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Socoder -> Hardware and Technology -> New lappy - first thoughts.

Posted : Tuesday, 26 December 2017, 08:30

New lappy - first thoughts.

Got my new lappie yesterday. My old Lenovo G580 really doesn't cut it for Unity development so I wanted something with slightly larger balls. After a lot of research I opted for an MSI Apache Pro GE72 7RF.


Upon switching it on at 9am Christmas Day, it went through the basic account/wifi setup, then set off downloading and installing updates - a process which it did not complete until 1:40pm Boxing Day, some 28 hours later!

I assumed that this thing came with one of those hybrid drives - part SSD and part HDD, but no - they are in fact both separate. This is great news as the 128GB SSD drive is rather small (although supported by a 1TB HDD) and it would be something I would look to swap out before long. Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen as the laptop has a two-year warranty. Normally this wouldn't be affected by a hard drive change, but in order to do it on this one, the entire bottom panel of the laptop has to come off, and it's warranty-sealed. Startup times are nice and fast, doing anything with it (other than bloody Windows updates), is pretty nippy too.

The GPU is an Nvidia GTX1060 with 3GB of dedicated VRAM, so the 8GB RAM is left alone. Everything Unity runs super-smooth, and the 17" 1920x1080 120Hz display is a massive step up from the 15" 1366x768 resolution I had to live with before. OK so in terms of pixels it isn't a huge difference, but in real terms it makes ALL the difference. Nothing feels cramped any more. Even though my desktop PC has dual 1920x1080 monitors, using just one screen doesn't feel so bad now.

It has a built-in CD/DVD writer. You don't get that much, these days, but I kinda like having it built-in and just being there if I need it. I keep a lot of my software backed up on DVD so no doubt it will get used.

Oh, the keyboard - it's a SteelSeries one. Just a couple of oddities there (there is always something I don't like about laptop keyboard layouts);
1. There is no Left Windows key.
2. PG UP/Home and PG DN/End share a key each, with the Home and End functions being accessed via the Fn key.

It lights up - any colour you want, with three intensity levels. If coding in low light is your thing then this is a big plus.

Audio - I don't know what sort of witchcraft is going on here but the sound quality is awesome for a laptop - almost (but not quite) on a par with my £80 desktop speakers. Good tonal range and you can actually hear the bass, again, a rare thing on laptops.

The touchpad - it's quite large and has a very slight texture whereas the rest of the laptop is smooth. It's a Synaptics which I always prefer over ALPS touchpads.

The whole chassis is metal as opposed to the usual plastic. Does make it slightly heavier than I'm used to by maybe half a kilo, but no biggie - it all feels very solid and quality-built. On the subject of weight, if you were to use it on your lap, as I do, it does feel reasonably well balanced although it has to be said that most of the weight seems to be towards the back - after a few hours of use I'm used to that now but it felt a bit "tippy-over" at first.

2xUSB3 ports, 1xUSB2 port, HDMI out, ethernet, mic/headphone sockets, built-in SD card reader, plus a couple of other ports that I don't actually recognise.

Also has built in bluetooth and 802.11ac wifi, as you'd expect.

Based on the experience so far (Windows update issues aside as that nonsense is down to Microsoft), Most people would normally look to upgrade the hard drive or RAM, but here, either of those will invalidate the warranty as you'd have to break the seal to do it.

With the above in mind I'd give it 9/10 so far. Without the warranty seal issue I really couldn't find anything worthy of giving it less than a 10.
Posted : Tuesday, 26 December 2017, 08:53
Mmmm.. 1920x1080 FR-025!! Do it!! DO IT!!!!


''Load, Next List!''
Posted : Tuesday, 26 December 2017, 16:44
Just given my old Lenovo G580 to my kid. She's put up with my old old laptop and its iffy screen for ages now. It's on about its 4th screen cable which keeps breaking due to the shit design.

Eventually figured how to add a user account without a hotmail account - it's a right faff in win10, set the browser start page to Scratch, and she'll be away!
Posted : Tuesday, 26 December 2017, 22:15
It took many hours on my old low spec (celeron 2gb 2013) laptop to do that 1709? update. Been doing situps yesterday while waiting to finish

I bought 4 new laptops this year! Did not save any money this year. Glad I did get those SSD equiped ones. Makes a hell of a difference.