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Pros: I got this from Newegg as a gift. For the most part, I am very happy with it, but had to work on it over a few days to get it configured well. More later. Let's go over the pros.
- Hardware-wise, this laptop is a steal at this price point. Nothing can really touch it in terms of power for a grand. Update the graphics driver and be sure to enable SLI in the nVidia control panel as it may not turn on automatically. I can play any modern game on this without a problem. For example, I can play the newest Tomb Raider with everything maxed (minus the fancy hair thing) and get a respectable 30+ frames per second. Impressive.
- The brushed aluminum is quite nice despite it being a fingerprint-magnet. Cool to the touch when the machine is off.
- Looks professional despite its power. Its powerful, but subtle about it - not riced out with gaming foo foo everywhere. I appreciate that.
- The ultrabay is actually really neat. I picked up a hard drive adapter for it when I am not utilizing the second card. You can also get a DVD drive for it as well if you need one. Handy to have. While its just as easy to get USB accessories of these as well (external hard drive or enclosure, DVD Burner), its nice to not have to use up extra space in my bag if I just grab whatever ultrabay thing I want that day, plug it in, and just go.
- The matte Full HD (1080p) screen is beautiful, with good viewing angles. At 15.6", 1080p looks incredible. So tired of glossy screens.
- Blacklit keyboard is handy in the dark. Can be activated and deactivated with the function key and space at any time. The keyboard itself is comfortable and a pleasure to type on.
- Speakers sound great for laptop speakers. Don't ever kid yourself into thinking laptop speakers will be as good as what you have on your desktop, however.
- Always-On USB ports are a nice touch. This allows you to turn off your laptop completely and charge any USB devices you have plugged in. Good thinking, Lenovo.
- I like the boot menu button a lot. It's a nice not having to figure out what function key to hit during startup.
Cons: The BAD:
- Windows 8. This is, quite honestly, the worst thing about this laptop. Windows 8 is clearly an operating system for tablets and game consoles. Honestly, this has no place on here nor on a desktop. No. Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade, however, and is slightly better about it, as it adds in some options to start straight to desktop, but is still a far cry from Windows 7. Luckily I'm a college student and was able to get a "free" legitimate copy of Windows 7 off of Dreamspark. If you're a poweruser, consider this "downgrade" to Windows 7. Otherwise, just download Windows 8.1 from the Microsoft "App" store.
- Windows 8 UEFI. I'm used to having my Windows key available to me in case I need to do a fresh install. The way Windoze 8 is installed here, you do not have access to your key (unless you use third-party software to "find" it for you). This is pretty irritating. MAKE AN IMAGE OF YOUR DRIVE BEFORE YOU DO ANYTHING (like transfering to an SSD) as the recovery partition didn't work for me (more later).
- Touchpad is as bad as I read before buying this. It seems to have difficulty telling between moving the mouse, touch-clicking, and dragging, as it tries desperately to do all these things simultaneously. It appears to be a Windows driver issue, as it functions perfectly in Linux. The included Windows driver is hilariously bad. Kill it with fire and download the latest one from Synaptics and it will be better, but still not great. I'm a little surprised that Lenovo allowed an otherwise awesome machine to ship with such an embarrassing issue. Regardless, I still got this laptop because I usually carry a mouse with me anyway.
- Only three USB ports. I'm not the guy that has to have everything plugged in all the time, but for those of you that do, consider getting yourself a hub.
- The hard drive is only 5400RPM. In plain english, this is as slow as drives go these days. On the positive end, it is a full terabyte and boots relatively fast (since it is a hybrid SSHD, but not as fast as an SSD). However, being that I'm on the go all the time, I really benefit from an SSD. Unfortunately, the cloning process to an SSD failed, and for some reason, the recovery partition didn't work for me. Worse, since Lenovo doesn't give you the Windows key, nor any recovery disks, I was not able to restore the drive to factory. By that point, I was already pretty peeved with Win 8 anyway, so I just did a fresh install of Windows 7 X64 on an SSD and everything is wonderful. The terabyte drive is now living in my ultrabay caddy and used when I don't need the second video card.
Other Thoughts: - Battery life is pretty short, but if you're looking at laptops with this kind of hardware, this isnt really an issue. Browsing the web or working on homework gets me around three hours. With the wifi and screen dimmed down you may be able to hit three and a half. To reach four, you'd need to remove or disable the second video card and enable Intel's optimus. Unfortunately, Optimus doesn't work if you have SLI.
- During heavy use, like gaming, it will get HOT. I'm talking 75+ degrees Celcius. That is unfortunate. If you plan on gaming heavily on this, I'd consider throwing down a couple tens on a good cooling stand like a Zalman or Cooler Master. Will the computer explode if you don't? No.
Regardless, this is an excellent machine for the cost. If you can live with the shortcomings, you'll find an excellent bargain here. I'm really happy with it.
This review is from: Mushkin Enhanced MKNSSDBRKT2535 2.5" to 3.5" drive adapter bracket
Pros: It's a drive mount. Comes with small screws for the drive, and larger screws to mount in your drive bay.
No Mushkin logo anywhere, but it's not like you were going to be looking at it anyway.
Cons: It doesn't give massages.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Pros: Huge upgrade from my 5 year old 5400 RPM dinosaur. Instead of taking 3+ minutes to boot or reload from hibernation, compy now loads in 30 seconds to a minute on SATA 3.
Included Magician monitoring software is nice too. Displays all sorts of useful information, benchmarking, and drive stats along with suggestions to how to make the drive perform at its fastest (virtual memory size recommendations, using AHCI instead of IDE, etc). Intuitive and easy to use.
Cons: Cloning software wasn't as well designed as I would have hoped. I'm sure it works well otherwise, but unfortunately, it only detects the drive if it is connected via a USB adapter. Not sure why this was. Since I don't have that adapter and was using internal SATA, I had to use different cloning software instead. Not a big deal for me, but some users may be a little put off by this.
Other Thoughts: Excellent little drive for the money. I installed this in a desktop, so do not forget to get yourself an SSD 3.5" drive mount if you're doing the same. This package does not contain one.
Includes SSD, software disk, installation guide, and warranty.