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Maintaining a laptop for as long a life possible

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 10, 2012 4:03:26 PM

Hey guys,

I'm about to receive my NP9150 from www.reflexnotebook.ca.

I was wondering about some good and possibly innovative ways to prolong, extend and otherwise maintain my new laptop as best I can. This would be things other than defrag, virus scan every 2 weeks, disk cleanup.

Any and all useful suggestions are welcomed!
October 10, 2012 4:14:45 PM

when it starts feeling slow, replace the HDD with a SSD.
It will become better than new :) 
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October 10, 2012 4:20:50 PM

I have an 180GB SSD in this baby, it's going to be quick : ) any other suggestions will help a lot! thanks!
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a b D Laptop
October 10, 2012 4:38:32 PM

Hi,

The worse would be overheating
Check you temps especially if your gaming

Don't game on your bed so that the fan can cool it off properly.
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a b D Laptop
October 10, 2012 4:40:34 PM

With a SSD, do not defrag. It does no good, and reduces longevity.
Windows should have turned it off.

Don't drop it:) 

Occasionally give it a stress test and monitor temperatures. If the temperatures start to get hot, clean dust out of the cooler.
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October 10, 2012 4:42:17 PM

I am thinking of obtaining a laptop cooler tray, any suggestions as to the most effective ones? I am thinking of getting a slanted one, would this effect anything in a negative way? thanks
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a b D Laptop
October 10, 2012 4:44:51 PM

mikehurley said:
I am thinking of obtaining a laptop cooler tray, any suggestions as to the most effective ones? I am thinking of getting a slanted one, would this effect anything in a negative way? thanks


I doubt that such a tray would hurt or help.
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October 10, 2012 4:58:48 PM

+1 to dextermat and geofelt. Heat can destroy your laptop, it doesn't always have to be under much stress, make sure you use it someplace where the vent is actively venting heat.

A cooling pad (lapdesk that has fans and elevates the laptop for more airflow underneath) isn't a bad idea, especially when gaming.

Don't drink stuff around your laptop, and keep it closed when not in use. An external keyboard and mouse can reduce the wear and tear on it if/when you're at a desk (monitor doesn't hurt either).
Always keep it a few inches from ledges, and keep the rubber feet in good condition (replace them if needed).

Mostly semi-common sense stuff. Just never forget that you are using a fragile 1200$ piece of equipment, that's when bad things can happen.

edit: Imo, a cooler tray that lifts the bottom of the laptop a bit to improve incoming airflow would help, fans wouldn't hurt either and may help if they are in the right spot. It doesn't need to be a drastic slant/lift, unless you plan on working on soft surfaces, a 1/4" at the back is enough to open up airflow a lot. (Though I'm not really an expert on laptop cooling, this is just my rationale)
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October 10, 2012 5:12:44 PM

Never defrag an SSD!
The theory is that SSDs have no moving parts and are therefore more reliable... The reality is the reliability is about the same, with the chance of failure for both SSDs and HDDs increasing over time.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-fai...
The study also shows an increase in HDD reliabilty over past years.
Basically, as you have been told, keep the temperatures of your laptop as low as possible.
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October 10, 2012 5:45:06 PM

pacioli said:
Never defrag an SSD!
The theory is that SSDs have no moving parts and are therefore more reliable... The reality is the reliability is about the same, with the chance of failure for both SSDs and HDDs increasing over time.
http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/ssd-reliability-fai...
The study also shows an increase in HDD reliabilty over past years.
Basically, as you have been told, keep the temperatures of your laptop as low as possible.


holy ***... did not know this. thanks for the heads up.

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October 10, 2012 5:45:44 PM

Quote:
Don't use it. :D 


hehe it will be too pretty anyways
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October 10, 2012 5:53:36 PM

mikehurley said:
I have an 180GB SSD in this baby, it's going to be quick : ) any other suggestions will help a lot! thanks!


Don't defrag an SSD- it will shorten its life...

