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Buying a laptop, check if it has nVidia Optimus, its purpose is infuriate you (coderofworlds.com)
39 points by speeder on Jan 25, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments



I have owned 4 or 5 Optimus laptops and have never gotten a practical benefit from Optimus. At best I leave it switched to the fast GPU permanently. At worst, something goes wrong.

The state of Windows laptops these days is really kind of embarrassing. Nobody knows how to build something of quality. Everything appears to be driven by bullet-point features with a goal of providing USPs, but nobody really cares if the features work or if the overall product is good.

This extends to everything (keyboard and trackpad design, screen, preloaded software, function key mappings, etc).

I buy 2 or 3 laptops a year; traditionally the case has been that most laptops were kind of bad but if you looked hard you could find something good. Now it has gotten to the point that the something good no longer seems to exist at all.

I dread the idea of buying a new laptop now. This can't be the high-level result that these OEMs really want.


  > I buy 2 or 3 laptops a year; traditionally the case has
  > been that most laptops were kind of bad but if you looked
  > hard you could find something good. Now it has gotten to
  > the point that the something good no longer seems to exist
  > at all.
Have you looked at MacBooks? There is a significant difference between a $300-$500 box of crap and a $1,000 MacBook. It seems like they would address most of your concerns - great trackpad, screen, no crapware (you bring your own Windows if that's your thing), map your own function keys, reasonable quality keyboard (at least a constant layout), and extremely solid build quality.


I am genuinely surprised that no good Windows laptop seems to exist. I've been using Apple for the last 4 years and I hoped that finally one of the Windows OEMs had managed to cobble together something that can get cloes to the Macbook Pro in build quality and interface. Apparently not?


I don't think you've been looking hard enough. Thinkpads are amazing, you also have high end sony vaios, and the Microsoft surface pro 2 is also a really great portable device.


Serious question: Is there anything resembling the Macbook Pro on the PC front with regards to build quality, overall design, lack of clunkiness, weight, size, lack of annoying half-assed internationalized keyboards, trackpad and wake-from-sleep functionality?

I've owned a high-end Thinkpad, and it was a good laptop. But it didn't come close. That's what I'm asking here. I don't care if it costs > $2,000. Quality doesn't come cheap, but it's embarrassing if Apple is the only player that can do this.


Take a look at the Asus UX301LA and Samsung Ativ Book 9 Plus with i7 (just came out in October, upgrade of the original model by the same name). They are both well-built and very attractive, all-metal/glass with no moving parts, thin-and-light, big ceramic-coated trackpads, and wake from sleep faster than you can fully open the lid with Win8.1. 3200x1800 or 2560x1440 touchscreens. I don't know about their internationalized keyboards, though.


Nope. But you can run Windows (or Linux, if you're a masochist) on a Macbook Pro.


Bootcamp can even install Windows to your macbook pro from an ISO. Works great.


ThinkPad Carbon X1


> Thinkpads are amazing

You mean were amazing, until they started removing the TrackPoint buttons and messing with the keyboard.


Thinkpads (T series) are great if you want to drop $2,000 on a laptop and wait a month for it to arive from China. Personally I just spent £700 ($1,150) on an Edge series... hasn't arrived yet so I can't determine if it was a foolish buy.


Samsung Series 9. Not cheap though.


No good laptop is cheap. Thinkpads were not cheap (they now have cheap lines, they're crap). Toughbooks are not cheap. Macbooks are not cheap. Design, components and assembly quality come at a price, that's all there's to it.


Indeed, but fat margins are welcome too. It's 2014 and doesn't the MacBook Air ship a TN display?


So many things are broken here. The crapware crumpled to OEM versions of Windows (or the Unity defect if you're using Ubuntu), the lack of trust in the PC hardware, the lack of class when going through the experience of buying a PC, the antivirus-update-adobe-will-restart popup world... 35 years after Bill Gates, the industry is still fighting like phone companies.

There's room for a new brand. A leadership brand.


And double the price of every other PC laptop out there with the same specs. Hell no.


Not everything is about those few "specs" you measure (I'd guess CPU, graphics card and memory). This is like judging a house on size and rent price alone -- and thinking that a $200,000 Malibu house is not really worth it compared to a $100,000 Fargo house.

Do you get ALL of the items below for the half price PC laptop?

