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shopping for a laptop again (DigitalStorm sucks)  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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The last laptop I got was a "DigitalStorm" which turns out to be lame.

A year and a half ago I had the idea that i would buy something that would last for five years - thus be less of a consumer.

I tried a mac for two weeks and learned that their "intuitive" thing includes resizing images in the image viewer - which does not seem intuitive at all. Plus, I just came to the conclusion that i am not a mac guy.

I tried linux mint for three weeks and found out that three things that I really needed from a computer were not available in linux. I was bouncing to windows so often it was becoming silly.

So, as much as I hate to feed micro$oft, I will be trying windows again.

The DigitalStorm laptop has a list of problems and the manufacturers position is "not our fault, stop bothering us."

The biggest problem now is that it periodically turns itself off in the middle of writing out a video - thus losing all the work. Previous laptops didn't do that.

Another annoying thing was when I forgot the extra cord. I learned that the cord for this laptop is 120 watts. The standard is 90 watts or 65 watts. Apparently this is related to the massive processors and graphics chips. So I guess if I had processor and graphics chips that were a bit more humble, then the laptop would not need so much power.

The shutting off thing is probably related to the power thing. When writing a video, the CPUs take a lot of power and, I suspect, they then overheat. the laptop is turned off, losing all of my work, but saving the hardware.

With my previous laptop, I would take care of internet stuff while a video file was being created and the CPUs would be pegged out.

I have coddled this laptop so much I am more than ready to sell it and move on to something where I can focus more on my work, and less on

So now I'm thinking that I would like to find a laptop that is not so power hungry.

I also found out that this "DigitalStorm" laptop (which cost about $400 more than similar laptops) has a crap sound card and crap speakers. they were so bad, I ended up buying workarounds for both, while the previous laptops did not need workarounds.

I like the idea of getting something that has no crapware - although I expect that I will just have to install windows on whatever I get to dodge all the crapware.

I'm looking for a 17 inch system - because I just do so much on the screen all at once.

Anybody have suggestions?

 
Amedean Messan
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I am almost certain your laptop is overheating with that sort of power consumption. Four factors that come to mind:

  • Thermal compound - manufacturers almost always use the cheap tape thermal compound that is not as conductive and does not provide the adequate surface area to transfer the heat as opposed to say the enthusiast standard Arctic Silver.
  • Dust - I take it your an outdoorsy kinda guy so if your computer has been in a dusty office for a while than the dust will eventually form a coating on the heatsink. The heat sinks capacity to transfer thermal is reduced from obstructed air flow and the insulative properties of the dust itself.
  • Fans - usually the fans are not running at full capacity due to embedded firmware ment to reduce noice. Also there is a possibility there may be a broken fan but this is unlikely. For the first, you can download software that defaults the fan speed to max.
  • Poor Design - not much I can do about this one....
  •  
    John Polk
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    Yeah. I'm going through that overheating thing myself. Pain in the ass.

    I totally agree about the crapware. Dell and HP both will saddle you with so much it actually will slow you down.
    On my HP, I went in and turned off dozens of programs so they will not start up each time I boot up.

    I have heard that the Toshibas are good machines (but you seldom see them discounted like the other brands).

    Good luck in your search.

     
    Dale Hodgins
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    My $90 (used) Dell laptop gets quite warm if I load lots of photos in succession. I've found that it works better if left out in the cold prior to posting. After it's hot and turned off, I often put it under my blankets to heat up the bed.
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    I really like the 2 year old ASUS stuff, the older MV series is pretty fab. Woudn't buy a new one tho, they have gone from first in quality and customer service, to prob 4th or 5th.

    If you want to buy a older series, you can try Cheetah Deals, they do manufacturer repairs, and display refurbs for a few of the big manufactures.
    I have had good luck with the el-cheapo stuff from them, but don't pay extra for a finish upgrade, save it for an extended warranty.


    http://www.cheetahdeals.com/Refurbished-ASUS-Laptop-s/806.htm

    Most of the new 17 inch stuff is having serious overheating issues with the new processors too.
    HP envy's are actually melting cases and warping !
    Good way to find out, is to follow the PC Gaming community, they really push stuff to the limit, over clocking and running hard graphics and video.

