘workstations’ from:
1. Dell (Precision 7720) and
2. Lenovo (ThinkPad P701).

That is, if you aren't worried about their size and have around €2,000 or so to spend.

Dell:
https://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/shop/sfc/sf/precision-laptops?~ck=mn
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I'd suggest looking at the 17" (or 15") ‘workstations’ from:
1. Dell (Precision 7720) and
2. Lenovo (ThinkPad P701).

That is, if you aren't worried about their size and have around €2,000 or so to spend.

Dell:
https://www.dell.com/en-uk/work/shop/sfc/sf/precision-laptops?~ck=mn
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Precision-7720-Xeon-P5000-4K-Workstation-Review.279706.0.html

Lenovo:
https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/workstations/oil-gas-and-energy-industry/ThinkPad-P71/p/22TP2WPWP71
https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-P71-i7-P3000-4K-Workstation-Review.272884.0.html

Michael


[Edited at 2018-09-25 19:43 GMT]
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Dan Lucas
 

Daniel Frisano  Identity Verified
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Personal experience Sep 25, 2018

I change my laptop every 2-3 years and I have tried several makers: HP, Acer, Sony, Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba.

None of them was really REALLY satisfying, although HP came close.

Now I have an Asus, 16GB RAM, i7 processor, solid state drive. Not exactly cheap, as you can imagine. Decently performing but still gets stuck for a split second every once in a while. Typically I keep open Wordfast, two Excel sheets, Vivaldi web browser with several tabs + radio (and that's almost
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I change my laptop every 2-3 years and I have tried several makers: HP, Acer, Sony, Lenovo, Asus, Toshiba.

None of them was really REALLY satisfying, although HP came close.

Now I have an Asus, 16GB RAM, i7 processor, solid state drive. Not exactly cheap, as you can imagine. Decently performing but still gets stuck for a split second every once in a while. Typically I keep open Wordfast, two Excel sheets, Vivaldi web browser with several tabs + radio (and that's almost 1GB RAM by itself), plus mail client & antivirus.

Lenovo is not a bad choice - not worse than the others.

They are all overloaded anyway. Even though I disabled everything I could disable, at the moment the task manager shows 91 background processes running, including crap you can't get rid of like Cortana, and 84 Windows processes. That's 4GB RAM out of 16 just to keep it alive. Ridiculous.
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Heba Safaya
 

Rachel Musselle
Մեծ Բրիտանիա
Local time: 19:48
իսպաներենից անգլերեն
TOPIC STARTER
Leaning more towards the Lenovo Sep 25, 2018

Thanks for your suggestions. I had a bad experience with Dell once, but it wasn't a professional laptop so I guess it was bound to die sooner or later...

With that being said, I'm not sure I'm willing to invest 2000 in this laptop, but I do get 20% discount off Lenovo laptops so I was looking at the ThinkPad range online, in particular the ThinkPad T580.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
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I second the ThinkPad suggestion Sep 25, 2018

Michael Beijer wrote:
2. Lenovo (ThinkPad P701).

I have used ThinkPads for close to 20 years, though I now use a Surface Pro. ThinkPads are very robust machines with great keyboards, and you can replace and upgrade parts (RAM, SSD etc.) as desired without affecting the warranty. If you want something slightly more portable than the beast recommended by Michael, I would consider something like a T480, which strikes a nice compromise between low weight and a decent number of ports.
https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/laptops/thinkpad/t-series/c/thinkpadt

If you travel frequently, and can live with its shortcomings, the X1 Carbon is light and sweet:
https://www.lenovo.com/gb/en/laptops/thinkpad/x-series/ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-6th-Gen/p/22TP2TXX16G

I think you should definitely aim for an i7, rather than an i5. 16GB of RAM should be more than enough - it is not a limiting factor on my system.

If you use your laptop mostly at home, consider a dock so that you can attach a larger monitor and ergonomic keyboard:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lenovo-Pro-Dock-ThinkPad-Laptop/dp/B00KYOM726

If you rely on your PC for your living, an extended on-site ThinkPad warranty might be advisable if you don't have a backup PC already in place.

If you want a PC that looks as well as it performs, the Dell XPS and HP Envy are both pretty pieces of metal. They are not as tough or as versatile as the ThinkPads, but journalists love them, for what that is worth.

Regards,
Dan


Heba Safaya
 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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PC Specialist Sep 25, 2018

I've just bought one of those: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/defianceV-17/ from pcspecialist.co.uk. I'm configuring it at this very moment.

