Laptops-gamers for work

Stress_Test

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,334
Well I'm glad I didn't put my foot in my mouth by saying something like "hah only an idiot would buy the such-and-such!" and it turns out you're reading the post on that very thing I just slammed. Oopsie! :LOL:

Well, if you're really starting from scratch (or close to it) I bet most computer sites have a "basics" page or something like that which covers what some of the terms mean. Some of the more advanced jargon probably isn't all that useful except to the hardcore people.

Software and games in particular should show both "minimum" and "recommended" specifications for the computer to run the software. That'd be a good way to get a feel for how much horsepower you need.

It's hard to just look at PC specs in a vacuum and know what's "good enough". But if you look at some game you're interested in and see it recommends 16GB RAM, i7 Intel CPU, Such-and-such graphics card, and so on, that'll give you an idea of what to look for in a computer.

Kinda like buying a truck. I look at one with a 6000 lbs tow rating, and one with 10,000 lbs tow rating. What do I buy? Well depends what I'm towing. Maybe I just need to pull a jet-ski on a little trailer! Buying the 10,000 lb rated truck is just spending money on overkill I don't need.

It does seem like computer advancement has slowed down a LOT compared to the days of the mid 90's to early 2000. Back then it was a huge leap to go from a 486 to a Pentium machine. Now it just doesn't seem to make such a huge difference as it used to between machines a few years apart. At work we're on a 3-year upgrade cycle and that seems pointless since there's not really a tangible difference with the new machine. For people on the bleeding edge, well, they probably see it differently!

I mean, the PC I'm on now was bought in 2014 and I still get by okay with it for any internet use I need (with the previous upgrades of course). Though it is software that will force its obsolescence; compatibility with Windows 7 looks like it's about to fall off a cliff in the near future!
 
Last edited:

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,527
Location
Mobjack Bay
Taking a risk, because I understand your predicament, bykfixer, but I don't understand gaming. Also, because you showed interest in Mac, and I honestly have no agenda.

There was mention of work, and photos, and I've seen your photography here and description of your work, and if performance with photos are important, then it is worth saying, not wanting an argument, that Intel and AMD are behind the curve with Apple Silicon now, and they're trying to match and compare their new chips with last years' Apple Silicon.

I don't know gaming, but I know it is important to gamers. What it really comes down to is... what games in particular? I suspect it is one really important game, and maybe a few others ahead of a pack of what not even you know, yet, whatever is new that you might be interested in at the time, when it pings on your radar and on a whim.

The focus of Macs is not gaming. But intrepid PC gamers, probably developers by day, have taken notice of the CPU scores, and a great many have switched platforms and taken their PC games to Apple Silicon, and I'm not talking about porting; they're running the same unmodified code on Apple's ARM chips, Apple Silicon.

With gamers, performance is vital, thus the talk about discrete GPU. It doesn't sound ideal to me to be running emulated code on a platform other than the target of the code with an integrated GPU, but Apple Silicon is different in that regard as the exception, where its integrated GPU has pretty sick performance, but Thunderbolt allows for adding an external discrete GPU, or eGPU, at full PCIx bandwidths and then some. I don't think that's something you'd be interested in, but pros do it for video, maybe gamers with too much money also, idk.

But the point is, if you liked the Mac laptop you test drove, except for lack of ports, the Mac model I'd say would be most attractive for gamers is the 16" M2 MacBook Pro, cheapest one is $2500. That'll do, they're all fast, but with the higher end models you're paying for more cores and more RAM. Same machine otherwise. It has a charging port, and three ports that look like USB-C, but they are Thunderbolt 4, and each one has 40Gbits of bandwidth and is compatible with USB4 with twice the bandwidth, which means each one can run 2x USB4 devices at full bandwidth on each port, or 8x USB3 devices on each port at full bandwidth, or 83x USB2 devices on each port, and I think every USB1 device there ever was all stacked up on one Thunderbolt4 port with bandwidth to spare.

No one likes dongles or hubs, but that's what it would take, an extra thing carried around in the bag to get what I expect you need, which I'm guessing is some USB2 devices hooked up, joystick, mice, flash drives and cameras, or a USB3 external drive. Honestly, the world of USB hubs is a complete mess, and its a nightmare finding what is needed that is also liked, but it can be found.

