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My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:33 pm
by whm1974
OK I ordered this Thinkpad T430 notebook from Newegg this afternoon and I'm wondering about the proper care of it since I have never owned a laptop before:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product. ... 6834332556
If it turns out that I really don't have much use for a notebook, at least I didn't sink a bunch of money into it. If I do use it often I'll add more memory and an SSD to it.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:46 pm
by Redocbew
Don't drop it.
Don't set it on top of a big fluffy pillow which blocks the vents in the bottom or sides.
Don't give it a bath in your beverage of choice.

If you want a bigger list, then follow around a sales employee for a few weeks and watch them destroy the latest machine they've been issued. Fortunately I've never had to work helpdesk myself, but I've seen it happen.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:02 pm
by just brew it!
In addition to Redocbew's list of don'ts:
Don't plug it into its charger with the cord laying somewhere people will trip over it.
Don't leave something on the palm reset and close the screen.
Don't assume it is as easy to do DIY maintenance on it as on a desktop system, other than (maybe, depending on model) upgrading the RAM and mass storage.
Don't assume USB ports will reliably power anything with spinning media unless you use a powered hub or a USB "Y" cable that draws power from two ports.
Don't expect much in the way of BIOS options.
Don't expect it to live up to the advertised battery run time (especially if you put Linux on it).

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:06 pm
by chµck
The biggest issue is really the hard drive. Since you're still using spinning media, be aware of when it is spinning if you need to move it. Any jerky movements while in operation may damage the disks. Also, never use the "Power saver" power option in windows.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:20 pm
by whm1974
Thanks guys. Yeah I'm kind of aware that most Notebooks tend to a bit sparse on BIOS options. I was going to budget $300 to $400 for one until I found this at Newegg. It sure pays to look around and for less than $200 I think I got a great deal. And yes I do plan on Installing Linux on it, but I'll use it for a few days to make sure everything works first.

Sorry for the endless post about buying laptops, but I'm very picky about hardware, especially if I'm going to keep it for long time.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:21 pm
by whm1974
chµck wrote:
The biggest issue is really the hard drive. Since you're still using spinning media, be aware of when it is spinning if you need to move it. Any jerky movements while in operation may damage the disks. Also, never use the "Power saver" power option in windows.

Thanks. I do plan on replacing the HDD with an SSD sooner or later.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:50 pm
by bthylafh
Don't give it water after midnight.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:05 pm
by JustinDeTorres
Do not run it in your bed by creating problem with the fan.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:32 pm
by Yan
just brew it! wrote:
Don't expect it to live up to the advertised battery run time (especially if you put Linux on it).

Try powertop.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:06 pm
by blahsaysblah
Yup, beware of mechanical hdd and the biggest issue is maintaining proper cooling.

I think the dirty secret for most laptops is that you need some type of prop, a centimeter wide stick, a 3 edged ruler, something to lift back of laptop off any surface to allow good airflow. Never ever use on a bed(sheets/cover). Even legs can be bad depending on clothes.

The way I shop for laptops is to see if they have a good service manual that shows you can easily clean fans/heatsinks/vents in future. (Besides actual specs).

Personally, unless needed for work, if you have a good PC, spending the $200 towards a flagship smartphone with large screen and maybe a Chromecast like device would have been better.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:30 pm
by HERETIC
Manual should have info on how to care for battery-
Such as-full discharge and charge a few times initially then once a month.

My children used to have a habit of putting spectacles on a chair when playing on floor,
chairs are for sitting on.
In answer to your question-use common-sense and be careful....................................

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:02 am
by whm1974
blahsaysblah wrote:
Personally, unless needed for work, if you have a good PC, spending the $200 towards a flagship smartphone with large screen and maybe a Chromecast like device would have been better.

I was wanting a notebook anyway, I just didn't want to spend a lot of money on one. And I think smartphones are overrated.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:20 am
by NTMBK
Don't install Linux on it. That's how I permanently ruined the battery on my old laptop.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:27 am
by just brew it!
Yan wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
Don't expect it to live up to the advertised battery run time (especially if you put Linux on it).

Try powertop.

You're still typically going to get somewhat shorter run time than with Windows, though things have generally improved over the years. Power management is also one of the areas where new versions of a distro occasionally regress (installing a new version results in shorter battery life).

NTMBK wrote:
Don't install Linux on it. That's how I permanently ruined the battery on my old laptop.

I've never heard of that happening before. Isn't the battery charge/discharge cycle normally handled in firmware? (So the OS is out of the loop?) Not positive about this, maybe someone else knows for sure.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:40 am
by Chrispy_
Screen:
Clean it with a soft cloth wet with water and then wrung out so that it's just damp.
If you have greasy fingerprints, put a single drop of dishsoap in a glass of water and then use a wrung cloth with that.

Keyboard:
Vacuum cleaner with soft brush attachment.

Rest of it:
Don't drop it
Don't clog the intake vents
Don't leave things plugged in unnecessarily in case you trip over the cables or knock it and the thing plugged into it rips the socket out of the mainboard

Battery:
Lithium batteries wear out faster when they're flat. Keep them topped up when possible and if you can, avoid running them all the way down to zero.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:17 am
by just brew it!
Chrispy_ wrote:
Lithium batteries wear out faster when they're flat. Keep them topped up when possible and if you can, avoid running them all the way down to zero.

