I’ve had many laptops from Alienware, Dell, HP, ASUS, Lenovo, Apple, Acer, and just about everything in between. Generally you have to make sacrifices when buying a laptop whether build quality, lack of ports, screen resolution, etc. Some laptops game well but are incredibly heavy. Laptops that are portable generally are under-powered. The 2016 Dell XPS is an exception to the rule. It’s ultra portable, beautifully constructed and has all the features I look for when considering the perfect laptop. Here is what I personally think makes an incredible laptop solution:
The Perfect Laptop
– Durable material like aluminum frame
– Beautiful screen
– Backlit keyboard
– Firm responsive keyboard w/ no weird configurations
– Large trackpad
– minimum 8GB ram minimum
– SSD or NVme drive
– Long battery life
– Doesn’t overheat when gaming
The 2016 Dell XPS has all these features and more. If Dell can continue to make laptops of this quality then I will keep buying them. Dude I’ve got a Dell.
So I recently found a deal on a Western Digital Black NVMe PCIe Gen3. I was excited to see what this card could do as the current NVMe I have is a Plextor and while it’s been an amazing drive – newer is always better right?
Well, I’m sad to report. The WD NVMe is a poor performer. Below are screenshots from both Windows and Fedora 28 speed tests. I tried the card in both PCIe 3.0 and 2.0 slots. I set the bios to x4 x4 x4 x4. I tried every setting I could find to improve the performance but the write speeds never got better. The read speeds are ok but ultimately slower than the Plextor.
However, interestingly the Samsung NVMe from a friends machine also shows poor write speeds in comparison. Now these speeds are obviously better than most spinning drives and the read times are better than most SSD’s but I expected more.
It is interesting to see such a vast difference between Windows and Linux with NVMe. Perhaps it is Gnome benchmarks tool that is running different tests or perhaps isn’t geared towards NVMe drives. As stated the Plextor seems to run with expected results.
– Updated PCIe x4 x4 x4 x4
– Tried both 2.0 and 3.0 M.2 slots on MB
– Updated BIOS on motherboard MSI x470 Pro Carbon Gaming
– Added heat sinks to WD card to see if throttling was an issue
Recently, there has been some work from individuals like Martin Wimpress and Alan Pope to bring games to Linux via snap packages. We’ve seen some really great classics make their way into this package format recently but one I’m really enjoying is Xonotic.
This reminds me of the game Unreal which I played a lot of back in the day. It’s very fast paced and runs on minimal requirements. You can also install it via a snap which is equally as awesome.
I admit, I love the old Macbook Pro’s design. I have an old 2012 Macbook with the Retina screen and back lit keyboard and beautifully thin aluminum frame and glass track-pad. What is not to love when you can pick them up used for $3-400 on EBAY. There are few options in this price range with this quality of screen and features.
The one thing I don’t absolutely love is MacOS. It is just too limiting in my opinion with customization and feels locked down. It’s not Windows 10 bad but it isn’t my favorite either. So what to do…how about install Fedora 28. The good news is you don’t really have to do anything special. Simply burn an ISO of Fedora 28 and hold alt while booting your Macbook to boot into the ISO. Delete the partitions off your Macbook drive and install. Everything will work out of the box ‘except’ for your WiFi. So you will need an ability to either tether your phone, or a WiFi dongle, or have an adapter to connect an ethernet cord until you download and install the Broadcom driver.
Installing the broadcom driver is quite simple. Enable RPM repositories (sudo dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm https://download1.rpmfusion.org/nonfree/fedora/rpmfusion-nonfree-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm -y)
and type this command ‘sudo dnf install broadcom-wl.noarch’ and reboot. You will now be able to connect to WiFi and have all the power of Fedora on your Macbook hardware. It’s a beautiful thing.
A new weather bash script is up on my github page for those who want to play. It utilizes the awesome work of wttr.in and just simply forces a terminal open to run this along with Bitcoin prices all within the terminal. The result looks like the below picture.
There really is no goal to this other than fun and having this kick off when your system boots so you get weather info and some Bitcoin prices so you can determine whether GPU prices will continue to go down =)
I’m officially Team Red two times over with the AMD build and Fedora as my main OS. The Vega 64 is exceeding all expectations both with gaming and with video rendering and day to day operations. The compatibility and ease of use is just simply brilliant.
As I understand it, the Vega line has continued to get better with each software release. I wish it was this good from the start and market reaction may have been stronger. Still, if you’re in the market for a GPU this is a sure bet right now and the prices are finally dropping.
You can pick up the one I’m using off Amazon affiliate link: