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 Post subject: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 11:45 pm 
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So my laptop turned 10 this year. I think I started using it July 13, 2009 based on file information.

So I stopped everything I was doing and started looking into getting a new one. First of all, I'm biased towards Toshiba (this one is a Toshiba Satellite U505. It hardly had any problems that weren't my fault. I think the age speaks for itself.)

I have a couple very specific preferences though:

1.) no DVD/Bluray drive (I hardly ever used the one on my current laptop when at home, and probably never when I took it to school. It was extremely loud, and eventually it crapped out on me. Plus, I have a very reliable external DVD drive.)

2.) SSD/HDD dual drive bays (Is this a thing yet? I heard it wouldn't be very portable anymore, but would it be without a DVD drive?)

As for what I'll be using it for: porn :lol:, gaming, making games, watching videos, making/editing/rendering videos, animation, music, editing hi-res images.

I'm looking for suggestions. I came here first due to the technical knowledge of everyone here.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 12:09 am 
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Pretty much all the laptops have an M2 slot for the SSD, and a 2.5 inch drive bay for the HDD. So if it comes with an SSD, it will have an empty HDD bay, and vice versa. Note that you should verify this first, but it is extremely common.

I usually look around http://www.reddit.com/r/laptopdeals and wait for a Gaming Laptop to be discounted to the $800 range, that seems to be the sweet spot. About 3 years ago, the Dell Inspiron 7559 was a hot item, even though the Nvidia GPU (960M) is badly outdated now. Obviously the computers got better since then.

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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:50 am 
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What I ended up doing for a laptop several years ago, was buy the cheapest Dell that wasn't based on eMMC. Then separately bought RAM and an SSD as a day-one upgrade. This was never supposed to be a gaming laptop though. Simpler games and older games are fine, I play Nethack on it :P though the key mapping was initially difficult to use. I played Stellaris on it and that was fine except that it ran at a crawl when fast-forwarding time (which is frequently done in that game).

I don't know if that was the best bang-for-the-buck approach, but development and stuff I use it for, it performs well enough. I've never done video editing, but I'm guessing it probably wouldn't work great for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:39 am 
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finding a laptop with a DVD drive is the hard part, but then also getting a HDD bay might be hard as well, apple has force the "its thinner and thinner" race

but without a budget I'm just going to have to point you to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE-LpLibsLA they advice is solid, and they do review a lot of stuff, there are other videos about best laptop of 2019 etc also if you can go touch screen they are awesome. I've had a Surface Pro (2) and they are great and easily usable as a "desktop" pc with a toshiba dock thingy.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:18 am 
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What a DVD to HDD converter might look like: https://www.newegg.com//p/35G-0009-00016
note: This is not an endorsement of the product, or an indication that the product even works, just an illustration that such products exist.

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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:18 pm 
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Toshiba has sadly discontinued their consumer line of laptops, so Satellites are no longer being sold, which is bad news because I was just like you and stuck with Toshiba for about a decade. :P

I did laptop shopping at the end of last year to replace my old Toshiba, and eventually went with an HP Spectre x360. The main reason I went with this was because it was the only model I could find in the store which had a 512GB SSD (everything else was either 128 or 256GB, or had dual HDD/SSD). Otherwise, I was looking for one big enough to have a numpad and a keyboard that wasn't ridiculously shaped or small.

Optical drives are being phased out in favor of SD card slots, LAN ports are becoming less common in favor of WIFI (which I haven't noticed any appreciable difference since switching to WIFI, though I'm on the 5ghz band at home), modern laptops seem to only have 1 USB3.0 port, favoring multiple USB-C instead, so you'll want a USB hub if you have a lot of legacy devices.

15" 4K screens are popular now too, and most modern software supports it just fine, though you'll run into DPI scaling issues with random programs, like Notepad++ (but I've switched to VSCode anyway, to replace Bloodshed/Orwell Dev-C++, and that also conveniently stands in for what I'd need Notepad++ for)

So that's my experience; I think you'll be able to find a laptop which fits your preferences just fine, but you should really look around an electronics store and see the laptops in person, since sometimes, you won't even realize that, for example, the headphones jack (external speakers) might be in an awkward spot, or the keyboard is uncomfortable to use, or the screen is washed out, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 11:26 pm 
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Okay, I just came back from Fry's Electronics. It pretty much looked like this throughout the store:

https://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto ... JyEA/o.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/58p8dLm.jpg

Last time I was here was a year ago, building a desktop PC for my mom, and it did not look like this! But there did happen to be a sales associate who told me that Toshiba laptops have been recalled due to battery failures, hence why they're not available anywhere anymore, except online.

Memblers wrote:
What I ended up doing for a laptop several years ago, was buy the cheapest Dell that wasn't based on eMMC.
This reminds me of that time I bought a Dell Latitude just to take overseas because 1.) my Averatec's screen was out of commission and 2.) my Averatec was prone to overheating (I was going to Iraq). So I took out the optical drive in the Latitude and swapped it out for a second battery. :mrgreen: So I ended up with a really heavy laptop that lasted twice as long. :mrgreen: Haha! :mrgreen: It was still only two and a half hours! :mrgreen: I'm so stupid. :mrgreen:

Oziphantom wrote:
I've had a Surface Pro (2) and they are great and easily usable as a "desktop" pc with a toshiba dock thingy.
I've been considering getting a tablet PC to use for drawing (instead of buying a separate drawing tablet). How well does the Surface "transition" between being a laptop and tablet? I had my eyes on a Toshiba Portege, but I'm not sure if it's something that I want.

