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Why Asus trackpad driver sets the CPU speed at maximum during scroll (notebookreview.com)
216 points by mike_esspe on Nov 2, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 213 comments

In no way am I trying to incite Mac vs. PC, but after years of Apple laptops I grew bored with their aluminum fascism and decided (last year) to buy a top-of-the-line Thinkpad.

A couple of months later, taking a huge economic hit, I sold the Thinkpad and returned to Apple. I simply could not handle the trackpad (and I gave up on the weird Thinkpad nubbin back in the early 2000s). I quite literally felt like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease when I used the trackpad, and since "mousing" is almost certainly the primary way I interact with a computer, the laptop itself begun to give me a strong, strange aversion to use.

I'm told Microsoft is working on improving trackpads in general, but they should really have every single engineer working on this issue. Forget about new features, let's get the simple stuff right.

I think a big part of this is just personal preference. I've never used a Mac until a few weeks ago (for work), and I'm dying to return to my X220 or W530 trackpad. The giant glass pad is sticky and hard to use, and the scrolling gestures feel wrong to me.

I've solved it by carrying a small external mouse in my laptop bag, and by using my MBP with a mechanical switch keyboard and a Logitech mouse 90% of the day.

I said the same thing at the start too, and after months of use I never managed to re-train myself (although, maybe those habits run deep!)

I've used Windows machine and every type of mouse from logitech trackballs (loved those for FPS games and Warcraft too bad they don't make good ones anymore), include the ones you could clip to the side of a laptop, to nubbins, and of course trackpads of every sort for about two decades.

I also lean more to using the keyboard vs. the mouse. As I spent more and more time developing software I become more adept at not using a mouse to the point where I could pretty much avoid touching it for most of the day. In Windows, this really was much better than using the mouse most of the time.

When I first got a Mac I found myself using the trackpad again for the first time in a long time. It was a huge improvement, the responsiveness of the trackpad and utility of many multi-touch gestures were quite surprising. Because it was so close to the keyboard I could easily use the gestures in place of keyboard commands, without slowing down. When it came time to get an external keyboard I actually bought a trackpad, not a mouse to go with it. It is honestly that good, at that's what I've found.

The trackpad should never feel sticky. Something is wrong if it does. My MacBook Pro trackpad feels as smooth as my phone (2009)

I think trackpads on new Macbooks tend to be a little sticky until they smooth out over a week or two.

Brand new iPhones have this same sensation

This might sound kind of dumb, but just rub it on your face. I'm pretty sure the "smoothing out" is just getting a nice thin coating of oil on it, like seasoning a cast iron pan.

This is the kind of insight that sets HN comments apart. Simple but possibly Useful.

Really? This part of the thread looks like Reddit trolling, but you're right, it is hard to tell, could be serious. That probably scares me more.

And don't forget to give it a lick afterwards for that clean screen feeling!

A sticky trackpad could be a sign of ... let's just say hygiene issues.

I don't know that apple gets this right either. (I have a macbook). The actual tracking feels fantastic and precise, and it has a nice texture, but I /hate/ how they refuse to put real buttons below it. Things like "right mouse drag" which I use all the time become a nightmare, and the whole "no buttons" thing just seems like it's putting aesthetics over functionality.

I love the lack of buttons. It makes it much much easier to click on things since I don't have to precisely hit a button. I don't think I've ever used a right click drag for anything, but it seems easy enough to do on my macbook pro. Just click with two fingers and drag.

There's no reason you couldn't do both. I really hate the trackpad click thing though for a specific reason: the pressure required changes based on where you are on the trackpad. It takes much more force to click at the top than at the bottom, so I end up using my thumb to click on the bottom anyway, at which point... I'd rather just have a proper button.

The reason is aesthetics. No buttons makes it look sleek, which is all the OEMs are going for. Same reason has driven the other changes in recent ThinkPads. It's purely about looks, with making it functional coming far behind. (One example of many: New ThinkPads have no way to determine if they are charging/plugged in, except by carefully looking for a few seconds after a state transition. If the plug is loose or another problem happens while you think it's charging, they give you no notification. This is purely a twisted sense of aesthetics, trying to make it feel less IBM. And on more than one occasion, this has caused me serious issues as I discovered too late that my system was out of power.)

Have you tried "touch to click"? And also, "double-tap-and-hold-to-drag"?

IIRC, there's a setting in OS X to make it act like a traditional one- or two-button touchpad, i.e. it only recognizes clicks if your finger is in the appropriate place.

It's not an either/or situation. You can have physical buttons, and still let you tap for a click.

I'm not talking about tap to click. I'm talking about the whole trackpad being a button.

I have a chromebook designed like this, and it removes any precision in clicking. I push down, and my finger slips as the trackpad depresses.

Usually I don't find myself clicking on my Macbook trackpad anyway. I usually just tap, plenty of precision that way, plus OSX tends to have larger click targets than Windows and lots of gestures (especially with BetterTouchTool) that make precision less important.

My only issue is click-and-drag, but that was at least somewhat alleviated when I learned to hold the click with my index finger and do the drag by moving my middle finger (which is similar to what I'd do with a trackpad with dedicated mouse buttons anyway) instead of just using my index finger.

I had the same experience with a relatively recent (2013?) Macbook, trying to help someone with one. I agree the tracking is quite nice, but clicking it requires far more force than I'm used to, meaning that trying to hold it down and drag is even worse - the friction is too high. The tactile response when it goes down and back up is also a bit weird; it's too dull and heavy-feeling when it goes down, there's almost no travel, and it comes back up with little sensation. It feels more like a "thud" than a "click", almost like the entire case of the machine is yielding slightly.

After working the trackpad a few more times and my fingers getting rather tired I tried to use keyboard shortcuts instead, but remembered that OS X doesn't have the Alt+ key combinations that Windows has, and tabbing through controls is disabled by default.

(My usual laptop is a Thinkpad X60, where I use the trackpoint and its buttons, and keyboard shortcuts whenever possible. On my desktop, I use a Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical v1.1A, which I think is one of the best mouses ever made.)

For click and drag, don't use your index finger to both keep the button depressed AND move the pointer. On a regular trackpad you'd click the left button with index finger and move the pointer by moving middle finger over the trackpad; you can do the same thing here by clicking in with index finger and then moving middle finger.

Other than click and drag I never use the physical click, tap to click is where it's at. OSX registers tapping much, much better than any trackpad I've tried with Windows.

You can turn on tap to click, but I find that while it works very well for OS X, I get too many false clicks in Windows while typing so have to disable it there.

What do you use right click drag for on OS X?

I have double tap set to right click and never really have issues. Then again I normally run a browser/terminal/emacs as my main apps so I don't really need/use right click at all that often.

To me two-finger tap is a natural action for "right click" or context.

Three-finger drag (which isn't on by default) is one of the best things about using a Mac imo. I honestly don't know how people live without on any platform. It's a huge improvement over double-tap-lock-and-drag or whatever the old way is.