Back to games. I doubt you'll be impressed that as of now, Macs run more games than PC. It's because of iOS games that run natively and the fact that a lot if not most or all PC games work on Mac. If I knew the game, I could find out if it works and if gamers are satisfied with the performance, but I expect you'd sooner accept help and advice from Vladimir Putin himself at this point, and that makes me sad.

Here is a list of PC games that are working. It's an old list for M1. There may be newer lists, but anything running on M1 will run better, faster on M2.

All you get with that M2 MacBook Pro is never having any lag working with all the photos of any resolution you can throw at it, or video, multiple 4K video streams and lagless editing, all at once or one at a time. That's what it would do best that only probably $15K super desktop PC's can match using a lot more electricity.

But with a little learning about Parallels or CrossOver, which is easy if you approach without fear of new things, they make it easy, you can have your games, too. Parallels is a virtual machine, CrossOver is a PC Windows compatibility layer. Rosetta 2 is a blazing fast on the fly emulator for Intel code. That's how the convert gamers are doing it in the broad strokes. But I can't speak to the performance. You'll have to find PC converts that took their games with them, and see what they say. There are multiple forums for everything. I bet there's a video of the game you can't live without running on Apple Silicon on Youtube right now.

But if it's ports that's holding you back, don't worry about it. A combined 120Gbits of bandwidth across three physical ports is absolutely absurd amounts of bandwidth. Hundreds of devices simultaneously connected are possible, once you have the breakout hub of your dreams. But I bet all you need is a dongle for two low bandwidth peripheral devices at a time on one port, which is a waste, but it is neater cable management if that's all that's needed.

And $2500 is nothing to sneeze at, may be beyond your budget already, plus the cost of Parallels or CrossOver software, plus the dongles or hubs you need, plus a bag you don't hate, plus plus plus you're really looking at at least $2800 just to get where you'd be with a $1600 PC that is slower and starts to give you crap and fight with you within two years. You know what I mean with Windows. And macOS will be annoying to you, and you will miss Windows, because that's how humans are, they are comfortable with what they know, and they like what they're comfortable with. But people do it and survive. Being plastic makes you more versatile, too. Learning makes you smarter and keeps you sharper. But if you keep a machine for a decade, and it was a PC, I am really impressed. It's pretty common for Mac owners. I'm still using a 2010 MacBook Pro Core2Duo, and I was balls to the wall excited last year to be able to get a 2012 MacMini that blows it away. Macs keep their resale value for years for a reason, and it isn't because Apple users are nuts. They are, but that isn't the reason.

Good luck getting what you need.
 
Last edited:

Stress_Test

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,334
............................................................................But if you keep a machine for a decade, and it was a PC, I am really impressed....................

..................................................................................................

I mean, the PC I'm on now was bought in 2014 and I still get by okay with it for any internet use I need (with the previous upgrades of course). .................................

Well, next year it'll be a decade. And the model wasn't the hot new thing at the time either so the actual design model is probably a decade or more older by now!

Looks like the Edge browser is dropping support for Windows 7 but meh, either that or Firefox will still keep me going a while.

I bought this thing off Amazon for $550. The Nvidia card was $140 a year later. The solid state HD (plus cable) was about $90 in Nov'21.

So if I hit the calculator right, that's about $780 that I've spent on this PC till now, or about $87 per year of ownership to this point in time. I'm pretty happy with that! Don't need "more powah!!" for gaming at this point. Last hot action game I played was Doom 3 BFG a few years back (off of Steam) but I realized I'm getting too old to spend a stressful day at work then try to play a game at home where demons and s*** are jumping at me from out of the dark. Nope!

Anyway, I don't think PCs are as bad as the Mac crowd likes to believe.

But whatever, people should buy what they want. It's Ford vs. Chevy.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
If somebody had handed me $50,000 in cash and said buy any laptop you want I would have still come home with that Alienware X14 that day. It was that or an Asus G14 when I walked into the place after seeing the 14" Mac only has 2 ports. Actually the G14 was my pick but dude in the store showed me an Alienware for less $ than the Asus. Now the bag it rides in.....would probably have more pockets and such. But since I was looking to down size I knew the bag should be simple so I wouldn't end up stuffing it with a bunch of stuff I don't use. Nope, it has a couple of cords, a mouse, a back up hard drive and the charging cord. Oh, and a Maglite mouse pad. So I bought the lowest price bag in the place.

