My desktop died … finding and setting up a replacement

On Tuesday my desktop system killed itself, just doing restarts before even BIOS / UEFI was loaded.

The system did its job in playing some games on minimal settings as the system was quite old. The NVidia Graphic Card sometimes blacked out, but a restart could fix it.

So now that that system is dead I was considering two options:

  • Buy a new desktop system and keep my 13″ 2013 MacBook Pro
  • Replace the MacBook with a 15″ Laptop with discrete graphic card (I don’t like the new MacBook Pro. The keyboard feel is just bah, to large mousepad, the prices seems to climb and climb.

I went for the 2nd option as I didn’t use the stationary desktop much. Mostly I need to be in the living room or outside to have an eye on the kids and wife 😀

What I needed and bought

So, what I wanted was a Core i7 with at least 16 GB RAM and an NVidia 1060. Core i7 for Photo and Video Editing as well as running Docker Containers / VMs without a large impact on the whole system performance. The discrete graphics card for the same reason as well as gaming. Probably I will try some machine learning stuff, so a powerful GPU couldn’t hurt.

After researching for a bit, I got to the Lenovo Legion Y720.

  • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Processor (2.80GHz 6MB)
  • 15.6″ FHD IPS AntiGlare LED Backlight (1920×1080) with integrated camera
  • 16.0GB DDR4 SODIMM 2400 MHz
  • 1TB 5400 RPM + 256GB PCIe SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB

I did some research before on replacements for my MacBook but either the display was crap or the display and spec was great but there where large reports of build quality issues. So, this time I settle with a crap display and went for the spec and low price point.

Setup preparations

So while I waited for the laptop to arrive, I did search for some automated program and setup installation to speed up the initial setup process.

I know chocolatey would act as my package manager, but I didn’t know of any scripts or programs which would setup the windows environment. That’s when I went to GitHub and stumbled across Win10-Initial-Setup-Script.

That PowerShell script was exactly what I was searching. I edited the Preset to my needs and after running it a lot of windows settings where exactly as I wanted them.

The crappy stuff
The windows setup and initial program installation went quit smooth and fast, but there were some thinks I could kill Lenovo for.

I did know that the MacBook Trackpad was out of the league for anything Lenovo does. I had a Lenovo T440s and now „own“ a T470 as business laptops at work. The Trackpads on them where „ok“ but nothing special. Coming to the Lenovo Legion Y720 trackpad: What a piece of s**t this is …

Remark: I did update to the latest driver

  • Why the hell is the trackpad placed to the left side of the laptop? That physical location leads to wrong input after wrong input as you just right click every time.
  • Why the hell does two finger pointing not act as right mouse click (it’s enabled in the settings)
  • Why didn’t you just use the trackpad from the business line? That’s hundred times better than this.
  • Why do I need to search for half an hour to find the option which allows me to use my trackpad when I simultaneously use the keyboard. The „mouse“ did stop every time I used the keyboard (GAMING!!!)

After configuring the trackpad for about an hour I went to color calibrate the monitor, which resulted in a large difference to the default color settings. But now it looks „ok“ for the tasks it was built for. My colorimeter told me that the display reaches 70% of the RGB standard. I probably won’t do color corrections for photo or video on that display. But that was a) expected and b) I have an external monitor for this.

Verdict and why I went for option C

The device is heavy (3 kg), the monitor doesn’t quite work for photo editing on the go and the trackpad is utterly crap and battery life is quite short. Otherwise it’s a really good machine. Build quality is exceptional, performance is on another level. Basically, it does what it was built for: GAMING. For that you would use a mouse, probably have a power cord attached and the display doesn’t need to be perfect.

So, I had my desktop replacement, but what should I do for mobility?

That Lenovo Legion Y720 wouldn’t work when I need to travel light with the need for large battery runtime. So instead of gifting my 2013 MacBook to the family, I will switch my MacBook with my wifes MacBook. My MacBook has a 256GB SSD while my wives has only 128GB disk space. Otherwise the MacBooks are quite similar.

With keeping the MacBook, I can edit photos on a great Retina display while being mobile and have a powerful „home-mobile“ gaming laptop at home. So now I can play in the living room or outside on our terrace.

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