Are you talking about Windows? Because I'm pretty sure OSX doesn't have any right mouse drag controls.


Oh, neat. I didn't even realize that Control-drag was the same as a RMB drag. That should make my life a little easier.

I don't see how right-click and drag could possibly be natural or easy on anything but a mouse.

Apple introduced multi touch to solve problems just like that.

It works perfectly fine if you have two mouse buttons below the trackpad (which every laptop I've ever had before my macbook has had).

With every tech company trying to imitate all of Apple's poor decisions, it is getting hard to find a laptop that has physical buttons. They have all been switching over to having just the trackpad.

How is it a poor decision? OS X generally has been designed to not need right clicking. And where it does, aka Xcode you can just do control click in most places.

I don't really see how this is a poor decision on apples part. For windows sure, right clicking abounds, though I'd argue that right there is the crux of the problem in general. The over reliance on right clicking in user interfaces I think isn't too far off from "magic track pad pawing motions like triple swipe etc...". But that last bits mostly my opinion on the matter.

My fundamental complaint is that Apple, as a company, prefers form over function. Avoiding right mouse clicks in the name of simplicity. Designing thin laptops instead of durable laptops. Restricting installation on iOS to just the App Store.

Me thinks you don't really understand the contrast between "form" and "function":

> Avoiding right mouse clicks in the name of simplicity

Simplicity has nothing to do with form, that is function.

> Designing thin laptops instead of durable laptops.

Thin/light laptops has nothing to do with form, that is function (who wants to carry around a brick?). And what is more durable than a MBP anyways?

> Restricting installation on iOS to just the App Store.

Security and safe experiences has nothing to do with form, that is function.

"Form" would be fashion, and Apple definitely has plenty of that, but all the points you listed don't focus on that.

For right-click-and-drag (something I do a lot in Xcode), hold down the control key – that simulates a right-click.

Try dragging 3 fingers instead.

Incidentally, as a lifelong PC user every time I have to use a Mac touchpad (which is quite often since a lot of my colleagues have them) I want to throw the light and shiny piece of junk out the window. I don't understand how you people use those things. As a recent Thinkpad convert I've actually switched exclusively to the Trackpoint too, but the touchpad is perfectly fine to me, I just prefer not moving my hands off the keyboard.

There is this trade-off between making it fast to do big mouse movements and making fine mouse movements possible. Typical high-friction PC touchpads are awful for fine movements. Trackpoints are good for fine movements, but they don't have enough travel to also make it easy to throw the cursor to the other side of the screen quickly. In my experience with both, the high-sensitivity, low-friction glass touchpad on the mac enables as much fine control as the trackpoint while also allowing sweeping large mouse movements.

High-friction pads do indeed make fine movements difficult--with a very gentle push, your fingertip doesn't move at all, until it overcomes static friction and jumps several pixels.

I found a trick to get around that a while back: When small movements are needed, don't slide your finger but roll it. No friction involved, that way.

Ex Mac user and now ThinkPad user here.

The MBP pad makes my fingers sore after a couple of hours as the surface is slightly abrasive. The Apple wireless mouse thing nips my fingers when I press it giving me sore fingers plus it weighs and ton and the gestures make my wrist hurt. The ThinkPad nipple mouse works pretty well as it's in the home row but my hands ache after a couple of hours. The trackpad on the ThinkPad X201 I use is tiny and useless so I turned it off.

Solutions for me:

1. I bought a Logitech M185 wireless mouse for £8. I am happier than I've ever been with this. It's orders of magnitude better than any other mouse I've used.

2. I use Windows and the keyboard where possible. It's really easy to drive windows from the keyboard entirely unlike OSX which requires this dude's hands: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkyZGZRnQb4 ... plus the editing system is inconsistent and wonky in some OSX apps.

Yes forget about the new features. Buy a wireless mouse and use the thinkpad's wonderful keyboard more.

That worked for me and yes I did feel like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease as well!

I would never buy a mouse without a back button. It's a wonder they still make those.

I have back/forward keys on my keyboard and tend to use them instead of the mouse.

> Logitech M185 wireless mouse for £8

Anyone got any tips for a great non-wireless USB mouse in this price-range?

I dislike when wireless mice (or keyboards) tend to run out of battery when it's really inconvenient, as I hardly ever have spare batteries lying around (not much other devices use them).

I had the same problem with the Apple mouse. The two AA batteries lasted about a month at best.

I've had the M185 for 9 months now and it's still got the original single AA battery in it! I threw a single AA in my bag in a ziplock in case of emergencies.

I wouldn't go back to wires after that mouse.

The Thinkpad nipple mouse on my x220 is glorious to use

I agree, I much prefer this style of pointer to a trackpad because I don't need to move my hands.

I love it, too. I hate that Lenovo no longer makes a ThinkPad with only that style pointer any longer. I always felt the trackpad was a big waste of space since I never use them.

I like the following logic: you could always disable it, and only switch on for the time someone else is using your laptop, so win-win.

But getting rid of 7-row keyboard and clicky mouse buttons, so that a huge trackpad would fit? Not worth it.

Eh, as a T440s owner (granted, my first Thinkpad) I was a bit apprehensive about the lack of buttons but I actually exclusively use the Trackpoint now. The clickpad does click down like a button which is a little weird at first but you quickly get used to where the "buttons" are and then it just feels like normal. I use the middle click scroll a lot too. At least in Linux you can adjust the precise locations of the buttons yourself, I think in Windows you also get some options for configuring the button locations if the defaults don't feel right. Right now I feel like this is the best input system I've had on a laptop.

I've tried the new big button T440s and really don't like the amount of force the big touchpad takes to click.

You'll be disappointed in X240. The buttons for trackpoint are removed in X240. Instead, they made the trackpad clickable. It's a miserable experience. It is simply impossible to use trackpoint with trackpad enabled because you inevitably slide finger over trackpad to register a click. That moves the cursor. Disabling trackpad made trackpoint somewhat usable but clicking the whole trackpad is much harder than just a button.

It is, however I find that sometimes I get a sore and after a couple hours of use and I have to switch to a mouse.

The ThinkPad click pad is an abomination. After nearly a year after regretfully "upgrading" from the IBM style to the new style... I still can't click with accuracy. Right, left - I have to make several attempts. And many times, the pointer moves during the process. I actually have to lug around an external mouse with my "top of the line" laptop. The keyboard isn't anything great, either.

Few companies have earned as much emotional hated as Lenovo has for making such junk.

Hardware hackers take note. I'd pay hundreds of dollars to replace the layout with one from an older series like the X201 or so. Just put back the triple buttons and the nice full sized keyboard and take my money.

I started using X240 a week ago. I am usually not a complainer. I concurrently used X220 and Macbook fine. But I could not like the click pad on X240. I think the trackpad/trackpoint on X240 is simply a failed experiment. As someone who is fine with trackpoint or trackpad on Macbooks, I can't see how anyone can like this click pad thing.

