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[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 13:18:53 EST from LoanShark

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I started my current job around Nov 2018. They issued me a Thinkpad X1 Carbon which was new at the time. It didn't last long. Battery had to be replaced in a matter of months, and then it developed intermittent problems charging. I've since moved on to the Dell, and the X1 might have been reissued to another employee who might or might not be having better luck with it.

I've heard that some of Lenovo's heavier designs (T or P series? I'm not sure which) are built to be a little more durable.

Funny you should mention the heatsinks. I use the Dell either on my lap, or a cloth-covered ottoman, lately, and apparently it got pretty hot at least once, because the rubber feet on the bottom have melted and deformed and mostly fallen off. This deal is slimmer even than the unibody MBP's I used to use. It's so ridiculously thin that there's no room for any USB-A ports, it just has two USB-C which require adapters to do anything useful besides power delivery.

[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 13:44:41 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Tue Nov 10 2020 13:18:53 EST from LoanShark

I started my current job around Nov 2018. They issued me a Thinkpad X1 Carbon which was new at the time. It didn't last long. Battery had to be replaced in a matter of months, and then it developed intermittent problems charging. I've since moved on to the Dell, and the X1 might have been reissued to another employee who might or might not be having better luck with it.

I've heard that some of Lenovo's heavier designs (T or P series? I'm not sure which) are built to be a little more durable.

Funny you should mention the heatsinks. I use the Dell either on my lap, or a cloth-covered ottoman, lately, and apparently it got pretty hot at least once, because the rubber feet on the bottom have melted and deformed and mostly fallen off. This deal is slimmer even than the unibody MBP's I used to use. It's so ridiculously thin that there's no room for any USB-A ports, it just has two USB-C which require adapters to do anything useful besides power delivery.

I've had a number of Surface Pros, a SP3, 4 and 5. 

The SP3 had to be swapped out, under warranty, when the WiFi stopped working. The SP4, the battery started swelling, which is how I ended up with the SP5. 

I wouldn't buy another one. Cramming an i7 into a sealed tablet sized form factor is a bad idea. Nobody who is stealing Apple's ideas for making laptops thinner is doing any BETTER than Apple at making that design aesthetic *smarter*. 

If your machine can't be opened up easily - it is made to be disposable on the *manufacturer's* timescale of when a system should be retired, not yours. 

And an i7 really needs to be used on a hard flat surface...

Mac started this craze, though - with the Airbooks. Intel architecture isn't designed to be used in such small form factors. Intel has been fighting that battle for a decade now - and they're not good at low power solutions. They're a "no replacement for displacement," design that really thrives with liquid cooled desktop designs... 

And no one wants that anymore. They do - though. They just think they can get that kind of power in something they can slip into a manila envelope - and they can't. Not with the reliability they want for the price they pay. 






[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 13:49:18 EST from LoanShark

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configurable TDP-down reduces the CPU power consumption on this i7 Dell to 9W from 15W. There was a Linux bug for a while that erroneously put it into 9W mode. A lot less heat there, but it really really neuters the performance of the machine in a major way.

[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 14:45:56 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Not sure what TDP-Down is - but yeah, performance wise, there is a lot of robbing Peter to pay Paul in reducing thermal load on very compact Intel based machines. 

I think Apple has traditionally been very aggressive about finding novel ways to maximize battery life, minimize heat generation, and put the system into low power consumption when it isn't necessary. It is basically like Chevy ecoboost engine that drops down to 4 cyl when 8 cylinders aren't necessary. They're throttling processors, shutting down systems like WiFi and Bluetooth and waking them only when there is traffic... putting things into deeper sleep... PCs used to be just a "system on/system off" proposition. Which meant a machine at idle was still consuming a lot of juice just to sit there and do nothing. 

