To make a long story short the eGPU setup was a pretty good portable solution, but not that convenient for day to day use, so it was time to put together another cheap desktop!
So it has come to my attention that I have too many computers (again). For the first time since college, I have four:
At first, I was thinking about combining just the desktop and the M6600: if I could get a slightly smaller laptop that was slightly more powerful, I thought I’d be okay with that. Unfortunately anything that meets those criteria doesn’t seem to be that cheap. Specifically, I was looking at the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 (these new Dell Inspirons have really useless names) with the GTX 960M, which goes for about $500-$600 used on eBay. This isn’t too bad, but then I still have two laptops.
So I want to combine the last three machines: the Samsung, the desktop, and the M6600, but that means I need an ultra-portable laptop like the Samsung that can still run WoWS maxed out. How can that be possible? Well, technology continues to happen – the passive desktop wasn’t practical until it was, and the M6600 wasn’t cheap until it was. There is a technology that is starting to become practical and cheap, and that is external graphics.
Like the Yoga retrospective, this post is very late on account of the events described having taken place after the soft ending of Nonsense Wars, but I would still like to document my experience with this machine.
When I wrote about my original fanless NUC project I mentioned that the mSATA SSD ran into the 70s even after I attached some tiny aftermarket heatsinks. This was really a sign of things to come: in “production” all of the temps on that machine were higher than I would have liked – not dangerously so, but just enough such that I wasn’t comfortable. So I kept my eye out for a replacement.
More than five years ago, when I retired my desktop Motoko, I thought I was done with desktops for good. Reasons for eliminating desktops from the “fleet” had ranged from size to dust to depreciation, but boy have times have changed. In early 2014 I replaced my T430 with the DC53427HYE, and that addressed all the previously mentioned concerns about desktops. In fact I even upgraded that to a better version of the same thing in 2015.
In late 2015 I started playing World of Warships, and ultimately became enamored with playing with all the settings turned up at 1080p. WoWS is not a particularly demanding game at 1080p, but I still needed to borrow my brother’s desktop with the Q6700 and HD6850 to max it out; my ThinkPad Yoga with the i5 u4300 can barely handle the *lowest* settings at 1080p. I was/am also in the process of playing Tales of Zestiria on the C2Q desktop. So, in the late summer of 2016 (now) after borrowing it for far too long, I finally decided to look at rolling my own.
I’ve been waiting for this for a really long time, at least since I dabbled with my fanless E6400 so many years ago.
About a year and a half ago, I got my T430 with the intent of using it as a desktop replacement. The idea was that the laptop draws less power, makes less noise, and takes up less space than even an SFF conventional desktop. It also has a built-in UPS (the battery), and you can obviously use it as a laptop in a pinch. This is all fine and dandy, and the T430 has been great so far, but it’s still a stopgap between that SFF conventional desktop and a machine that makes no noise and takes up even less space than a 14″ laptop and dock. Such a machine wasn’t really a practical option when I bought the T430… but it is now!