Laptops can be confusing to contrast and compare because it's often difficult to determine a model's performance by appearances alone. Most retails stores organize laptops by screen size which is important, but certainly not the only metric for determining what model will work best for you. This is important because laptops are generally more difficuilt to upgrade than desktop computers.
I don’t mention this to scare anyone away from purchasing a laptop. Our Traverse line of laptops continues to be one of our best sellers, and customers appreciate the many options we offer. But it’s worth speaking with one our our sales reps to ensure that whatever laptop model you select will met your performance expectations.
With that said, I’d like to describe the lines of laptops we offer at Puget Systems in layman’s terms in order to give you a reasonable starting point on your search for the perfect laptop. I won’t go into every detail and option on each model though. Selecting the size of screen, hard hard drive, and even memory are fairly straight-forward. Even the chassis we offer are all similarily designed.
So I'll focus much of my overview on the graphics capabilities of each model because that's one of the major differentiators between them. The Traverse models include one of the following in order of increasing performance:
Onboard graphics are built into the central processor (CPU) and work well for those who plan to use their laptop to browse the web, view photos, stream movies (Netflix, YouTube) and play casual online games. Onboard graphics have greatly improved over the past couple of years to the point where this is often the best choice for the majority of laptop buyers.
Hybrid graphics utilize the power-saving features of onboard graphics but also include a dedicated graphics chip to boost performance when needed. This option gives the user a lot of flexibility. Customers who select hybrid graphics may spend much of their day browsing the web and using Office applications, but occasionally like to edit videos or play games on the weekends.
Dedicated graphics are offered on our Traverse V-series and Traverse Pro laptops. The Traverse Pro includes multiple options for the video card as well, with both mainstream NVIDIA GeForce models and Quadro cards – a line of professional grade chips from NVIDIA that are geared towards professionals who create or render 3D models and do GPGPU computing.
Laptops with dedicated video cards often also have access to the onboard graphics from the CPU, resulting in a setup known as 'hybrid graphics'; NVIDIA markets this under the Optimus name. This option gives the user a lot of flexibility, allowing lower power usage via the onboard graphics in less demanding applications, but with the performance of a dedicated card available when it is time to do graphics editing or play games on the weekend."
The tasks you perform and the software you run will help us determine which of the above options will work best for you. Selecting the best option should provide the performance you require without going overboard and zapping precious battery life.
Audience: Anyone looking for a quality touchscreen laptop who values portability, and good battery life.
With the release of Windows 8.1, we’ve seen a flood of touchscreen laptops hit the market. But until recently, many of these touchscreen laptops have been underpowered with screens that leave a lot to be desired. We’ve researched a number of offerings and very few met our standards in terms of build quality and responsiveness. That’s changing with the release of Intel’s Haswell processor that is extremely efficient and powerful enough to drive a touchscreen at high resolutions.
Pros: Lightweight, touchscreen, very good battery life, svelte chassis.
Cons: Mid-range processing power, screen size limited to 14 inches. How do you feel about Windows 8.1?
Audience: The best combination of performance, battery life and value. If you’re looking for a good all-around laptop, this is my recommendation.
Do you primarily use your laptop to browse the web, view photos, stream video from Netflix , and play casual games? If those tasks encompass your needs then the Traverse B series is for you. The 15-inch model offers a few more processor choices, but they are all perform well. Configured with a fast SSD, this is my favorite laptop we offer. Todays onboard graphics are plenty powerful enough for everyday tasks. Unless you have a specific need that requires more graphical performance, I would begin my search with the Traverse B.
Pros: Good battery life, 15-inch model gives you access to Intel’s fastest mobile processors, excellent "bang for the buck".
Cons: Limited to one processor choice on 14 inch model, no 17 inch model.
Traverse V Series – 15 and 17 inch models
Audience: The Traverse V series is a good choice for the person who uses his laptop for work and play. You can jump from spreadsheets to a game of Assassin’s Creed within seconds, and then back to the spreadsheet when the boss walks in.
The Traverse V series is geared towards customers who perform a broad range of computer tasks. They generally weigh a few pounds more than Traverse B series, while providing both the power-efficient onboard graphics from Intel’s Haswell processor and NVIDIA's GeForce 765M chip for more demanding work. If you’re planning to use your laptop for both work and play, this might be the right choice for you. The Traverse V can switch between the onboard graphics and the the NVIDIA GeForce 765M chip giving you a lot of flexibiliy in a portable design.
Pros: “Best of both worlds” graphics, access to top performing processors, 15 and 17 inch models. Can accept two 2.5 inch drives + an optical drive.
Cons: Using NVIDIA graphics under heavy loads reduces battery life, power brick weighs 1.5 pounds, not as portable as the Traverse B.
Audience: Those who demand a true desktop replacement, demand the best gaming performance available on a laptop, or who run software that can take advantage of the NVIDIA Quadro chips.
For those whose work or play demands the highest performance in a laptop, the Traverse Pro includes the fastest processors and top-of-the-line graphic chips for gaming and post-production. The Traverse Pro is built as a true desktop replacement for serious gamers and professionals. Gamers who demand high frame rates while playing graphically demanding games will appreciate the top-tier NVIDIA GeForce mobile chips. Professionals working in 3D design, CAD, and animation will find the NVIDIA Quadro chips a good choice. Like the Traverse V series, the Pro can switch back dedicated to onboard graphics to extend battery life. This is also the only model we currently offer that includes multi-color LED backlighting as well as a Firewire port.
Pros: Blistering performance, access to fastest processors and graphics chips, backlit keyboard, and the 17 inch model can accept two 2.5 inch drives + an optical drive.
Cons: All that speed can quickly drain the battery. Can tip the scales at near 10 pounds and the power brick weighs 2.2 pounds alone.
As a rule of thumb, when you increase performance, you decrease battery life. But Intel has been able to increase performance of their processors while reducing the heat they generate and the power they use. It almost seems counterintuitive, but it’s true.
I’ve only scratched the surface in terms of features and configuration options for each laptop lines we carry. Our sales staff at Puget Systems is happy to help answer any questions you have and assist in configuring a model that does exactly what you need it to do.