Like you said about your Stress, the old one is pretty good. It has an i7 from 2012 and all kinds of speedy stuff built in but upgradable. It's a 10# hunk of rubberized alluminum that runs on Windows 7. When I was shooting 10's of thousands of photos each year and ripping my cd collection it was great. It still is. When my wife's backup hard drive failed and mine was clicking I decided time to backup all of my backups.

An Asus duo that collects dust just wasn't getting it done. Nice little laptop/tablet combo for browsing and such but I watching the blue "wait" circle spin gets old quickly. Being it's 2023 it was time to try something new. Lightning quick solid state hard drives, usb 3.2 c ports, etc mean less wait time while moving stuff from a device to b.

I did not know why a gamer was better for photography over my old Gateway, just that my boys all had gamers and I rarely saw them in wait mode while playing Zelda and such. But after input from you guys it's nice to know why, err um how a gamer is better. At least for my uses, which is not playing video games on a laptop computer. Nope, no demons and s**** jumping out at me in the dark either.

I have a Razer mouse for editing photos too but that thing is just too complicated. Mrs. Fixer does all kinds of stuff with her computers so that mouse is great for trimming edges and adjusting tiny stuff that I just don't have the patience for. She uses lasers and cutters to make stuff and at times precision pays off.
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,527
Location
Mobjack Bay
Anyway, I don't think PCs are as bad as the Mac crowd likes to believe.

I'm IT, so Windows since NT4.1 has been my bread and butter, as it is ubiquitous in enterprise. The main advantage there being Office applications, Exchange (now O365), and especially Active Directory. A standard desk monkey machine started at $2.5K, though they've gotten cheaper and smaller over the years. But the surplus/replacement cycle is two years because of the OS, not the hardware, which starts to make you wait for everything, big tasks and very little tasks like opening a menu, and no one really knows why. Once upon a time, HDD fragmentation and low remaining storage was a part of it. SSD mitigates that. Some of it is undoubtedly virus scanning and threat updates. But there's more to it, and though it takes awhile to reinstall the OS and fully update it, reinstall drivers and applications, that is less time than it would take to troubleshoot the inscrutable lagging. I've known users that never had a problem even after 5 years, OS as responsive as it was the day it was new and unused, but far more often, so much so it is expected, there are weird delays on every click after only a couple years of heavy use. And this is with system that mostly have Microsoft Office applications used, Word, Excel, Outlook, Power Point, and one of a few browsers, but with no conspicuous software added that would leap out as not well-behaved.

The Mac argument really isn't with Windows, though. It's Apple Silicon vs. Intel & AMD. And for laptops especially, we probably won't see real competition until Intel and AMD release their own ARM designs, and the playing field is leveled. There are crazy powerful Intel laptops, but they cost money, and they don't have much battery life. AMD just announced a new processor that they touted beats the M1 Pro in performance and uses less power than their previous chips, but still not the M1. But Apple is past that now with M1 Max, Ultra and M2, Pro and Max. That is the way it's going to go for the time being, and to be clear, there is no consumer CPU on the planet right now that competes with Apple Silicon, neither in performance or wattage. Some day, and soon I expect, because Intel and AMD are bending all their efforts toward it, but not right now. Historically, at release of their new models only, Macs are usually the top performing machine, but only for a few months, and then Apple doesn't release a performance update for that model for a long time, and it gives plenty of time for PC makers to catch up and surpass, and leave Apple's performance in their rearview. For the first time ever, that is not happening.

But that really doesn't matter. The application is what matters. If that application is only found on Windows, that's the ballgame. Except. Rosetta 2 is ridiculously fast translating Intel code on the fly, so many converts don't mind running their Intel applications in emulation, but it wouldn't be a performance increase, at most it would be a match, possibly, but I think that is rare. But at hard core processing in native code, Apple's machines do the same work in a lot less time.

I really do think it is about 6 of 1, half dozen of the other for a convert that brings their Intel code applications with them, and that is the best it will ever be unless they are doing heaving processing, in which case Apple Silicon can crunch the numbers so much faster it is liberating.
 
Last edited:

orbital

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
4,287
Location
WI
+

Really good deal on extra storage for your X14


32gb of low latency DDR5



....nice new laptop
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
Good info. Thanks!!

