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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:46 pm 
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Well, yesterday was Thanksgiving, and my mother told me that if I were to get a new computer (the one I have is a piece of junk. It can't even run Super Monkey Ball at 15fps and takes eons to render short video clips), it would have to be now. We like HP the most (we've had Dell computers in the past, but the build quality was shit; the hard drive broke within two years) so we were on their website looking. I was surprised by how they could possibly lower the price on some of the computers so much unless they were scary overpriced originally. I also love how much more you pay for "gaming" PCs when the components seem no better than a powerful PC that isn't branded as such. We eventually went with a vastly upgraded "HP Laptop - 17z touch optional" with

a "SuperMulti DVD burner" (I'm glad some people realize discs are still used),
"Full-size island-style keyboard" (it came with it, whatever "island style" even means),
HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Digital Microphone (literally who cares),
Windows 10 Home 64,
AMD Quad-Core A12-9700P (2.5 GHz, up to 3.4 GHz, 2 MB Cache,
8GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM (1 x 8GB),
1TB 5400 rpm SATA (I really wanted an SSD 128GB hard drive because I don't use more than 64GB, but it wasn't an option; neither was a smaller HDD),
4-cell, 41 Wh Lithium-ion Battery,
17.3" diagonal FHD IPS UWVA anti-glare WLED-backlit 1920x1080 screen,

All with a beautiful $10 red finish for a grand total of $520. I think that's reasonably priced, but apparently, this would have originally cost $810, which is BS. What's even more absurd are the "gaming" PCs, such as the "OMEN Laptop - 15t gaming". I'll outline the differences: (everything else is exactly the same)

No DVD drive,
backlit keyboard,
3-cell 61.5 WHr Lithium-ion Battery (slightly better),
HP Wide Vision HD Webcam with Dual Digital Microphone (I guess slightly better? I really don't care),
Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ (2.6 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 6 MB cache) (marginally faster, but 3x larger cache),
1TB 7200 rpm SATA (slightly faster),
15 inch screen instead of 17 inch (the computer is smaller)
no beautiful red finish,

...But it's $180 more, for $700, originally $900. The only thing that could barely justify this price is the 6MB cache combined with the slightly faster hard drive (the rest is mostly superficial) but the lack of disc drive brings it down to where it was.

The crown for overpriced POS though, goes to this: http://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-eliteb ... 6ua-aba--1 The CPU isn't even as good as the first PC I showed (sans the 4MB cache), although it has a 4K screen (why?) and a 512GB SSD. The last two parts are expensive, but $3000? Give me a break. Actually, shit, Apple may have them beat. I saw something that said they have a 40% profit margin on their computers. It's not hard to see why... :lol: (The top thing is the logic board. The rest are the batteries)

Image

Apparently, it's just a $1000 Raspberry Pi. I now understand even more why Apple gets no respect among computer people.

Okay, sorry for the rant... :lol: One last thing though, is if I get the first computer I showed, what would be the feasibility of replacing the hard drive with an SSD one? I know laptops aren't exactly made to be taken apart. If I could, I imagine it would fit though. I find it ridiculous we're still using HHD drives in 2016.


Last edited by Espozo on Sat Nov 26, 2016 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:51 am 
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Replacing the disk with an the SSD should be easy, I believe laptops use 2.5" disks, and that's the usual form that a SATA SSD comes in, too. A while back I bought a $200 Dell laptop, didn't offer any upgrade options so I ended up immediately buying a larger RAM and an SSD for it. Kind of a waste to take out brand new parts, but oh well (especially with the RAM being really cheap). I got that machine for dev-use only pretty much, when I'm traveling. In that machine there was a little board that plugs into the drive's SATA connector, and a flat flex cable goes from that board to the mainboard. If that's the setup on yours, just be really careful with the flat flex cable and it's connectors and you should have no problem. Though it's possible you might have to remove a bunch of pre-installed crap so you'll have space to use.

Gaming laptops always seemed a bit ridiculous, maybe I'm biased because I've always been a desktop user though. Seems like integrated video would be a limiting factor, with heat output, battery life, and size being considered.