• More battery life (up to 50% more than most Windows laptops, and topping the best of them by 10-20%) • Less weight. • A retina screen, with apps that fully support it (unlike the Windows Hi-DPI situation), and that is shown (on test and measurements) to be the best in laptops for brightness, color rendition etc. • OS X (and iWork / iLife apps for free as of Mavericks!). • solid, sturdy alimunium enclosure, machined from a single piece of metal (something that costs), and an industrial design that someone has toiled over, and not a quickly churned out plasticky mess of a case and parts placement. • Cheap SSD options (compared to buying one yourself or Wintel laptop SSD prices, the pre-configured Mac options are cheaper). • a multitouch trackpad (of the same quality as Mac's one)? • NO DVD drive (yes, I'd pay to remove that piece of obsolete crap and have no moving parts on my laptop). • thunderbolt ports, mag safe adapter, illuminated keyboard, etc etc.

If you don't get all of the above, then you don't really get "the same specs". Just the same memory/CPU/GPU. Especially people who buy laptops but don't seem to value portability (weight/size) and battery life are strange to me...


Not for half the price, but if you're willing to spend just as much on a PC as the MacBook, you can definitely get the same specs and quality. None of those aspects you listed are unique to Apple anymore, from the machined aluminum chassis to magnetic power connectors or superior battery tech (the Sony Vaio Pro 13 gets significantly more minutes-per-watt-hour than a new MBA for example). The quality definitely isn't there if you don't spend the money, though. Most PCs on the shelf in stores are junk.


>Not for half the price, but if you're willing to spend just as much on a PC as the MacBook, you can definitely get the same specs and quality.

The Vaio Pro 13 is an exception though.

For most PC laptops, even if you configure them the same price as the Mac laptop, you still don't get a lot of stuff that makes the Mac better. E.g you get some stuff there but in a not-so-good implementation (like most high-end PC touchpads) and others lacking (like battery life).

For raw power though (if that's what counts for you, like if you do scientific calculations and such) you can get a PC with better CPU/GPU for similar money as the Mac would have. Though in most cases, the machines you get for that are no laptopy-enough anymore, coming closer to 3-4 kg and bulky.

But then there's always OS X, and the pain of using Windows. I always had to have Cygwin when I used Windows laptops, as I had to have a UNIX shell available.


At the same prices as the MacBooks, you actually get way better specs and extremely solid build as well. And let's not forget the Macbooks come with drawbacks, such as non-replacable batteries and stuff like that. And I don't like their trackpad either, but that's a matter of taste.


> At the same prices as the MacBooks, you actually get way better specs and extremely solid build as well

You keep saying that without providing any examples. Care to enlighten all of the people who have apparently been buying the wrong laptops?


OK, I'm sure you will nitpick about what I'm going to say, but the following are pretty decent alternatives: ASUS Zenbook UX301, Dell XPS 15, HP Spectre 13t-3000 Ultrabook, Samsung ATIV Book 9 Plus, Toshiba Kirabook. They are all not perfect, but credible alternatives. Feel free to discuss.


ASUS Zenbook UX301: $1,999 (Amazon.com) Apple MacBook Pro 13: $1,799 (Apple.com list)

Both with the Intel Core i7 2.8GHz / 3.3GHz TurboBoost, 8GB RAM, 256GB flash storage, etc.

The main difference is that the Mac display is 2560x1600 and the ASUS is 2560x1440 and the ASUS has a touchscreen.

This is a realistic competitor – I can't speak to build quality never having touched one but this is hardly the “way better specs” you've been claiming.

The same holds true for the Dell XPS 15. Comparing the only Dell XPS 15 which uses SSD primary storage[2] to the MacBook Pro 15" leaves us at $2,349 vs. $2,499. Again, I can't speak to build quality but unless you find a touchscreen a killer feature versus Apple's modern trackpad this boils down to how you feel about Windows 8 versus OS X or whether you've had a bad experience with one of the two vendors.

You've proven that your earlier “double the price of every other PC laptop out there with the same specs” claim was simply untrue.

1. Only the top-end model has an SSD as primary storage if you don't want the weight + power + size hit of an extra HDD: http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-15-9530/pd?oc=dncwx1249h&model_... 2. http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/macbook-pro?product=ME293L...