The problem is that Apple's approach causes a lot of weird issues. WiFi seeing every router for 10 miles around - but having terrible throughput to the modern Mesh network in your house unless you're right on top of an access point. My MBP 2012 hated my Google Mesh network - and I suspect it had to do with Apple suspend states and the way Mesh bounces WiFi signals between 2ghz and 5ghz channels to maximize speed and coverage. Searching online I saw a lot of, "just replace the internal WiFi with a dongle." 

It is like the old sales adage, "Customers want the best price, the best service and the best quality. We can give them any two of those. They get to pick which one they want to give up." 

Customers want the most compact, fastest, most reliable laptop they can get. They can have any two of those. They tend to give up either fastest or most reliable. 

Tue Nov 10 2020 13:49:18 EST from LoanShark

configurable TDP-down reduces the CPU power consumption on this i7 Dell to 9W from 15W. There was a Linux bug for a while that erroneously put it into 9W mode. A lot less heat there, but it really really neuters the performance of the machine in a major way.

 



[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 14:50:25 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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All the way back to Microsoft Hibernate/Sleep - suspend/resume states in computing have always been janky - no matter where you're doing it. 

It is also how I feel about virtualization. Things may have gotten so good enough that it isn't apparent - but anything that runs GOOD or GREAT on a VM will actually run BETTER on bare metal, with no abstraction layer between the VM and the actual hardware. That may be a moot point at some point, but it is still a TRUE point. 



[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 18:07:11 EST from LoanShark

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Laptops in particular. It's become a bit of a black art; several of the Linux bugs I've experienced on this laptop have been in some way [ower -management related.

Modern desktops don't have quite the same PM features. Or security features, these days, as the motherboards are often just targeted for gamers. You typically don't get hard disk encryption enabled by default in Windows Home on a desktop, because the Device Encryption stuff requires a BIOS that conforms to a particularly tight specification.

These days, you don't buy a "laptop", you buy a "device" that the manufacturer has tightly customized and integrated for Windows. But a desktop is still more of an open commodity.

I'd almost prefer that desktops get some of the advanced security features that are finding their way into laptops, like encryption... but then again, not really - what's stopping me from enabling encryption is that I don't want to deal with what happens if I lose the key. Anyway, to do that on the typical desktop requires a Pro edition of 'doze.

[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 18:13:15 EST from LoanShark

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abstraction layer between the VM and the actual hardware. That may be

a moot point at some point, but it is still a TRUE point. 

For my use case I've abandoned Virtualbox, I got tired of sluggish GUI.



(IG and I have discussed that ad nauseum)

[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 18:36:33 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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The thing about VirtualBox for me... 

Is it is free, easily available, and most walkthru docs are designed with it in mind. 

If I were in the enterprise, I wouldn't use it. Citrix or VMWare. 

But it is a matter of running a Mac Mojave system on one core of a dual core i7 on my Surface Pro 5. I can only give it 1 core, 8gb of the 16GB of memory, and a small slice of the 512mb SSD. 

I don't think any other VM would markedly improve performance. If I ran it on my water cooled gaming desktop, it would probably be far more zippy. It is something that is at the back of my mind to set up at some point. 

 

 



[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 19:13:23 EST from zooer

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I found out that in version 1.0.4 of the BIOS firmware the USB stick must be inserted before powering the machine for the BIOS to allow you the option of swapping the boot order. This is new to me, I thought you could set the boot order to a default setting, if the device wasn't present it went to the next device.

I found a blurb that said you have to use the F12 key to get to boot options as opposed to F2 and setting the boot options in BIOS.  

The internal drives still do not show up, but at least I can move forward from here.  (C drive is SSD, D drive is a spinny drive)

Thank you for your comments and suggestions.



[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 21:56:09 EST from zooer

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With firmware 1.0.3 the boot menu listed two USB ports, the network cards and the C drive.  Firmware 1.0.4 didn't list a USB port unless a stick was plugged into the port.



