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Lightweight Travel Laptop that runs SL fairly well


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I've always had a travel laptop that gives me a pretty solid SL experience, without compromising too much compared to my desktop performance.  My current laptop is only a bit shy of 3 yrs old -- and is an ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition with a 17.3" screen, 16 gb RAM, i7-8750H CPU, and a GTX 1060 6gb video card.

These days, I don't spend as much time in SL when traveling, most of the time anyway.  So I'm looking to see if I can lighten my backpack a bit (current laptop is 6.5 pounds), but still have a laptop that will at least run SL, without freezing up or making the avatar jerky while walking or flying.  When traveling, I mostly log in to check on group notices and sometimes pop to a store for a gift or a sale. The exception being that if I am traveling during December, I try to log in daily to pick up Advent gifts from the stores that only allow you to get the current day - so TPing to multiple places, waiting for things to rez, grab gift and go.  In those situations, I always reduce graphics anyway and set it so I only render friends.  If at all possible I'd like to keep the 17" screen or maybe no smaller than 16".  I am really used to that 17.3" screen when traveling and used to pretty large screens at home.  I really don't want to make my old eyes squint more than I must.

Budget isn't too much of an issue as I've been saving for quite a while to replace both my desktop & laptop. Since I've never looked at any laptop other than gaming laptops like what I currently have, I'm not really even sure how low in the specs I can go and still maintain a semi-decent SL experience.   

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7 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Hmm - I don't think I'm ready to jump to Win 11 yet and all of the laptops I look at on the Lenovo site only come with Win 11.

Everything Windows comes with Windows 11 now. Which is why I bailed out of Microsoft land after Windows 7, and went all Linux.

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44 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Hmm - I don't think I'm ready to jump to Win 11 yet and all of the laptops I look at on the Lenovo site only come with Win 11.

Microsoft has everybody and their brothers pushing secure boot and tpm on all the windows 11 devices.   Unless you want something off ebay?

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Choose an OS-less laptop and install Linux: you won't regret it since it will provide you with the highest FPS rates for SLing...

As for the hardware, make sure to choose a PC with a NVIDIA GPU: their OpenGL driver is simply unbeatable (and by HUGE proportion) in regards to AMD's and Intel's, and with the new performance viewer and its core GL profile compatibility, this difference became even more dramatic (+50% FPS rates, at the minimum with it enabled).

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1 hour ago, Henri Beauchamp said:

Choose an OS-less laptop and install Linux: you won't regret it since it will provide you with the highest FPS rates for SLing...

As for the hardware, make sure to choose a PC with a NVIDIA GPU: their OpenGL driver is simply unbeatable (and by HUGE proportion) in regards to AMD's and Intel's, and with the new performance viewer and its core GL profile compatibility, this difference became even more dramatic (+50% FPS rates, at the minimum with it enabled).

but the world runs on windows,  most if not all environments are setup only to work under windows,  nobody should be recommending linux for a daily driver, tinkering sure, but daily, no.

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3 hours ago, MarissaOrloff said:

You can always format the drive and put Windows 10 on it.

if the key (which tends to be in the bios on almost all laptops today) allows for that to happen, sure little can install windows 10, but it wont be activated and will be missing some features. 

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13 hours ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

My current laptop is only a bit shy of 3 yrs old -- and is an ASUS ROG Strix Scar Edition with a 17.3" screen, 16 gb RAM, i7-8750H CPU, and a GTX 1060 6gb video card.

Just curious, does your current machine have a traditional hard drive? A machine with a SSD will be lighter, of course. Plus, battery technology has advanced.

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5 hours ago, bigmoe Whitfield said:

but the world runs on windows,  most if not all environments are setup only to work under windows,

A total cliché !... Nothing that can be done under Windows is not doable under Linux. True, if you are into AAA games, then it is easier to run them under Windows, but Linux will run *everything* else better and faster, and at no cost !

Quote

nobody should be recommending linux for a daily driver, tinkering sure, but daily, no.

I will keep recommending it and do not need your permission !

I have been running Linux for over 25 years, but there have never been as many reasons to use it in place of Windows as today: security (no virus, no malware !), speed, hardware support (with Windows 11 many PCs suddenly became ”obsolete” just because Micro$oft decided so), privacy, freedom... Take your pick !

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5 hours ago, bigmoe Whitfield said:

but the world runs on windows,  most if not all environments are setup only to work under windows,  nobody should be recommending linux for a daily driver, tinkering sure, but daily, no.

I would disagree.

