Welcome to the NotebookReview Forum Spotlight, a biweekly series where we highlight the hottest and most important topics in our forum. The NotebookReview forum is the largest Internet forum dedicated to the discussion of notebook computers, including Macs and tablets. You can sign up for free by clicking here.
This forum spotlight covers Google Stadia cloud gaming impressions, old versus new gaming notebooks, and mobile workstation configurations.
Google Stadia Impressions Fall Short
Google’s cloud gaming platform, Stadia, has been released to muted fanfare. It’s currently missing many features, as detailed in this post, though Google says many should be added this year. The reactions from our forum members is on the negative side. (So far, anyway.) The complaints mainly come from lack of game content and the overall value proposition, with others chiming in about input lag and bandwidth usage.
Trading an Old Gaming Notebook
A forum member asked whether it was wise to switch a slightly older gaming notebook with a newer one, assuming no costs would be involved. (The latter is an unusual circumstance, for sure.) The old notebook is a 17-inch Alienware with an Intel Core i7-7820HK quad-core CPU and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, while the newer one is a smaller 15.6-inch Asus with a Core i7-8750 six-core CPU and an RTX 2070 GPU.
I advised against making the swap on the grounds that the member liked the bigger screen on the Alienware, not to mention it has a higher screen resolution (2,560 by 1,440 pixels versus 1,920 by 1,080). The Asus has a definitive advantage when it comes to CPU power, but the GPU power could be a tie. Unless there’s a specific need for the RTX features (namely, ray tracing and DLSS), upgrading from a GTX 10-series to an RTX 20-series GPU can be a sideways move.
Deciding on Mobile Workstation Configurations
Mobile workstations are some of the most complicated notebooks to build, so a Canadian forum member signed up to ask how best to configure a 17-inch Dell Precision 7740. The intended uses of the notebook are graphic design and video editing, tasks for which the notebook can be well suited. (I say “can”, as the notebook’s base specifications aren’t impressive.)
For maximum value, I suggested upgrading to the Core i7-9750H six-core processor, one of the AMD Radeon Pro WX GPU options, 16GB to 32GB of RAM, and at least a 512GB SSD as the primary storage drive. I also recommended the 4K display for the clearest image quality. Other forum members chimed in and recommended the Core i9 eight-core CPU, and possibly getting an SSD aftermarket to save money.
Transitioning to a Thunderbolt 3 Laptop
Today’s top tier thin-and-light notebooks are coming with fewer ports. Look at the Dell XPS 13 (7390) for reference, which includes three USB Type-C ports, two of which use Thunderbolt 3. If you’re coming from an older notebook like this member, this can create a problem for your existing peripherals. The member in question is using three USB Type-A ports and a mini-DisplayPort video-out connector on their old notebook. The new notebook, by contrast, has two Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) ports and just one USB Type-A port.
The solution suggested by one of our forum members is to get a USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter, which the member can use to hook up their existing docking station, and a USB Type-C to mini-DisplayPort adapter for the monitor. Who says older ports are out of style?
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