Also, this is a pain in the butt, but if possible, try to drain the battery all the way before charging it. It keeps the battery working better longer. consider buying a spare battery now and socking it away if you think it'll be hard to find a battery in a couple years. this isn't a dell or an hp after all. Either that or get familiar with how to open a battery pack and replace cells by hand.
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October 10, 2012 6:11:57 PM

I need a windows vista disk so I can re-install windows. My laptop is 3 years old, and I do have a gaming PC but this is excellent for just browsing online awhile I don't have a monitor, (4 months later).
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October 10, 2012 6:12:12 PM

Buy yourself a quality case for it. The biggest issue over time is the daily bumps and bangs while moving around.

A GOOD case is not some $20 cloth bag, or rubber sleeve you can find in the dollar store, but something that will protect your laptop from people running into you, weather, coffee spills while on the bus, and kids sitting on it. It also provides a great place to keep your power adapter so you dont lose it.

If you plan to use your laptop both on the road and at home - get a second power adapter. Leave one at home, and keep the 2nd one in your case. This way you have a backup, and your less likely to forget your adapter.
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October 10, 2012 6:15:51 PM

My advice would be to purchase the most powerful machine you can afford then just take great care to ensure that it does not get physically abused - dropped, banged, liquid and food spills, ect.. I'm not sure if this matters any more but I also fully drain the battery every few weeks before re-charging. I also don't leave the machine on 24 x 7 - only when I need it which is for a few hours each week. I have followed this practice for many years and my Toshiba from 1993 still runs Windows 95. My current laptop is a Dell from 1999 that is running XP. Maybe I'm just lucky but I have only had to replace the battery on my Dell once...
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October 10, 2012 6:37:36 PM

1) Apply the best thermal paste you can(i.e. IC diamond or Arctic MX-4 etc)

2) Don't leave the battery plugged in while running off a wall outlet as it'll wear your battery to half capacity in no time(unless you need to use the battery as a UIPS/power outage protection).

3) If your laptop has a glossy screen I'd suggest a "Screen protector" so your nice shiny screen doesn't become a fingerprint magnet.
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October 10, 2012 8:18:53 PM

bliq said:
Don't defrag an SSD- it will shorten its life...

Also, this is a pain in the butt, but if possible, try to drain the battery all the way before charging it. It keeps the battery working better longer. consider buying a spare battery now and socking it away if you think it'll be hard to find a battery in a couple years. this isn't a dell or an hp after all. Either that or get familiar with how to open a battery pack and replace cells by hand.


This only applies to Ni-Cad batteries. With a Li-ion battery in a laptop you want to only fully drain the battery once or twice when you first get it to condition the battery, and after that you want to keep it fully charged as much as possible. In fact cycling Li-ons will dramatically decrease their life.
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October 10, 2012 8:44:29 PM

Mostly recaps, but:

1) be careful not to bump it while it is running (not as much of an issue if you swap to an SSD)

2) clean install windows as needed (for most users, at least once every 2 years, depending on how much you tweak, how much junkware comes installed, etc.)

3) watch your temps. You will likely need to clean your heatsinks periodically (shine a flashlight through to see how blocked it is). Periodically, cleaning off old and applying new thermal paste can help alot.

4) since it is a newer laptop, battery will likely be Li-ion. Do NOT ever let it run fully dead, as this will permanently degrade the battery. If you run on battery, don't plug in until you're ready to fully charge. The lifespan of Li-ion batteries is based on charge cycles, so keep in mind that you'll probably just need to get a replacement somewhere down the line.

5) Keep a backup of the system once you get the settings how you want them. That way, you can always recover with minimal loss of data.
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a c 461 D Laptop
October 11, 2012 3:00:03 AM

division_9 said:
1) Apply the best thermal paste you can(i.e. IC diamond or Arctic MX-4 etc)



Generally not recommended until after your warranty has expired since taking apart the laptop to get to the heatsink will void your warranty.
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October 11, 2012 3:35:04 AM

So... which one is it?

