Choosing a new laptop - the Elimina Pro
With my old laptop being 10 years old it felt overdue for replacement. It could not be upgraded to Windows 11, the battery charge would not last more than a few minutes and performance was generally slow so time to see what the latest tech could offer.
I was looking for something that would be good for photo editing along with a little video editing and maybe a little gaming. I would expect to mostly use the laptop plugged in to a power supply and not on the move so a larger high-res screen would be the preference. This in turn suggests a dedicated GPU which means ultra thin cases would not be an option. As off the shelf laptop configurations often have poor screens, are usually short on memory and short on storage space I was therefore looking for a custom build. As a company I've used before, PC Specialist came to mind.
I based the build on one of their Elimina Pro laptops, choosing a 16 inch screen (diagonal measurement) as a good compromise size and opted for highest resolution on offer, QHD rather than FD, giving 2560 x 1600. This was with 100 percent of the RGB color space (for a true wide gamut screen plugging in an external monitor would probably be best) and refreshing at an impressive 240 Hz.
This meant pairing the screen up with a GPU, I chose the Nvidia RTX 4060 with 8gb VRAM (the RTX 4070 was also an option but as this was not going to be a dedicated games machine the extra cost didn't seem to make sense). The GPU has HDMI and a DisplayPort connectors for attaching an external monitor, if required.
The processor was an Intel i7, specifically the 13700H, which has integrated graphics. This means for low demand the integrated graphics can deliver, with low power use and minimum cooling needed. Then for heavier demands it can automatically switch over to using the RTX card. It also means that for a raw photo editing tool like Affinity Photo 2 the machine can run as a multi-gpu configuration for even better performance.
Anyone that has tried to update the hardware on a laptop will know that access can be tricky so I decided to go for 32GB RAM to future proof to some extent (even though 16GB would probably have been adequate). Getting the RAM on a single DIMM meant slots were still available if I did need even more RAM at a future date. For storage there was the option to fit up to 2 of the little M2 drives. I opted for a single large capacity drive of 2TB so that it could hold plenty of high-res photos and video clips and went for a fast unit from Corsair. Even faster drives were available, e.g. one of the Samsung Pro drives, but there is a price tradeoff. Again, this meant a slot was still available if I did need to add even more storage later.
So the final specification of the machine was:
- Chassis & Display Elimina Pro Series: 16" Matte QHD 240Hz sRGB 100% LED Widescreen (2560x1600)
- Processor (CPU) Intel® CoreTM i7 14 Core Processor 13700H (5.0GHz Turbo)
- Memory (RAM) 32GB PCS PRO SODIMM DDR4 3200MHz (1 x 32GB)
- Graphics Card NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 4060 - 8.0GB GDDR6 Video RAM - DirectX® 12.1
- 1st M.2 SSD Drive 2TB CORSAIR CORE XT MP600 NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD (up to 5000 MB/R, 4400 MB/W)
- Memory Card Reader Integrated 3 in 1 Card Reader (Full Size SD / SDHC / SDXC)
- AC Adaptor 1 x 230W AC Adaptor with Power Cable 1 x 1.5 Metre UK Power Cable (Kettle Lead)
- Battery Elimina Pro Series Integrated 62Wh Lithium Ion Battery
- Thermal Paste LIQUID METAL PERFORMANCE COOLING
- Sound Card Nahimic by SteelSeries 2 Channel HD Audio
- Bluetooth & Wireless GIGABIT LAN & WIRELESS INTEL® Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (2.4 Gbps) + BT 5.3
- USB Options 1 x USB 3.2 PORT (Type C) + 2 x USB 3.2 PORTS + 1 x USB 2.0 PORT
- Keyboard Language ELIMINA 16" SERIES MULTI COLOUR BACKLIT UK KEYBOARD
- Warranty 3 Year Silver Warranty (1 Year Collect & Return, 1 Year Parts, 3 Year Labour)
- Dead Pixel Guarantee 1 Year Dead Pixel Guarantee Inc. Labour & Carriage Costs
Choosing PC Specialist
- You get the spec you want rather than someone else's choice off the shelf
- Online order tracking
- Windows 11 activated, no problems
- Option for no antivirus, saves uninstalling trial versions
- All hardware components working and very high performance
- Support is good
- Parts were initially out of stock with no timescale, paid up front
- Plastic case - an aluminium option would have been nice
- No caps lock or num lock lights (but there are on-screen indications when toggling)
- Welcome booklet from PCS still for Windows 10, needs a major update
- No guide to control centre, performance modes not explained
- Out of the box lots of updates required for Windows, video drivers were out of date
The main benefit for me in using PC Specialist is getting the exact specification I want, with lots of choices available. The website works well and the online order tracking is good. From previous experience (with an upgrade) I know the PCS support team are helpful. Windows 11 was easy to setup and there were no issues with activation. The new Elimina Pro laptop has worked with no problems so far, the screen looks good and the performance is excellent.
When placing the order payment was immediately taken but one item was out of stock which held up the order by a couple of weeks. It would have been nice to have the option for an aluminium case instead of plastic. The laptop does not have status lights for things like caps-lock so care is needed when typing passwords. The Welcome Booklet is very generic, still has details for Windows 10 and has no more than a mention of the Control Centre software, for example there is no detailed explanation of the various performance modes. Windows and video drivers were about 6 months out of date so needed a long round of updates straight out of the box, easy enough but takes a while.
Overall I've been very happy with the Elimina Pro laptop and the few issues, as outlined here, were only minor things.