New Hardware Time

Last thing I wrote about…briefly, was my the smartwatch. That’s not the only new piece of hardware I’ve picked up. I finally bought another computer to replace the one I lost last year; but since my back is still being an asshole…I went with a laptop. A gaming laptop.

And my back is being a major asshat right now.

So what do you want to hear about first? My back or the laptop. Probably the laptop. I know I wouldn’t want to hear about my back and I know I’m far beyond done dealing with that asshole. Sadly, since it’s attached to my body I can’t. But at least we’ve got distractions.

So I’ve once again entered the territory of a laptop-only user when I picked up an Asus TUF FA506IV from Amazon last week. This has actually been something I’ve been looking at for well over a year; my last desktop blew up in 2019 from a lightning strike, leaving me without a decent computer. I mean…my HP Envy x360 is a fine machine…especially considering it’s pushing two or three years old at this point. But it’s not really much else than a convertable laptop. It’s dual-core i7 and SSD will get all of your basic tasks done; but everything else is a struggle. I actually bought the thing when I wasn’t in need of laptop; I was in Microcenter, it was a convertable, came with SSD and HDD, and it was a good deal.

But…I missed having my 15.6″ tablet running windows at my disposal. In fact It’s been so long since I’ve used it as a laptop I forget it functions as one. So, I started looking at either buying, upgrading, or building a desktop so I could start doing some gaming again. The reason I did it? I can’t fuck with a desktop system right now. I can’t lift one, I can’t assemble one, I can’t plug things up to it. I also don’t want to wait another several months to game again. Hell, I’m already mostly immobile and one can only watch so much Youtube/Hulu while in pain before you go crazy.

I realize the idea of a gaming laptop is a total oxymoron, at least from the viewpoint in which you judge it. They’re never as powerful as full fledged desktops, they’re loud, and they tend to be a bit gawdy with RGB lighting and aggressive designs that act like “looking tough” makes it run faster. But I can overlook all that ugliness if it’s got an acceptable set of hardware under the hood.

I went with an Asus TUF Gaming FA506IV (a varient of the A15). I went with Asus because I trust the brand. My first gaming laptop was a bit of an accidental purchase 10 years ago, an Asus ROG laptop. First time I’d ever heard of the ROG line and the first time I ever had a laptop with a dedicated GPU in it. It lived up to it’s name…being able to run Crysis at at time when that’s all that mattered. The TUF series seems to be a “budget” brand in the ROG line; the big thing here is it supposedly has military grade capacitors. It won’t be confused for a mil-spec device though.

On the inside it has a semi-decent array of hardware:

  • Ryzen 7 4800H (8-core 16-thread)
  • 32 GB RAM
  • 2TB SSD
  • 15.6″ FHD IPS 60hz LCD
  • 6GB Nvidia RTX 2060 mobile

Actually finding the Ryzen 7 4800H with the RTX2060 combo was quite limiting; most of this type of territory is strictly Intel. If you’re just gaming on the thing, that’s probably fine. However, I plan on doing other work with this; so the 8-cores of the Ryzen 7 were more attractive. Desktop-wise, this CPU performs exactly the same as a Ryzen 7 3700X. I guess I can’t complain too much; as the 3700X was on my list of processors on my desktop builds.

I don’t know where to rank the RTX2060 mobile in desktop terms. While it sits between a couple of GTX desktop cards performance wise; it is an RTX base on the newer core…..so it will do some raytracing the desktop equivalents won’t. It’s the same core as the desktop 2060 chips…just slower clock speeds.

The 2TB SSD is rather nice. I gave up a while back on thinking having an SSD as your primary disk was a bad idea due to write cycle limitations; controllers in the drives and the technology itself has improved to the point it shouldn’t be an issue. The 32GB of ram means I finally meet Chrome’s minimum requirements.

Complicating things though is the fact this thing technically has two GPUs; the RTX2060 and the Radeon graphics built in to the CPU…and the machine does make use of both. I’m not sure what kind of trickery had to occur…but all of your 2D and desktop rendering is done solely on the internal Radeon, using the RTX2060 for games. Well…most games. I’ve got a number of applications that won’t see or use the RTX2060. It somehow is able to pass the RTX’s video through the Radeon. I’m not sure how it accomplishes this or to what degree they’ll work together. I assume none. I have noticed a few games are making both do some work. This is also probably why most of these systems have been Intel based.

But how does it game?

For playing games in regular FHD, this thing screams. I have yet to find a game that doesn’t run at a solid 60fps with graphics options turned up. Forza Horizon 4 automatically cranked everything to “ultra”, Borderlands 3 runs really nice with the absolute highest graphics settings.

Except I’m not really gaming at FHD right now, I’m gaming in UHD. But, it still gets the job done. I can crank the graphics settings down a bit and get 3840×2160 gaming at a smooth framerate on my 4K TV. I gotta run Borderlands 3 on low; but it runs smooth. Flight Simulator 2020 is another story; but you need a god-tier system to run that at ultra in 4K. 1080p or 1440p and FS2020 is smooth at ultra. Since the internal LCD is only FHD and my primary montior is only 1080; this isn’t a problem. I’m only doing this now because I’m stuck in the house and hooked up to a 4K TV.

It boots Windows in about 18 seconds too. I don’t even bother putting the thing to sleep.

Server/imghost stuff

The imghost is the one thing on the server that continues to give me some minor issues; although I finally found a workaround. It’s apparently not 100% related to the server and, as I thought, is more related to the auth module. I figured out the issue I had uploading images could be solved by invoking Linxserver’s built-in downloader. For whatever reason, the normal dropbox.js method fails if it has to ask you for a login; but not remote image upload. Once I have it download an image, the resulting auth token works for standard image uploads. In fact even if there’s a broken upload “pending”, the remote upload trick clears it out and it all starts working.

If I Only Had a Spine that Wasn’t So Fucked

I’m going on week 4 of the massive massive issues with my back…which actually started back in August. However a couple days before thanksgiving I was unable to actually stand up straight, or sit up straight, or lie down, or anything. Between the sciatic pain and everything else; I’ve largely checked out of any other major responsibilities. I haven’t been able to sleep in my own bed for weeks…let alone sleep. I’ve gotten some relief with a TENS unit, reduced my work schedule to the point I’ll probably be bankrupt by 2020, and have just done everything I can to find a position that’s pain-free and doesn’t cause the numb-tingling in my leg. In 2013 my right leg started to tingle…and that was the last time I ever had any sensation in it.

Well…that is all I feel like writing. I’m currently camped out in a recliner with a keyboard in my lap. I just felt like I needed to publish some update to the site. I’m in bad shape…real bad shape. I’ll probably be in bad shape for a while.

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