Choosing an SL compatible laptop

Mariska Lysette

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I've been looking at new laptops for using in SL and I remembered I used a lot of advice from the old SLU forums when I got my last laptop (and the one before that). I'm currently on a Dell laptop with i7 processor, dedicated graphics (Nvidia 820M) 8GB RAM but it's almost 5 years old and I'm starting to notice it's struggling at times.

I've done a fair bit of reading but I have no technical knowledge of my own. From what I've read it'd make sense to start with 16GB RAM and I know I need Nvidia graphics - I was thinking 1060 or above.

I'm currently looking at the following spec and wondered if anyone has any input? I suppose I'm most interested in whether this should last me SL wise for at least 3 years. Any advice or suggestions would be welcome. It does need to be a laptop for practical reasons. Thanks.



SPECIFICATIONDETAIL
Screen Size17.3"
Screen Type17.3" FHD (1920*1080), Anti-Glare, 100%sRGB
Screen Resolution1920*1080
BacklightLED
ProcessorIntel Core™ i7-9750H Hex Core Processor (2.6GHZ - 4.5GHz)
GraphicsNVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti ,GDDR6 6GB
Storage256GB NVMe PCIe SSD
1TB HDD
Memory16GB DDR IV (2666MHz)
Operating SystemWindows®,10 Home
LanEthernet: Killer Gb LAN
Wireless: Intel Wireless-AC 9560 (2*2 a/c)
BluetoothBluetooth v5
USB Ports1x Type-C USB3.2 Gen2
2x Type-A USB3.2 Gen1
1x Type-A USB3.2 Gen2
Display Ports1 x HDMI 2.0 Port(s) (4K @ 60Hz)
1 x Mini-DisplayPort
Dimensions547mm,108mm,384mm
Weight2.9 kgs
Warranty2 Year
Extra FeaturesIntegrated 720p HD Webcam with Microphone, Single Colour Backlit Keyboard (Red), SD Card Reader

Thanks
 

Anya Ristow

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SL is severely limited by not being multithreaded. It wants the fastest single-threaded performance you can throw at it, and your new machine is great in that regard. The problem is that 2019 processors aren't substantially faster than 2014 processors in single threaded performance, so you are not going to be blown away throwing new hardware at SL.

Your old GPU, though, is very weak by 2019 standards, so you will see a performance boost based entirely on your new GPU. But you might not be able to tell the difference between 1660 ti and 1060 in SL, because SL won't use all of the capabilities of even a 1060.

FWIW I have an i7-8700k at home and I built that system with a 1060 and was underwhelmed with SL. SL maxxes out 1 core and runs the GPU at about 30%. I now have a 2070 in there and I'm still underwhelmed with SL. I'm not sure I can tell the difference.

I don't seem to be able to use more than 1/16th the video RAM on my card, as SL tops out at 512M, so even with 2019 hardware, textures that were already loaded get unloaded and I still see blurry shit that LL should be ashamed of.

This is with the LL viewer. Anyone know if the third-party viewers do better?

For other games, 1660 ti is very capable and is a good match for your processor. That's an awesome laptop. Just do some research and make sure it doesn't have problems thermal throttling. It looks well ventilated and it looks beefy enough to have proper cooling.
 

Katheryne Helendale

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Forget about it lasting SL for three years; that laptop will likely outlast SL! If you've got a good price for that thing, I'd go for it. Like Anya pointed out, you may not see night-and-day performance improvements within SL itself, but it should competently handle pretty much any modern game you throw at it.

6GB of GDDR6 graphics memory... Holy shit!
 

Clara D.

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Don't expect too much of SL, it's very old code that keeps getting spaghetti added to it and with horribly unoptimized user content. But it *will* be better than your old one just because of the graphics -- any nVidia __20 is near bottom line in that generation.

It'll be great for modern games. :D

This is with the LL viewer. Anyone know if the third-party viewers do better?
Try 64-bit Firestorm.
 
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Anya Ristow

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Don't expect too much of SL, it's very old code that keeps getting spaghetti added to it and with horribly unoptimized user content. But it *will* be better than your old one just because of the graphics -- any nVidia __20 is near bottom line in that generation.
Here's another data point. I put a GT 1030 in a 2012 Dell Optiplex and also upgraded the CPU to an i7, which in 2012 only had 4 cores/8 threads but in single core performance was 80% as fast as a current-gen CPU. That machine runs SL pretty well. I'd say 2/3 as well as my new-ish rig, in frame rates, with the same settings. Any current nvidia card __60 is going to do SL just fine.

userbenchmark tells me GT 1030 is 270% faster than 820M, and GTX 1060 is 290% faster than GT 1030 :)
 
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You can run SL as well as SL can run on that spec. At that screen resolution it will also perform well in most modern game. As long as it has a robust cooling system it should perform well for years.
 
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Mariska Lysette

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Forget about it lasting SL for three years; that laptop will likely outlast SL! If you've got a good price for that thing, I'd go for it. Like Anya pointed out, you may not see night-and-day performance improvements within SL itself, but it should competently handle pretty much any modern game you throw at it.

6GB of GDDR6 graphics memory... Holy shit!

I'm looking at £1250.00 ( I think around $1600) which is why I'm trying to be sensible about spec. I *can* afford it but *should* I, if it weren't for SL I'd probably be paddling around in "general use" laptops.

I found this for £1000.00 ($1300)

  • Processor: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H, 2.6 GHz, Boost frequency: 4.5 GHz, Cores 6, Threads 12
  • Internal Memory: 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM
  • Storage: 512 GB - M.2 SSD
  • Display: 17.3", 1920 x 1080 pixels, LED backlight. Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 (4 GB GDDR5)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • GDDR5

So now I'm having fun vacillating - do I need the 1TB HDD? I like to stream/DJ in SL but that's a LOT of tracks.