Dwedit wrote:
What a DVD to HDD converter might look like: https://www.newegg.com//p/35G-0009-00016
note
Cool! :) Glad to know this exists. I'll have to see if there's one specifically for Toshiba Tecra.

Drag wrote:
I did laptop shopping at the end of last year to replace my old Toshiba, and eventually went with an HP Spectre x360. The main reason I went with this was because it was the only model I could find in the store which had a 512GB SSD (everything else was either 128 or 256GB, or had dual HDD/SSD). Otherwise, I was looking for one big enough to have a numpad and a keyboard that wasn't ridiculously shaped or small.
Now that you mention it, I forgot my laptop doesn't have a Numpad! :? Now I'm mad! :x I want one! :evil:

Oh, by the way, here's what's available from Toshiba: https://us.dynabook.com/computers/laptop-finder


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:06 am 
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Jedi QuestMaster wrote:
I've been considering getting a tablet PC to use for drawing (instead of buying a separate drawing tablet). How well does the Surface "transition" between being a laptop and tablet?

A Surface transitions better than an Apple product according to Mackenzie "Mac" Book from Australia. (Video 0:30)

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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:16 pm 
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Jedi QuestMaster wrote:
]Now that you mention it, I forgot my laptop doesn't have a Numpad! :? Now I'm mad! :x I want one! :evil:

Oh, by the way, here's what's available from Toshiba: https://us.dynabook.com/computers/laptop-finder

hehe, sorry. :P

Toshiba's business line of laptops (i.e., the Tecra) are still around, but you'll notice there's no more Satellites (the consumer line), and I can confirm that my one remaining Toshiba Satellite laptop (mainly used for my day job) last had "official" driver updates in 2016, making it really fun when I needed to update my Intel GFX drivers.


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:33 pm 
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Thanks, guys! After much consideration, I decided to go with a Tecra A50-E-BTO.

Reasons include:

• Intel i7 quad-core processor
• large enough display (15.6-inch)
• 1920x1080 resolution
• updegradeable to 32 GB of RAM (I'll go with 16 GB for now)
• I checked the ports and they all seem to be in places I can work with
• total estimated cost is about $1,329.00

Problem is, none of the laptops on the site contain two hard drive bays, but many (including this one) have optical drive bays. So if I want an SSD and HDD, I'll have to go with the SSD option and hope that I can insert a hard drive caddy into the ODD bay. Seeing as I'm filling nearly 500GB on my current laptop, I'll probably want 1TB on my next one (which is not an available option for SSD [at least on their customization page {even if it were, it'd probably cost over $500, I mean $350 for 512 GB?! Sheesh!}]), so I'll have to go with an HDD already installed unless I'm certain there's a caddy that will fit in the ODD bay and the computer will recognize the 2.5 HDD. (I hope that wasn't confusing.)


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:58 am 
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As I said in my first post, you'll probably find an occupied M2 slot for the SSD, and an empty HDD bay, plus the optical drive. So probably up to two HDDs (with caddy) + one SSD.
Those specs are not what I'd pick for myself if I was going for a laptop. I'd need an NVidia card to run CUDA-exclusive software.

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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 10:51 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
As I said in my first post, you'll probably find an occupied M2 slot for the SSD, and an empty HDD bay, plus the optical drive. So probably up to two HDDs (with caddy) + one SSD.

I'm really hoping this is true, so I emailed the sales department a couple days back but they've yet to respond. :(

Dwedit wrote:
Those specs are not what I'd pick for myself if I was going for a laptop. I'd need an Nvidia card to run CUDA-exclusive software.
I never really considered a dedicated graphics card for a laptop and what I plan on using it for. I always thought of gaming PCs as more of a desktop thing. But is there any reason I'd need an NVidia card as a non-developer?


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:55 pm 
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People have been making really cool Deep Learning based software to do cool things. For example, there's Waifu2x to upscale Anime-style and other line art, and ESRGAN to upscale photorealistic art.
It just so happens that much of the software was made using CUDA-specific libraries, and can only be GPU accelerated if your GPU is Nvidia. When I tried out Waifu2x, it took 3 minutes to finish on a CPU, and 6 seconds to finish on a GPU.

So yes, even a non-developer may be making use of CUDA-specific software.

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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:57 am 
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(It would be nice if more people wrote GPU accelerated programs in OpenCL as to not support Nvidia's near monopoly on graphics hardware, even if CUDA is honestly better...)


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 Post subject: Re: Laptop Buying
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 2:11 pm 
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Dwedit wrote:
When I tried out Waifu2x, it took 3 minutes to finish on a CPU, and 6 seconds to finish on a GPU.

I'm curious as to what CPU you're running. Depending on the image and magnification factor my 8c/16t Ryzen 1700x can be anywhere from a few seconds up-to a minute, but my use case for Waifu2x is nearly always upscaling low rez stuff for wallpaper use and only takes the longest when enlarging already large images.

That said, I do have a decent Nocuta air cooler bolted to it and even then I can hear the fan actually bother to ramp up on the longer enlargements. I can imagine a notebook bound CPU thermal throttling fairly quickly under that kind of load

I haven't tried the CUDA based waifu2x (no nvidya here) and my GPU isn't stellar by far (Radeon R9 380X) but if it's anything like the AMD GPU compatible version then I have to say that I prefer the CPU version as the GPU one only seems to support a 2X enlargement where I've tested the CPU one up to 5X.

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