I switched from Windows to Linux for daily use for at least 10 years.  I do not tinker with computers, I leave that to my partner but I haven't found anything lacking in the user experience that was available in Windows, not one thing.  It's at least as easy to use as Windows ever was for me and I cannot remember the last time my partner had to fix anything that I could not deal with.  The equivalents of common Windows applications that are available make it possible to do everything I have ever needed since switching.  I would simply go back to Windows or go to Mac if that were not true.  It also never decides to just reboot on me at inconvenient times and I never have to rollback drivers and yet it stays secure and up-to-date.

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5 minutes ago, Gabriele Graves said:

I would disagree.

I switched from Windows to Linux for daily use for at least 10 years.  I do not tinker with computers, I leave that to my partner but I haven't found anything lacking in the user experience that was available in Windows, not one thing.  It's at least as easy to use as Windows ever was for me and I cannot remember the last time my partner had to fix anything that I could not deal with.  The equivalents of common Windows applications that are available make it possible to do everything I have ever needed since switching.  I would simply go back to Windows or go to Mac if that were not true.  It also never decides to just reboot on me at inconvenient times and I never have to rollback drivers and yet it stays secure and up-to-date.

Interesting, I see OpenOffice claims to be supported on most Linux. Besides some specialized (MIDI, embroidery, etc.) software I would be fine on Linux..

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10 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Interesting, I see OpenOffice claims to be supported on most Linux. Besides some specialized (MIDI, embroidery, etc.) software I would be fine on Linux..

People tend to use LibreOffice these days but yeah it works as well if not better than I ever remember MS Office working.  It's like with everything, depends on what your needs are but many people don't have sophisticated needs from Windows applications either.  Having commonly available web browsers that are just the same as the Windows ones help with a lot of people's needs, especially as a lot of software runs over the web now.  Over the years, more and more major apps have appeared with Linux versions as an option, sure not everyone will find that their application has a Linux version but often it won't have a Mac version either and if you are a Mac user, switching to Windows may necessitate you having to leave behind some applications too.  Nothing is ever 100%

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10 hours ago, MarissaOrloff said:

You can always format the drive and put Windows 10 on it.

I don't have the software - my current laptop came with Win 10 already installed.

 

 

8 hours ago, Henri Beauchamp said:

Choose an OS-less laptop and install Linux: you won't regret it since it will provide you with the highest FPS rates for SLing...

As for the hardware, make sure to choose a PC with a NVIDIA GPU: their OpenGL driver is simply unbeatable (and by HUGE proportion) in regards to AMD's and Intel's, and with the new performance viewer and its core GL profile compatibility, this difference became even more dramatic (+50% FPS rates, at the minimum with it enabled).

I am considering the Linux route.  Started discussing that option with my husband late last night.  He has one work laptop with Linux on it.  Especially since I really only use SL and internet browsers on the laptop.  Though I do have a really, really old piece of freebie picture editing software that I use -- primarily because it is free, simple and I'm very familiar with it.  Then again, I seldom do much picture editing on my laptop these days anyway.
 

 

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6 hours ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Just curious, does your current machine have a traditional hard drive? A machine with a SSD will be lighter, of course. Plus, battery technology has advanced.

Yes, my current laptop has both an SSD and a traditional drive.  I am definitely only getting SSD on the new one.

 

 

 

I started skimming Amazon because they do still have some Win 10 laptops.  Found a bunch of MSI GF65 Thin series ones that get the weight down to 4.1 - 4.7 lbs.  Have only barely got started digging into the full specs and reviews on those though.

 

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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Macbook Air M1. No contest.

It runs SL fine, especially the new LL performance viewer.

It's light and slim, stupid fast for everything else you will do on a laptop, the screen is beautiful, it will even run iOS applications, and the battery just keeps on going and going. Charge it over night and leave the charger at home.

It's by far the best laptop experience I have ever had and I've owned and own a LOT of laptops (like a >2ft pile if I stack them up).

 

I would not recommend a Linux laptop. They can be a fun project if you like tinkering, but they're high maintenance, you're locked in a world of poor hardware support, shockingly bad battery life and there are no linux killer apps .. and lots of tinkering and hacking about should you want to run software that lacks a native linux port.

The only advantage is that when passing though customs, should they want to poke about and rummage though your device .. they will give up confused.

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4 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

Macbook Air M1. No contest.

My fear with going Mac is wondering how difficult it will be to learn to navigate it since I have always been on Windows (other than the linux servers that I deal with at work).  I'm old and don't learn things as quickly as I used to and am somewhat set in my ways.  Granted, my husband ended up with a Mac as one of his laptops in his job a few years ago and didn't have too much trouble adjusting.