> In no way am I trying to incite Mac vs. PC

Oh, but you're doing it anyway. Whatever, sounds like fun! ;)

> I quite literally felt like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease when I used the trackpad

[EDIT: I should mention that I'm using almost exclusively keyboard for interacting with my computers, so I may be missing some obvious things.]

I'm using mac book pro and some hp notebook (both a year and a half old at this point) and I don't feel any difference in how the touchpads in them work. Aside from the mac's one being overloaded with functions which shouldn't be there (for me ofc).

What exactly was a difference that make you feel like that? Maybe it was something that could be easily remedied by switching some options?

I tried ALL of the internal Lenovo-supplied utilities, and even "upgraded" to a generic driver provided by Synaptics (maker of the trackpad hardware). Moving the mouse cursor around the screen was usually not a problem, but scrolling and click-and-drag (to say, move a file using the GUI) would only actually work about 70% of the time. Instead of scrolling it would stutter and zing about, and instead of click and drag it would pick up the file and drop it some other place. It's actually a bit hard to describe, since it actually made me genuinely wonder if there was something wrong with my hand/brain. Tiny little errors for such a critical thing really do cause havoc.

I found that Windows configuration (Synaptics and Lenovo) utilities were all lacking in configurability. I have primarily switched to Linux (openSUSE) which has far better support for common two-finger scrolling and right-clicking as well as more configurable for the sensitivity, palm detection, etc.

I couldn't believe how much better my Thinkpad Edge touchpad worked under Linux, and the trackpoint nub was able to be sped up and adjusted so its my preferred means of movement when typing. So I think there's something to be said for both hardware and software (and drivers) which affect the final user experience; unfortunately there seems to be less concern or attention towards that aspect with PCs than Macs.

There have been some really really awful Lenovo Thinkpad trackpads in the last 2-3 years -- one specific one that I have used that you see a TON of complaints about was the X230 trackpad (google it, it's a mess). One of the worst I have ever used, with no amount of adjustment that can fix it -- Lenovo really dropped the ball when cutting costs. The worst part was that the X220/T420 and plenty of other older models had perfect trackpads.

My father has a Thinkpad and the touchpad is horrible. Really seriously horrible. I dislike my Asus full-touch (no buttons) touchpad but I've learned to work with it -- I've learned to work with any touchpad, except a Thinkpad's.

So I get where you're coming from, but to write off all non-Apple laptops all at the same time?

> I grew bored with their aluminum fascism

Oh, THAT'S what happened to the titanium Powerbook; another victim of Metal Eugenics.

Two finger scroll on thinkpads has generally sucked. Nowdays it has gotten better, but I still use this much better 3rd party implementation:


Solved all my problems.

I occasionally have to use an HP laptop and I concur. It is really a completely different experience.

I need to use two hands to accomplish something like moving the cursor to a folder icon and right clicking on it. On a Mac this can be done with a single finger and without even engaging the brain.

This model of HP laptop is used by everyone at this one company. They don't even know how awful it is. It's really like that 1984 Mac commercial.

> quite literally felt like I had a degenerative neuromuscular disease when I used the trackpad

Was it jittery? I had this problem with an older thinkpad when plugged into AC, but the problem went away when unplugged, so I assume it was just a case of bad isolation from the 60Hz AC signal.

>In no way am I trying to incite Mac vs. PC, but after years of Apple laptops I grew bored with their aluminum fascism

So, they like killed millions of people, or invaded other countries to make them use aluminum laptops?

If we must, METAPHORICALLY, yes. <the literal Internet strikes again>

Nope, not even metaphorically.

In fact, even the other thing that's directed at them ("it's just because of marketing") is not true either.

While they had good ads, their marketing spending was historically miniscule (especially compared to companies such as Samsung and Microsoft) and of course they began from near zero budget (actually near banruptcy) circa 1997 and grew with products that made people want to buy them and the press write about them, not ads.

It really depends on the hardware you choose. I switched from a MacBook Air to a Samsung ATIV Book Plus (what a name...) and can't say that I've noticed a difference between the trackpads.

For personal use I am apple all the way but I must admit that the HP probook I have at work actually is a quite nice machine. Drivers seem reasonable and the hardware is good too.

How do you manage to type on Apple laptop keyboards though? For a serious typist, Thinkpad's keyboard feel is just beyond any comparison - especially on the older models.

I had a serious Mac typing problem. I had a T61 and got seduced by a 2011 MBP. Liked it for about 3 months and then realised I couldn't type properly on it and that it was knackering my productivity. Also as I'm in the UK, the keyboard map is totally unlike other UK keyboard which makes it difficult to move to and from other machines and use remote desktop software.

Back on an X201 and life is good.

My wife still uses the 2011 MBP and hates it for typing on as well but she doesn't like black laptops, so her funeral!

> In no way am I trying to incite Mac vs. PC

It should by now be obvious that this is impossible. If you dont want to start a flamewar, never mention the words mac and pc in the same sentence.

So, really, is there anything left to buy except MacBooks anymore? I'm not a big fan of Apple, and would have to go through all sorts of nuisances to install Linux on it anyway, but the longer I search for solid 13" laptop, the more horrified I become. It cannot be that nobody makes nice laptops, can it?

I'm constantly frustrated by this. I mean, HP and Lenovo have become the cheap Chinese knock-off companies of themselves, and there's an unwritten rule that every Asus product must be an absolute dream except for one critical deal-breaker frustration per-product that makes you hate it.

Lenovo business laptops. The consumer laptops are shoddy and thin, but the business laptops tend to be rather durable.

Can't stand the clicking trackpad. Loved my $300 consumer grade Lenovo with buttons but my new thinkpad is so awful I've pretty much stopped using it. It never gets better, I haven't gotten used to it, and it's been six months.

I really like the new glass trackpad.

T420 - OK. Pretty durable and robust. Never took to the screen much; the keyboard seemed like heaven or hell depending on my mood; the trackpad was utterly terrible.

S400 - I like it a lot. Took a while to get used to the chicklet keyboard but like it now. Trackpad is good. Screen is fine. Very thin and not robust (screen can bend), and terrible battery life.

Yoga 11e - I quite like. Very robust, nice keyboard and trackpad. Crisp if small screen. Good battery. Screen can bend back but far too heavy to be a tablet replacement.

I wish companies would follow the car company approach and fully separate their consumer-crap and quality corporate brands into to completely-different brand names. I tend to think that their consumer-end completely sabotages their high-end name. Everybody has a foul memory of a mid-range dell/hp/asus device and that feeds consumers into the "screw it, I'll just buy Apple" response. Make a brand that consumers can trust.

That's actually great idea I think. Would be not only more profitable for them, but also much better for me as a customer, as I wouldn't have to make detective adventure out of search for a computer. I wonder if they never thought of it or there're any problems that disallow them to do that.