    But i guess you know that, and that is how you ended up with a DigiStorm in the first place.



    http://www.originpc.com/Laptops/Compare/Gaming.aspx

    http://www.thelinuxlaptop.com/

    http://linuxgraphicsusers.com/forum/

    These guys have great machines, and a good article on who is actually building the re-badged laptops out there.,
    Pre-burned in, and top quality.

    http://www.xoticpc.com/custom-gaming-laptops-notebooks-gaming-laptops-ct-118_96_98.html




    Oh, and the one i want......

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/737913-REG/ASUS_NX90JQ_B1_NX90Jq_B1_18_4_Notebook_Computer.html

     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    hmm, here is a refurbed one...

    http://www.memorylabs.net/asnxinqucoi7.html


    and i think those old Asus MV could drive an extra monitor, could keep half your apps open on a second monitor....
     
    Meryt Helmer
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    5 years ago I got a refurbished dell vostro. I am uncertain which one. My husband uses it now and it has lasted very well and still runs well however we have akways ran linux on it. I have no idea how it would work with windows. But the hardware has worked very well for us though and i suspect will last at least another few years at which point we will probably scavenge as many parts from it as possible to make something useful and fun.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Perhaps you will have one custom built with a heavy-duty cooling fan and without the crapware.

    If not looking for a custom built one, I have a cautionary tale. Last week, a client of mine purchased a brand-new computer at one of the office supply stores, with the new, Windows 8 OS.

    His computer would not work with his brand-new, super-deluxe printer, and it would not work with his brand-new wifi set up. My laptop running Win 7 worked just fine with both. After an hour or so with the wifi/internet tech support, he was so frustrated he took the computer back. ALL the new computers had Win 8 - none were available with Win 7.
     
    John Polk
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    For the overheating problem, I am experimenting today. I removed my battery.

    It has not solved the problem, but the laptop can run much longer/harder than before.
    The batteries build up, and store a lot of heat.
    Might be worth a try to get you through a work project uninterrupted.
     
    Jeff McLeod
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    Paul not sure if this is a solution you would want to pursue - but instead of a 17" - how about a second screen? I'm currently using an IBM/Lenovo X201 which is pretty small but I also use a second screen since my job means that I have to run multiple applications. I'm currently running Ubuntu 12.04 with great success. It took some tweaking but no more than running OSX or Windows. So far pretty pleased with the results. I do need to figure out at some point what sort of power I'm consuming though.

    One other thing I did notice - previously when running XP my laptop would get really hot. The switch to Linux (have tried other variants as well as Ubuntu) actually made the laptop run way cooler. I'm presuming because of the lack of background processes.

    Peace

    Jeff
     
    John Polk
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    Most laptops have "energy management options", which include things like when to blank screen when idle, automatically go 'to sleep' after x many minutes of being idle, and screen brightness, etc,.

    While removing my battery certainly helped the overheating problem, it did not stop it.

    I went in and changed my screen brightness from 100% to about 75%, and the laptop has not shut down since!
    I can now watch a YouTube video without a shutdown 5-10 minutes into it.

    My Speed Fan readings, (in Celsius) were 95-110 degrees for my CPU before. Now, they are running 70-80 degrees!

    This has not eliminated the underlying problem, but it has made my laptop useful again.



     
    Adrien Lapointe
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    I bought an ASUS N56VZ last week on Amazon. I received it within 24 hrs of the order. I was amazed. Now, the only issue is that the optical drive does not work properly. I called ASUS and they can fix it if I ship the laptop to them. That will take like 2 weeks to get it back.

    I am considering returning it to Amazon. Not sure if I want to get the same laptop back, it has lots of crapware, parasites on the speakers and other annoyances such as poor usb port placement, etc. Any suggestions?
     
    paul wheaton
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    I found a power management thing in windows. If I set it to 25% then the laptop seems to be safe from problems. Of course, everything is slow. If I put a special fan under it, then I can raise it to 75%. I am learning more about the laptop than I ever wanted to know.

    It seems that a smarter laptop would say "to cool the processors, we have reduced process speed to 25% until the processors get cool enough to go back to 100%" which seems far better than the laptop turning off with no warning.
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    google just released a new, high performance laptop, with a terabyte of cloud storage included.

    I am just stunned with the new google glasses. It is amazing what they can do with voice control.
    Everyone will have these in 5 years, and carry a small phone with a projection keyboard, that will replace tablets and laptops.
    You can just walk into a shop, and look at a barcode and it will give you complete product specs.
    While looking at a view, you can just say "record", and "send" to "bill" , and it does it. whew.

