Laptop time?

sedrosken

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I'm still biding my time waiting for the price on the 16GB kit of RAM I want to buy for my work laptop to go down. I wonder if I shouldn't bite the bullet and go straight to 32, but I don't want to pay those prices -- then again, I don't even want to pay for the 16GB kit, I feel that should have been the base config of the machine. But, the SKU that had 16GB from factory also had an i7, which I don't need (the difference between the i5 and i7 for this gen is just clocks and cache), and cost almost twice as much all-told, so maybe I should just suck it up and grab the RAM I need. I'm also contemplating buying a bigger SSD -- I'm not having space issues... yet... but if I move my AD lab from my work desktop, I'll definitely start to feel the pressure.
 

Tannin

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Having got all this lovely new kit, I won't be using it for another month or two. I'm off to the old house for a month or so shortly, and I'll take the old laptop because it is compatible with the stuff there (screens mostly, and there is a docking station) and I can't be bothered looking around for and possibly buying adaptors and stuff (HDMI or DP to DVI, maybe other things). The only things I can't run on the old Thinkpad are the latest version of music recording and photo editing applications, and I won't be wanting those things over there anyway.

I hear you on factory configs and crazy pricing, Sedrosken. Speaking of crazy pricing, I'm laughing at the "Black Friday special" discounts scam. The Kingston hard drive I bought on a "Black Friday special" is now selling as standard for that exact same price, and the Samsung drive I ordered yesterday is cheaper now that it was when the specials were on. Mind you, Black Friday is mostly an American thing, a lot of the rest of the world pretty much ignores it. In this country, "Black Friday" always means 13 January 1939, the dreadful day when the temperature passed 45c (about 115f) with a scorching northerly wind, and bushfires killed 71 people in Victoria.
 

LunarMist

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How do you prevent laptop battery drain in storage? In the old days the battery could be removed and later some units had a button that would disconnect it internally until power was applied. However, my LG machine has no controls over the battery and loses power each day. I'm sure the battery will be completely dead after a few weeks of disuse. 😡
 

Mercutio

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It's just like phones. The batteries are entirely internal now and we don't get a choice in how they're configured, unless we feel like pulling the bottom plate off.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I've sighed and decided that I'll probably get a Thinkpad X1 Extreme gen 4. The ones that have an RTX3050 can have two DIMMs and two SSDs in them, and I can get a WQHD screen on one, even if I'm not overly fond of a 16" laptop. I've looked through most of the offerings at around $2500 and nothing is ticking all my boxes. Unfortunately, the X1 Extreme is also Extremely-Backordered, and I can't even get one until June. Ouch.
 

LunarMist

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It looks like they are 11th gen Intel. I thought there would be Alder Lakes by the Summertime.
 

Tea

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Sign. Nearly March and we haven't got around to using the new lappy for anything much yet. Still using the old one because someone is too lazy to finish off all the data transfer and configuration stuff.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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It looks like they are 11th gen Intel. I thought there would be Alder Lakes by the Summertime.

I'm tempted to go next-gen, but I'm not sold on the Alder Lake approach. It's still more CPU cores, but AMD is offering higher efficiency on a smaller number of cores. I'm a bit stuck, since Intel doesn't have great support for AMD on professional systems and I'm really not comfortable with the gaming/content creation models from Asus or Razer or Gigabyte that undoubtedly will have a quality AMD offering. At the moment, I don't carry my Thinkpad on trips and I don't expect it to be great with content creation tools, but I think that if I got a new system, I would want and expect that, which would make the matter of durability more important.

There's also the question of what AMD's next-generation product will offer, since I have chosen to punt on the question of a new laptop until the summer anyway. Things were a bit easier when Intel was the only serious offering in the laptop space.

Still using the old one because someone is too lazy to finish off all the data transfer and configuration stuff.

Working on a new system of myself is usually pretty traumatic because I have to think about all the commercial software licenses I have to move, plus security certificates, plus finding highly specific application configs that may not be amenable to moving and THEN dealing with user data. Most of my data lives on shared drives anyway, but there's always something. It's one thing to hop on a machine I'm going to reset in a couple days. It's something completely different if I expect to keep it for months or years. I feel your pain.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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I've spent about a week with some Acer Aspire 5s. These are 12th gen i7s with 8GB of soldered in RAM but also a DIMM slot and both 2.5" and nVME. The 15.6" screen is nice and bright and that's the only positive thing I can say about this system.

What's wrong? The AC adapter just... falls out. Poor fit for the jack. The conductor is maybe a centimeter long. In this age of fast chargers and USB C power delivery, this thing has a 45W transformer that takes 150 minutes to charge a notebook that, brand new, runs for 80 - 90 minutes on a balanced power plan doing nothing but browsing the web on text-intensive sites.

Waking one up from sleep is likewise a crap shoot. So far, I've gotten more inaccessible boot device errors than successful wake up events. Surely a brand new $800 laptop can't be that bad, right? They're easy to take apart, and I've pulled and tested SSDs and the RAM and they're fine as far as I can tell. This is a native Windows 11 machine but I recall Windows 2000 having better power management than these guys.

Is it fast? Also no. Not really, anyway. Maybe I'm not doing the things that make the performance cores go zoom, but it looks like thermal throttling taketh away what Intel theoretically giveth, as conversion of 50 CR3s to JPGs wasn't subjectively any faster than the 4c/8t 7th gen i7 mobile in my Thinkpad. I didn't break out a stopwatch, but if I can't tell the difference from five years worth of CPU progression, what are we even doing with these things?