I really do love SSDs though. I was just looking the other day to see what is fastest these days, something like the Samsung 960 on an M.2 card claims 3,500MB/s (sequential read). That is just.. insane. :shock: My PC's integrated SATA is a little old, I only get about half of the max speed from my SATA SSDs, ~230MB/s.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:30 am 
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Memblers wrote:
Replacing the disk with an the SSD should be easy, I believe laptops use 2.5" disks, and that's the usual form that a SATA SSD comes in, too.

Yeah, they're usually pretty small, and it makes sense, because they don't need room for mechanical parts. HDD drives fall with CRT TVs with me in that they seem much more complicated than the technologies that succeeded them.

Memblers wrote:
I ended up immediately buying a larger RAM

How much was it originally? I think any amount of ram over 8GB today is ridiculous and falls with 4K as being higher specification just to look better on paper. I'm the kind of guy who never has more than 3 windows open and, correct me if I'm wrong, but no singular program will ever use more than.

Memblers wrote:
I got that machine for dev-use only pretty much, when I'm traveling.

I don't have a desk, so I was kind of limited... I really like the thought of being able to take the thing wherever I want to. Whenever there's downtime in school, a friend and I will often play MAME on my computer.

Memblers wrote:
Gaming laptops always seemed a bit ridiculous, maybe I'm biased because I've always been a desktop user though.

Yeah, I've always been a laptop guy. Gaming branded machines are ridiculous to me though. They're right up there with Apple machines in being priced really high just for looks and nothing else. I truly believe this is what makes them a gaming machine, because none of the parts are better suited toward "gaming" than a regularly branded but powerful PC. I've actually heard Alienware be blasted for putting proportionally bad GPUs in their computers, which, you know, is what needs to be particularly good for if you're playing video games specifically. Playing video games doesn't even crack the top ten list for computationally expensive tasks. How often have you heard of a "video editing computer"? People in this profession probably just know better. But yeah, if you're looking for the most powerful computer possible (which PC gamers think you do for games, but you really don't, even for ultra settings) then a laptop is never the way to go.

Sorry, I had to vent again. :lol:

Memblers wrote:
I really do love SSDs though.

Same here. I'll take speed over size any day.

Memblers wrote:
I was just looking the other day to see what is fastest these days, something like the Samsung 960 on an M.2 card claims 3,500MB/s (sequential read). That is just.. insane.

Hopefully, it doesn't catch on fire. :lol:

I'm pretty impressed though, I was looking online and found some 128GB SDDs that had about 500mb/s read and slightly less write speeds for $80, which would mean I'd have a much better computer than that other POS for $100 less.



...I just now saw something that said HDD drives only transfer about 80 to 160mb/s. Wow, that's bad... :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:51 am 
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Memblers wrote:
I really do love SSDs though. I was just looking the other day to see what is fastest these days, something like the Samsung 960 on an M.2 card claims 3,500MB/s (sequential read). That is just.. insane. :shock: My PC's integrated SATA is a little old, I only get about half of the max speed from my SATA SSDs, ~230MB/s.

This is off-topic, but I wanted to detail it as a guy who is quite well-versed in storage. M.2 is complicated; it offers three (3) separate interface types, so what "kind" of M.2 SSD you buy matters:

* Classic SATA -- classic SATA interface (cable, etc.) to a SATA port on your motherboard or HBA. Offering SATA 1.x (SATA150; 150mbit/s), SATA 2.x (SATA300; 300mbit/s), and SATA 3.0 or 3.1 (SATA600; 600mbit/s)
* M.2 w/ AHCI -- PCIe with AHCI; requires AHCI drivers for the device in your OS (much like SATA controllers in AHCI mode), and usually offers much higher speeds than classic SATA, but not as high as NVMe (depends on workload); speeds of ~2000MByte/s (read) are common
* M.2 w/ NVMe -- which is PCIe with NVMe; requires NVMe support in the OS. Latest/fastest thing, but has major complications in "older" OSes (ex. Windows 7 apparently has very weird issues that manifest with NVMe)

So when buying an M.2 SSD, you need to know if you're getting one that utilises AHCI or NVMe or both (and if both, there has to be some way to switch between the two). Pick the wrong one and you may find that your system won't boot off such a device (a very common issue with M.2 NVMe SSDs using motherboards that don't have a full UEFI implementation, and/or OSes older than Windows 10 (possibly just older than 8). Linux still has some complications with all of this, although Ubuntu supposedly has the best "install and just work/go" success rate right now (3rd-party anecdotal evidence: comes from a friend of mine with an actual M.2 NVMe SSD)).