> And double the price of every other PC laptop out there with the same specs. Hell no.

You should pay more attention to the specs: since the switch to Intel, Mac laptops have been very competitive on price when you compare them to something which is actually equivalent hardware – there are tons of laptops which are half the cost but they got there by cutting corners. The usual trick is to match on one feature (CPU, GPU, screen resolution, etc.) and hope you won't notice that e.g. the display is much lower quality, there's a hard-drive instead of an SSD (or either is slower), the CPU is an older generation, etc.

If you do find something which is equivalent, it's as common for the cost to be higher as it is lower depending on when you buy in that particular manufacturer's product lifecycle.


…if you ignore every "spec" other than CPU, RAM, storage and screen size.


jblow seems to find that no OEM laptop is worth using, isn't twice the price kinda worth it for a laptop you can actually use?

If you're a cheap fuck, don't be surprised you can only find cheap shit.


except that there's no real reason for Apple to sell their laptops at that price - they are all made in China with the same cheap parts that everyone else uses, and cheap workers to assemble them. You pay extra for the shiny logo on the top, that's all. I haven't seen anything you could do on a Mac that you couldn't do on the PC, and there are very decent PC laptops out there, way, way cheaper than the Mac alternatives.


> they are all made in China with the same cheap parts that everyone else uses

Yeah… no. Unless you think the parts of a laptop are the CPU and GPU.

> I haven't seen anything you could do on a Mac that you couldn't do on the PC

Thus missing the point entirely.

> and there are very decent PC laptops out there, way, way cheaper than the Mac alternatives.

Care to enlighten everybody in this thread about them? There are definitely decent non-Apple laptops out there, but they're not "way, way cheaper" than the Apple version (usually the opposite).


Those 500 bucks are quickly saved in time when you're not spending 10 hours debugging Windows driver issues


Debugging?!!

Ha!

Try 10 hours doing security updates!


Read the article


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

Yes it is the result they want.

You can custom order a nice laptop if your willing to spend 800+ and not have to worry about getting a macbook

http://www.powernotebooks.com/ASUS-Custom-Built-Gaming-Lapto...

But at the same time I just looked up optimus and most of the new GPUs are listed as having it

http://www.geforce.com/hardware/technology/optimus/supported...

I would generally avoid Nvidia until this optimus stuff gets enough press until they are forced to retire this or at least make it optional.

Or just wait until someone decides to start a class action lawsuit against them like how HP knowingly sold and entire family of defective Elite desktops


I thought the situation improved a bit with the appearance of ultrabooks; however I haven't had a chance to test one of them thoroughly.

Did they bring higher quality or they are just thinner with slightly better specs/battery?


If you're willing to spend at least $1500, you can find some ultrabooks with decent build quality from Lenovo/Asus/Samsung/Sony. None of them get every detail right; keyboard layout is always a challenge, and I had to remap home/end/pageup/pagedown to make this one usable for programming. Vendor-specific apps for the trackpad and power management suck and they'll be installed on even the most expensive systems.

One problem seems to be that we're such a tiny addressable market at this point that the best PCs never make it into stores. You won't find any Haswell i7's in ultrabooks at Best Buy / Staples / etc; just the lower-end i5 and HD5000 graphics clones each brand made. This one was only available from Amazon, which seems to pick up something like 30 units a month from ASUS. Samsung makes a very nice configuration of their Ativ Book 9 Plus that's both beautiful and powerful, but when I checked my local stores they only stocked cheaper models.


Apple has economies of scale to their advantage, the macbook air is really competitively priced compared to their windows alternative.


There's no good story about switchable graphics still, even after all these years. My 2010 HP Envy had both an integrated GPU and discrete ATI Radeon, and a custom driver from HP/ATI that gave you a tray icon to switch between them. Worked great in 2010, but the fact that a custom driver was required meant in the following years I had trouble with newer games, and the computer barely functioned at all in Windows 8, often booting to a black screen even in safe mode.

As for the "who buys an i7 for battery?" -- well, I do. You don't have to choose between battery and performance with Haswell CPUs. I finally gave up on discrete graphics to get an ASUS UX301LA -- an i7-4558u that gives me 8 hours of battery life in an ultra-thin ultrabook form factor, yet the Intel Iris* GPU is faster than the discrete Radeon of my 2010 laptop. Games like Starcraft/Diablo that don't push boundaries run perfectly at the native 2560x1440.