[#] Tue Nov 10 2020 22:22:45 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Glad the discussion helped you work through it - even if you found your own solution. These kind of changes are aggravating, to say the least. 

Tue Nov 10 2020 19:13:23 EST from zooer

I found out that in version 1.0.4 of the BIOS firmware the USB stick must be inserted before powering the machine for the BIOS to allow you the option of swapping the boot order. This is new to me, I thought you could set the boot order to a default setting, if the device wasn't present it went to the next device.

I found a blurb that said you have to use the F12 key to get to boot options as opposed to F2 and setting the boot options in BIOS.  

The internal drives still do not show up, but at least I can move forward from here.  (C drive is SSD, D drive is a spinny drive)

Thank you for your comments and suggestions.



 



[#] Wed Nov 11 2020 10:39:34 EST from LoanShark

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2020-11-10 21:56 from zooer
With firmware 1.0.3 the boot menu listed two USB ports, the network
cards and the C drive.  Firmware 1.0.4 didn't list a USB port unless
a stick was plugged into the port.

I wonder if they defaulted CSM to off, or something, with that release. UEFI doesn't list physical devices in the boot order menu, it lists the .EFI boot executables it can find on those physical devices (which might be more than one if you have a dual-boot setup.) If CSM and Legacy oprom boot modes are enabled, then it *also* displays the physical devices (in which case if that's selected, it looks for a classic boot sector.)

[#] Sun Nov 15 2020 21:38:32 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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For my use case I've abandoned Virtualbox, I got tired of sluggish
GUI.



(IG and I have discussed that ad nauseum)

Yeesh. Have we ever.

I think we agreed that all the currently available solutions are terrible, even the ones which claim they can solve that problem.

Ironically, the solution that looks the most promising, albeit currently in vaporware, is the accelerated stuff Microsoft is putting into WSL. With any luck they will be able to run accelerated Linux graphics in a WSL session.
And now I won't be able to use it because my Linux desktop is currently doing double-duty as a server again. So help me, if I end up running Windows Server because they get there first... oy.

[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 09:33:52 EST from zooer

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I received an "Updates available" notice this morning and the BIOS firmware can be updated to 1.0.5.  Apparently they found problems with 1.0.4.



[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 13:37:48 EST from ParanoidDelusions

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Tue Nov 17 2020 09:33:52 EST from zooer

I received an "Updates available" notice this morning and the BIOS firmware can be updated to 1.0.5.  Apparently they found problems with 1.0.4.



Yup... this is something emerging in PC computing that eventually I'll dislike. I'm not a big fan of push OS updates. Push hardware updates on mobile devices are bad enough. Pretty soon you'll start you car and have to wait 30 minutes while a firmware update downloads and applies, and if anything goes wrong, your car will be bricked. 

 



[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 14:02:40 EST from LoanShark

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zooer - don't let it install the latest version of SupportAssist OS Recovery tools - this is what bricked my machine last week

[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 19:14:08 EST from zooer

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It was part of the update, and it was stuck on that part of the update.  I canceled it.



[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 19:56:13 EST from LoanShark

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yeah, that one errors out a lot. which is fine it it fails--it fails to brick your machine.

don't try too hard to make that one go through, and keep canceling it for a while.

[#] Tue Nov 17 2020 19:56:38 EST from LoanShark

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my machine does have a linux partition dual boot, maybe that's what f**ked it up.

[#] Sun Nov 22 2020 16:28:35 EST from IGnatius T Foobar

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updates on mobile devices are bad enough. Pretty soon you'll start
you car and have to wait 30 minutes while a firmware update downloads
and applies, and if anything goes wrong, your car will be bricked. 

My TV does that. Sometimes I turn it on and have to wait for an update before I can watch cat videos on it. (What, did you think I'd watch the garbage on cable?) It's as annoying there as it is on a desktop computer.

On the other hand, at one point they sent me $8 because I ended up as a claimant in a class action lawsuit because the TV was spying on me.

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