    I REALLY like the old Asus laptops, but the new ones seem to have lots of problems. Mostly because of the i5 and i7 processors.
    HP laptops have been physically melting down. Lenova is pretty heavy, and still not well built.

    No wonder everyone is buying Macbooks.
     
    Adrien Lapointe
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    I had a Dell Inspiron 6400 that I bought in 2006 and I was running xubuntu. I really liked the feel of the computer and it was very reliable, except the battery had died few years ago. I thought I could still go for another year or two with it. However, when working on Permies stuff, I have so many windows open that I started experiencing slow downs.

    I checked the chrome book, but it is not big enough. I want at least 15.6" of screen. Otherwise it gets too small to do work.
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    not the chromebook, the new ultra chrome book.


    here let, me look that up
    http://theultralinx.com/2013/02/feels-google-glasses-video.html

    man, instant plant id, instant language and sign translation. i want....



    try these folks too
    http://zareason.com/shop/home.php
    and
    http://linux-laptop.net/


    you want power?
    http://www.xoticpc.com/custom-gaming-laptops-notebooks-gaming-laptops-ct-118_96_98.html
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    theres the new chromebook.

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/02/googles-new-touchscreen-chromebook-pixel-a-1299-laptop-for-cloud-dwellers/

    a 3:2 screen for more vertical height

    Think they still need a xecel reader.
     
    Linda Sefcik
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    I tried creating an internet directory some years back.......
    websites that did not use ads that imposed 3rd party cookies....

    It required me to check my temporary cookie folder after each link.
    A lot of work... but I believed in it.

    I tend to think that... a lot of the work your processor has to do
    is connected with those ads.
    When you go to any internet site.......
    some ad (google ads?)
    will search your temporary folders for your interests
    so they know what to show you.

    I have my internet options set... to empty all temporary files...
    whenever I log off of the internet.....
    and occasionally disconnect from the internet to empty that folder.

    I wonder if this would help... that "over-processing" going on.
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    i still think the google Pixel is way overpriced, but is a great screen.

    Will boot mint, from one of the G guys himself

    https://plus.google.com/100479847213284361344/posts/QhmBpn5GNE9


    oh, i did stumble on these guys while looking for a refurb asus.
    they are putting in some sweet hardware, but have one of the worst websites i've ever seen.
    can order all without MSwindoze., so all have linux drivers

    http://www.m-techlaptops.com/
     
    Linda Sefcik
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    And just cuz I brought it up --
    how would I suggest the internet should be run??

    Ads would be paid for like newspaper ads... per space... per month

    I did some research on these "per click" ads ...
    Many small businesses were stuck paying far more than they ever reaped.
    One place was telling everyone not to do business with so-and-so
    cuz so-and-so never paid for their ads.

    Basically... I believe in a network of people who shun the ads system
    and go to straight "space per month" types of ads.
    No undercurrent of searches going on behind the scenes.
    No scanning your computer for your private information.
    No records kept in some huge database that puts everyone in a box.

    Instead... small businesses can make a predictable budget for placing ads.

     
    paul wheaton
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    Chris Fox
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    I feel your pain brother. The last decent laptop I owned was an IBM Thinkpad back in the 90's. I've had about two dozen different ones since then. I gave up a few years ago on getting any real work done with them and just built my own pc so I could source my own parts. 500 dollars 4 years ago and she's still going strong. Only had to oil a noisy cooling fan. Only reason for my laptop now is reading email and reddit.
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    Not a laptop, but Asus will usually run Linux, and can be used as tablet.


    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9237413/Mammoth_Asus_tablet_desktop_hybrid_combines_Android_Windows_8

    http://reviews.cnet.com/desktops/asus-transformer-aio/4505-3118_7-35567072.html&tag=cntv?_escaped_fragment_=


    here the Linux guys go over it




    and the latest , small tablet with projection keyboard

    http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/fujitsus-invisible-tablet-keyboard-makes-an-appearance-at-mwc-2013/
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    Asus AIO might be launching soon, saying April 12. I think i want. can just prop it up on your knees in bed, and have it further away from the keyboard on the desk.

    http://mashable.com/2013/03/07/asus-transformer-aio-p1801/



    these guys are working on Linux hacks for the Transformer
    http://www.transformerforums.com/forum/transformer-windows-8/



    http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1055275
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1053641
    http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=1054215
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    Dell linux laptop, only 13", but they may have a larger one later

    http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/04/it-just-works-dell-xps-13-developer-edition-linux-ultrabook-review/2/



    Well, the asus transformer aio is out, and it looks like it is pretty sweet. I want one for a reader, these little 7-9 inch screens arn't cutting it.

    http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Transformer-P1801-B037K-18-4-Inch-Desktop/dp/B00BWHILC4/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1366408528&sr=1-1&keywords=asus+transformer+aio+p1801


     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    This is interesting tradeoff.