If Intel's integrated GPUs keep improving as much as they did this generation over the last, the days of discrete mobile GPUs are numbered.


It looks like Google fails to correctly decipher Intel Isis (probably because it is still new). If you were searching Intel Isis, OP probably meant Intel Iris[0]. Intel Iris and Intel Iris Pro were introduced with Haswell processors.

> Intel Iris Graphics and Intel Iris Pro Graphics are new brands for Intel's high-end integrated graphics introduced with some variants of its Haswell processors. They utilize the same basic blocks as the HD series, but have a higher maximum frequency, and additional eDRAM cache for the "Pro" series.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_HD_and_Iris_Graphics


The Iris Pro with eDRAM (Crystalwell?) is an interesting offer from Intel. If I was in the market for a new laptop this year, I'd be keeping an eye out for those Haswell refresh or maybe a Broadwell based laptops, similar to the newest Macbook Pro.

Edit: this is what I mean (and now want):

https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/galu1


Unfortunately the Iris Pro comes with a much higher TDP, which means significantly shorter battery life and higher heat dissipation needs than all the other Haswell i5/i7 parts (47W vs 15 or 28). You won't find it in an ultrabook due to the heat, and you won't get the battery life benefits Haswell brought over previous architectures. The non-Pro Iris part is the better compromise IMO; you can find it in the thin-and-light form factor, it's much lower power so you can still get 6-8 hours of battery life, and it's still fast enough for most new games.


Very intriguing laptop. What bugs me is that I cannot find a screenshot of their keyboard layout on their website. I had to look for a review with a screenshot of the keyboard to see the layout. As someone who types primarily with the right shift key, I cannot use a laptop if the right shift key is cut short which is the majority of them (including this System76 model).


I've never had a problem with switchable graphics on OS X.


I always heard lots of complaints that random apps that don't seem like they should need the dedicated GPU would use it, which would spin up the fans and drain the battery.


This is why I've been holding off on a new notebook for almost a year. If Broadwell is half as good as it should be, it should be offering midrange discrete class GPU horsepower on their highest end graphics chipsets, and the tdp won't be absurd like the gaming notebooks that last half an hour off the wall.

I'd also be interested in low power Kaveri parts from AMD, since that fab process is proving itself more efficient at lower TDP.


I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W520, with nVidia Optimus. What they didn't tell me was that the external VGA port is hard-wired to the nVidia GPU, so I can't use it at all when on the Intel GPU. Choice: battery life or external VGA? To make matters worse, it's a reboot to switch between them, and since I use Ubuntu which isn't supported (although props to the Bumblebee people for the progress they've made) it's hit-and-miss if even that will work.

If the rest of the W520 wasn't such an awesome laptop, I'd be really quite upset. As it is, I just live with it and boot into Windows if I want to use a projector.


Any idea why it needs a reboot? Some MacBook Pro models have that kind of switching (integrated Intel + discrete nVidia) but don't need a reboot to switch between them. Is it some architectural thing, an issue with the nVidia drivers, an issue with Windows, ...?


Modern Mac OS X is a bit smarter about things, but I believe the original versions of Mac OS X that supported Optimus required you to restart the windowing system when switching GPUs. That required quitting all your apps, logging out, and logging back in, which is effectively a reboot for people who stick to GUI interaction.


Doing a little searching, it seems it might be tied to the hardware as well, not just the OSX version (not sure if that's a real hardware limitation or a driver issue though). The dual-GPU MacBook Pros from mid-2010 onwards have "automatic graphics switching" that does it on the fly: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4110

You're right that the 2008/09 models required logging out/in to switch manually; I hadn't realized that: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3207


There is a OSX tool called gfxCardStatus that can switch GPUs without logging out on the 08 and 09 models, works great on my 09 MBP, so it only seems to be a driver issue not a hardware limitation.


> I believe the original versions of Mac OS X that supported Optimus

OSX never supported Optimus, it's been a home-grown solution from the start.


> I have a Lenovo Thinkpad W520, with nVidia Optimus. What they didn't tell me was that the external VGA port is hard-wired to the nVidia GPU

FWIW, mixed-GPU Apple laptops have the exact same issue (although there's no reboot necessary), external displays can only be driven from the discrete GPU not the integrated one.


