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.
The highlights of this forum spotlight include upgrading older notebooks, the effects of Nvidia Optimus on gaming performance, and the end of Nvidia SLI in notebooks.
New Gaming Notebooks: Lenovo Legion Y540
If there’s a laptop being discussed on the Internet, you can generally find it in our forums. Lenovo’s new Legion Y540 is one of them. This 15-inch gaming notebook is powered by an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650, GTX 1660 Ti, or RTX 2060 graphics cards.
It’s getting mostly positive feedback from our forum members that have purchased the laptop. Some have reported it runs cooler after undervolting the processor, applying better thermal paste, and using a cooling pad. Read the Legion Y540 Owner’s Lounge for more impressions and feedback.
Breathing Life Into Old Laptops
Your old laptop may yet have some life in it, especially if it’s based around an Intel GL40 or GL960 chipset. The FSB downclock mod is one of the oldest active threads on our forums, with 31 pages of discussion since 2011. This mod allows you to install a Core 2 Duo (or potentially Core 2 Quad) processor in a notebook with one of said chipsets, forcing the processor to run at a lower 800MHz front-side bus (FSB) for compatibility. You can then use the PLL mod to bump the FSB back up to 1,066MHz on supported processors to get back the full performance.
There are limits to what can be upgraded in an old notebook, though, as a member looking to upgrade an old Dell XPS L502X notebook found out. The desired upgrade was two 16GB RAM modules (for a total of 32GB), but the second-generation Core i-series processor in that notebook won’t recognize more than 16GB in a two 8GB module configuration.
If your notebook is more than three years old, I usually recommend buying a new notebook. The useful lifespan of the notebook is limited at that point, and other components, like the battery, may have already gone bad. (Create a thread in our What Notebook Should I Buy forum to get personalized recommendations from our experts!)
Nvidia Optimus Can Hurt Gaming Performance
Nvidia Optimus technology has been coming on gaming notebooks for some time now. It’s a little-known fact that it can affect gaming performance, but not in every game or situation. Optimus can introduce a bottleneck in games that run at very high framerates, like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, due to overhead on the PCI Express bus. It’s also possible for CPU-limited games to be further bottlenecked by overhead on the computer’s onboard Intel graphics solution. Read the discussion here.
RIP to Multi-GPU Gaming Notebooks?
Nvidia Scalable Link Interface (SLI) isn’t a term I’ve heard in the notebook world in a while. It seems the technology, at least for consumers, has been on the way out for some time. It never enjoyed universal support in gaming, and is seeing even less support now that Nvidia has restricted it to only the GeForce RTX 2080 and up in its desktop graphics card lineup.
A large thread in our forums discusses the ups and downs of SLI technology in notebooks. Nvidia’s current GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards have, overall, brought improved performance to notebook computers, especially in the mid-range segment. However, even the flagship RTX 2080 can have trouble producing playable framerates in the latest games at a 4K resolution. Older gaming notebooks equipped with dual GTX 1080 graphics cards are still king in that regard.
AMD Ryzen 5 Desktop Build
AMD’s third-generation Ryzen processors have been making waves, especially in the desktop world. One of our members is putting together a gaming desktop based around a Ryzen 5 3600.
The paired components include a Corsair modular power supply, an AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card, HyperX memory, an MSI X570 Carbon Pro motherboard, and a Cooler Master case. See the rest of the thread for the details.