Laptop for blu-ray playback

More popular than ever, but some are still very noisy.

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sn1009
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Location: Denmark

Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:47 am

I'm in the market for a new laptop to replace my trusty IBM T42p as Windows XP is due for retirement.

The laptop is to be used for web-browsing, e-mail, spreadsheet, streaming tv/movies and watching DVD/blu-ray.

My requirements are as follows:
app. 15" monitor
app. 1920x1080 resolution (e.g. 1920x1200 is ok, I prefer to watch FHD from blu-ray without scaling, black bars are ok)
quiet / low power consumption
runs cool (can be used on the lap)
Windows OS
Preferably no HDD, only SSD
Blu-ray drive

I've been running RMClock (dynamic undervolt/underclock) and TPFanControl (dynamic fan speed control) on the T42p and I'm willing to do something similar if needed/possible with the new laptop to keep the noise/heat down.

I have tried notebookcheck.net but the list is very long when all I got to go on is the above.

Money is not a problem but obviously I don't want to spend more than I have to.

Thanks.

CA_Steve
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Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by CA_Steve » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:12 pm

SSD + 15" screen + Blu-Ray seems to be an empty set. At least with Dell and Samsung. I'll leave it to you to wander through the other OEM sites :)

Consider
- finding the optimum 15" laptop with Blu-Ray and replacing the HDD with an SSD.
- finding the optimum 15" laptop with SSD and using an external BD Drive.
- finding the optimum 15" laptop and then adding an external drive and replace the HDD with an SSD. :)
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:51 am

Thank you Steve.

Which processor and chipset would you recommend?
I'm very willing to sacrifice performance in return for low noise/heat - just as long as it can cope with blu-ray playback.

quest_for_silence
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Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by quest_for_silence » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:12 am

What about a Thinkpad T440S (I think it's just a 14", but it's light and FHD: it requires an external BD)?
I think mainly to your utilities, as it's very uncommon to control fan speed on laptops.
Regards,
Luca

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sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Mon Mar 17, 2014 8:48 am

Thank you Luca, I will look into your suggestion.

I have contacted Lenovo support asking what laptop they recommend for my usage - their website is, in my opinion, hopeless to navigate.

sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:03 am

I have been led to believe that Lenovo is at the top of the heap when it comes to quiet laptops.
The following two laptops seems to meet my requirements (besides from the lack of blu-ray)

1. configuration
ThinkPad L540
Processor: Intel Core i3-4000M Processor (3MB Cache, 2.40GHz) (for i5-4200M add 732,5dkr ~ $135)
Operating System: Windows 8 64 (for 8 Pro or 7 Pro add 633,75dkr ~ $117)
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) LED Backlit Anti-Glare Display WWAN
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4600
Memory: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L (2 DIMM)
Camera: 720p HD Camera
Hard Drive: 128 GB Solid State Drive, Serial ATA3
Optical Device: DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer
Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion Battery (2.2Ah) 48Wh
Wireless: Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 BT Combo (2x2 AGN)
Price: 6405,25dkr ~ $1182

2. configuration
ThinkPad E540
Processor: Intel Core i3-4000M Processor (3MB Cache, 2.40GHz) (for i5-4200M add 832dkr ~ $155)
Operating System: Windows 8 64 (for 8 Pro or 7 Pro add 289dkr ~ $53)
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) AntiGlare - Black
Graphics: E540 Intel (for E540 NV N14P-GV2+ Graphics,2GB add 598,75dkr ~ $111)
Memory: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L (2 DIMM)
Camera: Camera, Microphone
Hard Drive: 128GB Solid State Drive, 2.5"
Optical Device: DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer
Battery: 6 Cell Li-Ion Battery 48WH - 75+
Wireless: Intel Wireless-N 7260 2X2 BGN+Bluetooth (for Intel Dual Band Wireless 7260AC with Bluetooth 4.0 add 138,75dkr ~ $26)
Price: 5410,5dkr ~ $999

Should I go for i3 or i5 (i5 has turbo - i3 does not)?
Do I need Windows Pro or is non-Pro ok ?
Which configuration runs cooler/quieter ?
Questions/comments?

Did I mention that Lenovo's website is hopeless to navigate :evil: - the search function has a life of it's own.

Luca: The Thinkpad T440S seems to be too expensive considering my needs/requirements.

sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Tue Mar 25, 2014 11:25 pm

I ended up buying the E540 with the following specs:

ThinkPad E540
Processor: Intel Core i3-4000M Processor (3MB Cache, 2.40GHz)
Operating System: Windows 8 64
Display: 15.6" FHD (1920x1080) AntiGlare - Black
Graphics: E540 Intel
Memory: 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3L (2 DIMM)
Camera: Camera, Microphone
Hard Drive: 128GB Solid State Drive, 2.5"
Optical Device: DVD Recordable 8x Max Dual Layer
Battery: 6 cell Li-Ion Battery 62WH - 75+
Wireless: Intel Wireless-N 7260 2X2 BGN+Bluetooth
Price: 5504,25dkr ~ $1017

I'll report back in a few weeks and let you know if I'm happy with my decision.

CA_Steve
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Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by CA_Steve » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:50 am

cool.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:35 am

As promised, here's my thoughts on the E540 after using it for 5 days.

The good:
-the numpad is great, it was dearly missed on my t42p
-runs cool and can be used on the lap out of the box (I haven't looked into undervolt / underclock yet)
-quiet
-much brighter screen than the t42p (using it outside in the sun should be possible, I haven't tested it)

The bad:
-the viewing angle on the screen is quite bad. Especially up/down viewing angle has room for improvement.
-missing left/right click buttons below the touchpad. It is obviously possible to do a left/right click by pressing down on the touchpad in the bottom left/right corner but I prefer physical buttons.
-no blu-ray drive
-the power plug is exposed, it would be nice to see a magnetic power plug like on apple laptops

It uses HD4600 graphics which is perfectly ok for my usage - I don't know why Lenovo calls it "Graphics: E540 Intel" in the specifications.

Comments/questions are very welcome.

Edit:Fixed a typing error
Last edited by sn1009 on Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:51 am, edited 1 time in total.

CA_Steve
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Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by CA_Steve » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:28 am

What kind of load does it take to get the fan to ramp up?
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

sn1009
Posts: 63
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:26 am
Location: Denmark

Re: Laptop for blu-ray playback

Post by sn1009 » Tue Apr 15, 2014 10:03 am

The fan usually spins at a fairly low rpm - which is part of the reason why the laptop stays pleasantly cool on the bottom I suppose.
When left unattended for a while the fan shuts off entirely.

I only use it for light tasks, as described in the first post.

I haven't done any mapping of the fan rpm vs load.

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