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2021 Laptop Thread

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Jeff V
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2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

There's a greater than zero chance I'll be replacing my 8 year old Asus laptop this year. For starters, it won't start. It might start when an ordered replacement power brick arrives, I'll know that when it arrives sometime within a week (when ordered, Amazon told me today, now it's next week). I took a look at Asus laptops on Amazon and found this:

2021 Flagship Asus TUF FX505GT 15 Gaming Laptop 15.6" FHD IPS 144Hz Display Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H 32GB DDR4 1TB SSD GTX 1650 4GB Webcam DTS RGB Backlit WiFi HDMI Win 10 + iCarp Wireless Mouse

That would do, although the display would be a step down from the 17" I currently have (for gaming, I have a 30" Benq but always run dual screens). They have a version with half the RAM and hard drive for about $200 less, but since those would be components I'd want to upgrade quickly, it'd be best to get them upfront. Price on this is $1269.

Anyone have something comparable that might go for less or is more highly recommended? I'd normally be inclined to go the Dell/Alienware route and avail myself of free financing, but my doesn't want another monthly bill, so making the best of our limited $$$ for an outright purchase is preferred.

The games I play are not graphic-intensive, but definitely processor-intensive (Civ 6 Gal Civ 3). I could save money going with a year or two older model of the same family, but paying for old technology is not something I'm inclined to do, especially if it's going to be another 8 years before this replaced.

Another thing, I noticed that Asus has a model of this with Chrome-OS, still billed as a "gaming laptop." How the hell does that work? I'm not aware of anything but a browser game that'll work in Chrome, but maybe I'm out of touch. It's not really an option, since if I ultimately fund this through writing/editing work (and the tax break for writing off the purchase price) I'll most assuredly need MS Office. I like Google Docs just fine, but I have a sub for O365 and for some reason it won't work on my wife's Dell laptop (it did, now it doesn't, and uninstall/reinstall did not fix).
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Chrome OS isn't just limited to lower end mobile-spec-CPUs-in-a-bigger-case machines. when i worked at Google i had a mini HP desktop "chromebox" with an i7 processor and 24GB of RAM.

also, O365 will work on any OS.

keep an eye out for AMD Ryzen CPU/GPU machines - that would certainly handle the types of games you're playing (and would be cheaper as well). also set up a deal alert on slickdeals.net and you'll get notified when likely candidates go on sale.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

hitbyambulance wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:49 pm Chrome OS isn't just limited to lower end mobile-spec-CPUs-in-a-bigger-case machines. when i worked at Google i had a mini HP desktop "chromebox" with an i7 processor and 24GB of RAM.

also, O365 will work on any OS.
But gaming? With a discrete GPU?
keep an eye out for AMD Ryzen CPU/GPU machines - that would certainly handle the types of games you're playing (and would be cheaper as well). also set up a deal alert on slickdeals.net and you'll get notified when likely candidates go on sale.
I looked a few, but they used shared memory video, this I don't particularly want.

I'd probably be okay with something that as an i5 processor as opposed to an i7, but I didn't see any gaming configurations with this option.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by stimpy »

I bought this a few weeks ago.
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-g5-15 ... Id=6409421
If you're patient, it frequently goes on sale. I got mine for $800. They often have certified open box for decent prices too.
Other than needing to upgrade the ram, it has handled everything I threw at it so far right out of the box.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Jeff V wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 9:57 am
hitbyambulance wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:49 pm Chrome OS isn't just limited to lower end mobile-spec-CPUs-in-a-bigger-case machines. when i worked at Google i had a mini HP desktop "chromebox" with an i7 processor and 24GB of RAM.

also, O365 will work on any OS.
But gaming? With a discrete GPU?
haha, no, i wouldn't use a chromebook for gaming (unless it's an entirely streaming service ala Stadia - i was just addressing that Chrome machines do come in various configurations (but the 'netbook' kind is by far the most popular)
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

hitbyambulance wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 12:56 pm haha, no, i wouldn't use a chromebook for gaming (unless it's an entirely streaming service ala Stadia - i was just addressing that Chrome machines do come in various configurations (but the 'netbook' kind is by far the most popular)
I have no issue with Chromebooks as a productivity machine, but this is an actual gaming configuration billed as a gaming machine. Now, don't tell my wife because she'd be happy with me just getting the bare minimum needed to do the job (which as far as she's concerned, is writing and editing). But I have gaming needs, even if they are relatively modest.