    They put in a top of line graphic card, and a el cheapo processor.
    Can run games, but is slow at intensive processing.

    1,1oo. bucks is a good tradeoff too !

    HAS to be plugged in, draws 170 watts under load.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/gx60-gaming-laptop-radeon-hd-7970m,3478-18.html
     
    Morgan Morrigan
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    Hold off if you are shopping now

    http://gizmodo.com/now-is-a-horrible-time-to-buy-a-laptop-496028699

    and el cheapo smartfones
    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/830056275/4_0inch_touch_screen_no_brand.html
     
    paul wheaton
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    My laptop now crashes pretty much daily. It also periodically freezes.

    Part of me thinks it is just time to reinstall the operating system and get a fresh start. Not only does it take a day to that on this laptop - but once done, several of the problems will still exist: such as freaky short battery life; crashing while writing out videos and "hibernate" repurposed to "flush everything down the toilet and drain the battery".

    At this point in time I cannot consider linux and I am all done with mac.

    I would like something with a massive hard drive, big screen and long battery life. Yes, I know battery life doesn't mix with the big screen, but I'm not worried about weight. It would also be nice if it did not draw huge power. I am okay with a slower processor. I think that once the laptop is free from crapware, things are plenty fast.

    And the one thing that this laptop did well was no crapware.

     
    Adrien Lapointe
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    So far, the Thinkpad I got works really well, not sure I abuse it as much as you do

    The battery life is 7 hrs and the display is 15.6 in.

    Here is a review of the machine: http://www.laptopmag.com/review/laptops/lenovo-thinkpad-w530.aspx
     
    Ben Plummer
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    Seconded for Lenovo, two and a half years ago I picked up an Ideapad Z570, still working well. Wish I had gotten one with a higher resolution screen though. Their 17" models don't seem to have much in the way of vertical resolution, only seeing 900, 1080+ would be nice. Most of their Ideapad Y series have 1920x1080 resolution on a 15.6" screen, 1TB drive and an advertised 5 hour battery life.

    Edit: Oh, and there was not much in the way of shovelware and it was easy to remove what there was with the regular Windows uninstaller.
     
    paul wheaton
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    So I've been looking at asus and toshiba.

    I went to the toshiba site and fiddled with the custom stuff for their model S70-ABT2N22. Apparently I can have a win7 computer with 16g of memory and 1t of disk, 1920x1080 and a standard 90 watt power supply for under a grand. This uses the i3 processor which will probably run much cooler than the i7 i have now (which I have to keep my cpu stuff turned down to keep the thing from overheating). It has a vga port - which i use for my external monitor, plus vga appears to still be the standard when i present.

    I'm thinking that when it arrives I would take it to the local computer shop and ask them to strip out all the crapware.

    I have not yet ordered it. I'm just saying that this is now "plan A".

     
    Mike Cornwell
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    Just heard the newest podcast, and it compelled me to come here and attempt to put my two cents in. (From one computer programmer, to an old one)
    I have definitely had good results with ASUS equipment. I have only had a motherboard go bad one time from asus, and nothing else ever. I have had a laptop by them, my monitor is asus, and a few other components that I can't think of off the top of my head.

    The best way to get rid of crapware is just reformatting the entire computer and putting the OS on yourself. (Its just too incredibly easy not to do it.) It would require you to obviously have an operating system disk to do it (how you get a copy of Win7 is up to you). I couldn't recommend doing that more. If I lived near you, I'd just take care of it for you (for free of course).

    I have recommend www.system76.com to my friend in the past who has absolutely zero computer skills and it has thus far worked out great. Granted, I'll admit he's probably significantly less of a power user than you are. (Not saying that Ubuntu isn't for power users, just saying its easier to replace certain programs). I have laughed in the past when you mentioned Mac computers and I just have to smile now that you've realized you're not a mac guy. (Mac computers are terrible ripoffs, and I personally can't stand their anti-free (as in freedom) stance). Microsoft is bad, but that's obvious enough. Bringing up the doing things your own way, and actually having freedom, I can't recommend going the GNU/Linux approach more. There is DEFINITELY a learning curve. No questions asked. And you'll probably end up having to change programs and what not. But I've just got to turn your own statements back to you Paul (for consideration) regarding being a wage slave. The same goes for an operating system. Do you want an operating system dictating what you will and will not do? What you will and will not share, with whom and how? The more you dig into GNU/Linux the more you go "now THIS is the system for doers and a community". Linux aligns itself just way too much with permaculture principles. (Linux IS computer community).

