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So after my semi-failed experiment in streaming games from my old machine upstairs to the entertainment center downstairs I thought I was done with PC gaming once again.

Then I had to buy a laptop. See, “my” laptop was actually provided by the company I worked for. They got bought and I thought I’d sort-of inherited the laptop but nope, last week I was told I needed to return it. I really wanted a laptop for ‘downstairs use’ so I started shopping. And then I got a crazy idea, and expanded my shopping horizons to include gaming laptops. Thanks to advice from Stargrace I wound up with an MSI, specifically the GS65 Stealth Thin.

This was the dumbest possible time to buy a new laptop since CES just happened and Nvidia announced the RTX chipset and all that but I’ve never been known to have a shred of patience.

After getting over some sticker-shock induced buyer’s remorse, I’m pretty happy with the machine except for the puny SSD drive inside (512 GB). I’d read that there is a 2nd SSD slot so figured I’d just install an additional TB drive, but didn’t research things thoroughly enough. To get to that slot you have to basically take the entire laptop apart, voiding the warranty, AND a TB SSD drive is $200-$250 and honestly I’ve spent enough for now. But I have a plan.

I skipped the whole ‘hook it to the TV’ idea and set up a desk in the corner of the kitchen devoted to PC gaming. Then I connected a 3 TB external drive and installed Steam on the external drive. I figure I’ll put most of my games on the external drive since I’ll be playing them seated at the desk with external mouse (and eventually bigger monitor) anyway, and I can just disconnect that drive when I just want a laptop to sit on the couch and do Internet stuff. Thanks to the machine having USB 3.1 ports, and the external drive also supporting USB 3, the access speed doesn’t seem to be a huge problem. ~knock on wood~ Eventually I might upgrade to an SSD Thunderbolt external but again, the cost of the laptop has definitely used up my “fun money” for the time being.

But then an even BETTER idea hit me. My machine upstairs can play older games and indie-type games, perfectly well, and it has plenty of drive space. I can still put Parsec streaming to use. I can stream older games from the upstairs PC and just install the latest or least input-lag sensitive games on the laptop itself. I haven’t tried this yet since I’m waiting for a 50′ ribbon Ethernet cable to run a hard line to the kitchen (Wi-Fi is a little dodgy in there) and then I’ll put it to the test.

My hope is that by the time this gaming laptop gets long in the tooth one or more of the various cloud-streaming services will have things working well enough that this can be my last GPU purchase, but we’ll see. The laptop has the GTX 1070 MAX-Q or something like that. QMAX? Anyway, not as fast as a proper 1070 but the display is 1080P and it seems fast enough to run today’s games at High or Ultra settings and still get 60 FPS. I wouldn’t try to drive a 4K display with this machine, though. Basically it was the best mobile GPU I could afford, and it’s why the hard drive is so small. For a similar price I could’ve got a 1060 MAX-Q and a 1 TB drive but I figured the GPU was more important.

One last obstacle. Whenever I’m sitting at the desk playing games, Lola is on the couch looking very confused and upset that I’m not over there with her. So next step is to get a doggie bed to put next to the desk. 🙂



Comments:
2
  • Why get a 50′ cable when you can use the American equivalent of a Power Line adaptor? I use the Solwise adaptors (UK mains compatible, UK plug) but – https://smile.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LHUJQJM – I’m sure you can find an equivalent for the US… That way, you don’t need to run wires throughout the house. The original edition of the HomePlug technology (That’s what they use) was a little flaky but the 1Gbit+ version (Usually notated as 1200 speed) is pretty solid…

    Don’t expect to get Gbit speed out of it – I generally get somewhere around 300Mbit from downstairs to attic, but that’s across a separate phase so going via the fusebox and therefore a worst-case for UK wiring. Pretty solid and relatively cheap (And saves you running wires through your plaster!)

  • @LazerFX — Thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t realize the Power Line adapter technology had gotten so good; I’ll file that away for future projects!

    In this case, though, the cable was $10 and it just runs along the molding down at floor level and is mostly behind stuff in our apartment so it’s pretty non-intrusive. All the branding is on one side so as long as you leave the plain white side facing outward you don’t really notice it.