HP ZBook series, MS Surface Pro, Dell mobile workstations and top-end Latitude machines. Lenovo used to be in the list, but I'm not sure anymore. Mac trackpads are still the best of all but I personally can't stand OSX (and Windows/Linux is not too entertaining on a Macbook, still). However, it's only a personal preference and I can understand why people end up with buying Macs.

I've been a Linux user for as long as I remember, and most of that has been on a Thinkpad.

However I've just joined CloudFlare and they asked the simple question of whether I wanted a Lenovo or something Apple.

Having looked, I cannot think of a reason I should carry on with Thinkpads. They're just not what they used to be with trackpads which are unsatisfying, battery life that isn't as long as the Apples, non-Retina displays, and so on.

I chose a MacBook Pro, my first ever Apple computer. I picked it up on Friday, and I'm blown away. It's just awesome in every way.

If I can get used to the weird and subtle ways that the keyboard shortcuts and keyboard layout is different I may even be a permanent convert.

I use Karabiner [1] to make my constant jump between OSX/nix/Windows more easy by remaping ^C/^V (amongst others) without having to actually swap control and command keys via OSX's utility. [1]https://pqrs.org/osx/karabiner/

Thanks, that looks perfect. I'll persist with the Apple shortcuts for a while, but am happy that there's a nice way to make the worlds feel similar if it proves too distracting.

I do the same with control/fn as well. Karabiner is fantastic.

I'm curious... Why mention "CloudFlare" at all? Why not, "joined a new company" ? Unless the point was specifically to let all of us know that you now work for CloudFlare?

Most people on HN who know me also know I've been running my own startup and we've been a Linux shop. They'd rightly be quizzical that I was suddenly getting a new Mac. The story of how that ended didn't make a ripple on HN (probably bad timing on my part, it was an Apple launch day), https://medium.com/@buro9/the-journey-of-a-london-startup-wh... , and those same people might like a clue that a change has happened. I mostly mention the company in two-part to say "I'm OK, there's a light beyond startups" and also because I'm fairly proud to be moving on to something I believe in (security and a better internet).

I guess I forget the audience on HN is much larger than it used to be.

I have given up on Windows laptops myself. As a developer the Macbook Air is the best laptop I've ever owned. I sold it recently and am waiting to receive a 13" Macbook Pro because I needed more RAM and space.

The biggest issues I've had with Windows laptops are: a) Trackpad is usually horrible. Some of the laptops use a rubber like texture that feels like I'm scraping my finger along a really rough surface. b) Battery life is never as good as the manufacturer claims. It is usually much much worse. c) Updating to a new version of Windows is a gamble. Sometimes you can find all the drivers, other times you get old ones which kind of work (or not at all). Either way it is frustrating to have to hunt them down. d) Support from manufacturers is AWFUL. The only exception I can think of is Dell. They have been pretty good but I'm not sure if they have worldwide warranty. I can take my Macbook to an Apple store basically anywhere and have it fixed.

There are many other small things that add up over time. It's just not even worth it to save a bit of money. I'm not even a massive OS X fan. It works well enough and the hardware is top notch.

I got a solid Dell, full aluminium, 16GB memory, 1TB SSD, FullHD laptop and all is fine. I never liked Dell laptop because i had some unpleasant experiences years ago with a cheaper model but this one feels great. I used to buy Sony but over they years their quality went down very much (as well as Lenovos/IBM).

What about heating/noise? I heard Dell has problems with that quite constantly. BTW, what's model of your device?

No noise whatsoever, even when gaming. My previous Sony had serious noise problems but now it's just silent.

I have that one: http://configure.us.dell.com/dellstore/config.aspx?oc=cai157...

(i exchanged the HDD with a Samsung SSD)

The Razer Blade 14 is a very nice machine, if you can get over the Matrix-esque green backlit keyboard. Sane keyboard layout (but missing the pgup/dn/home/end column). Beautiful screen and 14 inches, which is my ideal screen size. Amazing gaming performance for the size, if you care about that. Surprisingly good (but not perfect) Linux compatibility too. The three big problems with it are:

1) The choice of Wifi card, the Intel 7260AC, wasn't a good one--it constantly drops wifi connections that work fine on other devices, and sometimes isn't even recognized on boot in both Windows and Linux. Tried this over several Blades so it's a chip issue, not a bad unit. I'd rather have Intel than Broadcom considering Linux compatibility, but the 7260AC is just a nearly unusably buggy card.

2) The screen, while stunning if you can get a perfect unit, is apparently susceptible to dead pixels during manufacture. I ultimately returned all of the Blades I bought--something like 3--because the screens arrived with dead pixels. I even sent a unit back to get a new screen put on, and the replacement screen also came back with dead pixels, and worse, a horrible color shift. It was my dealbreaker. Dead pixels might be acceptable in a $700 laptop, but not in a ~$2,800 laptop. I suspect Apple bought out all of Sharp's grade A screens and Razer got stuck with the B screens.

3) The parts are all proprietary so if and when you need a repair, you have to mail your unit in and it ain't gonna be cheap out of warranty. Razer quoted me $200 when I asked for the cost to get an old battery replaced (as you have to do for aging laptops). Plus, since the unit gets very hot during gaming, I expect Blades will need frequent repair as they age.

If you can deal with these issues, the Blade is a genuinely good machine. Really the only serious competition the MBP has. Razer just has to sort out their screen supplier's QA process, and maybe make replacement parts available for home repair, and they'd be golden.

Similar to the Razer Blade 14, but cheaper, and without the matrix-esque green backlight (just white) is the Aorus XP3+, which is ridiculously powerful and light. The only difference appears to be that it's actually even a little lighter than the blade (1.8kg vs 2.03kg), the screen is not touch based, the processor is a little beefier, it has more memory, and by default comes with 2x 256GB SSD's in RAID0 rather than a single SSD.

And of course it is ENORMOUSLY cheaper. This may differ depending on locality but I bought the Aorus a couple of days ago for 2599 AUD, and the razer with the same storage is 3699 AUD.

I got rid of both my every day carry notebook and my beefy leave it on a desk workstation just from buying the XP3+, very impressed with it so far.

I just did a Google search for "Aorus XP3+" and it literally came up empty. Can you provide some links? It sounds like an intriguing machine.


X3 plus was the model number sorry my mistake.

Of course it's possible that no one makes good laptops anymore. All you have to do is take a look at the economics of the business. It's low margin and the PC business isn't growing like it used to. OEMs are rightfully looking at smartphones and tablets to allocate their capital to. Lots of OEMs have exited or are in the process of exiting the PC business (Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, HP).





The answer is no and I seriously doubt there ever will be.

I am using a ThinkPad T420. I have a brand new ThinkPad T420 in the spare parts cupboard. I am done buying laptops for a very, very long time.

Also, please listen to a Cory Doctorow DRM talk before buying a Mac.