I can also flex the entire plastic body of the notebook with my hands. I'm not trying to break anything, but I'm not used to notebooks that bow like that either.

I know this is a rebadged something or other from a Taiwanese ODM but I've seen better construction and quality control on $150 Chromebooks. Honestly, if Lenovo Duets had a better keyboard and more local storage, they'd be objectively better in every possible way regardless.

I'm setting up several of these for kids just starting high school and I'm honestly pretty close to eating the restock fee to not see these again, because I know if I give these to kids, I'm going to see all of them. Probably sooner rather than later.

I'm just posting to vent but if someone come across this in a Google search, this is a good subject for a test involving lighter fluid and your favorite method of rapid oxidation thereof.
 

sedrosken

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I was pleasantly surprised by the build quality on my Inspiron I bought for work, I intended it to last only until I could find a deal on something Enterprise-grade, but it's pretty much still brand-new after lugging it around for my job for nearly a year. The only things I'm really missing (numpad, native Ethernet) I could have gotten by going up a size to the 15.6" model. The 11300H is plenty for anything I'm doing with it including messing around with some VMs. The stock 8GB of RAM was not enough for my use case though, and within a couple months I asked my boss if I could spend a little company money to give it an upgrade.

But this is a machine that I only got for $650 shipped because there was a huge promotion going on, the list price for that model was 900 dollars.

Regarding the build quality on those Acers, Merc:

It's become depressingly common for companies to design one small board meant for a tiny chassis, and then leave the rest of the shell empty. Maybe they put a bigger battery in, maybe sometimes they give you a beefier cooler, but those times are very rare indeed. I had a 17" VivoBook from ASUS that had the board from a 12 inch model with literally most of the volume just being air. The cooler would have been generous for a 12" model, but wasn't anywhere near what I expected from a 17" laptop. Those chassis' would feel a lot stiffer if they were backed up by literally anything, but that doesn't help them in their pursuit of profit.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Numpads on laptop keyboards are an abomination. If my hands are off-center from the screen, that's going to do nothing but piss me off. I also hate absolutely enormous touchpads, but they just keep getting bigger and bigger on everything for no reason I can excuse.

Acer has ALWAYS sold poorly constructed machines with good specs. That's its whole deal. These machines are just a particularly bad example of it. I think the ease with which the dc jack comes out might be a design feature though, since this is the first laptop in a while that still has the DC input soldered to the motherboard instead of a modular component.

I try to tell people to avoid Acer hardware for just that reason. I usually advocate for Asus as a consumer brand if I have to, or Microsoft if a tablet or 2 in 1 is appropriate. In this case, I didn't buy the hardware; I was asked to set the machines up and "kid proof" them with parental controls and registry edits. I delivered the systems and offered my reservations about the quality of the computers. I told my customer I don't want to see the machines again. 14 year old boys are going to break them.

A PC being full of unused space is fine, but I do like to open a laptop and find that there's at least room inside for a 2.5" drive. Mechanical drives as containers of bulk storage are still appropriate for at least some people and it should require research and a special purchase to get that.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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Also, my order for an extremely backordered Thinkpad X1 Extreme was canceled on July 1, which Lenovo didn't bother to tell me. I only just took the time to look today after seeing the post I made about it in February. It also didn't put me on a list to get an X1 Gen 5 model, and at this point I can only choose which shady Amazon reseller to buy from that I might have some kind of X1 Extreme during this calendar year.
 

sedrosken

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Numpads on laptop keyboards are an abomination. If my hands are off-center from the screen, that's going to do nothing but piss me off. I also hate absolutely enormous touchpads, but they just keep getting bigger and bigger on everything for no reason I can excuse.

I agree RE: touchpads, but I have to beg to differ on the numpad thing. I used to think like you but I came around the second I actually had to use this thing for a spreadsheet. I just wish it was possible to get a 14-incher with native ethernet and a numpad, even if they had to condense it a bit and go edge-to-edge to do it. The native ethernet thing you can solve by going upmarket and getting something intended for business use, the keyboard not so much.

A PC being full of unused space is fine, but I do like to open a laptop and find that there's at least room inside for a 2.5" drive. Mechanical drives as containers of bulk storage are still appropriate for at least some people and it should require research and a special purchase to get that.

I find that having actual PCBs and stuff in the dead space adds a ton of structural stability and helps lend it a feeling of build quality. Mechanical drives as bulk storage are fine, heck, I still use them myself, but I think they're falling out of fashion on all but the heftiest of portable workstations.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
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If I have to work on a spreadsheet (note: this is not something I do), it can wait for a computer with a full keyboard. I'd RATHER have a 14" screen than 15", but I the thing I just bought is actually closer to 16", just to get the rest of the specs I need. I will say that I have USB3 to ethernet adapters in my normal carry bag and they've been fine for me.

The Acer laptops I was bitching about a few posts ago have a condensed numpad. I didn't hate it as much as the ones where my hands are a full three inches to the left of center, but I still hate it. Numpad people can buy some kind of little bluetooth keyboard but the ergonomics of either sitting off-center from a screen or keeping your hands off to one side of your body are hideous either way.
 
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