Saw this one via Google search:

2020 Asus TUF 15.6″ FHD Premium Gaming Laptop, 10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-10300H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Boot + 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti 4GB GDDR6, RGB Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 Home

Not sure what the difference between a GTX 1650 and GTX 1650Ti is, but this machine is south of $900. I think the i5 would handle Civ 6 as well as a an i7 - I've been led to believe that the i7 doesn't add that much to gaming. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, but the new brick did not resurrect my old machine, so I'll be trying to get my wife to approve the purchase sooner than later. I already told her $1300, a number she is less than pleased with but accepted.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Rumpy »

A gaming chromebook sounds more like a branding thing than a usability thing (other than maybe more ram and better processor?), perhaps focused on games available via the Play store, but why someone would want to get a chromebook specifically for that when a regular one would do fine is puzzling.

Could also be a bad cut&paste job where someone literally copied the specs meant for another Acer laptop. I've seen that happen on Amazon. That said, Acer does make some really good Chromebooks.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

if i got a Chromebook i'd be wiping out ChromeOS and installing Linux
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by gilraen »

Jeff V wrote: Thu Mar 18, 2021 5:20 pm Saw this one via Google search:

2020 Asus TUF 15.6″ FHD Premium Gaming Laptop, 10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i5-10300H, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD Boot + 1TB HDD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650Ti 4GB GDDR6, RGB Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 Home

Not sure what the difference between a GTX 1650 and GTX 1650Ti is, but this machine is south of $900. I think the i5 would handle Civ 6 as well as a an i7 - I've been led to believe that the i7 doesn't add that much to gaming. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise, but the new brick did not resurrect my old machine, so I'll be trying to get my wife to approve the purchase sooner than later. I already told her $1300, a number she is less than pleased with but accepted.
Here's an Asus for $1100 or an HP (of all things!) for $950. Very comparable in terms of specs, so I think you can definitely poke around in this price range and pick something closer to what you originally wanted.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

Wife tentative approved the octo-core one, especially when I told her she could use it for video processing. Now I'm just waiting on the accountant to tell me whether or not we'll be stimulating the IRS instead.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jaymon »

Jeff V wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:38 pm

2021 Flagship Asus TUF FX505GT 15 Gaming Laptop 15.6" FHD IPS 144Hz Display Intel Hexa-Core i7-9750H 32GB DDR4 1TB SSD GTX 1650 4GB Webcam DTS RGB Backlit WiFi HDMI Win 10 + iCarp Wireless Mouse

I just bought one of these for the kids. its a good machine. Although they only used it a couple of days so far. It has a loud fan, unless you go and turn the fan to silent mode. Leaving it under windows control, it will just run at turbo speed all the time, so everybody in the room knows you are playing a game.
Should have no trouble playing almost any game.

I have a asus rog strix with the same kind of fan. It does perfectly fine with the fan on silent mode.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

<sigh> I finally hear back from my accountant after sending her an email explaining my predicament (need computer, can't buy until we get punchline from taxes, possible work is on hold pending). She replies that she's done, and her next Zoom opening is a week from Saturday, two time slots open, none which my wife is available.

Nothing about the needed punchline. :grund:
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

So this has been ordered:

2021 Asus ROG Strix G15 GL 15.6" FHD 240Hz Gaming Laptop, 10th Gen Intel 8-Core i7-10870H Upto 5.0 GHz, 24GB RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB, RGB Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10

The specs over all are a little better than the TUF mentioned earlier, the graphics card is slightly better. Does not appear to have a front-facing webcam, but a 3rd party can be added easily and cheaply enough if needed. Wife's laptop could serve that purpose for the meantime. For some reason it has a rear-facing camera. What purpose that would serve I have no idea. The 24 GB ram is a rather odd amount, considering it has 2 slots and 32 GB max. They must be mis-matched 8 and 16.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Rumpy »

Dang, that laptop is making my PC look severely out of date.
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2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Zarathud »

Installed a Samsung SSD drive to my daughter’s Acer Nitro 5 laptop. I didn’t realize she would have 150 GB in Steam Games on the base N.vme drive in 4 months. I’m pretty sure there are tons of screenshots.

My only problems were (1) finding out how to pop open the back bottom plate which extended up the back, (2) finding the box with the SSD cable, (3) dropping the tiny laptop HDD mount screws and having to find them, (4) plugging in the SSD cable upside down and then (5) having to install new AMD drivers to allow Windows 10 to recognize the SSD controller.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Jeff V wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:38 pm
Another thing, I noticed that Asus has a model of this with Chrome-OS, still billed as a "gaming laptop." How the hell does that work? I'm not aware of anything but a browser game that'll work in Chrome, but maybe I'm out of touch.
just got a recruiter email today for "Software testers to work as part of our Chrome OS Steam launch team, cataloging Steam games, finding defects and testing performance/tracing of individual games." so it definitely looks like Steam is coming to ChromeOS.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

hitbyambulance wrote: Thu Jun 17, 2021 4:05 pm
Jeff V wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 2:38 pm
Another thing, I noticed that Asus has a model of this with Chrome-OS, still billed as a "gaming laptop." How the hell does that work? I'm not aware of anything but a browser game that'll work in Chrome, but maybe I'm out of touch.
just got a recruiter email today for "Software testers to work as part of our Chrome OS Steam launch team, cataloging Steam games, finding defects and testing performance/tracing of individual games." so it definitely looks like Steam is coming to ChromeOS.
I suspect the idea behind a Chrome OS "gaming laptop" was originally proposed for streaming games through cloud services like Stadia and GeForce Now, so it'll be interesting to see how a stable Chrome OS version of Steam will work.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Defiant »

What are people's thoughts about this laptop specification for a light gaming computer?

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual-Core Processor 2.6GHz with Precision Boost up to 3.5GHz (Up to 4MB L3 Cache),
Radeon™ Vega 3
16GB DDR4
1TB SSD
Windows 10 in S Mode

Generally, it would be mostly for adventure and strategy games, with the occasional FPS or RPG (say Mafia 3) at lower settings.


Other options could include:

AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core Mobile Processor (Up to 4.1 GHz) with Radeon Graphics; 8GB LPDDR4 Memory; 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

Or

Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD with Intel Iris Xe Graphics
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Defiant wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:04 am What are people's thoughts about this laptop specification for a light gaming computer?

AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual-Core Processor 2.6GHz with Precision Boost up to 3.5GHz (Up to 4MB L3 Cache),
Radeon™ Vega 3
16GB DDR4
1TB SSD
Windows 10 in S Mode

Generally, it would be mostly for adventure and strategy games, with the occasional FPS or RPG (say Mafia 3) at lower settings.
totally fine for that
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

What prices are you looking at? It's a matter of price/performance, I would guess that might be in the $600-700 range?
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Defiant »

Thanks hba.

And yeah, 600-700 range is about right, but I also want to get the best bang for the bucks, given my level of gaming and that I'm fine with less pretty graphics.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Defiant »

Defiant wrote: Mon Jun 21, 2021 8:04 am

Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD with Intel Iris Xe Graphics
BTW, I'm now leaning towards this one. From what I can tell, it's got a better CPU and graphics card, even though it has less memory and less hard drive space. (I figure if I run out of room, which I probably won't for a long time, I can put in a microsd card as a cheap drive)
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Jeff V »

Drives are easily upgradable, as is RAM. I wouldn't use a SD card for anything but saving static files like pictures or documents -- you wouldn't want to have applications running off of it.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Defiant »

I don't want to open up the laptop (and even if I would, I'm not sure there would be room to add internally).

I would hope all my programs and games would fit in 512gb (*looks at Steam library* Well, ok, not all at the same time....)

I'd mostly be using it as a media drive (eg, downloading movies from Amazon and Vudu using their apps, music, documents, etc). For the most part, I wouldn't put apps on it (though I think the Amazon app requires the app to be on the same drive as the media, so that one I would). I could use an external drive, but I'm not wild about having a device on my cluttered desk attached to my computer all the time.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Formix »

I put in an order for a framework https://frame.work/ last week for my side hustle. I'm intrigued by the concept. I'll let y'all know how it pans out.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Formix wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:18 am I put in an order for a framework https://frame.work/ last week for my side hustle. I'm intrigued by the concept. I'll let y'all know how it pans out.
i would get one of these over, say, a System76... going to read more on it later
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Defiant »

Defiant wrote: Tue Jun 22, 2021 7:37 pm
I would hope all my programs and games would fit in 512gb
Well, so much for that thought.... (I hadn't realized several games take up 50+GB each.... Sheesh)

Question: Would steam be happy if I put some of my games on an external drive, and will it easily recognize the games if I unplug and later replug the drive?
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Kraken »

Wife's 6-year-old Toshiba is wheezing its last. It's so slow and unstable that I can't even diagnose where all her memory went. (Maybe her 600 petabyte Outlook.pst file with >100,000 emails in its inbox isn't helping?)

It's been a few years since I bought a non-gaming laptop, so I could use some help setting parameters. She runs MS Office and occasionally dips into Photoshop and desktop publishing. Otherwise it's mostly routine web activity, including watching videos. It will leave the house occasionally but not have to endure frequent travel, so size and weight aren't big considerations (I think the Toshiba has a 15" screen, but she uses an external monitor). I'd like to find her a solid reliable machine that has a good shot at lasting another 6 years. She likes her Lenovo from work, but doesn't like the $1,100 price tag. I think I should be able to get a rockin' business machine for $800 or less, but that's not a hard limit.

In that price range and with that usage, what kind of CPU will give the best bang for the buck, how much RAM can she get, how big an SSD, how many/what kind of ports should it have, are there any brands I should steer clear of...etc? I'll shop for it myself but need help defining what I'm shopping for so that I can recognize a good deal when I find it.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by JCC »

Honestly, you can spend anywhere from $400-1200 on such a laptop that will probably be good enough. You shouldn't be starved for choice. Note, that any new laptop you buy now is likely to have Windows 11 on it. Since she mainly uses it hooked to a monitor, I would assume you don't need a large screen. I would guess most budget laptops would fit her needs. Maybe check how much HD space she has used on her current one as a guide to how much you need. I don't know if laptops have anything but SSD drives nowadays. I'd just suggest going to BB with her and looking around. This week is likely to be a good one to do it since everyone will have BF deals, unless, that limits supply.

You may want to consider the monitor she uses. If it doesn't support HDMI, you may have issues or need to get an adapter for the new laptop.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Kraken wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 12:21 am Wife's 6-year-old Toshiba is wheezing its last. It's so slow and unstable
you know what causes a computer to 'slow down' over time, right? if all that it is being used for is office type/desktop productivity applications, i'm guessing (98% of the time or more frequently) the cause is

a) the storage device (HDD/SSD) is full
b) the storage device (HDD/SSD) is failing

no need to buy a whole new machine, as

in the case of a) clearing up space will solve the issue
in the case of b) replacing the drive will solve the issue

the current CPU in that machine will still be good enough for even giant ol webpages and streaming video. (and to help with that aspect, increasing the RAM would be an easy upgrade)

ignore all the above if the actual desire is to acquire a new'n'shiny
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Kraken »

Thanks for the advice. I don't think it's anywhere near full, so maybe the HDD is dying. I'll float the idea of having it diagnosed and repaired...but this is a six-year-old $500 machine, and I think I'd rather put the cost of service toward a new machine. Especially since replacing the hard drive would essentially entail setting it up from scratch again anyway (and buying a new copy of Windows? How would one get the OS from the dying drive to the replacement?).