New thinkpads from the older lines are good. The original x1 carbon is glorious if you can find them still. But all the latest thinkpad models are junk - awful trackpad, bizarre keyboard design decisions. Yeah macs don't work too well for me either. I will try to ride my x1 forward and hopefully in a couple of years the google Chromebooks will be strong Linux options.

If Lenovo just took the original X1 Carbon, swapped in a 1440p screen, added a 16 GB RAM option, swapped in a Broadwell chip, and improved the battery life, it would be fantastic. I have the original X1 Carbon, and it's the perfect laptop.

The trackpad would still be crap, while I have injury issues with the trackpoint. But ya, it would be nice otherwise (I have an X1 Carbon Touch from work, personally use a rMBP).

I don't know anything about the quality of the trackpad, as I've had it disabled since the day I got my X1 Carbon (as I've done with all my ThinkPads), but I've never heard any major complaints about it before this from others.

Almost everyone in our office has X1s (we refreshed at the same time and this was the best available); and it is a universal complaint. The trackpoint really kills the nerves in my thumb tips, so I'd prefer not to use it.

I have the new X1, and I find myself continuously hitting the function keys, because they're on some kind of touch screen... it's probably the only complaint I have with the laptop.

I have an Asus Zenbook running on Ubuntu, and don't have any problems while scrolling. All in all the experience is really nice.

Samsung Series 9, now ATIV. No longer sold in EU.

Apparently Samsung's leaving the non-Chromebook laptop market worldwide in 2015. My ATIV Book 9 Plus has been awesome (besides the horrible bundled drivers and software) but I'm not sure what I could happily replace it with at this point besides a Surface Pro.

The market is weird about laptops right now. Basically, it seems that Apple is the only one still making a profit off of them. Maybe PCs bet to heavily on netbooks?

They definitely did bet too heavily on netbooks, but that market has long since crashed. Chromebooks picked up a significant chunk of what was left in that segment. The more recent trend has been Intel's push for "ultrabooks", initially spurred by their desire to have a Wintel competitor to the MacBook Air. It hasn't been as disastrous as the netbook fad, but almost everything that superficially appears to be competition cuts corners in big ways and ends up being cheaper but a lot crappier and also basically unprofitable.

Agreed. Also not an Apple enthusiast by any means, but there are a few traits, each of which by itself would make me consider buying a given machine: trackpad, uptime/stability, restore time, *nix under the hood out of the box, and the hardware is built to really last. Nothing even comes close to MBP in these categories.

For a casual/dev (non-gaming, etc.) use machine, it's difficult to see myself ever using something else.

No idea how solid it is, but there's always the truly hilariously named HP Envy 14" if you want something that looks like a Macbook with a Windows button.


What if you explicitly don't want a clone of a Macbook? When my X220 is too old for a laptop, I don't know what I'll do. Modern ThinkPads are pretty unacceptable now, with the new keyboards and the giant clicky touchpad.

This has been driving me up the wall. I just want a modern replacement for my x61s -- higher res screen and longer battery life. I was thinking about trying to find an x220 to keep in the closet for when this laptop breaks.

It's super frustrating.

No. I don't know about Envy, but I made a mistake of buying Samsung's MBP13 clone (np700z3a) once.

It had awesome specs on paper (same CPU, GPU, RAM, larger HDD, 14" 1600x900 LCD instead of 13" 1280x800 in a same body size, 2/3 price of MBP), but in reality, I'd be better off buying used MBP. Or used Dell Latitude/top line IBM.

Drivers. They suck, and never got updated. Wobbly plastic body that cracked in a few places during normal laptop use. Keyboard backlight that is awesome unless the system doesn't toss a coin on resume from sleep and decide that this time you'll have to type blind. Battery life between 2-3 hrs instead of promised-on-the-box 4-5 hours. Broadcom wifi adapter that slows to crawl on Windows 8.1+, with no fix from the manufacturer (http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows8_1-...).

And I must't leave out the cooling that is significantly louder than on any MBP I used.


Don't worry - atleast in Europe, Samsung got out of the laptop business, except for models with their own ARM or x86 clone hardware

I have one of these. The trackpad is okay, but not as good as my MacBook Air's. Also, there are a few annoying little things about this laptop that can be get pretty frustrating. For example, there are no separate volume controls for speakers and headphones (at least not by default).

The Razer Blade is supposed to be a dream, but it's targeting a very specific small market - adult gamers with taste.

I have a HP Zbook 15 and I'm happy with it. One of the reasons is the trackpad with physical buttons. The keyboard is good too. Unfortunately it has a number pad, completely useless. I rather have a keyboard centered with the screen instead. Apple got that right. Most PC manufacturers don't.

System76 always looks quite good, especially if you don't need windows. https://system76.com/laptops/model/galu1

Has anyone owned one of these and can share their experience?

I've actually heard very bad things. They are a reseller and don't seem to stand behind their products. Here is one example: http://yashchandra.com/2014/05/06/do-not-buy-system76-develo...

Unfortunately, now that Vaios are gone I haven't been able to find a laptop with good specs & a solid chassis other than MBPs.

If you're installing Linux, why does it matter how bad their Windows drivers are?

Imagine: A Thinkpad x/t/w with the old non-chiclet Keyboard without their "new" Layout, old-sytle Trackpad/Pointer with physical Buttons, a non-low-voltage Haswell with 2 RAM Slots, capable of containing at least 16 Gigs of Memory, a removable, non-integrated Battery, proper Intel-Chipsets and their LED-backlit Display in the old magesium-style Body with aluminium Hinges and the old mechanical display closing Mechanism. And the old, yellow Powerconnector. And the a Thinklight. And ..

I simply do not get why Lenovo has made these changes. My wildest guess would be that MS & Intel has pushed/forced Vendors into their "Ultrabook"-Model.

And yet, for all these Sonys, Samsungs and HPs, it could be this simple.

I think it's more about Lenovo trying to appear "new" and "stylish", going after the Macbook designs. Cost reduction could also be a part of it. Every other laptop on the market now looks like a Macbook clone.

What they're forgetting is that many of the people who buy Thinkpads actually like the old-school, "serious business" look-and-feel that originated with IBM. They could continue making a model that is almost exactly identical to the X60/X61 (an "X62"?) but with a faster CPU, more RAM, and higher-res display, and I'd bet they'd still have many customers.

I would buy this laptop in a heartbeat.

Asus are weird. I made the mistake of upgrading from Win 7 to Win 8 on my previous 2012 laptop. No Win 8 compatible drivers to be found. Contacted support, who informed me that there are no plans to ever ship any Win 8 compatible driver.

Relevant detail: On the product page of the laptop on Asus's website, they have a banner recommending Windows 8.

They are contractually obligated to display that banner. It has nothing to do with Asus's actual products.

I used to have this gaming laptop from Asus (I need fast graphics), and one of the things they did was deck it out with a lot of ridiculous lights (because gamers, apparently?).