They are built to specs, so for each model, you get a range of component choices. It's also one of the few suppliers that allow you to choose the keyboard and operating system languages.

Consider the screen r
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I've just bought one of those: https://www.pcspecialist.co.uk/notebooks/defianceV-17/ from pcspecialist.co.uk. I'm configuring it at this very moment.

They are built to specs, so for each model, you get a range of component choices. It's also one of the few suppliers that allow you to choose the keyboard and operating system languages.

Consider the screen resolution too. I opted for 2560x1440 for my 17" screen.

This model in my configuration has an i7 CPU and a 500-GB SSD + a backup hard drive for the purpose of keeping an image copy of the SSD, so that if the SSD crashes, I can still boot. This does not eliminate the need for online backups, but it can help you avoid shutting down your business while waiting for technical support.

Another reason I didn't buy a mainstream brand was the fashion of not including a numerical keypad, as I use it a lot for Alt codes. Mainstream brands also offer only limited choice if you want a 17" screen.

PC Specialist don't deliver the PCs full of junkware. They come with Windows and a control application (which did cause some problems, but hopefully they'll get them ironed out). I also needed to reinstall a couple of drivers to get everything to work. Unfortunately Windows is no guarantee against software issues, although Windows 10 has been improved a lot by now.

I'm satisfied with the hardware, which has a pleasant touch and feel and seems robust.

The touchpad doesn’t have the annoying 'feechur' you find on some mainstream models: that the buttons too are touch sensitive (so when you try to click, the cursor keeps moving).

This one has a fingerprint sensor, so I can log in to Windows with the touch of a finger, as you can on some smartphones.

It's a matte display, which reduces annoying reflections.

Until now, I can say that I'd still buy the same model if I should buy again.

But Lenovo too produce robust models that are easy to maintain and repair. It was one of the main brands I considered, but as they wouldn't let me choose the keyboard language, this was a non-starter.

I looked at Dell too, as they have many high-spec models at reasonable prices, but they didn't meet all my criteria.

Microsoft Surface laptops are extremely expensive, and I don’t need the fancy hardware features and touchscreens they offer. However, they did say that I could choose my keyboard.

The downside with PC Specialist is that you may need some patience with delivery if one of the components you need is out of stock.
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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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Cortana and RAM Sep 25, 2018

Daniel Frisano wrote:

Even though I disabled everything I could disable, at the moment the task manager shows 91 background processes running, including crap you can't get rid of like Cortana, and 84 Windows processes. That's 4GB RAM out of 16 just to keep it alive. Ridiculous.



I just checked mine (Windows 10). With no applications running, the system uses 2.6 GB RAM. I have disabled Cortana, but the process is still running. It only uses 46 MB though, which is negligible.

I was about to buy 16 GB RAM, but they recommended 32 GB as one of the best ways to improve performance (and they made suggestions for savings on other specs). So I bought 32 GB. Applications keep hogging more and more resources, and it's terribly unproductive to have to sit and wait for a computer to respond.


 

Dylan Jan Hartmann  Identity Verified
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ՄՈԴԵՐԱՏՈՐ
Biggest mistake of your life, you’ll regret it within days (if not hours) Sep 25, 2018

Stop. Rethink. Breathe. Get an iMac.

If absolutely necessary it can run Windows via parallels.


Tom in London
Carlos Morales
 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
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Enjoy the silence: the joys of a fanless laptop Sep 25, 2018

By the way, if a silent computer is important to you, I can highly recommend my 14-inch Venom BlackBook Zero, which is what I have been happily using for the past 5-6 months:

https://www.shopvenom.com/globalstore/blackbook-zero-14/

This laptop is 100% silent as it has no fans or moving parts at all. Mine has a 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.
... See more
By the way, if a silent computer is important to you, I can highly recommend my 14-inch Venom BlackBook Zero, which is what I have been happily using for the past 5-6 months:

https://www.shopvenom.com/globalstore/blackbook-zero-14/

This laptop is 100% silent as it has no fans or moving parts at all. Mine has a 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.

It's not as fast as a fan-cooled (i.e. active cooled) laptop, but powerful enough for my purposes, which generally means running Win10 64-bit Pro, and either Trados Studio 2019 or CafeTran, Chrome with 15 tabs, and all kinds of little other programs. It's runs memoQ 8.5 with no problems at all, btw.

