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 Nvidia Max-Q pros and cons, upgrading Windows 7 to 10 for free, the new Windows Terminal, and improving Wi-Fi coverage.
Are Nvidia Max-Q Graphics Worth It?
Nvidia’s Max-Q-branded graphics cards have lower power consumption to meet the demands of thin and light notebooks. The natural question, then, is how much performance is lost with the Max-Q treatment. No two notebooks are created equal, but the consensus in our forums is that a Max-Q graphics card is one half to a full step down from the standard power card. For example, the GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q is about equivalent to a standard power RTX 2070.
On a semi-related note, you might also be interested in the last forum spotlight where I discussed Nvidia Optimus woes.
Upgrade Windows 7 to 10 for Free
Microsoft announced some time back that it was ending its Windows 10 upgrade promotion, which allowed you to upgrade to the OS from an earlier version (like Windows 7) for free. However, it’s apparently still possible to get a free upgrade without doing anything special.
To help businesses, Microsoft is offering a program it calls FastTrack to help businesses upgrade. That’s assuming you buy 150 or more licenses, of course.
How to Apply Thermal Compound
Many of our performance-minded forum members perform a “repaste” of their notebooks to improve thermal performance. The repaste consists of applying new thermal compound to the notebook’s processor and/or graphics card. This should improve the efficiency of the heat transfer, thus allowing the notebook to run cooler.
There are numerous brands of thermal compound out there, but the basic application process is the same. See the tips from our forum members here.
Windows Terminal Now Available
Microsoft’s new open source terminal application, Windows Terminal, is now available in preview form from the Microsoft Store. The app is free and requires Windows 10. Microsoft’s developer blog article has a number of tips and tricks to help you get the most out of it.
Windows Terminal isn’t a replacement for the existing Windows Console; Microsoft will continue to include the latter with Windows for the foreseeable future. Find out more about the features of Windows Terminal here.
Improving Wi-Fi Signal Strength
One of our members asked whether upgrading the wireless card in their notebook would improve its overall wireless performance. It’s possible that the signal strength could improve from upgrading the wireless card, especially at the limit of its range, but far more benefit can be had from moving the router and/or the laptop to a more ideal location.
On a related note, be careful when upgrading wireless cards in notebooks. Some of the newer Intel wireless cards, like the 9560AC, rely on the processor to house the chipset for the wireless card; if your notebook is older, such a card won’t work. See this thread for more information.