I don't know about other PC laptops but I do know this is the case with macbooks, as soon as you plug in an external display you are kicked off the internal GPU and placed on the discrete one.


> Choice: battery life or external VGA?

If you're using external VGA, aren't you by definition tethered? When are you likely to use external VGA and yet don't have access to power?


Meetings, presentations etc - I may not have my power brick with me.


"this is the time I wish I could afford a MacBook".

If you work in any IT related job in the US you probably would end up on the plus if you just spent the time you just used to try to make the crap you bought to work properly working a few extra on your normal job and then bought a MacBook.

I can seriously not afford to not buy a MacBook.


I am in Brazil, I earn about 20k USD year as mobile programmer (and for Brazil this is VERY, VERY, VERY high income)

Also in Brazil everything (and I DO mean EVERYTHING) is more expensive, Macs usually have a 100% markup compared to US, most of the extra price in taxes. (Brazil has some crazy taxes, for example Videogames have 72% of their final price being taxes, Cachaça, Brazil national cultural beverage, 82% of the final price is taxes...).

Here one of the easiest way to get "easy money" is smuggle stuff (usually electronics and clothes, but last year the government had to arrest massive amounts of tomato smugglers), for example you can go to US, buy a bunch of MacBooks, smuggle to Brazil, and charge 50% more of what you paid for them in US, and profit that 50%, and for a Brazillian this still is cheaper than buying a legal one here (that has 100% markup, as I mentioned earlier).


I feel your pain. I was careful to be specific about what I said was valid in the US, both because of very different costs and very different salaries in other parts of the world.


I have a Samsung NP700G7C, a gamer laptop, it comes with optimus disabled, even the GPU supports it (GTX675M). It cannot be enabled, computer is unaware of Intel HD4000 inside. As I have seen from a friend with another gamer laptop, he always have problems when launching games, they sometimes want to use Intel HD4000. And it goes on even if you explicitly state that "open this with nvidia gpu". So sad.


If you plan on gaming, DON'T buy a laptop. This is solid advice. Gaming on laptops is a bad experience in general.

Just buy a decent laptop with great battery life & mobility properties and a PS3/4 or a cheap gaming PC for gaming.


It is solid advice. Unless you don't need to play the latest games.

I bought a MacBook Air a few months ago and found out that a lot of blockbuster games from a few years ago perform pretty well, as do a lot of the indie games (from Steam, for example). I even bought a wired xbox360 controller for some of these games (Mark of the Ninja, for one).

But then I haven't really done much gaming in the past few years, so there are/were tons of (older) games I haven't played yet (BioShock, Portal 2, Mark of the Ninja, Borderlands 2 etc.). And I also don't mind turning down some of the graphic effects.

Still, it's possible...


Steambox came a callin'. Remember that stream tech Valve wants to use works both ways, so you could stream games from your mid range Steambox to your notebook.


I have an ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD-R4002V with NVidia GT620m and Optimus works flawlessly, both in Windows 7 and Linux Mint. Most games and demanding software switch to NVidia, HD4000 is used only for bare desktop and browsing. There are other issues with this ultrabook but Optimus is not one of them. Both DirectX and OpenGL work on both chips, output via HDMI works from both of them and I can even use CUDA in After Effects CS6 by adding 620m to the list of supported cards. The OP's experience is probably constrained to his particular model.


I have the same notebook, and my only complaint is that quite often the notebook monitor doesn't switch on until I connect or disconnect an external HDMI monitor. A pity.


I don't have that problem - it works flawlessly all the time. I am using Amazon basics HDMI cable connected via HDMI switcher to the external display (with the desktop, Chromecast and Tronsmart Android stick occupying 3 more HDMI inputs). Try perhaps another HDMI cable?


I think that's something with my machine, but never wanted to wait for a repair. BTW the HDMI is not a problem: The laptop monitor is often not working when I boot the pc up without any external monitor. But then, attaching one, it will start working.


bizarre timing, I've just spent the entire day moving my laptop to Debian XFCE, and the vast majority of that time was spent trying to get the bloody Nvidia card to work, which it won't because of Optimus, so that I can play with WebGl. Then I find out that it'll never work because any hybrid rig is excluded from WebGl (presumably because of Optimus randomly deciding that browsers don't need GPUs). And of course I can't disable the Intel graphics chipset from the BIOS. sigh


My understanding is that the nVidia GPU doesn't actually have access to the screen; when you turn on Optimus mode, the nVidia GPU draws its output into a texture or frame-buffer on the Intel GPU, which actually pushes the pixels out to the display.

