Computer advice thread ("What's the best way to do this?")


How come nobody told me about this? Gotta get a 1060 for the HTPC.

Hmmm. Even MSRP is still a lot. Maybe I’ll just use the Steam Stream.


Straight from the manufacturer prices are probably still elevated from the RAM shortage, sadly.


I have a slightly odd need in a computer. Does anyone know of a decent laptop that supports 2 or more NVME drives? Ideally easily accessible and maybe room for a 2.5" drive. Smaller is better, I don’t care about GPU or anything else really.


Le google result:

I can’t imagine such a laptop is gonna be good.


It doesn’t need to be good, it just needs to have the right IO. There might be a couple viable things on that list though so I guess I’ll work from there. I’m trying to avoid buying some specialty hardware that costs way too much.


The Lenovo P-series has two nvm-e slots and a 2.5" drive bay but it’s probably overkill.

-Sent from my P50


That actually looks just about perfect. It’s potentially taking the place of $3-$8k worth of equipment and I might be able to make use of the thunderbolt port. Most of the online discussion is for flashy gaming rigs which don’t look particularly “professional” so that’s a plus as well.


When I was setting up my universal harmony remote control, the software didn’t work on my new PC. My best guess was that the Harmony remote looked kind of old in the USB department. It had a mini-USB cable, not even micro. The only computer I have with USB 2 is my old Lenovo X201 that was in the closet untouched for years since I got an iPad.

As it turns out, the software worked on the Lenovo, and I was able to configure the remote.

But while I had that Lenovo out I couldn’t resist sprucing it up. I gave it all the windows updates. I uninstalled all the cruft. I got all the settings just right. I put the caps lock key back to control XD. Hey, this thing is still good and still has worth. Just kinda slow.

I could upgrade its 4GB of RAM to 8GB for about $70. I could also get it a new battery. The one that it has works and holds a charge, but the “remaining battery life” clock was fluctuating quite a bit. First party ones are like $80, third party ones were like $10, but might actually not explode.

Do I upgrade this guy and keep it going? Or do I stuff it back in the closet because its stupid to spend money on something I haven’t used in years?

I just feel bad for it. So sad.


If you’re realistically not going to use it why not give it to someone that will? I give serviceable but unneeded computers to a local charity that refurbs them for schools and teaches classes and stuff.

I do keep an old computer or 2 floating around for the occasional hooking up of old stuff, but I also have the storage space to hold on to junk.


I normally do try to give away everything I don’t use, but this is still my emergency computer. Even though it is in the closet, it still serves a purpose. You can see just now it helped me setup this Harmony remote. If I ever have to be on the move, and need a real computer because the iPad won’t cut it, then I always have the Lenovo.

Also, it has my cool stickers on it.


In that case I would suggest not buying RAM for it now because all RAM is overpriced (Plus DDR3 is easy enough to find, if I lived in NYC I could give you 8GB) and most of the knock off batteries are fine as long as they claim to be lower or comparable capacity to the original.

Also if you plan on not using it regularly, drain the battery to about 40% so that it will last longer and be less of a fire hazard.


Is this true? I always hear conflicting info on this sort of thing.


It makes sense from reports I’ve read, chemically (as far as I understand battery chemistry) and anecdotally from when I used to do a lot of computer refurbing.

Technically I think it has more to do with voltage than actual stored energy, but that’s not really a useful distinction for consumers. Mil spec lithium cells have a lower voltage cap for example.

Most of the confusion comes from things people learned from older battery tech and realistically it’s only worth worrying about if it’s likely to be stored for 6 months+.


It is likely to be stored for 6 months +.


I just put CentOS 7 with Gnome on an old Lenovo for @chrisislost. She loves it and it works great with only 4GB of RAM.

Now I have a genuinely useless laptop. It’s an old Toshiba with 2GB of RAM, a 5400 RPM platter drive and a single core Celeron circa '11 or '12. It struggles with just about any modern Windows, (yes, even 7) and with CentOS 7 it struggles to display a modern website. My first plan was to make it my a web server to play with, but now that I have an actual ESXi box, that seems silly. My last thought is to turn it into my car tuning laptop, since the battery still works quite well. If it’s not powerful enough for that, I think it’s wipe the HD and off to Goodwin.


I can’t imagine it not being powerful enough to interface with a car computer. Surely you don’t need a lot of horsepower (pun totally intended) to tweak variables and read outputs?


Like it said, if it can’t do that then it’s truly useless to me. It’s only got onboard Intel graphics, and not the good integrated in the CPU kind. Video processing is what will make or break this.


Is there any way to force Youtube to buffer videos the way it used to? The public WiFi in Lowe’s stores is very slow and can only stream at 480. I found a Firefox extension but it’s been abandoned for several years and doesn’t work with current Firefox or Youtube.


YouTube-dl always works, if you can run a command line.


So I’m thinking about using an Nvidia Shield as an HTPC. It looks like it has everything I need (including 4K support, and I don’t own a 4K TV yet), is cheaper than building one, and being based on Android, is arguably as open as a Windows-based HTPC would be…