    Cheers Paul and good luck.
     
    paul wheaton
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    Linux installed quickly. And there were three things I could not get it to do for me. So I had to let it go.

    I like permaculture stuff where we come up with things that are simpler and vastly superior. A slam dunk. Linux is not a slam dunk.

     
    Mike Cornwell
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    Well to be fair, its simpler and vastly superior if you know what you're doing or know whats going on.
    If we asked the great and the glorious to design a permanent culture on a property he could do it with ease and consider it simple and superior (to more conventional designs).
    If we asked Richard Stallman to setup a Linux command line only environment, he could do it with ease, and could consider it simple and vastly superior (to more conventional designs).

    By comparison:
    If we asked anybody off the street to design a permanent culture, they'd struggle to come up with a cohesive design, and likely create an overly complex one. (Perhaps even myself now by the great and glorious' standards, although I'm certainly much more educated on the subject nowadays, thanks Mr. Wheaton ).
    If we asked anybody off the street to setup and use a Linux environment, they'd likely expect a Linux computer to do what other computers "do" without realizing other computers give you a limited toolset (and place restrictions) whilst Linux is a collection of small tools to create ad infinitum. (As far as I can tell, there isn't a single corporation technical or not, that doesn't use Linux, in some form or another, purely because its vastly superior).

    Whilst I certainly respect La Monsieur Duke's opinion, for me, simple and superior are relative to particular traits but aren't necessarily a good all inclusive approach to solving a problem (for computers in particular).

    As a bonus: If that's not enough the more one digs into these two particular companies the more damning it becomes. Regarding crapware, Windows, (the operating system), is loaded with it, and so is mac. (Mac comes with so many standard useless tools begging you to pay money to make any kind of use out of them, for example their web publishing software). Just read an article today about a backdoor found in Windows (by microsoft) giving microsoft full access and control over your computer and data, without your consent or knowledge. How nice! The purpose, in general, is to control what software you do, and do not use. (Apparently now the german government is advising that their entities no longer use Windows 8 over this "feature"). Yikes!


    On another note and some more helpful laptop information. Have you replaced your battery? Batteries are the first to go, and they will always go (no way around that). The MOST important thing (if you don't already know) to know about batteries though, is about how to "properly" use a laptop. Charge it, then unplug it. The battery life is substantially lowered if you keep it plugged in all the time (people who use theirs like a desktop have this issue, it eventually becomes.... a desktop). I've read numerous articles, and have witnessed this one first hand. Also another big one is the brightness of the screen, the lower you keep it the longer the battery charge will last. I have a laptop that my parents kept plugged in all the time. Zero battery life. Literally you unplug it, it turns off. Great! My wife's laptop (which she kept plugged in all the time) same thing!

    It sounds like you need at call computer guy.
     
    Myron Weber
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    I travel occasionally for business and rely heavily on my laptop all the time, and the type of work I do requires serious power - no netbooks or ultralights will do. My anecdotal experience is that more business road warriors prefer the Lenovo Thinkpad line than any other for reliability and durability (since Paul said on the podcast he wants laptops that last 5 years, that could be an important factor). My personal choice was the Thinkpad x230, which is pretty serious power in a portable unit. It uses a 65 W power supply and has good power management. Because it's a business model line, it's not the cheapest, but it has some offsetting advantages. First, minimal amount of crapware, and most of that is easily removed. Second, there are proprietary Lenovo utilities that are actually useful in most cases or can be ignored if not. Third (and this was the clincher for me), I bought a model with the smallest HDD and RAM offered and then upgraded aftermarket a lot cheaper. Many of the cheap or unltralight notebooks are not very upgradeable.

    I love Linux but my work requires Windows for the most part. I could run Linux in dual-boot, but instead I tinker with a Raspberry Pi to scratch that itch. For those nerdy enough to work with it, it's an amazing low cost, low power computer. http://www.raspberrypi.org/
     
    paul wheaton
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    A local permie, John, is helping me.