"With a Li-ion battery in a laptop you want to only fully drain the battery once or twice when you first get it to condition the battery, and after that you want to keep it fully charged as much as possible. In fact cycling Li-ons will dramatically decrease their life."

"I'm not sure if this matters any more but I also fully drain the battery every few weeks before re-charging."

"Do NOT ever let it run fully dead, as this will permanently degrade the battery. If you run on battery, don't plug in until you're ready to fully charge."
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a b D Laptop
October 11, 2012 3:48:29 AM

division_9 said:
1) Apply the best thermal paste you can(i.e. IC diamond or Arctic MX-4 etc)

2) Don't leave the battery plugged in while running off a wall outlet as it'll wear your battery to half capacity in no time(unless you need to use the battery as a UIPS/power outage protection).

3) If your laptop has a glossy screen I'd suggest a "Screen protector" so your nice shiny screen doesn't become a fingerprint magnet.


1)not exactly a must unless it heats up unnaturally. even then, as jaguarskx mentioned, this will void your warranty.

2)true for older laptops with nickel based batteries. not so much for modern laptops with Lithium-Ion batteries:

http://www.dansdata.com/danletters017.htm

http://www.marco.org/2009/09/24/laptop-battery-myths

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/9-biggest-tech...
(no.4 and no.5 and it's corresponding links on the slideshow should be of interest)

my own personal experience at this by plugging my laptop in most of the time with the battery showed only a 5 minute decrease in battery life over it's initial 5.5 hours within the year. i compared this with my boss' laptop which he also bought last year and constantly unplugs it. it now only lasts for 20-30 minutes on battery over it's initial battery life of 6-7 hours.

3)not exactly relevant in maintaining a laptop's lifespan unless he/she constantly touches the screen or it's constantly vulnerable to scratches, say, from a cat.

generally, outside of the common PC maintenance (defrag, virus scans, etc.), the only thing you can do is not to drop it or experience any sort of physical shock, naturally. if you're prone to that or are paranoid of that happening, well, there's always buying for the sake of build quality, expensive as it is. i.e; i have a $2.5K Asus notebook from 2003, that's still running fine today. heats up like hell, had a drink fell on the keyboard once, fell 2-3 feet to the ground 3 times, got slammed between a door once, (i was a very careless college student) and the only problems with it now is that the HDD gets disconnected if i move it too much due to a design flaw (HDD compartment is too big), the hinge on the screen snapped off due to some melted glue, and the 10-15 minutes battery life. i've only ever send it out for repair once. still works well as a desktop replacement for general use.
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October 11, 2012 1:25:01 PM

mikehurley said:
So... which one is it?

"With a Li-ion battery in a laptop you want to only fully drain the battery once or twice when you first get it to condition the battery, and after that you want to keep it fully charged as much as possible. In fact cycling Li-ons will dramatically decrease their life."

"I'm not sure if this matters any more but I also fully drain the battery every few weeks before re-charging."

"Do NOT ever let it run fully dead, as this will permanently degrade the battery. If you run on battery, don't plug in until you're ready to fully charge."



As listed in this article, no memory for li-ion batteries, so full drain is not needed. Also, do NOT fully discharge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Li-ion#Prolonging_battery_...

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October 11, 2012 1:52:35 PM

I am more or less in the same position, have a Sager np9170.
BE CAREFUL with the power cord. It plugs in to the back of the laptop. The plug is really short, and the supply is like a brick. (Not sure if it's the same with the 9150, but anyways..)
Mine has the: i7 3610qm, HD 7970m, + SSD. I get about 2-3 hours on battery. (General usage, browsing, note taking, etc)
(Power saver makes a massive difference.)
I still need to find a good case that can fit in my back pack though.
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October 11, 2012 3:23:38 PM

To keep the laptop cool, I saw a tip that states it may improve temperatures if you set your processor power management/maximum processor state from 100% to 99% while on battery or plugged in. This is without adverse framerates.

