If you have been reading my articles on this website, you know that I believe most people are paying far, far too much money for the computing power they're getting. This is most likely because consumers still have the mindset that they had before the death of Moore's law, sometime around 2005. Before that, they were forced to buy a new computer every few years to avoid obsolescence. Since Moore's Law is now dead, I have said repeatedly that from a cost-per-computing-power perspective, you are now far better off buying a used, quality business laptop than a new consumer laptop. Actually, I don't believe anyone should be buying new consumer laptops. Perhaps, if more consumers took my advice, manufacturers would stop making laptops with built-in obsolescence for the unwary.
This week, I will explain one approach to getting a blazingly fast laptop computer for under $200--used, of course. Just to show you how fast this laptop really is, I'll compare it against one of the new, high-end Dell business laptops, the Dell Latitude 7400, for sale right now on Dell's website for $2169.
I bought my HP Elitebook 8570P about two-and-a-half years ago in nice condition for the great price of $209 on Ebay. These were it's specs then:
The closest thing I could find to such a great deal today on Ebay was the following HP Elitebook 8570P:
I admit the Core i7-3520m CPU is significantly slower than the one in my HP Elitebook. However, given that I paid $209 for my HP Elitebook two-and-a-half years ago, I am certain I could find a better deal if I spent more time looking. So, these days, a good deal on my HP Elitebook plus a 120GB Kingston SSD should come in at just under $200.
For the comparison which will follow, I replaced my old hard drive with a 120 GB Kingston SA400S37 SSD. I saw the same model today, used, on ebay for $24.49, including shipping. Crystal Disk Mark shows its performance in my laptop to be: Sequential Read: 539 MB/s, Sequential Write: 369 MB/s.
The specs for the Dell Latitude 7400 are:
Since, I wasn't about to shell out $2169 for the Dell Latitude 7400, I will compare Notebookcheck's test results to the ones I obtained today for my Elitebook. I would have liked to have used the PCMark 10 software for this comparison, but it is quite expensive. So, I settled for a comparison using the free, Cinebench 11.5 test software. The table below shows the comparison:
|Test||My HP Elitebook 8570P||Dell latitude 7400|
|Cinebench 11.5 OpenGL 64-Bit||28.93 fps||33.63 fps|
|Cinebench 11.5 CPU Multi 64-Bit||6.80 pts||4.88 pts|
|Cinebench 11.5 CPU Single 64-Bit||1.49 pts||1.67 pts|
|Crystal Disk Mark Sequential Read||539 MB/s||1073 MB/s|
|Crystal Disk Mark Sequential Write||369 MB/s||2698 MB/s|
The table above shows both multi-core CPU performance and single-core CPU performance. The OpenGL test is a test of GPU performance. The Crystal Disk Mark scores show how fast a single, large file can be read and written to the SSD's. The smaller the file, the more slowly it can be read and written. The read and write speeds for the Latitude look switched to me, but they are as reported by Notebookcheck.
As you can see, the Latitude's NVMe SSD blows my Elitebook's SSD out of the water. It's not even close. So, on tasks that require heavy file manipulation, the Dell will win every time.
But, look at the OpenGL and CPU results. My Elitebook is actually considerably faster in the multi-core CPU test and only a little slower in the single-core CPU and OpenGL tests. So, as far as GPU and CPU tasks are concerned, my Elitebook is roughly on par with the Latitude. This means the two should be nearly equal computationally and in game play. This would likely be rather surprising to most consumers who were told that the Elitebook was manufactured seven years ago in 2012 and can be bought used for about 9% of the price of the new Latitude.
I should point out that this is not the only such favorable comparison that can be made between old and new laptops. There are many, high-end business laptop models that are now a few years old, yet only slightly less capable than this year's new models (except when compared to the new NVMe SSD technology). All you need to do to prove this to yourself is to look for them on websites like Amazon, Ebay, and other lesser-known, used computer markets.
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