The NotebookReview forum is bursting with notebook expertise. It’s an invaluable resource for notebook buying advice, personal tech troubleshooting, and discussions centered on all things computing, especially PC 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.
Claims that Windows 10 is broken aren’t new, but one user on the NBR forum started a lengthy discussion about the operating system’s failures by pointing to file management’s inability to delete temp files.
Many suggested Disk Cleanup could fix the problem, with others pointing to an existing Microsoft Community thread discussing possible workarounds. Yet another suggested “fix” by many was to return to the relative stability of Windows 7. Fingers crossed for a patch to prevent Windows devotees from fleeing to Linux.
With the announced arrival of new Pascal 1060M graphics cards, will the cost difference will be worth it—and, possibly more importantly, will its arrival will force down the cost of existing 970-series cards? One NBR launched a sizable conversation thread that carried through from pre-release to post-announcement, leading to much discussion about what will and won’t be within some people’s budgets.
Few Ph.D. students have time for gaming, therefore finding a 13- to 16-inch laptop capable of handling the necessary rigors of the pursuit of high education is possible without having to spend an arm and a leg. The best recommendations from NBR forum posters was to seek out a commercial-grade laptop (citing consumer laptops as “toys” and consumer-grade support even worse) including ThinkPad or Latitude series devices.
What’s the best laptop around $1,500 that’s capable of handling combined casual usage and gaming, and why do NBR users not recommend Asus? The answer to the first question came in with a resounding call for Sager/Clevo (specifically the Sager NP8657 model). Issues with USB ports, quality control, and customer service were listed as good reasons for buyers to steer clear of Asus gaming laptops.
The 3G wireless card on the Acer TravelMate P645-SG laptop can, indeed, be upgraded to 4G/LTE—with some caveats. NBR forum users caution that not any old 4G/LTE card will work, and that attention must be paid to picking the right LTE band and interface, and that an unlocked card will be required. The additional suggestion to avoid HP and Lenovo cards was made, citing Dell cards and non-branded cards as the best possible choices to avoid problems.
Screen ghosting is an issue that has been previously identified in some Alienware 15 notebooks, a factor that can sour the gaming experience. User SagerFanatic, considering an Alienware 15 purchase, asked which display would minimize the effect. Some said they’d never experienced the issue, with others cautioning that IPS screens are more prone to ghosting than others.
An overheating VRM (voltage regulator module) may have been the cause of one user’s blackscreen issues when gaming on a laptop with an upgraded GXF module and a newly installed heat sink and thermal pads. It was additionally noted that adding thermal pads will reduce ambient heat but not necessarily cool core temperature. Expansive conversation ensued, with numerous troubleshooting suggestions.
NBR forum users pitted the GeForce GTX 980 against the GTX 970M SLI for supremacy in frames-per-second quality, which prompted lots of conversation. Apparently, SLI (scalable link interface, which allows for the linking of two or more graphics cards to produce a higher cumulative output) isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. “It’s a technological step backwards,” said user sirana about SLI. “Not only does it suck, but it also costs the consumers.” Add your input if you feel likewise, or disagree.
Not everyone likes being told when they have to upgrade their Microsoft operating system, but there is evidence out there that failing to do so can cause problems for the stubborn-willed. A user who downgraded to Windows 8 ran into trouble installing Intel GPU and Wi-Fi drivers and came to the forum seeking input.
The issue: Window 7, 8.1 and 10 drivers don’t work on Windows 8. Several “at your own risk” solutions were offered, but the general consensus was to surrender to 8.1. “There are a lot of bugs in 8 that Microsoft fixed in 8.1 and you’re just setting yourself up for a LOT of headaches staying on 8,” said user Ethrem.
With the native resolution on the Dell Latitude E6420 set at 1660 x 900, one user wanted to know if changing resolution to their preferred 1440 x 900 was possible. The answer is yes, however one user suggested ensuring the “keep aspect ratio” option was selected to avoid elongation of the image.
NICs (short for network interface controller) are the components that bridge the connection between a computer and a computer network. Intel NICs are preferred by some, leading to the question: “Are there any plans to use Intel NICs in Clevos?” Due to the limited real estate, it’s not likely. “That’s one of the cruxes with laptops,” said NBR user Prostar computer. “It’s hard to outfit a small footprint with modular components.”
A series of reported crash error logs on a Sager NP9870-S brought user Krileon to the NBR forum for help. The solution to remove the heat sink and ensure thermal pads were making proper contact was floated, which did the trick. Ensuing discussion delved into which replacement thermal pads would work best to avoid problems in the future. NBR forum users to the rescue, again.