One of the more mystifying things it did: the giant lights on the back of the screen would do this really distracting blink when the laptop was in sleep mode. I have no idea what the thought process there was -- why would anyone want their laptop to do that when they're not using it? Not only was it a waste of battery, it was incredibly annoying. And keep in mind this wasn't a small light, it was a light that ran a circuit around the entire screen. Luckily you could turn it off, but I have no idea why it was on in the first place.

They also had this bios screen that had a logo for the "Republic of Gamers" (seriously?) that would then explode. That was more amusing than problematic, but I wonder who comes up with these ideas.

You can just imagine the product meetings where these decisions are made. I'm horrified whenever I do that. Turns out Dilbert cartoons come from hidden cameras

And this kids, is why people buy Macs to serve as a $1500 facebook machine.

I bought an Asus Zenbook UX303LN 2 weeks ago after my 13" MacBook Pro got stolen, and while there are things that I miss from the MacBook (essentially, the fantastic touchpad quality), I'm overall satisfied with my Zenbook. It's a solid alternative to the MBP at a very attractive price. The only real issue is the touchpad. While it's not bad, there are a lot of things that just don't work as nicely as on the Mac. For example, if you try to rest your thumb on the touchpad the cursor will stop moving. Little things like that.

I don't understand why, after all these years, literally no other manufacturer has been able to nail the trackpad like Apple. The first few "clickpads" I used on laptops trying to imitate Apple were basically unusable, but even on recent models I've played with in stores, they're always just....not quite right to horrible.

I believe the trackpad of my asus 1000he notebook is pinnacle of non-mac trackpads.

Supported equally on linux and windows. Soft to the fingers, responsive and precise. Two-fingers scrolling, wipe (kind), three-fingers scrolling, etc.

Only missing thing is pinch-to-zoom.

The trackpad on my Samsung np770z5e is great. Just install a good SSD on it and you have a great laptop (battery life is also very good).

Edit: it also supports three fingers prev/next commands

aaand this is why I don't respond when friends ask me which PC laptop they should buy.

you too!?

I used to at least be able to recommend ThinkPads but I can't even do that anymore. I pretty much only have Macs left as an option at this point, but not one that I'm super thrilled about. I mostly use VPS and a $600 _should_ be fine.

I ordered a Thinkpad direct earlier this year and was really dissatisfied with the build quality and shipping. The new clicky touchpad in particular was just horrendous. It went back and I ended up going with a refurbed Dell Latitude. The keyboards is reasonable, and I have my nipple and sturdy build, but even at the reduced price I had to drop back to Intels integrated graphics (on reflection I don't miss dicking around with NVIDIAs proprietary Linux drivers one bit). It also came with a decent warranty.

I still like x61 a lot, not hard to find for less than 100$ on ebay. With the usual maximum ram + ssd upgrade you really have a neat little 4:3 rock solid machine. Most people buying ~600$ core i5 laptop will never reach the boot time and stability I get using *linux on this hardware. Next week I'll try x200/x201 family to see how better the cpu is (heat and battery life mostly).

Yep. I've got Arch (soon to be OpenBSD) on my 2nd-gen x100e and I put in an SSD and upgrade to the A/G/N wifi card. There are some quirks but it's a decent system. I'm ready to move on though. These have heat problems though and everyone I know with an x2XX has worse problems than I do.

Even with the $600 core i5s, it'd be getting the same OS. Hopefully they've switched to the newer Intel wifi cards because the Linux driver on the 5400AGN they were using has problems.

Arch user here too. I see a lot of articles saying BSD is saner than linux, and you're tempting me even more to try it. If you ever write about it post the url here.

I loved my X61 but I couldn't put up with how it sounded like it was going to take flight all the time.

True, that's the main reason I try newer ones. If I was a gifted engineer I'd build a better heatsink so the fan would never kick in.

I still have a x61 and a x220. I prefer the x220 obviously for being way faster and for having a giant Esc key (I use vim). Both totally solid. On the x61 I use tpfand and the fan almost never comes on.

Thanks, I stopped looking for fan control, since I was more interested in underclocking. I'll try it right away.

I'm a bit out of the loop, what's gone wrong with ThinkPads?

A growing trend of poor platform choices. The obvious stuff is that their once great keyboards are now terrible. Mouse buttons are the other one.

On the more hardware nitty-gritty side of things though, nearly all of their laptops the last 4 years have heat problems, including one line that you can never use more than 50% of the CPU before it throttles due to severe overheat. My second-gen x100e is the second laptop I've ever used to actually give me a burn - and from doing nothing more than streaming a youtube video. Their x series are basically unusable and were the only ones I would consider buying to begin with.

Sorely disappointed.

Edit: Also their software is shit, but I don't use Windows on it anyway. They're still better than ASUS laptops though.

Apart from the things other people here already mentioned. The speakers are the worst i have ever heard. I don't have high demands on laptop speakers to start with but this is way below any standards. Music you can just forget about and even in voip calls it's hard to hear what people are saying. And even when they are off they are bad! They keep sending out a faint white static noise, i first thought it's the fan but it's actually the speakers. Lenovos "solution" to this problem was to update the driver and turn off the spekers completely if there's been no sound for the past 5 seconds. Really annoying, any time you open a folder in explorer and the click sound plays it sounds like the fan turns on and then off again, same with intermediate IM notifications, i have to keep my laptop on mute because of this. So the speakers are useless for music, voip and notifications, what usage scenario is left? why even put them in?

I forgot about this! Oh yeah. Their headphone jack is pretty flimsy too, but it seems to be on most laptops. I'm pretty much resigned to using a USB sound card/headphone amp these days.

> Their headphone jack is pretty flimsy too

I really can't stand those. I've had the headphone jacks on two separate high-end Android phones go from crackly to completely unusable, while my ancient iPod nano is still rock solid after years of heavy use.

A decent 3.5mm jack is not an expensive part, but so many manufacturers seem to opt for the cheap garbage that doesn't actually work.

and on top of that most thinkpads have switched to integrated mic/headphone combo jacks rather than separate ports.

it's old fashioned, but I prefer them to be separated.

Talking about the 440 series: no physical buttons on the trackpad, keyboard changes, a lot harder to take apart, 12GB max memory. It's basically not a Thinkpad anymore but a black MBP wannabe.

The changes to the keyboard and trackpad are being reversed in the next version.

Do you have a link for more information about the next ThinkPad versions?

that video does not say anything about the home/del/pgup/pgdn buttons...? does it?

They're going back to the 6-row keyboard (top), not 7-row keyboard (bottom): http://i.imgur.com/NpmHQbL.jpg

Nice; that's the way my original X1 Carbon looks and I'm really happy with that keyboard. In particular, I absolutely love the nipple and the proper mouse buttons. Is there any chance of the linked keyboard actually making it back into the X1 line as well?

I almost updated to the new one however they completely murdered it with the "adaptive" change. Capacitive function keys, home and end on the caps lock key, what _on earth_ were they thinking?


i wanted the 7-row one. is there something out there even worse than the 6-row one now?

