All systems nominal, kind of

A challenger appears

As I wrote earlier, I've been having serious problems with my old laptop. It froze irrecoverably when it was under some kind of load and when it switched between GPU's(laptops nowadays come with two GPU's). I was ok with not being able to do gaming as long as I could do my university work on it, but the freezes got to a point where they were too unpredictable. My troubleshooting has shown me that it was the mainboard and my warranty was over. My laptop was dying a slow, irrecoverable death. The seller firm is one of those "Oh you're out of warranty? Too bad. Now please bend over while I extract hundreds of Euros of repair bills from you" types, so repair was not an option too.

At that point an emergency replacement protocol was initiated. As my budget is extremely tight(this being an emergency replacement and all), I was looking for an extremely good price/performance laptop that could do writing, run CPU intensive software(ICEM and such) and could do some gaming. Since I was out of the loop for about 3 years, that meant some research. In the end, I opted for this little guy. For 600€(about 800$) it has the fastest i5 dual core processor on it and also has an Nvidia 840M GPU that stands between mainstream and gaming. It also comes with a high DPI HD display that makes everything crisp and sharp, much like those Apple retina screens. All in all, it was a great bargain.

Yesterday it finally arrived and I put to test. Now, the i5 processor in it is two generations newer than the one in my older laptop, which was a quad core i7. Core against core, it wins hands down but when it comes to multithreading, 4 is of course always better than 2. On the GPU front, there's a clear winner though. The 840M is three generations ahead of my old 555M, and it has some serious muscle power.

My first test was of course MWO. Compared to my old laptop which only could run the game at 1366x768 on lowest possible settings at about 40FPS average, I can now run it at the same resolution on medium settings at about same frames. If I lower some settings, I can do 50+ stable, but there are always dips to mid 30's.  I know that MWO is a CPU hungry game with very little done on the optimization part, so that is to be expected.

The second test was Battlefield 4, a trainwreck that I haven't touched for months. Fortunately the developers have been putting a lot of effort into fixing it, so I decided to give it a second chance in the name of testing. The power of the new GPU is apparent here, it can do about 30FPS on medium settings at 1920x1080! If I lower it to 1366x768, I get 50+FPS with no dips. My old computer could barely go over 30FPS with every possible setting on lowest and some console command tweaks.

Today I'll check out other games and programs, but I'm really happy with my purchase so far. It only needs to hold on for a couple of months before I can replace it with a proper desktop anyway.

TL;DR and morale of the story: My laptop has been showing "symptoms" for about a year. It occasionally failed to hybernate, it gave me occasional blue screens when doing heavy computations, it shut itself down suddenly, I even got the occasional "garbled screen" indicating GPU problems but I laughed it off. If you have a laptop and it's been working anything but perfect, take it to the service immediately. Do NOT wait. These kinds of weird behaviour is most possibly a symptom of something broken/ in the process of breaking. For desktop computers it's fine because you can just swap out the broken component without breaking bank, but on laptops pretty much everything is soldered to the mainboard. If anything is wrong with your mainboard, everything has to be replaced.

I waited because that laptop was my only work computer and I couldn't afford it spending 30 days at the service. Though, I should have known better. Instead of spending so much on a new laptop, I could be happily rocking my old one and not be broke instead.
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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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