19 Replies Latest reply on Jul 21, 2017 4:25 AM by Oli Sparrow

    Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)

    Oli Sparrow

      Hi all,

      At work I use a Dell Precision 5810, which works just fine, and I can always work on personal stuff on my breaks if I need to.

      However I'm trying to replace my iMac and old old iPad at home with a laptop.

      My requirements whittled down:

      • Slim, Light, ultraportable and solid
      • QHD screen for films etc.
      • Capable of HDMi out (with or without adaptor) for using larger monitor
      • Capable of really casual Solidworks modelling; for example if I wanted to draw up a new something or other for me to build at home, refresh my product design portfolio (assemblies up to 40 parts max.) or just mess around with surfacing techniques for fun etc.

      Bonus Requirements:

      • 2in1/flip around screen for tablet mode for sketching, reading in bed, that sort of thing

       

      I'm looking at

      • Dell XPS 13, i7, 16Gb RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620, 256 SSD (Averages arounf £1500)
      • 2in1 version of the above - £300 more expensive so might not be an option (Averages arounf £1700)
      • Windows Surface Book, similar spec much more expensive so i5, 8Gb, 512 SSD (Averages around £1500)
      • Lenovo Yoga 910, i7, 16Gb RAM, Intel HD Graphics 620, 256 SSD (Averages around £1450)

       

      I love the design of the Dell although haven't had a chance to use a 2in1 demo model

      Love the design of the Surface book and it has the detachable tablet + comes with the pen which is a bonus

      Like the idea of the Yoga but haven't seen one in the flesh yet.

       

      While I'm trying to figure out if I really need touch or not, it'd be good to know if people here have had any experiences with these running Solidworks.  As mentioned it will be very light work and all files will be saved in cloud storage rather than on the HD.  It'll be a portable family machine for home that I would like to be able to model on if I felt like it.

       

      Thanks!

        • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
          Timothy Taby

          They would all run Solidworks to some extent, but you would still be better off with one of the workstation type of laptop due to the video card.  The Dell precision 3520 has a Quadro M620 and should be priced around the same as the XPS 13 you have listed above.

            • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
              Oli Sparrow

              Thanks,

              To be honest I could stretch to a 5520 here for the slightly higher spec (and I didn't see that this had the same cool design of the XPS) if it was the right choice for future proofing, but am I then changing tactics to get a much better Solidworks machine, and leaving behind some of the nicer features of the family laptop (touchscreen, lower weight etc..)

              The extra ports and power are quite attractive on the Precision workstations.  Will SW run OK on i5 and 8Gb?  I assume the addition of dedicated graphics would mean RealView, better stability?  I'd only ever do 1-2 hours a week at most on SW so maybe this isn't so important?

            • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
              Scott Casale

              What is casual solidworks use?

                • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                  Oli Sparrow

                  Well I'd say where at work I manage large format hi-res renders, 500+ part assemblies etc.  My at-home casual use would be maybe a little render here and there for fun and single part models and small assemblies to help me get cut lists for DIY projects, or do some basic concept work for fun.  I do a very small amount of freelance work that generally involves basic sheet metal assemblies.

                   

                  That's casual Solidworks use to me.

                    • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                      Todd Blacksher

                      I'm currently looking at the 5520 (and 5510 - older version, save a little more on the outlet) - definitely sleek, but probably going to be a little heavier than some of the other options.

                      (As you mentioned, these are geared a little more towards SOLIDWORKS - It would be a little more than casual use for me.)

                       

                      I remember seeing a lot of discussion about using the Surface on the forums a while back - I was very close to getting one, but decided that I could probably get a little more computer for a little less money by getting something a little bit bigger/heavier.

                      Good luck with your search, I'll be very interested to watch this thread - I haven't bought mine yet, this might change my mind!

                      todd

                  • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                    Ken Maren

                    Yoga P40? 

                     

                    ThinkPad P40 Yoga | Multi-Mode Mobile Workstation | Lenovo US

                     

                    You get the flip to tablet style with a certified SolidWorks graphics card. 

                    • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                      Newell Voss

                      A number of our senior design staff had the option to transition to surface books for a trial run earlier this year. There have been a few minor issues while running SW but nothing major and so far the majority of the group approves of its use. Although I can't comment on how much of the touch screen was actually used during routine CAD work. The surface book was also a hot topic for discussion at SW world as more companies are demanding high end specs compiled with 2-in-1 technology. Also my girlfriend who has been a lifetime apple product user just recently made the switch based on my suggestion (mac pro, ipad, iphone - surface book & GS8) and has been in love ever since. Not saying that qualifies any CAD work but she uses it for basic video production, image editing, etc. and enjoys the user experience.

                      If this is a personal device, then I would recommend the surface book.

                      • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                        Michael Lord

                        Oli,

                         

                        If you are looking at 2-1 you should consider the HP Spectre x360 it is the latest released compared to the Dell XPS/ Yogo

                        I been using one for a few months now.  Beta testing etc.

