In the last 15 years or so, I’ve gone thru my share amount of computers – initially starting with laptops – then moving back to desktop computers. As a matter of fact – since I went to Canada, I’ve used a laptop as my main driver until – 2016. So: I thought it might be a good idea to go thru the computers that served as my main PC for these years – primarily for coding and then gaming. To spill the beans – this list includes an honourary mention to a MacBook Pro:
HP DV5-1157CA (2008-ish)
An “entertainment laptop” with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4 Ghz. I can’t find the graphics cards – but I’m pretty sure it was an Nvidia – some portable/mobile graphics processor. This laptop replaced one of my Toshiba Satellites laptops as my main programming and gaming computer. The HP had an interesting mock metal look including the keyboard. When measuring its performance comparing it to a work provided laptop (an Alienware), this laptop actually beat the Alienware – pretty sure I ran a side by side test using “Dirt 2” (the rally game ).
There’s not much else I remember from this laptop: the DV5 eventually got relegated to doing Linux stuff (which I detail mostly in this post). I also think (I don’t remember this totally) that there was some warranty work done on this laptop – and since it had cooling issues – I decided to move on.
Minor update: I’m pretty sure it was an NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT (512MB) (via – wikipedia)
ASUS G75VW-SS71-CBIL (May 2012)
I ordered this laptop straight from Staples for the price of 1399 Canadian dollars – it featured a 17 inch screen, a 2.3 Ghz i7 (3rd gen – 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-3610QM) and an Nvidia GTX 660M. I remember that I looked at Asus laptops for the longest time as I was aware that regular “entertainment” laptops were not really made for gaming – and I had noticed that the G75VW had 2 dedicated cooling channels: one for the GPU and one for the CPU. When I got this laptop, I remember thinking ‘this is heavier than the Alienware laptop from work’.
A few times, I brought in this laptop to work so I could play FIFA 2013 with one of my colleagues (lunch time). Currently, this laptop still works – except for the monitor: there’s like a huge dead pixel vertical line all across the screen. I’ve always wanted to install Linux on this laptop – but since it has so much data – I have not dared to wipe it / let alone resell it. Apparently you can add an extra (SATA) hard drive to it – which would make it a good option for letting it continue to do server duties. Or – for reading CD/DVD ROM files!
(as a matter of fact, I think this laptop already has 2 hard drives)
ASUS G11CD-US-008T (April 2016)
In April 2016, I decided to move back to desktop PCs – and since I was charmed with the ASUS brand, I was happy to see a desktop on sale at Newegg for 1349 Canadian. It came with a 6th gen i7 (i7-6700) and a (serious) graphics card: a GTX-960. A few years later, that 960 was replaced with a GTX 1060 – (EVGA 1060, single fan, 6 Gigs DDR5).
I don’t recall what the exact reasons were to move back to desktops, let alone pre-builts. This is also the last full PC that came with a DVD tray (really). It served me generally well – and as mentioned before, a few years later I opted to upgrade the PC’s video card.
This PC still works – but is currently collecting dust. I have not decided what I am going to do with it – mostly, because – it’s a fairly ugly case. The problem with prebuilt cases is – most of these cases serve no functional purpose – they are there for looks as opposed to, say, proper cooling.
HP GT12-0129 (Omen)
I was actually looking for the 45L version – but Best Buy had this one on sale (for 1699, in Oct 2020) (listed at HP). This is actually the first PC that HP made from common components – no proprietary stuff and that – so that sounded enticing – only to find out that it has the same issue that the ASUS has – it has only one back fan for cooling. You could add an AIO easily, but – the case just doesn’t appeal and (you guessed it) overheats fairly fast.
The PC comes with an I7 10K processor and an Nvidia 2060. The default 16 gig were replaced with 32 gigs (a few months ago) – however – the plan is to (eventually) move to a newer case OR a newer case with a newer motherboard. Haven’t decided yet.
Apple MacBook Pro 2020 (M1)
That same year (December), I thought it was time to check out the new RISC based MacBook Pro. This was around the same time I was put in charge of closing up the local office AND there were discussions going on between the (insurance) software company and a larger company in the UK 1 – I was central to these discussions and I felt, around that time it was a good idea to see what Macs are all about.
However, my primary interest in getting one was because I like the idea that RISC processors are slapping around CISC processors (previously – AMD). I bought this at Best Buy for the usual Apple price and the associate actually discouraged me from getting it (as he recalled me getting above Omen PC a few months before).
You should move to a Mac. That’s all I’m saying.
1 Non-disclosure and that.