SATA Express (SATA 3.2) is a related thing that complicates things too (it's a connector/interface that supports all 3 of the above -- yeah, confusing eh).

Everyone is different, but my own personal view is that sticking with a classic SATA-based SSD (SATA600 + AHCI) for your main OS disk (ex. C:) and then buying a 2nd SSD that's NVMe (ex. D:) might be a better overall approach, given the complications with booting.

This stuff is evolving so fast that I can't even keep up with it. I feel like I just 2 years ago I "got around" to understanding SAS better... and now we have all this. I myself use SSDs predominantly (barring for mass storage in a NAS -- I still use MHDDs there), but everything I own/use is SATA600 or SATA300.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:32 am 
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If you want to render video and game, why a laptop? The profit margins of laptops tend to be quite a bit higher vs the traditional space-wasters. You do say you don't have a desk, but those can be had free at the closest recycling center, no?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:57 am 
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Espozo wrote:
Memblers wrote:
Replacing the disk with an the SSD should be easy, I believe laptops use 2.5" disks, and that's the usual form that a SATA SSD comes in, too.

Yeah, they're usually pretty small, and it makes sense, because they don't need room for mechanical parts. HDD drives fall with CRT TVs with me in that they seem much more complicated than the technologies that succeeded them.

Except what's the counterpart to the CRT problems often discussed here, such as light gun incompatibility, incorrect handling of the nonstandard yet widespread 240p formats, and lag because of over-optimization for noninteractive movies and TV series?

Quote:
I'm the kind of guy who never has more than 3 windows open and, correct me if I'm wrong, but no singular program will ever use more than.

I occasionally have three or four windows open in FCEUX alone: the main window (video output), the debugger, and one or more of the PPU viewer (for tiles and palettes), the nametable viewer, and the hex editor. This is in addition to a command prompt, a web browser, a text editor with 5 or more assembly language source files plus my current bug list open in tabs, sometimes GIMP to edit game graphics, sometimes IDLE (Python editor) if I'm working on tools, and a Skype window to chat with my boss for clarification on a bug report or feature request. All this on the 1024x600 pixel display of a 10 inch netbook.

Quote:
How often have you heard of a "video editing computer"?

I imagine those exist, with professional features such as the horsepower to handle effects in 3840×2160 ("4K") or specialized storage configurations, just not advertised to home users because home users currently don't feel expected to produce in 4K. But the concept of a "gaming PC" exists because Intel's integrated GPUs have historically underperformed at 3D graphics. Remember before Sandy Bridge, when Intel graphics were called GMA? The running joke is that it stood for "Graphics My Ass".


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:18 am 
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calima wrote:
If you want to render video and game, why a laptop? The profit margins of laptops tend to be quite a bit higher vs the traditional space-wasters. You do say you don't have a desk, but those can be had free at the closest recycling center, no?

It's worse than that: laptops tend to be built like throw-away pieces of crap (gamer ones are absolutely this way) -- I'm talking all sorts of hardware failures, if not mayhem involving loud fans because the things run so hot -- and ones which *are* well-built (which are becoming very few at this point) the manufacturers won't have in stock or have replacement parts for in 3 years anyway (you'll be told you can upgrade to some other model, maybe for a fee, maybe for free, and have fun reinstalling everything)***.

Basically, the world we live in now WRT laptops is "these are throw-away devices that won't last more than 2 years tops". That's how they're designed and treated. It's awful and unacceptable, I agree, but it is the reality we live in. The cost doesn't matter: $5000 vs. $500. It's all treated identically. (And hey, with Apple laptops, now you can't even replace parts: everything's soldered onto the board, while removing the Escape key to boot. ;-) )

So, if you get a laptop because you travel or are on the go, then you'd best find something that fits your needs + budget AND keeps the above in mind. Oh, and DO BACKUPS REGULARLY -- you never know when that thing is gonna fail and find out that you can't get it replaced or repaired.