I've heard conflicting advice about this. Everyone seems to agree (and my experience confirms) that leaving them sit in a discharged state for extended periods of time will definitely wreck them. However, I've also seen a lot of sites claim that they are least stressed when they are at around 40-50%. I'm not obsessive about topping up. E.g. if I know I've still got around 50% charge and only need it to last through my morning commute, I might not bother getting it out of the backpack and charging it the night before; I just wait and plug it in when I get to the office.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:12 am
by DPete27
Gently stroke it's trackpad for 5-10 minutes every night before bed.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:16 am
by Heiwashin
I bet myself that when would bring up linux in the second post since it wasn't in the first. It was prompted but still I won! What's my prize? The feeling that I should find something better to do.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:45 am
by End User
I've never worried about how to take care of a laptop. Just be kind to it.

HDD!?!?!?

Get a SSD stat!

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:48 am
by End User
Chrispy_ wrote:
Battery:
Lithium batteries wear out faster when they're flat. Keep them topped up when possible and if you can, avoid running them all the way down to zero.

Jeez. Who the hell does that? I keep it plugged in at all times to avoid any "f@cking hell" moments.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:03 am
by Chrispy_
Lithium chemistry very clearly suffers from deep discharges. 100% discharge cycles (down to 0% remaining) are possible 300-600 times. 60% discharge cycles (from 100 to 40% remaining) are possible 900-1500 times, so although each cycle is only 60% of the total capacity, you get 3x as many charges resulting in a significant boost to the total battery life

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/how_to_prolong_lithium_based_batteries

The best way in a laptop to prolong the life of a battery is to keep it cool and avoid deep discharges below 25%. If you are on AC power and have a removable battery, you will benefit from removing the battery and storing it somewhere cool at 65-75% charge. Storing a battery at 100% charge is also bad for its health, so if you plan not to use the laptop for a few months, charge/discharge the battery to around 65-75% before switching the laptop off.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:05 am
by End User
OMG!

Don't fracking worry about it. All batteries lose life and die.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:06 am
by Yan
Uninstall all the junk that typically comes with a new computer: trial programs, unnecessary security programs, silly games, etc. I like Revo Uninstaller.

I know you said you plan to install Linux, but I'd remove the junk anyways while you try the computer with Windows.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:09 am
by Topinio
End User wrote:
I've never worried about how to take care of a laptop. Just be kind to it.

HDD!?!?!?

Get a SSD stat!

SSDs should be required in laptops, it's far too easy for users to kill mechanical drives when grabbing their machine in a hurry ... I was soooo happy when the first MacBook Air with its SSD option came out, finally a solution to my then-boss' laptop-destructive lateness which had killed several black MacBook hard disks. Also the easiest sell ever to swap it over.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:14 am
by Glorious
Whm1974 needs to actually buy the systems he inquires about more often, this thread is inspired.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:34 am
by whm1974
Glorious wrote:
Whm1974 needs to actually buy the systems he inquires about more often, this thread is inspired.

Well I am very picky about the hardware I purchase and I was trying save up some money first. Next step is to buy some more memory and upgrade to an SSD.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:00 am
by ludi
Chrispy_ wrote:
Screen:
Clean it with a soft cloth wet with water and then wrung out so that it's just damp.
If you have greasy fingerprints, put a single drop of dishsoap in a glass of water and then use a wrung cloth with that.

Re-quoted as one of the "must-do's." You don't want to see what happens to the coating on an LCD screen after it's been cleaned with ammonia or a scratchy cloth.

Was also just comparing the pictures of that T430 to a slightly older T400 that we have lying around the office scrap pile. I see that in the T430, Lenovo at least managed to take some of the cartoon out of the chassis design. The classic "ThinkPad ruggedized" look hasn't aged well.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:53 am
by meerkt
Are Li-ion batteries that picky really?

I have a 2013 Asus laptop with a ~50W/h battery. Spends 99% of the time on AC. As far as I can tell it lets the battery level drop to 95%, then charges.
Windows' battery report data shows the current "full charge capacity" as a bit more than "design capacity". Historical data was always around that figure, sometimes a bit less, sometimes more.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:56 am
by ludi
meerkt wrote:
Are Li-ion batteries that picky really?

Can be, but given that the whole point of the battery is to have power available on-the-go and replacements are pretty cheap these days, I don't usually worry about it. But if you look at the number-of-charge figures Chrispy was quoting, it does explain why a phone battery starts to go south after about two years.

Re: My first Notebook, how to care for it.

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:09 pm
by just brew it!
I think it depends. Batteries that try to cram lots of power into a very small space and which are charged/discharged quickly are probably more susceptible to degradation because they're pushing the limits of what is possible with current battery tech. The battery in my old Sansa Clip+ music player was pretty badly abused (lots of cycles, sometimes left in a hot car, etc.), and still had decent run time after many years. But that's a very low power application, and the charging was slow and gentle (it barely got warm during charging).