Once you try a 100% silent computer, you may never be able to go back. Also, the Venom's keyboard is probably one of the best on any laptop, anywhere/ever.

I wrote a big review @ https://www.proz.com/forum/hardware/325813-okay_finally_bought_myself_a_fanless_100_silent_laptop_4_work_venom_blackbook_zero_14_review.html

Michael

PS: iyam, Mac's are highly overrated, plus they no longer make usable keyboard on their laptops.
PPS: I paid £1,498.13 for my Venom BlackBook Zero (= £1,234.10 + £264.03 taxes paid to UPS).

[Edited at 2018-09-25 20:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-09-25 20:02 GMT]
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DZiW (X)
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BootCamp/Parallels/VMware Fusion/VirtualBox/WineBottler/Wineskin/CrossOver Sep 26, 2018

Dylan, mind the lex and principal clauses: while there're very many solutions, I believe Rachel is not "betraying the Mac" or something, just solving her tasks the optimal way. At office I successfully used WineBottler, yet it's always better to use proper hardware and systems for specific apps. Therefore, using a separate machine will not only leave her Mac intact, but also serve as a back up.

Dan Lucas
Rachel Musselle
 

André Sainderichin  Identity Verified
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Keep it simple Sep 26, 2018

Hello,

I work with SDL Trados Studio.

Initially, I had Trados run under Parallels on my iMac. It worked OK, but there were some issues: installing took ages, starting up Parallels and then Trados would take several minutes, some actions in Trados would take forever (like loading up a pdf file), al that on a top of the line iMac, filled to the gills with RAM. Plus the mismatch between a Mac keyboard and a standard PC keyboard would drive me nuts. So running Parallels on
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Hello,

I work with SDL Trados Studio.

Initially, I had Trados run under Parallels on my iMac. It worked OK, but there were some issues: installing took ages, starting up Parallels and then Trados would take several minutes, some actions in Trados would take forever (like loading up a pdf file), al that on a top of the line iMac, filled to the gills with RAM. Plus the mismatch between a Mac keyboard and a standard PC keyboard would drive me nuts. So running Parallels on a MacBook? I have my doubts.

So for translation work, I decided to get a laptop. I bought an HP Probook 470G3 (Core i5 with 8GB RAM) a bit more than two years ago. I didn't spend a lot of time researching specs: i walked into the Mom & Pop computer store on the other side of the street (literally), asked them what they had, and that's it. I did swap the regular hard drive for a 1T SSD drive. Two reasons for that: it's faster, and I save my work on Dropbox, which is also 1T. For me, it's just a machine, like a jig saw or power drill. I don't care about the technical details.

My thoughts: don't spend too much time on this.

Good luck,
André
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Philippe Etienne
Dan Lucas
Rachel Musselle
Muhammad Mousa
 

Rachel Musselle
Մեծ Բրիտանիա
Local time: 19:48
իսպաներենից անգլերեն
TOPIC STARTER
I already have an iMac Sep 26, 2018

Dylan Jan Hartmann wrote:

Stop. Rethink. Breathe. Get an iMac.

If absolutely necessary it can run Windows via parallels.



I do already have an iMac in my household, but my partner uses it too and it doesn't make sense to invest so much money into another iMac when we already have one. At this point I've figured it is necessary to predominately work on a laptop as I travel a lot, and my experience with the Macbook I currently own has been complicated to say the least. As I said, I am not thinking of selling my Macbook even though I could still sell it for quite a high price and put that money towards another laptop because I do enjoy the machine, but for work purposes things are just not working out. Glad it works for some though! I am not very tech-savvy at all.

[Edited at 2018-09-26 13:23 GMT]


Dan Lucas
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
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Surfaces have their pros and cons Sep 26, 2018

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
Microsoft Surface laptops are extremely expensive, and I don’t need the fancy hardware features and touchscreens they offer. However, they did say that I could choose my keyboard.

My Surface was not cheap, and the hardware essentially cannot be repaired should something go wrong. I bought mine because I wanted a machine that was easy to carry and to which I could attach my own keyboard when using it away from my desk. It has fulfilled those needs admirably. I would have said that you could only justify it if you had rather niche concerns, but it actually seems quite popular. Perhaps the secret of its success is that it IS a lovely machine, and extremely portable.

OP - I think you are very sensible to get a Windows machine for professional use. That should immediately remove an additional, unwanted layer of complexity in comparison to the Mac + Parallels combination. Ignore the cultists, on both the Mac and Windows side, and choose what works for you.

