[Canada filter] Help me find my perfect laptop
November 17, 2022 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find a new laptop [that I can purchase within Canada]. I need something beefier than what I currently have, but I'm also working with a limited budget so I'm keeping my requirements flexible. Details under the fold.

Here's an overview of my budget, what I need, and what I'd like to have but can do without if necessary.

Max Budget: $2000 USD [approx $2700 CAD]. Closer to $1500 USD / $2000 CAD would be ideal, if that's even possible or there's a sale somewhere.

What I would be using the laptop for:
- My job: Editing text in documents using Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature (Track Changes requires a decent amount of memory/processing power. My current laptop, which runs Windows 11 and has 8GB RAM and an Intel Core i-7-8550U CPU @1.80GHz 1.99 GHz processor, struggles with Track Changes 50% of the time which substantially slows down my ability to work.)
- Editing music in Audacity (occasional, not for professional purposes)
- Editing videos / graphics using Adobe products like Premiere, Photoshop (occasional)
- Gaming (PS4-level spec'd games, not the latest games)

Non-Negotiable Specifications:
- 1 TB SSD storage, or higher
- 32 GB RAM
- A decent GPU (In other words, something that allows me to play PC games spec'd for the PS4 generation, using medium to high graphic settings. I realize that my budget doesn't really allow me to get something powerful enough to play Elden Ring [recommended specs], but maybe something powerful enough to play Red Dead 2 [recommended specs]?)
- Native Bluetooth connectivity
- At least 3-4 USB ports
- HDMI port
- Doesn't have a reputation for easily overheating - it's been engineered well enough that the fan/vents are sufficient for what they need to accomplish

Nice to have, but not a deal-breaker (and probably unrealistic):
- Backlit keyboard
- 15" screen (or larger)
- Touchscreen interface / ability to use as a tablet when desired

I do not care about/need:
- Native video camera
- The highest quality native speakers/mic

If I can get at least one spec from the "Nice to have" pile, that would be lovely, but I understand that may not be possible.

I appreciate if you can provide links to Canadian retailers. Thank you in advance for your help!
posted by nightrecordings to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Can’t help with recs directly, but here are some resources (apols if you’re familiar with them)

Usually for builds, but also has links to deals on gaming accessories, monitors (maybe an additional monitor would help?) and sometimes laptops

BestBuy Black Friday deals too, of course.

Actual answers to your actual question
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:41 AM on November 17, 2022

Here are three options that look like somewhat good fits:
ASUS ROG Strix Scar Gaming Notebook, 17.3” FHD, Intel Core i7-12700H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060, 16GB, 1TB SSD, Windows 11 Home, G733ZM-DS71-CA - $1,899 at Canada Computers - This only has 16GB RAM as sold, but you could upgrade the RAM post purchase and still be within your budget. I don't have experience with this model, but reviews suggest it does reasonably well on heat management and is otherwise nice.

GIGABYTE AERO 16 XE5 - 16" 4K/UHD+ Samsung AMOLED - Intel Core i7-12700H - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti Laptop GPU 8GB GDDR6 - 32GB DDR5 RAM - 2TB SSD - Win11 Pro - $1,899 at Newegg.ca - This is a weird one because it only has two Thunderbolt 4 and one USB C port, but it comes with an adapter that gives you HDMI, USB A, mini DP, and ethernet. It gets a pretty laudatory review from Tom's Hardware (where they claim decent heat management but then the actual stats they give seem a bit worrisome).

Alienware m15 R7 - 15.6" QHD (2560 x 1440), i7-12700H, GeForce RTX 3060, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Windows 11 Home - $2,299.99 at Dell.ca - another one with a very positive Tom's Hardware review, and I've personally had mostly good experiences with Alienwares.

Whatever you end up getting, I'd recommend doing a clean OS reinstall first thing. I recently found out that Windows 11 lets you do this without making install media, and has a setting to not reinstall any preinstalled stuff, which was pretty great.
posted by implied_otter at 12:46 PM on November 17, 2022

Editing text in documents using Microsoft Word's Track Changes feature (Track Changes requires a decent amount of memory/processing power. My current laptop .. struggles with Track Changes 50% of the time which substantially slows down my ability to work.)

So I don't know if you're locked-in to a cloud version of Microsoft Word, but the Track Changes feature in the desktop version of Word has always worked smoothly for me on much lower-spec machines than yours, and is still performant on very large documents.
posted by Klipspringer at 12:59 PM on November 17, 2022 [2 favorites]

Do you have a lot of pictures in your docs? If so, try - File>Options>Advanced>Show document content for "Show picture placeholders"

This puts an empty rectangle in place of pictures and makes Word much faster.

Can't help beyond the recos already provided
posted by Hash at 1:48 PM on November 17, 2022

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