New Computer First Impressions

My old computer was getting a bit long in the tooth.  It had a P4 generation twin core processor.  I had the motherboard maxed out with 8 GB of memory.  While that was adequate for most of the things I did, when I recently started using Daz-3D for cover art, it started getting painful.  Basically, I could do a render or I could do anything else  Couldn’t do both, especially if the render was anything complicated.

First choice was whether to get another desktop or a laptop.  I went with a laptop so that when travelling I could simply take my primary computer with me.  I times past the compromises necessary to reduce power use (for battery life) and fit the hardware into a reasonably sized “portable” computer meant that you had to trade computing power for portability.  That appears to be far less of an issue today although there does appear to be a modest cost premium to get the power in a portable configuration.  In the end, I decided that one computer both for home and travel was the way to go.  A “gaming laptop” had the features I wanted.  I chose a Dell G5 15, near the top end of the line.  8th Gen “Core I7” processor with 16 GB of memory NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX video with 6 GB of memory itself (for those renders).  It has a 512 GB SSD drive and a 1 TB HD for data.

I upgraded from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Pro, added Microsoft Office 2019 Home and Student and got the 3 year subscription to the security software.  Extended warranties so I’m covered for the next three years, which is a long time in computer years.  The computer itself does not come with an optical drive so I got an external DVD-RW drive.  Also got a 1 TB external SSD drive to serve as a backup device.

So I got the new computer up and running. So many things are so much more pleasant with this one. It renders faster and more stably when doing DAZ-3D stuff (like for covers). I can have a render going, be downloading something (for example GiMP)_and_ watching a video on Netflix.  I had not realized how painful some of the other things had gotten simply because I had gotten used to the previous computer and what now seems glacial slowness.  It is very nice to have things happen when I click or type without the lag.

On the one hand the screen’s got a much higher resolution than my old monitor. On the other, it’s physically smaller. Something of a trade off there. I’ll probably want to get a 4K monitor now that I’ve got a computer that can support it (via an HDMI interface).

Now that the computer itself is portable I can probably ditch the thumb drive I used to use for a lot of my writing files.  I previously had worked from the thumb drive taking it with me from one computer to another, but now I can simply take the computer.

There’s this little bitty camera at the top of the monitor, making this the first computer I’ve had with one. Oh, I had an old USB “webcam” for my old computer but I never had it even plugged in.  I’d gotten it for a special purpose that hadn’t worked out and so it sat unused.

The most I can say about the internal speakers is that they’re there. The maximum volume is rather low for my taste.  My hearing isn’t that great, never has been (at least not when it comes to discriminating sounds when there’s any kind of background noise) so I’ve got my external speakers plugged in.

And while the situation has not come up, I expect it will be very nice to be able to pack up my working computer and take it with me.

Windows 10 is…confusing. I’m still trying to figure out how to easily get to the things I want to use most. I think this may be the biggest one step change in the operating system since going from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95. Getting around is proving a little clunky but I’m managing.

Overall, I’m very pleased. I will put up with a learning curve in the UI for the improved performance this machine has over my old one. Oh, my goodness.

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5 thoughts on “New Computer First Impressions”

    1. Concur on Classic Shell – single best thing I’ve done to Win10. Run it on my machine (Win10 64-bit Pro) and hers (Win10 64-bit Pro – both are ThinkPads.) Simplifies things immensely, I DO NOT LIKE the “tile” pattern for Win10 native. Whenever I have to work on the flatmate’s machine (Win10 64-bit Home,) I go nuts trying to find things, because she doesn’t want Classic Shell installed. Grr…

      IRC, WClassic Shell will roll you back to Win7 or Win2K interface styles

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  1. One nice laptop, plus an external monitor – possibly an external keyboard. That’s quite good today. What was the cost range, around $2.5k?
    For coding, or screen presentation/ web conferences, two screens are great (watch on one, work on the other). For usual one person work, just the big external monitor for usual work is best.
    We also don’t like Win10; Win7 was pretty comfy, but it is closer to the Mac.
    Next computer will most like be a Mac, unless work requires Windows.
    (What to do with my 13 year old Win XP boat anchor? It still works, for surfing, but I don’t use it…)

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    1. I do video chats with family (we’re scattered all over the country,) so I have a sliding cover over mine. I slip it over to “open” for video chatting, then slip it over to “closed” when done. Easy, and still have camera functionality without tape scruds left on the bezel.

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