My son used to have new egg on speed dial when he was building computers in high school. It seems he built one for himself that was so powerful his mom accused him of doubliing the electric bill. One day I get a call.....
Son: "dad I need somewhere to stay"
Me: "what's she mad about now?"
Son: "she says my computer uses too much electricity". lol
They worked it out in the end. I just remember it was a big box of fans that caused the lights to dim briefly when you pushed the on button.

My first move will be to rehab the Asus G73S. Nothing fancy, just clean it up and maybe install a solid state hard drive. Probably a new battery, for times when the all night generator konks out.
 
Last edited:

Stress_Test

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,334
If you've never done the hard drive cloning thing, you might want to make sure you've got your son on standby for help.

I had never cloned a drive or started with a brand new SSD, but like any good ignoramus I thought to myself "how hard can it be?!"

Well, after about 3 or 4 hours of frustration I had my answer!

I was also surprised to find that the new Samsung drive came with no instructions whatsoever, which seems ludicrous considering even a friggin paintbrush has instructions attached these days.

The new drive couldn't be recognized at all and I was stymied until an ancient tidbit of knowledge re-surfaced in my mind regarding new, raw computer memory.

It has to go through the magic voodoo initialization ritual of some sort before it can be read by the computer.

So I had to download something to do that, and also another download to clone the old drive to the new one.

So yeah I was a little over my head but I got it figured out eventually and I was just glad the computer didn't blow up!
 

orbital

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
4,287
Location
WI
+

Adding a drive::

1. Get a external drive enclosure via usb c & connect to another computer ( Just have the m.2 drive loose in the enclosure, not permanent )
2. Go into 'Disk Management' and set the it as a boot drive or storage
3. Name the drive & your done
..it's just a few steps and then you can pop it onto your motherboard.


That's the only way I've done it
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
That is sweet orbital.

No way I'm doing a hard drive swap without assistance. Sounds easy but.... so does the defrost feature on my microwave and that thing still daunts me at times. Never did figure out to program my HiFi VHS machine.

I did find a video on how to swap the spiining hard drive from right to left slot, reversing the holder bracket then installing an ssd using foam ear plugs for holding in the ssd since the (really hard to find) bracket was used on the left slot.

I kept calling it G74 when it's a G73SW (BST6 version)
 
Last edited:

orbital

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
4,287
Location
WI
+

That's just getting the drive initialized & formatted,, doesn't include transferring a drive/os for a boot drive.
For storage; nothing else needs to be done, plug onto your board and you have added storage,
which you'll need if downloading tons of data.

**I still have a motherboard & cpu cooler from an Alienware system from '06 , everything including the case has been swapped out or upgraded.
It's been highly overclocked & volted in every imaginable way = still use it occasionally today.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
When I talked about rehabing my Asus G73, my son says "awe dad, you gotta upgrade your ram and graphics along with the hard drive".
I'm thinking along the lines of new battery, maybe new fans if they are really cruddy and sticking the 1.0TB spinning hard drive in slot 2 as a mirror and a 2TB solid state in slot 1 as the primary storage.

It runs nice and cool now and I don't want to change that aspect.

I'll dig into my old Gateway and see if perhaps that dude can handle MORE POWAH.
 

Stress_Test

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,334
Well, that is one downside of asking a hardcore tech guy what to do for upgrades....

Q: "what do I need?"

A: "everything!!"

Maybe ask him what can be done within a certain dollar amount, since some things are more bang-for-the-buck than others.

The SSD made a noticeable improvement on my machine and the cost was < 100 bucks, so that was pretty effective. And I gained the benefit of having the original, fully functional HD to just sit dormant as an emergency backup if the SSD craters.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
Funny you say that.
I asked the IT guy at work what can I do. He says "desktop". I say "but I have this really nice laptop I'd like to rehab. He said "use that as a boat anchor and buy a desktop". I say "how about an xps laptop?" He says "desktop or you're wasting your money". I said "what laptop do you use?" He says "I don't". He follows up with "I fix laptops day after day, I hate 'em, worst thing man invented since the cigarette". (He recently gave up smoking) Hmmmm ok then. I say "so what do you use for a portable computer?" He says "smart phone". I chuckled and said "that's what my son said too."
Sigh.
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,527
Location
Mobjack Bay
It's absolutely true that working on laptops really sucks and that desktops have better performance. But desktops don't have built-in batteries and aren't portable.
 

