Category Archives: Hardware

New laptop – ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

After 8 years with MacBook Air I had to upgrade it. The main reason was the urge to back to Windows ecosystem. I still think that no serious work can be done on MacOS.

Anyway, after some research I wanted to get something with 14″ screen and with Ryzen 9 from 6000 series (great performance when needed + superior energy saving features). I had to place the order in July/August 2022, and my options were… none! I wanted a Lenovo ThinkPad, but they’re just not available. I saw Asus laptops showing up briefly in some shops and I was able to snipe something that had almost everything I wanted.

Some raw specs:

  • Model: GA402RK – L8152W
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS (8 cores, 16 threads, 3.30–4.90 GHz, 20 MB cache)
  • GPU: AMD Radeon 680M with 8GB GDDR6
  • RAM: 32GB (DDR5, 4800MHz)
  • Storage: 1TB NVMe (upgradeable)
  • Screen: 14″ mat LED IPS, 2560 x 1600, 120Hz
  • Weight: 1720g
  • Two power supply units provided (lighter USB-C for travel + heavier dedicated one for performance)

It arrived in a nice, premium packaging. I had to charge it before first run. The build quality is good, but not nearly what Apple provides. It has 4 speakers, but the sound quality is super bad, compared to a 8 year old MacBook Air.

It comes with Windows 11 Home, so I’ll have to upgrade it to Pro at some point. It took quite a bit of time to set up the very basics, which was annoying. I still can’t get it to properly enter power saving mode when I close it, so it uses 1% battery per hour if I don’t power it off. The on-case bling bling display is just annoying. I’m uses to high-end Razer mechanical keyboards, so I was underwhelmed with the feel of the one I got with the laptop. That pretty much sums up the downsides.

On the good side – the screen is great, camera is decent, and performance is really, really good. With my average use the battery lasts 5 hours. I can get over the small issues I pointed out above, so in the end I’m pretty happy with this laptop.

Raspbian Stretch, WiFi and TP-Link TL-WN725N

Few weeks ago I had to install fresh Raspbian on my old Raspberry Pi 2B. Everything was way smoother than few years ago, when I bought it. The only annoying issue I had was getting the WiFi to work properly. My TP-Link card (TL-WN725N) had it’s diode indicating that it’s operational, but Raspbian couldn’t find any networks.  I saw the OS recognizing the card, and after scanning for SSIDs, I saw my network. It was pretty weird – Raspbian still wouldn’t connect to them. After few hours of googling and trying few solutions, I found two sources with tips that helped me.  Here they are:

https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=191061

https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/50967/raspi-3-wlan0-not-associated?answertab=active

Hardware update: GTX 1070

Few days ago I got an GFX upgrade: I bought a GeForce GTX 1070 by MSI, thanks to @Obraxis. I’m really happy with it – price was good, I got a free copy of latest Gears of War, performance is awesome, and it does have passive mode. I had few issues with it though!

My previous GPU was a GTX 780 by Asus. It was pretty awesome too, but damn, performance got DOUBLED with the 1070! Check out the benchmark results here. Score on GTX 780 was almost exactly 3000 points.

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The big issue I had with this piece of hardware was pretty intense. Right since I logged on to my OS, I saw shit ton of artifacts. I was confused – I checked all cables and installed fresh drivers. It was a bit better, but I had to return the card on day 3. The second unit is having this issue too, but I haven’t seen it since a week ago.

After some digging, it turned out I was not going insane. MSI had to recall a whole batch of those cards released on Chineese market! But hey, I’m in Europe, right? Nope, looks like a lot of manufacturers used shitty Micron memory! Thankfully, it can be fixed with an update to card’s BIOS. Again, thanks to @Obraxis for sending me that link. After checking my card with GPU-Z, here’s what I saw:

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All in all, I’m happy with my new GPU!