So if you could disable the Intel GPU from the BIOS, you'd wind up with no video output at all.


For Linux, did you try the Bumblebee project? I had some success with it. Once bumblebee is setup, if you want to use the Nvidia GPU for some program, you just launch it as follows: "optirun /path/to/your/program".


Alternatively, if your gpu is supported by Nouveau reclocking, PRIME is the best hybrid graphics experience you are going to get. I just edit .desktop files of programs I want to run on discrete graphics to include DRI_PRIME=1 and almost all work flawlessly if your window manager supports xrender and you have a compositor running.

It just means your gpu performance suffers using the community driver.


yeah, but it's no longer current/supported as far as I can tell.. the actual project appears to be dead and I can't find it on the backports at all. Shame, because it looked promising for a while.

I'm a bit amazed that Nvidia isn't supporting this more, given y'know, SteamOS just around the corner.


I've had both mac and pc laptops.

These days I don't touch anything but Dell Precision workstations, absolute beastly machines (i7, 2X SSD with option for a 3rd, and 32GB RAM) with dual fans.

Runs Linux like a boss, zero issues.

The Nvidia GPU, however, that is a serious PITA -- in order to keep the chip from going into max power mode 24/7 with a multi-head setup, I had to resort to flashing the VBIOS. Risky, but necessary if you want peace & quiet.


I bought a lenovo w520 because if its performance. It has become hell to run linux comfortably on this laptop. I have set it to "discreet" mode in the BIOS and that seems to ease some of the problems...but yeah, if you want performance and a good working laptop, especially linux, stay away from these dual-card video laptops.


While the front-end to Optimus may be less than optimal, it's quite well done internally.

I came across it when I hooked an external GPU to my laptop. This is possible via ExpressCard with a passive (mechanical) adapter, and it even hot-plugs in Windows and installs the correct driver out of the box. It does require a reboot the first time, but other than that it's smooth.

What Optimus does is texture compression before textures are sent over the single PCI express 2.0 lane to the GPU. It can also enable my external GPU to render back into the internal notebook display.

I'm baffled by how easy this is to set up and how flawlessly it works, and honestly I am surprised that none of the commercial solutions has ever succeeded. ExpressCard even supports a USB 2.0 port, so I can plug my keyboard and mouse to the adapter, which then effectively works as a docking station (except for power).


I had to check the article date twice. Seems old and kind of just a rant.

Just be glad you're not still messing with XFree86 modeline settings or whatever. Asus makes high quality products at a good price. Their Zenbook line might have something you are looking for. As for Optimus, I used a bumblebee alternative on one that just required a special parent process (optirun or something). The light sensor would give off random keykodes due to a kernel bug that was fixed in master. I put a sticker over the light sensor until this was done. Other than that, everything about the hardware was pretty standard configuration job every step of the way. The latest nvidida drivers are said to support Optimus on Linux. Quite frankly, I enjoyed the battery life immensely when just using the Intel graphics for running Compiz at 60fps no problem.


You want to mine bitcoins with a laptop? Why? The laptop will wear out faster, you would get better performance per cost with a different option, many other reasons not to as well.

Also with fairness to the nVidia Optimus, AMD has "Dynamic Switchable Graphics" that is quite similar. The state of linux support for my laptop with the AMD equivalent is not the greatest either.

In linux, there are quite a few projects providing some form of support to this, (note the Nvidia Optimus section on the archlinux wiki for Hybrid Graphics[1]) so stating it doesn't work at all on mac/linux is fairly untrue.

[1] https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/hybrid_graphics#Nvidia_...


Laptops are not designed for gaming nor performance.

I wish some manufacturer would make a very thick, powerful laptop, as thick as those first mac laptops, without battery, but a good CPU and GPU, and a fan big enough to properly cool all that. If the laptop is thick it will be much easy to cool it.

The current iMacs for example are quite thick, and such a machine would be transportable enough as a laptop as a 17 or 15 inch screen.