***: This is actually a problem now in the MHDD industry too. People noticed that MHDDs were beginning to have shorter warranty periods (2-3 years tops), crying over the lack of 5-year (or longer) warranties on drives. I had to kindly point out that it doesn't really matter because the few MHDDs with 5+ year warranty periods you commonly can't even get replacements for after the 2-3 year mark anyway: the manufacturers during RMA will state they don't have any in stock. If it's under warranty, will you get a replacement? Yes, but almost certainly not the same model -- which means the F/W may be different, physical sector size may be different (512 vs. 4096), or (common!) the LBA count will be different (particularly a problem if the replacement has a smaller LBA count). This is a problem for those using RAID (software or hardware), ZFS or Btrfs, or even just a simple plain hard disk (good luck restoring your full metal image to a drive with a smaller LBA count!). So, for MHDDs, sure, go for 3 year warranties if you can, but don't rely on that warranty period: like above, do backups regularly, and make sure you have a plan that assumes all things will fail.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:52 am 
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If you want to replace the HDD with SSD, you can mount the HDD you've already bought in an external usb adapter. You may not need that much storage, but it helps doing local backups and be somewhat cheaper than buying a complete backup unit.

In addition to the Designed For The Dump philosophy behind todays' laptops; some brands mitigate production costs vs retail price with deals on installing a bunch of crap software nobody wants. :roll: This can be both a curse and a sort-of-blessing. And of course with gaming laptops, you pay overly extra for packaging (backlit keyboard and what not).

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:03 am 
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koitsu wrote:
or (common!) the LBA count will be different (particularly a problem if the replacement has a smaller LBA count).

How much smaller is the LBA count likely to be, so that one can plan for this by short-stroking the file system by a few percent so that backups will restore properly?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 12:18 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
Basically, the world we live in now WRT laptops is "these are throw-away devices that won't last more than 2 years tops". That's how they're designed and treated. It's awful and unacceptable, I agree, but it is the reality we live in. The cost doesn't matter: $5000 vs. $500. It's all treated identically.

If only this was only for laptops. The problem is that in modern capitalized chineese-american controlled world EVERY SINGLE TECHNOLOGICAL THING IS EXACTLY LIKE THAT. No matter how hard you're trying to avoid cheap shit, you simply cannot escapt it. Be it laptops, clothes, cars, or even buildings, it is absolutely impossible today to aquire something that is durable, everything is based on short term profit.

About laptops I have a fully functional laptop that served as my main computer for 5 years and as a secondary computer for 3 more years and it's still working (even though I had to reinstall a couple of times). I only had to change the power supply, which failed. I still went back to using desktop as my main computer, because it makes more sense, is cheaper and more confortable, and as koitsu pointed out more durable (even though not many things will be as durable as, say, a Commodore 64).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:04 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
* Classic SATA -- classic SATA interface (cable, etc.) to a SATA port on your motherboard or HBA. Offering SATA 1.x (SATA150; 150mbit/s), SATA 2.x (SATA300; 300mbit/s), and SATA 3.0 or 3.1 (SATA600; 600mbit/s)

That's what I'd have to have. (The computer's hard drive port is SATA, but it's an HDD) I've already found several good deals, so I probably install it in my computer. Just about every new computer comes with Windows 10, (including the one I'm getting) so I don't have to worry about that.

calima wrote:
space-wasters

Exactly. :wink: I don't have much room in my room for a desk, and even if I did, I want to take my computer around with me. Whenever I visit my father in Virginia during the summer, I want to take my computer, and I'm not too sure how well I'd be able to take a big tower with monitor and keyboard with me. :lol:

tepples wrote:
the concept of a "gaming PC" exists because Intel's integrated GPUs have historically underperformed at 3D graphics.

Oh. I was thinking the same thing about how any PC targeted toward video editing would be a multi thousand dollar desktop with a 4GHz 8 core CPU or something insane like that for businesses.

tepples wrote:
I occasionally have three or four windows open in FCEUX alone: the main window (video output), the debugger, and one or more of the PPU viewer (for tiles and palettes), the nametable viewer, and the hex editor. This is in addition to a command prompt, a web browser, a text editor with 5 or more assembly language source files plus my current bug list open in tabs, sometimes GIMP to edit game graphics, sometimes IDLE (Python editor) if I'm working on tools, and a Skype window to chat with my boss for clarification on a bug report or feature request. All this on the 1024x600 pixel display of a 10 inch netbook.

Quite the multitasker! :lol:

koitsu wrote:
The cost doesn't matter: $5000 vs. $500. It's all treated identically.

