Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Well, Damn It

I ordered a notebook.

I need to be able to develop outside the house. It's frequently too noisy to work during the day, plus we're out of town most weekends for hockey, so I need to be able to be productive anywhere.

Plus, it would be a bonus to be able to game a bit. For research, people!

I've been looking at the Dell XPS 15 for months, but the refresh won't happen until CES in January, and I don't know how long it will be until units start shipping.

Then I saw the Gigabyte Aero 14.

Here are the specs:
Aero 14Wv6-BK4 14" Notebook
QHD IPS display
6th Gen Intel Skylake i7-6700HQ
DDR4 2400 16Gx1 RAM
Win 10

Sexy, huh? A 1060 would work fine with most games at 2560x1440. A blazing fast hard drive. Plenty of RAM.

Price? $1699. But it's a business expense, and even if it wasn't, that's a very reasonable price for those specs.

I ordered last week, and it was delivered yesterday.

I charged up the battery for an hour or so, then turned it on. There were a few brief screens to finish installing Windows, and one screen asked me for my wifi password.

The password is on a piece of paper an arms length from my desk, so I reached over, grabbed the paper, and looked back at the screen.

It was blank.

That's right. Brand new notebook and it can't get through three screens without crashing.

Rebooted. Was able to finish the Windows install this time.

Now, though, my suspicion radar was on full alert.

I downloaded the 3DMark demo to do a stress test. I ran TimeSpy, which, based on reviews I'd read, should wind up with a score of about 3500.

The benchmark hadn't been running for more than two minutes when the fans spun up like a jet engine. The system was so hot that it felt like it would melt through the floor.

Final score? 2375.

I ran it again a few hours later, and this time, with much less fan action, the score was 2950. Still almost 20% below its peers.

Then I ran some system stress tests (not Prime or anything--that would probably melt it) and it seemed to be stable.

All right, I thought. Maybe I can salvage this.

Powered down in Windows--and went to a blank screen, but not off. I could hear the fans running lightly in the background.


I decided to just let it sit there and see what would happen. About twenty minutes later, it lurched back to life. I tried to shut down again, and this time it worked.

I think if I was younger, and had more time, I might be willing to troubleshoot all this crap, but I'm not, and I don't. If something costs $1700, it should work out of the box, and intermittent display issues are notoriously difficult to troubleshoot.

So it's going back, and I guess I'm waiting for the XPS 15 refresh. It doesn't matter if a system has the perfect combination of components if it's only half-baked when it gets released.

Site Meter