I really appreciate all the help and advice - thank you!
 

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I remember my first PC had a 100 MB HDD. People were saying back then: "What on earth are you planning to put on such a huge disk?"
Every game fitted on 1 floppy. Windows came on 3 or 4 of them. MSDOS was 3 floppys, I think.
The lightning machine had a whopping 4 MB internal memory.

These days it is getting harder and harder to get a machine without at least a TB HDD. So I would accept it as it is on the HDD side.
2 TB is hard on its way to become the standard for the home PC market.
 
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Mariska Lysette

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I remember my first PC had a 100 MB HDD. People were saying back then: "What on earth are you planning to put on such a huge disk?"
Every game fitted on 1 floppy. Windows came on 3 or 4 of them. MSDOS was 3 floppys, I think.
The lightning machine had a whopping 4 MB internal memory.

These days it is getting harder and harder to get a machine without at least a TB HDD. So I would accept it as it is on the HDD side.
2 TB is hard on its way to become the standard for the home PC market.
I worry sometimes that I am so keen to be as far as possible from the 1980s and loading games using a tape recorder (and the nightmare if you got the volume setting wrong) that I want to buy something I don't actually need. I can't deny the 1TB is a *want*. I think I'm about to bite the bullet - I've looked at reviews and researched thermal throttling and I think it's all looking good.
 
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So now I'm having fun vacillating - do I need the 1TB HDD? I like to stream/DJ in SL but that's a LOT of tracks.
Yes. Besides space, you want anything you can't afford to loose on a mechanical. SSD's generally last longer than mechanical drives, but when/if they do fail they fail all at once, whereas a mechanical will (usually) give you some warnings that things aren't right, and give you time to get stuff off it.

You'd be surprised at how fast 512 gets filled up o_O
 

Argent Stonecutter

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You might want to consider a refurbished laptop. CPU performance is stalled out and anything with a m960 or better should be fine.

As for the reliability of SDD vs HDD, anything that only exists on one drive should bethought of as ephemeral. Backup, and backstop the backups. To an external drive that you keep in a separate physical location.
 

Anya Ristow

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I'm looking at £1250.00 ( I think around $1600) which is why I'm trying to be sensible about spec. I *can* afford it but *should* I, if it weren't for SL I'd probably be paddling around in "general use" laptops.
When I built my PC I wasn't even going to put a video card in it. I had given up on SL. But I wanted to try Sansar, so I put a 1060 in it. It was by far the most capable machine I'd ever owned. And I found I liked other games, so now it has a 2070 in it, and I have a 144Hz 27" monitor.

If that 1660 ti system is the GL73 8SD, it has a 120Hz display. It won't matter for SL, but for other games, higher than 60Hz is very nice.
 

Mariska Lysette

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You might want to consider a refurbished laptop. CPU performance is stalled out and anything with a m960 or better should be fine.

As for the reliability of SDD vs HDD, anything that only exists on one drive should bethought of as ephemeral. Backup, and backstop the backups. To an external drive that you keep in a separate physical location.
I did look for refurbished laptops (the one I'm on right now is manufacturer refurbished) but nothing was coming up in the range I was looking at.

I'm bad about back ups, I store on a USB drive when I remember and also back up important stuff to One Drive but I should probably pay more attention to this.
 

Argent Stonecutter

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Have you looked at NewEgg? I've had good luck with refurbished stuff there.

OneDrive is a good start. It used to be awful but has improved a lot.

I don't keep anything important on Windows, Mac has a great backup system in Time Machine. I don't now what comparable products are available for Microsoft's platform.
 

Clara D.

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Have you looked at NewEgg? I've had good luck with refurbished stuff there.

OneDrive is a good start. It used to be awful but has improved a lot.

I don't keep anything important on Windows, Mac has a great backup system in Time Machine. I don't now what comparable products are available for Microsoft's platform.
I'm using the free version of EaseUS ToDo. I like it because I can recover individual things rather than having to unpack the whole works, I restored Skyrim with it after derping around with mods and a few things that went missing when my previous drive went south.

Haven't tried doing a system restore with it, I tend to just reinstall Windoze if things go wrong (and keep it on it's own partition for that purpose) so I can't vouch for that functionality, but it's been good for just files.

And on the subject of backups, as I mentioned here on VVO -- pre-assembled "external" mechanical drives usually have very low-end laptop drives in them, I recommend getting a higher quality full-size (desktop) drive and an enclosure. Don't cheap out on your back-up solution :p

Besides backing up my "stuff" and "games" partitions to external, I made dropbox and google backup play nice for Things I Really Can't Loose.

Install Dropbox first.
Install Google Sync and point it at the dropbox folder.
*critical* Set dropbox to ignore G-Backups temp folder
-- this is a hidden folder in "Dropbox" named .tmp.drivedownload
-- I'm not fond of the way G-sync handles things, it makes temporary duplicates, and if this folder isn't ignored, it can fill up your dropbox space.

A few thoughts:

OneDrive's 5G isn't enough space, even if it's vaguely less buggy now.
I maxed out Dropbox Free to 7G with some VM shenanigans. Though it has a 3-device limit, I only have this one.
G-Sync is 15G minus whatever space Email is using, plenty of space with the 7G dropbox limit.

I'm assuming Google skims *everything,* but I wanted a secondary solution in case DropBox further gimps free accounts.

If I wanted to pay for something I'd likely go back to Crashplan if they haven't been bought out and proceeded to suck (it's been years since I used them)
 
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