                        SOLIDWORKS on a HP Spectre x360 #SOLIDWORKS | Michael Lord

                          • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                            Oli Sparrow

                            Hi Michael,

                             

                            That's an excellent little entry; it should help a lot of people!

                             

                            I hadn't considered even looking at HP because like you say there, they haven't really been top of any lists in the past.  The Spectre however seems to be very good value for what you get, especially as the stylus is included.  Any thoughts on accuracy or delay of the pen input?  Think I'll go and have a play later on.

                             

                            Also, freehand sketching in SW 2018!?  That's awesome news.

                             

                            Thanks

                              • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                                Michael Lord

                                Oli,

                                I haven't used with a stylus (not included when I purchased)  The HP Pen doesn't work with it but I understand the HP Stylus does.

                                It works well with little or no delay for medium size model using your finger.   There is some lag with Large Assembles due to limited RAM.  As I said if I had an option I would have gone with 16GB not 8!

                                I don't use it all that much in full Tablet mode but I really like using touch in combination as a laptop. 

                                In SOLIDWORKS it is nice to zoom and rotate using your finger

                                 

                                Can't say much here on freehand sketch in SW 2018.  But it does work using just your finger.  It is interesting but I'm not too sure how practical it really is!

                                Regards

                                Michael

                              • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                                Todd Blacksher

                                Not sure how I missed that great post Michael - I had not even looked at the Spectre, but I'm going to do some more investigating tonight when I get home - Thanks!

                                todd

                                  • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                                    Michael Lord

                                    Todd,

                                    I tossed up between the Spectre and the Dell XPS.  I don't think there is too much difference between them. 

                                    The Spectre was the latest release and the reviews all had it rated just that little bit better.

                                    It's has only been a few months but so far it has been faultless! 

                                    I don't use it all that much in full Tablet mode but I really like using touch in combination as a laptop. 

                                    In SOLIDWORKS it is nice to zoom and rotate using your finger

                                     

                                    Thanks for the kind word on the post

                                    Michael

                                • Re: Laptop/Ultrabook for casual SW use (Dell/Windows/Lenovo)
                                  Oli Sparrow

                                  Hullo,

                                  So in case anyone is following this thread my latest developments are:

                                  • Still love the MS Surface Book.  It seems very robust and the method by which they have achieved the 2 in 1 functionality is by far the most comfortable and effective.  The detachable tablet is very comfortable and feels like a real standalone rather than a tablet with a bit of hinge dangling off the side.  However, to get a spec close to Solidworks viable, and with the pen for a bit sketch work I'd be looking at over £2000 (about $2600 ish)

                                   

                                  • I've ruled out Lenovo yoga 910 as absolutely nowhere stocks it as a demo model.  I would have liked to consider this but I can't justify over £1500 just to trial something that isn't top of any lists.

                                   

                                  • The HP Spectre x360 looks like an absolute winner, with all the features I was looking for, pen included in price etc. and I'd be willing to pay up to the highest spec level (Around £1800) as it seems pretty future proof.  I'm having the same problem though in that no one stocks any model of the spectre.  Having played with some  2in1s/convertibles in store yesterday I've now felt how uncomfortable it is to have the keyboard on the back of tablet mode (something that Microsoft's system has overcome).  I thought it wouldn't really bother me but it really, really does.  So if this is an issue for any 2in1s, is it really worth considering when I could get a higher powered traditional laptop for less money?  I like to think I'd do a bit of sketching on it but I have an iPad and stylus, and an older Wacom intuos 4, neither of which I use anywhere near as much as pen and paper.

                                   

                                  • The Dell XPS 13's biggest complaint in reviews is that it doesn't have infra-red cameras for 'Windows Hello'.  I really don't care; perfectly happy to type in a password for now.  The design is super slim sturdy and light, and I fall in love with it a little more every time I go and look.  The higher spec model (around £1600) that I'd go for has a QHD touch screen, and where I didn't previously understand why a touchscreen laptop made any sense, having played with one at length yesterday the sense appeared.  I found myself instinctively scrolling and tapping large browser buttons on screen rather than the trackpad without even realising I was doing it.  All the trackpads now have gesture control, which is great with windows but the touchscreen adds an extra dimension.

                                   

                                  So, as crazy as it sounds (maybe?) I'm considering buying both the HP and the Dell, immediately testing their ergonomics and Solidworks capability, and the returning the lower performer for a full refund.  My local store has no problem with this.

                                  I really want the HP to be a different class of 2in1 in person compared with those I've already seen, but I'm worried that poor ergonomics in tablet mode might put me off.  The dedicated graphics (although low end, and only in the 15" model) might be its saviour for CAD however.  I'd go for the Dell in a flash but just don't want to rule out tablet mode without trying it.  The XPS 2in1 is too expensive for what it is so I'm not looking at it.

                                   

                                  If anyone's interested I'll upload some side by sides of the two if I decide to buy both to test.