You would not need a battery anyway, there are plugs everywhere, even in trains. If you plan to work on a laptop, it's for at least an hour, if you have an hour I think you will find time to find a plug easily. If you really need mobility a smartphone or tablet will be more useful than a laptop.


Those exist.

It was interesting seeing him name ASUS, as I own an ASUS G55VW which is a 2012 Republic of Gamers series laptop.

The laptop is a quite bulky 15-incher, my friends make fun of it asking if it has hover capabilities, but for a good reason: it has a fantastic cooling system. The design is also amazing, keyboard is perfect, trackpad works great, and best of all, it lacks Nvidia Optimus.

I bought it for that very reason, back in 2012 when I bought it Optimus support on Linux was horrible. It's better now, but the technology itself is kind of pointless, as Mr. Gomes explains.

People have become some hung up in weight and size wrt. laptops, but we have tablets now if we want something light, in fact, I'm using only my Nexus 5 and my laptop to cover all the tasks I ever go about day-to-day and they do their respective tasks wonderfully well. Buy a hulk, buy something of quality, no-one types on the fly, anyone can transport a few kilos worth of hardware when it's so. damn. practical/versatile.



Webpage is barely viewable on an iPad. I hope their laptop is better than their website.


An interesting tradeoff would be to have a tiny battery that's only enough to keep the RAM powered for a couple days, so you don't have to shutdown or hibernate whenever you unplug.


> An interesting tradeoff would be to have a tiny battery that's only enough to keep the RAM powered for a couple days

As long as you don't run the laptop's battery to zero, you don't really need anything like that. Windows 8.1 and Intel's latest CPU/GPU/chipsets/drivers are very, very good at power management so long as the manufacturer doesn't do anything stupid.

Standby time on mine in sleep (not hibernate) is supposedly 250 days.


The context was parent's portable computer with no battery.

It would be annoying having to lose all your work each time your moved around, but add a buttoncell/AAA-sized battery and you could sleep/resume the computer instantly without adding bulk or weight.


how about https://www.system76.com/laptops/model/bonx7?

I have a Gazelle Professional from them (previous generation shipped with proper GPUs) and it's really nice for gaming.


It baffles me for ages now, how do PC keep such high selling levels, when even now, if you buy a laptop, very likely you will have a crap which will require some technician attention before you will be able to use it properly. Not to speak about crappy apps that comes already installed.

Last time I experienced problems was with Samsung Chronos 7 laptop, that my girlfriend bought last Spring. Weird RAM usage issues, Windows issues, etc.

In the end, it really wasn't the experience that average laptop buyer is after and no doubt that some then looking into alternatives (tablets) eagerly.


Optimus effectively thwarted my genuine desire for going back to a Linux workstation at work. Traded it in for a Mac after three weeks. Oh well, I'd rather get work done than dick around with X I guess.


My hard-won lesson is to thoroughly review any newly bought laptop performance during the return period and take it back at any hint of trouble, particularly anything that may require a driver update.


Having bought a laptop with a ATI Intel hybrid graphics solution in 2011:

- I'm still stuck on the driver version from 2011, can't install a newer one.

- Only works for DirectX, with OpenGL you can only use the Intel graphics.


This is actually one nice thing about NVIDIA.. there are notebook drivers on their website that work with most of their mobile GPUs. I'm pretty sure you can get upstream AMD drivers working with ATI cards though... it probably requires some ini tweaks or something.


I'm actually fairly happy that my 2-GPU 2009 MBP is primitive in this regard, in that it has no auto-switching at all. Switching GPUs is manual press of a radio button that then prompts a logout (there's also a 3rd party menubar utility that lets you do it without the logout).


Considering how well GPU-switching works in OSX, why would you be happy that your machine is too old to support it? (and gfxCardStatus will also allow forcing on later machines)


Because I only occasionally need the high-perf GPU and can sidestep thoughts about how well or not-well auto-switching is working on any given day.


I appreciate the review, but instead of suffering why not just return it? Your describe the item as not fit for purpose, which is, in the eu at least, a valid reason for return.


[deleted]


"Oh bitch please". Please, please go back to 4chan.


Like I wrote in the post, I had to DOWNGRADE the driver, because a upgrade made it STOP working at all, GPU got 100% disabled, not even nVidia control panel launched anymore.


HN != Reddit




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