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flat assembler > Heap > Linux hardware advice: What to buy?

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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street


YONG wrote:
In fact, one of the mods has mentioned that he/she has to deal with big files on a regular basis and thus the small SSDs in most Chromebooks can never meet his/her needs. Guess who? Rolling Eyes

Yes, so how does that make me want an SSD? I need size not speed.

YONG wrote:
The sizes of most laptops are pretty standard: 11.6", 13.3", 14", 15.6", and so forth. It is very unlikely that the corresponding lithium battery packs will have any big changes in sizes and/or dimensions in the foreseeable future.

Besides, why would you even need to consider the "general" case? Your laptop must come from one of the major manufacturers and must belong to a specific model and size. You only need to make sure that replacement battery packs for your specific model are available for a reasonably-long period of time.

Like I said, any pack that doesn't use standard size cells internally is non-negotiable. I am not going to put myself in a position of hoping the manufacturer keeps making their custom cell packs.
Post 30 May 2017, 07:02
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


revolution wrote:
I am not going to put myself in a position of hoping the manufacturer keeps making their custom cell packs.

Right! Those 18650 cells rock!

But you are putting yourself in a position of being unable to find any laptops that fit your picky requirements, which sucks!

Wink
Post 30 May 2017, 07:26
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street

They are available. But from smaller companies at higher prices. I want to explore alternative options also.
Post 30 May 2017, 07:28
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Furs



Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 946


revolution wrote:
Yes, I'm using the proprietary drivers that came with the machine when it was purchased. For my current machine, it is AMD with the GPU and CPU in the same package. For my older 2003 machine the WiFi card cannot be used and the keyboard mapping is all wrong.

Well unfortunately I think back then drivers were pretty bad, not to mention AMD have worse Linux support than Nvidia. Though you can't really have the same expectation with a "recent" graphics card that can use "recent" drivers, since they improved a lot in Linux land. Unfortunately, they're not going to bother with drivers for your 2003 card nowadays...

Like I said, since you can't find one without Windows pre-installed (why I had prebuilt machines), you can always try to dual boot and see how it ends up. You might have to fix up a few things, but if it's trivial (trivial means, you google and find a fix fast like most "problems" which are stupidly minor), it's still a learning experience. (e.g. how to install driver from PPA which is easy). You can do this in your free time of course. Maybe you'll become a Linux guru after a year Razz

(of course while "learning" to use Linux, you can use your machine if you get frustrated, boot back to Windows etc, just give it time to get used to it; I was confused at first too, now it's second nature)



Also, I agree with revolution about HDDs. SSDs are too expensive and provide minor improvements for some of us. Plus I find them more unreliable due to firmware bugs since they're so much more complex. (I've had one randomly zero-out used blocks due to bug with queued TRIM, corrupting my files, thankfully I never store data on SSD that I don't already have backed up on HDD, I just use it for "cache")

I mean, it's quite a stretch to think we all deal with encoding videos (besides that, the bottleneck is in the CPU/GPU encoding, unless you use trash "fast" settings which will ruin your video -- I'd rather wait 1 hour for an encode with slightly better quality than one done in 5 min, multi-core CPUs exist for a reason so you can multi-task). But yeah I guess we deal mostly with code which AFAIK doesn't take up that much space Razz
Post 30 May 2017, 10:19
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sleepsleep



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 6992
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Furs wrote:

SSDs are too expensive and provide minor improvements for some of us.


i said from experience, a celeron laptop with SSD will have impressive performance compare to i3 or i5 or i7 with mechanical hard drive,

btw, SSD is getting cheaper, a 120GB is ok, in fact, a 60GB is ok too, it just the pricing strategy cause us to buy 240GB Embarassed
Post 30 May 2017, 16:31
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street


Furs wrote:
Like I said, since you can't find one without Windows pre-installed (why I had prebuilt machines), you can always try to dual boot and see how it ends up. You might have to fix up a few things, but if it's trivial (trivial means, you google and find a fix fast like most "problems" which are stupidly minor), it's still a learning experience. (e.g. how to install driver from PPA which is easy). You can do this in your free time of course. Maybe you'll become a Linux guru after a year Razz

(of course while "learning" to use Linux, you can use your machine if you get frustrated, boot back to Windows etc, just give it time to get used to it; I was confused at first too, now it's second nature)

The dual boot thing is not a path I want to follow. I refuse to be spied upon, and advertised to, by MS with their "latest and greatest" OS. If I do buy a cheaper system with the right specs (but with Windows on it), then I intend to fully format it and put another OS on it before using it.

