Intel 13th Gen ultra-portable laptop recommendations

Hi all (sorry a boring PC question!)…

My laptop recently became unrepairable - not a huge issue as my main rig is a desktop with AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 64 GB RAM, 3TB M.2 storage & NVidia GPU which is great.

I do travel a lot though hence why I need a laptop to do some music on the go - doesn’t need to be super-powerful since it’s not my main PC, & a big priority is portability (i.e. no desktop replacements) which of course limits the power somewhat. As such, I’m looking at 14” screen laptops.

I’d like Intel as they seem to have the edge over AMD’s current Zen 3+ (plus I like Intel’s new Unison app). I’ve found a few options although I’m wondering about the following:

CPU I7 1360p vs I7 13700H (or I9 13900H)

16Gb vs 32GB RAM (I don’t use many samples & won’t be doing orchestral stuff on the laptop)

Integrated graphics (Iris Xe) vs NiVidia GPU (e.g. RTX 3050)

Battery life & screen not too important, although OLED would be nice since it won’t be a ‘music only’ machine.

There are various models by ASUS, Lenovo & Acer (when Acer release them here in the UK) that fit the bill. The most common spec is the I7 1360p CPU with 16GB of (soldered) RAM & integrated graphics.

With a more powerful ‘H’ CPU (13700/13900), discrete graphics is normally offered - research suggests that not having a discrete GPU leads to CPU throttling which negates the benefits of the faster CPU, but then many also suggest that discrete GPUs can lead to higher DPC latency with dropouts etc…

The specific models I’m looking at & available in the UK are:

Lenovo Yoga 9i (I7 1360p, integrated graphics, 16GB RAM, 1TB storage, OLED screen)

Lenovo Yoga Pro 7i (I7 13700H, NVidia RTX 3050 GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage, IPS screen)

ASUS Zenbook 14X (I9 13900H, NVidia RTX 3050 GPU, 32GB RAM, 1TB storage, OLED screen)

The ASUS is unsurprisingly the most expensive of the 3, but I’m wondering if I’d actually notice the benefits of the higher specs (e.g. I9 CPU & 32GB RAM).

Has anybody used the above (or similar) systems with Cubase? It seems success with Windows 11 PCs seems a little random! I’m also aware of Steinberg’s Support article on Intel ‘Efficiency Cores’.

Thanks all!

I have just got a new Dell 2in1 laptop, using a i7-1355U CPU. It has a builtin graphics and a FHD+ Touch screen. I really like it because I can use it as a laptop as well as a tablet and it runs Cubase without any issues so far.

I’m not doing anything heavy on it, but for the work in the road it is fantastic so far.

I just had a look at the UK site from Dell and it shows the machine for below 1000 Pound.
Inspiron 14 2-in-1 7430 (Intel) Laptop: Inspiron Laptop Computers | Dell UK

Hey @JuergenP thanks for that. I’m pleased the 1355U is working out. My old laptop was a Dell (XPS 13) but didn’t have a great experience with latency - in theory it should’ve been fine but it just wasn’t.

Your comment has however made me consider more the 1360p machines though. Thanks again.

In a nutshell:
i7-1355U (or any “U” series) is very low power, but good only for relatively light usage.
i7-1360P is a worthwhile upgrade over the “U” and should suffice for most ‘medium’ workloads.
Only for somewhat heavy lifting you will need the i7-13700H, and the i9 is just not worth the extra $$.
Don’t overspend on GPU - Take a basic opinion they offer. Keep your money for a fast/large SSD, and make sure you pick a DDR5 model (still some DDR4 around in that gen.).
I like some Lenovo laptops that have a numeric keypad - not common on laptops and can be convenient with Cubase.

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Just wanted to drop you a like for the very solid advice given here :slight_smile: