Sep 23 2014

New Notebook

Alas my 2008 15″ MacBook pro finally up and died on me (the display stopped displaying things… didn’t dig too far, but i’m pretty sure that the GPU on the motherboard finally died) and I got tired of hauling my workstation to Lan parties, so I decided to pick up a used Dell XPS 15 (Ivory bridge quad-core 2.2ghz i7-3632qm, 16GB ram, with 128gb ssd and 1tb hd originally configured using Intel’s SRT system to make the ssd cache the hard drive but I immediately installed a 256gb MSATA SSD, wiped the hard drive, turned off SRT, and installed stock windows 8.1 directly to the ssd and am using the hard drive for media storage.). I put the system and apps on the SSD, my steam and photo libraries on the hard drive (which I just networked over from my workstation), and things worked out pretty nicely.  The only thing I haven’t really liked is the factory display color calibration.  It’s a nice 1080p panel, but the colors are extremely blue and just wrong.  sadly I don’t own a color calibrator and every time i’ve tried to eyeball it, I only made things worse.  I’ll most likely either borrow or pick up a cheap color calibrator at some point soon, it just means that I won’t be doing any photo or video editing on it for a while… it’s passable for gaming and web surfing for now.  Speaking of gaming.  It’s been quite a while (since the aforementioned macbook pro was new) since I’ve been able to game acceptably on a notebook.  it’s GREAT! The GPU is a combo Intel HD 4000 (integrated into the CPU), great for 2d acceleration and low power use, and an Nvidia Geforce 640M with switching between them using Nvidia’s Optimus switching system which mostly works ok and makes battery life not miserable (about 3.5 hours on the intel GPU, about 30 minutes on the Nvidia GPU)  As for the Nvidia’s gaming prowess, it’s just a bit shy of the Nvidia Geforce GTX 470 I have in my workstation (which is a few years old now) which means it’ll play most modern games, but I do have to turn the more strenuous ones down a bit (crysis, grand theft auto 4, etc.)  overall, for my needs and budget, (I play most games on my workstation which i’ll most likely upgrade to a more powerful graphics chipset when new games force me to but like a notebook for lan parties and I don’t have a whole lot of extra cash to be throwing at mobile gear), I’m pretty happy with it.

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