Regards,
Dan


 

Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
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Surface and PC Specialist Sep 26, 2018

Dan Lucas wrote:

Thomas T. Frost wrote:
Microsoft Surface laptops are extremely expensive, and I don’t need the fancy hardware features and touchscreens they offer. However, they did say that I could choose my keyboard.

My Surface was not cheap, and the hardware essentially cannot be repaired should something go wrong. I bought mine because I wanted a machine that was easy to carry and to which I could attach my own keyboard when using it away from my desk. It has fulfilled those needs admirably. I would have said that you could only justify it if you had rather niche concerns, but it actually seems quite popular. Perhaps the secret of its success is that it IS a lovely machine, and extremely portable.


I had the impression, already before reading your comment, that they are excellent machines. I might have bought one if I hadn't found the PC Specialist solution, which, from a technical aspect, is a better match for me.

The important thing is to find a model that matches one's needs (and budget).

As for PC Specialist, I finally got an answer from Intel support in relation to the problems I'd been having right from the start: the control software installed by PC Specialist crashed with a cryptic error message. After a lot of googling, I found that it crashed because an Intel CPU utility was lacking. So I installed the utility, and the error message stopped. Then PC Specialist told me to upgrade the control software with the result that a new cryptic error message materialised, and they didn't have a clue why and didn't appear to have any idea what to do. So I asked Intel support and got a reply the same day. The Intel utility (required by PC Specialist's control software) is not compatible with my CPU. Duh.

I have detailed this experience to illustrate the sort of frustrations Windows users still have to put up with (or up with which Windows users still have to put, so as to pre-empt any can't-end-a-sentence-on-a-preposition pedantry). Something like this would never happen to a Mac user. I have the impression that Mac users live their computing lives in the equivalent of a padded cell, which is simultaneous a blessing and a curse, as most software does not run on a Mac, except if you go through the hoops of installing Parallels or VMWare, and then Windows. So you still need Windows. Why not just run it natively, then? As soon as you get Windows, you get problems anyway. It’s as certain as rain over Blighty. Not necessarily because of Windows, but because of the jungle of third-party software and drivers, which don't always do what it says on the box.

I've been an IBM systems specialist for 20 years, and yet I'm tearing my hair out when encountering such problems. What I don't understand is how users without IT specialist experience deal with them.

I would love the apparent simplicity of a Mac, but running MemoQ on a Mac demonstrates that it isn't that simple after all.

And a Macbook doesn’t have a numeric keypad. I like to decide what I want in a computer rather than having the manufacturer decide it for me.


 

Rita Pang  Identity Verified
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From Windows to Mac Sep 27, 2018

You know, a few years ago (5 or 6), when I started going into the industry full-time, I got a brand new laptop just so I can start working at better speed and what not. I got an Asus Ultrabook S46 with i7, 13". That thing is a beast! I am heading into the sixth year with it now and it's still going strong.

That being said, I don't run any software on it except WordFast. In between this Asus and my current Macbook Air, I've had a Lenovo 11". It sucked. It broke down all of a sudden a
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You know, a few years ago (5 or 6), when I started going into the industry full-time, I got a brand new laptop just so I can start working at better speed and what not. I got an Asus Ultrabook S46 with i7, 13". That thing is a beast! I am heading into the sixth year with it now and it's still going strong.

That being said, I don't run any software on it except WordFast. In between this Asus and my current Macbook Air, I've had a Lenovo 11". It sucked. It broke down all of a sudden a year after I bought it. There went $600...

My suggestion is you shouldn't get anything less than 13". Anything smaller may seem a joy to carry around, but they also are much more prone to damages (I found out later some a**hat dropped my laptop - a guest at my home - without telling me. That was the start to all my Lenovo woes). They just don't power and run as fast. A 13" also offers enough visual space for you to work comfortably on it while working on it outside of your normal workspace. Just make sure you pick up an external port - I have a secondary monitor at home which I always plug into my Macbook Air, works like a charm. But I totally understand you about the cumbersome need to run "fake" windows interface in order to get certain software to work.

My top choices now will always be Asus and Macbook Air, after having gone through Sony, Toshiba, Acer, Lenovo, Asus and Gateway. I should add however my last Gateway was WONDERFUL - sturdy, powerful, lasted me a good 6 years. Then again, they simply don't make good machines anymore.
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Nelly Keavney
 
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