Note: I still have to solve the FDE aspect of Linux. There are some major problems with how it is done.
Post 30 May 2017, 19:53
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Furs



Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 946

@sleepsleep: How so? You compare processing power with loading data from storage, which makes no sense. What are you guys doing with loading (or writing) so much data?

My PC boots in ~20 sec on HDD (Linux / optimized) with no hibernation or other caching bullshit which is more than fine since I don't even stare at it when it's booting (you know, multi-tasking in real life). Typically, I use up around 2GB or less of disk cache on a "normal" day (and that's the entire day). With 16GB of RAM I barely even use the disk as most temporary stuff goes directly to /tmp (i.e. on RAM, ramdisk in Windows world).

You know, disk reads get cached into RAM so they're only slightly slower the first time around.

I guess "games" would be a place where SSD helps more, but I doubt anyone buys a laptop for "serious gaming" (those demanding games).


@revolution: Well, it would be a stepping stone before you commit to Linux fully. I didn't mean you have to follow it permanently, but until you "figure it out" (and set it for that laptop), then just remove Windows or just never boot into it again.
Post 30 May 2017, 19:56
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street


Furs wrote:
@revolution: Well, it would be a stepping stone before you commit to Linux fully. I didn't mean you have to follow it permanently, but until you "figure it out" (and set it for that laptop), then just remove Windows or just never boot into it again.

This is philosophical thing for me now with MS. I won't support their business by providing them with any of my data. So W10, quite simply, will not be a thing I will ever use.

Although I do realise the inherent oxymoron with buying a W10 system initially as a source of getting lower cost hardware. My philosophical stance can only stretch so far when it sees a potential to save hundreds of dollars. Razz
Post 30 May 2017, 20:09
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


revolution wrote:
They are available. But from smaller companies at higher prices.

You should just buy your dream laptop from one of those small manufacturers. Hopefully, they will not go out of business soon.

At the end of the day, you, apart from paying a big premium, are just putting yourself in another risky position of relying on the technical support of such small companies.

Wink
Post 31 May 2017, 02:27
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street

Yeah, I mentioned that support would be less than wonderful. That is why I am exploring other options also.
Post 31 May 2017, 02:29
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


Furs wrote:
@sleepsleep: How so? You compare processing power with loading data from storage, which makes no sense.

sleepsleep was making his remarks based on the perspective of an ordinary user. Most users don't know or care about technical terms like "processing power", "read/write speeds", "disk latency", and so forth. All they see or care about is how responsive a system is. In that aspect, a modern consumer-grade SSD can make all the difference.

Wink
Post 31 May 2017, 02:35
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


revolution wrote:
That is why I am exploring other options also.

Given your picky requirements, you have no other options!

Wink
Post 31 May 2017, 03:14
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revolution
When all else fails, read the source


Joined: 24 Aug 2004
Posts: 15368
Location: 77256 23rd Street


YONG wrote:
Given your picky requirements, you have no other options!

I don't want to believe that. Perseverance and patience may pay great rewards. Time will tell.
Post 31 May 2017, 03:18
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


revolution wrote:
Perseverance and patience may pay great rewards. Time will tell.

Well said. Given that your 2003 laptop still works, you can definitely wait a bit longer before making a decision. Some inexpensive Linux-based laptops that meet your picky requirements will emerge in 2023, I believe.

Wink
Post 31 May 2017, 05:15
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Furs



Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 946


YONG wrote:
sleepsleep was making his remarks based on the perspective of an ordinary user. Most users don't know or care about technical terms like "processing power", "read/write speeds", "disk latency", and so forth. All they see or care about is how responsive a system is. In that aspect, a modern consumer-grade SSD can make all the difference.

It doesn't matter what they care about, what matters is that we know better since we're programmers. What exactly makes it more "responsive"? The fact apps load a bit faster the first time you use them? Maybe it makes a huge difference on systems with a crap amount of RAM. Here's a tip: buy a HDD and with leftover money (since it costs much less than SSD) double or quadruple your RAM.

I monitor my HDD activity constantly with a graph on another workspace (Linux thing), e.g. with a program like gkrellm. There's many situations when there's literally zero HDD activity for 15minutes if not more, because everything has already been cached to RAM and all temporary writes go directly to the RAMdisk (e.g. browser data). HDD is barely used as it is, and it can read at 100MB/s sequentially which is plentiful for responsiveness compared to "processing power" needed for single-threaded apps.