It's Wife's computer, so I'll let her decide how she'd rather proceed. Meanwhile, I'll try once more to get more info on the problem over the weekend. It's really hard to do anything at all on it anymore.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

Kraken wrote: Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:05 pm but this is a six-year-old $500 machine, and I think I'd rather put the cost of service toward a new machine. Especially since replacing the hard drive would essentially entail setting it up from scratch again anyway
true, but you may not know that a basic 128GB SSD now costs in the range of $19-25 (and a 256GB SSD starts at $28):
https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?N=100011693 ... 00&Order=1
(and buying a new copy of Windows? How would one get the OS from the dying drive to the replacement?).
the license key can be easily gleaned from the existing setup (either the license key sticker on the machine itself, or by doing this:
Press Windows key + X.
Click Command Prompt (Admin)
At the command prompt, type:

Code: Select all

wmic path SoftwareLicensingService get OA3xOriginalProductKey
. This will reveal the product key.
then you can make your own Windows installer USB drive.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/win ... c3b507420d
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Kraken »

I appreciate your support. If we do decide to resuscitate, I'll most likely take it to a local screwdriver shop for the hardware part. I've never even opened a laptop case and would be lost trying to replace a hard drive.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

post the model # here and i can look it up. sometimes the hard drive is easily accessible, sometimes it's not....

(the RAM compartment is usually pretty easily gotten to by unscrewing one of the bay panel covers on the bottom)
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2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Zarathud »

I added a SSD to my kid’s new laptop last year after watching a YouTube video showing it was much easier than I expected.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Blackhawk »

Likewise. I avoided laptop maintenance for years despite building many, many desktops. Earlier this year I had a drive go bad in my laptop. I looked to see just how complicated it was, and it was nothing more than, 'Remove access panel, remove one screw, plug in new drive, replace screw, replace access panel.' (Most) modern laptops are designed so that drives and RAM are easily accessible. The "don't touch unless you know what you're doing" components are behind deeper access panels.
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by hitbyambulance »

newer laptops (thin-line/slim ones) from the last few years will be somewhat-to-significantly harder to access. this won't be an issue with the laptop in question, but i ask for the model # to look up the user (or service) manual because my mom had a budget Toshiba (from 2013, i think) that was all sluggish and unresponsive. the HDD was replaced with a SSD and it works perfectly fine now - however, because this was a very low-end model, getting to the HDD on this particular one required removing most of the laptop layers. it took about half an hour for disassembly - whereas the RAM compartment was accessible with just a single screw. super annoying. (EDIT: you can see the procedure in the service manual here, page 67: http://h10032.www1.hp.com/ctg/Manual/c04439615.pdf )
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Anonymous Bosch »

Keep in mind, for tinkerers comfortable with basic computer hardware replacement and upgrades, other choices are available courtesy of the right to repair movement.

Frame.work sells laptops specifically designed with easily accessible, repairable, and upgradable components. You can even purchase a laptop from them as a DIY kit of modules that you can customize and assemble yourself, allowing you to add your own memory, storage, WiFi, and OS if you prefer, or select from the range of components they have available.

"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." -- Daniel Webster
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Isgrimnur
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Re: 2021 Laptop Thread

Post by Isgrimnur »

The Verge
The shopping holidays have brought some seriously good discounts on laptops, whether you’re keen on sticking with Mac, or you want a Windows PC. Both often come in very slim designs, but for people who don’t mind a heavier laptop, we’ve included some gaming laptop picks.
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