You won’t find a better collection of tech experts than in the NotebookReview forum. It’s an invaluable resource for notebook buying advice, personal tech torubleshooting, and discussions centered on all things computing, including gaming. Here’s a roundup of the latest trending topics and buying advice.
And if you haven’t already, considering signing up. You’ll find no better and welcoming collection of knowledgeable members and moderators.
Where computers are concerned, architecture is a heavily Windows-dominated industry. User WaffleMan149 came to the NBR forums asking for input from power users on the best PC to handle the rigors of four-year college coursework, including the ability to run full Adobe Creative Cloud suite of programs.
Recommendations were plentiful and diverse, including such workstations as the MSI WT72, MSI GT72, Alienware 17, or ASUS G752. The Dell Precision 7510 was also strongly suggested for its optional five-year warranty and ease in taking apart when cleaning out for dust accumulation, which can dramatically decrease longevity.
Nvidia recently announced the Pascal GTX 1080 GPU graphics card, but at this point in time there’s little else beyond rumors to indicate if it will be available for desktops. User Dark_Ansem floated the question in the NBR forum, but at this point indications are unclear. Also unclear is whether or not laptops that support the 980 GPU would be able to fit the 1080 in their chassis. Enthusiasts are encouraged to take a “wait and see” approach, since there is indication many computers manufactured today may encounter BIOS issues incorporating the new graphics tech
Self-identified “noob” hungle posed the question: can heat from accumulated dirt cause a CPU to reach 100 percent usage? While it’s no doubt that 100 percent CPU usage can generate unwanted heat, it’s a matter of debate whether or not the reverse is possible. The consensus among NBR users was that heat is not proportional to voltage, which is the factor that drives CPU usage. However, unwanted dust and dirt can overburden a workstation to the point of slowing. For more of the nitty-gritty, check out the full discussion.
Is it possible to exchange the motor from an existing fan for a new one? This question, posed by NBR forum user hirobo2, launched a great deal of discussion about whether this is doable—and if it’s even worth it to try to keep a nine-year-old notebook running beyond the lifespan of its fan, especially considering parts that old may be hard to come by. “Fans are not normally serviceable in parts,” commented user HTWingNut, leading to the consensus agreement that seeking used fan assemblies online and replacing them as needed is the best approach.
Adding G-Sync can run an estimated $80 extra for Sager/Clevo gaming laptops, but is the additional expense worth it if you’re not playing graphic-intensive games? According to power users on the NBR forum, the answer is a resounding yes. User hfm said it best: “$80 is a small price to pay to ensure stable rendering. You may not need it, but as the notebook ages and games start getting more demanding it’ll pay off.”
One of the greatest barriers to the longevity of gaming laptops are the short lifespans of GPUs, hence the understandable excitement over the emergence of eGPUs: external graphics processing units that allow laptops to perform at much higher levels than previously capable.
But is future-proofing your notebook really a thing? Not according to most, especially taking into consideration the fact that new games with intense graphics requirements could render earlier tech useless. “There is no such thing as future proof,” said NBR forum contributor J.Dre. “Every 2-3 years, your device will be obsolete, regardless of the card (for gaming).”
Acer laptops fit the bill with respect to affordable budgets and light gaming capabilities, however rumors about poor ventilation and overheating were enough to bring NBR user RagiNagi to the forum for advice. One NBR Super Moderator chimed in with the suggestion that the laptop’s GPU is much more important than the CPU where gaming is concerned, leading to a technical (but illuminating) discussion about the need to balance out processor power with GPU capabilities.
Living with laptop fan noise can be as issue to some with sound sensitivity, which led to this NBR forum post about the availability of used MacBooks that operate without fans for cooling, which can be had at a cost of a few hundred U.S. dollars. No can do, sayeth the chorus, adding that even used Air models generally start out at $400, and no older models are fanless. Newer Intel Core M processors generate less heat due to lower voltage, but are only available in newer MacBooks.
The Panasonic CF-19 Toughbook bears an interesting design, with wing-like protrusions on the sides of the LCD. According to NBR forum users, these “wings” encase the tablet’s antennae in plastic, and are there to improve reception for WWAN (wireless wide area network).
The plastic covering was added to adhere to FCC regulations, which are in place to limit exposure to certain levels of microwave radiation the antennae may emit. The conversation then turned to the informative to the ridiculous, complete with a history of the inventor of the microwave oven and a video link to a gag from the movie Airplane!
Panasonic’s CF-19 Toughbook came up again in conversation, this time in reference to issues installing a second-hand fingerprint reader on the MK2 model. Following a volley of back-and-forth discussion, it was suggested that the wrong drivers may have been installed for the supported software. After much troubleshooting, it was determined that the OP may have snatched up a faulty fingerprint reader.
It’s all fun and games… until your brand new Sager gaming laptop fails to boot properly. One NBR user hit the forums to seek help for this most troubling issue and was given a load of advice from helpful fellow gamers. After some digging and peeking into the laptop’s BIOS, it was discovered the system came without Windows pre-loaded. An XoticPC rep chimed in, informing the user, “Sagers don’t have a default OS on the order when purchasing through our site.”
Laptop purgatory is no fun place to be, and the indecision about what to buy can wreak havoc on the inborn human appetite for gaming. The Clevo P775DM2-G gaming laptop with GTX 1080m scored at the top of most gamers’ wish-lists, but with prices and release dates as yet unknown, many are left to ponder: buy something now and get their game on, or continue to play the waiting game?
On the subject of playing the waiting game, discussion abounds on the NBR forums on the impending refresh of the Clevo P640RE laptop. As one Sager company rep put it: “A refresh is a bit pointless without some new feature to add, be it chipset/cpu/gpu,” which led many to the conclusion that it could be as late as 2017 before any significant upgrades are seen.
User Stooj was a bit more optimistic: “I get the feeling we won’t be seeing much until the complete refresh later in the year, which could be anywhere from 2-6 months out.”