They've started messing with the keyboards. I don't find this an issue personally (I'm typing this on a X1 Carbon 2014), but it bothers some people.

The function keys missing is a pain. Moving home/end is a pain. People calling and asking how to shut the caps lock off when there isn't even a caps lock button is a pain (hint, double-tap the shift key)

The keyboard was, to me, a genuine attempt to improve things. But they did some very stupid things like removing LEDs, to be replaced by OS Notification. Nobody wants a corner of the screen saying 'CAPS LOCK PRESSED'.

What about Dell or Toshiba?

I tell them to buy a Chromebook.

(But I do talk with them back and forth to make sure a Chromebook will do everything they need.)

Ignoring the trackpad angle...the idea of ramping up the CPU on scroll does make some sense. If you think about smartphones...the first place people bitch about lag is scrolling. Thats likely what the engineer was thinking about when they linked trackpad to CPU like that.

No, I don't think it makes any sense at all. CPUs/OSs have built-in mechanisms to automatically adjust frequency depending on the actual workload. If scrolling involves a minimal workload then it should remain in low-power state. This is a really power-hostile solution to solving a problem which should be solved another way. At the very least, if this really is an intractable lag problem (which I doubt - other manufacturers seem unaffected), then the driver should call an OS API that says something like "latency-sensitive user input has started/stopped", and then the OS makes the decision about whether to boost the CPU frequency, or do something more sensible, or be updated in future to use new hardware features to solve the problem even better, etc.

This particular hack is just poor engineering. And users should at least be given the choice between "drain my battery or add a bit of lag", if the manufacturer can't figure out how to remove the need to make that choice.

OSX ramps up the CPU during scrolling, but never enough to turbo the fans. And if the scroll view is GPU accelerated (now nearly all of them), it only climbs to 10% instead of 50%.

Thats mostly because Android used to have a really bad vsync/input synchronization before project butter[1] - the system had anywhere between 0 and 16.7ms to render the entire screen (which means easily < 4ms every 4 or 5 frames) instead of having consistent 16.7ms every time.

No matter how fast the components, scroll input events would often happen 1ms before rendering time and a frame would have to be skipped, causing choppiness.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8m9sHdyXnE

Would this all be fixed by installing a linux distro on the laptop? A different trackpad driver - if it works ;) - would do different stuff, and remapping media keys is possible in most desktop environments.

This doesn't happen to me on an asus zenbook and linux. Two finger scroll works fine, no proprietary drivers installed.

In fact, all the functionality that you generally expect to be broken on linux (two finger scroll, keyboard lights, volume control, etc) worked out of the box...

Yes, it would. This is actually a benefit of Linux (and the BSDs for that matter) - since all drivers are in the main kernel, you don't get as much idiocy from hardware makers that try to do something clever.

It's a gamble though, in my experience Linux support for native device power management is very spotty. You might trade a crappy trackpad driver for no sleep, no CPU throttling, etc.

Not really a gamble -- you usually can find reliable info about Linux support on the internet, provided that the device is not too exotic.

The problem of smooth scrolling without much-increased CPU usage was solved long ago, in the era of 8-bit systems, by rendering slightly more lines to the framebuffer and simply changing the address in VRAM where the CRT controller started reading the data for a frame. The CPU could then render the additional scrolled-out lines in the background.

But it seems the common way to implement scrolling today is to either have the CPU or GPU actually move the data unnecessarily; there's no easy way to do the equivalent of adjusting the pointer to the window's data in memory so that the windowing system can scroll without having to perform any data movement.

Asus' trackpad driver may be at fault for turning the CPU up to 100%, but to me this is a sign of a deeper problem having to do with how inefficiently applications are doing their scrolling, and the APIs that encourage this inefficient way of doing it.

Well apps want to scroll more than just a static image. And it's only partly the API's fault - OS X switched to overdraw only recently in 10.9, and without any major change to API.

Seriously? Asus still have this problem? I remember fixing it by removing the touchpad driver on a friends asus almost two years ago. The fan was always on max because the driver set min cpu speed to 100% at every reboot.

I feel for the non tech savy people who don't know how to fix this and think this is how the computer should be. No wonder normal people prefer ipads over pcs.

My friend spent like $3500 on his ASUS laptop and the touchpad never even worked...and he had multiple hardware replacements.

I really just want a decent portable computer with no built-in input devices and USB ports as an option. Maybe I'm crazy. We should be able to do this with UEFI now.

There is no way to disable it in bios? I disabled lot of stuff and my battery life increased by 30 minutes

For $3500 why not just buy a Mac?

One reason is that Apple doesn't sell laptops with decent graphics cards. Apple also maxes out at 16 GB of RAM. Another reason is that some people like larger screens and Apple has stopped offering that.

On the other hand, all of those features tend to result in machines that stretch the definition of laptop and usually land themselves into what used to be called "luggables". Even Apple's 17" MacBook Pro was 6.6 pounds and 15.5 inches wide, and if you triple the TDP of the GPU, double the number of memory slots, and increase the battery and cooling proportionately you've got something that can only be transported with special purpose luggage.

You sound like a wimp! I have never had a problem fitting my Asus ROG laptop in my backpack. I got raid ssds, 32 gigs of ram and a 770 GPU. I can do my work from anywhere.

Anywhere with an outlet.

Looking at the current Asus ROG 17" laptops, it looks like they've got a model that's only 7.5 pounds with a battery the same size as in the MacBook Air 13". Or you can get a 10.5 pound machine that's got a battery the size of what's in current 15" MacBook Pros and was in the 17" MBPs. And most of those manage to stay less than 2" thick, but they're all at least twice as thick as a current MBP. All in all, they've got almost as much in common with an iMac as with a MacBook Pro. (Seriously: the 21.5" iMac is only 2 pounds heavier.)

10 pounds of textbooks in a backpack is regarded as a public health problem. 10 pounds of computer cannot be taken seriously as something made for use on the go. We really do need some more specific terminology to draw distinctions between the different classes of hinged computers.

There's no Macbook that's good for gaming, because of the OS and the cooling. There are more and more games on Steam that run on OSX but the performance is usually abysmal (e.g. Dota2 runs around 20% fps on OSX compared to Windows). And they're just too thin to have a cooling that'd be suitable for gaming -- Asus ROG laptops are incredibly well cooled, really.

I disagree. I think the high-end Macbook Pro is one of the best gaming laptops out there. The Nvidia chip is almost half as powerful as the AMD 6850 I used to have in my desktop, which has a giant turbine fan and takes up two PCI slots! Sure, performance in OSX is often poor, but BootCamp and often Parallels solve this problem quite elegantly. It's not too different from booting up a console, I think. Thanks to my Mac, I can travel the world and also play Metro Last Light whenever I feel like. :)

(Caveat: it's almost been a year so it's starting to show its age in some new games. But that's not really something you can get away from. I'm also concerned that the next gen Macbook will only offer an integrated Iris Pro chip instead of Nvidia switching. Don't get me wrong - Iris Pro graphics are impressive, often performing at up to 66% of the Nvidia chip - but it will almost certainly be a performance regression.)