I mean, this is Linux we're talking about. "RAMdisks" are nothing special and require zero 3rd party or any installs, they're just as crucial to the system as the normal filesystem.

Oh, and paging should be completely disabled. Just put

Code:
swapoff -a

in a startup (root) script like /etc/rc.local
Post 31 May 2017, 11:48
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


Furs wrote:
It doesn't matter what they care about, what matters is that we know better since we're programmers.

Yes, what the end-users care about does matter. And no, I am (or was) more than just a programmer. Before I quit my I.T. career a long time ago, I was a functional/systems analyst. That's why I see/understand things that you, merely as a programmer, may never comprehend.

Wink
Post 31 May 2017, 12:18
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Furs



Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 946


YONG wrote:
Yes, what the end-users care about does matter.

Explain how does it matter? It matters for companies making SSDs, alright, but this thread isn't about "how to market a company's SSDs" since I doubt revolution works at such a job. Wink

It doesn't matter how many people believe "it feels so much faster" because browser launched (the first time only after a boot) in 0.2sec instead of 1sec. Placebo isn't true in computing since they'll go "web pages load faster!" and other nonsense of course.

But alas this thread isn't about giving (marketing) advice to a casual. Razz
Post 31 May 2017, 14:22
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YONG



Joined: 16 Mar 2005
Posts: 8000
Location: 22° 15' N | 114° 10' E


Furs wrote:
It doesn't matter how many people believe "it feels so much faster" because browser launched (the first time only after a boot) in 0.2sec instead of 1sec.

It does. In fact, many Firefox users switched to Chrome because the new browser was a little bit faster. To most users, a faster, more responsive system is a better system. Period.

Wink
Post 01 Jun 2017, 04:16
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Furs



Joined: 04 Mar 2016
Posts: 946

Rolling Eyes Feels like I'm talking with a non-techie. To me Firefox "feels" faster, go dispute it. You can't, because it's subjective bullshit (I don't actually believe that Firefox is faster, since I've never done any measurements cause I don't care). Nobody cares how people feel something is, that's why it doesn't matter the reason they pick something.

Let me use a hypothetical scenario (it's not real). let's say Chrome launches instantly while Firefox launches in 3 seconds. But Firefox loads a web page instantly while Chrome takes 1 second doing so. Which one is "faster"? Most casual people will say Chrome because it launches faster even though it actually loads pages slower in this example (or at same speed). Besides that, loading pages is pure processing power and software optimization (and network connection but that is the same for both of them).

This example is obviously purely fictive and exaggerated, but you get the idea I hope. I'm not interested in placebos and people's fashion statements about software or computers, justifying their money spent. I'm interested in facts because, as programmers, we should know better. And the fact we know better means we should give proper advice instead of what others "feel".


And now to something actually factual, let me reiterate again that disk accesses get cached in RAM. So if Firefox launches slower than Chrome the second time, that's a sign of bad software optimization or CPU processing power.

To "feel" a faster PC the first time you launch a bloated application, get a SSD.
To "feel" a faster PC all the time after that, get a better CPU or more RAM with that money.

Tradeoff is obvious. Now of course a SSD of equal size as a premium HDD and at same price would be "better" in terms of almost everything (I'd question reliability, but HDDs can fail too), but life doesn't work that way.

And encoding videos are a kind of terrible example to use for SSDs, in my opinion. After all, videos are disk space hogs (especially the kind that require a high bandwidth to necessitate a SSD in the first place for writing "fast" or whatever). Disk space hog and SSD don't really mix well for budget. If you're gonna copy it/back it up to HDD anyway for archival/storage and then delete it (to make space on SSD), then what's the point of writing it to SSD in the first place?


Do you know the main reason most people think installing a SSD on a old computer makes it "fly" (term used for being super fast)? Because of RAM. More specifically, too low amount of RAM. Pages like crazy or isn't able to cache anything because it's too limited. Wouldn't it make sense to get more RAM instead and keep your HDD for, you know, storage, the thing it was meant for instead of speed? RAM is for speed.
Post 01 Jun 2017, 11:15
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TmX



Joined: 02 Mar 2006
Posts: 796
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia


revolution wrote:
I don't want to believe that. Perseverance and patience may pay great rewards. Time will tell.



Once you met your working Linux system, please let us know.
Smile
Post 01 Jun 2017, 12:17
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