Stress_Test

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 18, 2008
Messages
1,334
And I know I'm in the infinitely small minority, but I hate the touch-screen interaction on a smartphone for internet use. Granted if the screen was 10" across it'd be easier but that kinda defeats the purpose of a portable device...
 

chillinn

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Jul 19, 2014
Messages
2,527
Location
Mobjack Bay
Though it's too late for bykfixer, anyone else coming across this thread and is on the fence about hardware, Microsoft now supports running Windows 11 on Arm on Apple Silicon Macs, that is, Parallels Desktop 18 will virtualize the ARM versions of Windows 11 Pro & Enterprise, and that is at full processor speed. Any Intel code will seamlessly (without user interaction) be shoved through macOS's Rosetta 2 emulation layer, just like with amd64 Linux or amd64 mac applications. Limitations:

"Windows on Arm (for PCs and Macs) can impact games that rely on DirectX 12 or OpenGL3.3 or greater. Also, Windows features that depend on 'nested' Microsoft Hyper-V-based virtualization aren't supported, including the Windows Subsystem for Android, Windows Subsystem for Linux, Windows Sandbox, and Virtualization-Based Security (VBS)."

And since macOS and Apple Silicon do not support 32-bit applications, 32-bit Windows applications won't work, neither 32-bit Intel code in Rosetta 2 emulation nor ARM-native 32-bit applications. Since it's unlikely anyone's been running 32-bit hardware for awhile, any application developed in the last two decades likely has a 64-bit version available.

It kind of does suck that the more esoteric ancient games probably won't work, but shockingly, there is a version of DOSBox that has been released for M1, which means anything running on DOSBox will also run in that version for Apple Silicon. I can't even get my head around that because every game available on DOSBox is either 16- or 32-bit. Emulation ftw.
 
Last edited:

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
And I know I'm in the infinitely small minority, but I hate the touch-screen interaction on a smartphone for internet use. Granted if the screen was 10" across it'd be easier but that kinda defeats the purpose of a portable device...
I hear what you're sayin' but.....
I've used a computer keyboard like 2 or 3 times to post here. The rest on a smart phone, mostly with my thumb. Maybe 15-20 wpm lol.

Now, when I had an iPad for work I bought a small keyboard for it. Between using the pen or on screen keyboard I definitely preferred the physical keyboard.
 

bykfixer

Flashaholic
Joined
Aug 9, 2015
Messages
20,453
Location
Dust in the Wind
So I've been doing some reading about laptops for corparate settings and now understand why they issued us Dell Lattitudes. Mine is an 019 7490. Nice machine overall. Very reliable, and corparate setting friendly. Lots of ports for connecting to other screens and disc burners etc. But I'm hoping for an XPS 15 next. The one I'm after would have an i5 for a bit better battery life (unless the gen 13 i7 is an option) with a decent graphics card. (Intel iris xe). A dedicated GPU that's a lot better than the integrated one the Lattitude has. The only qualm I have with an XPS is no more USB A ports. Nope, nothing but USB C ports. I'd rather have one A port for the cordless mouse.

The main issue is that in my line of work we're going paperless so often the what were once paper plans are now electronic. And software to drive them is often times online services. I don't always have good internet or at times none at all. I need to convince "the mother ship" that I need similar ability of those desk strapped designer folks have but portable. The Lattitude, it seems cannot be upgraded to that level of ability for stuff like Plan Grid or Blue Beam.

To even read some files is an excersize of watching the "wait" circle for ridiculous amounts of time just to scroll across a page. So using a scaling tool or adding a line for as built purpose is out.

Eh, first world problems.
 

orbital

Flashlight Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
4,287
Location
WI
S

To even read some files is an excersize of watching the "wait" circle for ridiculous amounts of time just to scroll across a page. So using a scaling tool or adding a line for as built purpose is out.

Eh, first world problems.
+

It's not just scaling, processes & software running unnecessarily in the background use cpu & memory cycles.

If you turn Off any unnecessary software, that helps alot.

Absolutely turn Off "Check for Updates" on every bit of software in your system.
 
Top