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.
As far as laptop screens go, size sometimes matters. A lot. But most of the time, recommendations for laptops with 17-plus screens point the user toward gaming laptops. NBR forum user Skyehammer asked for advice on the best non-gaming laptop in the 17-inch range, and he got it. The name Dell came up frequently as a recommended brand (the Precision 7710 workstation in particular), followed by much discussion about the quality of Dell customer service—but one user offered this sage advice: “Just make sure that the machines have a standard Dell warranty, something where you can contact Dell directly for repairs, and extend the warranty in the future if you want to.”
What’s the best 13- to 16-inch laptop for web surfing, light gaming, music and video editing, and programming in the $1500 range? According to NBR forum participants, the Dell Latitude E7470 and Dell Precision M5510 both the bill, but others had equally strong suggestions: the HP Elitebook 850 G2 and Lenovo ThinkPad T550 and T560 also received notable mentions.
Decisions about whether to keep your existing gaming laptop or make the leap into uncharted territory can cause indecision and doubt, but when you’ve got access to experts on the NBR forum, no choice is really that risky. User amd098 posed the quandary: to dump the MSI GT72S in favor of Sager’s NP9870-S, or not? Power user Phoenix summed up the consensus opinion by stating: “None of the above. Get the EVOC P870DM-G gaming laptop.”
One NBR user came to the forum with a major artistic crisis: his powerful PC punched the proverbial ticket just prior to the start of editing for a short film, and he wanted to know if his ancient, 7-year-old Compaq Presario cq40, equipped with Vista 32-bit, 1GB RAM, an AMD Turion x2 64bit, and ATI Radeon graphics, could possibly step up to the plate with upgraded RAM. Ultimately, this was deemed a non-option, as was the Compaq itself. “Literally any public library computer will do what you need 10 times faster than that laptop,” said user Raidriar. “I would cry trying to do anything on it in 2016.”
In July, GeForce released a reference driver for installation on supported Nvidia notebook GPUs for use with VR gaming. User thegh0sts was among the first brave testers, reporting back that the new driver was “causing Overwatch to crash the entire PC,” but those not running that particularly intensive game reported no such issues. One user with previous lockup issues reporting solid performance, concluding that previous experienced lockups playing intensive games may have been the result of GPU lockups over CPU lockups.
In a poll generated to gather user opinions about the Clevo N150RF and Clevo P650RE6 notebooks, the clear victor was the latter: P650RE6 with 100 percent of the vote (so far). The reasons given included the P650RE6’s sturdier build, better thermal management, and the inclusion of a decidedly more “future proof” GPU. Granted, there’s a substantial cost difference between the two, but you know the old saying about getting what you pay for.
Sensitivity to the Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) on LED screens can ruin the experience for some. One recent purchaser of an Acer P645-SG laptop grew tired of the nausea and decided to go on the hunt for an older, refurbished laptop with a CCFL screen. Requested specs include a unit under 2kg in weight, a 1GB or greater graphics card, a 14- to 15-inch screen, and HDMI and VGA outputs. “No such luck!” cried the chorus, and user Tmets summed up by stating, “Anything with such a screen is going to be outdated.”
Finding a 2-in-1 laptop on a max budget of $700 is possible, but when you add in requirements for a 360-degree hinge and a 13.3- to 15.6-inch display, your options decrease. Suggestions included the Fujitsu T935 and Thinkpad Yoga 12, both of which come with smaller screens but which fit within budgetary constraints. “There’s no big difference between 13.3 and 12.5 inches, and it will save you money,” wrote user Starlight5, who also recommended the business-class convertibles Fujitsu T734 and T902—with the added note that both will inhibit the ability to achieve powerful graphics for gaming.
Few laptop purchases are as important as those that are going to be used for college coursework and intended to last a full four years. Newbie user anirudhs98 came to the NBR forum seeking advice on whether to buy the 13-inch MacBook Pro recommended and sold by his university, or to spring for the slightly more expensive Microsoft Surface Book. User Jarhead added a note of caution, writing that it would be “unwise to buy a Windows laptop if your school uses OSX software, or vice versa.” Ultimately, the consensus was to adhere to university recommendations, while paying attention to accidental damage coverage offered by the manufacturers. Four years is a long time.