Is the driver situation any better in Bootcamp for Nvidia than AMD? Bootcamp's drivers for the AMD 6750 in my late 2011 MBP were usually many versions behind, meaning some games it had the specs to handle wouldn't even run, and there was no way to upgrade with the OEM drivers. I ended up removing Bootcamp entirely to have more room for the now quite extensive selection of OSX-compatible games on Steam.

I think it is, yes. I don't really follow driver updates all that much, but Nvidia's GeForce Experience application routinely tells me about new downloads (most recently a week or two ago). And it's not a proprietary Apple fork, either: I downloaded GeForce Experience straight from Nvidia as soon as I installed BootCamp and haven't had any problems with it.

>There's no Macbook that's good for gaming, because of the OS and the cooling.

I'm not sure what you mean here regarding the OS. You can install Windows on any Mac since Apple transitioned to Intel processors around 2006-2007.

Of course, you can install Windows on it but then you lose many of the advantages of using a Mac -- for example, trackpad precision and overall energy efficiency. So if the laptop is going to be used for gaming, then it does not make sense to buy a Mac and install Windows on it. (I've got a rMBP, and I'm using Windows on it most of the time because I don't like OSX and I can't replace the laptop at the moment, but I am very much aware of the disadvantages of this setup.)

All right, I get what you mean, but now we're talking about something else. Your original statement that I reacted to was: "There's no Macbook that's good for gaming, because of the OS and the cooling." Your reasoning that because of their OS MacBooks are not good for gaming is simply not true, considering that you can install Windows on them to eliminate the aforementioned graphical performance issues of OS X. If an ASUS ROG laptop was originally shipped with Linux, would you also say that it's not good for gaming because of its OS? See what I mean?

>So if the laptop is going to be used for gaming, then it does not make sense to buy a Mac and install Windows on it.

Are you sure? I think even if you cannot utilize the touchpad and energy efficiency to its fullest capabilities (which are not really relevant in gaming anyway), the build quality of the shell and the quality of the screen and keyboard makes it a strong contestant even among normal Windows laptops. Plus, you have OS X there (or Linux, for that matter) for non-gaming uses.

Of course is a strong contestant against "normal" windows laptops, but if you are willing to pay what Apple asks for a Macbook pro you shouldn't compare it against "normal windows laptops", but with the high end Asus ROG, Alienware or some custom gaming laptop. And if serious gaming is the driving motivation behing the buy it isn't really a contest.

There's always Boot Camp. For me, at least, this has gotten a lot more pleasant with Yosemite - rebooting into Windows is incredibly fast now!

I've been playing modern AAA games on Medium graphics settings at 1080p (or sometimes 720p) with very good results on an original Retina MacBook Pro. Could I get better graphics with a different machine? Totally, but it's good enough that I don't feel like I have to own a separate gaming machine anymore, which I'm very happy about.

He's anti-Mac and he bought it for gaming. He's got no brains, tbh.

What's UEFI got to do with it?

You aren't limited by space in BIOS and hardware interrupts and can have a GUI and working touchscreen at boot without an OS now?

You can't sell a mobile computer that you can't control in BIOS because it has no input devices.

A touchscreen is a built-in input device.

This is a comment that misses the forest for the trees.

What forest? You still haven't elucidated at all what it is you want to accomplish and why firmware is relevant. It seems like it might have something to do with input devices, but pre-EFI machines weren't any more limited in the range of USB HID devices they supported.

I'm using a Thinkpad (T440) at work and whenever I have to undock from my desk I have to bring my mouse because I find myself always clicking the wrong things.

Now I use an rMBP at home, and more often than not I actually play Diablo 3 using just the trackpad, maybe I'm just used to it, but I haven't used a non-Apple laptop that has a usable trackpad.

Just put Linux on it. Seriously.

My sister and I have the same Zenbook, and while my trackpad runs like a dream in Elementary OS, her trackpad is among the worst I've ever had the displeasure of using on a laptop -- and this is solely due to the shitty Windows drivers.

She's been nagging me to put Linux on her computer as well, and once Freyja is released, I will.

Honestly, this is the way Android went as well, with touches boosting processors as well. Everyone is scrambling to try to scroll as smooth as Apple, lol. The author seems kind of strange being against it, honestly. It is usually hailed as a feature, not a bug.

You don't understand; this doesn't boost the CPU on touch -- it changes your power management settings so the minimum CPU state is always 100%.

I have to give the CS rep some credit as he does seem to be trying to make things better. It's more response than a lot of manufacturers would have given.

To be honest - I wonder if this support tech knows what he's talking about. The emails are signed "Asus Nordic" - probably a support outstation that does no real product development work, only support. He's trying to tell the customer someone in Taiwan told him this and/or it got lost in translation.

FWIW, I have an Asus netbook running Linux, and the trackpad seems to work fine and not exhibit this behavior. Reading the article, this seems to be a Windows-specific issue (or, more accurately, an issue with the Asus Windows driver).

Oddly, I also don't see the problem as described by the Asus engineers. Perhaps it's because Linux power management is different enough that it doesn't apply, or because it's a different processor type (dual-core Atom).

One would think they could at least make this a configuration setting so users may choose whether to live with janky scrolling in order to not have gestures turn the laptop into a space heater.

Having just spent two days optimising the scrolling performance of my Mac app I understand the reasoning behind this. Fluid scrolling is hard. And while scrolling might be handled in part by the GPU, its still the CPU that renders the text that you're scrolling. If you're aiming for 60FPS, you probably have less than 10ms to render a screen when the user is scrolling quickly.

If you don't mind me asking, what optimizations are you making? I'm curious about what it takes to get 60 FPS scrolling in a Mac app.

In my specific case, I'm displaying a table view with hundreds of rows and potentially dozens of columns. The bottleneck was the slow text rendering in App Kit. Text rendering is pretty fast when you render long strings, but there is a lot of overhead when rendering many short strings.

My first step was to switch to using CoreText, a lower level API for rendering text. This reduced overheads by around 50%.

My second step was to cache layout information for recently displayed strings in a small cache. Tables often contain a lot of repeated values so this saved a lot of time; in some cases up to 70%.

After these optimizations, my own code was no longer the bottleneck. I still don't reach 60FPS on my 2009 Macbook Pro, but that was expected...

(Note: 60FPS scrolling is not a problem if your views are smallish, so that they can be entirely cached on the GPU; the problem occurs only when your views are very large and the users scrolls very fast so that the CPU can't keep up with rendering tiles for the GPU)

I'm not too familiar with how a table view in OS X compares to UITableView on iOS, but are cells reused? I feel that that optimization alone would at least limit what needs to be rendered to what's on screen.

That's typically the experience I got with all Asus product I owned: Disappointment !

The sheer insanity of this... Wow. Just wow.

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