    I found a 17 inch laptop with a processor that uses one third the watts of my old laptop while cranking out about the same CPU power. It can also tolerate much higher temperatures. i7-3537U.

    When it arrived, I liked the 65 watt power supply, as opposed to my last laptop that used a 120 watt power supply.

    John tried to install windows 7, but it wouldn't work.

    I thoroughly do not like windows 8. I tried to play a video ... and then I tried to minimize the window so I can do other things while the video was playing. You can't. It took me about eight minutes of trying just to get back to the desktop (escape key did nothing, no "x" to click on .... press the windows button to get back to the desktop).

    It seems that the function of windows 8 is to sell you shit from microsoft. The whole operating system is designed to be an advertisement. And once you are looking at ads, the only way out is to hit the windows button.

    The new computer would not work with my keyboard and mouse. Fortunately, I could swap with Jocelyn and that worked.

    The new computer did not have a vga port, so I had to find an hdmi cable. I'm glad I happened to have one. It turns out that with hdmi my monitor has speakers. Wacky. Only there is no quick volume control on my monitor. So rather than having a knob that I can turn up and down I am now limited to finding buttons - which are slow.

    The new computer has locked up twice now.

    I tried to fire up skype. It said "can i use your microphone and your video camera?" - I need skype to use my microphone, but right now I don't want to use the camera. But there is no choice for that. All or nothing. Then instead of asking for my skype login stuff, it wants me to register at microsoft. Fuck that. I'm starting to look into the google equivalent for skype.

    One time .... once .... I tried to watch netflix instant view with jocelyn. It would shut off the screen every few minutes. Apparently the microsoft silverlight thing is not able to to the rest of the o/s that we are watching a movie. In order to watch the movie, we had to change the energy saving stuff to two hours instead of ten minutes.

    When I wanted to do the skype thing, I'm used to a speaker jack and a microphone jack. This has one jack that looks like a headset jack. I suppose I should take two hours and try to find the stuff that tells me what, exactly, that jack is.

    This laptop has to go.

    I am now looking for a laptop that uses this super low power CPU, has a 65 watt (or less) power supply. 17 inch screen. Preferably 1920x1080. A VGA port would be nice. 1tb HD, 12 or 16g of memory.

    If anybody is wondering why I am not getting much done these days, it is a combination of things. At the top of the list is computer trouble. Followed my broken internet for the last two weeks. And about three weeks ago my cell phone found great comedy in showing me that it can play with the volume control willy nilly during phone calls with a headset.




     
    paul wheaton
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    Here are some of these lower power chips

    i7-4610Y 9.34w (sep 2013)
    i7-4500U 12.19w (july 2013)
    i7-4550U 12.19w (july 2013)
    i7-4650U 12.19w (july 2013)
    i7-4600U 12.9w (sep 2013)


     
    Myron Weber
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    As per my previous post - I'm a Lenovo guy, so I did a quick check of their offerings. The Lenovo G700 is on sale right now for $659. But it doesn't meet all your requirements.

    65 W power supply
    i7 processor
    17" but only 1600 x 900
    8 GB RAM (not upgradeable, because like a lot of laptops these days the RAM is soldered to the motherboard)
    Ships with Windows 8 but high likelihood of Win7 compatibility
    1 TB HDD


    EDIT:
    here's the link
    http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/laptops/essential/g-series/g700/?sb=:000001C9:0000EE41:
     
    John Polk
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    and then I tried to minimize the window so I can do other things while the video was playing. You can't. It took me about eight minutes of trying just to get back to the desktop (escape key did nothing, no "x" to click on .... press the windows button to get back to the desktop).

    My new laptop has Win8...still trying to get used to it.

    If you point your mouse in the lower left corner, the icon for the Start menu appears. Just click it.
    Once you have any program open, go back there and start your next program, and the first goes to background.

    Now that you have any program open, and any program(s) in the background, you can hover in the upper left corner. The icon for the most recent background program will appear. If there is more than 1 background program, pull the mouse down, and they will all appear in the left border. Click whichever one you want to jump to.

    Also, next time you have the mouse in the lower left corner, Right Click it. Lots of handy options will appear.
    If you go to the Windows Store, they have a free download Tutorial...nobody seems to print manuals anymore, sigh.


     
    paul wheaton
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    Myron, the processor in that consumes 28 watts. I would like to get one that is under 15 watts.
     
    And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"
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