I've found below that is worse though, (with the Dell computer) but you get what you pay for. Most of our computers though have been abandoned from being old, not breaking. From 2009 to 2014, I used a mini Windows XP HP laptop. It never broke, but it chugged along. It was never powerful, but it only seemed to get worse with time. (I'm sure a lot of it had to do with random crap running in the background, but I doubt it that accounted for all of it.)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:25 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
AMD Quad-Core A12-9700P (2.5 GHz, up to 3.4 GHz, 2 MB Cache,
...
Intel® Core™ i7-6700HQ (2.6 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 6 MB cache) (marginally faster, but 3x larger cache),

This benchmark says it's about 20% faster for single-threaded applications, despite the marginal difference in clock frequency. (It also generates a lot more heat!)


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 2:40 pm 
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tepples wrote:
koitsu wrote:
or (common!) the LBA count will be different (particularly a problem if the replacement has a smaller LBA count).

How much smaller is the LBA count likely to be, so that one can plan for this by short-stroking the file system by a few percent so that backups will restore properly?

There is no standard, "common amount", or anything else. Plain and simple, it varies per manufacturer and per model of drive, particularly when switching "types". That said: many manufacturers try to keep the LBA counts the same across their "types" (e.g. WD 1TB drives might tend to have LBA counts of 1953525168 (512-byte logical sector size)), but there's literally zero guarantee it'll be like that across every WD 1TB drive, and almost certainly not between manufacturers (ex. Seagate will probably use a different count than WD). With GPT partitioning the situation can actually be dire/catastrophic, as the backup GPT is stored from LAST_LBA-34 to LAST_LBA (you would think the backup GPT being "lost" or "wrong" would be OK, but surprisingly there are BIOSes/UEFI systems that don't handle this correctly, i.e. they're broken/buggy BIOSes).

The way you solve this problem is, for pure level 0 / bare metal restorations, finding a drive that has the same LBA count. Another possibility is using backup software that backs up files and any related filesystem metadata (think NTFS attributes) but not necessarily the filesystem details (capacity/offset) or the MBR/GPT partitioning details. Like I said: the situation is easier when the LBA count increases vs. shrinks; increases just means some space is wasted, shrinks means you're potentially up shit creek.

My own backups of non-Windows systems are all done using either rsync or ZFS snapshots. On my Windows workstation, I use a level 0 / bare metal backup program (Active@ Disk Image), but in the case my OS drive has to be replaced with something that has a smaller LBA count, I would literally just say "screw it" and reinstall Windows manually+fresh, then copy over relevant data/files/directories as needed from the backup (the software can let you explore/mount a backup and pull files off it too). (This whole process takes me literally multiple days, or weeks if you include everything across the board, because there's just too many Windows settings to remember. I have .reg files and .cmd scripts that help with some of this, but no where near all. Thanks for making this a real PITA since Windows 95, Microsoft). That's just how it goes I guess.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:04 pm 
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Joe wrote:
This benchmark says it's about 20% faster for single-threaded applications, despite the marginal difference in clock frequency.

I wonder how that's possible (still not worth it though :lol:). I actually looked at a CPU on that website that had what would appear to be the same specifications (same frequency and number of cores) but twice as fast as that one, somehow. I never realized how many different CPUs there are, with most of them being made by Intel. I really don't understand the whole "core i" thing works other than being a general indicator of how fast a CPU is. It seems to plateau out though, as I looked on that website, and there were loads of i5s that beat i7s in the high mid category. The problem seems to be that a fast CPU for 2006 and a fast CPU for 2016 are both called "i7". I don't get AMD either; they don't have any kind of i whatever, but I'm looking at the list on that website, and there are several A10s that are better than the A12 in the computer I'm getting, and that chip came out this year! :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 3:17 pm 
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koitsu wrote:
tepples wrote:
koitsu wrote:
or (common!) the LBA count will be different (particularly a problem if the replacement has a smaller LBA count).

How much smaller is the LBA count likely to be, so that one can plan for this by short-stroking the file system by a few percent so that backups will restore properly?

There is no standard, "common amount", or anything else. [...] Like I said: the situation is easier when the LBA count increases vs. shrinks; increases just means some space is wasted, shrinks means you're potentially up shit creek.

As I implied with my allusion to short-stroking, I'm willing to waste some space on purpose, perhaps 5 percent, to reduce the probability of being USC.


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