Any truth in this? Any others with the same experience?

source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0n0IDp3Qcx8
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October 11, 2012 3:37:57 PM

If you want the laptop to have any life, you will buy a good cooling stand.
My laptop is especially dual core on a 17 inch laptop (and you can in theory have a quad in a 15 inch, same cooling) for this reason.
So far, i had no everheating even once, but i clean it regulary, and i check its temps once a month.

The first time i see aything dangerous im chanching its thermal paste.

Im already overdue in warranty so its no big deal, but it might be better to keep your warrany till it expires, and only then open it up to clean it etc.
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October 11, 2012 3:50:18 PM

when you open it up to clean it, do you use air in a can or something else that may be more effective? Also, do you simply open the bottom up and spray air into the fans to void the dust, or do you do anything more to ensure it to be dust-free. thanks
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October 11, 2012 8:24:14 PM

I have an ASUS that gets a little warm during gaming, but not too bad. Since it is still under warranty I use:
http://www.shopping.com/adjustable-laptop-or/GEK1WQGfB7pWpDxc8gCuJQ==/info

This keeps maximum airflow and it stays really cool, even when gaming, but note, I only game for about 20 minutes or so, rarely ever more than 40 minutes per session. What makes this cooling option worth the investment (it's about $8 with shipping) is that it is ultra portable. At home I have a cooling pad for long sessions, but rarely use it... but it never leaves the house. This baby goes with me everywhere, I actually bought four, to ensure it never gets left at home--same for the wife, one for home, one for work/travel needs.

I also recommend keeping the kids from getting near it. I set my laptop down on the floor and closed it the other night to go get a drink and did not want my daughter hitting the keys in the whole 1minute I would be gone. I pour some milk, turn around and she is standing on my laptop. WTH?! I freaked. Sure enough, opened it up and the bezel broke. This was just last night... UGH! I have repaired the bezel, it wasn't all that bad, but it did crack. I put enough super gel on the back of the cracks to ensure it flexes instead of breaks now, so all is well. Just be weary for added weight when it is closed, I highly recommend a hard case, and it will hold your laptop, a few extra items, your power adapter, your telescoping cooling stand, a mousepad with mouse, mouse usb adapter, thumb drives, extra external HDD (small form factor one) and your wallet and checkbook. It is worth the investment and you would be surprised as to how often you would use it. It is truly a welcome item and the investment pays for itself over time. You should consider it...

Use a ceiling fan/oscilating fan if it gets too warm in a room. Pay attention to the air flow in the room, not just the system. Ceiling fans are amazing, I can't live without them. I always have air flow on when the computer is in use, usually off when not in use.

Keep the plastic SD-card filler that comes with your system. If you did not get one, find one from a friend or use an old crappy SD card to fill the gap. You can also get LAN port fillers and USB/HDMI fillers if you live around a lot of dirt. If you find yourself rarely using these ports in a dirty environment, fill the holes, hair/dirt is hard to keep from those small ports, especially if animals are involved. And even more so if animals are involved with circulating air in the room.

Do not store DVDs/CDs in the optical drive. This can harm your laser if jolted too much, and trust me, a scratched lens just plain sucks. Keep a small CD/DVD case for all media, I actually have one that is velcroed to my case's lid... they are never far away when I need them.

Do not hold air cans (for cleaning) upside down, and when you do use them, only for the keyboard. I actually use a leaf blower to clean my ports... it cleans the heck out of my laptop and gaming consoles. I usually push a q-tip into the fan to keep it from spinning, I bend it in half and put it in the fan blade then bow it out, it works quite well. Crazy, I know, but I have never had an Xbox, PS3, Nintendo, laptop or desktop computer fail on me. Ever. Call me OCD, nuts, insane, but it works, don't knock it `til you try it.
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October 11, 2012 8:50:50 PM

"Adjustable Laptop Or Tablet Cooling Stand -" interesting idea!

"plastic SD-card filler" very smart.

"Do not hold air cans (for cleaning) upside down," did this once before, last mistake i'll make with compressed air in a can...

good tips, very welcomed, cheers!
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