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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SL viewers (all of them) are *much* slower under macOS than under Linux or even Windows for equivalent hardware (or prices); the reason is that OpenGL is stuck at v2.1 under macOS and in very bad shape (with lots of glitches and workarounds to avoid them in the viewer code).

If I were you, I would stay away from Macs... at least for SLing.

As for the supposed issues between Linux and laptops, it's also largely a cliché, as long as you stay away from the newest hardware that may not yet be supported under Linux. If you choose among OS-less laptops, they are usually designed to be fully Linux-compatible (but just like for everything, and not just computing, do make sure before buying). There are also laptops sold with Linux pre-installed...

Edited by Henri Beauchamp
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8 hours ago, bigmoe Whitfield said:

if the key (which tends to be in the bios on almost all laptops today) allows for that to happen, sure little can install windows 10, but it wont be activated and will be missing some features. 

That depends on the Windows edition. Windows Enterprise licenses and various others offer downgrade rights that do not loose any features.

Just one random example, Dell lists that option under "Business Laptops": "Operating Systems" : "Windows 10 pro with Windows 11 pro License".

https://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell-laptops-and-notebooks/sr/laptops/windows-10-pro-with-windows-11-pro-license?appliedRefinements=37829

Other vendors offer similar things for the "Windows 11 Pro" stuff.

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2 hours ago, Henri Beauchamp said:

True, if you are into AAA games, then it is easier to run them under Windows

Actually, with the investments of Steam and others into DXVK and Proton (https://www.protondb.com/) and stuff like Lutris (https://lutris.net/), thats not necessarily true anymore these days. Gaming on Linux mostly works, but you might get troubles with "Anti-Cheat" crap in some multi-player games, that try to install Windows kernel drivers or similar deeply scary stuff.

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37 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

My fear with going Mac is wondering how difficult it will be to learn to navigate it since I have always been on Windows (other than the linux servers that I deal with at work).  I'm old and don't learn things as quickly as I used to and am somewhat set in my ways.  Granted, my husband ended up with a Mac as one of his laptops in his job a few years ago and didn't have too much trouble adjusting.

There is a bit of a learning curve coming from Windows, but nothing like the curve going to Linux (although there is a full fat Unix under the hood if you ever wanted to go there).

It's all minor idiosyncrasies and a few touch pad gestures. There are a few little "oh right, its a mac, how do I ... " moments but no show stoppers.

I suggested a Macbook Air M1 as you wanted a laptop first that could also SL, and that part of the experience is hands down awesome. Depending on use I can go days without recharging it and it's not let me down once, the build quality is rock solid, and performance is surprisingly good. Even played some WoW & other games without even blinking.

Just don't be tempted to pump in the extra cash for a pro unless you're getting a much bigger machine, the low end pro and the air are 99% same under the hood. 8Gb ram is fine (really) and while I might like 16 more, In practice I've not found I needed it. There is the option of a bigger SSD and I did go for that .. but only because I was impatient and that was all they had (this is also why mine is GOLD .. it's stupidly ostentatious, which just makes me happy).

USB-C / Thunderbolt dongles is part of the experience and while I have a few for various things, they tend to stay at home (main one being a dock that gives me an extra screen, wired network and a lot of USB ports). Apples magic mouse is horrible coming from a PC, just grab a BT one if you must, I've only needed for gaming and don't tend to bother otherwise.

Another huge plus is there is no fan at all. It's completely silent which makes it great for audio stuff and poking things in the middle of the night while my partner sleeps.

It's also 2.8 lbs.

I am never lugging a beastly laptop that gets 2 hours off the mains and weights as much as a baby ever again.

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I mean I'm not a gamer girl, sooo 🙈 but maybe the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the Lenovo ThinkPad P1 is something you're looking for:

Lenovo is about to release the next generation very soon from what I've heard, that will be Generation 5 I assume.

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I looked up the Macbook Air M1 and it seems they are all 13.3" screens.  Eeeek.  I'm figuring a downsize to a 15.6" might be traumatic enough on my eyes.  I have not had a personal laptop smaller than 17" in over a decade.  That will take some serious thinking.

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56 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

I looked up the Macbook Air M1 and it seems they are all 13.3" screens.  Eeeek.  I'm figuring a downsize to a 15.6" might be traumatic enough on my eyes.  I have not had a personal laptop smaller than 17" in over a decade.  That will take some serious thinking.

make sure you bootcamp (think thats what it is) so you have a viable windows install too if you need it.

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