Tell me what's wrong with this laptop

bowiac

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Lenovo P400 from the Lenovo Outlet.
 
I've started doing some more computationally intensive statistical analysis in excel and R and find myself needing a new laptop as result. Mobility isn't a major need (although I don't want something that's going to be huge), and this will usually be hooked up to an external monitor anyway. The processor is well rated here it seems, which for pure computation I suspect is most of what I need.
 
So what's wrong with it? It seems to be cheaper than peer models with similar CPUs, and I'm seeing a ton of refurbished models around, so it seems a lot of people are returning it. Any ideas?
 

Rudi Fingers

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Sounds like it would fit your needs well.  Not necessarily something *wrong*, but it is an Ivy Bridge quad core processor with only a 4-cell battery.  Therefore, I would expect battery life to be only around 2 to 3 hours in the real world.  If you don't need the battery life, it's a great processor (similar to the one in my retina MacBook Pro).
 

bowiac

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What's the issue with it being Ivy Bridge? Just that that's high power usage?
 
I have a Macbook Air I use, which I imagine will remain my primary portability computer. I'm looking for something in the desktop replacement realm here for various statistical stuff really.
 

Couperin47

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bowiac said:
What's the issue with it being Ivy Bridge? Just that that's high power usage?
 
I have a Macbook Air I use, which I imagine will remain my primary portability computer. I'm looking for something in the desktop replacement realm here for various statistical stuff really.
 
Correct. The later Haswell processors include upgraded video (4000 v 4600 meaningless unless you're gaming) and draw somewhat less power, performance would not be appreciably different on the cpu side, since you're using it mostly static and plugged in the reduced battery life won't matter to you. When they have this many, they are usually off a short tern commercial lease from a corporate customer and are very clean.
 

Rudi Fingers

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Yes, just that Ivy Bridge processors have higher power usage than equivalent Haswell processors. 
 
 
For that reason, there would be little to no need (for instance) to wait for a Haswell refresh to buy a Mac Mini (and the $550 P400 has similar specs to the current ivy bridge $799 mac mini, which would also fit your needs very well, and may get a price drop later this month when the Haswell Mac Mini's are rumored to appear).  
 
 
Looks like the P400 can be upgraded later to 16GB of memory, so you should be good to go.
 

bowiac

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Couperin47 said:
Looking closely at the specs only one thing surprises me: you have a USB 3 port, decent bgn wifi, but the ethernet port is only 10/100, no gigabit lan, and I'm sure you noticed the HD is only 5400 rpm.
Ethernet stuff doesn't matter. The hard drive speed does on the other hand. Is that primarily going to affect boot times?
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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Rudi Fingers said:
Sounds like it would fit your needs well.  Not necessarily something *wrong*, but it is an Ivy Bridge quad core processor with only a 4-cell battery.  Therefore, I would expect battery life to be only around 2 to 3 hours in the real world.  If you don't need the battery life, it's a great processor (similar to the one in my retina MacBook Pro).
 
I was given a Lenovo Think Pad for work, and I'm lucky to get 2 hours of out it, and I don't use it to watch video at all.
 

Couperin47

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bowiac said:
Ethernet stuff doesn't matter. The hard drive speed does on the other hand. Is that primarily going to affect boot times?
 
Probably, it would only affect your computations if you are dealing with very large amounts of data so that it's necessary to read/write from the drive because it can't keep all the data involved in ram while computing.