New laptop!

2019-06-20 - General

R.I.P Orlin

So on Thursday of last week, my former laptop (named Orlin, after one of the Ancients from the Stargate Franchise) died after a loose screw managed to rattle around inside and ended up landing on (what I can only guess) 2 very important capacitors that are not designed to be shorted out. With a small pop or two the entire laptop powered down and would not power back up again 🙁
I tested the charger and at first it wasn’t giving any voltage out but after leaving it off for a while and then testing again it worked. I plugged it back into the laptop to try and get it powered up again but no dice. I suspected the short was somehow getting back to the charger which then ended up tripping the charger’s built-in short-circuit protection.

The were 2 tiny capacitors/resistors that the screw landed on but it also seems to have hit another bigger looking capacitor thingy. Ultimately the combination of all 3 being hit have rendered Orlin’s motherboard dead. I’m pretty sure the screen still work and the 2 SATA SSDs (one conventional SATA, one M.2) can still get their data pulled off (might be slightly harder for the M.2 one since I don’t have any dock/adapter for it and my PC’s one is covered by a Vega64 and houses my PC’s main boot drive).

Rest In Peace, Orlin. You have served me well since 2015…

New (currently unnamed) laptop!

Being without a laptop isn’t the end of the world when I’m at home because I have my PC, but when my computer breaks itself or I break it and when I’m out and about, having a laptop is very handy so after declaring Orlin officially dead (I don’t have the skills to try and repair it) I went shopping for a new one.

Originally I was looking for something that was slimline, had a higher-than-1080p-screen and could maybe do light gaming on the side but I was originally going for a programming/productivity machine. Dell’s XPS 13/15 laptops were looking pretty good and they might have even been my pick had I not shifted my focus away from just productivity (that, and the ~£1.2k-£1.5k price tag was not that great).

I did look around at some of the linux-only providers (like System76, some others that I’ve forgotten the name of) but they were either quite expensive or didn’t offer what I was after.

At some point, I ended up on MSI’s website (Orlin was from MSI) looking at their laptops. I was originally gonna go with one of their “stealth” (GS series) laptops because they looked very sleek and stylish. But as with the Dell XPS’, they were rather expensive and I was also worried they would suffer a similar issue to Orlin in that they didn’t have adequate cooling to keep the laptop at full power. I wasn’t quite done with MSI’s site just yet though…

After a bit more looking around I started taking a liking to their GE-series and after looking through their options, I eventually settled on the MSI GE63 Raider (RGB Variant). MSI’s site broke a little and wasn’t entirely helpful in working out which variants had what storage, but I bit the bullet and bought it from Amazon.

The specs I ended up with:
Core i7 8750H
16GB of DDR4 Ram
GTX 1060 (which has the HDMI/DisplayPort external connections attached to it rather than the Intel GPU which makes VR Possible!!)

Overall I’m happy with the purchase (cost me £1k) and although it is a bit more expensive and more than I paid for Orlin back in 2015 for about £600-£700 but considering it has a GTX 1060 (with dedicated VRAM) and has a much better cooler design (it is a bit thicker, so that helps) I feel it’ll last a long time. It’s currently running the Windows install it came with but I’m going to stick with that for a while to see if I can experience similar issues to what Missy (my BFF/Sister) has on hers and see if I can work out what causes it and find a solution to it.
Some day I will put linux on it but since it can actually game/do VR, I might not use linux on it all that much.

Also, since it has an per-key RGB-backlit keyboard and some other RGB bits, I of course had to customise it….

Picture of my laptop's keyboard.
The main letter keys have the Gay Pride/Rainbow flag while the Number Pad has the Trans Pride Flag
the row above the blue on the numpad just cycles across the colour spectrum. the rest of the keys are statically set
The back of my laptop. It has some coloured light bars that are coloured with the LGBT flag on the vertical parts and the Trans Pide flag on the horizontal parts.
The camera on my phone can’t quite get the right exposure setting to not have the lights fully blown out, but the vertical parts have the general pride flag and the horizontal parts have the trans one 😀
I also need to remove that sticker somehow….

That’s all for this post, I’m really happy with the purchase. Not sure yet if I’ll try and get some form of cover for the back because brushed aluminium is a massive fingerprint magnet :/
I may write another post about it after trying out VR with it (cause then I’ll have more-or-less portable VR!)

Lizzy out! o/

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